Link building is not just important for search engine optimization. In fact link building has multiple benefits that can boost your online profits, yet often get ignored.
In this article, Ken McGaffin describes the six major benefits of link building and give you some tips for each so that you can maximize your return on investment from all those lovely links you’re able to attract.
Here are six of those benefits ...
1. Quality links boost your search engine rankings
As many as 7% of consumer sales are online and an incredible 89% of offline purchases are influenced by online research. Search engines are the heart of that online commerce which means search engine success can bring spectacular rewards.
And inbound links to your site are the most important factor determining the position of your site’s pages on search engine results pages (SERPs).
It used to be quite easy to achieve search engine success with low quality links. But Google now actively looks for low quality links and content and might penalize the sites it finds.
Consequently, SEO based on anything but quality content and link building is a tactic of the past.
Google of course, recognizes social signals and social media has made link building so much easier. Now you can build social relationships with prospects before you approach them. And once you’ve built your fans and followers to a reasonable level, you have an immediate channel for sharing and promoting your latest quality posts.
2. Quality links bring direct visitors to your site
Quality links bring real people to your site. Every day Wordtracker gets thousands of visitors who arrive at the site by following links they find on the web. Your links when placed on quality sites will also bring you significant traffic.
So if you manufacture barbecue equipment and you get a link from the popular blog, SeriousEats.com or someone reads an authoritative article about your company in the New York Times, then you’re going to find that a ton of people will click through to arrive on your site - and you should be ready for them.
And the great thing is that people who do click through are likely to be very interested in your products because they’ve just read about you, which means they’ll be well disposed to buying from you.
But you’ve got to be ready to convert them. So make sure your home page or any deep content on your site has ways for them to buy, or at least the ability to capture their email address.
3. Quality links establish you as a leader
No matter which market you’re in, there’s an informal community of websites that your potential customers will use. That community will be made up of news sites, blogs, magazines, portals, experts, commentators, forums, discussion groups and much more.
Your potential customers will visit many of these sites as they research the best products to buy and the best companies to do business with. If they regularly see links to your site, they’ll think of you as a leader in your market.
So do thorough link analysis of your market and identify as many niches as you can. For each niche you can identify all the news sites, blogs, magazines, portals, experts, commentators, forums, discussion groups, etc. and build links from them.
The more people come across your company and products on important sites, the more they will see you as a leader.
And don’t forget to add, “As featured in ... NY Times.com, SeriousEats.com” when you’re successful in getting such links.
4. Quality links attract more quality links
For a new site, links are initially hard to get. You have to work hard to get early successes and build momentum.
But eventually something wonderful happens - you start to get links without even asking for them. Once you’re seen as a market leader other sites will want to write about you, comment on your products and link to you.
It works like this:
Bloggers and journalists researching stories will often search Google, consult directories and authoritative lists to find ‘sources’ for opinion and insight that will add color to the stories they’re writing.
If your site already has good links, they’ll come across your name several times which increases the likelihood that they’ll contact you.
Once they contact you and write about you then not only do you get the editorial, but other bloggers and journalists will also write about you and link to you. You’ll experience a cascade effect - where a link from a really good source gives people from other sources to write about you as well.
And once you do get links that you didn’t ask for, make sure you drop an email to thank them, follow them on Twitter, share their content - it’s a great way of cementing your relationship. Remember, they can help you in the future.
5. Quality links keep on working
Unlike advertising, quality links often stay in place, continuing to bring you traffic, sales and influence for many years.
Google and other search engines look at the age of a link and the pattern of acquired links over time. So the value of your inbound links is cumulative. Links that you acquired years ago continue to influence your rankings and still bring you direct visits.
This means that:
You should treat link building as an investment with increasing return over time.
Your existing links give you a solid platform upon which to build.
As you build links, competitors will find it increasingly hard to compete with you.
6. Quality links connect you with people
Remember it’s people, not websites that give you links. If someone has taken the time to link to you then they see value in what you do. Behind every link is a person with whom you can build a stronger relationship.
Get to know the people behind the sites that link to you, strengthen your personal networks and increase your chances of success. Reach out to build mutually beneficial relationships.
So that’s six benefits - most of your competitors will have though of just one or two. But if you’re the one that recognizes all these benefits and goes the extra steps to create relationships, then you link building, and your business are sure to prosper.
Ken will be joining with Garrett French to deliver “Get Links! - 7 Weeks To Link Building Mastery” starting on 13th March 2013. Click below to find out about our early-bird offer:
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is a writer, speaker and trainer in online marketing. He provides webinar and video training in link building, online PR and content marketing on his site at LinkingMatters.com You can join him at Google+ or on Twitter
He wrote The Definitive Guide to Successful Link Building with Mark Nunney, and has created two in-depth online courses, 'Get Links: 7 Weeks to Link Building Mastery' and 'Broken Link building Video Course', both with Garrett French.