Link Building Essentials: The Good, the Bad, and How to Do It Right

google-juiceMany search engine optimization experts and affiliate marketers swear by the effectiveness of link building in their pursuits of driving traffic to their websites. Not only is it a legitimate practice, it also compels specialists to push the envelope of their creativity when it comes to coming up with topics and creating the content itself.

It also pushes link builders to establish their proficiency through farming relevant links to attract inbound traffic and to ultimately make potential into loyal ones.

This is why despite the many changes that continues to reshape the way search engines rank websites, link building remains as one of the most relevant and preferred techniques by affiliate marketers. However, not all those who want to make good at link building are aware of how it is done. Whether you’re one of those who are fumbling in the dark or you’re simply looking a realistic baseline to determine if you really know what you’re doing, we’re giving you the fundamentals of link building. 

Defining Link Building

Since its inception, the definition of link building has been tweaked and tailored depending on how they use it and how it works for them, making the less complicated explanation loose on some sides. As such, Point Blank SEO’s Jon Cooper took the liberty of reinstating that link building is the practice of “going out and acquiring links”.

Building links usually involves reaching out to website owners, preferably of the same niche or industry that you are in, and submitting to them content containing inbound links that are meant to drive traffic back to your site. Another form of link building would be participating in forums and promoting your links through comments.

It is important to note that link building does not solely depend on the quantity of links established. In link building, it is critical that the links you farm out are of high quality and abide the standards of Google algorithms. The search engine giant is known for penalizing websites that invest in poor link building techniques so it’s wise to modify your links according to Google’s webmaster guidelines. And with the arrival of Google Hummingbird, the practice of building contextual links is suddenly being integrated with the use of long-tail keywords to turn up more relevant results and to attract more organic traffic. 

Advantages of Good Link Building

Building links may only be one of the several avenues to increasing the ranking of a website in certain categories but it isn’t favored by specialists for nothing. Here are some of the benefits you too will reap when you build links the right way.

  • It generates you traffic.
    The links that you distribute through various forms of content may be posted on different sites but it is your website that ultimately benefits from the link juice it produces. When the search engines recognize that your site is being mentioned in different places relevant to your brand, you up the chances of creating awareness and reaching your target audience.
  • It helps build your brand.
    With great traffic comes better visibility and when other Web writers see that your website is an ideal place to send their own content, you can increase your authority in the industry you’re in. Search engines, especially Google, keep track of how websites are performing in terms of content creation and publishing and the links within those pieces are also evaluated. If you keep on creating quality content and publish some from guest writers, you can eventually establish that your site as a reliable source of information on the topics you’re writing about.
  • It increases your conversions.
    The fact that you’re generating traffic boosts the likelihood of conversions. This is why it’s crucial that you post invaluable content in your site so that when potential customers come in, you have something invaluable that will help you retain their engagement. It’s also important that your website is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing so that you minimize the possibility of them leaving right away.
  • It allows you to help other website owners.
    You can’t take full advantage of link building without your peers in the industry and this principle applies to them as well. One of the terrific perks of link building is that it fosters camaraderie between fellow practitioners and strengthens professional networks. When you have a good working relationship with other link builders and experts from similar fields, it will be easier for you to reach out to them in the future. 

Effective Ways to Build Links

Link building success isn’t achieved overnight. You’d have to put it a lot of effort and unleash a barrage of creative juices if you are to distribute to and acquire links from top websites. The good news is that there are effective ways to build link. Here are some of them:

  • Do your homework.
    There is no campaign that doesn’t require research especially when you’re just starting. Digging up everything you need to know about a client, for instance, is vital to the success of your link building project. Whether you’re building links for your own site or for a client’s, you need to conduct relevant research so that it will be easier for you to identify what kind of approach you should take. Find out whether the site has been hit with any of Google’s algorithms so you can address penalty issues later. You also need to be well aware of the industry, the market, and the competition and factor them into the plan you’ll devise.
  • Publish excellent content.
    High quality content is essential to any link building campaign. As Google becomes better in digesting and identifying the results searchers need, you also need to keep up with the pace on how the search engines regards your content. Only those that add real value to the Web and answer the users’ queries will be considered worthy of a high SERP ranking. Consequently, websites with great content are those that can easily climb up the domain authority ladder so make sure that everything you post is invaluable. Don’t forget to observe the same standards when accepting guest posts.  You can also put up a ‘Write for Us’ section in your site to encourage writers to reach out to you.
  • Build relationships.
    Lest you miss it, building links is about building relationships. You can’t expect website owners to just receive your posts in the same way you’d be unsure whether someone just tells you that you should publish his article on your site. Before making an offer to website owners, make sure that you’ve at least read and understood their own content. This will help you come up with more ideas to pitch and will guide you on how to speak to them in writing. Keep in mind though that not all websites accept guest content. When you stumble upon them, don’t burn bridges and keep them on the book. For all you know, they can send you their own piece (which will still help you anyway) or might let you write for them in the future.
  • Give something away.
    Make every visit count by offering people something that people will find useful or interesting. One of the things affiliate marketers do is to offer either a freebie or a discount certificate to those who say sign up to the mailing list. You too can give away stuff such as downloadable white papers and comprehensive guides, or you can send discount coupons to the email addresses you’ve gathered.
  • Monitor and report.
    The most reliable method for you to determine if your link building campaign is working is by monitoring it. Keep close track of the changes that occur since you began the campaign and compare with the data before you started building links. You also need to conduct research every now and then to stay updated with the pertinent information such as Google algorithm updates, trends in link building, and practices that industry leaders are initiating. If you’re handling a client’s website, make sure that you organize a detailed report on how the campaign expected to work and how it exactly performed. Take note of the actions you took as well as the improvements that took place over the course of the campaign. You can also make recommendations or come up with action plans in case the original didn’t do as well as you anticipated. 

Link building is a process that isn’t a walk in the park but if you do it right, your website is bound to enjoy a healthy traffic and possibly even sales. More importantly, it amplifies your chances to have a higher domain authority which is important if you want to land a spot on the first SERP.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/outsourcetechndu/8241430872/sizes/n/

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