What is Link Building?
Link building is a Search Engine Optimization strategy that involves getting as many websites as possible to link back to your website posts and pages using hyperlinks.
A hyper link is a reference to data that a user can navigate to by clicking on it.
Why is Link Building Important?
When Google got into the Search engine market in 1999 their PageRank Algorithm changed the game for digital marketing. Google not only analyzes the content of the website, but it also puts into account the websites linking back to it.
The idea is that if a web page refers readers to another web page using a hyperlink, then the linked-to page gets some form of SEO juice from the latter.
Therefore many quality linkbacks are a signal to search engines that a page has been endorsed as having credible information and the search engines reward it by ranking it higher in search pages.
Not every link back holds the same power or SEO juice. As a matter of fact, some linkbacks are bad for you. Since the Google Penguin updates were made, Google focuses on the quality of the link, not just the quantity.
It's therefore important to have link building as part of your inbound digital marketing strategies. Here is a list of link building strategies that you can employ to improve your page rankings in Google SERPS.
1: Social Media link building strategy
Share your web content links on your social media handles and groups. The more you share your links on various social media platforms, the better. However, there has to be some method to this.
Posting the same link so many times on the same page may be bad for engagement. The idea is for as many new people to see your shared content and ideally get others to share it in their groups and pages. This then is a positive engagement signal Google will pick up.
The more content having links to your website is shared, the better. Here are some tips to help you propagate your links in a viral way on social media.
Effective Social Media Link building strategies.
- Using influencers to share your brand's website links can have a multiplier effect on the number of times your link is shared.
- Have a byline or bio of the writer on the post page. This makes the content look trustworthy and invokes more shares.
- Statistically, lists of 10 have more shares than other numbers.
- Posts that invoke emotions i.e awe, humor and laughter tend to invoke more shares
- Posts with images are shared more than those without.
- Long elaborate easy to understand posts get more shares than short ones.
Fully build Your Social Media Business Pages.
Do not ignore creating and building up your social media brand pages. Most of these pages provide a field that you can use to link to your website.
Make sure that these pages are fully built and provide as much information as you possibly can. You want to have link backs from pages that provide authoritative information about what your page is about. For this reason, your social media business pages should be filled with rich content bout your business.
2: Linking your brands website to Google Maps
Adding a link to your Google My Bussiness profile and Google maps profile is also a smart way of building your linkbacks.
Google maps are a great way of sending web traffic to your actual location, offices, or stores but it also provides tools that allow you to share content with link backs to your website.
GMB not only provides you with a field to add a link to your site's website, but through its post creation tools you can add link backs to your product and service URLS..
3: Web directory link building strategy
Web directories have been around since the early times of the Internet.
Most web directories that allow users to add their business profiles include fields for adding links to the bussiness website.
Web directories are the most popular way of doing link-building. One should be careful the directories they decide to add their website to as some sites were penalized by Google and thus adding your link to them could hurt your rankings.
A great way of building links using directories is to search for directories in your niche directly on Google. Directories that rank highly are usually safe to add your website links to.
Generally, avoid adding links to directory pages that have nothing to do with your business as that could be considered link spamming. That could hurt your business as well.
4: Guest blogging
Guest blogging is where you ask a blog owner to contribute to their blog as a guest author.
This method works particularly well in Uganda's setting as we have a high number of mushrooming and established blogs.
What makes guest blogging particularly usefull is that you get to add links to content that is relevant.
The best blogs to request to do guest blogging are the ones in your niche or related to your niche. It may not be easy to get a guest blog slot from your direct competitors and your second best choice would be a related niche.
If you are in the carpentry industry, then guest blogging on a real estate website would make a lot of sense since the industries are related.
Guest blogging is also cheaper than trying to buy links or buying directory space as its a win win for both parties. The blog owner gets blog content, you get a link back.
How to initiate a guest blogging request
To initiate guest blogging:
- Identify related niches in your business.
- Find out blogs that specialize in providing content for those related niches.
- Study the audience of the blogs and determine the types of topics they could be interested in based on already existing topics.
- Send out emails requesting to become a guest blogger to each of those blogs and provide a list of topics you propose to write about.
- Wait for their replies and follow up.
We use this method and it works great for us.
5: Taking interviews
Taking interviews from media outlets not only in Uganda but the world over creates opportunitiies to get linkbacks.
When you are interviewed by a media house, there is a good chance that an article will get published about you as well. This however does not guarantee that they will link back to your website in their article. In case this happens, your digital marketing team can ask for a referral link to your brand's personal website.
6: Ask bloggers to write a featured article about your bussiness
Media houses are always looking for material for their blogs. This pressure is transferred to their writers and you can use this to your advantage.
Attend conferences and meetups in your niche and create rapport with your niche bloggers. It's much cheaper pitching the writers themselves than going through the bureaucracy of the media house to get a featured article.
Once you create rapport with the writers, you can ask them to write an article about your business. You may or may not need to provide incentives depending on your agreement with them
7: Buy a slot for a featured article in magazine blogs.
This is similar to point 8 but the difference is that here you go through the actual bureaucratic channels to get a featured article. This method is more expensive than dealing with the writers themselves. Sometimes the option of pitching the writers is not available especially when the writers are told what to write about. Just make sure that in the featured article, they get to include a link back to your website.
8: Check for Broken Links with Wikipedia
Wikipedia website is one of the largest information resources in the world. Most of Wikipedia's content is created by contributors with a small team of editors making sure that the content is well-formatted, relevant, and free of spam links.
Even though Wikipedia is an open website and anyone is free to add content, its very hard to sneak in content with your link as this is looked at with at most suspicion.
Here is a loophole you can exploit: since Wikipedia has grown so large over the years, it becomes impossible to keep inspecting all the pre-approved links for accuracy. As a result, so many links in Wikipedia lead to non-existing pages (broken links). The broken links are due to the websites that shutdown or update the URL of the page being linked to by Wikipedia.
When you fix a broken link in Wikipedia by replacing it with a link to your site that leads to similar content, that link is not considered spam and is not removed.
You can use the free Wikipedia broken link checker to find the links that are broken in your business niche.
The tool allows for searching for broken links by keyword. Use keywords that are relevant to your niche.
Follow the following steps to add your website link to Wikipedia.
- In the Wikipedia tool, search for pages with broken links using a keyword relevant to your business niche.
- Identify the broken link in the Wikipedia article.
- Re-create the article to the broken link on your website.
- Update Wikipedia's broken link to point to your article.
Wikipedia page links are no-follow links, but there is experimental evidence and Google admitted to it that these carry some weight too.
9: Advertising Job opportunities Online.
Job advertising platforms allow companies to provide short bios about themeselves and include links to their website and job description pages.
Remember the idea is to have as many websites linking back to you as possible thereforeJob listings websites are no exception.
Job listing websites also tend to have niched pages which creates a favorable environment for quality links. Therefore, make sure to write a full body length description of your company in the Job description to improve the quality of the page where your link-back will be.
10: Create Infographics
Statistically posts with info-graphics have a higher number of shares compared to posts without. This is because infographics are visually engaging and convey information in a way that is easy to consume for most people.
Creating infographics is not enough to make them go viral, they have to be aggressively marketed. For link building to kick in, the info-graphic has to be embeddable. Prepare a series of tweets that explain each point in the info-graphic and submit it to infographic directories.
11: Improve and re-publish viral content
Creating viral content is one of the surest ways to get linkbacks to your website. Creating viral content is not a direct science and the dynamics of what makes content viral are not clear cut.
Creating new content and it goes viral is not easy, however, there is content that is already popular in your niche. Finding this content and improving it to create a more elaborate and detailed piece of the same content increases the chances of your article going viral.
Articles tend to have difficulty levels. Some high difficulty level articles do make quite a buzz in the media circles. Finding such articles and re-writing them with easier to understand examples illustrations and infographics can help you make a viral article consumable by the larger population.
Viral articles usually take weeks to write and sometimes need vigorous promotion but they have the ability to generate thousands of link-backs when done right..
12: Re-promote your old content
This holds true for ever green content or content that is not time bound.
On average, a post has the most engagement and shares in the first 3 days after it's first published and shared. After that, the shares usually come to a halt.
When it comes to user engagement, not every day of the week is the same. In most cases, Mondays tend to have users engaged more than Fridays and weekends. If you write a post on Friday, be sure to boost it the next Monday.
Re-promoting your posts a week after they are published can help increase your shares and ultimately link backs.
13: Create a tool
Free Online tools pages are one of the most linked-to pages. We are actually linking to one in this page! Yes in case you missed it, the Wiki broken link finder tool in point 8.
Free online tools that provide a valuable resource will get you link backs quick and hustle free all year-round.
The best tools are those that are related to your niche. If your website is about finances, then an online tax calculator is a relevant tool.
The beginning may be hard and results may not be immediate but they are well worth the effort.
Hiring link building firms to do your link building is not usually a good idea. This is because companies that have used them have been burned in the past.
Hiring a firm to create and promote your content may be a better idea as this creates an environment for natural linkback growth.