How to Get Started with Link Building

Guest Post by Marianne Pratt

What good is your website if nobody sees it?

Links located outside your website give people an opportunity to click through to your pages.  Your website may naturally attract some incoming links, but deliberately working to create them will boost your results much sooner.  Link building is an ongoing and painstaking process, not a one-shot deal.  And while volume is valuable, quality is even more important.
You want lots of incoming links because they build traffic.  They also give you credibility (or “authority”) with search engines, important because off-page SEO is a major factor in raising your overall and page rankings.

We’ll talk here about specific link building techniques, but in the end other sites will only agree to link to you if you have useful, fresh content — something good at your end worth finding.

What makes a well-targeted link?

  • Anchor text (the wording someone clicks on to follow your link) that uses specific keywords or phrases is most likely to attract inbound links to the individual website pages you most want to “promote” to search engines.
  • Website sources that have lots of their own incoming links enable you to piggy-back on their high-ranking SEO.  There are online tools available to investigate domain or page authority.

You can approach link building in a number of ways.

  • Have a blog, and use it.  Write about on topics germane to your business and customers, being sure to use your keywords frequently (but not unnaturally so). HubSpot’s Pamela Vaughan recommends content specifically geared toward attracting interest and links, especially material likely to be shared such as original data and research, infographics, viral videos, even controversial topics.
  • Submit to website directories.  It’s not the most effective opportunity, but it’s easy.  Some are even free.
  • Submit to article directories or another publishing website.  Articles have an “author resource box” at the end which links to you, and you can control the anchor text and hyperlink (URL that leads to your specific web page).
  • Get to know the most authoritative bloggers and web journalists who write about your industry.  Follow them on social media,  Link to their blog and maybe they’ll reciprocate.
  • Better yet, become a guest blogger.  Your content is “fresh” for someone else’s blog, and you’ll get that all-important author resource box at the end.  Guest posting also raises your profile.
  • Ask for links.  You can even create a “link to me” button for your blog or specific web pages inviting people to link to them from their site.  This may seem a little crass, but if your site is worth linking to, you may get some takers.
  • Use online news release distribution services.  Most of them aren’t free, but you can capture powerful SEO benefits if your story is picked up or covered by another website.  Don’t forget to incorporate your keywords in the text.

“Too busy” for link building?

If you have a small localized business, save time by pooling resources with complementary businesses to create link building content.  (A vet could team up with a grooming service, pet store, dog day care, etc.)  This kind of cross-promotion – shared content and reciprocal links — works well for larger businesses, too.

Any business can save time and ensure quality content by hiring a professional writer who can write on your topics in your “voice.”  And of course partnering with an inbound marketing professional can pay big dividends in helping you sort out link building priorities and make sure your initial efforts are on target and working hard to build your SEO.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Antony_mayfield

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