link building: building the right links for your SEO
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Have you also heard that Google ranks your website high when you properly do link building? Well, I guess you have ... or maybe you haven't! Building links isn't just the only thing that helps your website's SEO, it's making sure that you're building the right links that have added value for your target group ... You build the right links by putting the message first instead of your website or content. Learn to put yourself in the shoes of your target group(s) as this helps you more than you can know.
So what is link building?
The internet is based on links connecting different sites and all websites are linked together to form a large network; the Internet. Link building is the acquisition of good, quality links to your website. An (external) link from a popular website can be very good for a website's SEO. Search engines reward websites that have quality external links from other websites, and this also helps your website to rank high in search engine results pages.
Unfortunately, a lot of SEO blogs only focus on how you can get your website at the top of the search engine results pages with link building. And how you ensure that your content wins in the competition with other site's content. These blogs often forget online readers and users who go on search engines. They forget to mention how to present information to them in the right context.
The truth is that as a digital SEO marketer who wants to cater to the needs of his/her web visitors while also ranking high on search engines, you can kill two birds with one stone. All you have to do is optimize the digital experience of the visitor by providing them with exactly the information they need while ensuring that your message (and that does not necessarily mean your content) can easily be recognised by search engine bots.
You can rank high on search engine results pages with the right links while providing relevant information to your web visitors at the same time. You can do that in the 4 steps below.
Link Building as done by Google:
For the online user, the power of online communication lies in the connection of information on the internet. Google helps its users with that by setting their algorithms so that well-connected content score better. In layman terms, this simply means that website content with the "ideal number of current links, from high-quality sources and with relevant anchor texts" rank higher in the search results than content without those links.
The algorithm uses this to measure whether the content is properly connected to the content of others. If you want to optimize your content for search engines, then it helps to link it to other relevant content (in SEO terms: "link building").
Here is how you do it:
1. Try to think about what online users search for and how they do it. Immerse yourself in the behaviour of online users in order to build the right links and be able to reconstruct their search. To do that properly, it is important to have a goal and keep your eyes on it. What do you want to achieve with your content's message and the links in it? Make your message as straight to the point as possible. The more concrete your message is, the more efficient and effective the links will be in helping you achieve your SEO goals.
2. Build links and write content that complements what is already out there. Now that you have an idea of the search behaviour of search engine users, the type of content you can use to convey the message to your readers - you can now set about the task of helping your web visitors with extra information that they cannot find on other websites. This way, you fill in the gaps that other websites have. Filling in the gaps makes your content stand out and along with the links in the content, you have the right ingredients to rank higher on search engine results pages.
3. Go out there and start talking to potential link building partners. Don't just speak to anyone that crosses your path, make sure you're talking to the right partners with the right websites. And then, start "building backlinks", or generating links from their websites to yours.
How do you know which link is good and which is not?
If your content clearly and seamlessly adds something to the content of the other websites, you can make a call or write an email to inquire if they would be willing to include your link where it makes sense in their texts. However, in many cases, you really have to invest in the relationship with the parties you want to collaborate with.
Talk to them about their goals and target groups, what content they share and how your message fits in with that, and vice versa. Don't expect them to just say yes the first time you call or email them. Some of them want to be sure that your content wouldn't be disadvantageous to their website and the content they have produced for their clients.
Discuss where and how the links to each others' content make sense. Make arrangements to contact each other with changes to content or links. With a long-term collaboration, you are more likely to really optimize your visitor's web experience.
Note: do not expect a link back for every link you place. Too many links cause loops, and search engines don't like loops.
4. Make sure you pick your partners wisely. You can't just ask every website on the internet for links, so make sure you do your homework and go for the ones with similar interests to yours.
Choose websites with the following properties:
They take the information they feed their target group(s) very seriously and rank high in the search results pages because of it.
The quality of their content is up-to-date, correct and relevant to their target audience - and also to yours.
They have a lot of knowledge in the field you're also interested in, are responsible for policy or implementation, and have a lot of experienced experts or specialists or researchers working to produce quality web content.
Their target group(s) largely overlaps with yours.
And yes, it's mostly easier to start a conversation about building links for your content with websites who agree with your message than those who don't. However, the impact of your message can be much greater if a "counterparty" can also see their story from your perspective and want to share that perspective with their web visitors by placing links to your content. The content could be an opinion piece asking for reactions, for example.
When can link building be considered successful?
You mostly notice it in how satisfied your clients are with your content and how much it helps them find what they're looking for. They usually let you know this by leaving positive comments on your blogs. Compared to hardcore SEO and SEA, you are less aware of how high the linked website ends up in the search results and the number of visitors they send to your website.
The most important way to measure this is by monitoring your ranking on search engine results pages. Are you now in the top 5? It's a huge success if you're now number 1!
There are also tools you can use to see the number of referrals to your website and how much these referrals have contributed to the increase in the number of visitors to your website or page.
There is also a different type of link building and it's called linkbait.
Link-bait is an indirect type of link building where you do not explicitly ask other websites for a link, but instead, go "fishing" for a link. With link-bait, you attract the attention of other websites with the aim that they place a link to your website. This can, for example, be a newsworthy article, a handy SEO tool or an interesting video. This is also another way to build links without calling or emailing other websites.
Good link building will certainly improve your position in the search results. However, link building is a time-consuming job and certainly not an easy one. Do you need help with your link building strategy? Send us an email and we will gladly help you with advice on how to do that.