In order to enhance a website’s exposure, as well as increase traffic and rankings, link building is a necessity. Links from other sites that reach across the web and reference your site are like bridges spanning bodies of water or deep gorges. Just as types of bridges vary in form and function, so do your link building campaigns.
You may be in a rush to garner links, but do you want links that resemble rope bridges (think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), or would you prefer Golden Gate type bridges? If you chose rope bridges, then you must enjoy living life on the edge; and they will probably hold up and work for you for a while. Golden Gate bridges (links) on the other hand will stand the test of time and serve you well.
The Golden Gate Bridge took research, planning, design and labor to build it, and so should your link building campaigns. Ken Lyons wrote a helpful post on the step-by-step process to creating amazing backlinks. The post provides great information on finding out what people are linking to, who’s linking and why. Of course, the main reason why a site would link to you is because you have something of value to share.
So, you do your research to see what types of content people in your niche or industry are hungry for. Then you design a plan (blueprint) of the content that you want to publish. Don’t forget to audit your site to see what you already have; there’s no reason to duplicate your efforts.
A Short List of Ideas:
- If you don’t have a blog, you need to start one and publish often (no whining)
- How To’s
- Contests (think user generated content)
- Lists of all kinds (with and without images) but go easy, as an overdose is possible
- Pretend you’re back in college and do a unique research project, provide the data
- Videos (some people are visual learners, you just have to learn to deal with it)
- Encourage customer reviews
- Informative articles
- Be involved with your online community, be helpful and answer questions
- Words to the wise content creator; weird, unique, wacky, funny, valuable, insightful, entertaining, odd and helpful
With link building the old saying really holds true, “It won’t hurt to ask.” Sturdy links can be acquired when you have something to share and leverage. In your research, when you find who’s linking to content similar to what you’ve created, ask them nicely, in a well thought out email, to share your content as they’ve done in the past with others. Ken provided an email example in his post that has worked well for him. Don’t forget to use your social media accounts (you better have these or else) to promote your awesome pieces. Utilize your blog to publish posts about your new content as well.
As you create your link building blueprint, it’s important to keep in mind what your link portfolio will look like over time (the search engines are always watching.) Your backlinks should be a well-balanced mix to keep your site nice and healthy. Having a portfolio that appears natural and unmanipulated is what you want.
Diet for a Healthy Link Portfolio:
- Don’t focus solely on your homepage, have links to internal pages also; this should be an important part of your content strategy.
- Try to spread your efforts out evenly. If you have a couple of links one month and 100 the next, this doesn’t look natural at all.
- Try to acquire links from many unique domains and secure different link types.
- Be sure to vary your anchor text. If you have hundreds or thousands of links using “bridge cable” as the anchor text, and just a handful using something else, this looks very manufactured.
A successful link building campaign should be part strategy, part content creation, and part promotion. It may seem like such a daunting task that you feel like jumping off a……well, you know. The Golden Gate Bridge employs 17 ironworkers and 38 painters that are constantly working it to keep it sturdy and strong. It’s hard work. Of course, you could settle for the rope bridge that will be quick to build and hold up at first. But then it will start to deteriorate and rot in the rain and sun. Just remember that the greater your efforts are, the more links you will attain.