Taking information from other sites. Having other takes receive information from you. This is the usual give-and-take sequence of link building, a strategy to get you a decent reputation online and a potentially higher position on search engine results pages (SERPs). Link building is generally considered a “white hat” SEO practice, but if you don’t do it properly, Google might wind up turning its nose up at your efforts. While it is easy to simply say, “Don’t mess with Google,” you might not understand what you’re doing wrong when it comes to link building.
There’s a right way to do it, and that’s what I’ll be explaining today.
Google’s Desire for Quality Backlinks
When Google created the Webmaster Guidelines, they certainly had well defined ideas about what they want or what is considered “quality.” Anything that manipulates or skews the quality of your overall website will inevitably get slammed with violations and penalties from Google and other internet governing parties.
An example of what Google doesn’t want is you paying money to someone else promising “guaranteed results” by using a massive amount of spamy article links. In short, stay away from those gig services.
Chances are that those services aren’t using links with a high Domain Authority (DA), a metric created by Moz that ranges from 0-100 and fluctuates based on several factors. If you don’t know what Domain Authority is or which sites would provide this kind of quality source, it’s recommended you use Open Site Explorer, a Moz tool. Examples of sites with an 100 Domain Authority are Facebook and Google. Entrepreneur.com has 93. Hubspot has 90. Most sites will never reach 100, but you should definitely aspire to get as close to that number as possible.
The takeaway? Use authoritative sources when you need to back-up a claim or are creating backlinks to increase your credibility. Don’t assume all domains are equal.
Relevant: Benefits of Guest Blogging
Upping Your Own Quality
Though you can use a number of links from high quality sources in your articles, that won’t matter if other websites don’t see the value in what your are providing. Your content should be on par with the quality of the links you are incorporating into it. Without excellent content, you will never have sites with high DA using your material. The idea here is write useful resources that people will naturally and willingly want to share, quote ect…
Now, you might be thinking: But I’m a terrible writer! Or, I don’t have the time to write thousands of articles with unique content! It’s okay. There are ways around this issue.
1. Write to get noticed
Though your website might have incredible information and services, you’re going to need a blog to highlight those capabilities. It’s been found that blogs will generate 97% more indexed links than those websites without one. Not only do you need a blog, it needs to be informative and take the buyer on a journey that ends with them endorsing you in some way, such as linking to your blog for others to find.
The problem, though, is that millions of blogs are being written per day. Therefore, you really need to research the information, compose the content passionately, and truly drive your point home. If you don’t have faith in your writing abilities, hire someone that does.
2. Create pillars of content
Your content may be wonderful, but it won’t attract people who want to link to it if it doesn’t have some value. The purpose of the blog should be to highlight your skills and knowledge in a specific niche–like your business–that other people might want to become more educated about. For example, Brian Clark of Copyblogger was able to gain immediate traction by writing up the Copywriting 101 Report and two blog posts to accompany it.
Why did this strategy work? It proved what he knew, adding value to his brand, while handing out incredible information to people who needed answers. People then reciprocate by linking back to your information.
3. Develop Infographics
So you have your cornerstone content that shows what you know. Now, you can re-purpose that information by placing it into other media forms, such as infographics. You already have all the data and words. All you need after that is a website or template that helps you plug in the information to generate a commanding graphic. These infographics are easily shareable throughout different social media platforms or can be incorporated into blog posts by other people, creating a simple but effective backlink.
If you need help making your own infographics, professional internet marketing sites can be of service, but there are some paid and free platforms that help you create your own too:
Canva — free and paid elements to design your own infographic quickly.
Infogram — over a million free images to choose from and 35 templates.
Piktochart — 600 templates, less images. Similar to Infogram.
People are visual, after all. Anything that is pretty and spreads a wealth of information increases the probability of you getting attention from high reputation sites.
4. Add some outreach campaigns
Yes, outreach is long, arduous, and doesn’t seem that rewarding at first. Luckily, you don’t have to do everything by yourself. There are a number of programs that allow you to automate the entire process. An example would be Pitchbox. With this application, you find contacts to request a backlink from. Plus, you can create your own templates. Another would be BuzzStream, where you build a profile that lets you get in touch with prospects or find a targeted audience for a campaign. You can also hire a blogger outreach service where they will manually do it for you.
Of course, becoming an affiliate is another way to add in the spread of your online presence. Never stop looking for opportunities to engage with people and promote what you love.
5. Fix those broken links
Imagine a time when you were perusing a roundup post with dozens of links found among the contents. How many of those were broken? Depending on the site and age of the post, you might have found that the majority of links were now unavailable. Naturally, more recent posts or those with edits done overtime would have a limited number of broken links. This is part of an ongoing broken-link strategy that helps keep your content quality’s high. Furthermore, you can replace those broken, low-quality links with newer, more relevant links.
But this doesn’t just apply to your own content. You can go through that same roundup, find a link that applies closely to what you offer, and contact that webmaster. When you find a bad link, not only are you getting points for letting the owner know, you are now in a place to offer something valuable. Thus, you may find your website connect to a bigger authority.
How do you find broken links? It’s pretty easy. Make a search for contents that would fit your niche. Once you find a page with information and resources that match what you personally offer or have content that matches, you can then check for broken links.
Now, the next step requires Google Chrome. You need the extension “Domain Hunter Plus,” which scans for broken links. Should Domain Hunter Plus not work successfully, another backup is “Check My Links.” Once you locate these obsolete links, you can then either fabricate content that would fill the void or offer up something you have already written.
6. Remember to use internal links
Want to jump start your link-building success right now? Then try internally linking sites from your site to other pages with relative information. Again, this is why blogs are so fundamental. Without pages of content, you wouldn’t be able to do internal linking.
Google even has a bot, called the crawler, that looks at these internal links around your website. As it crawls your pages, it indexes them to determine their relevancy. However, this requires that you routinely publish content. Not hitting “publish” at least once a week can dampen your efforts dramatically. The reason is because the more content you have, and the more your build links to other pieces of content, the more pathways you create for the crawlers to move about the website.
This is crucial for new websites, too. Since you will lacking in content and resources from other websites, you have to literally build yourself up.
Think of internal linking as a tree. You have the roots, which we can consider the ads and inbound links bringing people in. But the roots of young trees don’t go that deep, right? Then there’s the trunk, your homepage. From there, the trunk divides into two or three offshoots, your categories; and those branch off to twigs, or your posts. However, everything is connected to the base.
Every successful website uses this kind of thinking when building their content, but all of them have a unique twist that works for their brand. Some may seek to incorporate similar keywords that are relevant to a couple of categories or interweave posts that deal with various steps through a particular process. It can become very complex, so choose a strategy that works for you.
7. Have testimonials? Use them
In the same way you look at reviews on Amazon before buying a product, potential customers do the same with your services. Those who offer excellent testimonials about a service or product will usually include a link to your website on their page. It’s no secret that testimonials are pivotal in getting a click to convert into a sale.
You don’t just want a generic comment section, though. You want to provide some means of reward so that testimonials have value for both parties. One way to do this is to allow customers to showcase their own brand name, social media link, or website so that link building is created almost organically. You can also leave your own testimonials on other websites. Don’t forget to include a link, photo, brief company profile, or another way for people to connect with you.
Just don’t demand a backlink–this is bad business.
8. Make your plans scalable
As your website and reputation begins to grow, you are going to have to begin go a bit bigger and bolder with your endeavors. Instead of maybe having one guest poster adding top-notch content to your website, you can have several coming together for a roundup post that includes several links from previously written blogs on your website and elsewhere. Keep creating infographics and fixing those broken links.
Also, never stop trying to network and communicate with other websites. As you reach out to competitors and respected connections alike, leave testimonials, comment on their content, and who knows? You may receive a backlink or two in return. The key is to be consistent.
Link building is not something that you can buy for $5 on Fiverr and hope you’re going to receive quality backlinks. The best way to create a sound foundation for yourself on the internet is to develop a sound content strategy based on well-written blog posts, cornerstone content, mixed media posts that can be shared around social media and other blogs, and developing strong relationships. Yes, the process does take time, but you can construct an invincible reputation that endures the tests of time.