Have you ever found yourself on a site that read like a string of keywords and every other word was a link? That’s link building, the bad kind. With Google’s search algorithm updates (the latest was rolled out in September 2016), you’ll rarely find yourself on a site like that – it’s probably been penalized by now. Still, it’s proof that link building can get you to the top of the search engines. Here’s how to do it without getting penalized.
Link building occurs when someone links to your site. By linking to a site, you’re showing your confidence in that site as a trusted, reliable source, and it’s a way of telling search engines that other sites give you a ‘vote’ or a ‘thumbs up’. It’s also a great way to gain Domain Authority (DA) from Google, and the higher your Domain Authority, the higher up you’ll show in search engine results.
Healthy Link Building Strategies
You don’t have to wait around for someone else to link to your site. There are a lot of ways to do it yourself. Unfortunately, in the past some SEO’ers found a way to manipulate links. Search engines found out what people were doing and penalized sites with ‘unnatural’ or spammy links.
To avoid a penalty, make sure all links are natural, organic, and more importantly, legitimate. Create a link building strategy that doesn’t include paid links or shady practices and your site will have a great chance of flourishing. The strategies below will help build your links without getting your site blacklisted.
Guest blogging is a way for you to not only share content and gain authority for your site, but also a chance for you to link back to your own site from the blog. The higher the DA of the site you guest blog on, the more your link will build the DA of your own site.
Posting your links on your social accounts and sharing them is a great link building strategy, and one that you’re hopefully doing already. Remember – create content that people want to share. Think like your audience. What would you share to your personal social media? Create and share that.
Local directory listings
If your company is local, you should be sharing your information in local directory listings like Yelp and Angie’s list. Don’t forget to link back to your website. There’s a ‘happy-medium’ here, you don’t want to be listed on a million directories. Pick a couple of the best ones for your industry and stick with them.
Check for mentions
Create a Google Alert for yourself and your company. You’ll be emailed when your name is mentioned. You can also search for your company name to check for mentions. When you find something, make sure it’s on a reputable website. If it’s a good quality website, reach out to thank them for mentioning you and ask that they link to you. Example: “Hi Bob, Thank you for mentioning X company in your blog. We really appreciate it. I’m reaching out to see if you would please add a link to our site so your readers can easily find us. Thank you again and keep up the great work!”
If your business has a YouTube channel, make sure that you link to your site in the video description boxes and About sections. This is an especially good idea outside of your link building strategy so that those who randomly stumble onto your video can find you.
Press releases are another solid link building strategy. If you do share a press release, be selective — it should be newsworthy. Make sure the angle is something you yourself would want to hear/read about on the news.
Podcasts are gaining in popularity, and they are a good way to build links. If you have a podcast, make sure to link to your guest’s site and ask they link back to you. If you’re a guest, the host will usually link to the your website, and if not you can request that they do.
Sound like a lot of work? It is. But it’s well worth it if you want healthy links to your site that give you juice without Google penalties. We’re happy to evaluate what your SEO looks like and let you know if links to your site are healthy or not.