Link building - the term itself is enough to cause marketers and business owners to feel a little antsy and uncomfortable. With so much conversation and controversy surrounding link building - all the way from amateur bloggers up to Google's Matt Cutts - it's no surprise that it's a confusing topic.
Here's what it all comes down to: There's a right and a wrong way to go about link building. If you focus on the former and steer clear of the latter, you can enjoy some pretty healthy returns.
Understanding this, here are a few tips for safe and effective link building campaigns for any website:
1. Produce High-Quality Content
Sometimes, marketers put so much emphasis on finding link sources that they forget all about the most important part of link building: having something to link to! In other words, link building starts with content and you need to produce high-quality links before you can ever think about directing other links to that content.
If you don't already have a blog for your website, this is the place to start. You can realistically create a blog in an hour, so carve out some time and get to work. You'll need to name your blog, choose a design, create a reader persona, generate some ideas, and then write and publish your first post.
2. Self-Create When Possible
The very first thing you need to do is go after the low hanging fruit. These are self-created links that are easy to grab.
"Hundreds of thousands of websites offer any visitor the opportunity to create links through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles," this SEO guide by Moz explains. "These links offer the lowest value, but can, in the aggregate, still have an impact for some sites."
You aren't going to get rich off these links, but use them to create a little bit of a foundation. If nothing else, it can provide encouragement and show you that link building isn't as impossible as others make it out to be.
3. Reach Out to Other Bloggers
Internet marketers are in a sort of unofficial fraternity. We all understand each other and realize that our goals aren't really that much different. This is an advantage when it comes to link building. By building relationships and networking with other marketers and bloggers, you can ultimately find good guest blogging opportunities.
The key is to refine your outreach approach. You never want to introduce yourself to a blogger and ask for a linking opportunity in the same message. You need to explain what you bring to the table and nurture the relationship before asking for something in return. Once you've established a reputation, you can ask and they should be more than happy to oblige.
4. Try the Speed Climb Technique
Also referred to as "ego baiting," the speed climb technique is something bloggers like Adam Connell use to generate immediate traction for specific blog posts and pieces of content. It works like this:
- Find influencers and authority figures in your niche.
- Publish a piece of content and feature them in the article as an effective example or resource.
- Contact the individual, provide them with a link to the article, and give them permission to share.
While not every person will do you the favor of sharing or linking to the article, many will. And assuming that you did your research and targeted an authoritative figure, the SEO boost you get can be tremendous.
Make Safe Link Building a Priority
Safe linking building can help your Web pages climb the search rankings and generate more traffic, while black hat link building can land you in the proverbial "dog house" with search engines. With that being said, make sure you're implementing the correct procedures and investing in effective link building techniques that will allow you to enjoy sustained organic growth.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he's also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.