What You Need to Know About Link Building for SEO

By: Chris Thompson on March 6, 2019 Categories: SEO
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Before You Get Started with Link Building

It’s an unwritten rule of the digital ecosystem that quality content always rises to the top. Unlike the dark days of the Internet when it was easier to rank on Google with some well-placed keywords and questionable copy — 2019 is all about providing your audience with user-based content that offers unique, valuable, or engaging insights on a consistent basis.

Because of that, one of the most crucial elements of quality content in 2019 is establishing authority. The most effective way to do that is through the practice of link building and creating a symbiotic relationship among authoritative websites. It’s almost like partaking in an open trade economy with like-minded sites that offer the same level of quality content so you can help each other rank on Google.

Links from Blogs and Social

This is good news for businesses that already have a consistent blog output and active social channels. In fact, businesses that already have regular blogging habits in place get up to 97% more inbound links. They’ve taken the time to invest in their content and have been able to establish authority with their audience as a result. We’re here to help bridge that gap and give you our own insights into how to develop a successful link building strategy in 2019. When comparing blog and social, blog content provides longer term value because it is up on your website and is being crawled by Google more often. Social content is still important, but be sure to keep in mind that the lifetime of the post is short, so in order to drive continued value from a post, you should think about recycling or repeating posts periodically.

User Experience Matters

Before getting into the real meat of how content affects link building — start by assessing your website pages as a whole to determine if your user experience (UX) is running as smoothly as possible.

Even if you’re utilizing fantastic inbound links that connect to authoritative sites, it won’t matter if your UX is completely off. Everything from site loading speed to mobile friendliness needs to be carefully considered. Google Lighthouse is a great all-in-one tool that tests loading times, accessibility, SEO, and provides great resources on best practices.

If your site is marred with 404 errors, for example, it’s nearly impossible to establish authority because you’re creating an extra step to connect that link. It’s essentially like putting a roadblock in front of your content to get recognized as an authority.

Taking the time to fix all your crawl errors will not only help you boost authority right away, but it also makes your business look more professional overall. Think about it: would you trust a site that gives you an error every time you click on something? Probably not, right? So why would we expect that from Google? Here’s a more in-depth article (for SEO beginners) on crawl errors from Yoast.

Easy Doesn’t Mean Effective

Link building isn’t always easy. It takes time and patience to build up a well-rounded link profile that includes a variety of authoritative sites linking back to yours. Sometimes you can be tempted to take a quick and easy way to build that link profile, but it actually comes with more headaches than it solves.

One of the most common practices people engage in is purchased links. Sounds good on paper, right? All you’re doing is buying a few links to get the ball rolling so you can start ranking on Google. Pretty innocent, no? Well, as it turns out, websites that buy or sell links are in violation of Google’s quality guidelines and risk penalties that will significantly impact their ranking in a negative way. In other words, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

The same goes for individuals that partake in link exchanges. Google doesn’t like to see linking for the sake of linking. With that in mind, it’s fine to link to partners or affiliates that you have a working relationship with. Exchanging links in bulk and at random with unaffiliated sites is where Google will start doing a double take when it comes to your link building practices.

It’s also important to note the difference in value between links to social posts versus blog posts. Social posts have higher visibility short-term since the lifetime of these posts are shorter and need to be repeated periodically. Blog posts, on the other hand, have better long-term visibility and are crawled by Google more often so their value over time is higher.

Relationship Building is the New Wave

In 2019, you need to build connections within your market for your link building strategy to truly flourish. Good relationships can help you build inbound links in an organic way, all the while highlighting yourself as an active member of your respective community.

Be careful though, you can’t just jump in and start asking similar businesses for backlinks at random. That’s where the relationship building aspect becomes especially important. Take time to identify different forums, blogs, or social groups that you’re able to connect with real people through. Add value to online discussions and craft insightful comments that will allow you to get noticed.

While this method of link building is really more of a marathon than a sprint, the payoff is well worth the investment. Google loves to see links from related authority sites and once they recognize that they stem from a legitimate, non-transactional relationship — they get downright giddy inside.

Being authentic in your pursuit of these kind of relationships is crucial. Leaving a great comment on someone’s blog or emailing them directly to tell them you love their work are excellent ways to get that natural dialogue rolling. It’s just like any real world relationship really, the more work you put it into it — the more you will get from it in the long-term.

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