Link building is an essential part of marketing your company and ensuring that your website gets good search rankings. However, this is often seen as a confusing and overwhelming task because the nature of the link building ecosystem changes so frequently. Though you’re dealing with a complex landscape, there are those who have ventured forth before you and developed a successful system for navigating it, helping you to stake your claim to a prominent and well-mapped corner of the web.
The Evolution of Link Building
Image via Flickr by Joe The Goat Farmer
Like most business practices, link building has naturally evolved as the online landscape has expanded, adjusted, and become more complex. There was a time when all links were created equal. You could use content farms or spammy blog comments to build backlinks that would improve your page rank.
Next, keywords came into play. Writers were tasked with identifying the critical terms and phrases that would get the best results with their backlinks. Anxious to boost their positioning on search engine results pages (SERPs), writers would stuff these keywords in with alarming frequency, often producing content that was clunky, poorly written, and essentially useless to readers.
Google has long since caught on to these tactics, which are now deemed black hat. They’ll punish this sloppy approach harshly, looking instead for a more genuine linking process that demonstrates the authoritative positioning of your site. Online search engines are getting smarter every day. You need equally intelligent tactics to succeed with them.
Where You Should Start
Many link building strategies begin with the target site where companies want to place their posts containing well-placed links. While guest blogs are a great way to promote your business and build links, they’re not necessarily the best place to start when you’re navigating the complex link building ecosystem. Remember that search engines look for high-quality content, not just smart placement. Start with the writer of your pieces to ensure that you’re producing content that is engaging, informative, and valuable to the reader.
Working with a top-notch writer has many perks:
- You’ll receive well-written content
- You can work with an established name with existing followers
- You can leverage the respected writer’s own connections with other industry sites
- Your writer can promote your pieces — with his or her byline — on his or her own personal blog
These points all flow together to create a balanced online ecosystem with high-quality content, a reliable source, and numerous useful connections.
Maintaining Your Voice
Another advantage of focusing on the writer first is that you’ll have more control over the style and tone of each piece. This applies to both the internal articles, blogs, and white papers on your website, and to external blogs that link back to them. Professional writers know how to tailor their style to the distinct needs of your brand. A fashion retailer doesn’t need the same voice as an auto mechanic. One is light and cheerful, sprinkled with celebrity references and informal language, while the other is concise, stolid, and to-the-point.
Working with a good writer ensures that you’ll get just the voice you’re looking for. Choosing a writer with an established presence in your industry means you can get very similar crossover from the writer’s personal blog and other postings to the content he or she provides on your site.
The best link building approach is to use the same writer for both internal and external content. This ensures that the readers who engage highly with the writer’s guest blog on an industry site are likely to connect with your internal white paper that it links to as well. Link building has become a rich, interwoven ecosystem where these types of connections are incredibly valuable.
Creating a Calendar
Just as you need to regularly nurture the plants in a garden to see them grow and establish themselves in their ecosystem, so too should you provide consistent and ongoing care for your online content. Irregular posts and inconsistent strategies create a disjointed effect that’s off-putting for readers and ineffective with search engines. Once you’ve established a relationship with a good writer, you should begin building a calendar for the work that they’ll do.
While every company will have its own needs regarding frequency, length, and type of postings, it’s important to stick to a consistent schedule with a diverse selection of content types. Incorporate infographics, videos, short punchy blogs, and longer in-depth articles. Yet, ensure that these are posted on a regular basis and maintain the same tone and topic, so your visitors will come to expect fresh content with the voice they’ve come to love.
Building a System of Links
For each piece that you post on your internal site, you should have your writer post a complementary piece elsewhere, linking back to it. This link building strategy builds a strong and natural system of links that will help you thrive in the current ecosystem.
This doesn’t mean re-posting your original content elsewhere, or even pairing each piece with a similar spin-off. You can link back to a piece about lawn care products in a post about staging your home for resale, or link to a line of cookware in an article that’s not about cookware, but about organizing the kitchen or selecting the right holiday gift for every personality. A one-for-one posting strategy is a great way to start solid with your link building.
Outsourcing Your Efforts
If managing all the stages of the link building process seems like a lot, that’s because it is. Planting yourself solidly in this ever-evolving ecosystem takes time, effort, and steadiness. Reaching out to a professional content management team can give you access to all the connections and resources you need to pursue powerful link building strategies that are clean, high-quality, and successful. Finding the right team mates in your efforts is just as important as finding the right approach.
With a better understanding of the complex ecosystem of link building, you can stock your pack with the necessary tools and set out for success in the vast and fascinating landscape of the internet.