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Link Building Essentials

     -     Apr 3rd, 2019   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Link building is an essential component of any search engine optimization (SEO) program. In order to rank well in Google and other search engines, it’s important to have a high number of links from other websites. While back links don’t have the same importance as they once had (Google currently has over 200 ranking factors), it doesn’t mean that marketers should not focus on link building as part of their program. In fact, a study featured in Search Engine Journal clearly highlights the importance that quality back links play in helping websites achieve a top ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). It’s obvious that quality content is a necessity in order to be a dominant force in SEO, but without a robust number of back links it is difficult to reach the top.

The challenge many face is figuring out how to build their back link profile. In a perfect world, other webmasters and industry influencers would be knocking down your door asking to feature your latest blog post on their site and on social media the minute you publish the content. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. The reality is that creating quality content is the first step in the process. Once it’s live on your site, then comes the hard part of finding ways to generate back links.

The how of back link building is a broad subject and a practice that times time, repetition, and skills to master.  However, this doesn’t mean you need to condemn yourself to repeating the mistakes that others have made. In fact, there are literally dozens of free resources available that can walk you through  useful information in the form of guides and how-to articles . This doesn’t even include the various free and paid tools available to help you along the journey.

Whether you are new to link building or an experienced pro, I am confident you will find some useful information in this blog.

Link Building Guides

If you are like me, then you want to skip past the high-level, 600-word blog posts that scratch the surface and instead go right for the deep dive. There are several detailed guides that will satisfy your appetite for more information.

  • Link Building for SEO (The Definitive Guide) – This free guide provides a heap of information on the importance of link building, explains how Google uses links in its ranking algorithm, outlines various link building strategies, and gives tips on what should be avoided as you commence link building. What’s even better is that it was updated for 2019 so the information provided is current and relevant to the latest Google updates.
  • Advanced Guide to Link Building – This 12-chapter guide provides useful information not only on the importance of link building and how to get started but also onvarious link building strategies including relationship based, broken link, and image link building.
  • Your Link Building Guide for 2018 – Published by Razor Social, this guide covers the essentials of link building starting with the basics and working up to more advanced strategies. Many tactics are explored that will appeal to professional service organizations (law firms, accounting firms, etc.) such as guest blogging and interviews. This guide also addresses content repurposing and syndication.
  • Link Building Strategy – The Ultimate Guide to Link Building – This is a collection of items from Word Stream that covers virtually every aspect of link building, starting with why it’s important and moving to advanced techniques for attracting high quality links to your website. There is so much information here that it will be impossible to absorb it in a single read.

Link Building Strategies

These resources are for those who want to cut through the explanations and jump right into strategy.

  • 3 White Hat Link Building Techniques that go Far Beyond Links – This is an excellent resource written by a former black hat (oh, that’s not good) SEO professional. He provides detailed information and examples on how to implement proven strategies to build links to your website.
  • The Crazy Egg Guide to White Hat Link Building -This detailed explanation of different link building strategies offers the added bonus of examples, tools, and an explanation of the essential hows and whys of each process.
  • Noob Guide to Link Building – In this guide, Moz provides readers with a comprehensive explanation of link building that covers virtually every aspect of the topic, including terms and concepts. What makes this a useful read is that there is even a link building plan that you can download, customize, and use for your company.
  • 10 Small Business Link Building Hacks – This is a great read for small business marketers that are looking to get their link building efforts going. It provides actionable steps with explanations on where to get started and how to use competition information to fuel  link building strategies.
  • 8 Unusual Link Building Strategies that will Catapult Your Rankings – From the mind of Neil Patel, these are very funny but effective ways at building links that you may not have otherwise considered. Patel offers a creative approach to link building not covered in other places.
  • 42 White Hat Backlinks for an Online Business in 2019 – This article is straightforward, simple, and right to the point. Although written in 2017, the information is relevant and covers the essentials such as round ups, gamification, and the giveaway.

Black Hat Link Building

The last thing anyone wants to do is upset Google and incur its wrath. Check out these resources for information on link building strategies to avoid.

  • 6 Black Hat Link Building Tactics that will Tank Your SEO – This article provides a short explanation on black hat link building and a description of the most common types of black hat link building to avoid. Short but sweet and very useful!
  • The Guide, the Bad & the Ugly of Link Building – This is a great resource on black hat SEO, link building, and the world of Google penalties along with concise explanations of why these tactics should be avoided. A great resource to help understand how search engines “think”.
  • White Hat v Black Hat Link Building –This article comprehensively explains various black hat link building tactics along with the evolution of Google and how it has changed to overcome traditional link building tricks.
  • 17 Types of Link Spam to Avoid – Learn about link spam and the steps you can take to ensure your linking strategy doesn’t include these less desirables (including comment and profile spam).
  • How to Use Google’s Disavow Tool Correctly – Discover how to use Google’s disavow tool to ensure that the unwanted or spammy links pointing to your website aren’t counted by Google. Find out why you want to be careful not be part of a “bad neighborhood”.

Link Building Tools

No job can be done without the right tools. Much like the variety of tools you can find at a traditional hardware store, there are dozens of link building tools available (both paid and free) to help you along the way. Below is a list of the ones I have found to be more useful and effective.

If you are new to link building, then I highly suggest using the free tools or those with trial periods before purchasing. Each tool works a little differently and it’s important to find the tool that best meets your needs before making a purchase.

Monitor Backlinks

This tool has many features which marketers will find of value when managing their SEO efforts. A powerful feature it offers is connection with Google analytics and this provides real time updates and information on traffic generated from back links. Through the dashboard you can see all the essential information to check in on the health and vitality of your efforts. Not only does it show important information such as trust and authority for a specific keyword term, it also shows the citation and trust flow of the content on your site. (Note these latter metrics are directly impacted by your back link profile).

Monitor Links Dashboard

Using the link feature, you can assess the links which have recently been made to your site and corresponding details about the trustworthiness of those new links. (See the example below using the KPMG website).

 

The tool allows you to see what competitor back link profiles look like and even features a disavow tool which helps to sever the connection with unwanted or low-quality websites that may be linking to your website. (Low quality websites may link to your site without your knowledge and the disavow feature is important to communicate to Google not to make a connection between the two websites).

Finally, there is a link checker tool which provides alerts when another website reviews your product or service, when your website is awarded a link from a high value website and when your identified competitors have a change (positive or negative) in their linking situation. This feature alone is dynamite because it allows you to survey the competition automatically.

Ahrefs

For those not familiar with the SEO industry, Ahref is an established brand name that offers features and benefits to help propel your SEO efforts. To experience it for yourself check out their free backlink checker which will give some basic level information about your websites back link profile). While this is a paid tool you can get some great information from the site by starting a 14-day free trial. It’s especially helpful to those new to the SEO scene and looking to get started.

The dashboard gives you the essential information about your domain, but also reveals other information such as the number of educational, government and other website link types. This makes it easy to understand where high authority links are coming from.

Ahref Dashbaord

Features of this software I find valuable

  • Popular Pages – Identify the most linked to pages on your site or a competitor, which is helpful when refining your content strategy. Gives ideas on what to write about and since you can see who is linking to it you have important information on how well you can expect it to perform.
  • Outbound Links – Don’t forget who you link to is almost as important as who links to you. Use this feature to assess your site and competitors to look for outbound link opportunities.
  • Growth Monitoring – There is also a feature that allows you to track changes in your link profile over time. This allows you to see how efforts are paying off and where additional attention maybe needed.

Bottom Line – Check out this tool and sign up for a free account. If nothing else it will give you some good information about your site.

Moz.com

Anyone who has read my blog posts knows I am a huge fan of Moz. Their paid software offers a back link checker tool ripe with different features.

What I like about the Moz tool is that it provides a lot of high-level information about a domain, it’s back links and other important details. It tells you the number of ranking keywords, a sites domain authority and the number of new and lost back links.

Moz Dashboard

It also provides more detailed information on top followed pages and which websites are linking to the content, top anchor text links (What is anchor text?), and even a list of domains linking to a site by domain authority.

 

Moz Backlink Profile

The final feature that I find very useful is the compare feature. Marketers can compare up to four domains to get high level information including overall domain authority and other important information such as total number of links and an analysis of the links considered to be spammy.

It’s a great tool for those looking for high level information or desiring a comparative analysis.

I hope you have the resources and information needed to get started and on your way to a robust link strategy. While it can take time to generate quality backlinks, link building is an essential part of a SEO campaign. After all you can’t move up in the rankings for competitive keywords terms without quality content. Google can’t understand the content is quality if others are not linking to it!

What link building resources have you found to be helpful?

What link monitoring tools do you use?

Let us know in the comment section below.


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