An effective SEO plan doesn’t just revolve around choosing the right keywords. While this is essential for any website/page, it’s also important that you consider all the other factors that Google takes into consideration in its rankings. In some cases, these are technical, like making sure that your site loads quickly and properly. Perhaps one of the biggest areas where sites are falling short, is proper link building.
The biggest hurdle for many sites in terms of their link building is the fact that there’s no “hack” for link building. If your site has a poor link profile, you can’t purchase a product or service to fix it overnight. Instead, you need a concrete link building strategy.
Here’s what that strategy is.
Staging your content for link building
As a start, you need to make sure that you’re properly utilizing links in your content to create a link profile. This begins with using outside links to back up various points you are trying to make and to expand on things you may not have time to cover in full.
There’s a fine art to doing this. For example, you don’t want to link to a page that could be considered competition to your service or product, as a user could click on it then never come back to your site. The same thing applies when it comes to linking to an article with the exact same topic as the one you are writing. In this case, linking to a site optimized for the same keywords you are trying to rank for could hurt your ranking.
Equally important for optimizing your page is internal link building. Every piece of content that you create should have at least 2-3 links to other pages on your website. This will help bridge together a lot of your existing content as well as improving your ranking. In both cases, you should also give consideration to the anchor text, where exactly you are going to put your links. Generally, long-tail keywords are ideal anchor text on most pages.
As a final note, try to link to pages that you know are going to stay up. If you provide a broken link or a link to an offline page, this is going to negatively impact your ranking.
Link building outreach advice
The first step of a proper link building approach is making sure your content is using links effectively. The second step is getting outside sites to link to your content. The reason you want to do this is that Google’s algorithm gives extra weight to content that other sites are linking to. The reasoning is that this shows your content is authoritative and useful - exactly the type of content that should be at the top of a Google search.
When SEO was in its relative infancy, some tried to exploit this by creating services that would get links to your content up on small, rarely used sites. In some cases, the sites would be created strictly for the purpose of linking to other content. However, Google quickly caught onto it, and now, you need sites with high domain authority to link to you in order to see some concrete results. Domain authority is a metric based on an individual site’s ranking potential.
With this in mind, how do you get major sites like these to link to your content? There are a few ways to go about this. In some cases, sites like Forbes or Entrepreneur may have programs that allow for guest posting. Provided that you qualify, you may be able to include a link to some of your content in the guest post, adding this to your site’s link profile. Note that different guest posting programs have different rules, so make sure you look at them in detail before contributing.
In other cases, where there isn’t a formal program, you may want to reach out to the site directly. Explain what your business is and how the content idea you have could benefit their readers. Again, though, you need a measured approach here. If you’re trying to pitch 20 publications, and use a clear template for each, you’re not going to see major results. In addition, as we mentioned before, your content needs to be unique and high-quality enough for them to want to link to.
Ultimately, it’s important to maintain a patient strategy when it comes to your link building. Much of the “get links quick” schemes that used to be out there are outdated, and can actually hurt your rankings. Instead, it’s a slow and steady game of creating effective, authoritative content, and outreach to different sites/publications. However, by taking this time, you ensure you have strong links that can get-and keep-you at the top of rankings.