Search engine optimisation is a complex process, affected by factors that range from the content on your website to its code. But don't forget about external back links, which show search engines like Google and Bing that your content is relevant enough for others to link to it.
Backlinks have been a hot SEO topic for years. In their infancy, algorithms like Google's EdgeRank simply calculated the amount of websites linking to your pages as a measure of credibility, which led to unethical link buying practices designed simply to improve a site's ranking.
Since then, a number of algorithm updates have ensured that while the amount of back links still matters, only quality links will positively influence your SEO ranking. But they still matter: in fact, one study found that the combination of domain trustworthiness and backlinks accounts for almost 50% of ranking factors. To help your small business succeed in SEO, here are 5 best practices to build a network of high-quality backlinks for your website.
1) Create Valuable Content
Any link building in 2016 has to start with content that is worth linking to. True to the motto if you build it, they will come, great content that is focused on relevant keywords will drive your audience to the site, and if they can't stop reading it, they're more likely to share. Creating a blog, info graphics, or other types of valuable content is a crucial first step to any link building strategy.
2) Spread Word About the Content on Social Media
Of course, no matter how great the content is, simply publishing it on your website may not be enough to spread the word. Now is the time to link to it from social media; not only will these links count as backlinks, but you also increase the chance that your audience sees it and shares it among their own followers.
3) Engage in Guest Blogging
As the importance of quality in link building has risen, successful SEO companies increasingly seek out industry thought leaders and websites to share their content. Guest blogging offers a natural way to get your content seen beyond your own website, while still giving you an opportunity to link back to your own online presence. This comprehensive guide can help you establish a sustainable guest blogging strategy.
4) Reach Out to Influencers
In addition to spreading the word to your audience via social media and guest blogs on the websites they frequent, reaching out directly to influencers within your target audience is another crucial step to successful link building. Identify who these influencers are, and send them a personalised message of why they might like the piece of content on your website. If they do, and share it to their audience, you have gained valuable back links that will improve your small business SEO.
5) Disavow Your Bad Links
Finally, even if your entire strategy focuses on only building inbound links from credible websites, you may still receive backlinks that can actually harm your credibility rating and reputation for search engines. These types of links from untrustworthy sources can actually harm your SEO; in fact, bad backlinks account for 95% of Google's ranking penalties.
Fortunately, both Google and Bing offer relatively simple steps to disavow bad backlinks. Going through these steps on a regular basis helps you keep your link profile clean and avoiding any SEO punishments by search engines.
If you do it right, link building can be a crucial step to increasing the profile of your small business on search engines. But because of ever-more complex algorithms that prevent unethical abuse of this ranking factor, following the above best practices is paramount for sustainable success. If you need help in building high-quality back links for your website, contact us.