Link Building: A Rough Guide to Improving Your SEO

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When it comes to organically improving your SEO, everyone agrees that link building is crucial. In fact, it’s often regarded as one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. So, how do you start link building? More importantly, how do you do you start link building properly? Here’s a rough guide on how to crack this tasty nut:

Quality vs. Quantity

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Building backlinks that come from high places is almost as important as avoiding links from dodgy ones. If your aim is to improve your search engine result page (SERP) ranking, then you must carefully consider who you want linking back to your site. A link from a reputable and frequently visited website, such as the BBC, will be much more valuable to your ranking than your best friend’s brand new gossip blog.

How can search engines tell the difference between a good quality link and a bad one?

  • Is the backlink from a site that has absolutely nothing to do with your content? Low quality
  • Is the backlink editorially placed (high quality) or is it just randomly plopped in the middle somewhere (low quality)?
  • Did you insert your website in the comments section of another site? Low quality
  • Was the backlink from a trusted authority with a high amount of visitors? High quality
  • Did you pay money for a backlink? Bad, bad, bad 

So how do you attract backlinks from grade A websites that will send thousands of viewers your way? (See below)

Give Other Sites a Reason to Link to You

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Google knows the difference between a good website and a bad one. A good website contains rich content, easy-to-navigate design, and frequently updated content. Penguin is a pretty complex (and top-secret) algorithm to determine the quality and authenticity of any website, and quality content is one of the major things they look for.

Every webpage should contain a variety of longtail keywords that haven’t obviously been stuffed in places where they don’t belong. In other words, whatever you post on your website should be well-written and not just an opportunity to powerwash your website with keywords. Google no longer works that way. And more importantly, people hate reading it.

If you want to attract visitors to your webpage, you have to have a valid reason to attract them.

How to Give Users a Website They Can’t Resist:

  • Consider the design elements of your website. Are they attractive? Is there a nice balance between texts and images?
  • Is the content easy to read and well written? Also, is your website easily readable on any computer, phone, or tablet?
  • Do you have a strong brand?
  • Are you speaking at a level that your core group of visitors can understand? Or is every second word sourced from your repertoire of fancy jargon?
  • Is your website using AMPs?

Be an Authority Yourself

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Think of it this way: every time another website gives you a backlink, they are putting their own reputation on the line. They trust in your authority on the subject of your website, so you better make sure you know what you’re talking about. If you claim to be the number one expert on bathroom décor, then you better be the number one expert on bathroom décor. In other words, you have to be an authority.

How to Show You’re an Authority on the Subject:

  • Show a strong engagement with others in your [bathroom décor] community.
  • Work on building shareable content that gets plenty of likes and shares.
  • Don’t exist in a vacuum—interact with other authorities by adding external links and inviting guest content.
  • Publish downloadable content such as white papers.
  • Be an authority. People will eventually realize you have no idea what you’re talking about if you really don’t have a clue.

Avoid Shady Link Building Techniques

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Enter Google Penguin. This adorably named algorithm means that spending any money on backlinks is a complete waste of time and money. Google and other search engines know the difference between a link farm and a genuine backlink, so don’t expect to be rewarded with a higher SERP ranking if all your backlinks come from link-buying sites. Another shady link-building technique is guest posting, mainly because there are more websites out there that are strictly for the purposes of backlinking than there are genuine websites that invite people to guest post. Because of this, Google has essentially turned their nose up at this kind of link-building technique.

If there is any money exchanged between you and your backlinker, then you’ve crossed over onto the dark side. Do you put more stock in a paid endorsement or a friend’s endorsement? While both endorsements give identical praise, at least you can count on your friend for being genuine. The same concept applies to paying for shoutouts from other sites. Bottom line: if you want those backlinks that will actually improve your SEO, you’re going to have to earn them.

Like anything important in this world, link building takes time. Once you have high-quality backlinks funneling thousands or even millions of users to your website, you’ll be happy you do it. Don’t have time to attract strong backlinks? Contact Awkward Media today to discuss the needs of your website.

Published by Genevieve Morrison