The Basics of Link Building for SEO
One of the most fundamental aspects of utilizing search engine optimization to push your website higher on the search engine results page is to establish more and more links to your site (and specific pages) from external sites. And not just any links, you want inbound links that are high value – the higher the better.
Get Links From External High Ranking Web Pages
So, what’s “high value”?
Google’s PageRank is a scale that ranks web pages from 0-10 (10 being the best). Although all links have some value, the best links are PageRank 3 and higher. Each ranking up the scale is 10x the value of the one below. So, a PageRank 3 is 10x more valuable than a PageRank 2. A PageRank 4 is 10x more valuable than a PageRank 3.
Get Links With The Right Keywords
One more important point is that the anchor text (underlined blue text that makes up the link) should contain the keywords you are attempting to rank higher. In short, that text is a description of your page from an external site and the search engines consider that description when determining what your web page is about. And if the link and anchor text is from a high value (high PageRank) external site, then that inbound link has even more SEO weight.
Examples Of How To Get Links With The Right Keywords
In years past, the way to get links was to plead with other webmasters to link to you.
Then, and especially now, a better way is to create content that is of such value and usefulness that other website owners and bloggers would “want” to link to your site to share your content with their readers.
However, this can be easier said than done. In short, it involves work: More specifically, it involves research and creativity to provide something valuable that is better than, or at least different than, what’s already readily available to your visitors elsewhere.
Here are some examples of how to get links for the keywords you need.
1) Research, write and publish some type of valuable content for the audience you are targeting. This could be some kind of review or comparison of products or services that are of interest to your potential and actual visitors.
It could also be timely research, such as quarterly or annual reviews of your industry.
Heck, even explaining and/or presenting complex or technical concepts in simple ways to make the material more readily understandable to others can be very desirable to visitors. This can include presenting graphics, charts, videos, and other content that is uniquely instructive to others.
Such types of content could be a separate web page, or a downloadable report. (The latter having the benefit of building an email list, since giving away freebies in exchange for email addresses is a common occurrence).
If you are simply re-writing what’s already out there and readily available to your audience then you won’t create the impact you are hoping for. But if you provide content that is truly unique, relevant and valuable, then you will be rewarded with links from other sites.
And what anchor text will they use?
Although you cannot control the text others will use when linking to your site, it is likely that if you name the title of the content with keywords that are relevant to what you are targeting, then you will get a good portion of links with those same keywords.
2) For top-ranked sites that you want links from, you can suggest content to those sites that you’ll provide for free. Alternatively, just ask what content they might suggest you provide. If you write blog posts or articles that they publish on their sites, this will help them to raise value for their readers. And you’ll minimally be able to include at least one link back to your own site – but more likely you can structure the content to contain more links.
3) Interview industry leaders over the phone, or in person and/or with a video camera. Publish the interviews as valuable content for your readers. Furthermore, the person who is the subject of the interview may very well post links to your content, too, from their company website. As you establish more prominent interview subjects, you will be able to leverage those contacts to get even more prominent interview subjects.
4) Write an ebook that will be valuable to your readers and give it away for free. If it’s truly useful, then you’ll gain incoming links.
5) Linkbait is content specifically designed to generate inbound links. Although it could be stated that any content published with the intent of generating inbound links would be linkbait, this type of content is often characterized as sensational, controversial or provocative, specifically presented to move visitors emotionally and get them to react (positively or negatively) and write their own responses with links to your content.
Note On Building Inbound Links
Any of these examples need some initial promotion to get the link building started. If you have an email list, that’s a great way to get some publicity established.
Additionally, generating press releases about your content is another way to attract interest (and you don’t need an email list to do so).
If you can cultivate partnerships with other website owners and/or owners of email lists who will promote your content, this is great way to maximize the potential impact your content will make.
The point is to generate as much initial publicity as possible, which will get others to start linking to you, which of course will begin to drive new traffic to your content, and ideally, a percentage of the new traffic will also link to your site.
In an ideal world, you’d hit a home run with your link-building campaign, and this endeavor would result in an ever-expanding stream of natural link building and achieve a viral aspect. The reality is that you will likely need to keep going up to bat to hit singles and doubles over and over to generate a large quantity of inbound links. Regardless, these are tried and true strategies for growing inbound links and increasing your search engine results, which I have used for numerous other sites for more traffic and profit.
For more info on how link building fits into SEO, check out this short video on Driving Website Traffic with the SEO Triangle.