If you’ve heard of the term link building in recent years you might be wondering whether it’s a valid marketing activity for your organisation.
Link building is a core aspect of any SEO strategy and shouldn’t be undertaken without careful consideration as to whether:
- You have the expertise to do it yourself, or;
- You have the budget to manage an outsourced expert, or;
- You have the right strategy in place to oversee this time-consuming activity.
What is link building?
Sites that don’t showcase themselves as trustworthy, authoritative experts on the subject matter they’re trying to rank for will be ‘penalised’ in the sense that Google will rank them lower in the search results.
Link building is focused on the inbound links your site has - which sites are linking to you as a ‘trustworthy, authoritative expert’? The more sites the better, the higher quality those sites, the bigger the reward in Google’s eyes:
“The more popular and important a site is, the more weight the links from that site carry. A site like Wikipedia, for example, has thousands of diverse sites linking to it. This indicates it provides lots of expertise, has cultivated authority, and is trusted among those other sites.
“To earn trust and authority with search engines, you'll need links from websites that display the qualities of E-A-T. These don't have to be Wikipedia-level sites, but they should provide searchers with credible, trustworthy content.”
There are many ways you can build the number of links pointing to your website - thus affecting Google’s ‘opinion’ of your website and you as a trustworthy, authoritative expert (for the better and worse).
5 commonly-used link building tactics
01. Content-based link building
Simply put, content-based links come from the resources you put together and then try to get links to. So you create this piece of content with the goal of getting people to link to it as a relevant, high-quality, authoritative take on a subject. It could be in any format:
- Photo gallery
Once you’ve published your piece of content you will reach out to people online that you think will reach the audiences you need to see and engage with your new piece of content. It is quite a long-term campaign that can have varying levels of results and requires a lot of input from your team to disseminate your content far and wide and follow up on (or push for a) response.
02. Guest blogging
A long-standing way of building links to your website is to source guest blogging opportunities with other organisations and publishers. Google continues to crack down on those that use this tactic with poor, low-quality, irrelevant content, so you’ve got to take care to ensure you’re bringing something new to the metaphorical table with each blog post you disseminate.
03. Broken link building
A common request at Thrive HQ comes from SEOs looking to correct broken links in our older blog posts. Although it initially seems like a ‘happy to help’ approach, there is usually an underlying reason for the kind stranger’s prompt that your website has broken links - they want to replace them with content that they’ve created.
Broken link building can help you indeed repair broken and dead links on your site, but ensure that the content they’re recommending you link to really answers the questions and solves the problems that the old content does. Equally, you may be better boosting your search authority by researching appropriate new links yourself.
04. Link reclamation
Reclaim or fix links that used to point to your site, or still do but don’t provide strong SEO value. You can undertake a variety of options when it comes to link reclamation strategies, such as:
404s: Companies may have pointed to pages on your website that are now dead links as they've been removed or renamed. You can update on your end or request that they update the redirect information.
Brand mentions: Some companies will mention you without linking to you so it’s worth reaching out to request they update their content to include a link to your site. Try Google Alerts.
05. “Ego bait”
Getting included in a round-up of the ‘Top 100 best plumbers in the Midlands’ - all you need to do is include a link to the publisher’s website in a blog post or webpage on your own site to be included.
It preys on the belief that people want to be listed as the 'best’ or the ‘top’ in their field, as it initially looks like it showcases your skills and abilities. When in actuality, you’re providing irrelevant links to the publisher, along with many other businesses - building their search ranking and authority with your authoritative and carefully-managed website.
Be wary of how this tactic can positively and negatively impact your business, and take great consideration into any ‘ego bait’ articles that you choose to partake in - the rewards can be great and not-so-great.
Looking to get started with improving or implementing an SEO strategy that supports your business growth ideas? Thrive can offer guidance and best practices for your specific objectives - call 01325 778 786.