In our recent blog entry, An Analysis of A B2B Link Building Campaign, we looked at how content and link building are two of the top factors for ranking high on a Google search. Other important ranking factors include how mobile-friendly your website is, how fast your pages load (for both mobile and desktop versions of your website), and the user experience your website offers.
Whether you are a seasoned SEO expert or a novice, link building should be a major focus of your optimization strategy. Fortunately for novices, it's not difficult to understand how to build links, but it can be a tedious, challenging process; however, your efforts will be well worth it.
Building Your Links
When creating a link-building strategy, we must start with two kinds of links: inbound links and internal links. Both are important to your website but for different reasons; therefore, your strategy should focus on generating both types for your website.
Inbound links are those from a different website. They are also called "backlinks"; they "link back" to your domain. Inbound links are generated when you have content that a different website wants to refer back to or source. These types of links can positively and negatively influence your website's ranking.
You can't really do much to build your inbound links by asking others to put backlinks into their own content. You have to give them incentive.You can conduct outreach initiatives where you pitch blog ideas to websites and write blog posts as a third-party contributor. In those blogs, you can generate backlinks by linking back to relevant posts on your website. To make sure you are positively benefitting your blog, target websites with a large audience, high rankings on Google, and that have relevance to your niche.
Internal links are those that connect from one point of your site to another. It could be a link from one page to another or to an image or document. Internal links are mainly used as website navigation, establish hierarchy, and spread link equity throughout the website (more on link equity in a bit). Good internal link structure shows search engines that you care about navigation and user experience. For a more in-depth look at internal links and current best practices, check out Moz's articles on internal links.
"Link equity" (previously called "link juice") refers to how one link can pass equity, or value, to other pages. Both inbound (external) and internal links can pass link equity, but inbound links typically offer more link equity than internal links.
How does a link pass on equity? It depends on a few factors: Different qualities determine whether it will pass on its equity. Some of these qualities include:
- Link Relevance. The link is relevant (similar topic; makes sense to link the two). For example, it would make sense for a fitness website to link to another website that sells fitness clothing but not one that sells professional work clothing.
- Site Authority. The site that links is an authoritative site ("authoritative" are sites that have been established for a while [i.e., live on the web] and those with quality content). These sites have a better chance of passing along equity than non-authoritative sites.
- Crawlability. The link is crawlable, meaning search engine bots can look at the page. But if bots are blocked, the link can't be crawled and won't pass on its equity.
- Location on Page. The link's location helps determine its importance and therefore its rank weight: A link in the main navigation is usually more important than a link in the footer.
- Number of Links. If an inbound link comes from a page that has multiple links on it, the link may not be as valuable, but that isn't necessarily the case. If anything, your link may not get clicked if it is lost among dozens of others.
There are plenty of other factors to consider, such as whether or not a link is a redirect, but these are the major factors.
How CONCURED Can Help With Link Building
If you're looking to build links, there are some ways CONCURED can help. It can help reduce some of the tediousness that comes with creating quality content and links with good equity.
Suggest Strong, Engaging Topics
Great content isn't just written well; it needs to have a topic that can capture the reader's attention and make them want to continue reading. Often, it can be difficult to come up with interesting topics. At a certain point, all content marketers reach a stage where they feel as if they've covered every topic relevant to their market from every possible angle.
But if you're wanting to generate inbound links, you will need to repetitively create strong, engaging topics that others will reference in their own articles. CONCURED can help you by letting you know what to write about. It can identify topics that will resonate with your audience and fill the gaps in terms of topic areas.
Analyze Topic Stream for Content Series
A content series is a great way to build links. You take an important topic and take an in-depth look, breaking it down into parts of several blog posts. We recently covered content personalization, and that took about eight posts to get everything covered. While there is no minimum or maximum, we suggest no less than three but no more than ten. Remember, you want to cover every aspect of the topic, but you don't want to run out of steam and start writing junk just to add one more piece of content to your site.
That's where CONCURED (and pre-planning!) come into play. CONCURED helps you extract value from your content. For instance, you can also benchmark your content performance to see if what you're doing is working or if you need to switch it up based on past performance and the relative performance of your competition.
We recommend you take advantage of all CONCURED's features to hone in on topics and/or individual posts that have really resonated with your audience—those that got a lot of traction and positive responses. Use these topics and break them down. What parts of the topic/post can you expand on? Turn each into its own piece of content and create a series. Then, you can link these to each other and back to the original article (if applicable) from which you generated the series.
Benchmark Content Performance
At first glance, benchmarking your contents' performance doesn't seem like it will help with generating new links; if anything, it would be a task done to analyze overall strategy and make improvements based on results.
As we said a few paragraphs above, you will want to benchmark your content to help you determine high-performing content to turn into a series and generate links that way. Additionally, you can use it to identify weak and low-performing content that could use a boost. Even though you can generate internal links to and from this content, you will still be missing out on other opportunities (not exclusive to link generation) such as:
- Inbound Links. You won't get inbound links to this content because no one wants to link to poorly written or un-engaging content.
- Readership. That one low-performing piece of content could be someone's introduction to you. First impressions still matter, and if they aren't impressed by what they see, they won't want to continue to look at your other content—even if it is wonderful.
- Ranking. Weak content doesn't rank. Whether it isn't relevant or is chock full of errors and plagiarism, Google takes note of various factors in determining what content to put on the front page of search results.
- Underperforming Against Competitors. If your competitors have better content than you, they are likely to rank higher and generate more inbound links to their content and site—which means more eyeballs on them and less on you. It's hard to convince your audience why they should purchase your products or use your services if your competition is sweeping you under the digital rug where you can't be seen.
Let's Get Linking
Do not understand the leverage that comes from building a strong link profile. As one of the top ranking factors, link building is a non-negotiable element of your strategy. You need to make sure you're getting inbound links from reputable sites with a large readership. And you also need to make sure that your internal links are doing their job: You don't want to overwhelm your site with links, but it should have a structure that is logical and easy to crawl. And you want to make sure you are maximizing your links' ability to share their equity.
Finally, take advantage of CONCURED's features. It will provide the insight you need to make the necessary strategic decisions to bolster your inbound and internal links.
What other tips do you have for generating a link profile? What are some challenges you have encountered while trying to build your profile? And have you used CONCURED yet to help you in this pursuit?