Once upon a time, it was the holy grail for search engine optimization. But due to some questionable practices, attention for link building in SEO-land seems to have dropped over the past few years. In this article, you’ll get a refresher on what link building is and how you can still successfully implement it in 2018 to get your website a higher Google search ranking.
What is link building?
A link to your website is considered a vote of confidence. Someone thinks your content is so worthwhile that they decided to reference it. At least, that is why Google originally started using backlinks as an important ranking factor in its search results. The more existing links from relevant and popular websites to your site, the higher you would score in specific keyword searches. With link building, you actively search for links to your own site.
Does link building still work in 2018?
As Google got smarter, hundreds of other factors became important in determining your website’s ranking. Because of that, some marketers decided to focus mainly on SEO on the website itself. Google also started to recognize shady link building practices. Google now penalizes any links that seem to exist solely to boost a search ranking.
Does that mean you should forget about link building altogether in 2018? No, that would be a shame. When you use link building responsibly, it’s still a great way to draw a significant number of visitors to your website. Not only thanks to the links in question but thanks to higher placement in search results.
#1 Ask your contacts for relevant links
If you haven’t already done so: ask your professional contacts for a relevant link to your website. Preferably not on a round-up page full of collected links, but rather as a reference in a case study, for example. Your regular suppliers and contractors are sure to be open to the idea.
#2 Create enough internal links
Another quick link building hack is to create internal links on your website. Be careful not to overdo it, though. Always keep the website visitors top of mind. When would it be relevant for them to have the option to navigate to another page?
#3 Guest blog on relevant platforms
Just like link building, guest blogs have been declared dead multiple times over by SEO marketers. That definitely had something to do with poor guest blogging practices where blog posts were placed on unrelated platforms on a massive scale. But writing guest blogs can still add value when you do so on websites that are related to your field and actually have something relevant to offer their visitors.
#4 Reviews will boost your credibility
Reviews on sites like Facebook, Google Maps, SiteJabber, and Yelp are very valuable since they do double duty as links to your website. Actively ask your clients and customers to leave you a review on those platforms. You could offer a reward like a discount voucher or an entry in a prize draw. Most platforms won’t allow you to explicitly request positive reviews, but asking for a review is fine.
#5 Write the best article ever
Textmetrics competitor analysis allows you to find out who your most important online competitors are. You’ll also discover in which keyword searches they rank the highest. Next, take a look at your competitors’ successful blog posts or pages containing those keywords.
Choose one of those articles, then write an article on the same topic. The huge difference: make your article ten times more excellent. Spend more time writing it, add more visuals, quote more experts, etc. The resulting article will generate more links over time.
#6 Pay attention to who is linking to your competition
There’s really no need to wait passively for great backlinks. If you’re offering truly incredible content, you can actively request backlinks. A smart way to do so is to use a tool like Moz Site Explorer to discover which sites are linking to your competitors’ pages. Next, reach out to those sites and ask them to include a link to your (superior) content instead.
#7 Write with Textmetrics
Link building is just one element of search engine optimization. Rather than a one-time project, think of SEO as an ongoing effort. Website owners who use Textmetrics report an average rise of 300% in Google search results. As you write, the smart editor offers real-time tips to make your content SEO-proof. For example by suggesting that you include a relevant internal link in your article.