What is a quality link?
When search engines look at sites which link to you, they access the link quality. To do this engines look at how relevant links are to the content on the page they point to. For example, if you run a car dealership and have auto services linking to you this would be considered normal. If you, however, ask your friend to link to you from his food blog this link would probably be given less value because it is not relevant to your industry.
Another indicator of the quality is freshness. Engines expect that your site will be getting a steady number of links over time. If a lot of sites linked to you two years ago and you have no links since then your content may be considered old and out of date, for which reason engines will not rank you well. So how do you get people to link to your site?
Types of Internal Links
Earning links from sites you do not control is challenging, but before we dive into how you can conduct external link building let us first look into what you have full control over, your internal linking. As mentioned previously internal links help search engines determine what is the structure of your site, and what you believe is the most important and valuable content. Internal links fall into two categories:
● Navigation Links
These are part of the framework of your site. They are used to guide users to what they are looking for. Engines look at your navigation to determine the hierarchy of your content and how flat/deep your site architecture is.
● Contextual Links
These are links located within the text on one page pointing toward another page. Engines will analyze the internal contextual links to determine topical relevance by looking at the anchor text you used for your links.
By carefully planning your navigational and contextual links and the appropriate anchor text you can efficiently signal to both users and engines the importance and hierarchy of your site content.
How to Build External Links
Building quality links to your site is a significant factor that determines your search engine visibility. Attracting links to your site may be difficult because you have no control over other people’s sites but here are few strategies you can use to improve your chances.
- Submit your site to directories avoid spammy directories, look for the those which have an editorial process in place, or in other words, there is a human that checks what you submit.
- Have great content by producing quality content on your site you can attract an audience to it because it has value.
- Do outreach - use social media channels to get the word out about your great content.
You have to be careful when you build your external links. Avoid link buying schemes and shortcuts because this can get your site penalized by the engines. Focus on earning links with great content, yes it takes time but in the end, it is well worth the effort.
Finding Link-Building Opportunities
Link-building is an ongoing process. In order for you to improve your SERPs rankings, you need to constantly be on the lookout for new opportunities. Here are a few effective strategies:
- Look at the backlinks of your competitors and other sites which rank well for your target keywords. By using tools like MOZ Link Explorer and Majestic Site Explorer you can analyze the external links of other sites. With this method, you can discover additional directories you can submit your site to, or blog authors writing about your industry.
- Do guest blogging. By offering other sites to produce content for their blogs you get exposure to their audience and a link.
- Become a thought leader produce high-quality educational content that fills the gaps for your target audience, this will help you build yourself as an authoritative source of information and help you build relationships with other members of your industry hence links.
As mentioned before, when building your external links consider quality over quantity, so focus on the high authority link opportunities.
Tracking Your Link-Building Progress
Once you start pursuing the link-building opportunities you have identified you need to track your progress. In order for you to organize your outreach and link building efforts, we recommend tools like the Raven Tools Link Manager.
Once you attract links you need to track whether the links you are attracting have a positive effect on your site authority. To do this you can use tools like MOZ Open Site Explorer and Majestic Site Explorer on your site and track changes in domain/page authority over time.
Though link-building can take a lot of time and efforts it is well worth it in the long run. By focusing your strategy on developing quality and relevant links from authoritative sources you improve your site popularity and rankings. To be successful in your long term SEO objectives you must avoid shortcuts and spammy links and should instead focus on the value you are delivering through your content.