“Is Link Building dead?” seems to be a recurring question, year on year. The simplest answer is “No”, and we can see no way that it will be at any time in the foreseeable future.
Backlinks into your website are still a vital part of the Google Algorithm, as they can basically be regarded as a recommendation of your site/service. HOWEVER, think of it as this…..Where do you want your ‘recommendations’ to be coming from?
Links from high quality and relevant sources are key.
As an analogy, think of tradesmen decades ago building business through word of mouth. Recommendations offered by respected individuals or people knowledgeable within the particular industry would generally carry most weight.
Try to bear this in mind, when aspiring to gain backlinks into your site. From this perspective, maybe we should not be terming it “Link Building”, rather “Link Earning”.
So where do we start?
Whether you are working within the Business to Business or Business to Consumer markets, it is highly likely that you will have suppliers of materials/goods into your business, or distributors of your goods. As you will already have some kind of relationship with these people, it is a fairly obvious starting point. There are likely to be many opportunities to gain links to your site here, and remember that your supplier/distributor may well be trying to do similarly. Some kind of reciprocal solution may well be viable.
With so many people now competing to publish relevant content on the web, it is quite probable that your brand has been mentioned somewhere. Whether this be in a case study, a product review, a news article, or a whole host of other possibilities, this mention may not have included a link to your website. Remember if somebody has mentioned, or written about, you then they may well be recommending your product or service. Make contact, and find out if they would be willing to include a link to your site….“You can only ask”!! Therefore, this again should be seen as an opportunity to garner a relationship and “earn” a backlink.
You will doubtless have heard that content is critical in the modern day world of SEO, and this is undeniably true. You may also think that production of interesting, good quality content is easier said than done; Again very likely true.
Within industrial or business to business sectors, your product may not seem to be the most interesting topic to write about. However, out there on the world wide web there WILL be online magazines or blogs which are relevant to you. Some may be willing to publish articles or news for you at a cost, this is where you may have to consider whether it is worth consuming some of your marketing budget, whilst there are others who will do so for free.
You may still be wondering what on earth to write about, yet the opportunities are endless!!
- Have a look through the editorial calendars of magazines, to view topics that you may be able to contribute to.
- Think about any news within your business. You may deem it insignificant, a magazine may not.
- Think about your social media posts. Are you publishing snippets which could quite easily be expanded upon and published online.
- Expend some time reading the magazines/blogs, to see what other people are writing about. I’m sure you could do similar.
This area, will obviously take up some time, and it is imperative that you keep abreast of industry developments, but it may well prove fruitful.
This word in itself may well set alarm bells ringing, as you will have read about “old” link building tactics which have been “weeded out” involving mass submissions to directories. If it does set alarm bells ringing, then we would consider this a good thing as you will already be vigilant.
The truth is that there are still some very good directories out there, and you should be listing your business where possible.
Many industry-related online magazines carry a “Buyer’s Guide” section or similar. If it is relevant to your business, then it should be a “no brainer” to try to gain a listing. n.b. Many may charge you for this privilege, thus it is up to you to assess it’s worth again. Remember, you are not just trying for a link to manipulate the search engines, you want this link to bring in referrals to your site and custom. It may be worth contacting certain publications about trial listings, to evaluate whether it is worth a portion of expenditure.
Local/Regional business directories may also be worthwhile, if of good quality. At the end of the day, they are simply an updated version of “The Phone Book”, so it’s worth having a presence.
Some directories may already have your business listed, but are lacking full details. You may well see a link to “Claim this business” or similar. If the site is of good quality, then this is a really really simple way of gaining links to your site.
This is an obvious place to look to gain backlinks.
Where are your competitors gaining their links from? Are there actions replicable from your perspective?
There are many tools out there to help you see where your competitors are gaining links, though many will require subscriptions.
However, this is an area which can feasibly provide you with a whole array of opportunities.
Jan Klin & Associates have helped many many businesses in this area over the years. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, feel free to get in touch.
There are many many more areas for you to explore and consider when trying to “earn” links, such as customer testimonials, product reviews, broken links and many more that would make this post far too long. Feel free to get in touch to discuss further if you wish.
We would also recommend keeping an open eye on Google Webmaster Guidelines.
The resounding message concerning backlinks, though, would be that they are coming from quality, reputable and relevant sources. Also bear in mind that you are not just building links to manipulate Google Rankings – it is vitally important that they drive traffic to add value.
With our final thoughts again being drawn to quality and relevant links, you may also want to carry out periodic audits of the backlinks into your site. This way you can aim to “weed out” any poor, “spammy” or undesirable links which you did not aim to gain. By reviewing your links, you may also create further link building opportunities by searching for similar sites to the more reputable ones.
Again, as we keep abreast of the industry on a daily basis, Jan Klin & Associates can help you with your link audits/detox, should you wish.
Now go out there and “Earn” some links.