Any good SEO will tell you that link building is still an essential part of any comprehensive search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
Links are still an important ranking factor. They still serve as valuable ‘votes’ for your website; they still contribute to your domain authority; and they are still taken into consideration by the algorithms that govern who ranks well in search and who doesn’t. However, the days of being able to cheat the system by generating links en masse are well and truly behind us.
A decade ago, Google’s search engine algorithms were much more primitive than they are now. Generally speaking, this meant it was much easier to manipulate the search results by making a website appear more useful and popular than it really was – and this could be done by generating hundreds, if not thousands, of questionable-quality backlinks to your domain from any platform that was willing to offer them.
Fast forward to 2020, and times have changed. Google’s AI can spot link manipulation from a mile off, and its algorithms are quick to cut the SERP visibility of any platform that continues to engage in unhelpful link building practices that seek to artificially boost the true worth of a website.
After all, Google wants to use its search facility to bring the right information to the right people at the right time – and allowing exposure-hungry webmasters to manipulate their own results goes against this founding principle of theirs.
These days, you have to work a bit harder to develop a link building strategy that will get you the results you need. But it’ll be worth it in the long run.
When it comes to finding and securing suitable backlinks, you need to focus on quality over quantity. One single, meaningful link from a high authority website will have much more of an impact on your domain authority and overall search presence than ten links from weaker, less relevant webmasters.
You also need to think harder about the kind of content you’ll need to produce to be considered a valuable resource, and therefore the kind of website that others will want to link back to. Because in 2020, link building is not about self-engineering links from other sites - it’s about getting them to link back to you naturally because you’ve produced valuable content that deserves a mention.
Follow the 5 steps below, and you’ll soon be enjoying impactful link partnerships that will benefit your SEO strategy in the long term.
Useful, purposeful, engaging content is at the heart of any successful link building strategy in 2020. And you can’t begin to create valuable, link-worthy content if you don’t know who you’re talking to, and what they want from you.
Define the wants, desires and pain points of the people who are likely to buy from you. Paint a picture of what they look like. Understand everything from the phrases they use to the sense of humour they have. Explore what makes them tick, then use this information to help you develop engaging content that they will want to interact with.
Once you have a clearer idea of your audience – and the kind of content you need to create to capture their interest – you need to find out where these people hang out online.
The websites they trust, and therefore visit frequently, are the kinds of websites you need to eventually generate links from.
Start with the platforms with the most traffic in your niche, then research which sites they are referencing or linking out to. You could do this manually – but it’s easier and quicker to use tools like MajesticSEO, which have the ability to scrape the data from a website to find all of its referring domains and related sites.
Once you’ve put together a nice long list of websites that complement your business or venture, it’s time to start contacting them to see if they would be willing to host content from you in exchange for a link back to your web page.
Don’t be tempted to send the same blanket cover letter to each potential link partner. Research their site first and include something in your introductory email that piques their interest and proves you’re serious about working with them. If you’ve already thought of a way that you can add value to their website or blog, don’t be afraid to pitch a content topic at this stage.
Now the fun begins! Using everything you’ve learned so far about your online community, it’s time to start putting together content that they’re going to appreciate (and link to).
Blogs are the obvious starting point. They are relatively easy to write if you have specialist knowledge, and many websites accept guest submissions as long as they are of good quality. However, there’s no reason why you need to limit yourself to written content. Videos and infographics can work equally as well as so-called link bait – you’ll just need to make sure your link partner credits your website if they want to host them.
There are many, many benefits to nurturing a strong following on the world’s biggest social media platforms. One of the key advantages is that when you do have something juicy to share, you’ll have an audience to share it with!
Links from social media platforms are usually dofollow, which means they have nominal benefits in terms of SEO. But if enough people like, share and comment on a link you’ve uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and any of the other major social media networks, you’ll reach a wider network of web users, many of whom may be willing to link to your content for their own purposes.
You can also use these social media platforms to find potential link partners. Simply search for prominent influencers in your industry and reach out to them, as you would any other webmaster or web editor.
Struggling to get other websites to link to your content? Contact our SEO consultants for your FREE SEO audit. We’ll suggest simple ways to improve your link building strategy and start generating a higher volume of links to your domain!