Link Building in the Real World
The talk that stood out for me at BrightonSEO was ‘Real World Link Building’ by Greg Gifford. Link building is an extremely important part of search engine optimisation. Links to your website show Google that your website has value and this therefore has a positive impact on your search engine rankings (providing the links are good quality and not spammy).
Link building is not as simple a task as it may sound. Securing links from high authority websites can in fact be very difficult. Many websites appreciate the value of securing a link from them and therefore will charge you for the privilege, and the asking price for a link can be in the thousands. This means that you have to think smart about how to obtain a link from these high value domains that are going to benefit your website.
Need a hand with building links?
If you have attempted link building, then you will know that it is a time-consuming process that can yield very little in terms of results. Greg highlighted how link building can be a tough puzzle to crack and that you cannot just carry on the way you are simply hoping that you will get some good links. Instead, you have to come up with a strategy to obtain links and employ it.
Link building should not be ignored as this will lead to your website fading into the background as other websites (your competitors) who are investing time into link building supersede you. This means that your website will become increasingly less visible to potential customers, meaning less traffic and fewer sales.
How you should go about link building
Greg explained how there were a number of tactics mentioned about how to conduct link building, but that ‘most of them were bull…’not very good. He then shared with us the framework behind a successful link building process and explained some of the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to link building.
For example, infographics for a long time were viewed as the way to build links. Well, not anymore according to Greg. He also highlighted to be wary about link building advice you may read online. If you Google about how to link build, then you will probably find case studies about agencies that have managed to obtain hundreds of inbound links.
Greg was quick to point out that most websites that are able to obtain hundreds of links have massive budgets and huge teams. This doesn’t apply to 95% of businesses out there, as they do not have websites with thousands of links. In fact, most small businesses have less than 100 inbound links.
Link building locally
For local link building it is important to build links based on partnerships that have real world value beyond just SEO. Local links are usually based on real world relationships and securing these links takes far less time and effort than securing one high authority link.
Make sure to take advantage of relationships that you already have and things you are already doing. For example, are you already sponsoring teams or events in the local area? Do they have a website? If so, is that website linking to yours?
If you’re not already, then there are a number of things in the local area that you can get involved in to secure links for your business such as local meetups, local sponsorships, community service, local clubs/organisations, ethnic business directories, neighbourhood watch websites, churches, school events, awards, festivals and sports clubs.
Putting the theory into action
Pull a list of your websites inbound links using a variety of SEO tools such as Moz, Majestic and SEMrush. Copy and paste all of these link exports into an Excel file and de-dupe the list.
Then pull your competitors’ link profiles using the same tools and start looking for link opportunities, meaning links your competitors’ have, but you do not. This is good to catch up to competitors, but you need unique links to get ahead of them. The good news about obtaining links from websites that link to your competitors is that they will lose their unique links.
Identify link opportunities in a spreadsheet with the website and contact details. Before contacting, decide which website page on your site the opportunity will target. Do not simply just get websites to link to your homepage. You want to spread the value of links around your site, to your main landing pages.
How to outreach
After you’ve decided what links to go after and obtained the contact details it is time to begin outreaching. Your research beforehand will make it easier to obtain a link. Remember that when sending an outreach email, you must keep it simple and do not mention the link right away.
Instead focus on building a relationship and the adding value to their users. If you can prove to them that linking to you will add value, then you will be well on your way to securing a valuable link for your website.
Securing links for your website
Greg’s talk highlighted the difficulties that can exist when it comes to link building but provided some interesting solutions and tactics that you can employ to secure links to your business. Going after your competitor’s links and obtaining local links are certainly a great place to start.