Since the original beta version of Google, backlinks have been the main ranking factor for all websites in their search engine results index. Having a game plan for building backlinks for your company is essential to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities to drive traffic to your website.
Your Website Setup
First understand that link building, if done correctly, can help you achieve great results in driving traffic to your website. But first, we need to make sure your website is well optimized to benefit from your link building efforts. Your website and each page on it needs a certain setup to satisfy visitors and the search engine robots.
Let’s bullet point these:
- Technically Sound Site
- Strong Site Architecture
- Write Impressive Content Relevant to the Topic
If you’re unfamiliar with some of the basics, here are a couple of post to get you caught up.
[On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO: Which Should be Part of Your Digital Strategy? and Benefits of On-Page SEO as well as a great post on content marketing Content Planning for 2016: Where to Start]
Off-Page Link Building
Now that we have a good grip on what to do for website setup, it’s now time for our off-page or link building strategy. Think of it like a stock portfolio, a good stock portfolio will be well balanced and diverse. We will want the same for our backlink portfolio.
Our main focus in the beginning is to build a solid foundation of backlinks, like blue chip stocks for long term success and work our way to the long shot links that may produce homeruns.
Our Foundation Links
Social Media Profiles
The perfect way to build a foundation of authority around your site is to make sure you are utilizing social media netowrks. The top social media sites are Google Plus+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube. Yes, many other social media sites are out there but these are must for businesses. Every search engine will add authority to a website that is willing to publically connect with their audience on these platforms.
Your Action Step: #1 Create social profiles on these social media sites and post relevant information about your business, industry and market on them.
The perfect way to build a foundation of trust around your site are something called business citations. These are strong authoritative websites that will have your business listed on them along with other similar websites. YP.com, Yellowpages, Yellow Book, Manta, Merchant Circle are examples of what business citation look like. These directory websites have strong domain authority and high trust, which is what our website should have.
Your Action Step: #2 Find your listing on these websites and make sure the information about your business is correct. name, address and phone number are most important, followed by a link to your website.
Niche Related Directories
We can find directories related to your industry or niche by using these search strings in Google to find niche directories:
- NICHE + Directory - Ex: “Automotive + directory”
- NICHE + "submit site"
Geo Related Directories
Directories related to your geographical location are also a great place for link sources. You can search Google for local directories like the niche method above, just replace the niche with the city, town or state.
- CITY + directory
- submit my site + CITY
- NICHE + CITY + directory
Here is guide on advanced ways to search google for what we’re looking for http://www.googleguide.com/print/adv_op_ref.pdf
Your Action Step: #3 Research niche directories and get listed on them. At the same time research some local geographical directories and get listed on them.
Adding Backlink Strength
Now that we have a solid foundation of authority and trust worthy links in our portfolio, it’s time to add strength. We do this with Editorial links. These links are much harder to achieve but when one is awarded, the results can significantly help your website in the search engines.
Blogger outreach is a concept of finding other website’s blogs that may have posts about topics similar to what you sell and asking that blog owner to link back to you. For example, if I run an automotive dealership and I am reading a blog post about getting cupcake stains out of the upholstery of a 2015 Honda Pilot, I can write a comment in the blog with details about the Honda Pilot and my Auto Dealership website.
The next step is to call or email the owner of the blog, tell them you have the perfect link to use for their blog post. If the blogger links to your content, we achieved an editorial link! Now when people read that blog they have the option to click the link and be taken to your website which helps position your company as the obvious choice to do business with.
Niche Relevant Guest Posts
Instead of posting a great article to your website or blog, connect with other blogs specific to your niche and ask to post to their blog. This will require you to reach out to the bloggers and offer relevant information to their readers. The benefits to guest blogging are still effective to building a strong back link portfolio,
Use these search queries, in google, to find guest blog posting opportunities:
- NICHE + "guest post"
- NICHE intitle:guest post
Your Action Step: #4 Search for a targeted blog in your industry and try connecting with the owners of the website. If they afford you the opportunity to guest post for them, write a post of extreme value to the industry and send it to them.
The methods of building links described above are the most effective links to have in your backlink portfolio. Taking time to build out your link building strategy can set you on the right path to broaden your digital reach, increase website visits and help you grow your business overall.
- Dan W. is a PR Coordinator here at Stream Companies