There’s little doubt that link building is the least glamorous, least enjoyable part of SEO for many people trying to get their site high in search engine rankings. Mental images of getting list of websites that link to your competitors, sites or blogs that contain your desired keywords, and relevant directories.
Once you have these, there’s the terrible anticipation of waiting several years while a volunteer at the Open Directory reviews your entry, and even worse, the cold calling of all the webmasters that you’ve found, trying to get them to stop their real job and insert a link to your site. If you’ve ever had any success in doing this, chances are that you have multiple links with the same anchor text, and Google’s almighty Penguin has been along and thrown you out of the search results.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Go right back to thinking what Google is trying to achieve. Google wants to maximize its revenue from paid search ads. In order to do this it needs visitors to its pages. It does this by trying to provide the best and most relevant answer to a searcher’s search query. If it does this by providing the best results in the organic listings, its users will keep coming back, and there’s a good chance that they might click on a paid ad, listed above or to the right of the organic results. Ka-ching! Google gets money in the till, the top results have done their job and the advertiser gets traffic and a possible conversion.
Why does Google place a specific page top of the organic rankings? It’s because Google estimates that it provide the best resource for the search query. It’s because it deems that page to be an authority on the subject searched, and a large part of that is because of the quality of the links to that page from other respected sources.
So how can you get these links that will shoot you to the top of the rankings and bring you traffic? The answer is that you need to demonstrate that you – or your site, specifically – is the ultimate respected resource for the product or service that you offer. And do you do this by asking people to link to you? No, you do it by offering what people are looking for – great, unique, valuable, relevant content.
The most effective links aren’t bought, bartered or swapped. The best links are the ones your pages have earned by being great, unique and valuable to visitors, valuable as references for other site and blogs that refer to you by linking to you.
Write amazing content. Learn all you can about a subject before you write content. Maybe take a different slant on a subject. Help others to achieve things with “How to” and “The Best Way to” articles and blogs. All this builds trust between you and your audience.
Be honest with your audience. Be open about what you give for free – such as the advice on these unique pages – and what you charge for. Be open about how your business works. If you provide a service, be open about how you do it. Don’t be all cloak and dagger.
Lastly, feel free to share awareness of your content. Feel free to notify Twitter followers and Facebook “Likers” about your new content. Just avoid using ads on your site if you can, or making your tweets sound like ads for you. Make them a part of what you share with other via social media.
Content marketing, done right, really is the best way to get quality links — no cold calling required. It’s quality, not quantity, which really matters in the push for the summit.
Image: Links by Shutterstock