The #1 goal of a website owner is pretty cut-and-dry: to get as much traffic as possible to their site. While the goal is clear, there are quite a few methods of going about it.
Creating and implementing an SEO strategy is one of the most popular (and profitable) tactics to increasing your traffic volume – but encompasses many different tasks.
One of the most important – and most mysterious – ingredients for a successful SEO strategic plan is undoubtedly link building.
“For people to discover your website, you need to build pathways and big, flashing signs that lead them there. In digital marketing terms, this means you need links, links and more links.”
— Luisito Batongbakal
What Is Link Building?
The internet works much the same as the real world in that search engines judge websites based on the company they keep.
This means that they rely on the opinion of others to determine whether you are truly the best choice to display as a top result for a certain search query.
Link building provides signals of relevancy, authority and trustworthiness in the form of links that are crucial for achieving top rankings for a desired keyword. By implementing a solid link building strategy, each page of your site:
- Should NOT contain large amounts of spammy backlinks
- Should link to high-quality websites (outbound links)
- Should be linked back to by authoritative websites
Essentially, link building entails building quality digital relationships across your niche, geography, and target demographic through the proliferation of your URL across the web.
Link Outreach Example:
If you’re aiming to rank highly for geo-specific keywords, creating links in the form of building local business citations strengthens the signal that you are indeed local to that area.
Similarly, industry-specific keywords can become lucrative conversion generators if others in your niche link to your site as an example of an expert resource.
Despite link building being such an important aspect of a strong SEO strategy, it is also one of the most underutilized and/or incorrectly implemented.
Many business owners are not well-versed in what link building is (or what it achieves for the site) and miss out on the benefits that come from it.
In a similar vein, knowing how to develop a successful link building plan is very difficult – but it doesn’t have to be.
Benefits Of Link Building
Many website owners are always asking what the benefits of link building are and why they should implement it into their digital marketing strategy.
The crucial role of SEO is to bring in as many organic traffic sessions as possible, which is something that can not only be improved through link building – but be vital for it.
One of the primary reasons why a solid backlink profile is beneficial to your overall SEO strategy is that it builds trust both with search engines as well as visitors.
This is driven by the fact that the majority of websites will have to give their seal of approval for a link to be placed onto their site, which is something that both search engines and customers know.
As a result of these efforts, you will notice increases in rankings as Google is able to determine how trustworthy your brand is, and place you high up in the SERPs accordingly.
Undoubtedly, engaging in a link building strategy should have a net benefit for a company’s long-term brand awareness and growth, and is a vital aspect of building the foundation of your SEO strategy and future marketing campaigns.
So, How Do You Build a Link Building Strategy?
To begin, it’s important to know the primary building blocks of link building: high-quality content and link outreach.
Content on your site is useless unless it is carefully and strategically crafted. Google has matured over the years to become more sophisticated and semantic when it comes to content – this means that the gap between what appeals to Google and what appeals to your customers is becoming smaller.
Google wants to provide the most enjoyable experience to its users, and a big part of that is displaying search query results that are the most useful to them.
“Useful” can mean a variety of things, such as:
- Long-form content that fully explains a topic (showing an excess of 1,000 words on the page)
- Reader-friendly formatting (using header-led sections and lists)
- Displaying rich media – videos, photos, infographics
- Source-driven and authoritative content (backing up claims via outbound link resources, content written by industry expert)
Read more about: Developing A Content Strategy
This is certainly a situation where quality beats quantity. If you are churning out one blog post a week without any increase in site traffic or rankings, take a closer look at the content strategy you’re putting out there.
Instead of 4 low-quality blog posts, condense that effort into 2 engaging, well-researched, 1,000+ word blogs per month.
What’s the secret to passive link building? Create high-quality & engaging content that will make people WANT to link to you.
Maximize your link building efforts by generating great content that will pull in links organically while simultaneously engaging in link outreach.
Despite the similarity in terms, “link building” and “link outreach” are two separate things, where link outreach is the method behind obtaining links for your site.
To the annoyance of SEOs, link outreach requires a lot of manual work and relationship building in order to acquire high-quality/relevant links.
In order to protect the integrity of your site, and ensure a beneficial link profile, it is recommended to take advantage of professional link outreach services to streamline those efforts and get the most value for the time/money spent.
Many companies who used these services have noticed a quicker uptick in keyword rankings than those who do not engage in link building or try to do it in-house.
Links from Authoritative Sites
When working on obtaining backlinks, you may be tempted to take any link you can get. This is a mistake that can actually cause negative SEO effects if those sites have a high spam score, or are irrelevant to your niche/industry.
Think of it similarly to how you’d choose someone to vouch for you – their reputation certainly comes into play, and is also important to third parties as well.
Back in the day, it was quite easy for people to put links on web directories and stuff their ads with a significant number of keywords.
Alongside this was the fact that many people were buying dozens, if not hundreds, of backlinks from low-quality sites.
These practices resulted in the rampant misrepresentation of websites across SERPs, so Google began tweaking their algorithms to punish websites that engage in gaining low-quality backlinks.
This means that the acquisition of high-quality, highly-relevant backlinks is even more important than ever. For those who do not have the time to dedicate to these efforts, hiring a trustworthy link building service is a very cost-effective (and SEO-friendly) practice.
What Is Link Outreach?
As mentioned earlier, link outreach is how a website owner aims to receive backlinks as well as the process of soliciting them from third-party websites.
There are a few important ways that this can be accomplished, with one of the most obvious being through email and PR outreach.
However, this approach involves much more than simply emailing other site owners and asking for a backlink. Instead, there are a few more sophisticated measures that are involved in the link building process that can drastically increase success.
One of the most notable strategies is to take the time to research the targeted website before you approach them for a backlink request.
By doing this, you’ll be able to ensure that they’re the right place for you to request a link, as well as open up a dialogue between you and the webmaster.
This will not only make sure that the owner will be more likely to put your link on their website, but that their audience may have an interest in visiting your website.
When you’re emailing potential third-party sites, you should also ensure that you take a personalized approach to each outreach attempt.
While sending blanket emails may get you a certain amount of results, a personalized email will be much more effective.
Some of the other more notable tactics that you should engage in link outreach include:
- Influencer Outreach: This involves contacting bloggers or social media influencers that have a visitor base that meets your target demographic.
- Social Media Outreach: Building relationships with people on social media channels who have a solid following and user engagement can be very beneficial as well.
Benefits Of Link Outreach
Perhaps the most notable benefit of link outreach is that it increases the speed at which you receive more links.
While you may get a certain amount of backlinks organically (or though other methods) over time, it’s much quicker to do so with a link building campaign.
Along with boosting your search rankings, the practice also allows you to market to multiple audiences, which could bring more users with buyer intent to your site.
The largest benefit is that it can expose your website or brand to other audiences that may be much larger than yours which should also have a certain impact on your website traffic – even potential revenue.
Link building can often be quite an overwhelming task to undertake. This is primarily driven by the fact that there’s quite a considerable number of factors involved, and unfortunately, a lot of ways that you can do it incorrectly.
Much of this can be overcome by taking advantage of outreach opportunities and a variety of other third-party link vendors, as well as partnering with a trusted link building service that can provide a custom strategy.
In the majority of cases, this can be much more affordable than many website owners may believe.
When planning any link building or outreach campaign, however, there are a variety of things that you should keep in mind:
The first of these strategies is to identify your goals and have an actionable strategy in place to achieve them. These goals can include the following:
- The number of backlinks you aim to achieve per month
- The minimum Domain Authority level that is acceptable for a backlink
- Identifying the methods of outreach you plan to engage in
- Creating a minimum outreach goal per month
It should also be noted that this should be something that any link outreach service provider should discuss with you if you decide to work with them.
Another very important aspect that you should focus on is identifying which pages on your website you want to have links point to.
This is something that will tie-in to your overall SEO strategy, as you should want certain pages ranking well for specific keywords and topics.
To do this effectively, you’ll need to target specific third party websites that focus on your industry or niche, so that your target keywords are mentioned naturally, and that you will be an attractive candidate for inclusion.
By sitting down and talking with the link providers what their overall strategy is you will be able to understand the content and brand affiliations they’re looking for, thereby increasing your chances of gaining a backlink (or a few!) from that source.
By undergoing a thorough and well-researched link building strategy, website owners should see quite a significant impact on their overall search rankings when link building and on-page SEO are working in unison.
Link Building Takes Time
It should be noted, however, that creating a robust and well-rounded link profile could take a certain amount of time, so patience is vital.
You can find yourself gaining links from outreach strategies that could take weeks or even months – but done correctly, it will be worth it!
As long as you are tracking and have great communication with the third-party sites, it can lead to your link request and guest blog post appearing sooner on their site rather than later.
When it comes to link building and SEO, if you are not doing proper on-page optimization there is only so much that can be accomplished. Your overall success will come from all the efforts being put forward to be successful.
The right strategy truly begins before you start outreach – and originates with the work you need to do on your website, as well as what your plan of action will be.
Ask yourself these questions before you get started:
- What are you looking to accomplish with your link building strategy?
- Is it going to help my SEO efforts?
- Are we going after the right keyword term?
- Are you monitoring your target keyword term?
- How many links are you looking to build each month?
- Is this ongoing or a one-time endeavor?
Once you have these questions answered, and your strategy in place, you will know exactly what to do during your outreach process as you start building links to your site and landing page.