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Link building can be either the most simple or most complex concept in SEO depending on how you want to look at it. On one hand, all you need to do is get links from high authority, high relevance websites to your site. Simple, right? On the other hand, there are thousands of guides on how to get inbound links spread across every internet marketing website and blog. Methods range from simple directory submissions to building strong relationships with bloggers, editors, and other internet denizens, which can be incredibly time-consuming and stressful work. Any of you who run a blog-like site knows that getting email about adding links to other websites is annoying. Those of you looking for all of those detailed strategies for link building will probably enjoy this comprehensive guide, but I want to bring link building back to it’s roots. Sometimes SEOs can get wrapped up in these elaborate link building strategies and lose sight of what link building really is at its core. These 7 facts of link building should define your goals when working on inbound linking strategies for SEO:
Internal links count too –
Why start link building with things you can ’t control? Start with your own website. Internal link structure is crawled by search engine spiders just like external links. Link off of your relevant content to each other. For example, this SEO article related directly to our Integrated Web Marketing services, so naturally, I’ll link back to that page. When you add new content that is related to older content, link back to your older content. Likewise when you post new content, make sure to go back to older relevant content and link to your new content. This is an easy way to freshen up older content. This shares the authority and relevance of the older content with the newer content, giving your new content an instant SEO boost.
Check PageRank/Domain authority –
Getting links from higher authority sources should be a no-brainer, but sometimes SEOs can get focused on quantity over quality. Getting one inbound link from a high PR site that is relevant can be much more effective than 10 links from irrelevant, low-PR directories. Take that big link building spreadsheet that I’m sure you have, and sort it by PageRank.
Context is key –
Get links from content pages that are relevant to your website. For me to link to one of our clients like Target Distributing is nice, but it isn’t going to be nearly as useful as a more relevant link from other telecom or datacom sources. Try to get links from sites in the same or similar industries. This will make your website appear more relevant within your industry. Get links from blog posts and other sources that are relevant to your subject matter.
Linking domain should be relevant –
Similarly to #3, the domain that you are getting a link from should be relevant to your site. Try to find blogs and websites with descriptive URLs that pertain to your website’s subject matter.
Link to the most relevant page -
When you get an inbound link to your site, try to get it to link to the most relevant page on your site. Don’t always link to the homepage. If the linking domain and context (#3 and #4) are more relevant to an interior page than the homepage, by all means, link to the interior page instead. This will help search engines identify the subject matter of the content on the interior page which will help improve your search engine rankings.
The anchor text matters -
You run a computer repair business and you were mentioned in an article in a local news website. The article says, “Joe Schmo Technology, Inc, a local computer repair store, sponsored the town picnic.” Most people would request that a link to their website use the brand name, “Joe Schmo Technology, Inc”, as the anchor text. That’s the wrong way to think about it in cases like this one. Assuming your domain is joeschmotechnologyinc.com and your site mentions your brand name a few times, I promise search engines already know your brand name. What search engines might not know is what your business does. You should have the more relevant content, “computer repair store”, link to your site so that you are more associated with computer repair than you brand name. A slight disclaimer on this recommendation is that if you do have to compete for your brand name in search results, you might want to stick with using the brand name as the anchor text (or get a new brand name). The bottom line is, getting a link with a keyword as anchor text instead of your brand name, will give you a bigger bump in authority for that keyword.
Some links can hurt -
Not all inbound links to your site are beneficial. Since the Penguin update, Google has been penalizing websites that have too many “bad links.” The definition of what constitutes a bad link is the subject of much discussion, but there are some general rules you can follow to be better safe than sorry. First, never pay for links! If the site looks like it’s shady and hasn’t been updated since 1995, don’t ask for a link from it. You can also try Googling the URL of the site you are trying to link to you. If the site doesn’t show up with at least two results, it means Google already thinks it is a low quality site. It’s best to simply use common sense: if you have any inkling that the link might be bad, it probably is.