The way you use links is one of the key determinants of your success on Google. It’s one of their top signals. Now, we know that things that are very important can also be a pain. Link-building requires research, effort, saintly persistence, and maintenance. You can’t ignore it. You either need to do it or pay someone else to do it. Whichever you choose, we want to make link-building easier.
We’re going to help you get organized. Here is the ultimate cheat sheet on link building. Use this page as a reference and you’ll know what is required regarding links and you’ll be able to stay on track.
Fix broken links – Sites move on. The page you are linking to – internally or externally – may have disappeared due to deletion or it may have been renamed. This is a broken link. Broken links lead your visitors to dead ends, which is not a good experience. You could lose visitors this way. They make your site look unprofessional and poorly maintained. And, accordingly, search engines are likely to penalize you for this kind of thing. The quick way to find broken links is to use a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Enter the domain, navigate to the backlinks section, and there is a specific section detailing all of the broken backlinks from the site. Their easy-to-use report allows you get on with fixing or removing the broken links without hassle.
Know the difference between dofollow and nofollow tags – dofollow links are your typical links. Most links work this way and you don’t need to add any code. No problems there.
Nofollow links, however, do not contribute to rankings. If you want to link to someone without endorsing their content, use the nofollow tag when linking to them. Likewise, understand that if someone has linked to you using the nofollow tag, you will not benefit from a ranking boost.
They look like this: <a href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>
Use relevant anchor text – Google is trying to understand your page. It pays particular attention to the words you use when you link, whether internally or externally. “Click here” is not descriptive. “Click to download this free link building cheat sheet,” however, is more informative and contains keywords. If you can make your anchor text meaningful, this will help improve your ranking.
Guest blogging – yes, this is still a thing. Guest blogging is a popular and successful tactic. We understand that it is time-consuming though, so consider these points to streamline the process and maximize your results.
- Research the editor – Don’t blow first contact by getting the editor’s name wrong or saying you love his work when actually he is a woman. You know, be authentic.
- Make contact in a personal way – Demonstrate that you’ve read something that he/she has written, or that you are similar in some way. When it comes to link-building and guest blogging, real human relationships are important.
- Offer something of value – Avoid begging. Explain why a post from you would be good for their audience, not yours.
- Be patient – If you are targeting an influencer with many followers, he or she is likely to be busy. Allow time for a reply according to how busy they are.
- Be persistent – It’s okay to follow up with someone you have contacted if they don’t get back to you. Until they say no, you have a potential guest blog. And if they say no, thank them for their time and move on.
- Use a template – Using a standard email will save you time, but it’s important to keep your messages personal by tweaking it for each editor you approach.
Testimonials – You may be able to attain backlinks by trying relevant products or services, and then ask the businesses if you can leave a testimonial on their site. If you write a great testimonial, they may use it, in which case a typical testimonial includes a link back to you and your site to prove that it is authentic.
Third-party directories – Each directory you register with will provide a backlink to your website. Be careful to only join reputable directories, though, or this may seem like a spammy way of manipulating Google rankings.
Target quality, up-to-date directories that are respected and relevant to your business. Reputable directories are normally useful, quality, trusted sites that are doing well with Google themselves. A link from them can boost your site’s rankings.
Social signals – If you’re a pretty well-known brand, lots of people may be talking about your business without giving you the links you deserve. If someone is already mentioning you, you don’t want to miss out on that potential link juice.
Check out who is talking about you by using http://www.socialmention.com/. Check each link and politely ask anyone not linking to you to do so. Also, don’t be upset if no-one is talking about you yet. Keep using this checklist and it will come.
Create original, engaging content – If you generate original research or a study, others will want to use it. Turn it into an infographic to make it more shareable. In fact, you can and should repurpose your high-quality content as many blog types, including slides, video, and animated video.
People will appreciate that you’ve done the work. If it’s useful and attractive and meets the needs of their visitors, other sites will share it and link back to you. Where appropriate, include an embed code and share buttons to make it easy for people to take the action you desire.
Whether they use an entire infographic or a screenshot of a corner of it, they must link back to you. As with social mentions, find anyone who isn’t linking back to you and email them your request for a link.
Post Content on Social Media – Yes, backlinks include links from people using social media sites. If you are posting great content, you increase the chance of people linking back to you from these sites. More social activity can lead to better rankings.