Building strong links for SEO can really help to boost your business’s online visibility and help you to climb to the top of the rankings! But, how do you build these valuable links without making your site appear spammy?
This article will provide you with some tips on how to successfully build links to attract traffic to your website and where you can find sites that will be willing to point their audience to your website.
What is link building?
Firstly, let’s refresh our knowledge of link building. Link building is the SEO term for getting other websites to point links to your website. These links allow online users to navigate their way through different pages and sites online with just a click and search engines can also crawl these links, helping them to understand the content of your site.
The process of acquiring these links can be very difficult, especially if you are trying to get them for free! That said, building high quality links will go a long way in landing you a decent spot on search engine results pages (SERPs) and therefore, help to get your business noticed!
How does link building help SEO?
As mentioned, links can help to earn your website a spot on the SERP. This is because Google views these links as signals that your website is trustworthy, relevant and above all, useful for the user searching online. If you can earn links from trusted websites, Google will reward you with a hot spot on the rankings, increasing your chances of getting clicks and page views. Here is a quick round-up of how link building can help SEO:
It can help to build relationships
Improving your outreach can lead to long-term relationships with other businesses and influencers who will be more willing to provide links and sing your praises once they trust and respect you. In a sense, you are creating brand ambassadors for yourself or your client, so putting effort into effective communication will certainly pay off!
Building your brand
Having good backlinks to your website can help to build your brand and present you as trustworthy and recommended. If others are pointing their customers or readers to you, this can help to demonstrate your expertise and encourage more influencers to share your content or products.
Having trusted websites with high-traffic linking to your page can lead to an increase of referral traffic to your site. This is why it is worth investing your time in finding content which is relevant to your product or service, as you need to be thinking about the customer and what their needs might be.
Tips for link building for SEO
Do your research
Before you can ask anyone to link to your site, you need to do your research to find out who will be the most relevant and trustworthy website to link to you. Avoid websites that are designed to simply promote any and every product going - these sites can be dodgy and may also have a low Domain Authority (DA) which search engines may not approve of. You can check site metrics using a tool such as Moz, which will indicate whether you can trust a particular website.
Find out what your most important content is
Before you ask a website to link to your content, make sure that it is a page worth landing on! Taking time to enrich and optimise your content so that it is as useful as possible for readers will help to keep customers on your website for longer (potentially leading to a purchase or sign-up to a newsletter). You can discover what your most valuable pages are by using a tool such as SEMrush.
Ensure that content is of high-quality
At the end of the day, Google and other search engines are becoming increasingly good at crawling and finding the best results for online users. Search engines make it their mission to find the most relevant content in relation to a searcher’s query so links alone are not enough...your content (or the content of the website linking to you) needs to be in-depth and of high-quality if you are going to score a good spot on the SERP. Not sure on how to write high-quality content? Take a look at our tips on how to make SEO friendly content.
Find unlinked mentions
Using an SEO platform like SEMrush will give you the opportunity to find websites that have mentioned your site but not provided links. Reaching out to websites that have already referred to or recommended your site is a great way to get links (providing they are trusted sites themselves) because they’ve already included you in their content. Simply adding a hyperlink to your site where you’ve been mentioned won’t take up much of their time, giving you a better chance of securing a link.
Analyse your competition
Do some digging and see which websites are already linking to your competition...you never know, they might be interested in featuring your service or products too! You can also use an SEO tool such as Ahrefs to see how they are optimising their backlink profiles.
Involve contributors in your content
Another tip which can be very successful in gaining links to your website is actually getting others involved in writing part of your content piece to promote their own brand. Once you’ve published this content, you can then go back to these websites and ask them to provide a link to the article - as they have already been involved and the content is both relevant and promotes them, they will be more likely to agree to link to this. Our Head of SEO, Tom Crewe, discusses the benefits of involving others in your content and shares a successful case study to get you inspired!
Avoid black hat SEO
Black hat SEO is the practice of increasing your website's online visibility or ranking through manipulative measures that are designed to trick search engines rather than earn you your spot on SERPs. The following ways of link building are considered as black hat SEO and should be avoided if you don’t want to be penalised by search engines such as Google:
- Link manipulation (this includes paying people for links)
- Unnatural links
- Link schemes (including any methods designed to manipulate links to your site or outgoing links)
- Excessive links
For more information on link tactics that could negatively impact your website’s visibility and ranking, take a look at Google’s guidelines.
Offering to write an article for another website is a great way to squeeze in a link to your own website within the content. Although this method can be time consuming (as you will need to ensure your content is of good quality to rank well), it is an easy way to build links. Some websites will invite guest bloggers but it may be worth pitching to those who do not explicitly ask for content - they may be more willing to publish your work than you think - especially if a piece is well-written, free and helps to drive more traffic to their site.
Fix any broken links
Using an SEO tool such as Ahrefs will allow you to find any broken links to your site. Once you find them, you simply need to create a similar page or piece of content and ask anyone linking to the old resource to replace the link with the one leading to your new working resource.
Don’t give up!
It is very unlikely that you will hear back from everyone that you contact. It is important to remember that people can be busy and essentially, you are asking them to do you a favour. As they say, good things come to those who wait, so keep trying to build links and you will eventually hear back from someone. It may even be a good idea to chase up those who you have reached out to, just in case they missed your message...it can’t hurt to try!
Where to find links for SEO
There are many online platforms and tools out there that will help you to build links, but you can also discover opportunities through your own research. Here are some ideas to help get your started:
Conducting some good ol’ fashioned research to find backlink opportunities can help you to find good quality websites that may be interested in featuring your content. Take some time to search for keywords on Google and see what pops up.
Online tools and platforms
Using online tools and platforms designed for link building can help to save you time and effort when it comes to finding relevant websites and influencers. Whilst they may not always be free, they are well worth investing in if you are a big company. Here are some useful tools for link building:
SEMrush has a fantastic link building tool which allows you to analyse your competition and improve your outreach to build links. The ability to locate any mentions of your site that are not linked is incredibly valuable as you can easily reach out to these sites and ask if they’re willing to attach a link to their existing content.
A platform designed for journalists to request information and opportunities from others, you can easily find contacts who might be interested in featuring yours or your client’s company on this site. You can filter by keywords and find descriptions of what journalists are after which helps to connect you to the relevant people online.
This handy platform can help you to find influencers who will promote your website and content as well as organising your overall outreach efforts.
Arefs is a well-known SEO toolset which features a backlink checker, allowing you to keep track of the number of backlinks you have and which pages are being referred to the most and analysing anchor texts to gain an insight into how competitors are optimising their backlink profiles.
Asking for links
Contacting a person or business to ask if they will provide links to your website can be daunting. You need to take care when composing your message because businesses probably receive A LOT of the same requests. So, how can you persuade them that your link is of value?
Asking for links via email
- Introduce yourself - first impressions count, make sure you let them know who you are and maintain a friendly tone.
- Briefly summarise your company (or client) and proposal, highlighting why you are relevant to their website and you can help. You really need to sell your brand/product here without indulging in sharing too many details (it is likely that they will not have much time to understand your email and consider your proposal so you need to be very clear here).
- Provide a link to your product or website
- Politely ask them to let you know their thoughts - this will save you bothering to chase them up if they are not interested.
Asking for links on social media
- Message a member of staff or the website directly with your proposal
- Comment on relevant posts
Asking for links on an influencer platform
- Introduce your company/product and invite influencers to write guest posts or reviews
Do internal links help SEO?
Internal links link one page of your site to another and are also valuable in terms of boosting your SEO. Search engines will crawl your website and follow your internal links - helping them to find other relevant content that could be useful for online users. Using internal links will establish a hierarchy of your site, helping to drive traffic to your most important pages which are of value.
That said, it is important not to include too many internal links as this will make your page appear spammy and will be visually unattractive and distracting for users. Balancing your number of internal and external links can help you on your mission to rank highly on the SERP.
A final note on how to build links for SEO
So, now that you know the importance of link building and how to find websites willing to link to your content, you can begin your outreach quest! Just remember that:
- Link building isn’t always easy, it requires perseverance and dedication
- The quality of your backlinks matter
- Applying black hat seo methods to gain links can be of detriment to your website
- There are tools out there to make the process of link building easier...make the most of them!
If you’re looking to optimise your website’s content and improve your online visibility, our SEO team is here to help! Take a look at our SEO services here.