You have a niche that you love to write about, and people are searching for this type of content. You have created content that is relevant, valuable and consistent, but these qualities alone doesn’t mean that search engines will rank it. Search engines look for both quality content and links from other trustworthy sites are both important ranking factors for search engine optimization.
We promise this guide will not sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher as you read it. While link building isn’t the most exciting topic to read about, we vow to make this easy to understand (and as enjoyable as it can possible be).
You are obviously here for a reason, so we want to get straight to the point.
What are Links?
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are HTML hyperlinks within a site that will direct your audience to another website or vis-versa. This is a type of social bookmarking that allows search engines to see that you have a quality site. There can also be internal links which connects pages of your website to other pages.
What is Link Building?
Link building means that your website is linked to another website. The goal of link building is to have your website linked to many high quality and relevant websites. (We will get to why this is important in a minute.)
This is why it is called link building. You need more than one trustworthy website to link to your website to create authority, and the building process can seem overwhelming.
Don’t worry. We will break this down for you in a few easy strategies you can put to use today!
Strategy #1 – Blog
If you haven’t implemented blogging to your website or if you have fallen short in this area, you should be blogging if you want to better build links.
There are many different blog posts you can incorporate to your site to help build links.
- Guest Blogging – Inviting a guest to blog on your website is a great way to grow your network and build links.
- Blog Regularly – Inviting guests to post on your blog can be a slippery slope if it’s not done right. Instead, try to blog ‘on the reg’ so that your content stays relevant and can be shared more frequently.
- Create a Blog Award – Listen, there is no better way to make someone feel special than by giving them a reward. Imagine if a blogger woke up and discovered they had received an award just for blogging! If you do this right, the blogger you awarded will award a blogger of their choice, and so on and so forth. If you link your website into the award as part of the “rules” of the award, your link building should increase.
Strategy #2 – Post to Social Media
Social media is a huge (and free) marketing tool that all businesses should be taking advantage of, so how does this apply to link building?
To boost link building, you should post relevant material to your social media accounts frequently. These posts should contain highly visible tags, such as hashtags or tagged accounts. You can do this on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but there is a fine line between genuinely tagging and looking like a spam account.
(For example: If you want your content to be noticed, don’t take big celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Ellen DeGeneres in your posts. If Google notices your spammy social media is connected to your website, they will penalize you.)
Strategy #3 – Create Some Infographics
Infographics have become increasingly useful among websites and bloggers, and Pinterest might be to credit for this. (Check out our post on how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your site.)
Visuals with information resonate with readers because they are easy to understand and quick to read. If you can create a shareable infographic to drive traffic to your site, you have a greater chance of these users linking back to your website from theirs.
What NOT to Do
So link building is great, but you have to do it the right way. Link building isn’t an overnight achievement. If it is, you’re doing it wrong and you’re probably going to be penalized for it.
Avoid Spammy Links
There will be spam websites that will consequently backlink to your website. It’s just the unfortunate nature of the beast when it comes to websites and link building. However, there are ways to avoid these spammy links, and ways to prevent them from showing up.
First, don’t buy links. Ever. For any reason. Buying links will lead to spammy backlinks to your site. Google will also recognize that your website is showing up on a large quantity of websites and they will penalize you for this. Google believes that search engine optimization should not be manipulated; therefore if you are buying links, you are manipulating the search engine results page and should be penalized accordingly.
Do not participate in link schemes or automated link building. You should always try to maintain a healthy link profile. This indicates to search engines that you are gaining your authority fairly.
If you find spammy links have inadvertently begun linking to your website, you can remove these links through your website or by notifying the webmaster of the hosting page.
Don’t Sell Your Link
As much of a “good idea” this may seem, never sell your link. Ever. First, it’s just bad practice. You want to be linked because of hard work and genuine content. But second, you have no idea who you are selling your link to, and who they may sell your link to.
You could easily sell your link to someone reputable and then they sell your link to the leaders of the dark web. Google will penalize you big time if they discover you have sold your link in order to build your backlinks.
Things to Remember
- Blogging will greatly increase the chances of websites linking back to you.
- Try to incorporate unique blog content, such as guest bloggers, blog awards, and frequent blogging.
- Use your social media accounts to promote your website, especially blog posts. Include searchable hashtags and accounts for your content to be easily discovered once shared.
- Create infographics to incorporate into your website and your blog posts. Infographics are useful and easy ways to share both visual and informative content. Infographics are easily shareable and resonate well with readers.
Link building is important for search engine optimization, but it does not happen overnight. Be patient with link building. Don’t force link building by selling your link or buying others.
Remember to write blog posts frequently with relevant content. (If you need to know which length of blog posts are the best for search engine optimization, check out our article about styles of blog posts and their lengths!)