An Introduction to Link Building
Read on to find out how you can gain links that establish your website as an authority as part of your PR and marketing strategy.
Link building has a major role to play in improving how search engines understand and rank your website.
Links act as indicators that determine the reputability of their destinations – if your website has been cited as a source, then it’s likely viewed as an authority on a particular subject. It’s these signals of authoritativeness and reputability that drive search algorithms, which in turn, contributes toward making your website easier for users to find on search engines.
PR and link building for SEO
Google doesn’t like ‘conventional’ link building as a conscious effort. Rather, it encourages websites to gain links organically through posting well-written and relevant content that deserves to be linked to.
The problem comes when you consider that, regardless of quality or relevance, people don’t want to drive potential customers away from their own site.
This reluctance, combined with the potential harm that bad link building can cause, can make it difficult to grow your link profile without a strategic approach dedicated to engaging websites and obtaining high-quality links.
The most effective approach is to integrate SEO strategy with PR to build links on websites that operate in your industry or target location.
Integrated PR and SEO Strategy
If you have Public Relations on your side, you’re at a huge advantage. PR experts understand local or industry-specific media, have helpful contacts and understand how to engage them for optimal results.
A great PR team will ensure content on your site is relevant and valuable to your target audience. They’ll also formulate ways to simplify the outreach process – to maximise the chance of a “yes” and minimise the chance of a “no”. There are a few ways they could do this:
- Relationships – On good terms with a publication or business partner? Make the most of it by reaching out. If a link is mutually beneficial, it makes perfect sense to utilise it!
- Testimonials – Using a supplier? Help them by supplying a testimonial which could accompany a link to your homepage.
- Interviews – Have access to a prominent industry-leader? Publish an interview with them – leverage that authority and provide an excellent source for other content.
There’s a long list of link building practices that may not work at all, or worse, could cause your rankings to plummet as a result of a Google penalty:
- Poor targeting – Never just target any directory or forum – if they’re not relevant or valuable, they’re not helping you.
- Reciprocal links – Agreeing on a link-for-link basis is not just bad practice, but easy for search engines to pick up upon and dish out penalties.
- Hidden links – Never hide links in a way that can’t be seen by users but can be crawled, for example, using a white font on a white background. Google can determine background/foreground contrast and can dish out penalties if it thinks you’re being deceptive.
- Guest blogging – At one time, guest blogging was a popular (and effective) practice, but given how frequently it was abused, Google has implemented systems to identify guest blogs and these are now largely ignored.
- Buying links – However persuasive the pitch or low the price, never buy links. Google has strict guidelines regarding purchased links and will likely penalise any attempts to do so.
Top 5 tips for Link Building
- Consider internal links – Use internal links to spread the equity gained from external links to other pages on your website.
- Be creative – There’s more than one way to gain a link, so look out for alternative ways to initiate a conversation and build relationships that could yield links.
- Consider your anchor text – Keywords used in anchor text can contribute toward on-page SEO – stay away from the generic “click here” text and instead utilise keywords that matter to your business.
- Audit your competitors – Take a close look at your search competitors’ inbound links, are there any easy wins you’re not getting? Reach out, establish yourself as the superior authority and poach those links.
- Link! – Reversing the roles and being the “linker” can provide context and evidence to support your own material, thus increasing the value, trust and ‘usefulness’ of content.
To find out more about actioning a link building strategy for your PR and marketing, contact Genesis on 01473 326400 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org