What is link building?
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. Links to your website are essential for two reasons. One is that they drive traffic in the form or referrals. The other is that they increase your site’s authority. Backlinks account for 40% of Google’s ranking factors, so if you’re not getting backlinks, you’re missing out on a lot of SEO juice.
Search engines use backlinks to determine how sites rank for keywords. High-quality links are a signal to Google that your website is a useful resource and is worth citing. Thus, sites with more backlinks tend to rank better.
Think of it this way: Google indexes Site A, which shares some keywords in common with yours and is considered an authority for those keywords. It finds that Site A links back to your site. Google then does the same with Sites B, C, D, and so on. In every case, the website links back to yours. So, Google thinks to itself (not really, it’s just an algorithm), “Hmmm, this website must really know its stuff. I’ll give it a high rank on the search page.” As long as your site has more quality backlinks than your competitor’s, you’ll rank better. And this is true in spite of other ranking factors. Content is king, and backlinks are the knights of the realm.
Obviously, this explanation is very basic. Other factors come into play as well. The trust and authority of the linking pages need to be high, the other site has to be well optimized, and the anchor text for the link should use keywords that are similar to yours.
But the bottom line is that you need to keep producing content that other sites are going to want to link to. High-quality content is significant because you could go out an buy a bunch of links to try to fool the algorithm into thinking your site’s an authority. But this kind of strategy is pure black-hat SEO. Plus, Google can spot an irrelevant, low-quality link a mile away. Backlinks should be organic. They should come naturally because your content is excellent and establishes you as an authority in whatever it is that you do.
Link building takes time
Link building is not an overnight process. You need to create content worth linking to, which takes time and effort. You need to think about the questions your customers are asking that they’re not getting answers to elsewhere. Then you need to come up with solutions in the form of blog posts, free tools, reviews, and other content. If your stuff is highly relevant to your business, people and search engines are going to see it as a definitive source. It’s the cornerstone of your content creation efforts, and hence, is called Cornerstone Content.
The old saw, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” doesn’t apply to link building or inbound marketing in general. You have to give if you want to receive. Fortunately, the only cost to good cornerstone content is the time it takes to build up a great blog or get some excellent reviews.
You can also take some steps right now, on your own, to get the ball rolling. They don’t take a lot of time, and you don’t have to pay a professional.
- Write one blog post that clearly and succinctly sums up who you are and what you have to offer. Share it to all of your social channels with links back to your site. Tell your friends, partners, and colleagues about it. Spread the word.
- Get reviews and product mentions. Ask your customers to review your products. Ask your colleagues to mention you (with links, of course) in their posts and tweets. Use word of mouth to get people to reference your website.
- Ask friends, colleagues, and partners to link to your site. Simple, right? Just ask. But make sure they link to specific pages you want to promote, and not just your homepage.
- Do some internal linking. If you have keywords in the content of one page that’s relevant to the content on another, then reference that page. Having ways for people to get around your site besides navigations will help Google decide what’s appropriate.
If you don’t have time to do any of this or you just think it’s beyond your expertise, Hungry Ghost can help.
Our link building process
The first thing that needs to happen is a comprehensive SEO audit to get a baseline for your site and to fix any technical SEO problems you might be experiencing.
Once your on-page SEO is fully optimized, we look at your content to make sure it uses keywords appropriately. If you aren’t using keywords or they’re implemented carelessly, we work with you to figure them out. We build lists of keyword phrases for every page, product, and post on your site. These are the words that we’ll use in your content to help you rank better. Then we rewrite your content using your keywords.
When your site is completely optimized for technical SEO and content, the next step is to start creating content. We can help you with this, or you can do it yourself. The aim is to keep creating great, high-quality content and share it through your marketing channels. Eventually, others will take notice, including Google.
Backlinking isn’t an overnight solution to SEO, but the payoff is enormous. Careful monitoring of keywords through analytics will help you know when and how to tweak them for maximum effectiveness.
Hungry Ghost Consulting is your partner in link building, from optimization, through content creation, to analytics and long-term strategy maintenance.
Check out our SEO packages or give us a call @ (413) 376-5947