If you run a corporate website, you know plenty about on-page SEO and optimizing your content for high rankings on search engines. You have probably applied such techniques as perfecting metadata, including alternative text for images, and optimizing copy layout to have headers, subsections, and bullet points for easier reading.
Anything related to on-page SEO is within your complete control, and applying these techniques increases domain authority – an important search engine ranking score that predicts a website’s performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Your website and business stand to gain if you work hard to increase your domain authority. You will rank higher on SERPs, meaning that you will gain higher organic traffic from search engines, and eventually improve your revenue. However, the buck hardly stops with on-page SEO: you must work on off-page SEO to gain even more authority before Google and other search engines.
Off-page SEO techniques are strategies employed outside your site to build your reputation as a trustworthy and reliable source of information within your industry. Most tactics in off-page SEO revolve around link building because you rely on other sites to point back to your content.
What is Link Building?
Link building is a technique that focuses on finding credible and reputable online sources to link back to your website. If you have high-authority sites linking back to your content, you enhance your own domain authority. If a high authority site thinks your content is worth linking to, Google understands that to mean you must be a trustworthy source for that particular subject.
As you receive and send out more links (to other credible sites), you build a better reputation with search engines. Link building for websites can be carried out in two ways: naturally and manually.
Natural Link Building
In natural link building, you allow other sites and sources to reference or link back to your content on their own, without intervention from you. As you work on sharing high quality and in-depth content in your area of expertise, you should garner links from reputable sites naturally.
Boosting your natural link building is about creating and implementing a content strategy that generates content that your prospects need/look for. As you do this, others within your industry will see that you have valuable content and amplify it.
You can also boost your natural link building by creating the kind of content usually looked for or referenced by others, such as case studies, infographics, and research articles. This way, others in your industry writing about similar topics will include your statistics and research to strengthen their articles.
Another effective strategy is to share definitions or “What Is” posts on your site, as they are very likely to get link-backs. Often, other sites that don’t need to own certain terms entirely for their SEO will simply link back to your resource for those terms. However, you always want to own the keywords and terms that are helpful for your SEO – you should be a credible resource for those terms to get higher rankings.
The only downside to natural link building is that it takes time to establish the kind of authority needed before other sites see you. If you need to enhance your domain authority within a shorter time, you won’t get those results by relying on natural link-building alone.
Manual/Intentional Link Building
Intentional or manual link building helps to enhance your domain authority within a shorter span of time. For this strategy, you will reach out to industry-relevant and credible sites and request them to link back to your content. There are several ways to do this.
Before you approach a webmaster or owner to link back to your website, you must calculate what value you will provide for them. If you have already linked to their site, you can include this fact in your email requests, and ask them to reciprocate.
Be careful about reciprocal link building, however; if all your links come from sites which you have linked to, Google will interpret that as artificial linking, and such links won’t count. Think about other value you can provide, such as offering to write a guest post on their site, with an opportunity to link back to your own content.
Once you have a handful of sites linking back to you as a credible source, you are more likely to get noticed by companies in your industry offering complementary services or products. Soon, you will have more and more sites linking back to your articles.
Related: Are You Following These 4 Timeless UX Design Trends
Tips to Enhance Your Intentional Link Building Results
The best sources of links are companies within your industry but not under your direct vertical – this means that you are not direct competitors. Instead, people interested in your products will also likely be interested in theirs. Below are some tips to help you along:
Encourage Guest Authors on Your Website
You can encourage people to link to your site without asking them directly by offering guest authoring opportunities. Guest writing is a passive way of intentional link building on your site. You can have a form on the site letting thought leaders or guest authors write for your site. Having this open invitation featuring prominently on your site allows interested parties to come to you, instead of looking for them.
Once their content has been published on your site, guest authors will link back to their content, which is a link to your site. While it is also a longer-term strategy of link building, you should have it in place so that it can work for you while you focus on the other strategies. You don’t have a say in whether or not the post on your blog will earn a link, but you have laid the groundwork for it to happen.
Similarly, you should submit posts (not published on your site or anywhere else) to other websites and earn a link back to your site.
Apart from asking other sites for guest authoring or links to your site and content, you can use directories to improve your link building. Directories are sites that have high domain authority, and they are considered a reliable source of information in their industry. Examples of directories include Yelp, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, or G2, among others.
You can also establish partnerships with high authority sites – getting a mention in their partners’ directory will earn you a link and increase the level of traffic you get from the site itself. The site must be very credible so that mention as a partner will improve your own credibility.
Applying and receiving awards is another easy way to boost your link building efforts. There are awards you’re eligible for with or without entry fees – it’s up to you to decide which ones to apply for.
Award websites have a high level of credibility or domain authority, and they will link back to your site should you win. As a bonus, winning these awards allows you to place that trust mark on your website to boost trust with your audience.
If you’ve always thought you have little control over whether or not you get link backs to your content, nothing could be further from the truth. As you have seen, there are several ways to improve your authority using the inbound link building.
Just remember to follow SEO best practices for all your on-page and off-page SEO efforts. And finally, create high quality, relevant and in-depth content that will provide value to your audience, and so earn you better rankings in search results.