If you have invested heavily in your online business, it is obvious that you are looking for any idea that can help boost your ranking. Times have changed in internet marketing, and new strategies in marketing are emerging. The search engine optimization (SEO) landscape keeps changing and even the old SEO techniques are being remodelled to keep up with the times. One of the most effective SEO tools so far has been link building, and while the debate continues about the best application of backlinks, there is no denying this is a must-have in your SEO campaign. If you are finding it hard to reach your target audience, it is time to rethink your link building approach in line with ongoing algorithm updates. This is the only way to remain relevant in this viciously competitive marketplace.
Why SEO Matters for your Business
Why should you bother about SEO in your marketing campaign? For a start, you must consider that there are more than 3.7 billion internet users according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). A recent Pew Research Study says 8 in 10 Americans are online with 15% of Americans shopping online on a weekly basis. 51% of people in the U.S prefer to shop online, and when these numbers are considered in combination, it becomes obvious that the internet market has limitless opportunities.
However, there is a catch; a good looking website alone does not suffice when it comes to online marketing. In spite of how fantastic your website looks, you will never achieve your marketing goals if you are not investing in techniques to boost your SEO efforts. With search remaining the #1 driver of traffic to content websites, it goes without saying that SEO should be at the core of your overall marketing strategy.
Your online business can grow tremendously, but this will only happen if you are ready to adapt your marketing strategy to suit emerging demands. In line with the ongoing Google algorithm updates including Google Penguin among others, you need to tweak your backlink practices. There is no denying the link between backlinks and high ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).
In fact, a study by Moz shows the direct relationship between quality backlinks and high ranking on Google results. The study seeks to answer the question whether any site can rank highly without backlinks and the answer is simple; for you to rank highly on SERPs, you need quality backlinks. 90% of all the top results had at least one external link pointing to the website.
In summary, quality backlinks are advantageous to your online business through:
- Building your brand’s authority
- Driving steady flow of referrals traffic
- Building new lasting relationships
- Brand visibility and recognition
- Long term directory and resource links
The power of link building cannot be underestimated, and this ultimate hat guide for backlinking is intended to help you harness this powerful SEO tool. Here are some of the key factors that will guide your link building campaign:
Before commencing the link building campaign, you have to understand link anatomy. You have to appreciate that not all links are equal and this is, in fact, the reason there is so much debate about link building. At the basic level, a link is a vote for your website, but you must consider who is giving that vote. This is where the quality of a link comes in. The facts to remember are:
- Authority: The authority of both the linking page and the linking domain are important metrics if you want to determine the quality of a link. If the authority of a linking page and domain is high, this is beneficial to your SEO efforts.
- Follow vs. Nofollow: The rel=”nofollow” attribute is one of the oldest features in link building and it elicits different reactions. A no-follow link is not supposed to boost ranking but if you are focusing on getting quality traffic, don’t let a no-follow attribute discourage you.
- Location of a backlink: Link placement is a crucial factor in determining the value of a link. The clickable aspect of a link matters, which means a link that is placed in an area where it can easily be clicked will have more weight.
- Anchor text: Anchor texts are important in link building, but then they should not be over optimized. It is very easy to over optimize for an anchor text because it is one of the easiest ranking factors to manipulate. The best idea is to be content with the anchor text the one linking to you decides to use rather than risk a penalty for over optimizing.
- Link relevancy: To discourage webmasters from misusing link building, Google uses link relevancy to determine the quality of a backlink. If a page has very many outbound links, the value of a single link is low. Your target pages when looking for links should be those with less number of outbound links.
Your link building process is divided into:
- Research: You should take time to research your backlink targets to avoid reaching out to bad prospects. Take time to look at the backlinks pointing to your competition using tools such as Ahrefs. This helps you know how your competitors are building links and also finding high-value link targets.
- Outreach process: This is an art more than a science and will depend on your goals. It can either be structured or unstructured, but the bottom-line is to meet your unique needs.
These are the broad steps you will undertake in the link building process. To get the best out of your backlinking campaign, you can use among other techniques link magnets or ego baits, interviews, link reclamation/broken link building, checking what is trending and write targeted content for press releases, guest blogging, using images, content repurposing and syndication, directories, blog, forum, and community participation among others.
There are different automation tools that can help you in link building including those for competitor and link research (Ahrefs, Majestic and OSE from Moz), for content research (Buzzsumo and Ahrefs Content Explorer) for web monitoring (Google Alerts and Mention) and for outreach (Buzzstream, Ninja Outreach, Yesware and Mailshake).
In conclusion, link building remains one of the most important cogs in any successful SEO campaign. It is a powerful technique to boost flow of traffic, increase conversion rates, build brand recognition and much more. With these simple techniques, you can now build links without risking penalties from Google.
- Derek Iwasiuk is an SEO specialist, writer and internet entrepreneur. He runs http://www.derekiwasiuk.com/, an SEO blog with invaluable tutorials. Derek also invests in tech startups.