Beginners Guide to Link Building.
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to pages on your own website. The purpose of link building is to boost the “authority” of your pages in the eyes of Google so that these pages rank higher and bring more search traffic.
This post is taken from the Beginner’s Guide to Link Building, posted recently by the ahrefs Blog. It is a very comprehensive post, a link-building guide with absolute beginners in mind, and made full of actionable advice that you can start implementing right away.
In general, you can boil most “white hat” link building strategies down to two simple steps:
> Create something notable (and therefore worthy of a link)
> Show it to people who own website’s (and thus can link to it)
Why is link building important?
According to Google’s Andrey Lipattsev, links are one of the three major ranking factors in Google. So if you want your website’s pages to rank high in search, you will almost certainly need links. Google (and other search engines) look at links from other sites as “votes.” These votes help them identify which page on a given topic (out of thousands of similar ones) deserves to be ranking at the very top of the search results.
So Where to Look When Adding links
If you can go to a website that doesn’t belong to you and manually place your link there, that’s called “adding” a link. The most common tactics that fit into this category are:
> Business directory submissions;
> Social profile creation;
> Blog commenting;
> Posting to forums, communities & Q&A sites;
> Creating job search listings;
Building links via those tactics are very easy to do. And for that exact reason, those links tend to have very low value in the eyes of Google (and in some cases can even be flagged as SPAM). Other than that, these kinds of links barely give you any competitive advantage. If you can go to a website and manually place your link there, nothing stops your competitors from doing the same.
However, you shouldn’t ignore this group of link-building tactics entirely. Each of them can actually be quite beneficial for your online business for reasons other than acquiring links.
Let me elaborate with a few examples:
You should resist the urge to add your website to every single business directory there is just to get yourself another link. Instead, focus on those that are well known, have traffic and therefore might bring actual visitors to your website.
For example, if you’re a small business owner and you’ve learned about a local business directory where fellow entrepreneurs get their leads, you should absolutely list your business there. And that one link would probably bring you a lot more ‘SEO value’ than submitting your site to a list of generic business directories that you found at a random SEO forum.
It’s good practice to claim your brand name on all major social media sites (Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, Instagram & the like) as soon as possible. Otherwise, squatters might snatch them once your brand gets on their radar.
Investing some time and effort into relevant social media sites is a good way to amass a loyal following and promote your business to them. But the actual links from social profile pages have little to no direct SEO value, unfortunately. So don’t expect a sudden ranking boost after signing up for a few dozen social networking sites.
Leaving a meaningful comment on someone’s article is a great way to get on their radar and kickstart a relationship with them (which might lead to all sorts of good things). But posting comments with the sole purpose of shoehorning a link to your website there will only make blog owners hate you.
And besides, links from blog comments are usually nofollowed (i.e., might not count as “votes”). So if you’re thinking of leaving someone a comment just to add your link there—don’t.
Hopefully, these three examples will give you a good idea of how to “add” your links to other websites without being spammy.
Connect Using Internal Links
You should also connect your content effectively through the use of internal links, which is important because Google will get an understanding of your site’s structure. This means that they are going to be able to establish a hierarchy on your website, which enables you to give the most critical posts and pages greater link value than other pages that are not so valuable. This is why it is vital that you need to create an effective internal link-building strategy.
For a much more in-depth understanding of link building, visit the Beginner’s Guide to Link Building post.