You’ve created the content, and now you want to make sure it gets out to your audience. While you can certainly push it to your existing customers or social media followers, you want to expand your reach even further. So, how can you do that?
When you include link-building strategies in your marketing plans, you can increase your reach and boost your search engine optimization (SEO). However, not all link building is the same. Link building is one of the most scrutinized SEO tactics, but it also provides some of the best results. Here is an overview of how you can use link building to grow your business and what link-building practices could actually hurt your ranking.
Link building is the term for increasing the number of backlinks your site has. A backlink is achieved anytime someone links to your content from another page or profile. Over time, this should happen naturally as people connect back to your site. For some websites, this happens a lot faster than for others because of the type of content they offer.
Rather than just waiting for people to link to your content, many companies employ a link-building strategy to focus on earning more backlinks. A solid link-building plan is more than just asking for another site to include your link somewhere in their content.
There are two main reasons to employ a link building strategy for your company:
When another site includes your link in their content, you will automatically be exposed to their readers. If you are working with a site that has a large following of engaged readers, then link building will put you in front of new people.
But, link building does more than just introduce your website to another audience—it can boost your SEO. Search engines like Google are looking for authoritative sites with valuable content to get in front of their users. As you get more backlinks, you get better rankings and more organic traffic from search.
Ranking sites have 3.8x more backlinks and get 39.6% of the clicks.
Back in the day, Google didn’t always have link-building rules (or many rules at all). This led to search quality being somewhat random because top results were determined by exact keyword matches. Over time, Google creators improved their revolutionary PageRank algorithm to weed out the spammy sites and put more relevant pages at the top of the search results.
One of the key deciding factors for ranking well through this algorithm is by analyzing the number of reliable hyperlinks linking back to a page. Credible sites, like .gov or .edu sites, give backlinks with more weight attached to them than other, newer sites. When the backlinks are from quality sites, they tell Google other people are seeing value in your brand.
Google uses an extremely complex algorithm that changes hundreds of times a year. While there is no exact formula for success, there are plenty of best practices that help improve ranking. The Google algorithm tries to determine which resources are going to best serve the users’ search intent in order to keep people returning to Google for every query. Google has a vested interest in producing quality results, and link-building strategies help show your site offers quality content.
There are right and wrong ways to build your links.
Not all links are good links. You might think that rushing out to get as many backlinks as possible will help boost your credibility with Google, but that is not the case at all.
White hat practices are considered the right way to build up your site authority because they are authentic, even though the growth is often slower. Black hat practices are shortcuts or cheats that are penalized by Google because they show your site is not trustworthy. So, while some of these black hat practices might seem tempting, they are likely to backfire and hurt your page rankings.
Google doesn’t want you to be able to sneak your way into the top results—it wants you to offer content that appeals to its users. So, the algorithms are set up to protect the rankings from people trying to cheat the system with sketchy practices.
Here are a few examples of how white hat practices and black hat practices differ.
Sites naturally link to your site when they need to back up a claim of yours that they want to use. If you publish your own studies or produce statistics, you increase your odds of being linked back to every time someone wants to reference those facts.
When you create unique content that people haven’t seen before, they are likely to remember it and share it. While social media shares aren’t considered backlinks, you may get traffic from those shares. You can earn backlinks from parts of your audience that write their own web content and choose to cite it in their work. Plus, unique content stands out to Google during the indexing process because it doesn’t have any duplicates or near-duplicates, boosting your ranking.
There are services out there that seek out a variety of reputable websites willing to place your link. This should include a variety of high and low authority sites that address your industry, niche or audience. Links should be added over time and not too quickly.
When you offer to write content for another site, they allow you to link back to your own content within the piece. There are plenty of sites out there that publish anything and everything, so you need to find reputable sites for your content. Write valuable content and make sure you link to the site itself (for their inbound value) as well as your own site as an authoritative resource with a relevant keyword phrase for the anchor text.
Brands can hire influencers to create sponsored content and include links back to their brand and products. While some influencers have millions of followers, micro-influencers tend to have a niche that attracts a smaller group of more engaged followers. To get the most out of this strategy, you want to choose influencers who align with your brand and have followers who make up your target audience. The content they post will also need to have clear disclosures about sponsorship according to FTC rules.
There are sites made specifically for hosting links and making money by posting bulk guest content. The clearest sign of a PBN is the lack of clarity and functionality in their site. Most PBNs will contain a lot of stock images and broken links. The content on a PBN won’t be valuable, and the site won’t be designed to offer anything beyond a “write for us” page and a category page. These sites are considered spammy and will only serve to hurt your SEO if you are connected to them.
A black hat practice for getting more links is buying spots from other sites or link farms. Google penalizes sites that buy links spots and will penalize you if your links show up on sites like that.
If you lift too much of someone else’s content while in a hurry to write something for your own site, it’s called plagiarism and will be heavily penalized by Google. However, you can also duplicate your own work on accident in an effort to produce more content, and your versions will essentially cause a comparison issue for Google as it determines ranking value.
If your link is placed on anchor text that doesn’t apply or is within unrelated content, you can be penalized. A black hat practice is placing links within random copy covering a completely different subject and hoping to get a click. This bait-and-switch practice is frowned on because it tries to trick the user into visiting a random site.
Every good strategy must have measurable goals to determine success or failure. Those metrics should tell you if you need to adjust your plan.
How do you know if you’ve been successful with your link-building strategy? Here are three important metrics to measure:
link-building best practices. Using a white hat link-building service is one of the best ways to earn quality backlinks efficiently.
At Adroit, we specialize in helping brands with their SEO strategies. We focus on the technical aspects of link building, freeing you up to do the things you do best. Our white hat practices include:
Link building is a complex and time-consuming task that most business owners don’t have time to figure out on their own.
If you are ready to get started, we are here to help. Reach out today and find out what our link-building strategies could do to help boost your brand’s online visibility.