The No 1 goal of link building is to boost your search engine visibility by getting links to your website on as many high-quality sites as possible. There are numerous strategies you can use to achieve this, from the simple to the complex, including Content Marketing, Blogger Outreach, Resource Page linking, and PR. Google used to use Page Rank to determine a page’s quality, which was partly based on how many people were linking to it. But when people found out how to game Page Rank, Google lost the ability to detect what was a good link and a bad one, which reduced their ranking algorithms' effectiveness.
In 2012 Google made some crucial updates, to weed out shady black hat link building techniques and better determine quality links. They now place a lot of importance on link quality, as well as quantity, meaning where your link appears is just as crucial, if not more, as how many links you get. Now Google regularly penalizes websites that use black hat techniques or over-optimise with low-quality link building. The value of specific techniques such as submitting your site to web directories has also fallen, due to being repeatedly overused. Search engines use backlinks to discover new web pages, which they then include in search results. They also use them to evaluate a page’s ranking position within search results.
Even though there have been a lot of changes, links are still critical if you want to rank well on Google. But employing low-quality link building techniques is not only a waste of your time and effort - but it could also actively damage your website’s ranking. The bottom line is backlinks are still so vital to your visibility in search, they are Google’s key ranking signal.
Link building is important if you’re looking to build relationships with people in your industry for two primary reasons.
- It can help you acquire valuable backlinks on highly relevant, popular sites but it also aids you in making connections over the long term. When you contact an influencer, site owner, or blogger with a well-written pitch that demonstrates the value of linking to you, you make that all important first contact with someone who can be incredibly influential in your niche.
- Even if they don’t say yes, the first time around, providing your pitch is polite and relevant, you’ll have made that all-important first contact. Next time, they might well say yes, or they might even come to you.
A sample outreach pitch might look like this:
Hi [INSERT NAME],
I’m [YOUR NAME], owner of [BLOG] and I’m getting in touch as I wanted to let you know I really enjoy your blog on [SUBJECT]. I’ve actually just published an article on [SUBJECT] that [mentions your work], and I thought you might find it helpful to link to my piece on your [NAME OF PAGE] page.
The piece covers [GO INTO A BIT OF BRIEF DETAIL], so I thought your readers may find it useful. I also wondered if you’d appreciate a link to your blog on my site too? If so, let me know the link you’d like me to point to, as well as the link text, and I’ll get that set up right away. You can find my piece at [INSERT URL] and if you’d like to link to it, the link text is [INSERT LINK TEXT].
Thanks so much for considering my request, I’ll be looking forward to reading many more of your informative articles,
You can customise the parts in brackets to better suit your own purposes. This pitch is perfect as it’s polite, laid back, but demonstrates the value of why they should link to you. Plus, by including your URL and suggested link text, it also makes it easy for them to do just that.
Get the RIGHT kind of traffic: Links are incredibly useful for boosting your referral traffic and if you get a backlink on a popular website in your niche, you’ll likely see a significant increase in visitors. As the traffic will already be pre-screened for interest, if your link appears on a relevant site, rather than a more general one - it’s more likely to convert.
Getting your content, products, or services in front of people who are interested in a superb way to up the value of your links. Even if they don’t buy from you right away, you’ve raised your profile to an ideal target audience. This is something you should always be looking to do if your goal is to boost your SEO and expand your business.
Establish your brand authority: Your link building strategy can also help solidify your brand authority, particularly if you create content that’s relevant to what you offer, and valuable to potential customers. If you have a sportswear e-commerce store for example and published a piece entitled “Go from couch potato to 10K runner in 6 months”, this would be extremely relevant to a significant portion of your audience.
There are three ways you can benefit here:
- First, you’re attracting people to your brand, who’ve searched for the terms your piece has ranked for. Now they know who you are and are more likely to consider you an authority on a subject they are interested in.
- Secondly, you’ll raise your site authority with Google if enough people link to your piece, which also helps to boost your search engine ranking.
- Thirdly, you may make some sales, if you link smartly to your products in the piece, or at the end, or if you include offers placed well around your article.