What is A Link Building Strategy for SEO and How Does It Drive Traffic?
A link building strategy for SEO will help you achieve a higher page ranking on search engines. Each link that points to your website acts as a vote. The more votes you get the higher you are ranked on search engines. Links are a strong part of the search engine ranking algorithms. By having a higher ranking on search engines will help drive more traffic to your website.
Basically, the more websites that link and reference your website the more traffic you will receive.
External Links are votes for popularity.
Every time an external website links to your website it shows Google that you are trustworthy and that websites are linking to you because you have resourceful and valuable information.
What is a Link Building Strategy For SEO?
So, how do you get more external pages to link back to your website? You create a link building strategy. Link building is a form of digital marketing. It is the process of getting external pages to link to your website. However, this strategy is easier said than done. Building links are difficult and time-consuming. This is also just one of the many strategies used to grow your business with SEO.
However, not all links are equal. A link from a site with high authority like the New York Times will make a greater impact on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) than a link from a new website that was created a week ago. It also takes time for the links pointing to your site to start having a positive effect on ranking. Perfecting your SEO takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.
Step One: Creating A Link Building Strategy Starts With Realistic Goals
Before you even start researching keywords and making a wish list of websites that you want to link to your website, you need to set realistic goals. It is important to set realistic goals and to ensure that you are focusing on long-term gains, not overnight quick-wins.
To set proper goals you need to decide what pages on your website you want links pointing too. For example, is it a page on your website that is not ranking high on search engines. Or is it your about page, home page, or a new article that you think people will find resourceful.
Step Two: Creating Realistic Link Targets
The next step to a link building strategy for SEO is finding the right types of influencers, websites, blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels that you believe will want to link to your website. You want to make sure that your list is full of the right people who will be interested in your content.
For example, if your website is about healthy living, then you will not want to target a blog on Dinosaurs. Unless you have published an article on ‘Healthy Dinosaur Food’ (can someone please write that article?) then there is a huge change that that external blog on dinosaurs will want to link to it.
Basically, please don’t contact random people who are unrelated to your website, topic, and brand. If you do your response rate will be low to non-existent and possibly leave you with a bad reputation.
Most people will only link to another website if it is relevant to them and holds useful information that their audience will find valuable. People are more likely to link to an informative page, like an article, infographic, or video rather than your contact page.
Before you contact anyone and ask them to link to your page, ask yourself this: “Will they care about my content and want to actually link to it?” Research the likelihood that your list of targeted contact will link back to you.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have they shared external content before?
- Are they relevant to the content that you are asking them to link to?
- Are they active?
Once you have gathered your answers sort your list by:
- Who will likely link to you
- Who has high domain metrics
- Who has a strong social media presence
The websites that are active and are likely to link to your content should be the ones you email/call first. This way you will capitalize your time and efforts by focusing your energy on the contacts who are most likely to respond to your link request.
Step Three: Creating the Hook
You’ll need to create a hook to attract other websites and have them want to link to your page/website. Content marketing is a huge part of a link building strategy for SEO. For your link building strategy to be successful, your content needs a hook or angle. Your content needs to be relevant and show how it contributes to an overall topic. In addition, your content needs to make people care and want to read it and share it.
Step Four: Emailing Your List of Targeted Contacts
You know what your goal is. You have a list of targeted contacts to reach out to. You have written an amazing piece of content that they would be interested in.
The next step is to email your list of contacts and let them know about your cool article, video, infographic, general content. The key thing to remember when you are emailing your list of contacts is that they have never heard of you (yet) and they were never originally planning to link to you (yet). Make sure you don’t start your email off with the name of your website or company. Instead, start your email explaining why you are reaching out to them and how you find them interesting. Make the email personal.
To help ensure that you get noticed in your email, explain to them why you deserve their time and help. Do not focus on your brand, focus on how you are a resource and what benefit you can bring them. Media, influencers, and bloggers don’t like to highlight or link to brands. If they do, then they are likely getting paid for it. Instead, they like to share relevant information and resources that their audience will find interesting.
Here are some tips for writing your email:
- Explain the benefits your content has for their audience
- What action you would like them to take
- Tell them why they should care (think links back to your hook)
- Show them that you are genuine and not a spammer
What about the Call To Action?
Make sure you include a Call To Action (CTA) in your email. Adding a CTA will help separate you from the spammers. There are a lot of spammers out there who send mass emails asking websites to link to them.
When emailing your list of curated contacts, you don’t need to just ask them to link back to a specific page on your website. Instead, it could be one of the following CTAs:
- Sharing your content on their social media networks
- Embedding your Infographic, videos or widget in one if their blog posts
- Offer to write a guest blog post.
- Asking for a product or book review
Step Five: Follow Up
Bloggers, media, and influencers receive a lot of emails- plus they are busy. Your email can get buried. It is important to follow up on all outreach, even if you do not get a reply the first time. By following up you are reinforcing the fact that you are a genuine person.
What to do if you get a negative reply
If you receive a negative reply, the worst thing to do is to ignore it. If you ignore the negative email than you are damaging your chances of ever building a good relationship with that person. Just think, they may like your future articles.
When you reply to a negative email, ask for feedback on how your content/infographic could be better or if there is extra information that should be added to make it more valuable.
Keep in touch with the contacts that did reply to your email. You can do this by sharing their content on your social media, inviting them to join your digital community, or joining their community. This way you are building a relationship that can continue to benefit your company or website.
How long will it take to improve your website’s ranking
It can take time for your link building strategy for SEO to have a positive effect on the ranking of your website.
The timeframe can depend on the following factors:
- Competitiveness of the industry.
- How competitive your targeted Keywords are.
- Activity of your competitors.
- The types of links you are building
- The history and strength of your domain
These factors can mean that it could take several days to several months before an increase in ranking is achieved.
A link building strategy for SEO is an art. It’s almost always the most challenging part of SEO. But also the one most critical to success. Link building will not happen overnight, but should be apart of your long-term and ongoing strategies. PR can also play a huge role in helping you achieve new links. Earning the attention of the press, bloggers, and news media is an effective way to earn links and can be happen organically.