Link Building...Or Better Yet, Link Earning
What is link building and why is it important?
Link building, or link earning as we like to call it here at Bonsai, is an SEO opportunity that can yield huge ranking results. To be sure, links are important for both usability and SEO. A link is a way for a user to navigate between pages within a website, or between different websites. Likewise, links are also a means by which search engines navigate their indexes to determine relevance and value of particular pages. How’s this?
A quick search engine recap:
When you type a term into a search engine, you’re effectively searching a particular index of the web. Spiders are programs that crawl pages within the index to determine a suitable result for the given search term. How do spiders come up with suitable results? Keywords, for one, as SEOs know all too well. Schema tags for another, which we covered in a previous post. Inbound links, for thirds, are a HUGE ranking factor for search results. In fact, just as hyperlinks are a means for users to navigate the web, they are also a means for spiders to navigate the search index and provide results. That means that a page with more inbound links to it is going to receive a higher ranking. This is based on the theory that a link is a vote of confidence, a sign of support, that your site is worth visiting.
Local link building and the importance of quality links.
As link building and general SEO work is becoming more widely utilized, Google has been particularly strident in issuing updates that filter out low-quality links. Low-quality links are irrelevant to the page they're linking to or from; they're instances of spam that attempt to fool both the search engine and the user. Which means that, first and foremost, your link building campaign has got to start with something worth linking to. This can be tricky in a local link building campaign, but earning links is much more difficult with uninteresting, irrelevant content. But with helpful, interesting content, you're much more likely to receive "natural" links (links that you don't have to acquire via manual outreach efforts), which are the most valuable. But, that's not to say that you can't acquire links in other ways. Yes, Search Engines (Google, in particular) are much more weary of spammy links. But, if you're creating great content that just isn't getting the online recognition you're looking for, there's still work to be done.
4 effective techniques for link building:
1. Guest posts
A guest post is a workable way to earn links. It's exactly what it sounds like; you write content to post on another's blog or website. How does this help link earning? Well, if done correctly, a guest post represents an opportunity to eventually backlink to your own website. But, be careful of this. If you view a guest post solely as an opportunity to build backlinks into the content you're writing, you will be quickly found out and likely barred from writing any other posts for that blog or site. Guest posts are more important for building relationships and providing helpful content. Thus, if you're writing a guest post, and it makes sense to link back to your site content-wise, then by all means link away! Guest posts are a great way to build long-lasting relationships with like-minded individuals online, especially with local link building. If you provide them with quality content over a period, you're much more likely to receive natural links from them, or more opportunities to backlink to your own site.
2. Social Media
Social Media is another viable, yet indirect, method of earning links. If you're creating quality content, then post links to that content on as many different social media platforms as you can. That includes all the profiles you manage, social groups you're a part of, StumbleUpon and Reddit and other similar sites, etc. The links that you post don't count as inbound links as far as search engines and rankings are concerned, but they do help get the word out to other users. When users start posting your content, that's when the backlinks start rolling in. It's true; you've got to earn your links with worthwhile content, but even the greatest content on the web suffers without proper promotion.
Just as with our last two methods, Blogging is a means of earning links that's dependent on the quality of your content. Creating great content consistently is a way to attract another user towards providing natural links to your site. Additionally, you can build links internally by linking to your own site, as well as out to others, which is a good way of building relationships with other content producers. With local link building campaigns, blogging presents an interesting opportunity. Because a lot of blogging deals with specific regions, and people searching for content that deals with a specific city or neighborhood, content that focuses on smaller areas is a good opportunity to generate local links.
Creating engaging infographics is another great way to earn links, although it's not as viable as it once was. Nowadays, infographics are mass produced on a ridiculous scale. Any marketing company with a decent budget and a modern strategy is likely making infographics. Why? Because they work. Despite the fact that infographics are everywhere, they're still a viable method of earning links because they can get so much information across. All in all, Infographics are still worth it. They produce a lot of traffic, it's an opportunity to align your brand with your content (which never hurts), and if your graphic provides interesting or worthwhile information, you'll undoubtedly receive referral traffic.
As you might've guessed while reading through our methods, it can take a long time to see results from your link building efforts. As Search Engine algorithms get tighter and tighter, link building is only going to get more labor intensive. But, it's still important. You simply cannot have a top-ranking site without quality links.
It's unknown exactly how big of a part quality links play in rankings (these are proprietary algorithms we're dealing with). However, it is widely accepted among SEO marketers that increasing quality links to your site will undoubtedly boost your rankings and increase site traffic. If you follow the methods we listed above, and you create engaging content, you’ll definitely see results. As a top Seattle Search Engine Optimization company, Bonsai has conducted numerous local link building campaigns. If you’re interested in how Bonsai can help you initiate a link building campaign, or any of our other Internet Marketing services, feel free to visit our site.