There’s an internet myth which says links back to your website don’t have much sway in increasing the visibility of your website. Guess what? It’s (50%) untrue! While links to your website from low-quality, spammy sites are worthless and even detrimental to your visibility there are still valuable links out there.
In a recent study by Moz.com on local search factors they determined the quality and authority of links ranked 4th and 5th among the most important search factors for your site. In other words, two of the top five ways to get your business found online involve building great links back to your website from other websites you and your audience trust.
This means links still work, so the question then becomes, “How do you build high quality links without reverting to the old, tired methods?” The answer? Build quality, lasting relationships with brands you trust. To understand what has changed, you need to know how things used to work.
Goodbye Old Linking Strategies
The old method of link building (still employed by many SEO and marketing firms) included spammy link practices like splattering a link back to a page all over the “Comments Section” of blogs on high-authority websites. Many times, these websites had nothing at all to do with what the business was promoting. This practice can lead to an awkward user experience, especially when the user clicks through the link to find themselves stranded on a company website which has nothing to do with their original interests.
Doesn’t this seem counter-intuitive? Unfortunately, back then it didn’t matter whether a link was related to the content. The search robots simply tallied a link from the popular website, recorded where it went, and moved on.
Building a Two Way Street
The search robots are getting smarter every day, as are blog post spam filters which are programmed to ignore irrelevant links in the comments of a blog post. That is good news for small businesses willing to invest a little time focusing on building relationships with businesses who are authorities in your industry or on topics you want to rank for.
When it comes to search, think of links more like a two-way street rather than a door. If you want a search engine to understand what your page is about and what you have to offer, then place your links to your site in places which is already relevant to what you do.
To get high value sites to recognize and possibly build reciprocal links you need to build relationships. Here are a few ways to get the ball rolling with link building using the relationship strategy:
- Instead of leaving a comment on an industry expert’s blog post, email them directly. Tell them what you learned from the article and ask about any questions the information left you with. Offer to link to their informative content. If this leads to a relationship, don’t be afraid to directly share new content you’re creating for review- it may spur the expert to link back to your site and reference the material.
- Get out there and network! Having a website with decent traffic and good content is an asset you can take advantage of. When you’re talking with potential partners or clients, figure out if they are interested in cross-promotion. A little back scratching never hurt anyone, and it’s a great way to build links on more diverse websites.
- Start building links out of goodwill. There is a large chance that- if you’re producing high quality content and including good references- your links will ping someone who is also looking to build relationships. Often when you implement a new link, the owner of the receiving website will get an email informing them of the link you’ve built. Don’t abuse linking on your website, but be aware- people will notice your links and may even reach out to you to start a new link-building relationship.
It’s not hard to start down the path of link building through relationship building. All you have to do it come to the table with a good attitude, some great content to offer and an eye for recognizing authorities in your industry. So, get out there and start new relationships.
Want to build more buzz back to your businesses and increase your visibility? Citations are just as important as links for increasing your chances of being found on the web. Sign up for a demo of Constant Contact’s Single Platform today: