Link building should always be top of mind for those who want to grow their Web properties, but to call it a difficult practice is an understatement. It is, in fact, one of the most challenging components of search engine optimization, and one of the trickier areas in all of Web marketing.
Fortunately, a number of helpful strategies have emerged in recent years, and WM has highlighted some of them below. If you have additional suggestions, we welcome you to share them in the comments section.
The most effective way to acquire quality links is to produce quality content – something that your visitors and other website owners are going to find worth reading and
sharing. The better your content, the more likely it is to be picked up and/or
linked to by publishers in your industry. It’s always good to keep in mind that the most useful, sharable content is that which includes lasting, actionable information such as tutorials, lists, industry reports, glossaries, etc.
Most Web users appreciate a well-conceived and attractively designed infographic. They can
provide practical, useful information in an easy-to-digest format, and they are easy to share between links to the infographic and other sites embedding
it into their own content.
Viral content is basically
anything that encourages those who see it to look into its source for more
information. Typically, it can be videos, photos or games that offer an
ambiguous message that creates intrigue and drives users back to its source
website for more.
Linking Made Easy
If you want people to share your content, especially images
or videos, you’d do well to make it easy for them to link to your site. The best way
to do this is to provide HTML-ready snippets that people can easily copy and
then paste right into their own website/blog/social media post.
Most content management systems create RSS feeds for your
blog content. If you don’t automatically have that option, it’s a good idea
to create one. This allows interested users to add your content to
their daily feeds, increasing the likelihood that they will not only see it but also share it with others.
One great way to establish authority and gain links is to
publish white papers. Not only do white papers help you earn
links from interested parties, but they also help to identify you as a thought-leader in your industry or niche.
It is true that we live in a visual society, which is why
photos are a very valuable type of content to leverage. Photos can be set up to
link back to your website, which is a valuable way to increase website traffic. Images can also be posted and shared on social media sites for even greater visibility.
Videos are another type of content that can be very
influential when it comes to building links. Content producers should remember
to vary the types of videos so that they don't become too repetitive, such as
a mix of tutorials, product announcements, general information and industry news.
Sometimes the best way to get noticed is to make waves, and
online that often comes in the form of bold or occasionally controversial
statements. Content that takes a bold stance on a topic, even one that
is contrarian to the present popular belief, is very likely to encourage others to link back to your site as the source.
Submitting company news to the top press release engines
such as PRWeb, PRNewswire and Buisnesswire will immediately increase your
business’ online visibility and encourage journalists and bloggers to
write about your brand and link to your website.
Engaging your audience with contests is a great way to
promote your brand online. Post information about the competition on your
website and social media channels, as well as within email newsletters, so that
your audience can participate and share the promotions with their friends.
By participating in a daily deal through a website such as
Living Social, Groupon or WhereYouShop, merchants will not only increase their
conversions but also their online visibility through a link on the daily deal
vendor’s website, as well as within the deal’s social media and email
Widgets and Apps
Valuable widgets and apps will build links through
promotions, reviews and social sharing among audience members. Additionally,
when another site downloads and uses your widget or app on their website, they
will link it back to your website.
Create an informative e-book for your audience to download can result in linkbacks through reviews, promotions and social sharing.
Set up a marketing campaign that will put your site in front
of Web surfers all over the Internet. Try display advertising on social sites such as
Facebook or join an affiliate program to increase your brand’s reach.
If your business doesn’t already have a corporate Wikipedia
page, create one and link back to your website from the page.
This is the most useful form of networking for both parties,
and it can go two ways. You can either enlist other prominent industry experts
to create content that you will post on your site – which gets links from users
as well as the contributor linking to it on their own website and social media
profiles. Or you can contribute something to another blog or website and then
link back to your own site from there.
One of the easier ways to pursue links
is to submit your site to an online website directory. It can be especially
useful to include your site on an industry-specific directory (if one exists). Unfortunately, while this may be a great way to begin the link-building
process, garnering links from website directories does not do you a lot of
favors when it comes to SEO.
Talk to People
In the digital age, it can be easy to forget that sometimes
the best way to network is to just go out and form relationships with others.
This can be achieved by reaching out on social media to authoritative bloggers in your
industry, or linking to their content on your blog or
website in an effort to get on their radar.
A great way to show off your expertise is to give
interviews to relevant Web publishers and get a
link back to your website in return. You can also conduct
interviews with others in your niche, and the more you do, the more in demand you will be.
Everyone has an opinion, and for some reason they love to
share them on the Internet. This is why message boards and forums have become
such a popular medium for discussing pretty much anything. Including a forum on
your site can help bring in relevant users who love to talk about whatever it
is you do. It can also improve your link building efforts because when an
interesting discussion pops up, users may share it with their
friends/readers/visitors in an effort to engage more relevant voices.
Like white papers, webinars are a very effective way to show off your
authority. And webinars also present an outstanding opportunity to network. You can go out and find other industry experts and put together a joint
presentation, and then each party can link to it for their own unique user
The Web is full of social media networks, and most come with
a large, very interactive audience. Website owners can leverage these platforms
by choosing a few of the most beneficial sites for their brand to join, such as
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, FourSquare or Tumblr.
Once your brand has its own page on these sites, administrators should grow the
audience and brand’s visibility through posting great content and promotions,
as well as interacting with their fans and followers.
Gamification functionality enables website owners to better
engage their audience as well as increase their online visibility through
rewards and badges. Gamified sites can be set up to reward social sharing among
audience members, as well as reward influential consumers with badges that link
back to the gamified website.
Not only have studies proven that social login increases
audience engagement levels (and that customers prefer it), but it also makes it easier for site visitors to
share content. A recent Janrain study even revealed that 78 percent of people
using social login posted to their social networks about a product or service
that they liked and thought others should know about.
This link-building tactic is pretty obvious, especially
since we have already covered the power of social media when it comes to
link building. By providing your audience with social sharing buttons that are
easy to locate on your website or within email newsletters, website owners will
most certainly see an increase in shared content and traffic to their sites.
Email is still king when it comes to marketing, which is why
it is also a valuable link-building tool. Include links to content, promotions
and sales within the email, and it is also important to make it easy for your
audience to share and link back to the content.