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Why Link Building is Vital to Your SEO Strategy

14 December 2020
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Why Link Building is Vital to Your SEO Strategy

Link building is the process of acquiring links from external websites to yours; it’s one of the most – if not the most – important components of a successful SEO campaign.

When you’ve gone through a lot of trouble to develop your website, your expectations for success are likely to be high. It can be a real disappointment to discover that nobody is linking to your site. Many people expect that to happen automatically, but the reality is that it rarely does. In fact, according to a study by Backlinko, 94% of web content has no external links at all.

Why do you need backlinks? What can you do to secure them and what sort of links should you prioritise? In this article we go over the essential points you need to understand to start getting your site noticed around the web and building your organic traffic.

Why link building matters

Effective link building is not something you can automate. It takes effort and patience, and research by SEO Tribunal has found that 65% of digital marketers consider it to be the most difficult part of their SEO work. Why do you need to put yourself through this? There are three key reasons:

  • Links help search engines to find new pages.
  • Links help search engines to decide how important a site is and how highly it should be ranked.
  • Links help people to find your site organically.

Despite the effort involved, the rewards of this work make it very much worth your while. It’s worth noting that when a potential customer finds your site through a link on a site they already trust, they’re likely to regard you as more trustworthy than if they’ve just found you through a search engine.

Don’t be seduced by the dark side

In this article we look at white hat link building techniques. These are approaches that follow the rules set out by major search engines such as Google and Bing. There are also black hat techniques out there – techniques that look for loopholes in the rules and seek to fool search engines – but if you choose to go down this road, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. Search engines are constantly getting smarter. You won’t succeed in fooling them forever, and if you get caught breaking the rules, you could be heavily penalised.

Internal links

Before you start worrying about links from elsewhere, look at the internal linking in your site. As well as having a logical structure that keeps navigation simple, you should use links to direct people sideways through that structure so that it’s easy for them to find relevant content. This will increase your authority as far as search engines are concerned. Running a blog or newsfeed or having a dedicated resource section makes this kind of linking easy.

Quality content

If you want to attract links from elsewhere, you’ll need to give other site owners something appealing to link to. This means building up quality content on your site. Popular wisdom says that individuals reading articles online prefer them to be short, yet when it comes to getting links, you’ll need to prioritise differently. Studies such as this one by Moz have repeatedly found that longer articles are more successful at attracting multiple backlinks.

Articles are not the only type of content that attracts links. Infographics, explainer videos and simple how-to guides can also be very effective. Focus your content creation strategy on things you can provide that others will find useful, then reach out and let people know about the resources you have available.

Contributing content elsewhere

Because content creation is time consuming, many site owners are attracted to the idea of using guest articles. Writing these is an easy way to establish links to your own site on other sites. If you’re not using professional outreach services, approach sites that focus heavily on subjects relevant to what you do. Sites with relatively few links to other places are more valuable as far as your search engine ranking is concerned.

As well as looking at other business websites, seek out links in the media. These are easier to get than you might imagine. Local press outlets and trade journals are always looking for news. Think about the interesting stories you have to tell and how you can present yourself as an authority in your area of business. As well as being prepared to write the occasional article, you can offer yourself as an interview subject, on condition that you get a link.

Following up on mentions

If your business has been around for a while, the chances are that there are quite a few mentions of it online that don’t have links attached, or that link to pages which no longer exist. By searching for these and contacting the relevant webmasters to ask if they can link to your site, you can build valuable links very fast. Not everybody will get back to you but as this is a relatively low effort strategy, it should still pay off.

Link building and networking

Asking people for links can feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable, but try not to be shy about it. As well as helping with your SEO, it can be a valuable way of making connections and developing business relationships. If you have worthwhile, useful content to offer, the person you connect with may well be very happy to hear from you, and most webmasters are happy for help with identifying and tidying up dead links on their sites.

When links don’t work

Have you been attracting links already but with no significant improvement in rankings or traffic? It could be that they’re just not very high value. Avoid link farms – sites that link to a number of other sites without doing much else. Focus your efforts on finding good quality sites and make sure that they’re relevant to your own site. Are they places that people who would be interested in your site will be likely to visit?

Link building takes time but if you get it right, you will see your site gradually attain a stronger position, and you will reap the benefits in increased authority and traffic.

If you would like to discuss how Atlas SEO can help with your link building requirements, contact us today.

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