Traffic Tuesday – Link-Building for Smarties
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I hope that title makes you feel pretty good. I read the Dummies books, but I never feel good about it. So here we are, learning about building links. Link-building is an important part of optimizing your content for search engine rankings.
By now, you probably know that one of the main issues with building your site’s ranking is just that it takes a while. There’s not really a quick fix for ranking. Unless you’re Tucson’s greatest pink lemonade-flavored licorice manufacturer, first page search rankings usually aren’t created overnight. So, to aid in your efforts to keep your blog moving up, up, up to the top of first page of Google search results, I’ve come up with a simplified list of link-building tips to strengthen your blog’s online rankings.
What is Link-Building?
Link-building is a marketing tool whereby your blog’s credibility is built based on recommendations from other sites. When a blog that produces valuable information uses hyperlinks to tell readers where they can find more valuable information on your site, it increases the value and perceived authority of your site. Sort of a digital ‘you scratch my back.’ Simple enough, right?
So why is it so complicated?
It’s not so much complicated as it is tricky and a bit tedious. It’s enough sometimes just to focus on generating compelling content for your own site. Sometimes you have to invest time, money and other resources into hiring writers who can produce high quality copy for your site. Once you do that you’ve got to find a way to get seemingly objective social media participants to endorse your blog. Finally, after you do all of that, you still have to wait for everyone else (or everything else in the case of those all-important Google algorithms) to catch on.
High quality blog content should be well-written, interesting posts that are helpful and make good use of popular keywords and key phrases that are relevant to both your blog and the specific post. You don’t want to riddle your post with keywords that make your writing nonsensical. Instead, tap into your inner Shakespeare and write content that’s poetic in its use of SEO strategy. Use anchor text so that your content is built around specific topics and themes. Google has a beautiful Related Search tool that will allow you to identify related keywords (RIP Wonderwheel). You want each post to seem like it was written by an authority in your industry. Don’t be afraid to reference other blogs or articles on the web that are also authorities on the topic.
After you have produced the most exquisite post you can, rinse and repeat because a blog with three posts is not going to rank very high. Also make sure that you are posting content on a regular basis. A monthly post is probably not going to provide you with enough content to generate any real upward motion unless you have several bloggers contributing their monthly posts at different times during the month. Consistency is the key to victory (my mother used to say that).
Next, you can take a bit of initiative here because once you have a substantial amount of content on your blog, you can interlink future blog posts to past blogs posts right on your site. For instance, if your personal development blog has a whole category about integrity, you would be wise to link today’s post on values back to your flagship post on integrity for the sake of exposition.
What others can contribute
Here’s where things get tricky. Google rankings rely heavily on the quality of the content on any given site and the authority that site has in relation to a particular topic. Getting other sites to link their content back to your blog is tricky, in part, because you really have no control over what others are posting or who is being commissioned to do the writing. Getting links back to your blog from content that is poorly written or that makes poor use of SEO or keywords may or may not benefit you. Consider getting friends, colleagues and other experts in your field to review and recommend your site. Perhaps they can be persuaded to add links from their content to yours, provided both your sites are well-written and of the highest quality.
You may want to consider submitting press releases for any launches or information products that you are either releasing or planning to release. Submit copies of your articles and your blog’s name to search article directories and blog search engines. Google has a pretty great blog search tool that sends me a daily email chronicling any STEM-related developments. Coolest thing I ever did for my email account. Once you have the right content, start making submissions. Be careful though, if your submission is not up to par or you aren’t making regular updates to your blog, it can be de-indexed (blacklisted) by Google. Nobody wants that.
- Develop quality content that is keyword-rich and offers valuable information.
- Submit your great content to blog search engines and article directories.
- Solicit others in your industry for their endorsement (via recommendations, reviews or backlinks) of your great content.
- Make sure you content is great.
- Be patient. It could take a while.