Good Links Add BIG Value
One topic in digital marketing that doesn’t get enough ink is link building. Inbound links to websites are something Google rates very highly and if you want high rankings and the free, qualified customer prospects Google could send you, you need to get links to your website.
The business of getting links is something many business people and even digital marketers fail to respect or regard with esteem.
Commonly treated as a distasteful, low value SEO task, link building actually represents good content marketing, good outreach, and a good value proposition when done professionally. It’s a big part of your outreach effort so appreciate it.
Whereas content marketing is more passive, link building adds to the persuasive effective of your content on content marketing strategy to ensure links are acquired – usually by direct contact and engagement with website owners and influencers who can help your cause.
And Links often deliver additional customer prospects when clicked on. A talented link builder offers the highest value service of any digital marketing provider.
Can you do this yourself? I don’t think so. It’s tedious, frustrating and actually takes a lot of skill and experience. Seriously, it could cause you some emotional problems. At least you’ll know what your link builder is doing and be better able to help them.
Link Building Budgets
What is the typical link building budget? Results would depend on how competitive the keyword sector is. Here’s what the Moz.com says: 81% of link builders work alone, while one company had 20 people working on a project. Here’s the Moz link building survey results:
Most Effective Link Building Tactics:
We Need to Respect What Creates High Rankings
It’d be great if all we had to do is write great copy, produce cool videos and graphics and the traffic would just march in. It doesn’t though. You’ll need someone to reach out to the Internet crowd and persuade them to link to your website — your SEO Superhero!
Google tested a linkless ranking index and it failed miserably. So did their attempt to wipe out exact match keywords. The fact is: Google is all about links and keywords.
There’s those who believe that creating good content, viral content, and then tweeting about it will create loads of backlinks to their site. Well, that doesn’t work either. Seems you need great content, a good social media distribution system and an engagement with website owners. It’s tougher than ever to persuade people to link to your site.
And let’s think about this. Why would they link to your site anyway? That’s the link builders quest, to find out why they would be willing to do it and then provide the incentive to do it.
When you hire a link builder, they must do a backlink analysis of competitors and other related sites to discover why they’re ranking highly. They’ll look for common sites that link to them all and for other opportunities to get a link. This excerpt is from Search Engine Watch:
The Elements of a thorough Backlinks Analysis:
- Total number of links
- Number of unique domains
- Linking domains vs total links
- Anchor text usage and variance – branded, keyword rich, etc.
- Fresh/incoming links
- Page performance
- Link quality (pagerank, trustrank, authority, topical or knowledge graph relevance)*
*Learned only by experience, running multiple backlink analyses, and manually checking links.
There are many tools that can help you do a good backlinks analysis including Moz opensite explorer, Raventools, ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic and more. That will give a big list of current sites, however you still need to find new sites that will link to yours. This is where a new link building strategy comes into play.
Once you’ve assessed the situation, you have to come up with a content marketing and outreach campaign to get in front of those who would find your material interesting and valuable enough to link to. High quality, unique, interesting, engaging, and informative content has the power to attract links. Some content styles do better than others such as blogs with videos, infographics, stats, lists and photos.
There’s huge sources, literally millions of sites you might connect with. To distribute your content and messages, you’ll need to set up social accounts and plan special incentives to really grab all of them from bloggers to journalists to webmasters.
Distribution: Pinterest, Twitter, Website, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, bloggers
- Social Media: humor, special interest, quotes, memes, and hot trending topics, following others, commenting on them, and retweeting or curating portions of their content
- Industry websites, people and influencers
- Blogger outreach and journalists (suggested story ideas)
- Blog, Twitter retweet, and pulse post, and Linkedin Group commenting
- Direct email campaigns
- Do Competitor’s backlink analysis – direct message those backlink site owners to acquire links from them.
- Contact other high trust websites: sites in related fields
- Posting content to Reddit, Stumbleupon, and other rss feed type sites
To do link building well, you have to come up with multiple value propositions for the different types of target audiences. They all respond to different messages and exchange of value. That’s right, exchange of value. If you have nothing to offer, they will be upset that you’ve contacted them. Then you get labeled as a spammer.
Link building is an art/science and is perhaps the most difficult task. Google knows that, which is why links are so important to their algorithm. When you hire a link builder, ensure they don’t do mass broadcasts or try to acquire links on spammy sites. That could hurt your rankings or incur penalties. And it could make future link building projects unsuccessful. Google remembers.
This was a quick look at how link building is done, it’s importance and what’s involved in a successful link building campaign. Please respect this task as there’s even more to it such as planning, strategy and execution tasks that are difficult. Your rankings will be a direct reflection of your respect, so please invest wisely in digital marketing that integrates link building as a key element of successful promotion.
Gord Collins is a Canadian based SEO specialist and manager of Bay Street SEO company. His SEO clients have haled from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Houston, San Diego, Montreal, Chicago, New York and London UK. Since SEO and link building provide the best ROI of any digital marketing channel, they deserve the best effort possible. Get the best of free website traffic.
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