Link building is crucial to any SEO strategy.. And can also serve as a perpetual source of frustration. The good ones can’t be bought, they must be earned. If you’re just now wondering how to get links, luckily the answer isn’t one that requires years of study.
Continue reading to learn 4 link building steps (for beginners!).
[su_box title=”Attention! Remember that not all links are good links.”]It’s important to know that not all links are good for increasing your website’s rank in search engines. Links from spammy websites can actually hurt your credibility in search engines – the concept of trustworthiness is a significant ranking factor in Google’s search engine algorithm. We’ll explain later how to check a link’s trustworthiness.[/su_box]
Step 1: Find the links.
Before you can work on how to get links, you need to find links. You already know that not all links are good links, so you can’t just shoot for a link from any old website.
Besides trustworthiness, you should only work on procuring links from related websites. This can be done by conducting a search in Google and also by stealing, er, getting *inspiration* from your competitors.
No worries, “stealing” backlinks is completely legal.
Check out who’s linking to your competitors withMoz’s Open Site Explorer. Just type in their URL and voilà – you have a list of linking pages.
If you’ve found a particular article you would like to be included in, be sure to check that their links don’t include a nofollow tag. While a nofollow link still may send human traffic to your website, it will not pass “link juice” or any direct SEO benefits.
Step 2: Get organized.
Just like you should have an editorial calendar to organize your marketing efforts, you should have a document to organize your link building efforts. The earlier you do this, the less headaches you’ll suffer from down the road.
Create your own spreadsheet or use ours for free. Simply open the link, click File and Make a copy.
Our spreadsheet has a number of column headers, some are pretty self-explanatory. A few that may not be:
- ‘Likelihood to earn’ and ‘priority’ are rough estimates to make yourself.
- ‘Domain authority and ‘spam score’ are metrics taken from Moz’s MozBar. This toolbar helps you to determine how powerful a website is as well as its trustworthiness.
How to check a link’s trustworthiness with the MozBar (click to expand)
To determine whether a website is trustworthy, you can download Moz’s free SEO toolbar which automatically calculates a “spam score”, “DA” (domain authority), “PA” (page authority) and other information.
..No, we’re not affiliated with Moz in any way, we just find them to be a great resource.
The MozBar has over 380,000 installs and is one of our go-to SEO tools here at OSC. You don’t have to know all the nitty-gritty details of ranking metrics to use it. Here’s all you need to know to start..
- PA (page authority): 100-point scale, predicts how well a specific page will rank in search engines.
- DA (domain authority): 100-point scale, predicts how well a website overall will rank in search engines.
- Spam score: 17-point scale, the lower the number the more trustworthy a site is.
So basically, the higher the number the better for PA and DA, and the reverse is true for spam score. When weighing the risks of procuring links from a particular website, the spam score is what you should pay most attention to.
Step 3: Produce quality content to get links.
Let’s be honest. There’s no magical shortcut to procuring links. If you find someone who claims there is, you should be very worried.
[ctt template=”1″ link=”3s1qW” via=”no” ]“Nothing worth having comes easy: 1 high-quality link is worth a million poor ones.” #linkbuilding #seo @osc_webdesign[/ctt]
Just like how not all links are good links, not all link building methods are good either. “Black-hat SEO” is a very real thing and is as bad as it sounds.
The best way to get links is to focus on publishing content to your website that others will want to link to. Maintaining a blog that answers your audience’s questions is crucial. If you focus on topics that haven’t been answered a million times already, your chances of being linked to increase.
Types of content that attract the most links:
- List posts (7 Features of the Best Modern Web Design etc.)
- Article on an industry influencer
- Thorough guides (SEO in 2017: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for Small Businesses etc.)
- Guest blogging
Sharing Your Content
If you want your content to be discovered, you need to make an effort. Create social media accounts for your brand on different social media platforms. Share your new articles on there. It may take a while, but the goal is for the right person to read your content and include it on their own website or blog as a resource.
Step 4: Get a little more aggressive.
After you’ve found which websites you want to get links from, you can take a more hands-on approach by reaching out to them directly.
For example, you’ve found an article titled ‘10 Local Shops to Visit on Your Next Trip to Maine’.
Sadly, they neglected to mention your shop. Instead of sulking about it, you can email the author of the article something like this:
As a long-time Maine resident, I really enjoyed reading the suggestions in your article ‘10 Local Shops to Visit on Your Next Trip to Maine’. There were a few shops in there I hadn’t heard of before!
Perhaps you’ll have a chance in the near future to visit my shop The Bee’s Knees (link) located on Main St. in Freeport, Maine. Many consider it a staple of this area and I think your readers would love it too.
Thanks for a great read!
This approach is more of a business decision. If you head this route, you risk becoming known as the business that emails people for links. While most people can’t blame you, it can sometimes seem a bit desperate.
You must also use caution when heading in this direction. If you participate in a link scheme that’s in violation with Google’s quality guidelines, your website could be penalized or even banned from search engine results.
Have an additional question about link building? Looking for more ways to get links? Check out the related articles below or leave us a comment!