How to Get Link Building Right

When you want your website to rank at the top of Google search results, having high-quality links is essential. But how do you get good links? What are the best link building practices? What do you need to avoid? As you’ve probably noticed, there are many differing opinions on the best ways to make links work, but there also many reliable strategies you can count on. Below, you’ll learn the six key traps to avoid, as well as the eight vital steps to link-building that gets results.
Link Building Fundamentals Link Building Fundamentals

What to Avoid

Google has become increasingly sophisticated over the years, so there are several link building practices that were once effective that will no longer work. In order for links to work for you, Google must see them as organic. If you’re using outdated link-building tactics, you can actually get de-indexed by Google. In a nutshell, if the way you’re building links feels like anything other than creating useful content that other sites want their users to connect to, reconsider your strategy.
As a digital marketing agency, we recommend avoiding the following tactics:

1. Hidden Links

Never use what are known as hidden links, where you use a white link on a white background so the link appears invisible to readers. The theory behind this one is that although readers can’t see these links (and can’t see how spammy they look), crawlers can. This is an area where Google has seriously advanced in recent years, so this practice no longer yields results.

2. Directory Links

A second once-popular strategy you’ll want to avoid is trying to acquire tons of low-quality directory links. You should also steer clear of private link networks, blog networks, and link schemes. Not only do these practices appear spammy, but Google will de-index you for using them.

3. Link Exchanges

Link exchanges, where you agree to link to another site in order to get a link to yours, are also outdated and won’t help your SEO at all.

4. Automated Link Creation Tools

Automated link-creation tools that add links to many websites should be avoided.

5. Sitewide Links

Site wide links should also be avoided as they look spammy, and won’t optimize your Website.

6. Overoptimized Anchor Text

Google looks for natural language when it comes to Website optimization. They are looking for the overall them of a Web page and Website. Therefore, they don’t want to see overoptimized anchor text.

Best Practices for Links

While some people think link building isn’t useful and that the goal should be to simply have good content that automatically drives users to your site, striking a balance between these two is the best way to get more traffic.
There are several things you can do when it comes to link building to make sure it’s a good use of your time and truly benefits your business.

1. Determine Goals of Links

Determine what each link you get will do for you. Will it drive traffic? Add relevancy or authority? Try to get links that are in line with what your website needs to rank more highly or deliver more value.

2. Get Indexed

Make sure your business is being indexed by Google. Local listings are valuable because they tell Google that you are located where you say you are located. Make sure you have a page on your site that shows users where they can find you. Then, link to local listings, so Google can index you.

3. Outreach

Reach out to any companies that are mentioning your brand without linking to it. Simply asking if they can add a link will help you make sure your site is getting all the traffic it deserves. While some people shun the idea of link building outreach due to low response, don’t be afraid to ask people you know and that you can provide value to for a link. By focusing on businesses you already know, you’ll be more likely to improve on the typically low response rate.

4. Earn Links

By developing in-depth content and tools that provide exceptional value, businesses will link to you because you provide value to their audience. But, we active to acquire as many links as possible. For example, if you’ve built a tool that other websites might want to link to, send them an email with images or data and tell them a bit about how the tool might be useful to them. Another strategy is to find good content that isn’t accessible to certain people. One example is people who need screen readers because they’re visually impaired. If you recreate the content to make it accessible to them and then contact people who link to the site to ask them to link to the accessible version of the content, this will earn you links. You can also email other businesses or websites that might find your content useful to see if they would be interested in linking to it. This is always a good thing to do with people you know well, but you can also build new relationships through this strategy. Remember: if you aren’t able to create content that you think other people would be interested in, then rework your content.

5. Link Externally

We tend to reap what we sow when it comes to link-building. By linking to others’ pages, you can also improve the likelihood that they’ll link to yours. Don’t hesitate to sponsor local non-profits, charities, or other causes you believe in. Whether they’re large or small, these organizations will often reciprocate with a link to your site.

6. Guest Post

While guest posting simply to get a link should be avoided at all costs, guest posts that provide value regardless of whether there’s a link involved are a great way to promote yourself and up your credibility. Just make sure not to exploit guest posting for the sole purpose of building links.

7. Build Only Removable Links

When you’re making active link-building efforts, you want to only build links you can remove later if you need to. This is because as link-building changes, some strategies that were useful just a few years ago may not be useful today. One way to ensure that you’ll be able to later remove a link you create is to always make sure you know who your link provider is. Here’s an example: if you’re purchasing links from a package on a random website, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to remove your links. You may not even have a contact person after the deal is sealed. When building high quality links, the best strategy is to create a strong relationship with the link provider and be upfront about the fact that you may someday need to remove the link. While some providers may not go for this and you’ll lose a few links, in the long-run it will protect your credibility.

8. Use the Right Tools

There are plenty of tools that will help you create better metrics and workflow. A good backlink tool is essential, as well as a tool like Fresh Web Explorer that will help you find websites that mention your company but don’t link to you. There are also excellent tools out there for doing outreach, such as Pitchbox or BuzzStream. In addition, link prospecting tools like Ontolo can be quite useful. By following these do’s and don’ts, your link building efforts should start to pay off.

Learn More

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