In a recent post, I highlighted the significance of content to Search Engine Optimization. Not only was that cleared up, but Four factors affecting SEO was revealed. If you’ve not read that post, I’d suggest that you run along and do so now before even proceeding. There’s actually a lot to SEO than what we can see. There are many who label SEO as only content driven but in this post you’ll actually learn about something new, something that has a huge effect on SEO. What’s the bombshell that awaits you? This post will be strictly about link-building and its role in Search Engine Optimization.
What is Link Building?
This term does not need an introduction for those who’ve been involved in SEO, web development and some aspects of Internet marketing. However, for those who are just getting their appetites whet with SEO, I’ll just run through this quickly. The term is quite straight-forward. Basic knowledge of English Language will assist in dissecting the term. A link has to do with forming an attachment, a relationship or a connection. Whether this connection is strong or not, that’s definitely not important (to SEO it is). What’s important is that a ‘connection’ or link is formed. To build captures the essence of constructing or assembling something, whereby putting it with something else to make a complete entity.
In this regard, Link-building is really the process of getting external pages (other websites) to connect (link) to a particular page on your website. Contrary to what many people perceive, link-building is time-consuming and encapsulates more than dropping links on random sites. In this regard, the link-builder will take care to link to sites that are authoritative, instead of linking to newly developed sites that have little or no traffic streaming in.
There are several factors affecting link-building. These factors or elements are crucial and require that enough thought and consideration be given to each. I’ve actually taken the liberty to compose some link-building strategies that I find very useful.
These are used by SEO specialists and have reaped many results. These link-building strategies include:
1. Blog Commenting
This is unfailingly the most common form of link-building for a website. Blog commenting, while done by everyone, has to be done the right way in order to build links. Even though it’s a form of promotion (since you’re promoting your website), the link has be inconspicuous or placed in such a way that people will actually want to or think about clicking it. Blog commenting is one of my favorites. Why? It simply allows me to intrude on a so called private conversation (not really private) and insert my thoughts on a particular subject. I’d say blog commenting is really a form of deception since it gives the readers or even those commenting on a post the impression that you really care about what they think. The reality is, many link-builders are more concerned about leaving links, rather than developing a relationship. This is where many link-builders fail. Instead of only leaving your link, try to get other participants to trust you. After that trust has been developed, feel free to include a source (link to your website) that you feel will be of benefit to the readers.
Word of advice, never visit a site just to leave a link. If you do manage to leave a link (provided that the Administrator or Webmaster approves), visit and stay involved in the conversation at least for a week or so. After all, according to Mike Butcher, Editor at Tech Crunch, “blogging is a conversation, not a code”, so don’t be afraid to get involved.
Of lately, many have concluded that blog commenting is no longer effective. Why? People have realized that it’s a way to ‘build links’ and get some ‘Page Rank juice’, if you know what I mean. The world of SEO is highly competitive and optimizers will do all they can to put their sites ahead of yours. This means that if a webmaster does not approve of your blog comment with links, he’s trying to prevent you from getting Page Rank juice. To combat this issue, there came plug-ins such as Disqus. Whether it’s a nofollow or dofollow link, relax, you can still gain some traffic from it which is actually more important than PR juice. Why? Without traffic streaming to your site, your pages will not be ranked favorably. If you’re thinking about blog commenting or at least you’ve considered giving this method a test run, you can find blogs by using Google Blog Search.Here’s how you can get traffic from commenting.
Don’t be afraid to look stupid
Instead of leaving a link haphazardly, this of course is usually denied by the webmaster, fish around and ask questions. When you’ve asked a question instead of simply congratulating or complimenting a webmaster on an article, you’re more inclined to get approved. Even if that question might be considered stupid in the eyes of many, do not be afraid to ask. If you’re the only one asking questions, readers will be curious as to who you are and might just check you out.
Share your thoughts
If you’ve found a great blog that you’d want to link to, why not share your thoughts? Oftentimes readers will pose a question. Instead of disregarding that question, why not answer it? This could be a great way for you to link a related post from your site to theirs.
Flatter the writer
Everyone likes compliments. Oftentimes a compliment is what stands between your link being featured on an external web page. Complimenting the writer on his post is very effective, especially if it’s genuine.
2. Guest Posting and Interlinking
Guest posting is seen as one of the most respectable ways to earn a link back to your site. In this case, you actually write an article that is featured on the site you want to link to. Your link or links – whether to your social media account or website – is inserted in the auto bio or the body of the article. Additionally, many guest bloggers fail to include a crucial aspect to guest blogging. Instead of worrying about linking to their sites, why not interlink? Here’s how it’s done.
Step #1: Prospecting. This step entails more than searching for sites with a good PR (Page Rank) or DA (Domain Authority). What I find helpful is actually searching for sites that are relevant to my niche. This means that if my site is all about technology, it’d be foolish on my part to link to a site about animals. The site also has to get good traffic and needs to be credible.
Step #2: Studying.I’m not encouraging you to relive those painful days at school, but you’re simply advised to study the site that you want to link to. Try to get personal so that when you do send that email or contact the webmaster of that site, you don’t address the person as ‘Dear Webmaster’ or ‘Dear Admin’. When you do make contact, you should even know the CEO, writers or the entire team of a site. That’s the type of studying I’m talking about.
Step #3: Interlinking. So you’ve actually decided on a site and where on your site you’ll be linking your prospect’s site to. That’s great! The next step is to interlink. Do not only include your link, but find related pages on the prospect’s site and link internally. This will develop trust and it’ll actually show that you have an interest in assisting others (even though you’re just trying to have your back scratched.)
3. Social Media Referral
The majority of social media links have nofollow attributes. However, they’re still useful for securing traffic and conversion, so it’s important that you follow-up on this strategy and not take it for granted. Your social media platforms can be used as an avenue for providing timely and relevant snippets that readers can benefit from. When these snippets capture the eyes, your readers will be inclined to click-through to your site. Always remember to be selfless. Don’t stuff your social accounts with only links to your site. If you find other posts useful, put them up there! Hashtags are very common and useful since they compile a list of posts you’ve made and allow people to find your work easily.
4. Compelling Content
Another great way to build links is to have other people linking to your site. Instead of only creating content just to say ‘well I have content on my site’ sake, create compelling and high quality content that people would want to link to on their site.
While there are other techniques used in link-building, the above mentioned are just a few and commonly used techniques. If you follow these techniques to optimize your website, you’ll be adding quality and relevant links to your website.