It really does make a difference the way that you go about your link building. Anyone can plug their links into their signature on a forum and go to town posting half-relevant replies to all the threads they see. Anyone can add a blog comment telling readers and blogger alike that they should read your blog. And it’s not difficult to buy one of those embedded ads that people will accidentally click while trying to open the content they actually want.
But these practices usually come off as a little tacky, and they’re not likely to do you any favors at the end of the day. Sure, you might get more clicks, but those clicks will probably close the page as soon as they’ve opened it. In some cases, like link buying or link exchanging (“I’ll link you if you link me”), Google can even penalize you. These are called “black hat SEO” practices. The purpose is to spread your link out widely enough that it tricks search engines algorithms into believing your content is relevant, thus, in theory, moving you further up in the search results.
Maybe that’s easier, and when you’re a new business struggling to find your place on the great, wide internet, it can be tempting. But you’ll get much better results by being genuine. Audiences want to be talked to as if they’re people, not algorithms or results. If you provide relevant, engaging content, and you build links on relevant sites, people will naturally be attracted to what you have to offer. In particular, the audience that you actually want to attract will be drawn to your website.
5 Legitimate Link Building Techniques for New Business
1. Stick to Your Niche
Wherever you go to build links, it’s essential that those sites be relevant to your industry or niche. If you have a blog about agriculture, do you really think that a forum about car repair is really the right place to find your target audience? If you sell joint pain relief cream, you probably won’t have much crossover traffic with a blogs created to inspire young scientists. So whether you go to blogs, directories, or forums, they should all be relevant to your website and should have the kind of quality content that you’d like to associate with your website.
After all, when you put in the hard work to create quality content, you don’t want your target audience to lump that in with subpar content and dismiss it. Understand what you do and who you’re trying to reach and make a pointed approach to reach that audience
2. Editorial Links
Editorial links are the dream for new businesses, and often already established businesses. So it follows that editorial links are also incredibly rare. What are these elusive creatures? Editorial links are links posted by established, credible websites that link to your website without being approached by you. They just happened to find your content interesting or creative enough to link it.
Of course, this is a bit of a catch-22 for new businesses. After all, how are these well-established businesses supposed to find your content in the first place if you’re still trying to boost your own search rankings? So while editorial links are the goal to strive for, they’re not the only method of organic link building in existence.
Blogs, on the other hand, are very attainable ways to build links. The simplest way to build links is by leaving an engaging blog comment. This comment should address the content of the blog post, tell the blogger what you found helpful in their post, and link to your page in a way that almost seems to continue the discussion rather than just promote yourself.
The best way to build links through blog comments is to add a comment on a blog that moderates their comments. These are the sources that Google will find most credible, and if your comment is approved, you’re more likely to move up the search rankings. Human audiences are also more likely to trust a link in a blog comment that was moderated and to give it a chance.
Another way to build links with other blogs is to be a guest blogger. They may have submission guidelines, or they may have an email or social media account where you can reach out to them and pitch a guest blog idea. While these blogs usually won’t take very kindly to guest bloggers who use their content solely to promote their own page (and often prohibit this), if you provide engaging, entertaining content, most blogs won’t begrudge you a link back to your own blog to follow up on your content.
4. Moderated Directories
Everyone knows about online directories, but general directories can be shady places in the link building world. Without moderation, spam links often build up in general directories, and those can make even the legitimate links appear less so.
Moderated directories require all entries to be approved. They’ll check your site to make sure it’s legitimate and relevant to their directory (and that in itself will be an extra click for you), and if it is, they’ll add you to their directory.
Everyone on the internet is a little on edge about spam–we’ve all been burned before. Your target audience is more likely to use directories that look a little cleaner and are more heavily moderated. And knowing that your link had to go through that approval process will look good to search engines as well.
5. Good Content
The best, most organic form of SEO is good content on your part. Whether it’s on your site or attached to your link on someone else’s site, your content should be engaging, creative, and helpful to your target audience.
There’s no shortage of information on the internet, and to avoid an overload, most audiences give your content a paragraph or two to decide whether or not it’s worth it to continue. That doesn’t mean you should stoop to cheap clickbait titles, but your content should, from the start, state what they can expect from the post and use an engaging voice that will hold their attention through the end of the piece.
If your guest post provides quality content, they’ll be more likely to click on link to visit your site. If the content on your site is high quality, they’ll be more likely to connect further with your business and become a customer.
Sometimes organic link building is simpler than we make it out to be. Provide good content, reach out to people who might find that content relevant, and people will want you to leave a link so they can follow up. No black hat SEO necessary.
Author Bio: Christine is a Digital Outreach Manager for Market Boost, an innovative Digital Market Agency based out of Los Angeles, California. Christine has a passion for marketing, specifically building deep relationships with journalists, website owners and influencers online. During her spare time, Christine enjoys live musical theater shows and trying one of Los Angeles’ trendy restaurants.