The internet is a dynamic entity. Since its inception, it has been evolving, expanding its horizons to endless possibilities, and the value we can derive from the opportunities the internet presents. For instance, we are no longer bound by geographical limitations. Businesses today can reach their customers across the globe. The entire world is now your marketing oyster! At the same time, thanks to the internet, customers now have the power at their fingertips to compare an assortment of products and services and make an informed decision based on their preference, budget, and other parameters.
Thus, it is easy to make the inference that if your brand or business has an online presence, then search engine rankings are crucial to distinguish you from your competitors. Your ranking tells your customers that you are credible and trustworthy, and – depending on how well you rank – better than your competitors.
A high ranking is more likely to translate into more page views, more traffic, and eventually, more returns; ‘returns’ here could mean more revenue, sales, positive perception, brand recognition, thought leadership status, or other metrics you wish to use for measuring your return on investment.
And this brings us to Search Engine Optimization. SEO simply said, is how your customers can find you online via a search engine. Customers type their query into Google’s search bar, and voila! Google provides a curated list of results that are most likely to resolve your customer’s query. SEO is the underlying factor that helps enhance the order in which search engines rank results. The better you’re SEO, the better your ranking, this would increase the audience reach. It’s all connected.
SEO has been around for decades, ever since Google introduced Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
There have of course been regular updates and changes to the algorithm – which happens to be a closely guarded Google secret – and how it determines page ranking. However, it is safe to say that one particular strategy has stood the test of time and remains more or less the same, at least in principle and concept – Link Building.
In this post, we will give you a low down on everything you need to know about link building, why is it important, a few strategies that can help you leverage the power of backlinks, and an easy (but legit) alternative to the traditionally time-consuming process of a DIY approach to link building.
What is link building?
To understand link building and how it works, let’s take a quick detour and get into the details of how Google ranks pages. Typically, search engines crawl the web to index pages. In the process, they analyse your content to determine the quality of your website – based on which it grants you a ranking. However, your content is not enough to impress Google; you need others to validate your credibility and quality. That’s where link building steps in.
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites to your own. It is, in many ways, an endorsement for your website from other websites. How many other websites link back to yours is an important parameter for Google, as it tells the search engine that other websites trust your judgment, and therefore, logically, you must be trustworthy. It is, in other words, Google’s way of reference-checking your website before giving it the ultimate seal of approval – a high search ranking. Now, we’ve already established that a high search ranking can be that thin line between the success or failure of your online presence; clearly, getting your link building strategy right is of absolute importance.
Is there an ideal link building strategy?
Since we do not exactly know how the Google algorithm works, it is hard to outline an ‘ideal’ approach to link building. However, there are a few tried and tested methods of link building that experts around the world trust, and have used to their advantage.
- Blogger Outreach
- Original Content Creation
- Local Citations
This part of the link building strategy revolves around one of the most important entities in the contemporary online world. Influencers, ‘Nuff said, right? If a powerhouse of an influencer includes your backlink on their website, it has a massive positive impact on your ranking in search results – there’s no rocket science here.
The idea is to reach out to influencers and bloggers that post content relevant to your customers, and request them to include your links in their posts. This way, not only does Google’s algorithm infer that your website is high quality, but also the influencer’s audience becomes aware of the existence of your website and the value they can derive from it. This is great for audience building.
This outreach also has an attractive side-benefit: the process of reaching out is a great step towards building a personal connection with the bloggers and influencers in the long term. This relationship in itself is a valuable aspect, and if the bloggers and influencers believe in your products and services, they are more likely to proactively become advocates of your business. Over time, this opens up several avenues for collaboration, mutually beneficial features, etc. The possibilities are truly endless.
Original Content Creation
If you’ve ever wondered why thought leaders command respect, and eyeballs, in their respective fields, you probably know where we’re going with this. Thought leaders are instrumental in shaping the collective perspective on pressing issues in their circles of influence and thus shape public opinion to a great extent. Their ‘original’ thought process and insights are what set them apart from the limitless online noise and clutter. They too are influencers, but their medium of influence is often impactful, original content and research.
And thus, creating relevant, valuable content is just as logical as it is beneficial. Not only do you carve a niche for your website in your relevant field by pertinently resolving your audience’s queries, but also become a credible, authoritative source of truth for other websites and blogs. You build a positive reputation for yourself and get referenced more – which means more backlinks. This also reduces the friction when you reach out to influencers – if you produce high-quality original content, your link automatically because of a great inclusion in other posts.
To get the best value out of your search engine optimization strategy, increasing your visibility in relevant local circles is a must; visibility here, however, is understood slightly differently. Local citations can help with this. A citation is a kind of backlink that shows your business contact details such as the name, phone number, and mailing address.
If you score well in the local citation area, when local customers search for products and services related to your business, Google search result shows them your contact details. This directness and ease of contact are known to have a positive impact on converting potential customers into paying users, making local citations a great instrument to have in your SEO toolkit.
How do you implement these link building strategies?
This is the tricky part – implementing a link building strategy to see results can be a tedious, time-consuming process. There is a high possibility of your emails ending up in bloggers’ and influencers’ spam boxes. Also, in terms of original content creation, you will have to put in serious effort to research the kind of topics and depth of detail your audience is looking for, and churn out high-quality content – a fairly difficult thing to do. Lastly, you may also have submitted your contact information to major local databases and directories, which again is another major roadblock if you don’t know where to start. So why not turn to the experts?
One of the most recommended and trusted service providers in this space is Healthy Links, a London-based SEO agency that can help businesses boost their organic search ranking via link building and creating powerful original content. Their white hat, proven strategies around Blogger Outreach, Content Creation, and Local Citations can help you cut through the clutter, and fast track your way to earning high-quality links to your site.
Whether you choose to partner with a consultant like Healthy Links to help you navigate the link building process, or do it yourself, ensure that you opt for only white hat methods – centered on relevance. Google has strict regulations around black hat methods (that are usually irrelevant links from content pieces not related to your business) and can impose severe penalties. Though black hat link building can get your search rankings high in a relatively short period of time, it can have a serious negative impact on your brand and perception. Better safe than sorry!