If you are new to the idea of creating a link building strategy, it can all be a bit daunting. While I have tried to keep our link building strategy and training material short and sweet, I also see the need for better explanations for those who want them. So, here goes.
1. Make Your Site Link Worthy
If you want people to link to your website, then it goes without saying: Make your site link-worthy.
If you are not sure where to start, start slowly. Most websites don’t start out with a bang. They grow. Be patient and with each link building tactic look for steady growth in search engine ranking and traffic.
Ultimately only three metrics matter to most website owners – and in this order:
You want to make money (or friends, or whatever your “revenue” is).
- In order to get gain revenue, you need to engage your audience.
- In order to have an audience, you need traffic.
- In order to have traffic, you need to rank in Google.
And what both Google and users love, is a well produced website. We are talking about good on page optimisation.
If your site is not optimised for users and Google, no amount of backlinks will generate the kind of revenue available to business online.
So, the First Step in a Link Building Strategy is to:
- Make your site as fast as you can.
- Use only clean code – no hacks
- Have only one or two calls to action on each page – no more.
- Ensure you have all your on-site SEO done and dusted.
Google loves well-optimised sites and you can literally rank overnight if your site has been properly optimised.
2. Rank Your Home Page First
Your home page is the front door through which most people will enter. Therefore, the place to begin creating your link building service or strategy is usually your home page.
Your home page is also your main branding page and it makes sense to begin building the rank and reputation of your brand from day one.
If you have a quality site it is going to build a brand reputation and that is going to increase traffic through other channels like word of mouth and social media. Long term, you want people to be typing in your brand.
Most people will naturally link to a home page of a site. From time to time you can break this up and link instead to your About Page or other significant resource page.
When starting with a very new blog, build links slowly making sure to avoid the Google Sandbox. If the site in question is aged, then build a mix of few strong links a month along with some other decent and related links from regular sites.
Including targeted keywords in anchor text can be regarded as a good strategy to establish importance of the linked pages but overuse of keyword-rich anchor text can hurt your page’s SEO.
Anchor text should be added so as to provide relevant information and resources to the readers, so it should be relevant, natural and value-adding.
These days branded anchors are much effective for SEO, which contains title of the linked page as anchor text.
3. Rank Your Inner Pages
Your inner pages are usually the ones that make the revenue. So, as your site takes shape you are obviously going to want to rank more than just your home page.
I recommend you go for a 3:1 ratio in your link building campaign. In other words, three home links for every inner page link.
The key points to ranking your inner pages are:
- Choosing your inner pages carefully
- Don’t attempt to rank for every page.
- Aim to rank your money pages first using long tail keywords (see below)
If you write a blog, it’s a good idea to send some links toward the pages that are performing best.
You can tell which pages and keywords are doing the best by using Google Webmaster Tools.
You might be surprised at what you learn.
The above report is my own website. Look at what’s bringing in the traffic. I actually didn’t plan this, but I will be taking advantage of it!
If you have traffic already heading in a certain direction, capitalise on it. Own it by putting more links towards your most successful pages. This is where Google expects to see the links anyway.
Once you build authority to these pages, you can then send some of the link juice to other pages you want to rank for.
You do this by putting one or two relevant links to your other pages in the pages on your site that are ranking well already. Google treats these internal links as back links.
What you are doing is creating a content hub. You are saying to Google, “Hey, you like this article, well, come look at this one, we think it’s even better (that’s why we are linking to it).”
Make a habit of carefully linking your inner pages. Avoid linking to everything in a never-ending circle. Only link in one direction toward your best pages.
As a general rule for a new site I would suggest that you:
- Make your main link your home page and then,
- Your secondary link your inner page.
As your site begins to rank in Google you can go after your inner page ranking more and more.
As your site becomes more established, you could make your first link go to a well ranked inner page (like a product page), then make your second link go to a blog post or article on your site that talks about (and points to) that product page.
Just make sure both links have some common ground that would make it normal for you to rank and link to both pages.
Interlinking is the practice of carefully connecting your own content through internal links is crucial. Also known as content hubs, one of the ways Google works out out what your post is about is through anchor text links within your own pages and articles that point to other content on your site.
The best way to use this to your advantage is to tell Google what your post is about through links to your own blog posts.
Online blogging expert, Raelyn Tan says, “For each article that you write, have a target keyword that you are hoping to rank for. Include this target keyword when you are linking to your own content.
Of course, getting links with your target keyword in the anchor text from other people helps greatly as well, but interlinking plays a huge role.
Smart interlinking also has the added benefit of helping Google to crawl your site more efficiently, improves user experience and reduces bounce rate.
4. Use Long Tail Keywords
You will get the quickest results for a new website by targeting and ranking long-tail keywords.
These are longer phrases with fewer searches per month and less competition. But don’t be put off by this. These long tails are gold and when put together can yield high traffic and better yet, highly engaged site visitors who already have a credit card in their hand while typing.
Long-tail simply means a long-phrase. If your site is about a Tsu (see above search graph), you wouldn’t go after, “Tsu”, or “Sign up to Tsu”.
Look at what is ranking: “How to earn money from Tsu”.
That is a long tail keyword snagging 76 visitors a month. Pity there’s no money to be made there!
Look at all the variations the graph above is getting for writing online.
- Those are long tails.
- They all point to the same article on that site.
Chances are, your inner page is only aiming for one keyword. But, over time they will be ranking for several of them as you build links to increase their page authority. And, in case you are wondering, those keywords above are all landing in the top five results on page one of Google.
The easiest way to begin searching for good long-tail keywords is Google. You don’t need any fancy tool. These suggestions are there because they are common.
So, before you jump into a link building strategy, do some research and think through your keywords. I have a more detailed article on researching and using long-tail keywords here.
Think of at least 6 long-tail variations that are relevant to your page or site. And – this is really important – make sure you optimise your page or site for only one or two of those key phrases – you don’t want to confuse Google as to the purpose of your page.
Once you have this figured out, you are ready to start building your links.
5. Vary Your Anchor Texts
Use the 2:1 principle. Two brand or naked URLs for every keyword anchor text.
Anchor texts are the words that are being linked by a URL. They are the words people will click on to get to your site and should have natural variation.
Here are the best practices:
- Use your most important keywords sparingly and ensure plenty of variation
- Use your plain URL (www.yoursite.com) regularly
- Use your Brand or Site Name “Mallee Blue Media” often
I also suggest that you sprinkle in the generic ones (“Go here“, “See this site“, Follow this link“). Keep it natural and don’t go trying to squeeze your keywords in all over the place. It ain’t fittin’.
6. Research Your Subject
In order to understand your content and your niche, pay attention to the kind of content your ranking competitors are creating. Pick sites that are clean, focused and easy for to read.
As you look at your competitors (who are already ranking in Google for the keywords you hope to rank for) and attempt to build your inner pages for ranking, ask yourself:
- Is the content relevant?
- Does it have a good amount of content (words) on it
- Does it makes sense
- Is the content targeting the same or very similar keywords
If you are not sure. Just search for the keyword you are wanting to rank for and see who else comes up.
7. Choose the Right Backlink Opportunity
You need to choose the right environment for your link building strategy. Among your options are Guest Posts and Guest Blogging, Directories, Social Media, Press Release and more.
Now that you have:
- Made your site link-worthy
- Optimised your Home Page
- Set up your inner page
- Chosen your Keywords
- Developed your anchor texts and
- Understand types of backlinks
- Researched your subject
It’s time to choose the best method for building your backlink profile. When you are done reading here, Check out our other resource page on building external links.
Here are some opportunities for you to consider when developing your Link Building Strategy.
Find ways of contributing to the work of others online. A brand mention, quote or citation is a great way to get a powerful and relevant link for your site and does not require much leg work.
Some sites where you might find a relevant niche that you can contribute to include myblogu.com, Quora and Haro. These websites are a great place where you can use your expert advice to help others with their content.
All you have to do is go to these websites and register. Once you find a question that you can answer, submit your response and wait to see if it was included. You must remember, that you won’t get included in every submission but the ones you do are typically high authority websites that pay off in the long run.
Guests posts are an example of a contextual backlink. Contextual backlinking is having your link appear in an ordinary sentence of an article.
Guest posting is really an excellent strategy for building links from reputable websites. Not only does it help with link building, it also helps you get recognition in your niche and build your personal brand.
In order to get quality guest posting opportunities you need to research other sites in your niche and ask yourself the question, “What are these people looking for in an article.”
Saurav Kumar Nayak from Temok Hosting adds these recommendations to those who are looking to get published on other sites
- Prepare a quality Content of 1500+ words and contact the site through their contact page
- Give a short introduction about yourself and offer to provide a link or attachment to the article
- If published, share those posts on your own network and social media profiles.
Some of them will not accept your post due to their policy, so always keep some alternative sites up your sleeve. As a great follow up, be available to reply to site visitor comments to your article.
They will appreciate it and so will the host of the site.
Dan Buzan from Contega Media adds his two cents regarding the outreach process.
This quick tip can significantly improve your reply rate. Point is, the sites you are reaching out to, are getting dozens of guest post inquiries each day, they are extremely busy just as you are.
Therefore, in order to break thru the noise, please get to the point, and give your best topic idea or attach a tailored article in your very first email, add a few nice and tiny follow-ups as well. In such a way you’ll show that you actually did your homework, learned about your link prospect, and respect each other’s time.
We’ve field-tested such an approach and it worked extremely well. Hope it will help you as well.
Guest Posting is the best bang for your buck in link building. If you can afford it, one or two DA50+ (Domain Authority) backlinks per month are worth perhaps 50 Web 2.0 links and 100 niche blog links.
Use them for:
- Ranking competitive keywords
- Boosting new pages or products
- Brand exposure
When we do this work for clients or agencies, we only approach real sites with a good reputation, no penalties and that are run by real people making a living online.
However, don’t despair if you can’t afford the super high DA links. Any guest post is money well spent. And don’t be put off by a Domain authority of 10 or 20. Sites with low DA can rank the first page in Google.
Check this out.
There are several ways of boosting the less powerful links (for example, building useful Web 2.0 microsites) and depending on your niche, you can still rank on the first page of Google – for sure. We do it all the time.
Web 2.0 Link Building
I really like these links. They are on high authority domains like Rebel Mouse, Tumblr, Storify and Blogger and when boosted by other links they can rank all by themselves, becoming an additional source of traffic.
Use them for:
- Building inner pages with moderately competitive keyword ranking
- Breaking new ground with long-tail keywords
- Defending an existing position
They are a low-cost solution, a permanent link and you get control of these microsites so you can go in and change things up if you need to.
These pages, if promoted can rank on their own merits. These links can increase their potency and authority over time.
These are a powerful way to get a site moving a little (or a lot) more quickly up the search engine results page. Tiered or multi-layered links are great for building authority to existing backlinks.
We will often create one high quality and potentially high traffic link (say, through a press release) that points to your site (layer one) or important inner page.
We then pour on the power by linking to that press release heavily with secondary links. And down flows the juice, but with the Press Release acting as a buffer. Then, because we can and it’s so much fun, we put in the third tier of links to re-enforce those tier two links.
The difference between each layer is basically the authority of the links and the number of links in each layer.
What it’s Good For:
- Boosting affiliate products
- An aggressive approach to quick ranking
- A good way to boost guest posts
These are more complex and more is involved in putting this in place. Give us a shout if you’re curious and need some help.
These link building strategies have high power and we recommend you use them as part of a larger SEO strategy. If you are a new site, we suggest starting out with modest link profiles before you jump in and go full throttle.
These should be a standard part of any local SEO campaign and are great for link building and brand awareness. They can also be used as part of a layered link building tactic. Just aim and fire.
- Brand Awareness
- Google Maps boosting
- Targeted traffic
If you are bricks and mortar business or have a physical location that is an integral part of doing business you should be putting your site and your business in the top directories online.
More and more, Google takes into account location when a person searches. This is especially true of mobile phone searches. So, if this applies to you, get on to those directories.
These are low volume (unless you are lucky enough to go viral), high quality manual social bookmark submissions to quality sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Google.
Each submission you make to these sites should come with unique titles and descriptions. This favours the direction in which Google is headed (low volume, high-quality links).
These links are good for:
- Diversifying your link profile
- Brand Awareness
- Gaining new sources of traffic
They are not likely to boost keywords rankings, but they provide a natural balance and create what search engines would expect to see with a healthy backlink profile.
Link Building Strategies to Use Sparingly
These are good when they appear on a site you are actively engaged in. They can increase brand awareness if you are using your profile on a relevant site.
Verdict: They are of no real use in moving you up in the rankings.
Same as above. Use them to promote brand awareness but only in forums where you are actively engaged.
As a general rule, you should link out only when you have to and rarely (if ever) to your own site in forum posts.
Spam City. Only use comment links for genuine purposes. Even then, you are just as good using your brand name with no URL at all.
This will help ensure your comment passes and is published.
Verdict: Useless fr boosting your position in Google.
Link Buying Schemes
Are you mad? Take control of your own links or else only engage an SEO Agency willing to disclose all links that point directly at your site. We do a lot of link work for our clients and agencies, but we disclose all primary links.
Verdict: Expect a Penalty if you enter into Link Buying Schemes.
Link building is enjoyable once you get the hang of it. There is a great deal of satisfaction from putting together link-worthy content and having other people online who are willing to link to it and share it with their audience.
Around here, we believe in transparency. We don’t use a secret sauce. We want people to be educated and to grow in their online marketing skills.