Search engines look for two criteria when evaluating your website links and determining your website ranking: quantity and quality. That means both the number and the relevance of your links are crucial for getting your website found faster by search engines, and by potential clients. The number of links to, from, and within your website come from three areas:
- Inbound links: links to your website from external sources
- Outbound links: links to other sites from your website
- Internal links: links between individual pages on your own website
But just having a lot of links isn’t all you need to consider. The quality of your links is also important. While your goal is to build a good mix of inbound, outbound, and internal links, those links have to be relevant to your content, business, industry, and audience — and you can’t forget that the basic, naturally occurring links are extremely powerful too.
The Indispensable Inbound Link
The most valuable — and the most difficult link to get is the inbound link, especially an inbound link that comes from an in-industry authority website.
An inbound link is valuable because it means someone else in the web universe has visited your site and is giving it a stamp of approval — and that action, repeated over and over by people all across the web, means achieving what everyone wants for their website — thriving traffic. But how do you get those links, those clicks, that traffic?
Here are 10 simple ways you can build better inbound links, and they are easier than you think:
1. Grab and Groom Your Profiles
Grab a profile on the social networks that you can commit to be active on and complete the full profile. Once you have your profile set up, groom it — take advantage of all of the automation featured offered, especially linking to your website and blog. This not only increases your visibility, but it builds links to your website and prevents other from using your name or business name on those social networks. The same goes for your member profiles on the websites of the trade organizations, networking groups, and business associations you belong to. Update member profiles, ensure they are complete, and always include the link to your website.
NOTE: If possible, use keyword-rich anchor text for the link to your website. Don’t worry if the links are technically no follow links (links that search engines are told not to follow) — then mention or citation alone does matter. Plus, the benefit isn’t just for SEO, it is also for the other members and visitors to that site to clearly understand what your business or website is about.
2. Review Industry Products, Books, and Media on Amazon
Amazon offers a robust way to review books and products, build a reputation as a credible reviewer, and display a profile with a link to your website.
You can use your Amazon reviews as a sort of satellite blog, a place to offer your insights, intelligence, and helpful advice to consumers trying to find the right book or product. This is an opportunity for you to be helpful, to be visible to a new audience, and to be positioned as an expert, all at the same time. Just be sure not to use the reviews for blatant self-promotion or spamming.
3. Publish Articles Online
The world of online publishing has made it possible for anyone with gumption to publish an article for the world to read. Sites Like Ezine Articles, Articles Base, and Self-Growth, offer free membership and the opportunity to publish your articles on their website.
While these sites provide a great opportunity to showcase your expertise in front of a new audience, a larger audience, the biggest benefit is the author resource box — also know as the author bio box — that is added to the end of each article. You control the content in your author bio box, and the links you may include as well. This means readers who like your article will have an opportunity to click through the link you include to your website.
NOTE: These author bio boxes used to exploited for SEO — to quickly build a large amount keyword-rich inbound links. While it was a popular marketing and SEO strategy years ago, it’s no longer the case now as search engines and consumers are more savvy. So remember, article marketing solely for SEO isn’t so smart, but article marketing for brand visibility in new markets is a great idea.
4. Comment on Other Blogs and Post In Public Forms
When you post or comment on another blog, you have the opportunity to include a link to your website. Spamming blogs with crappy, useless comments just to get a backlink isn’t smart, makes you look bad, and is just lame. You definitely won’t build many relationships that way. But, when you take the time to read a post in full, and you take the time to leave a thoughtful, relevant, insightful or helpful post, you not only help the author out by helping them create conversation, engagement, and community on their blog.
You also gain an opportunity to share your expertise or perspective with a new audience. Then when someone reads your comment and likes what you have to say, they can click the link with your comment to go to your website and learn more.
The same approach is true for commenting in public forums. Commenting on other blogs and forums will help create new relationships and build your network — and those two results are probably the most valuable. It will also, to a degree help build mentions, citations, and links back to your website. Even if the links are set to Nofollow (search engines don’t follow them), then mere presence of your comments will help new people who have never heard of you find you.
5. Link Trade With Colleagues
Did you read this headline and choke a little? Are you thinking how can she even say that?! Don’t worry, read this first and you’ll see what I’m advising! Be careful with this strategy! You don’t want to arbitrarily link with other sites just because you are friends, you like the site owner, or you’re in a mastermind group together.
Now, when done right, a link exchange can be a powerful tool. Catch that? WHEN DONE RIGHT…
The key is to connect with other experts who serve the same target market that you do but offer a complimentary, relevant product, program, or service — your natural referral partners. If their product, program, or service would help your audience, and it is relevant to what you do, then linking to their site and them linking to yours may be a great fit — and a great opportunity for exposure to a new audience.
A perfect example of this would be a link trade between a copywriter and a web designer who continually refer business to each other. Or another great example would be a stylist and a photographer who work together often on photo shoots.
NOTE: This approach works best when you already have an established relationship with another complimentary provider or business and you want to make it easier to refer business back and forth to each other.
6. Contribute to Collaborative Blog Posts
The collaborative blog post is a quickly growing trend among bloggers. A collaborative blog post is created by one site owner, who then sends out a call for contributors to provide input on a specific topic.
One of the most popular approaches I have seen repeated over and over again is the “Share your best tip on TOPIC XYZ.” With this approach, other experts, bloggers, and business owners reply back with their best tip and their website URL, all the tips and links are complied into one large blog post, and the post (with a link to your website included) is published and promoted by all contributors.
7. Become a Guest Blogger
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to share your expertise and gain access to an audience filled with your ideal clients who don’t know you yet that you can drive back to your website (If they like your content).
The key to successful guest blogging is doing your homework and choosing the best, most relevant blogs to submit a guest post to.
Ideally you want to identify blogs that serve the same audience and the same clients that you do, but offer a different service or product. Then do some research of their most popular blog posts, what their audience is most interested in, and what topics you could write about that are in alignment with their brand message.
Reach out to the site owner, share your findings, show them you know what you’re talking about, and pitch them your post idea. If accepted, be sure to create a high value, high content, high quality post that will impress readers enough to get them to click the link in your author bio and visit your website to learn more about you.
This strategy works best if you first build rapport and a relationship with the site owner. Interact with them on social media, comment on their blog posts, introduce yourself to them at an event, and help them get to know you. It’s easier to approach someone you know about guest posting than someone who has no idea who you are.
NOTE: Guest blogging is not a good strategy to reply on for merely building lots of backlinks to your site. Matt Cutt’s has even said Google no longer value guest blogging and that building lots of links with that tactic is spammy and a waste of time, as usually the content is low quality. If you’re going to guest blog and accept guest blog posts, be sure you are selective with who you choose, and that you can vouch for their authority and quality — and remember, quality guest blogging is still a smart tactic for brand visibility and exposure to new audiences, just don’t try to game the system.
8. Get Listed in Relevant Quality Directories
Not all directory listings are bad! Some, while not great for SEO, are great for brand visibility. Identify both free and paid directories in your area or industry that are high quality, trusted, authority sites and get listed. These may be portfolio sites, trade association sites, yellow pages directories, association member directories, or even recommended vendors lists of trusted centers of influence.
NOTE: You may not use traditional directories like the Yellow Pages to find a service provider, but that doesn’t mean your average consumer doesn’t.
9. Share Links on Social Media Sites
Be sure to set up automatic syndication of your blog on each of the social networks you are active on. Connect your blog RSS feed with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ at minimum so each time you publish new content to your blog, your posts are automatically shared with your social networks. Also, don’t forget to bookmark your posts on popular social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg to create additional site mentions, citations, and backlinks.
10. Produce Valuable Content on a Regular Basis
Publishing valuable, useful, relevant, helpful content on a regular basis is the easiest and fastest strategy there is to earn links back to your website. This strategy doesn’t cost money (although time is money), it doesn’t have a huge learning curve, and there is relatively no barrier to entry.
By focusing on consistently creating fresh, new, amazing content for your blog, you will gain loyal reader and followers who appreciate your work, click those share links at the end of your posts, and share your posts with their networks across all the major social media platforms.
This Isn’t Hard, But It Does Require Time And Effort.
As always, don’t try to implement every single link building strategy at one time! Choose one of these smart, simple practices for building inbound links and generating a lot more traffic to your website, implement it and take consistent action, and then reap the rewards of a thriving website.
Now what about you? Have you tried one of these strategies successfully? Do you have another idea to add to the list? Share your thoughts below in the comments.
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