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This is how you build links the right way.

The Internet is awash with advice on various link-building strategies to build your SEO. There are, of course, the link-building SEO scams that offer to bring in hundreds of links in just a few days, usually by spamming comments sections with irrelevant links. (That’s called Black Hat SEO, by the way: don’t do that.) However, there’s lots of great advice out there—enough that it can be confusing to know what strategy will work best for you.

Well, let us help make that decision easier for you. We’ve rounded up our top link-building strategies to help bring your page up in organic search engine results. But before we dive in, there’s maybe one question we should answer first…

Why do you want to build links in the first place?

As we discussed in our previous post on increasing your domain authority, link-building is a top strategy for boosting your SEO. Google has acknowledged that links and content are the two most important ranking factors for your site. The two go hand-in-hand, because without links no one finds your content, and without content there’s nothing to link to.

Links are the threads which weave the Internet together. Without links, you don’t really have the network that binds the Web in place. The number and quality of backlinks (links directed toward your website from elsewhere) influences how well your site is ranked online. You can think of a spam link as a particularly fine thread, liable to break at any moment. A valuable link from a website with high trust is like a thick cord roping you in. The goal of any good link-building strategy is to get as many high-value links as possible. And to do that, you have to start with content.

Create content worth linking to.

We’re not just talking blogs here, although obviously we like those. All your content, including your podcasts, videos, infographics, and e-books, should be eminently link-worthy. This means creating high-quality content that speaks to your audience, satisfies their needs, and is good enough that they would want to share it with others. They may want to share it as a resource, or because they think it’s funny, because it is relevant to their own content, or because it provoked thought. However it happens, that share is gold.

Get your content in front of a wide audience.

Once you create content, you need to amplify it. Share it on social media. Use those hashtags. Include it in your email newsletter. You want to do this to bring in visitors, but it’s also simple math: the more people who read your content, the more likely some of them will link back to it.

Target your content.

Research where your audience spends their time. Compile a list of sites that are relevant to your target audience, and create content that they would want to link to. If your content is niche enough, it is totally acceptable to reach out see if they would be interested in linking to what you wrote. You can also extend an offer to write a guest post on their site, which they may be very willing to accept given how time consuming content creation can be. They’ll benefit from the content, and you’ll benefit from the backlink: it’s a win-win!

Offer to feature influencers in your content.

Another way to attract backlinks is by guest features on your blog. This can come in the form of guest posts, or interviews with key people in your sphere. If you can write up a piece covering some of their views on a subject, or have them co-present in your video blog, then not only do you get a great piece of quality content on your site, they’ll also want to link to it from their site. They get to share their view on your site, you get access to their audience.

Another win? You’re strengthening your professional network at the same time, building credibility with people at the top of your industry. What’s not to love?

Search for resource directories or other referral networks.

Is your site a valuable resource? Reach out to directories to see if they would be willing to include your site on their lists. If you are a non-profit or provide some other community service, you could start with libraries in your area. Or if you work with non-profits who keep resource directories on their websites, you could ask them to include yours, if relevant.

If you offer a product, a similar strategy would be to reach out to bloggers in your industry for a review. Send them a sample of your product and see if they will cover you on their blog. It’s great publicity, and it will give you an inside look at what influencers in your industry think of your product.

Spare some love for your internal links, too.

Links between your internal pages help strengthen your own website by directing visitors to other useful information. Essentially, this can help retain their interest and draw them further down the sales funnel toward acting on your CTA. Remember that anchor text matters, so make your links (internal and outbound) natural and descriptive.

Speaking of which, don’t be afraid to link to outside resources! While there are some competing rules of thought on this one, Moz has an excellent summary of these link-building strategies, and I for one am all in favor of the generous approach. You don’t have to link to your direct competition, but linking to relevant sources around the web can help validate your own information, and catch the eye of folk who might be willing to link back to you.

Backlinks grow your referral network.

Link building takes time and effort if you’re going to do it the right way. But the benefits are manifold. Backlinks don’t just help your organic SEO, they also provide referrals to your site. This increases your overall traffic, and if these backlinks come from places relevant to your site, the visitors who follow them are more likely to convert.

Published 06/06/17 by Laura Lynch