What is link building and how do I get links?

As you may already know, there are literally hundreds of factors that are taken into account when search engines decide which sites to display on SERPs (search engine results pages) and in which order.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep you busy, these factors are being updated all the time. So what was a major contributor just a few years ago might not play as big of a part these days. Heck, it might even have become something Google penalises (looking at you, keyword stuffing).

But there’s one ranking factor that’s been around for a while and looks as though it’s not going anywhere in a hurry: backlinks. And you can’t have any real success with backlinks without the appropriate approach to link building.

In this article, we’ll explain in further detail what link building is. We’ll also provide you with some real ways that you can earn backlinks through strategic link building techniques and what the benefits are of doing so.

Search engines have what are known as bots that crawl all indexed websites. These bots determine things like the amount and quality of each page’s content, website hierarchy, user experience, page speed, site accessibility and internal and external links on the site. All of these (and more) are determiners for where the page/site is shown in the SERP.

Websites that have a ton of links pointing to them (aka backlinks) are seen as offering a more high-quality experience and having higher authority, therefore increasing their ranking. And when you’re actively working to acquire these backlinks, this is what’s known as link building.

Sometimes, these backlinks are created organically and without any link building required. For example, when a journalist publishes a story that mentions a source and links to their business, or a blogger reviews a product and links to the product page on the company’s website.

But the vast majority of the time, if you have a website and wish to increase the number of backlinks to improve your ranking position, you will need to employ a range of different methods to do so yourself.

And while back in the day it was pretty much any backlink that had a positive effect on a site’s ranking, Google recognised that many marketers were gaming the system and building low-quality links to boost their clients’ position in SERPs. Thus, they released updates such as Google Penguin, which effectively penalised sites they determined were doing this.

Which means these days, not all backlinks are built the same. You need to seek out high-quality backlinks while link building if you want to see positive results with your SERP positioning.

There are quite a few different ways for you to get out there and build up your collection of backlinks to rank higher. Here are just a few of the techniques we reckon are most definitely worth giving a go.

Understand your top referral sources

Understand your top referral sources

Visitors to your site aren’t like genies; they don’t simply appear in a puff of smoke. They are all coming through from somewhere. Jump into Google Analytics and you’ll be able to learn where they’re clicking through from and to which specific pages.

This shows you the type of content the majority of your traffic is visiting for, and enables you to focus more on creating that. Where they’re coming from can also offer more of an insight into your audience, further providing better opportunities to target and engage with more like-minded traffic.

Conduct competitor analysis

Conduct competitor analysis

There are few better ways to gain a clearer understanding of where your link building opportunities lie than checking out what your competition is doing to get theirs. And don’t worry – it’s completely above board and ethical to find out information such as where they’re getting their backlinks from, what their best-performing content is, the keywords they’re targeting and more.

There are a few ways for you to find out this valuable information, including using an SEO tool which offers a full backlink profile for their site like Ahrefs or Semrush, setting up Google Alerts for brand mentions and signing up for their e-newsletter.

Create quality content – often

Create quality content - often

Perhaps the most straightforward way for you to build more backlinks is to create content that’s link-worthy and get it out there in the public eye. Taking the time to develop high-quality content pieces like blogs and infographics and then publishing and sharing across your socials to promote clicks can be a huge payoff if done well.

But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also important to keep creating this high-value content because, as we all know, it’s quite easy to slip into obscurity in this digital age we live in. By publishing quality content often, you’re increasing your chances of backlinks and maintaining your voice within the conversation.

Reach out to performing outbound link sites

Reach out to performing outbound link sites

If you’re not already, you should be using relevant external links throughout your content that point to other sites. By doing this, you’re opening up a line of communication with these sites to potentially enter a partnership with them. This might be in the form of collaboration with them on a piece of content that’s shared across both of your networks (which includes backlinks) as well as guest posting and more.

The best way to approach this is to determine which sites are receiving a good amount of clicks from your site and simply reach out to them via email, letting them know a bit more about your business and that you’re interested in partnership opportunities.

From there, you can develop valuable relationships with a range of different businesses and enter into a mutually beneficial link-sharing agreement where suitable.

Find unlinked mentions

Find unlinked mentions

There may well be a lot of articles and social posts that mention your brand but don’t actually link to your website. There are a few free social listening tools available such as Google Alerts you can use to discover who’s talking about your brand online.

And once you’ve got information about where you’re being mentioned, you can then use Ahrefs or a similar tool to find out site authority and the like to establish whether it’d be worth reaching out to request the author(s) include a backlink to your site in their content.

But this doesn’t just start and stop with your business name. You can also use this method to find mentions of things that directly relate to your brand, like favourable interviews with employees (linking to their profile page on your site, for example), your reports or data featured elsewhere and events you organised.

It’s then just a matter of reaching out to the publisher and requesting source attribution or suggesting they link to the appropriate page on your site for a better reader experience.

Get your product on a listicle

Get your product on a listicle
Image source: Buzzfeed.com

These days, people do plenty of research online before making a purchase. And as a result of that, there are new comparison articles being created every single day, such as ‘Our top 10 picks for XXX’.

If your business offers a product or service, you might consider reaching out to high-traffic sites that create these comparison listicles. Conduct some desktop research to find who is making them, and send them an email pitching them why your product or service is great and should be included in their next list.

Not only can this add to your arsenal of backlinks, it also acts as a great referral service and gets your brand in front of an audience you may not have communicated with before. So (provided it’s done the right way) you’ll grow your backlink numbers, increase brand awareness, boost brand authority and drive more sales and leads.

Write & submit press releases

Write & submit press releases

If you know the formula to write compelling press releases (hint: don’t bury the lede!), you can send them through to whichever online media outlets are appropriate for the story and include a backlink within the article.

Even if it’s the author attribution that points back to a staff profile page on your website, having a story published on a major outlet site is going to be very valuable as a high-quality backlink for your collection.

Writing an engaging press release can be a very tricky thing to do though, and if you’re lacking the experience, it’s probably a better idea to leave it to the experts. That means either reaching out to a journalist and asking them if they’re interested in your story or approaching a good PR or marketing agency to get the job done. Otherwise, you might end up wasting valuable time creating content that’s never even published.

Create a free tool

Create a free tool

Whether it’s a converter, generator, template, calculator or something else essential to your audience, free tools are a fantastic method of growing your backlink catalogue.

Think about all of the tools that are available which align with your audience and search through and use them. Chances are there’s at least one tool you’ll be able to relatively easily improve upon. Spend the time to make it stand out from the others, focusing on design and functionality (of course) as well as ease of use, then promote the heck out of it through a variety of channels.

It will increase the authority of your brand while also spreading brand awareness and generating fresh leads. Oh, and because it lives on a dedicated page of your website, there’ll be a heap of people linking to it in the meantime.

Create & optimise directory listings

Create & optimise directory listings
Image source: Vladimka production / Shutterstock.com

You might not be aware of this, but there are a few different directory sites that you can utilise to grow your backlinks. Indeed, some of them are nothing but link dumps that may actually penalise your site if you use them, but there are most definitely some that are highly effective.

For example, creating (if you haven’t already) and optimising your Google My Business profile to include as much information about your business – including website link – is going to be very useful.

There are quite a few online directories, some location-specific and others industry-specific. Do some research and work out which ones you think will offer value to create listings on, and start creating your profiles on them.

Refresh or update existing content

Refresh or update existing content

More often than not, content that’s left alone and not updated eventually goes stale and untouched. Therefore, it’s important to recognise the content that’s had a lot of activity (engagements, shares, backlink generation) and refresh it whenever necessary.

It might be one or two different findings within an article that have now been usurped by new information. Or maybe conducting a full website content audit to update dated products and information that is no longer true.

And when you’ve completed the refresh, you can then get in touch with the various people who linked to the previous version and advise them that there have been essential updates.

What are the benefits of link building?

The most obvious benefit to link building is, of course, the fact that it makes your website more appealing to search engines and, in turn, increases your ranking.

But further to this, many of the ways in which you actively link build will also help you to create meaningful relationships with journalists, other sites and businesses and more. This can lead to long-term partnerships and collaborations, which can be hugely beneficial to your business for many reasons.

Also, there’s a very high chance that with quality backlinks you’ll see an increase in quality, targeted traffic that is much more likely to convert.

And when your brand pops up in various places around the internet, this is effectively increasing overall brand awareness and recognition which, of course, is a key goal in any marketing and advertising venture.

Bypass the headaches and leave it to us

As you can now see, it can be quite a tedious undertaking to build quality backlinks to your website. And if you’re running a business, you’re probably struggling to find enough hours in the day to tick everything off your to-do list as it is.

That’s why you need an SEO Agency. At First Page Digital, our team of SEO specialists knows all of the intricacies and techniques necessary to generate high-quality backlinks. Our link-building exercise will soon have Google loving your site a whole lot more and boosting its position in the rankings as a result of that newfound love.

So if you’re looking to grow the online presence of your business and drive an exponential amount more traffic to your website, have a chat with the best digital marketing agency – First Page – today on 1300 479 226. You won’t be disappointed you did.

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