In business, we often hear
that it’s not what we know,
but who we know that can
help us find success.
As the business world and the Internet become
increasingly intertwined, it’s becoming apparent
just how relevant that platitude is to the
success of Web professionals too. Particularly
when it comes to search marketing, as it is necessary
to accumulate inbound links from other
sites to their own. Thankfully, a seemingly infinite
number of methods exist for building citations for
your website, and you can find a big list of them in Website Magazine's Mastering Search channel (http://wsm.co/MasterSearch).
However, the average small- to medium-sized business
typically doesn’t have a significant amount of time or
resources to dedicate to gathering links or citations, but
that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. What it does mean is
that they should take a basic approach to link building
that will greatly improve their SEO efforts without requiring
major investments in their most valuable resources
(time and money). Fortunately, there is a simple
approach to link building that breaks the practice into two
primary categories: content creation and networking.
Here’s how you can get started without losing sleep or
breaking the bank.
As with all search-related practices, content is the backbone
of link building efforts. Content drives interest in
your site, establishes you as an authority and, ultimately,
gets you links. Thus, you must establish a content plan
for your website. To do this, identify and learn about your
target audience. By doing so, you’ll know what kind of
content is valuable to them so you can offer unique insights
they will want to share with others.
Before anyone will want to look at your content, they
have to find it, which is why you should also identify
widely searched keywords related to your niche that signify
user intent, and then include them in your site’s content.
Using these terms helps interested and relevant
parties discover you, a crucial (and relatively easy) step in
the link building process.
Once you know what you want to write about and
who you want to write to, it’s time to start publishing content.
Arguably, the best way to do this is by starting a blog
and updating it regularly. You can blog as often as multiple
times daily or as infrequently as weekly, but keep a
consistent, regular schedule to make your audience feel
familiar and comfortable. Don’t forget to make your content
easily linkable or shareable (usually with social share
buttons), so that visitors who enjoy it don’t have to work
too hard to share it with others.
However, while it’s important you make an effort to
publish plenty of your own material, if you’re timestrapped,
you can also publish guest blog posts from other
experts to contribute to your site’s content. This is also a
way to get easy links, as the writers usually want to link to
their article on your own site.
The other major aspect of good link building practice is to
actively network in order to meet industry experts and useful
allies who can supply you with the links you desire.
Here are a few ways to network and promote your content.
While getting your articles on directories is no longer a
celebrated SEO tactic (thanks to more complex algorithms that discount duplicate content), it can still get
your material noticed. You can submit to article directories
(i.e. Squidoo or ArticlesBase), infographic directories
(i.e. Visually), presentation directories (i.e.
SlideShare) and others. It takes very little time or effort
to submit your content; in fact, one great method to increase
traffic and save yourself some time is to only submit
part of an article (or one installment in a series) and
include a link to the rest of it on your site.
When submitting to directories, submit to niche directories
in your industry and try to be listed in more than
one category. Also, make sure you select well-rated directories
that will add value to your site and ensure quality
The Post-SEO world?
In many ways, traditional SEO is dying, meaning all of the time and
energy Web workers have invested tweaking and optimizing
their sites to move up the
SERPs is mostly for naught.
Fortunately, you can still raise
awareness, increase traffic
and improve the bottom line of
your website; if you’re willing to
give up the old SEO dream,
that is. Read more here.
You should also take some time to find some sites that
operate in your niche that you would like to provide with
links. You can usually find these sites by doing a bit of research
into the other pages that your audience tends to
visit, so a good place to start looking is at your referral
traffic. See where your own visitors are coming from,
such as other websites or directories, and then visit those
pages to see where else they’re sending users. Some of
these could provide good link leads from more established
sites. Finding the best sites to target shouldn’t be
difficult, because as a responsible publisher, you’ve already
studied your audience and know what kind of content
Link (In and Out)
Linking out to other sites is bound to get you attention,
so address relevant and popular websites in you niche by
linking to their content on your site, particularly if you
feel like you have something valuable to add to what
they’re saying and want to engage in a dialogue. Just be
sure that you’re strategic about how you do it, especially
if the publisher gets a lot of links already. Grab their attention
with a great headline and tagline and let your
killer content do the rest.
You can also sculpt and define the most important
content on your site by using internal links. These are
links on your pages that direct users to other content on
your site. Not only do they provide some of the SEO benefits
of links, while allowing you to control the anchor
text, but they help users and other websites identify the
content on your site that you think is the most important.
Plus, it takes almost no extra effort to include them.
You can also include internal links by linking to relevant
pages from other content on your site. This provides
the SEO benefits of links, while allowing you to control
the anchor text. Plus, it takes almost no extra effort to include
these links when you’re publishing content.
It’s hard to do anything on the Web these days without
factoring in social media, which provides plenty of
ways to secure links and network, including bookmarking
your website on popular social media sites
like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Reddit. To ensure
that users will be interested in your content, make
sure you have a catchy headline that appeals to each
site’s user base, and don’t forget to include keywords in
But don’t discount mainstays like Facebook, Twitter
and Google+. On these social networks, you can publish
a link to your content and encourage users to share it,
which will put it in front of more eyes and help you build
a credible profile outside of your own website.
Time to Get Building
Collecting inbound links is essential for SEO. Fortunately,
it doesn’t take much to get started doing some
basic link building for your website. All you need is an
awareness of your target audience, a commitment to
publishing content regularly and a few minutes each day
to share your expertise with others in your niche in order
to establish valuable connections.
But, as with most things, having the right tools can
help improve efficiency and just generally make things
go more smoothly. So do yourself a favor and check out
Website Magazine’s Master List of SEO Tools at
About the Author: Michael Garrity is an associate editor at Website Magazine, focusing
primarily on search, design and development, and affiliate marketing.
Don't Miss WM's Master List of SEO Tools!
Link building isn’t the only part of SEO that can be time consuming. In fact, for the
most part, SEO makes up one of the biggest investments that a website owner
or webmaster can put into trying to build up a Web business. But, as with most
things, having the right tools can help improve efficiency and just generally make
things go more smoothly. So do yourself a favor and check out Website Magazine’s
Master List of SEO Tools at http://wsm.co/SEOList.