No SEO strategy is complete without a plan for building links. However, before initiating a link building plan, it’s absolutely critical that businesses are aware of the fine line between white hat and black hat tactics.
Building links using black hat tactics may yield immediate results, but will eventually get you pinged by Google, the almighty Search Engine. This blog the start of a three part series that is going to walk you through link building and the right and wrong ways to acquire quality links. In Part I we will cover what link building is and will how you can start building links from scratch.
What is link building?
Link building, which aims at increasing the number of quality inbound links to your website, is one of the most challenging, and arguably the most important SEO skill to possess. Getting good, high quality links to your website, will increase the ranking value Google places on your website, which in turn increases the probability your keywords will render in the upper echelon of Google’s search rankings. Pairing this with best digital branding practices and buttoned up on-page SEO attributes will increase the amount and quality of traiffc to your website.
4 Types of White Hat Link Building
As I mentioned above, there are both white and black hat tactics when it comes to link building. Black hat tactics, which we strongly advise against using, are paying for links, commenting on articles or in forums with a link to your site, and article syndication to name a few.
To stay on Google’s good side, which we all strive to do, you must use caution when building links. Here are 6 white hat link building practices we conduct at Stream Companies:
Like all types of link building, there is a fine line you must skate when building directory links. There are tons of link farm directories out there that simply want to take your money in exchange for a links to your site. These are the directories you want to avoid.
Instead, find directories relevant to your business. For example, if your business is a local wedding venue, you’ll want to be listed on a website like MyWedding.com. You’ll also want to make sure your business is listed on your local BBB and Chamber of Commerce websites.
- Guest Post
With guest blogging, the approach matters the most. You do not, under any circumstances, want to reach out to the site owners offering money for an in-content link. This will often time get ignored, and in the off-chance a site owner accepts your offer, it puts you at risk of penalization from Google as it can be safe to assume they have other guest posts on their sites that they have received some form of compensation for.
Instead, articulate the value your post will provide their website and its readers. You can do this by adding to a post that is currently published to their site, updating existing content or elaborating on a topic that is light in information on their website.
- Business Pages/Linktations
These are perhaps the easiest ways to build links to your businesses website. Creating business pages, like About.Me, AboutOurWork and OnePagerApp, will provide easy and free links to your website, as well as gain more web exposure for your business.
Linktations, which is a citation that links to your website, are also free and a must-have for your business. Some examples of linktations are Yelp, Google+, Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages. In most cases, your business already has listings on these pages that are unclaimed. As the business owner, you should claim these listings and optimize them to have uniform address, phone numbers and URLs, to eliminate confusion that search engines can have when trying to associate your citations with a website and physical location.
This is another easy way to build links. Find a local fundraiser or little league team to sponsor and request a link thanking you on their website. Or, your business can start a small scholarship to provide to a graduating high scholar. We suggest limiting the scholarship to a major that directly relates to the industry your business is in or a specific location. You’ll then want to reach out to different high schools sharing the scholarship and what one must do to enter to win it and ask that they help market it by sharing on their site.
I hope you found this information useful in understanding the key strategies of linkbuilding or cleaning up your current link building practices. Be sure to stay tuned for parts II and II of this Link Building 101 Series. Or, if you want more SEO and digital marketing content now, download our free eBook, PPC & SEO: Understanding How They Work Together To Maximize Results.
All the best,
James Forrest is an SEO Consultant at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.