Google has confirmed that links are still among the top ranking factors, citing that ranking without the links is challenging. In fact, good-quality links in 2019 matter more than ever. The rules, however, have changed with time. What may have worked three years ago, may not give you the results you seek today.
If you want to get it right with link building, it’s all about simplifying. I will start this with a great quote:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Understand that Quality Trumps Quantity
Stuffing your content with backlinks left, right, and centre is definitely not the way to go.
Your primary goal should be to solely include quality links that come from high domain authority sites. These are websites that are loaded with unique content, have transparency in authorship, are actionable, and most importantly well-trusted by searchers and search engines as well.
Remember that before getting top domain authority backlinks, your site must have a solid on-page SEO foundation. This, in other words, refers to the content on the site. You must present engaging and informative content that readers love.
An analogy that best summarizes this is that “while backlinks get you to the table, only top-notch content will give you the seat!”
Do not Ignore the 30/70 Rule
It helps to know that when you are working with a content-based website, the links to your inner content should follow the 30/70 rule. This means that 70% should direct people to your content, and the 30% to the homepage. Naturally, it will be the other way around if you are website is not content-based in nature. A simple example would be searchengineland.com being content-based, while MOZ is product/service based (even though they offer terrific content). Keep in mind, that the natural link process (when a website links to another) does not necessarily follow this rule – I am simply stating this as a healthy link building strategy.
Generally, you want to position links on the pages that you want people to find. Note that Google is mainly concerned with the inner pages of a site more than the home page. This is mainly because most information that searches find useful is not available on the homepage. An example would be that product reviews or blog posts are rarely featured on the homepage.
While this is not definite science, it is a guide that works well!
Guest Posts are Still Worthwhile
Guest posts remain valuable for anyone on the quest to reap link building perks. This is despite the fact that they are widely overused, and that the head of Google’s Search Spam team, Matt Cutts, wrote in length about guest posting being “dead”.
As you add posts to your site frequently, it is also advisable to search for openings where you can share your expertise, knowledge, or content on other platforms.
Getting your brand, name, and website out there is one of the sure ways to attract more traffic. You should, however, be selective with the sites where you offer your contributions.
Reach out to authentic sites that have a wide following and readership. They should have impressive authority metrics from various avenues such as Alexa, Semrush, or DA, etc.
You may notice that the sites you want to work with come with strict editorial guidelines or have tiresome/long processing times. These are the sites to pursue wholeheartedly because while it may be significantly more work, it usually also means it is significantly more beneficial to your. This is exactly what Google wants you to do and has confirmed in the past.
Strive for excellence each time you get a guest posting opportunity. Produce compelling content that will attract readers. Be creative with your pieces and make sure that they are grammatically correct without any mistakes. This will increases your chances of getting published to get the proper backlinks to your site.
Relevancy of the Site Matters a Lot
Evidently, relevancy is key when you are looking for excellent links for your site. For instance, let’s say your site deals with health and fitness. On your quest for link building, you end up with a link from an authoritative site about toys.
Will this link still count?
In a 2012 interview with Andre Weyher, a professional who worked in Google’s search quality team, “relevancy is the new PR”.
Aim to build relevant and real links, so that you are not a victim of Google’s ability to point out manipulative and low-quality links.
Old School is Still Cool
Even though things have taken a turn in regards to what you should do to build links, there are still some old school approaches you can take advantage of. Examples of this include:
- Search for the high-level, niche-specific directories that are used legitimately and are not just there for search engine purposes. A general rule-of-thumb is if the directory has general categories, it’s not worthwhile. I would even argue that the Yahoo and infamous DMOZ directories offer little to no value. You want directories that have a specific audience – i.e., looking for the best an industry truly has to offer. Here is an example of what I mean.
- Swapping links is another option you have when you want to get the links you need. There are multiple sites that are ready and willing to engage in link exchange. Go for worthwhile sites that will work well for your pages, that offer genuine value and resourcefulness for your visitors and/or readers. Additional things to consider is potential traffic the website can bring you, as well as link-worthy content.
- Forum commenting can be another valid link building strategy. Just remember: Do not be spammy. Leave considerate and valuable comments; be a leader and go the extra mile to help someone, even if its “free advice”. Only visit the on top industry forums. This is a move that can also help you get targeted referral traffic to your website, help with branding and establish yourself as an authority.
Incorporate Social Media in your Link-Building Efforts
Social media has grown in leaps and bounds proving to be indispensable when you want to successfully build links to your content. If you already have a large following, there is no better time to make use of it. If you do not have a huge following, take the necessary steps to build it. A few steps you can take towards this are:
- Interact With Your Audience.
- Use hashtags. Alot.
- Work with influencers.
- Share incredible content at the right time.
- Follow relevant accounts
- Put Follow Buttons On Your Website.
- Retweet, share other influencer content
- Be personable, honest and give people a reason to follow you
Keep in mind that social media avenues exist to carry meaningful content for the community. This implies that the type of content you want to share should answer questions, start conversations, or add value.
Despite the fact that link building continues to go through numerous changes over the years, it is far from dead. It is an essential part of online marketing that Google uses as its core for search algorithm. Doing the steps above rigorously, you will get the most out of your link-building efforts. It’s best to do fewer things very well, than to do more poorly. On that note, I will conclude this article and leave you with this quote:
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
~ Steve Jobs