By Ben Molfetta
It is crucial for most businesses to get ranked as highly as possible in search engine results. There is a direct correlation between search engine rankings, website traffic and inbound leads.
Much of your website’s ranking is influenced by “off-page SEO,” which is about developing online authority and credibility by establishing inbound links (links to your website from other websites).
Securing high value links is not easy, and takes a commitment to planning and consistent execution. However, when done properly, the payoff can be significant over time.
According to SEO Moz, “…growing the link profile of a website is critical to gaining traction, attention and traffic from the engines…link building is among the top tasks required for search ranking and traffic success…”.
Some of the keys to link building success are:
- Identify and target link building opportunities
- Start with “low hanging fruit” and perform link building in phases
- Develop valuable content (sometimes known as “link bait”)
- Be a good online citizen (reciprocity)
- Build relationships
- Make link building an ongoing effort
- Stay aware of industry trends – get ahead of the curve
Link building activities take significant effort, so it is best to proceed in an organized and strategic manner. A well thought-out link building plan is essential. A link building plan should include the following elements:
- Determine Link Targets
The sources of desired links must be well understood and documented. This will require research, as well brainstorming with multiple functional areas within your organization (e.g. sales, executive management, customer service, etc.).
- Prioritize the Targets
Link building takes time, so it is best to proceed in phases. An example of a phased approach is:
- Phase one focuses on links that are the easiest to secure such as directories and business partnerships. Even though these links may not be of as high value, the activities initiate a disciplined link building process and allow for some early successes.
- Once phase one links are secured, the next set of link building activities should be undertaken. Phase two may require leveraging quality content, social networking, relationship building, and public relationship opportunities.
- Phase three entails targeting the most difficult link sources such as sites with high domain authority (e.g. Huffington Post, New York Times, etc.) and developing highly valued “link bait” (e.g. infographics, white papers, etc.).
- Assess Results/Make Adjustments
Once link building activities are initiated, results must be evaluated to determine whether they have had an impact on search engine results, inbound leads, brand awareness, and so on.
Based on this analysis, the necessary adjustments must be made to improve results.
Remember, a single high quality link is worth much more than many lower quality links – quality is more important than quantity. As the number of quality inbound links you secure increases, search engine rankings will improve, as will your online visibility due to the link building activities.
This leads directly to increased site traffic, and ultimately to more inbound leads.
Ben Molfetta is the co-founder of Core Online Marketing. He helps small and mid-sized businesses grow by planning, implementing, and executing winning online marketing strategies. Visit coreonlinemarketing.com or email Ben at [email protected].