In this post about SEO for beginners, I will be focusing on how to do link building – a strategy that may frighten all those people who are new to blogging. At first, link building may seem harder than it actually is, though, as you get more experienced, it becomes easier to understand and to apply.
What is link building?
As habitual Internet users, we often search on Google, and we usually click on websites that show up as first in the search results. Simply because we think these sites are more influential than others and will give the right answers to our questions.
Google, actually, has come up with a complex algorithm through which it picks those websites that best fit our Internet research. This algorithm is based upon different evaluation factors and may change from time to time.
One of these factors is the reputation a website has made for itself, which allows it to rank up in the search results. This reputation gets evaluated in different ways, one of which is the number of other websites that point to our website, through links to the pages or to the articles we posted, called backlinks. This is what link building is all about.
Link building is a SEO strategy, whose goal is to get backlinks – links coming to our website from OTHER websites.
Why is it important to do link building?
I have partially answered this question: backlinks help us rank better in the search results. The higher we rank in the search results, the more visitors to our website we have and the bigger the probability of income we have as a result.
Yet, this webmarketing technique is also helpful to build major credibility, to create an image and a reputation for ourselves in our niche – which are essential factors for growth and income in the long term.
Shortly, here is why we all should do link building:
- it improves the SEO of our website;
- it improves our page ranking in search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.);
- it increases the number of visitors to our blog/website.
Types of links
So far, I have talked about links coming from other websites, though there are other types of links used within the link building strategy. They are:
- inbound links, also called backlinks or incoming links – links pointing to our websites from other sources;
- outbound links – links pointing from our blog to other websites (external pages);
- internal links – these are links we place within our posts and web pages and that point to other posts or pages on our website.
All of these types of links are valuable, but the most valuable links that make a website rank higher are the inbound links.
What matters here the most are the links coming from niche-related authority sites. They make inbound links valuable in return. It’s like having a recommendation letter from an authority in your field.
Inbound links from authority websites kind of give an approval seal that the position (ranking) of our website can be improved by search engines in search results. The more these quality links, the more credibility Google gives to our website, making it rank higher and higher in search results.
Link building is, thus, essential for our website ranking, though the most important thing is the quality and not the quantity of inbound links.
In order to build a solid reputation, our website needs all of these three types of links. Each of them has its own importance that we shouldn’t underestimate.
We must try to achieve the best mix of inbound, internal and external links, and all of them have to be related to our niche of interest. Some of the links are built naturally, without any particular effort from our side, and this is the kind of link that has more value, meaning our website has engaging and valuable content.
How to do link building?
10 ways to build inbound links:
#1 – Create content on a regular basis
Publishing frequently new posts rich of quality, informative and engaging content is the easiest way to build links.
As you build out content more frequently, Google spiders will visit your blog more often and will reward you with higher page ranks in search results. This will lead to more quality visitors that will connect to your blog and will generate quality links naturally.
The best way is to offer quality content – content that is worth sharing. This is also known as link earning.
The safest link building is the one that occurs naturally, without the webmaster’s interference and without any “forcing”.
#2 – Set up a profile on social networks and include a link to your website
Once you have chosen the social media you are better familiar with and can always be active on, set up your profile and include a URL to your own website. Once set up, keep your profile updated with links to your news blog posts and keep engaging your followers.
#3 – Share the links of your new blog posts on social media and on social news websites
As you publish a new post on your blog, don’t forget to share the link on your favorite social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Webtalk ecc.) and on the social news websites, such as Reddit or Digg.
In this way you will be creating other backlinks and generating more clicks, which result in a higher traffic and a better ranking.
#4 – Submit quality articles to niche article directories
This is also known article marketing and gets used a bit less in Italy, though if you have a website in English, it might be a good way to get valuable backlinks.
By consistently sending your articles to directories like Article Base or Ezine Articles you have the chance to introduce yourself as an expert in your own niche, and also to redirect your readers to your website, thus boosting its reliability.
#5 – Become a guest poster and build brand exposure and visibility
A guest writer or a guest poster is a person that contributes to create content for other blogs. Writing articles for other niche-related websites can not only give more visibility to the author – you (because a larger amount of people will read the posts), but also improve the image of your blog.
It is an awesome way to introduce your blog to your potential audience and to earn more followers. It’s also important to note that you can build quality inbound links through guest posting only on niche-related blogs.
Some blogs have a special area dedicated to guest writers, where you can apply for a collaboration. Other websites have to be contacted via e-mail, where you need to describe what are the topics of your website and what you would like to guest post about.
Once accepted, submit your first guest post making sure you give your best value-rich content that will make readers click through your URL and follow you to your website.
#6 – Offer valuable comments to niche-related authority blogs
This is the best way to create contacts with authority blogs in our niche. Writing comments for other blogger’s posts is useful for building relationships and for improving our visibility within the niche.
The comments have to be interesting, engaging and related to the topic of the post. For instance, here are some examples of comments to avoid absolutely: “A very useful article.” Or “Very interesting. Thank you.” Or “Wow!” etc. Leaving comments like this with a link to your website attached will only worsen your reputation and will increase the risk to be penalized by the search engines and to be considered a spammer.
I used to be a member of a few Facebook groups dedicated to blogging and where blogger would exchange tips and comments on blog posts. Most of the comments I received did not exceed 3-4-words and had a backlink attached. I have to say I felt frustrated and had to cancel a lot of them.
Here are some of the tips I’d like to give you regarding commenting on other people’s websites:
- Always write honest high-quality comments, strictly related to the topic of the blog post.
- Before you leave a link to your website, always make sure that the owner of the blog allows it.
- Feel free not to approve low-quality comments coming from other bloggers. They risk to have a bad influence on the image and on the ranking of your blog as well.
#7 – Write quality reviews of Books/eBooks, media and products of your niche on Amazon
This is another efficient way to communicate and to make your brand known by the audience in your niche. Writing high-quality reviews for industry infoproducts on Amazon can help you showcase yourself as an authority in your niche.
The reviews help other people choose the most suitable product for their needs and the first thing most people look at is the number and the quality of the reviews a product has. A good and valuable review will certainly be appreciated and will improve your image online.
#8 – Answer questions on Quora
Quora is a social information and knowledge sharing platform. Usually on Quora people ask precise questions, request opinions on products and share their experiences.
Being an active member of this platform gives you the opportunity to help other people in their research e to promote your blog, inserting links within your responses to queries, that have to be detailed, informative and engaging.
#9 – Become a contributor on niche forums
On the majority of online forums it is strictly forbidden to publish and promote own links, but every member has a personal signature that can be personalized and where you can add the link to your website. In order to generate clicks and backlinks using this method, you have to become an active member of the niche forum and be helpful to the community.
#10 – Creating and sharing inforgraphics
This could be another useful method to build backlinks naturally. All you need to do is create an infographic and publish it within your blog post using an embed html code, so it can easily be shared to other websites. At first it may seem complicated, especially if you are a beginner, but it’s all about copying and pasting a piece of code, where https://www.yourwebsite.com/seo-backlinks is the webpage that will receive the backlinks and seo-backlinks.jpg is the file name of the infographic.
Here’s an example of an embedded code for an infographic:
<textarea style=”width: 90%; height: 100px; padding: 5px; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 4px;” readonly=”readonly”>
<div><a href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com/seo-backlinks.html“><img src=”https://www.yourwebsite.com/immagini/seo-backlinks.jpg” alt=”Seo Backlinks” /></a></div>
<div>Source: <a href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com/“>www.yourwebsite.com</a></div>
Once our infographic is shared on other webistes, SEO optimized backlinks to our post will be created.
What are the links that best rank in google search?
Not all the links are the same. How can we know which links will bring value to our website and improve our reputation?
Considering the position on the page, the links that are in the upper part are more likely to be clicked on, and as a consequence, prove to be more valuable. Thus, if you have several links that redirect to the same page, only the first link (that has a higher position) will be valuable for the SEO.
According to Google, these are the factors that actually affect the value of our links:
- the position of the link on the page;
- the font size of the anchor text;
- the colour and the attributes of the anchor text (bold, italics);
- the context around the link;
- the type of link (text, image etc.).
No-follow or do-follow?
I know perfectly that for a beginner such topics as “tags” and “web page coding” can be rather confusing. It’s hard to understand how tags work and how to change the html codes of the webpages. I myself often get frustrated and it seems more complicated that it really is.
I have to say that at first you don’t even need to try to understand how this stuff works. All you have to do is learn the rule by heart and follow it. This is the case of the “no-follow” tags, that, simply put, are just some features that we give to links present on our webpages.
Some specialists advice to add the rel=“nofollow” tag to all the links, others say it could ruin our rankings. Basically, a nofollow tag is a notice for search engines not to count that specific link.
The nofollow tag was introduced to reduce the spam on Internet and it’s a good idea to add this tag to the links in comments and to the affiliate links, that we usually insert into our blog post, as well as to any other links that we don’t want Google to index.
In order to add a nofollow tag in WordPress, you need to go to the code editor and insert the tag rel=”nofollow” within the code of the link s follows:
href=”your link” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor text</a>
There might be other tags within the code but you don’t have to change anything, leave it as it is, just insert the nofollow tag after the target tag. That’s it.
Besides the 10 strategies listed above, there are other methods of backlinking as well. Some of them are less efficient and less advisable, like for instance pay links and or “hidden links” within the comments on other blogs etc. It is a bad idea to force the process, because you might risk being listed as spam.
Clearly, link building is not the only way to improve our ranking and reputation online. There are at least 300 and more factors concerning quality content, user experience, mobile accessibility, technical performances etc., and every search engine has an algorithm of its own, which constantly changes.
Obviously, the number and the quality of the links redirecting to our website are very important, as their effect is immediately visible, though they are not the only aspects which make our website attractive to search engines.
It would be wrong to think search engines leave behind the other 300 and more factors just to give priority to websites with a perfect backlink profile.
This is the reason why you’d better focus not only on link building, but on content, on updating your website consistently and on doing link building naturally by exploiting the licit ways described in this article. Don’t lose patience and don’t let yourself be tempted by fishy practices. Keep on putting your soul into it and working consistently, and you’ll see results will come.
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Wishing you all the best of success,
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