If you spend any amount of time writing high quality, informative content for your audience, you also need to spend some time making sure those people can find, read, and share it.
This is where your link building strategy comes in.
What is link building?
When search engines “crawl” the Internet looking for new and valuable pages, they rely on links that point to and from related websites to build a web of related, quality content for users. Websites that link to your content become part of your backlink profile, which is a collection of links that tell search engines about the quality, value, and relevance of your website.
In the early days of SEO, strategists would pay to list their website in online directories. This was a fast and easy way to earn backlinks, but it was also away to fool search engines into rewarding low-quality websites with first-page rankings. This wasn’t fair to smaller businesses that spent a lot of time building great thought-leadership content, but couldn’t afford to buy a huge backlink profile.
It didn’t take long to put a stop to that practice. Today, search engines penalize anyone who pays for links. They also reward websites that rely on natural, quality linkbuilding tactics to improve authority and relevance.
Here are 4 easy tactics for building a strong backlink profile:
1. Set clear and measurable goals
The best link building strategy is one that’s done with reasonable goals in mind. For example, you might want to:
Create relationships and build partnerships within your community
Become a thought leader in your industry
When setting goals for your link building strategy, keep in mind that it can take anywhere from 3 months to a year or more to see measurable results. Start small!
For example, perhaps you want to double organic traffic to your website in the next year. In a super competitive industry, that might be really tough. To get there, start with small benchmarks, like earning a few new backlinks every month. This will slowly, consistently increase your website’s traffic and authority over the next 12 months to help you reach your long-term goals.
2. Build great content
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the best way to earn quality backlinks is to publish quality content.
Think about it: if someone emailed you and asked for a link to their website, but their content wasn’t great, would you want to recommend it to other people? Of course not. But, if their content was really stellar, you’d probably be happy to share it even without their solicitation.
A perfect example of great link building content comes from REALTOR® Katie Clancy. Using her website, thecapehouse.com, Katie wrote high quality reviews of five restaurants in her neighborhood. By posting her article on social media and mentioning the restaurants by name, Katie naturally received backlinks from all five establishments.
If you don’t have time to create a bunch of new content like Katie, you can start by updating and diversifying the content you already have. For instance:
Turn a series of related blog posts into an ebook
Hire a videographer to help you craft some great vlogs or thought-leadership videos
Work with a designer to create an infographic about real estate trends in your area
For most people, this is the hardest part. But, if you do it right, community outreach can help you build long-lasting partnerships—whether that’s online or right in your own backyard.
Think about people in your industry who post and share content that you really like. Then, see who they link to and talk about. These are all websites you may want backlinks from. Go ahead and reach out to them to ask about partnering on some content.
Ask if you can write a guest post on their blog, or if they can add links to your website in content they’ve already published. Never, ever pay or accept payment for guest posting.
4. Look closely at your current backlink profile
Using your favorite tool for analyzing traffic to your site (e.g. Google Analytics), take a look at the websites that are already linking to you. Some of those links might be outdated and irrelevant—or worse, broken! Reach out to those businesses with new and updated content.
You may also find that your images or content are being used without attribution. Reach out to those websites and ask them to link to your site.
Finally, not all backlinks are created equal. If there are websites linking to you that seem untrustworthy or spammy, ask them to remove the link. As with all things related to SEO, your backlink profile is about quality, not quantity. If a spammy website links to your site, it makes your website seem untrustworthy.
Check back soon to learn more about SEO tactics to avoid, along with tools you can use to build a successful SEO campaign.
Katrina is a Content Writer and Strategist. She's worked with both Fortune 100 companies and small startups to create awesome content on their websites. She holds a BA in English from Northeastern University and an MBA in International Business from SNHU.