Learn the Basics of Link Building for search engine optimization (seo).

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Learn the Basics of Link Building for search engine optimization (seo).

Getting high quality backlinks is important if you want to increase your position in Google’s search ratings, as it’s still a major ranking factor that Google considers. The aim is to get as many other trustworthy websites as possible to link and mention your website. Having a high number of quality backlinks is strongly associated with appearing on the FIRST page of Google search results. If you’re struggling to obtain backlinks, or don’t know where to start, keep watching, as we’re about to share some excellent strategies that you can use to get some more.  All you need is some persistence, patience, and the ability to put in just a little effort – and you’ll soon start seeing results.

1. Focus on getting Links with HIGH Authority: You don’t want just any old links from sites with a low authority ranking, as these won’t help you much when it comes to Google search. Instead, you want backlinks from websites with a high authority rating in Google, as these are the ones that will give a boost to your search ranking.

There are two primary ways Google measures a site’s authority:

  1. Domain Authority: Domain Authority refers to the overall authority a website has. 
  2. Page Authority: Page Authority means that page has received many backlinks from high authority sites.

Getting backlinks from sites with a low page authority and low Domain authority ranking won’t give as much Page Rank to your site in Google. But if you can gather many backlinks from high Domain and high Page Rank authority sites, you’ll receive a BIG boost in PageRank, which will in turn help boost your overall Google ranking score.

2. Try and get links from sites that are relevant to yours: Obtaining backlinks from websites that are relevant to your own will help you far more than just getting links from sites in other, unrelated sectors. Google assigns more value to links you get from sites in your sector and acquiring these types of link also helps Google view your website as trustworthy. Think about it, if you run a fitness website but have a lot of backlinks from pet bloggers, Google will see this as suspicious. It’s fine to get some backlinks from unrelated websites though, particularly established high trust websites. Just be careful not to focus on this. Most of your links should come from related, high authority sites.

You don’t have to chase sites that cover your specific topic, but they should have some relevance to what you do, or if you run a business, what you are offering. For example, if you have a yoga business, it would be fine to get links from a health and wellness store, a dance studio, or a wellness blogger. A shooting range probably wouldn’t be appropriate and wouldn’t do much to help your Page Rank rating.

So, how do you go about getting these related links in the first place? Before we get into link building strategies there is one thing you must always keep in mind – NEVER pay for links – as this is against Google’s guidelines. Google’s Link Schemes List also outlines all the other things you should never do when trying to get backlinks.

3. Link building strategies that WORK ( Find popular content – then make it better ): If you’re just starting out trying to acquire backlinks, and you’re prepared to put in some work, there’s a solid strategy you can employ that will help you in your goal – every time.  The great thing is, it’s an organic way to acquire both traffic and links, and all you need do is create ONE amazing piece of content. By discovering a popular piece of content that’s already performing well for your target keyword – then making it better– you can get a great head-start.  It’s not about copying anything, as you need to bring something new to the table – the goal here is to analyse how you can do things better, so you can offer people a totally original and unique improved version. Following the steps in this strategy to improve on popular content will help you boost the number of good backlinks you get, and it will also help you increase your website or blog traffic!

Steps to creating AMAZING content that WILL get you backlinks

  1. Find high performing content - First, grab your target keyword or phrase and start typing it into Google. Look in the drop down to see what Google suggests other searchers have been searching for and click on one of the suggestion search phrases.  If you have a website design business, you might type “website design” into Google for example, and then Google might show you that other people have been searching for the term “DIY website design”. See what results are displayed on the first page of search for that term – click through to the first five or ten – and try to assess why these pieces of content are performing so well.
  2. Make it better - Try and identify any flaws in the content you are looking at, such as a lack of detail, or multimedia, so you can improve on these and offer people something that’s an upgrade. Do any of the top performing posts lack crucial information?  If so, make sure you include this in your improved version. Are most of the top results for your chosen phrase PDF files?   As most people prefer to read content in a blog post format, by creating one, you’ll be more likely to win traffic.
  3. Ask for expert input – Before you sit down to create your piece, draw up a list of relevant people who might be willing to give their input. Preferably they should be experts in their niche, so they can share their top tips, tricks, or thoughts. It’s great publicity for them as you’ll be mentioning their business in your post. Once you’ve hit publish, you can contact them again to let them know the post is live, so they can share your content with their audience.  Some of them might even link to your post, providing you with more high-quality backlinks.
  4. Promote your content – Once you’ve created an awesome piece of content, that’s an improvement on the blogs already out there, you need to promote like crazy. If you skip this step, you won’t be giving your hard work the best chance possible, as there is just so much competition out there. The first thing you should do is get in contact with influencers in your niche, to ask them if they might be interested in featuring your post. Ideally, you should do this BEFORE you publish, so they have a chance to plan their content schedule.  If they do decide to feature your piece, you’ll get lots of social shares plus a handy backlink from an ultra-relevant and popular site. Next, draw up a list of popular blogs in your sector that feature related high-quality content like yours, and send them a brief email them to ask if they might like to post a link to your piece.  This is another great way of getting backlinks Google will LOVE, as your link will be featured on a site that’s extremely relevant.  Did you namecheck any brands or other businesses in your post? If so, reach out and tell them, as they’ll be happy, and may well share your piece with their audience. For example, if your post was about cookery and you mentioned you use a certain type of smoothie maker, email that brand, and let them know! The final step is to remember to get back in touch with any experts you included in your piece. They will almost certainly share your work with their followers on social media, and some may link to your content on their blog or website too.

4. Guest Posting: If you’re looking to increase your backlinks, Guest posting can be a good way to get more, though you should make sure to approach it in the right way if you don’t want to end up wasting your time. When approached correctly, Guest Posting helps you build your links FAST when you’re just starting out and can attract more traffic to your website and business. 

3 key things to bear in mind, if you want to Guest Post to get more backlinks:

  1. Make sure you’re posting on relevant sites. Having multiple pieces published on tons of unrelated sites WON’T help you in Google Search. Draw up a list of websites that accept guest blogs first, then write down a few ideas for posts.  After you’ve done that, get in touch with the main contact for the website, offering one or two of your best ideas for a post.
  2. DON’T stuff your posts with keyword-rich anchor text. To get max traffic, while avoiding Google frowning on your content, when you’re Guest Posting, do the OPPOSITE of what you’d typically do on your own website.  That means posting links with anchor text that contains your website or business name, instead of your keywords. If you’re linking to a guide to SEO for example, your anchor text could say “The SEO Supremo” if that’s your business name rather than “SEO Strategy Guide”, which is what the post is about.
  3. Don’t overdo it. Backlinks from guest posts shouldn’t make up more than 5-10% of your overall backlinks, or your site could get penalised by Google.  Guest posting is a great way to start building backlinks, but it should NEVER form the backbone of your link acquiring strategy.

5. Create Content people can’t help linking too with Linkable Assets: A linkable asset is a piece of content that people find so valuable that they link to it – A LOT.  It’s not as simple as creating a high-quality piece of content, a linkable asset needs to be so indispensable, website owners and bloggers can’t help linking to it. Creating linkable assets will REALLY help you attract more backlinks. But what type of content should you be focusing on creating, if you want to turn your posts into linkable assets?

A Linkable Asset is anything that is either …

  • A unique piece of content on a unique topic that’s also informational
  • A piece of research no one else has already put out there
  • A well-done infographic or video explainer on a popular topic that helps people understand a subject better
  • A piece of content on a popular topic that’s so helpful it’s BETTER than what’s already out there

Some Linkable Assets you could create that would fit this criteria:

  • Unique industry study or piece of research
  • Fact checking article on a popular or trending topic
  • Handy visual explainer guide or resource
  • Free tool that helps people do something easier
  • Curated list of high-quality practical tips, or a list of helpful resources

Your Linkable asset doesn’t have to be super in-depth; the important thing is that it is helpful. The two main things you should focus on when creating a Linkable Asset are.

  1. Making your content useful to people,
  2. Providing a piece of content that’s offers more than what’s already out there Bear both these aims in mind when you sit down to create your Linkable Asset.

6. Align your content with user Search Intent: Search Intent refers to the reason search engine users perform a search in the first place and typically, there are three primary reasons why someone might use search.

  1. To find a product – Transactional search with the view to purchase something.  If someone is searching for local gyms to work out in, they might type in “Gyms near Bradford.”  A person who was looking to buy some new trainers, might enter “running shoes” or “workout footwear”.
  2. To find information – Informational searches are usually carried out to learn something about a topic or person or find out something like a recipe.  A searcher might enter “peanut butter smoothie recipe” or look up “Bill Gates’s age” for example.
  3. To look up a brand – A combination of the above two types of search, since at some point people who perform branded searches usually consider a purchase.  A branded search is an indirect transactional search, though people aren’t specifically looking to buy from you in that moment.  It’s not purely informational, because the reason they want to find out more about your brand is usually because they are thinking about purchasing from you.  Branded searches are GREAT for your Google ranking, particularly if you have a local business.

In general, you should be attempting to make sure your content is consistent with your target visitor’s search intent.  This is where keyword research can really help, allowing to better understand what your customers or visitors search for and what terms they use to search for it.  By creating content that closely matches user search intent, you’ll attract the type of traffic you want and will perform much better in search. You’ll also be able to tailor your content better to get people to take the actions you want –whether that’s to subscribe, engage, or make a purchase.

7. User Signals: Google assesses User intent to monitor how browsers interact with search engine results, so it can match webpages to search requests, to provide users with more relevant results.  If Google sees that many searchers pass over your page in results, and prefer to click on other results instead, it will mark your content as not the most relevant for that type of search. The more this keeps happening, the worse your page or site will rank for that search term.

Another user signal that can get you downgraded by Google, is when users click through to your search result but then bounce right back to the other search results Google displayed. This is sometimes called “pogosticking” and is a factor that can cause you to lose ranking in Google for particular search terms.  Every time this happens, you score another mark against your page for that specific keyword or phrase, as Google sees it as less of a fit.