To understand why link building is important for your business’ website, it’s important to first understand what link building is. If you imagine the internet as a vast collection of complicated and intertwined roadways, then your page is a town, big or small, to be found somewhere on that map. As search engines crawl the web cataloguing content, the links that you have built are the available roadways they use to access your website.
There are several types of link building strategies, and not all of them are created equal. By utilizing a combination of these categories, you can make your website not only accessible to the search engine algorithms, but the visitors to your site that will shortly follow.
Link Building Categories
- “Natural” Editorial Links are given naturally by sites and pages that want to link to your content or company. These links require no specific action from the SEO, other than the creation of great content that you have created awareness around.
- Manual Link Building is a little more hands on.You create links by emailing bloggers for links, submitting sites to directories, or paying for listings.Oftentimes the SEO creates a value proposition by explaining to the link target why creating the link is in their best interest. This might include filling out forms for submissions to a website award program or convincing a professor that your resource is worthy of inclusion on the public syllabus.
- Self-Created, Non-Editorial: Many websites offer visitors the opportunity to create links through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles. These are not high value links, but can still have an impact for some sites. In general, search engines continue to devalue most of these types of links, and have been known to penalize sites that pursue these links aggressively. Self-created links are often considered spammy and should be pursued with caution.
Effective Link Building Strategies
So what is the best way to proceed? There are three proven tactics that can keep you from sinking in those search results. As always, content and relationship are key:
- Get your customers to link to you: If you have partners you work with regularly, or loyal customers that love your brand, you can capitalize on this by sending out partnership badges—graphic icons that link back to your site. Just as you’d get customers wearing your t-shirts or sporting your bumper stickers, links are the best way to accomplish the same thing on the web.
- Build a informative, valuable and entertaining company blog: Blogs are valuable because they contribute fresh material on a consistent basis, create conversations across the web, and earn listings and links from other blogs.
Create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking: One word: Linkbait. Funny, shocking, emotional; users who see it once want to share it with friends, and bloggers and webmasters who see it will often do so through links. Such high quality, editorially earned votes are invaluable to building not only ranking potential, but authority and trust in your field.