In terms of getting your site to rank on page one of Google, link building is second only to good (awesome) content on your site. Quality inbound links can’t be bought or traded for – in fact those methods of getting links will probably hurt your site. Good, honest links, come from good, unique content. If you have good content that people think is interesting they are more likely to tell others about it. Whether it’s a link form their website or social media account an inbound link from an unsolicited source will always boost your site. higher quality sites linking to yours will naturally give you a better boost. By boost, I don’t necessarily mean you’ll jump from position 10 to 7 if you get someone to link to your site. I mean your total website score will be raised and that will determine your search engine rank for any given keyword.
As soon as a website owner realizes links are good for business they (thanks to human nature) tend to want to be as efficient as possible. As great as that is, efficiency can lead to shortcuts and SEO shortcuts almost always lead to LOWER rankings, not higher. Please trust me on this. I’ve seen countless site owners get into link exchanges, link farms, buying links and it has never gone well. Sometimes you’ll get a quick boost, but as soon as Google sees what you’re up to (which doesn’t take long) your site will sink.
Ok, enough of the bad news that you can’t shortcut link building. How can you get good links to your site without cheating?
Find your competitors inbound links
Cognitive SEO has a back link checker. Great tool – use it. This will give you a list of your competitors inbound links. Based on that info you can try to get the same links. Some will be from directory sites and local search engines that you may be able to add yourself. others will likely be from third party independent sites that you can reach out to and see if they will add your link as well. Of course few if any site owners will just give you a link for free. What works for us a lot of the time is to preemptively write and article for the site you want a link from – something interesting (with a link to your site) that they would probably like. They get the content, you get the link.
Target the right people
once you find a site you want to get a link from, whether that’s by writing an article or just begging, you need to find out who can help you on your quest for the elusive link… more times than not “firstname.lastname@example.org” wont ‘be manned by someone who can or wants to help you. they likely get dozens of spam emails a day and will consider your request one of them. If you’re going for the guest article approach you could try leaving a note in the comments of the site you’re targeting. That will likely get to the author who is probably the decision maker. You could try their contact form, but make sure it’s clear up front what you want. If you send them a contact form email they will initially think it’s a lead for their business. Once they find out it’s not you have to precious time to persuade them. We’ve had quite a bit of success doing this and can give you more details on how you can use this method too – give us a call.
Create “Linkable Content Assets”
Information is power and if you give people information they may want to brag about it. When a new story breaks everyone is sharing and reposting it on their sites and social media. In lieu of breaking a major news story there are a couple things to try:
Case studies can be used to talk about your previous and current customers, what you did for them that works and how you can help future customers.
Crowdsourced content – interview someone in the industry to share information. People love videos. you can interview an industry partner or well known leader or you can talk about how to achieve better results using your business.
There are plenty of honest ways to get legitimate inbound links to your site. I’ve mentioned a few here and will get more in a future post, so check back. Or give us a cal for more info.