Link building is the process of incorporating hyperlinks to other web pages into your website content, as well as getting other web pages to link back to your website. This helps both readers and web crawlers discover new web pages. It’s also a key to determining how well your webpage will rank on search engines.
If you’re looking to develop a truly optimized SEO strategy, you need to invest in quality link building strategies. In this article, we’ll discuss why link building is so important and guide you through the right way to build links.
But first, you need to know what a backlink is.
What Is a Backlink?
Also referred to as inbound and external links, backlinks are hyperlinks that connect one webpage to another. For example, if you link to another site in your web copy, then you’ve given that website a backlink. Likewise, if other websites link to one of your web pages, then they’ve given you a backlink.
Why are backlinks so effective at getting web pages to the top of search engine results pages (SERP)? When people link to your web pages, they are essentially giving you a vote of confidence. They see your page as reliable and full of quality information, which makes them link to it as a source or a reference.
Web crawlers recognize the intent behind backlinks, so the more times they see your page getting linked, they index your webpage as valuable and launch it to the top of search results pages.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
All of that is fine and good, but why are backlinks so important? Can’t you just rely on a robust list of keywords and prioritize quality content to get your rankings up?
You should be doing those anyway—keywords and quality content are SEO best practices. But link building can offer improved returns on all of your SEO investments.
As we’ve already mentioned, every backlink your website gets is like a vote of confidence, which search engines will use as a ranking factor. The more backlinks you have, the higher your rank will be on SERPs.
If a lot of other websites start to include links to your website, search engines and readers will begin to see you as an authority in your industry. They will see you as a trustworthy source of information, which can only improve your brand authority.
Increased Referral Traffic
Backlinks are meant to point readers towards your webpage. So, if they click on a link to your website, you’ll get referral traffic. And since the page that person was just on trusted your website enough to link to it, that person may be more inclined to trust you as well and turn into a quality lead.
How to Do Link Building the Right Way
Backlinks and link building are an essential part of any quality SEO strategy. But, like many aspects of digital marketing, it is easier said than done. Many SEO experts find link building to be one of the most difficult aspects of their job because of how difficult it is to get right.
But have no fear—we’re giving you our favorite tips on how to build links the right way.
Create Linkable Assets
The easiest way to get other websites to link to you is by creating content worth linking to, otherwise known as linkable assets. That may sound like an oversimplification, but that’s the reality of backlinks—people will only link to you if they want to.
When creating linkable assets, you should first consider who your audience is. What are their needs? Are there questions they continue to ask? Use these questions to find a topic to help you create a piece of content that will be genuinely useful for your audience.
But linkable assets aren’t always a great article. Here are some other linkable assets you may consider developing:
- Case Studies
Write Guest Posts
If you’re just getting started with your link building strategy, then writing guest posts on other blogs is a great and easy way to earn backlinks.
Start by finding brands within your industry that include a lot of guest posts on their blog. Please note that you should only look for brands within your industry—writing for posts outside your industry will seem out of place, and you likely won’t generate much organic traffic out of it.
Once you’ve found several websites that take guest blog posts, it’s time to start reaching out. Chances are they will be excited to get new content and will be more than happy to accept what you write. Think of this as the “do-it-yourself” option for building backlinks, since you are manually putting your backlinks on another website.
Find Broken Links on Other Websites
Websites become outdated or broken if they aren’t properly maintained. That leads to many links on web pages not working, which gives you a ripe opportunity to place some backlinks.
So how can you use this tool to your advantage? Start by finding resource pages within your industry. Then use Google’s Check My Links Chrome Extension; it will quickly reveal any broken links. Find which resources are outdated, and create content that could be a suitable replacement. Finally, reach out to the owner of the resource page, inform them that their link is broken, and offer your page as a replacement.
Submit Customer Testimonial
If you are a customer of another company, show them some love by submitting a customer testimonial. To ensure you are a real client of theirs, companies will often ask for you to include a link to your website.
It’s better to submit testimonials for companies that you are satisfied with since they will be more likely to post your review if it’s positive.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a resource for journalists and other reporters use to get sources for their news articles. Getting backlinks on news sites is a huge achievement since those are high authority pages.
All you need to do is sign up for HARO and you’ll get up to three emails a day from reporters looking for sources. Send back your credentials, your website, and a quote for them to use in their story, and you’ve got yourself a new backlink.
Challenges with Link Building
Before you get too excited about using all of these new link building tools, remember how we said link building is one of the hardest things an SEO manager has to deal with? Here are a few challenges you need to be aware of so you don’t feel discouraged when they happen to you.
Not all backlinks will surge your organic traffic to new heights. Search engines have a way of ranking backlinks, and it turns out that some aren’t as valuable as others.
To ensure your backlinks are valuable to you and your leads, you have to make sure it hits the following criteria:
- The anchor text includes your target keyword
- The site linking to you is topically related to your industry or content
- The link is a “dofollow link”, meaning search algorithms will connect to your page
Low Response Rates
Even if you write the perfect message to encourage a new website to use your backlink, you may get no response. That’s perfectly normal, just keep trying with different websites until you get one that sticks. But don’t do it too much that you get burnt out—only reach out to companies you genuinely care about and follow up if they don’t initially respond.
Some industries are just harder to get backlinks in. For example, companies that offer generally unappealing products, like door hinges or lug nuts, will find it difficult to see any link building opportunities. In this case, your company should focus on creating content that is more broadly engaging to your target audience. With the door hinge example, you could talk about the different types and brands of door hinges and the benefits of each.
Get Backlinks Easily with Big Leap
Link building is a tough job to get right. It takes a lot of networking to find the right connections that offer great link building opportunities, but the more connections you gain, the easier it will be to reach the right customers.
Now, you could spend a lot of time building these connections on your own, or you could work with Big Leap who can do all the hard work for you. We’re already pros at making connections across a vast array of different industries, so you’ll just need to worry about what to do with all the new organic traffic coming your way.
Contact our Big Leap experts today to learn how we can improve your SEO strategy and lead to better lead generation.