There was a time when you could buy thousands of spam links and see your website get high rankings in search engine results pages.
Today, this is unthinkable.
Building high-quality links should be a key goal for any business hoping to compete in a thriving online marketplace. Quality links bring visitors to your website and they boost your search rankings.
Put simply, link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.
When ranking web pages, Google looks at the keywords within links (anchor texts) and also the number of links pointing to a web page. Basically, if you have more high-quality links pointing to your site, Google sees you as a more valuable resource and rewards you with higher search rankings. The benefits are clear:
- Attract more quality traffic to your website
- Increase the credibility of your brand
- Convert more consumers into loyal customers
Quality backlinks are important because they indicate that other websites value your content. A link from a credible site is like a vote for your site to be listed in the search results pages.
The word “credible” is important here.
Quality backlinks include links from authoritative sites that are relevant to your industry and also contain valuable content. Although Google doesn’t advocate developing backlinks purely for SEO purposes, useful backlinks should arise through the running of a successful, value adding business and is still considered a white hat marketing technique.
Quantity used to matter; now it’s the quality of each link that counts. More quality backlinks will help your site gain higher search engine rankings, and this should lead to more traffic.
Backlinks that use your URL are good, but keyword-rich anchor text links are very useful; these tell Google and other search engines to list your site under those keywords.
If many hyperlinks using certain keywords and phrases point to a page, that page has a better chance of ranking well for those keywords. But how do you get others to link to your pages using relevant anchor texts? Ultimately, you must have something that others find useful or share-worthy. If you start with something worth linking to, you’ve already won half the battle.
Tips to encourage more backlinks:
- Consistently publish high-quality, unique articles
- Get listed on local business directories
- Ask loyal customers and business associates to link to you
- Build a company blog
- Engage in social media
- Contribute to other blogs
- Provide testimonials for other local businesses
- Create “linkable assets” such as surveys, infographics, white papers, and videos
1. Think Local and Topical
Links from other sites with content related to your industry are going to have more value than links from unrelated sites. Therefore, it’s important to try to build relationships with others in your industry to increase your relevancy in the eyes of Google. Try using your local business connections to get relevant links from other businesses or use an SEO writer who already has connections.
2. Connect With Trusted Domains
Poor-quality links will harm your search rankings, so aim to build a strong set of links from high-quality, trustworthy domains, not “spammy” sites. Avoid the following:
- Links to poor-quality websites with little useful content
- Links to unrelated content
- Links that no longer work (broken links)
- Internal links that use exactly the same keywords
- Links that are paid for
Google is trying to devalue links coming from “bad neighborhoods” – SEO slang for websites involved in dubious SEO techniques. Therefore, you should avoid links from and to link farms, sites featuring ads for pills, porn, and casinos, sites with too many adverts, and sites with poorly-written content.
More content is being shared on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ than ever before. While there is still a debate among marketers about how beneficial social signals are, there is evidence that social shares etc. do ultimately affect rankings. If anything, social networks give you a quality link to your website from your profile, and they’re a great place to earn natural links. The trick is to create content that people want to share and link to.
5. Keep It Fresh
Search engines use the freshness of links to determine the current popularity and relevance of a website and its content. However, the SEO power of links tends to decay over time, so it’s important to continually build your link profile so that your site remains relevant and credible to search engines.
If you know anything about search engine optimization, then you understand how important it is to create link-worthy content. It may take more time, planning, and strategy, but it’s worth it.
High-quality links show your relevance to search engines, build audience trust, and drive more relevant referral traffic to your website.
In simple terms, link-worthy content is well-written, useful, authoritative, and accessible. Typically, the content falls under one of the following four categories:
- Educational: it teaches readers something new.
- Informational: it features news and opinions.
- Entertaining: it provides amusement and stirs emotions.
- Inspirational: it motivates people to take action or think differently.
To make your content more shareable and link-worthy, it should:
- Answer crucial audience questions.
- Be interesting and engaging.
- Be original and authentic.
- Be better than other similar content.
- Offer actionable information.
- Look professional.
- Be easy to read and scannable.
We go cover this topic more in-depth in our ebook 6 Ways To Fix Your Barebones SEO Strategy.
What’s more, your content should be credible. To boost its credibility, make sure that:
- The design complements the copy.
- Your about page and home page are accessible from the content.
- You provide sources for data and statistics.
- You link out to authoritative sources that support the topic.
The more credible you look, the more chance the content has to gain momentum. Also, linking out to other websites will improve the chances of others linking back to you.
Trending topics and news stories have more immediate appeal, but they have a shorter shelf life. Evergreen content remains useful and relevant long after it’s published, so it’s likely to attract more links over time. For example:
- Resource guides and how-to posts. They teach people something new and act as a handy checklist.
- White papers and ebooks. They give you an opportunity to show your industry expertise.
Why not approach someone with knowledge of your industry for an interview? You can control the questions and turn it into something applicable to your business and target audience. As well as conducting interviews over the phone and email, you can also video an interview if participants are willing.
Strong Opinion Posts
These posts may not be liked by those who disagree with you, but at least they’re not bland. As long as you’re honest, they can build your credibility. What’s more, people that share your viewpoint are more likely to link to the content as it validates their opinion.
Try to do your own original research that offers readers new data that they can share with others. According to a report by BuzzSumo, sites that publish well-researched content backed by evidence and data have a significantly higher number of referring domain links.
Original Visual Content
If you create original visual content, other bloggers and businesses are more likely to link to it, as it’s unavailable elsewhere. Publish more infographics, screenshots, graphs, images, and illustrations. These individual visual elements can encourage people to link to your content.
High-quality backlinks continue to play a major part in every successful SEO strategy. To summarize the above points, link-worthy content should:
- Educate, inform, entertain, or inspire readers.
- Be interesting, original, useful, and credible.
- Be professionally presented and easy to read.
- Answer popular and specific audience questions.
- Contain original data, statistics, and visuals.
- Reference authoritative sources.
If you follow these steps for every piece of content you create, you’re more likely to generate valuable backlinks for years to come.
Need help creating high-quality SEO content? We can help.