Let’s set the record straight.
Backlinks are still a key ingredient in Google’s SEO algorithm.
What does this mean? Getting a backlink from a reputable source is the SEO version of striking gold. But that doesn’t mean Google isn’t policing and monitoring the type of backlinks websites are getting. They’re still deciphering relevancy.
This is all good news. It means that competitors with low quality, spammy backlinks will get dinged and your site will shine because you’ve implemented one of our many white hat SEO hacks and have stayed away from black hat tactics.
So, now that we’ve established that backlinks are still necessary and a must-do for successful website owners, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to get them – and keep getting them – to ensure long-term success.
Scope Out the Competition
Dig up the good, the bad and the not-that-bad from your competition. Doing a thorough search on your leading competitors in not only good business sense, but it will allow you to look at your own website in a more objective light.
For instance, if your competitor’s content is frequently being shared by industry insiders and your content isn’t, take a look at the structure, topics and visuals that are making their content digestible and not yours. Implement these tactics in your own content and it will start to be shared.
Better yet, use a free trial of an online research tool like BuzzSumo or EpicBeat to find out which relevant articles are being shared the most and create a post that is even more informative, palpable and share-worthy. The internet will do the rest.
Start Writing and Submit
You’re an expert in your field (yes! you!) and all you need to do is wait for the world to recognize this and let you into the club. Right? Not exactly.
It would be great if it was that simple but just like everything else in life, you have to prove your worth. And the way you do this is by generating a buzz about yourself in the industry.
One way you can do this is to write helpful, authoritative articles related to your product or service but instead of instantly sharing them on your web site, hold back 2-3 pieces and pitch them to bigger relevant web sites a la a guest blogging opportunity.
If your content is great and helpful to the industry you are in, you shouldn’t have any problems finding an outlet that will publish your work. Once you have your 2-3 pieces, search Google using keywords in your titles and reach out to all the relevant authoritative sites on the first few pages letting the webmaster know that you are a fan of their site and that you’d like to pitch an article idea for a guest post.
Odds are you will find a webmaster who warms to your helpful hand and you will get a backlink and better yet, make a friend.
Keep it Local
Before you tackle the world, make sure that your local customers are happy first. Do you have special services available for certain cities? Great! Create pages specifically catered to these cities and post your link on local directories. Will you be supporting a local little league baseball team? Perfect, make sure you create a page about this too.
Appealing to your local audience will not only make you and your company look more friendly, it will also let your customers know that you take pride in your city.
This is important considering a local customer is more likely to go with a company close-to-home if it is of equal or greater value than that from a different local.
Take advantage of this by making sure you claim all your local directories including those from review sites including Yelp and Google+ as well as social media pages like Facebook and FourSquare.
The trick, or hack, is to make sure that all of your directories have the same information (i.e. same contact person, number, web site etc). This will help Google identify that they’re all related and they will have a better chance of all popping up at the same time when a potential customer searches for your business.
Start A Riot
OK, maybe not a full-on riot but a little controversy can be a good thing if you use it correctly. The goal here is to start a soft controversy that does not hurt anyone’s feelings but will influence people to have an open-forum discussion about a topic and encourage a healthy debate.
In order to come up with some relevant ideas for a soft controversy, look up complaints on business listing sites, scan forum comments and then turn to Google and search for scams, secrets and general dirt surrounding your target industry and/or individual.
Then, write an opinion piece taking a position on the soft controversy and wait for fans and industry insiders to either agree or disagree with you. Bonus points if you get them impassioned enough that it becomes a trending topic.
For instance, if you are a voice-over studio, you can create a soft controversy about artists who are classically trained verses those who are not. You can then reach out to fellow music professionals and quote the ones who agree with your stance to bolster your argument.
Once you have your piece, make sure that you have a relevant, juicy title and spread the work on music blogs and fan web sites. Then, once the debate starts, you can respond to comments that are both positive and negative and bask in the glory of your growing backlinks and smile mischievously behind your computer.
Improving SEO optimisation and backlinks is akin to running a marathon instead of flipping a switch.
Implementing any new tactic will take time to see results but the longer you stick with a program, the more market research you will gather and the smarter decisions you will be able to make in regards to your marketing plan. If you feel stuck and are looking for a professional partner to help show you the way through SEO optimization, we will be happy to help.