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Contents

Introduction

Why Rank Higher in Google Searches?

White Hat SEO Over Black Hat SEO

Outdated Strategies for SEO

What is Link Building?

Which Types of Links Are Beneficial to Website Growth?

Getting Started with Link Building

Basic Tactics for Link Building

Top Tactics for Link Building in 2016

Using Metrics

Conclusion

Introduction

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a powerful web marketing technique. In technical terms, the process of influencing the exposure of a website, in a search engine's search results, can be termed as SEO. The earlier or the more frequently a site is displayed in the list, the more visitors it will get. The different kinds of searches include image search, video search, news search, local search, academic search, and industry-specific search. The SEO strategy involves considering how a search engine works, what people search for, the terms/keywords entered for the search, and the most preferred search engines. To optimize a website for a search engine, its content may have to be edited.

Several activities are performed by a search engine to deliver the search results. It involves crawling a web page, indexing it, processing it, calculating its relevancy, and then retrieving it. A software called crawler or spider or Googlebot (specifically for Google) searches the entire web. It goes from one page to another. Once a page is crawled, the crawler will then index its content. Indexing involves identifying the words and expressions that best explains the page and assigning the page to specific keywords. The indexed page is then stored in a big database.

When a search request comes in, it will be processed by the search engine. Processing involves comparing the words in the search request with the indexed pages in the database. Since millions of pages, with the same words, will be there in the database, the search engine will start calculating the relevancy of each page with the search string. Various algorithms are used to calculate relevancy. Once the relevancy is calculated, the search engine will retrieve the results, and display them in the browser.

Why Rank Higher in Google Searches?

Your website could have all the right content that is relevant to a particular search entry, but what would draw a user to click on your web page instead of another one? Most people do not go beyond the first page of search results on Google unless they were conducting some serious research. They would probably only open the first couple of links, read through the content, and close the browser. If your website is not one of the top five search results or if it is not on the first page, chances of users accessing it are very minimal.

Google is one of the most popular search engines used by millions of people every single day. If you want a strong presence on the internet, you will need a high rank on Google’s searches. These search engines use complicated algorithms to allot ranks to websites based on different keywords. Googles keeps its ranking algorithm constantly updated, which makes it very difficult for even seasoned SEO experts to keep up.

A good ranking on a search engine can give you multiple benefits, but when you lose ranking, you lose traffic and you also lose earnings from your website as well. Large companies pay huge amounts of money for best results on search engines, which would give their websites and products more exposure.

There are several advantages to a good rank on Google. Some of these are mentioned below.

  • It is obvious that users depend on search engines when they want to make online purchases. During a search, if you are a seller and your website cannot be located on top, then your website will experience very little or no traffic, which will cause you to lose money. A good ranking on search engines will make your website visible and increase overall traffic, improving your chances of visibility and selling your services or products.
  • A higher ranking on search engines will assure users that your company and products have a good reputation. With SEO, your website becomes accessible to people from all over the world looking for a particular service or product, and this boosts your company’s promotion and increases its globalization. People would much rather open a website that looks well established than an unknown one.
  • The higher your search engine ranking, the better people will trust your website. It ensures targeted traffic, even from organic search results. When people trust your website, they will keep coming back to you even if your rankings drop.
  • A good promotion strategy combined with optimizing your website will ensure you a high return on investment.
  • Good search engine optimization can result in your website raking in potential clients. Targeted clients will flow in once your website has good search engine rankings.

Here are a couple of simple tips to help Google identify your website as the right candidate for a good search engine rank.

  • Constantly keep your website updated. Google will notice that you are becoming a well-established and reliable source of information. This will also help you widen your keyword directory. With more pages on your website, Google and your audience will notice that you are an expert on the topic.
  • Share your content over social media platforms. This will enable you to building a brand that is useful and also express your value. This strategy will help you boost your ranking on Google. Encourage your website users or visitors to also share your content on their social media profiles as well. This will cause Google to believe your credibility.

A good search engine ranking will only improve your website’s chances of being more successful. With a higher ranking, you have better chances of potential clients and a good reputation, which will result in a successful business.

When it comes to search engine optimization, you will need to learn the different kinds of strategies. They are differentiated into White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. These strategies have strong differences when it comes to long-term results.

Most companies looking for stable, long-term results normally keep away from Black Hat SEO. Let us explore why that is.

White hat search engine optimization

This practice refers to using tactics, methods, and strategies that are directed toward a human audience and not just search engines. These methods follow search engine policies and rules. Websites optimized using this technique focus on organic ranking as well as relevancy. This is also called Ethical SEO and is ideal if you are looking to make a long-time investment on your website.

Black hat search engine optimization

This is a more aggressive strategy. The techniques here focus only on search engines and not on a human audience. They also fail to follow the search engine rules and guidelines. Normally, people looking to make a quick buck off their website instead of a long-term investment use Black Hat SEO.

White Hat versus Black Hat optimization

Black Hat tactics do not really add any value to the content of your website. A popular form of this practice is keyword stuffing where you push in all your keywords into one phrase. “Cloaking” is another tactic in Black Hat SEO. Here, a web page is made to appear like something else that would normally appear as a search result, but when you click on it, you are taken to an annoying advertisement instead of the actual page. Another similar tactic is creating doorway pages that serve as an entrance into other irrelevant pages.

White Hat SEO on the other hand is far more reliable for users. Instead of stuffing keywords, this practice bids for them and then uses the right terms to help boost your website and make it much easier for search engines to locate your web pages. This technique include these keywords intelligently that will create and add value into your content, making it sensible and attractive to a visitor. White Hat optimization also uses link building and backlinking strategies. Link building allows users to rate the credibility of your website. The higher the votes, the more credible your website is. This causes the search engines to identify how valuable your website is, which will enable them to give your site a high ranking.

Still wondering why you should choose White Hat SEO over Black Hat SEO? Here is another reason. White Hat SEO is rather ethical method of bringing in organic traffic toward your website. The consequences of using Black Hat SEO can be very severe. These techniques might be able to get your website to the top much faster than any White Hat SEO technique, but your website could be pulled down in just the same amount of time. You could be penalized for using Black Hat SEO techniques. There have been instances where search engines have permanently blocked new websites from being constructed after repeated Black Hat SEO usage. Once you are blocked, you have almost zero chances of being unblocked. Google takes Black Hat SEO abuse very seriously and you cannot trick Google into removing you off its blacklist. You certainly would not want to end up on the blacklist of the world’s number one search engine, which would have otherwise brought you the most traffic.

Mostly, Black Hat SEO is ideal for someone who only wants to make some easy profits for a day or two on a quick website. If you are not that kind of person, then White Hat SEO is for you. It is reliable, ethical, and long-lasting.

Outdated Strategies for SEO

If there is one thing that is constantly evolving, it is the internet. Once your website gets a good search engine ranking, you should then take necessary steps to make sure it maintains that rank. Once you lose your rank, you have to try to get your website on top all over again.

The techniques for SEO are also constantly being changed to keep up with the ever-evolving web. Most practices that were commonly used a few years ago are now outdated and do not benefit your website in any way. You should be aware of these ineffective methods because they could do some serious damage to your website and its ranking. As mentioned earlier, always keep your content fresh and updated. Remove outdated content from your website.

Here are some outdated optimization tactics that you should be aware of and some tips you should learn before you make any changes to your website.

  • Do not stuff your page full of keywords. When your page is filled with keywords, search engines like Google will consider your website as a spam site. Once you are on a spam list, you can kiss your search engine ranking goodbye. It could get worse. Google can remove your website from its results. Revise your pages and re-check your keywords.
  • Back links are essential for your website, but you will have to do them right. Stop focusing on quantity and start focusing on quality. If your competitor has just ten backlinks of superior quality while you have hundreds of mediocre ones, their website will certainly outperform yours.
  • A great user-friendly interface with good content and back links will give your website a good rank on search engines. However, this practice is slowly losing value. If you do not have supporting presence on social media platform, your website will soon be forgotten. You will need to constantly update posts regarding your website on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Not only will this give your website a good ranking, but it will also provide you with necessary high-quality backlinks. Social media pages are usually the quickest to appear on search results. This is also a great way to expand exposure to your website and services.
  • Updated content is always a good thing. Make this your mantra regarding your website. If your pages do not contain enough media-rich material or if there is too much mediocre content, you cannot expect a high search engine ranking. However, make sure that you are not adding duplicate or irrelevant content. Lack of images and videos can make your website appear dull and uninteresting. Create a couple of pages that have quality content along with relevant pictures or videos. This will definitely have a positive effect on your website’s search rankings.
  • Another factor you need to know about content is that only using short-form content on your web pages will cause people to lose interest in your website since they do not have access to enough information. To achieve and maintain a high rank, you will need to create long-form content, at least 1,500 words.
  • Do not plaster your metadata with keywords. If this is misused, it could be considered as keyword stuffing. Add relevant information when you are creating metadata and only use keywords if necessary. This information is used as the description for your web page in the search engine. This becomes a major factor while a user decides to click on your link or not.

Creating and maintaining a constant inflow of quality content that keeps your readers interested is very important if you are seeking a good search engine ranking. Maintain your website’s technical details and comply with all the rules. Also, do not forget to spread your content through social media.

What is Link Building?

Link building plays a major role in search engine optimization. It refers to methods to improve the quantity as well as quality of inbound links to a website. This method can boost the amount of good quality links directing to a website, which in turn will improve the search engine ranking of the website. In some cases, link building has also proven to be a useful marketing strategy to increase brand awareness.

The architecture of search engine optimization is constantly changing, which makes it important to constantly building high-quality links. These links will help you not only survive on the internet, but also thrive and compete.

Link building acquires hyperlinks from other pages onto your own web page. These hyperlinks allow users to explore and sail through the internet. Search engines use these links to create connections between other websites and pages on your website. Link building is believed to be one of the most difficult aspects of SEO.

Search engines rely on these hyperlinks to locate new pages and also to determine how to rank a particular page in their results. Once the search engine has rifled through the pages, it extracts the content from those pages and indexes them which allows it to decide if the page can be ranked high or law regarding relevant keywords based on its quality. The number and quality of links to external websites also play a major role in this decision. Your website will rank highly in search results if you have links to other high-quality websites.

A user would look at hyperlinks as a vote of confidence regarding a page. If someone links to a different website, it becomes an effective way of branding it a good resource. An overuse of hyperlinks can result in serious penalization. Google constantly scouts the internet for over-optimization, so it is important that you are aware of Google’s rules and stay within them. There have been instances when users have created thousands of spam links just to boost their sites to get to the first page of search results. As mentioned earlier, overusing links is a popular technique among Black Hat SEO. Over time, the effectiveness of abusing hyperlinks has reduced with very short-lived results.

Since search engines no longer focus on quantity, you will need to be more attentive toward the quality of your links. Effective SEO requires you to dedicate resources such as time, skilled labor, and money. You cannot just grab links from around and insert them onto your web page. Acquiring quality, relevant links from authority websites is not a piece of cake. But when you get your hands on those valuable links, you can expect huge rewards. Your website will receive large volumes of search engine traffic that will give you a high return on investment, which translates to better sales, leads, and higher revenue.

There are more benefits from link building. When you create hyperlinks, you are reaching out to various other websites and pages in your stream or industry. This helps you create long-term bonds with important influencers and these bonds make your website more trustworthy and reliable. Effective brand building also helps boost your business. Certain link building strategies will establish your website as an expert in your industry. When you focus on a topic and publish web content containing industry data, you have high chances of being considered an expert on that topic. This makes you well known in your industry.

One factor you need to keep in mind while building links, you will need to follow the internet’s guidelines or you could face a penalty. Large companies have been penalized by Google for creating spammy links.

Which Types of Links Are Beneficial to Website Growth?

As mentioned earlier, you now that search engines focus more on quality than quantity of links. Building the right kind of links is very tricky and has been termed as the most difficult part of search engine optimization. But after Google began aggressively penalizing websites for building poor quality links, SEOs have become more careful. The concept of building links faces constant evolution as it has to keep up with the ever changing landscape of SEO. There are a few kinds of links you should focus on when you are building links. These are mentioned below.

  • “Natural” editorial links: These links are editorially provides by the owners of other websites. This practice is much easier than you having to contact another person and request them to link to your pages. However, these links do not come free as you would have to provide the other owners a good reason to share their links with you. One example of a worthy reason would be creating quality content which you would share with other influential members. These links are rather difficult to acquire, which makes them very valuable. These links are strong and are often used by search engines as examples.
  • Manual “outreach” editorial links: When you perform SEO, this will probably be the most common form of link building. If your business is just blooming or your existing business is still very small, this is the type of link building you will have to turn to. This practice requires that you manually contact other website owners and request them to link to your pages. You will need to choose relevant people and have created quality content to convince them to link to you.
  • Self-created, non-editorial links: These links are not provided by other editors or website owners and have to be created by you. Since these are non-editorial links, they are not as valuable as the other kinds. Earlier, they used to be useful and effective on specific websites, but SEOs have been warned against using this kind of linking. These links are often created by Black Hat SEO practices, which are generally unacceptable by search engines. Google introduced an algorithm update called Penguin in 2012 to monitor and eliminate these kinds of links. SEOs have to be very cautious when implementing these links. Here are a few examples of non-editorial links:
    • Unmoderated blog comments
    • Article directories
    • Press releases with optimized anchor text
    • Signatures on guest posts
    • Advertorials
    • Widgets that can be embedded
    • Infographics embeds
    • User profile pages
    • Forum signatures
    • Guestbooks
    • Unmoderated directories

Before you create your link, you will need to correlate it with your current link profile. Ideally, it is wisest to avoid links that have not been provided by other editors or owners. Use tactics which will instead provide you with editorial links that will boost the value of your business.

Getting Started with Link Building

Now that you are aware of how important link building is, you will need to learn the right way to the process so your website receives a good search engine ranking. First things first, you need a link building campaign. With this process, you can actively try and increase the number of links connected to your business or website. This process requires a comprehensive objective. The campaign will focus on using the assets that belong to your website to procure those links. These assets can be a range of several things, from news and content to services and products.

When you are structuring your link building campaign, you will learn that it requires various constituents. Some of these components could prove to be vital for your website’s success. A combination of your current resources and assets will play a pivotal role in this campaign. Here are a few steps you should be aware of while you are building the campaign.

 

Set goals

 

The process of link building functions as an online marketing tool. With a platform like marketing, the first thing you should begin with is setting goals. Once you recognize the goals of this campaign, you can create the right strategy that will give you the highest chance of a successful venture. While you are setting these goals, make sure that they correlate with the goals of your website and business. Do not waste time building unnecessary links that would not positively impact the success of your business. It is true that links play a major role in the algorithms conducted by search engines, so more links would help you hit a good rank. More links also drive higher traffic into your website which will boost your business, but it is also true that these links require some amount of time before they start positively affecting your rankings. You cannot expect to see results from the very next day, especially in competitive industries. This can prove to be a problem for SEOs who can find it difficult to prove a link building campaign’s success despite it hitting certain goals.

To ensure success, you will have to set goals that are realistic and intelligent. Do not focus on generating a certain number of links. Focus more on the quality of these links. These goals will have to be connected to organizational goals, which will have a strong positive effect on your business. Focus on long-term profits and not on overnight quick ones.

Locate your assets

 

The crux of this link building campaign will contain the asset or product that you will use to rope in your links. This asset has to be interesting enough that people should be intrigued about what you are offering. People will link to you if you have an interesting enough concept. Each business has a different asset and you will need to recognize the assets of your business and if those will interest the others around you.

There are various kinds of assets. Some of them include content, products, services, data, and people. Another asset still used by Black Hat SEOs is money. You obviously need some form of investment for your assets, but Black Hat SEOs view acquiring links merely as means to make some money. Google’s guidelines strictly prohibit buying links. If a website is found guilty of engaging in such practices, it can face a heavy penalty and also lose traffic. It is strongly recommended that you do not buy links as the risks involved outweigh your losses.

Another factor you need to focus on is your targeted audience. Your assets will have to relevant to them, especially if you are looking for them to be interested in your work. Lack of relevancy will leave people wondering why you would want them to link to your website.

 

Types of links needed

 

When you are creating a strategy to build your campaign, you will need to pay attention to the different types of links needed. There are several kinds of links you will need to focus on. Here is a list of generic links that you will need.

  • Links to your homepage
  • Links to inner pages or “deep” pages (category or product pages)
  • Links that contain your company/website name
  • Links that contain specific keywords

Combination links are also available. These are a blend of the above links. When you identify the kinds of links required, you will start a detailed analysis of links on your present website. This will help you identify your ranking for specific keywords compared to your peer websites. You can use certain tools such as Open Site Explorer to conduct this analysis. This will help you understand what the link profile looks like.

This analysis will also display areas where you can improve. It helps you identify areas with problems that can be resolved.

Locating link targets

 

When you are deciding your link targets, you will need to identify the kind of people you would have to contact. This is important because you need to contact people who would most likely be interested in your product or business. If you randomly contact people, most of them would not respond. This will also likely give your website and you a lousy reputation.

Before you begin your link building campaign, you will have to create a rough list of the people you believe will be interested in what you do. Not only do you have to identify the people who would be interested, but you will also have to recognize who will like your work enough to actually get to linking to it.

It is rather easy to get people to take a look at your work, but getting them to give you links is a much harder task. You will need to coax them to be interested in your work enough to be willing to link to you. You will need to invest some resources like time and effort to make this happen. It is much easier to share your work on social networks, so a Facebook or Twitter account will always be helpful.

To get people to be interested in your work, you will need to create something they cannot refuse. Topics or themes such as news, controversial, funny, data visualization, ego-bait, competition, and long-form content serve as good hooks to rope people in.

Identifying target audience for links

You will need to locate your target audience and conduct some research on your content. Once you have identified your audience, push out your content. This will help you learn of your chances of getting links or not.

 

Ways to find link targets

Use search engines to locate bloggers. Looks for lists of bloggers focused on specific topics that are relevant to your work. Once you have gotten your list, locate the bloggers’ contact details. You can also find bloggers on social networking sites like Twitter.

You can also use Google’s advanced search options to locate bloggers who are otherwise not too easy to find. These options are more specific and focused on what you are looking for. You can filter your search results, removing websites that are not useful to you.

Learn more about the target websites

 

You will need to spend some amount of time ensuring that the sites you have located are relevant to your business. This will help you get a higher rate of responses. Visit the bloggers’ websites, study their content, and learn about what they are interested and what they do not like. Their social networks will also provide a lot of information about them, especially what they like sharing. This will help you understand if they share other bloggers’ content or if they stick to only their content. Evidence of these bloggers sharing external links is what you should be looking for since you would be asking them to do the same for you. Once you have identified the relevant targets, locate their contact details.

Getting traffic is crucial to your business. And one way of getting many visitors is having influential people sharing your work. One influential target sharing your work can have a large ripple effect.

Outreach

 

Now that you created a list of link targets, it is time for you to start spreading your content and campaign. Begin this process with targets that are most likely to be interested in your work. A response from a high-level target can be used as proof when you reach out to smaller targets.

Keep in mind that these bloggers are people, so personalize your requests. Send them a mail that not only contains links to your content, but also your social network profiles. This will help them understand that you are truly looking to connect and not a spammer. Popular bloggers would receive several outreach emails, so take some time out to customize your mail and make it a little different and personal.

Follow up

 

It is vital that you follow up on every mail you send if you do not receive a reply. This reinforces that you are a genuine person looking to do business and not spam. Sometimes, you could receive negative replies. Do not be put off as this can be a good opportunity for you to interact with the blogger and get more feedback.

Remember, it can take a while for link building to help your business. The duration depends on several factors such as how competitive your industry is, how strong your keywords are, how active your competitors are, etc. It could take several days or even months before you can notice a higher ranking. Set a realistic expectation and constantly work toward improving your business website, and online presence.

Basic Tactics for Link Building

During your link building campaign, you will realize that there are several ways to acquire links. Depending on your resources and industry, you will have to use the correct tactics to get your hands on those links. Established industries require strong link building and a competitive streak. With these companies, you could find it hard to earn those links. Newer industries, however, will give you several opportunities to interact with other bloggers and also create a community. You will have to develop tactics to build links that will help you with all kinds of websites. Here are some of them.

 

Content-based link building

The concept behind this tactic is to create content that will lure in people who will want to link to your work. Your content can take any one of several forms such as a how-to guide, an infographic, a video, data visualization, or even just an image gallery. You have to focus on acquiring links from people who are interested, find them informative, funny, etc. You approach these people, your industry’s key influencers, with an aim of earning those links. With a few key people, you will be able to spread your content along your community and wider. You will need to remember that you have to be patient as results do not appear overnight. It can take a while and also requires quite some investment, especially in exceptional and unique content.

Guest blogging

 

This is a practice where you approach other websites and check if they would publish an article or some content that you have written on their page. You serve as a guest blogger on their website. This is considered to be an effective method of earning links since you use high-quality content, but Google has penalized marketers who have abused this method. They used low-quality material and over optimization.

Guest blogging soon became a very popular method. As it became more common, it also became automated. The posts were also of poor quality. Most reputable websites will accept guest posts if they are of superior quality. They would prefer that content is not be created solely to acquire links. Google has become an expert in locating these kinds of links, so it is recommended you do not create links in this manner.

Ego bait

 

Ego bait can be defined as content that impresses the people who are mentioned in that page. The intention is to impress these people enough to get them to share your work. With this technique, you get these people to notice you. This is a strong way of receiving high-quality links and directing traffic to your work. The process of ego baiting involves a few steps. They are:

  • Concept and research targets: The first thing you will need to do is create an interesting concept for you work. It has to be relevant to your website’s theme. Choose a relevant idea that complements your website nicely. Once the idea has been finalized, you will need to conduct some research to identify whom you plan on featuring in your page. There are some factors you will need to focus on before you pick the right person.
  • Search for blogs that are currently active and have posted recently.
  • Look for blogs that have a large amount of followers on social media.
  • Ensure that you can locate the bloggers’ contact details.

When you are filling out your content, you will need to make sure that the person or people or website you plan on adding to your work is genuinely deserving of being featured in your content. Do not feature people or websites with the only intention of locating people who would be willing to share your work. This could easily become obvious to the people you are looking to bait and to your readers.

  • Create content: This part requires that you create original and high-quality content. In your content, include details about the featured people and websites. This will help you attract the bloggers’ attention, who will then share your post and link you. Ideally, it would good if you could include details such as a picture of the person or a screengrab of the website, a link to their websites and social media profiles, and most importantly, reasons why they have been featured in your work. Explain what makes them or their work exceptional.
  • Outreach: Once you have published your content, you should contact the bloggers or website to let them know that they have been featured. Keep the email simple because the people you are writing to are busy. You could include more details if you would like.
  • Follow up: This is the most important step. Once you have sent them a mail to inform them of your post, always make sure you follow up. Even if you receive a negative response, consider it as constructive criticism.

Broken link building

 

The Internet is a vast, never ending ocean of data. It has millions of websites, and each of these websites contain broken links. Very often, high-quality web pages contain these broken links. Webmasters have to fix these broken links, which is why broken link building has become a very popular task. This practice offers them high-quality alternatives that they can use to fix these broken links.

The steps in this practice can differ, but the basic methods are as follows:

  • Research and identify the broken links and locate good targets
  • Create content
  • Outreach

Once you have identified the broken links, you can add newer links or up-to-date resources as a replacement. This process if efficient and can be repeated if necessary. While you can use existing material to fix broken links, you can also create new material for the same purpose.

 

Link reclamation

 

This process is slightly different compared to broken link building. Here, you repair or “reclaim” broken links. These links could be the kind that used to direct to your website or are inefficient and do not boost your SEO value.

There are several kinds of tactics you can use to reclaim links. Here are a few of them.

  • 404s: These are broken links that appear to direct to your web pages, but they do not exist anymore. You could use tools such as Open Site Explorer to locate links that will lead you to 404 pages. Once you have located these links, you can either fix them or redirect using alternative sources.
  • Non-linking brand mentions: You would often find other people’s pages containing details regarding your site, but there would be no links. If you want to secure a link, all you would have to do is send the author an email. There are tools available online such as Google Alerts, Fresh Web Explorer, and mention.net that can help you locate these mentions.
  • Non-linking images: Sometimes, you can also find that websites have uploaded your images without your permission. This is common practice and a lot of people do it without being aware of copyright infringement or other malpractices. You could consider this a blessing in disguise. Instead of bringing the law in and filing for a copyright takedown notice, you should realize that you have earned a link on another website. You have tools like Google’s Image Search and TinEye to help you locate your images. Politely seek attribution instead of threatening with copyright infringement.

Top Tactics for Link Building in 2016

A high search engine rank will ensure that your website gets displayed on the top of the search results list. However, it is not easy to get a high rank. The rankings are based on a lot of factors. Following are the top five factors, according to a study conducted by Moz (a SaaS company). The study was conducted across one hundred and fifty industry experts.

  • Domain-level link features
  • Page-level link features
  • Page-level keyword and Content-based features
  • Engagement & Traffic/Query data
  • Domain-level brand metrics

Following are some of the link building techniques that you can implement to improve the search engine ranking of your website. Backlinks or inbound links are important, however, it is important that you avoid poor quality or spammy backlinks, since they can cost your website negative points from Google.

Create link-worthy content

According to Moz, about 70% of the ranking algorithm has to do with links. In order to get links, you require content worth linking to. One mistake that companies usually make on their website is that they provide very less information about their products. If a potential buyer is not able to get all the information they want, they may go somewhere else. Providing in-depth information will definitely make your website link-worthy. Another benefit of having in-depth information on your website is that the other websites will consider your website as an authoritative source, and link to your website. This will show the search engines that your site is an authoritative source on the topic.

Take advantage of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves partnering social media influencers and bloggers to talk about your product / brand, on their social media accounts or blog pages. Getting them to write a review about your product will provide your site with important backlinks. It will also help your product to get a lot of publicity among your target audience. There are many ways you can track the top influencers in your particular industry.

Broken link building

Broken link building is a link building strategy where you contact a web page owner who has a broken link on their website, and recommends a way to fix it, that includes linking your target site as well. You can check for broken links using tools like CheckMyLink.

Infographics

Interesting and informative graphics on your web page can provide visitors with a lot of information quickly. People are more likely to link to a product page filled with informative graphics than a product page that is ninety percent text. It can help your website to earn a lot of links. Infographics with a link back to your site can be easily embedded on websites or blogs.

Surveys and Industry trend reports

Releasing surveys and industry trend reports is an excellent way for B2B businesses to drive traffic to the website. It helps to build authority, and credibility as well. The sharability quotient of these reports is so good that you will be able to get a number of backlinks. To create more awareness around the release of the reports, you can activate the offline PR as well. You can use tools like GetInsights or Survey Monkey to create surveys. It is important that you share your surveys with top industry experts for their insights, before you release them. It will provide more credibility to your reports. You can share the reports in different industry forums.

Skyscraper content

This technique involves discovering top content in your respective sector and adding more value to the existing content. Once the content is good to go, you can contact people linking to the existing content, and share the link to your website article. Tools like Topsy or BuzzSumo can be used to find top (performing) content from your respective industry.

Testimonials

This is a good tactic for building backlinks. You can write testimonials for the products or services that you have used, for your brand. You can then include a backlink to your website in the testimonial. A quick case study will add value and credibility to your testimonial.

Internal linking

Internal links are links that go from one page of a domain to a different page on the same domain. Effective internal linking can make your content informative for your users by giving them enough information that is relevant to your product or service. It can point out to the search engines that your website has a lot of relevant information regarding the topic, It will help to boost the credibility of the site. Efficient internal linking will increase the discoverability of your existing old content.

Take advantage of Q&A forums

You will be able to find a lot of discussions happening on various topics in Q&A forums, like Quora. You can find topics related to your products or services, and answer relevant questions with reference backlinks to your web page. This serves to provide information to people, as well as get you a lot of good quality backlinks.

Repurposing old content

Repurposing old content will help you to get the content you already have in the hands of more people. One of the main benefits of repurposing old content is that you can save the time in creating new content. You can repurpose old content in multiple formats. For example, convert your blog into a presentation or PDFs that are downloadable or into videos or infographics. Submitting these on multiple platforms will help you to reach a wider audience.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging can be an effective link building tactic. You can search, and connect with quality websites or portals, for guest blogging. You will be able to add a lot of quality backlinks depending on the topics that you guest blog. However, you have to be careful while selecting the target websites or portals. Low-quality websites or duplicate content will result in a penalty from Google.

Take advantage of social media

Social media can be used effectively to build links. You can create a community, and share your content on a regular basis. Your community followers will share your content. On platforms like Twitter, you may have to share your content multiple times. To avoid same posts, you may use different post copies, stats, and images. LinkedIn is a platform that you can use to publish your repurposed content. They have their own blogging feature.

Ask for backlinks

Link request (writing to another website and asking for a backlink) is a common way to get backlinks. The first thing you have to do is search for a quality website/portal of your respective industry. Then contact them and tell them that you have an excellent article that they can use on their website. If they like your article, they will agree to include that in their website/portal along with the backlinks to your website.

Industry roundups and Content curation

You can create a case study by curating the top articles in your sector/industry, taking interviews of industry experts, and compiling the latest industry reports. Publish this case study on your website, and share the link with the experts. Let them know that you have published their interview, and have linked to their content. You will be able to gain potential backlinks through the whole process. It will also help your audience to get a lot of information. You can use tools like Feedly, BuzzSumo or Scoop.It, for content curation.

Reclaim your brand mentions

You can keep a track of your brand mentions on the web with the help of tools like Talk Walker, Mention, and Google Alerts. Tracking all the brand mentions will help you to check whether all these mentions have linked back to your site. If the mentions do not contain the backlinks, you can reach out with the help of social media to see whether it can be converted into a backlink.

Monitor your competitors

Keeping a track on the backlinks of your competitor sites, and analyzing the data will help you to create better content on your website, that may redirect a lot of traffic to your website.

Take advantage of user discussion platforms

Websites like TripAdvisor and Zomata gets a lot of visitors on a daily basis. You can partner with the top reviewers on these sites to provide you with quality backlinks. You will be able to get a list of the top reviewers with a simple google search. For example, top food bloggers or top travel bloggers.

Refresh old backlinks

After a long period of time, some of the backlinks to your website may return a 404 error. It usually happens when the URL does not exist anymore. Using tools like Online Tools, you will be able to find out these backlinks, and correct them.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out)

HARO is a good way to get backlinks from news sites. Once you register yourself on the site, you will get emails from reporters looking for information. You can then send them the required information, along with your backlinks.

Following these techniques will help your to generate good quality backlinks for your website.

Using Metrics

Judging the value of a potential link will help you to assess whether it is worth acquiring, and will give you an idea about the resources, and efforts you should be putting into it. One of the best ways to do that is to check the various metrics associated with the link. Following are the metrics.

Strength of the domain and Strength of the page

Domain strength is the combined value of an entire domain. Looking at the domain as a whole instead of looking at the individual pages will help you to understand how strong it is. Domain strength is commonly displayed as the Page Authority on the homepage or as Domain Authority. Google calculates PageRank on the basis of the number and the quality of the links pointing to a website. PageRank of a website will give you an idea how strong the site is. Even though this is only the PageRank of a single page, it is still a good indicator of the strength of a domain, because the majority of a site's links will be to the homepage.

Site strength is a good metric to use. It will ensure that you get links from strong websites. This will add more strength to your own website. Google will take it as a good sign, and will provide you with a good ranking.

Following are some tools to measure the domain strength and the page strength.

  • PageRank extension (Chrome)
  • Google Toolbar for PageRank (Internet Explorer)

Anchor text

Anchor text can provide Google with an indication of the matter of the subject, of the page being linked to. For example, if you link to a page using the words 'healthy foods', then it is likely that the page being linked to will contain information regarding foods that are healthy. This information will then be used by Google as part of its ranking algorithms. In this case, Google may decide that the page being linked to should be ranked higher for the keyword 'healthy foods', and close variations.

It is better not to build a lot of links that have the exact same anchor in them, especially if the links are not high-quality links, like links from low-quality domains or links that have too much anchor text or non-editorial sitewide links. Try to make your link profile look as natural as possible. It basically means getting links that use your company name as the anchor text.

The following are some tools to measure anchor text:

  • Open Site Explorer (Moz.com)
  • AHREFs
  • Majestic SEO

Number of links

Always keep a track of the number of links you have built. You have to keep in mind that quality of the links is equally important as of the number of links. The number of links can be useful in two ways.

  • To measure the progress and success of a link building campaign
  • To compare your website with a competitor's website.

You have to factor in the quality of the links as well, for the above two uses to provide an accurate result. When you compare your number with that of your competitors, it can sometimes show gaps that may explain the difference in the ranking. For example, if you are trying to rank for the keyword 'smartphones', and the site on the first page of results all have over a thousand linking domains, then that gives you a good sense regarding the competitiveness of that keyword. This will give you an idea how much attention you will have to give in order to rank among those results.

The same tools listed above (for Anchor text) can be used to measure the number of links as well.

Linking root domains

It is a powerful ranking signal to Google. Linking root domains mean the number of distinct domains that link to your website. For example, if Fox News links to your website from four different news stories, then it will be counted as four links and one root domain because all the four links come from the single root domain Fox News. The number of linking root domains actually shows the true popularity of a website. Consider that Google thinks of links as votes. Then, no matter how many links you get from a particular website, Google will only count it as one vote since all the links come from one root domain.

Multiple links from the same domain can happen. One way is to link from a multiple content page. The other is sitewide links. A sitewide link is a link that is placed in a templated element of the website, like the sidebar or the header or the footer. However, they are not as valuable as in-content links from just a few pages.

The same tools listed above (for Anchor text) can be used to measure the linking root domains as well.

Linking page relevance

Suppose you get a link from the homepage of CNN to your website, which is all about chocolate. Would you reject it because the CNN website is a news website, and not about chocolate? If the CNN website helps to bring traffic to your website, then why reject it? The point is, you can try to convert those visitors into potential customers. For this reason alone, you should be trying to place links on websites where potential customers may visit. While, whether Google takes page relevance as a metric to calculate the value of a link, may still be a debate, page relevance can be a good SEO strategy, and a potential direct income source.

Position of links on the web page

Google is able to work out the position of a link on a page. Based on the position, Google will value it. For instance, if the link is at the bottom of the page (maybe in the footer of the page), Google may give it a less value, assuming that the link may not be very useful for the users since it is placed at the bottom of the page. Many users may not scroll down a page till the footer, and even if they do, they usually do not expect to find useful links in that section.

Understanding these metrics will also benefit you when you are doing a link profile analysis on your website or that of your competitor.

Conclusion

All the search engines operate on the same basic principle. However, their methods of implementing those principles differ slightly. This slight difference may lead to major changes in the relevancy of results. For different search engines, different factors are important. For example, links are very important for Google in determining the value of a website. For Bing and Yahoo search engine, keywords are more important than links. If you want to optimize your website for different search engines, you may want to consider the factors that are important to each of those search engines.

Links, as a factor in ranking the websites, is what worked for Google to dominate the search engine market, back in the late 1990s. PageRank was invented by Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. Google used it to measure the quality of a page based in part on the number of links pointing to it. This metric was then used as part of the overall ranking algorithm. Since it turned out to be an excellent way to determine the quality of a page, it became a strong, and continuous practice. The whole concept was effective because it was based upon the idea that a link could be seen as a vote of confidence about a page. PageRank is what Google still uses to measure the quality of a website.

The theory about taking links as a factor to measure the quality of a website is that when someone links to another website, they are effectively saying it is a good resource. Otherwise, they would not.

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