Boosting your SEO effectively and ethically
You may have heard that link building is dead, but it's not. Many associate link building with black hat marketing tactics, but you can create a natural link profile that is appropriate, adds value to content, and will not be penalized by Google and other search engines.
Link building is essential to your SEO. Because Google launched the Google Penguin algorithm, link building has become more of a skill, taking more time and expertise. Because link building involves getting links from relevant, quality and high-authority websites, it is essential to the popularity of any online platform. It allows you to increase the visibility of your blog posts, generate traffic from other websites that have linked to you, and set yourself up as a reputable resource within your industry, as well as get you indexed on search results more quickly.
You can perform link building using a vast variety of strategies. This article highlights some of the most popular and current link-building methods and discusses some of the pros and cons for each of them. We'll then delve deeper into where link building is going in the future.
Current link-building methods
Here is a short list of the most popular link-building methods as well as some of their pros and cons.
Content is one of the most common, effective and simple white hat marketing methods to generate links. Aside from helping you with your link-building endeavors, it is a surefire way to increase your website's SEO. Rackspace is a perfect example of a company using this technique by publishing how-to articles.
While writing content like Rackspace does is extremely beneficial to your overall SEO strategy, it does take time and resources to see results. If you're a larger company, you may need to hire content writers, researchers, link prospectors and even an outreach manager. That said, aside from the money you pay your team, it is a virtually free link-building method that is not frowned upon by search engines.
Group interviews, also known as expert roundups, are when you gather information, opinions, and viewpoints from various experts in your industry and create a blog post from them. They're great because you don't have to create massive amounts of content, and featured experts are likely to share and link to your post.
While this method is free, it does require a lot of emails back and forth between you and your chosen experts. You first need to reach out to the experts you'd like to see contribute to your post. You also need to make sure the opportunity you are offering them is mutually beneficial. That said, group interviews are still cost-effective and a slightly quicker way to create a valuable link-building strategy.
As the name suggests, guest blogging is when you write a post as a guest for a blog that is not your own. With guest blogging, you can get published on leading industry blogs where you can link back to your own website.
Aside from linking to your own blog in your content, your post should come with a biography that directs readers to your platform, thus increasing your traffic. You can find an example of this on Robbie Richards' website where the founder of Webris, Ryan Stewart, was published with a bio.
Guest blogging is an awesome way to generate traffic to your website, but it can be time-consuming. You need to do a lot of research into guest blogging opportunities, contact individual webmasters and be patient, as the process can take a long time.
It's no secret that social media marketing can assist with your business's SEO efforts. Through social media, you can foster relationships, distribute content and gain credibility. If your content is seen by the right people, it can lead to new backlinks.
There is now measurable correlation proving that social media shares can help with backlink acquisition. Google+, YouTube, Twitter and paid social media campaigns are just some of the ways you can perform link building using social media. For more in-depth information on the topic, head over to the Marketing Land website.
Your PR department's main objective is to expand your company's reach and reputation. Most of the time, it does this through press releases that are published in the media with the goal of generating referral traffic to your website – i.e., link building. This is one of the most natural ways to undertake link building, and you can see an example of it by checking out a press release for GB Marketing Enterprise.
The future of link building
Despite the new Penguin 4.0 update from Google, the link-building space has not changed a huge amount. One thing that will differ is that companies can no longer just sell links and produce low-quality content without getting caught. That said, here is what the future of link building has in store.
The quality of your content is now more important than ever. Since Google released its Penguin 4.0 update, spam is a must to detect. Now, you need to create natural and valuable content that will get links organically or that other writers think is worth mentioning on their websites.
You must also ensure that your content is relevant. For example, if you're a marketing firm in California but your content is linking back to a tire company in the U.K., that's a bad link.
While your content should be natural and relevant, you also need to ensure that your links come from high-quality websites. Although you may not be penalized for failing to do this, doing so will certainly increase your SEO and the traffic to your site. Established and reputable websites like SEMrush, WordStream and Moz will carry more weight than your friend's personal blog, unless they're a high-profile sales or marketing guru.
No link schemes
Link schemes that require you to exchange or pay for links will most likely lead to trouble, and you should avoid them at all costs. This comes back to creating your own content and acquiring guest blogging opportunities that offer you the chance to create some natural backlinking.
Nofollow links don't count for SEO purposes but are still extremely valuable to your online platform, as they provide high-quality referral traffic to your website. Most companies have taken up nofollow links as a standard to avoid Google penalties, as these affect the people giving and receiving the follow links. You can find out more about nofollow and follow links from WordStream.
Google has also announced that pay-per-click advertising links that do not pass PageRank to the buyer of the ad don't violate its guidelines. A way to make sure of this is through nofollow links and by redirecting the links to another page that is blocked from search engines.
Create a timeless link-building strategy
The key to link building is not giving it up altogether, but rather creating backlinks naturally through informative, valuable and quality content. Relevant content will allow you to become an authority figure within your industry, thus allowing you to create a better link profile.
Above all, you must be honest, find ways to improve your current link-building strategy and stay informed on Google's ever-changing algorithm. Avoid black hat link building at all costs, and continue reading content from the likes of SEO Hacker, SEMrush and Buzzsumo to learn about new methods that may be of use to you in the future.