Link Building is one of the many ingredients in the SEO recipe. While all of these tactics are great to boost you, you should understand SEO prior diving in, as some links can harm you. Your links must be relevant in topic and nature or Google will detect spam link building / black hat strategies and sandbox you.
In SEO, inbound links are a digital marketer’s most dominant asset. Given that off-page SEO (as opposed to on-page SEO) accounts for the majority of a web page’s ability to rank for a particular keyword or keyword phrase, building authoritative and relevant links into your website from external sites isn’t exactly something you should overlook in your SEO strategy.
While link building is essential, it’s also quite tricky, considering giving an inbound link is the decision of the site linking to you, which isn’t something you have complete control over. Therefore, it’s one of those inbound marketing tactics that requires dedication and the realization that success won’t happen with the snap of your fingers. So how can you take control of something that is seemingly out of your hands?
We’ve created a list of 8 powerful link building tactics to improve your business’ search engine optimization.
Link Building Tactics to Boost Off-Page SEO
#1: Submitting to Website Directories
This is one of the few link building tactics you do have complete control over. While inbound links from website directories may not have a ton of authority, the ease of submitting your website to them to kickstart your link building efforts makes it totally worth it, especially when it comes to the free ones.
#2: Content Creation (Link Bait)
Another link building tactic you have complete control over is your ability to produce incredible content that others naturally want to link to. This type of content gets a bad rap as ‘link bait,’ which can be defined as content specifically created with the goal of generating attention and encouraging others to link to the website.
But not all ‘link bait’ content is bad. As long as the content you’re creating has value to your target audience, why would you not want others to link to it? Content that usually makes good link bait content are types that get shared a lot, including:
- Original data and research
- Viral videos
- And content about controversial topics
A business blog is the perfect platform for this content.
#3: Networking & Building Relationships
While networking and relationship-building takes time, it’s a completely effective way to keep your business and your content on the minds of people who might be interested in linking to you. Make a list of the bloggers in your industry who have authoritative and relevant websites. Then start building relationships with them. Follow and tweet with them on Twitter (or any other social media platform), and give them a little link love by linking to their content in your own blog articles. Once you are on their radar, they may be more inclined to link back to you if you have content that’s relevant to their audience, too. Reciprocity is an amazing thing!
An awesome way to find these contacts is using BuzzStream that will enable you to upload the list of folks you want to get in touch with and it will return their contact information as well as has templates and more.
#4: Optimizing Your Social Media Presence
A large portion of social media sites use ‘nofollow’ tags, meaning you don’t get any SEO value from links on your social media profiles or links you share through your social media updates. Although these links may not benefit your search engine rankings, they’re still links from an external source into your site. Furthermore, search engines are increasingly using social cues to identify authoritative websites and content. Use the links in your social media profiles wisely; point them to your website to direct viewers of your profiles back to your website. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal to get them there, regardless of how they found you?
You also want to be sure that you do not get “nofollow” tagged when you are link building. You can find out if a site uses nofollow prior to asking for a link by viewing source and searching for nofollow.
#5: Asking (Politely)
We are not recommending that you beg and bribe your way into generating inbound links. However, there are certain occasions when it’s okay to politely ask a fellow blogger to link back to you. For example, say you got a good mention in a news article on a site with a great amount of authority. The site cited your data and mentioned your company’s name as the source, but where’s the link love?
In these cases, it’s perfectly reasonable to politely email the author, thank them for mentioning your data, and ask them to please include a link back to your website as well. As a bonus, if you have a good relationship with this website owner or blogger (see tactic #3), you might even be able to leverage that relationship to request specific anchor text and the URL you want them to link back to. Chances are, they didn’t have your business’ specific SEO strategy in mind when they mentioned you, and they may be perfectly happy to grant your request.
#6: Submitting News Releases to Distribution Services
Although news releases can be an incredible way to get the word out about your company’s product news and other important updates, they also have great SEO benefits. Every time your release gets distributed by a wire service and syndicated on a website an inbound link is created. Even better is when a website picks up and covers the news you’re promoting in an article of their own, generating an even more valuable inbound link. While most news release distribution services charge for their services, there are a few free ones you can leverage, as well. To get the best bang for your buck, use news releases to share news about content you create that is particularly link bait-friendly, such as new data and original industry research reports you might release.
#7: Leveraging Co-Marketing Partnerships and Initiatives
Partnerships and co-marketing opportunities can also be a good way to generate inbound links. Generally, co-marketing initiatives are conducted with partners that sell products or services that aren’t competing with your own, but are complementary. Consider leveraging those relationships in your link building efforts. You link to them. They link to you. Everyone’s happy.
#8: Guest Blogging (External Content)
We saved the best for last. Guest blogging is probably the most effective way to generate quality inbound links to your website. Yes, it requires more content creation on your part, but the results are lasting and powerful. Think about it: what business that understands the importance of inbound marketing isn’t trying to provide a steady flow of fresh content? If you were struggling to fill your blogging queue with valuable content, wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity to publish a guest post from a fellow qualified blogger? As a blog manager, they get fresh content with little effort. As a contributor, you get control over the anchor text and URLs for the keywords you’re targeting. Win-win!