Getting other websites to link to yours is a critical component of improving your search rankings, with each site that links to you acting as a 'vote' for your content. John Straw explains how to improve your link strategy
Links give Google important clues about the content contained on your site via the words contained in the anchor text of the link or the alt text of the graphic linking to you. Search engines will look at:
The best links come from websites that specialise in your business area and which contain your keyword in the link anchor or is a page all about the keyword.
There are lots of ways of acquiring links. You might consider:
It’s clear that good quality content is vital. The way search engines work is changing. Low-quality content, re-published content and content published purely to generate links are being devalued. Strategies that involve you creating and promoting your own brilliant content through direct engagement and social media should be increasingly used.
Quality links is also much more important than the quantity. Links that come from sites that aren’t trusted, that have low amounts of unique content or which have high levels of reciprocal links will be of little benefit to you.
In addition to how many links you need, another KPI is how fast you should build them — known as link velocity. One of the ways search engines detect link spam is to look for unnatural link velocity. For example, if a website had been naturally acquiring a link a week but suddenly acquired 200 new links all with a similar commercial link anchor text, it’s going to look suspicious.
Make sure your links use natural language patterns, synonyms, related keywords, combinations of your brand name and anchor text.
Lots of the links you’ll create will lose their value over time, and just a few will increase their value. The ones which will help you the most for the longest depends on where the link is and what type of page it is.
If the link to you is from a permanent resource, you’ll get much more benefit than if the link is from a page that is destined to be relegated to the archive. Sites that suffer most from this 'link decay' are blogs, articles or PR submission sites.
If you push content to sites where links get relegated quickly, you will need to regularly publish content to as many different places as possible. If you get the high quality links from pages designed to be read and referenced (linked to) for a long time, then you’ve got yourself a link that won’t decay and might even increase in value.
Getting other websites to link to you can take time. It’s about making friends. The website owners you want links from get lots of requests every day, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Here are my top tips:
Is it all worth it in the end?
You bet. Building links will have a dramatic effect on your ranking. Links help your website and its pages gain trust, authority and relevance. Search engine optimisation can have a huge ROI, which in my experience far exceeds that of paid search. It also lasts a long time.