As discussed in a previous blog, your ranking on search engines (like Google) is based more on “off-page” attributes than “on-page”. Off-page SEO is about gaining credible links from external sources pointing to your website. Good inbound links (or, “backlinks”) are a significant factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.
There is a direct correlation between search engine rankings, website traffic, inbound leads, and ultimately, ROI – so taking the time to secure high quality inbound links is worth the effort.
While most business owners acknowledge the importance of ranking well on search engines, many do not know about the importance of links, or the sources that should be targeted for good quality backlinks.
There are some “low-hanging fruit” sources that any business can start with. Although these are not necessarily of the highest value, they are easier to secure and will get you started on building your link profile.
Links can be secured from a number of directory types including web directories, blog directories, podcast directories, and niche directories such as associations and chambers of commerce.
Some directories provide free links and others are paid.
Use directories with caution. Since they are easy to get, their inherent value may be low. Directories from which links are secured must make sense for your business; for example, an industry association you participate in.
- Social Networking Sites
Being active on social networking sites is key to link building success. Posting blogs, articles, or other valuable content may encourage information sharing, leading to increased visibility and in some cases inbound links.
- Websites that Look for Third Party Content
Authoritative, relevant content is critical to online success and fuels link building.
Content should take advantage of formats other than written text, such as infographics and videos. Using different formats will increase the likelihood of content being noticed and shared.
“Link bait” is a content type produced specifically to attract attention, get shared, and generate inbound links. Examples of link bait include unique videos, productivity tools, or infographics that effectively explain a complex or popular topic.
This is the type of content to which external sources will direct their audiences.
- Your Business Partners
Leveraging business relationships is a sound link building practice. Working with suppliers, partner organizations, customers, and industry contacts can result in valuable inbound linking opportunities.
This link building tactic should be approached from a win/win perspective – how can partner organizations help each other with online marketing efforts?
- Public Relations
Press releases, using online PR services such as PRWeb, are an important link building tool. Communication of noteworthy news, events, milestones, etc. should be an integral part of your link building plan.
Quality Trumps Quantity
The key to link building success is to focus on quality links, not quantity of links. Not every link is created equal; a single high quality link can boost your website ranking more than a number of low quality ones.
As HubSpot puts it: “Backlinks tell search engines that your website is an authority on a certain subject –so the more backlinks you have from high quality, high authority sites, the better your website will rank in search engine results pages.”
Over time, the payoff of securing high quality links pointing to your website can be substantial.
Ben Molfetta is the co-founder of Core Online Marketing. Core helps small and mid-sized businesses grow by planning, implementing, and executing online marketing strategies that drive sustainable revenue growth. Visit coreonlinemarketing.com or email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.