Best 2017 (and Beyond) Link Development Tips
As the digital marketing community mourns the passing of Eric Ward, we’re reminded of his pioneering skills and numerous contributions to link development. Today some estimates attribute up to 40% of Google’s ranking algorithm to link-related criteria; from number, to quality, to anchor text diversity. With this much riding on links, it’s easy to see that a lot of effort needs to be spent cultivating this important ranking signal. Not everyone has the time, the perseverance, or the research skills to build a quality link portfolio. That’s why Engine-IUS Marketing offers link development as part of its digital marketing campaigns. Whether you engage us to do it, or you want to take on link building as a DIY project, if you’re looking for a quick takeaway from this post, simply remember the word ‘relevance’. Every step that’s taken in a solid, search engine-friendly link program always points back to relevance.
Relevance is the Key Takeaway When Building Links
There are three main points to pursue when developing a link program for a website. (Many others exist, but these three form a solid foundation.) All of these relate to relevance and contain several sub-tasks that will ensure you keep your activities focused (which helps your ability to deliver a great user experience and rank well in search engines).
1) Who are your customers and what do they want? You need to answer these questions. Having a clear picture of who you are selling to helps you create content that solves your customers’ problems. This is the kind of content that gets linked to naturally.
2) Local SEO factors: If you’re trying to dominate a local area, it’s important to find local news sites, community sites, local directories, and data aggregator sites to which you can submit information about your company. Google and other search engines pull information from these sites so it’s important to create business listings there. And speaking of Google – don’t forget to build out your Google My Business profile that will link back to your website.
For more details, check out our blog on building a powerful local search presence.
3) Review and expand current content assets. Take an inventory of all of your online content assets: infographics, videos, podcasts, blogs – everything you have created that lives on the web, and see where the gaps are. Decide what content you need to create to meet more of your customers’ needs. See what existing content can be expanded so you can wring every last bit of traffic-driving and conversion power from it. Here are some examples:
You have a great podcast about how to plan holiday events. Create a short companion how-to video to supplement it.
You made an awesome infographic about your product’s features vs. those of the competition. Now add testimonials and short audio interviews to bring the page to life.
Note what is happening here: Every item on the above list relates back to relevance. For example, if you sell patio furniture for upscale outdoor entertaining, then you need to create content around that theme. Answer the questions your audience has about that topic. When you create great content it will get linked to. And you will have a better chance of pitching it to publications, news sites and other outlets that will often be glad to link to it, as a service to their readers.
Researching Relevant Link Sources
When working on link development (keeping relevance in mind) a common tactic is to review competitors’ link portfolios. Find the most relevant link sources and make pitches to get links there. These pitches (often via email) need to be customized as you are making a request of an editor, blogger or other human being to help you, and also to provide great content (yours) to their readers.
Keyword research also needs to be relevant. When you create link-worthy content it’s important to include long-tail keyword variations that reflect answers to questions. Using the words ‘how to’ and ‘why’ in article titles and copy can keep you focused. Here are a few examples:
> How to lose weight naturally
> Why new mothers need more sleep
> How to hang a porch swing
These ‘why’ and ‘how to’ variations often pair well with numbers, like this:
- How to Lose Weight Naturally in 7 Days
- 6 Reasons Why New Mothers Need More Sleep
- How to Hang a Porch Swing in 3 Easy Steps
Many videos and blogs have been linked to thousands of times because they show people how to do something. Think about how you can teach someone to do something with your products, or show them in a video how your service saves them time. This kind of content will promote you as an expert. It can get your site natural links and build your authority in search engines (help you rank for your important keywords).
Relevance > Authority > Rankings > Traffic > Conversions
Remember to keep relevance in mind in every content creation and link development activity.
Bonus Tip: Relevance is definitely key when it comes to link development. A great benefit you get when working with Engine-IUS Marketing is our understanding of internal linking. We know where and how to place internal links to guide visitors naturally through your content. These links are also excellent pathways through which search engine spiders can crawl your website, helping them understand more about the relationships (relevancy) among your pages’ themes.
Leverage Link Development with Engine-IUS Marketing
Engine-IUS Marketing carefully determines relevance whenever considering potential linking sites for our clients. Also, when we link out (which is a good practice when writing an article, creating a link round up, etc.), we ensure that what we’re linking to is related in context, to our article.
Google will continue to weigh links heavily in its ranking algorithm, and will refine its views on what constitutes a ‘good link.’ Get in touch with Engine-IUS Marketing today and see how we can leverage link development to drive more traffic and conversions for you!