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If you want your business to rank well in search engines, you need links to your website from other websites. This process is called link building.
Links within the search engine’s view counted as votes of popularity and thus how well the site/page should rank. Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your site.
These count as votes to your site and your content, and thus your website is seen as more valuable and relevant.
A link building campaign is all about actively trying to strengthen links to your website. Normally coincided with by some type of overarching objective.
It will use assets that belong to other websites in order to acquire those links, and an asset can be anything from content, news, products, and services.
Arranging a link building campaign
There are various amounts of components when conducting a link building campaign. Some of these will be vital towards achieving success and others will be useful but not completely necessary. It will all come down on a combination of your available assets and resources.
Link building is a type of online marketing strategy and with any form of marketing, you should begin with having goals. Being aware of the goals for your campaign at the start will help ensure that you build a proper strategy that gives you the best possible chance at succeeding.
You also need to make certain that the goals of your link building campaign connect closely with the overall goals of your company.
For instance, “develop 10 links” is not a decent goal to reach if developing 10 links does not have any effect on the overall success of the business.
At this point, we are dealing with a slight problem. We’ve become aware earlier that links are a strong part of the search engine ranking algorithms. So does that mean that reaching a goal of more links helps with the ranking? Helping with rankings helps generate more traffic and this helps attract more customers, right?
All of this is quite true, although the issues are that it can sometimes take time for the links you’ve developed to start having an overall positive effect on rankings. it’s not as simple as developing link a single day and seeing improvement in the next one. This is especially true for competitive industries.
This presents a problem for SEOs because it can be difficult to show that a link building campaign is successful, even if it reaches certain goals. Because of this reason, it’s very critical to not only set realistic goals but to make sure that the goals you’ve made are more intelligent than something like “build this amount of links”.
The goals need to be connected to an actual organization goal and eventually having a positive effect on the bottom line of your business.
For instance, you may wish to increase organic search traffic to generate more sales. Similarly, you need to inform those around you that SEO and link building doesn’t have an immediate effect and takes time. Like any other great marketing tactic, concentration should be on the long-term gains, not the short easy wins.
This is the game of link building to increase brand awareness and rankings.
Follow vs non-follow links
When it comes to link building, it’s very important to understand the difference between follow links vs non-follow links or else you’ll be wasting all your effort link building the wrong type of links that won’t do you any good.
Followed links are the links that pass link juice and are guaranteed to help you rank better. If a link is followed and from a strong relevant website, then this is the best link you can get to help your rankings. By default, links are followed on the internet. Search engines since Google have historically relied on them to help rank sites.
Non-follow links are links that won’t give you any SEO juice or boost in rankings. Most websites will have both.
Usually, big media sites like news sites will make their links non-follow.
At the center of any link building campaign is the asset that you’re going to utilize to gain attention and earn links. This is otherwise known as the “hook” that will make consumers care about what you are offering, and will entice them to link with you. Assets will change from business to business and you need to assess which assets your business has that will be of interest to others and can be used in link building.
Another asset that SEO’s continue to utilize is money. Clearly, all assets will probably require some investment, but these SEOs approach link partnership as a pure cash transaction.
Purchasing links is strictly against Google’s guidelines, and if a website is caught engaging in this practice, they will have to pay a heavy penalty and loss of traffic. Purchasing link is risky and normally the risk will outweigh the potential loss, so we urge you against such methods.
Lastly, you need to ensure that the assets you build are relevant to the audience you’d like to gain the attention of.
Types of links
When designating the strategy for your link building campaign, you’ll need to consider the types of links you need to gather. There are various types to consider:
- Links to your homepage
- Links to pages (such as category page)
- Links containing your company name
- Links containing the keywords you’re targeting
What’s more, there are various combinations of the above, such as a branded link to a deep page. Assessing the kind of links you require will start with a detailed link analysis of your current website as well as regarding how you rank for certain keywords in comparison to your competitors.
Discovering link targets
At the start, you need to consider what type of people you should get in contact with, as you want to ensure that you are contacting people who are most likely to be interested in your content. If you contact people at random, your response rate will be on the lower scale, and you’re likely to give yourself and your website a bad reputation.
If possible, before you start your link building campaign, you should have a decent idea of who you think will care about your content. If you create a piece of content that you want to link to, such as a survey, you should ask yourself at the beginning of the process who will care about it.
This last piece is serious. While you may discover that it’s easy to get people to view your content, it’s a whole different level of engagement for them to link it. Linking to something requires a certain amount of time and effort, so you need to make someone care enough for them to not mind doing so. This hurdle for getting your content shared on social networks is much lower. Most people these days have a profile on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook than a website or blog, making it much simpler to share things.
Now how are you going to make people care enough to link them?
You need to come up with a hook that makes people care. You need to integrate this hook into your content from the beginning.
If you put off developing your hook until the moment you start your outreach, you may come to find that no one cares about the point of your content, the results being that you have devoted tons of time at crafting content no is interested in linking.
Here are some hooks that can be used by you:
- Heavily detailed content
There are plenty of hooks to use, but the ones above should at least give you some idea about what you can offer to people that will make them interested in linking your stuff.
An easy exercise you can pull off is to go to your Facebook feed and search for links people are sharing.
Take notes about what characteristics each link contains and try to discover a pattern.
Those links are shared on Facebook may be new, because many people use the platform for personal stuff and may want to keep friends and family aware of serious situations going on around the world.
Discovering your target audience
Once you manage to map out your ideas, it shouldn’t be too difficult to identify who is within your sphere of the target audience. Normally, you need some time to think about subjects related to your content. Here’s an example to give you an idea:
Imagine you are working on a piece of content named, The Definitive Guide to Nutritional Meals. You are creating this content because you wish to help people learn about the proper ways of eating and potentially selling your book on this topic.
Now, who would be interested in this guide?
Fitness bloggers: Should be obvious since proper eating is required to maintain a healthy body.
Parents bloggers: They most likely want to be aware of the kinds of proper meals they can serve their kids and your guide will help them with this.
Food bloggers: People enjoy eating foods, but that doesn’t mean they all want to be consuming extremely fatty foods, food bloggers can learn plenty from these guide while still enjoying their favorite meals.
Once you’ve come up with a few places that would be interested in your guide, you can now start researching these in greater detail to get a better idea of whether or not you stand a decent chance at getting a link from them.
Methods on find link targets
For this part, we’ll outline a few simple strategies that you can use to turn your ideas of bloggers into a complete list of websites you can get in contact with.
SEMRush is a great tool that you can also use to find valuable link building opportunities.
Search for a list of bloggers
One of the simplest and easiest ways to start is by searching through Google and typing something like “list of fitness bloggers” into the search engine. A single search should return you with a ton of lists to look through. The great advantage of using this method is that someone else has already done all the difficult work for you by curating the list.
Once you’ve discovered a list, you can rapidly grab all of the URLs from the page using a tool such as Scraper, which can be found in Google Chrome’s Web Store extension area. You only need to right-click on one of the URLs and click on “Scrape similar”.
Once that’s been done you can copy the list onto a spreadsheet. From here, you can search through all of them and find out if they are relevant to your content, and if so, find their content information.
At this point, it’s time to start messaging people about your amazing content or campaign. You should begin with any high-tier target because they can not only get you a great result if they respond positively, but you can use them as social proof later on when you start reaching out to smaller sites.
If a smaller site manages to see proof of an influencer that has liked a piece of content and shared it, they are going to be much more open to you when you’ve emailed them.
This is the most tedious part of link building, but this is the best way to start and it’s a must in the link building process.
Let them know why they should care about your content
For this part of your link building campaign, you shouldn’t be having issues with this. If you’ve been developing a piece of content for a while now, during the start of its creation you should have determined the answer for the question, “ why would anyone care about this piece enough to link it?” Just keep in mind the hooks mentioned earlier in the article.
The blogger you are reaching out to is most likely active in your industry and will be aware of the subject matter of your content, so read through their recent blog posts and, if possible, relate these to the reason you believe they should care.
Actions you’d like them to take
Most outreach emails tend to tiptoe around the subject of what the sender actually wants. Some won’t even dare to mention the words link or SEO in fear of the blogger trashing the email. Although, you do need to actually find a way of getting the blogger to take action you’d like. At times, the action can be something else besides a simple link It could be a various amount of things such as:
- Sharing your content through social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.
- Embedding a content if its an infographic
- Accepting a guest post from you, related to your content and linking it.
While these are just a few examples, there are a variety of ways you can pull action and the barriers to each one are different.
If you manage to follow these steps and have the patience for them, you’ll start to see your website generate traffic over time. Just remember to stay realistic about your expectations and continue to build your link campaign.