How to get the most out of your link-building efforts
Link-building is a crucial aspect of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Notably, links help drive referral traffic to your website and inspire trust with both visitors and search engines. In turn, search engines use backlink profiles to dictate page authority (PA), which affects your search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings. But whether you’re new to this field or an SEO expert, link-building can be challenging. So, in this article, I’ll explore how to get the most out of your link-building efforts and enhance your profile.
Establish a healthy link-building strategy foundation
First and foremost, to get the most out of your link-building efforts, you’ll need to start with a healthy foundation. For the sake of text economy and convenience, let us briefly address the fundamentals.
#1 Identify your core audience and focus on SEO
The very first step for any business effort is identifying your core audience. This will inform many factors of your campaigns, from content creation to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) focus. In the context of link-building, knowing your ideal audience will help focus your efforts on getting links from ideal sources.
Similarly, it will inform your SEO strategies. From basic to advanced SEO techniques, it’s a core practice you can’t afford to skip. Put differently; building links won’t pay off if your overall SEO is lacking.
#2 Offer quality content and reach out to professionals within your niche
Most link-building practices may depend on your resources, time, field, and other factors. However, offering quality content is among the most significant and effective ways to get backlinks. Whether it’s a free tool related to your niche, guest blog content, or landing pages, “quality is king”.
At the same time, building links should focus on reaching your intended audience and building a reputation. In this regard, reaching out to professionals within your niche is nigh imperative.
#3 Create an informed content marketing strategy
Finally, content marketing is a very efficient link-building spearhead; a poor or inconsistent content marketing strategy will hamper your link-building efforts. You should thus use your insights, from your ideal audience to your SEO performance, to focus your content marketing efforts:
- Identify ideal topics to cover
- Fine-tune content length, formatting, and headlines
- Set a consistent schedule
- Ensure optimal calls to action (CTAs)
Having done the above, you should be in a safe enough position to begin refining your link-building efforts. Of course, this is a brief overview since the fundamentals aren’t the key focus of this article.
Get the most out of your link-building efforts
Now, with a solid foundation, you may still find your efforts underperforming. There may be many reasons for this, from local SEO mistakes to lacking content quality. Consider the following steps and practices to tackle these challenges and get the most out of your link-building efforts.
Distinguish between dofollow and nofollow links, but aim for both
In essence, dofollow and nofollow links don’t differ in your visitors’ eyes. They do differ, however, in the metaphorical eyes of search engines. Thus, you’ll need to distinguish the two as well.
In HTML, a dofollow link looks like this:
<a href=”https://example.com”>example anchor text</a>
Instead, a nofollow link looks like this:
<a href=”https://example.com” rel=”nofollow”>example anchor text</a>
The core difference lies in PA; normally, dofollow (by default) backlinks allow for “rank juice” transfers. That means that getting a backlink from an authoritative source will boost your own authority. The nofollow tag prevents this from happening.
Still, dofollow links aren’t the only backlinks of value. Nofollow links also generate traffic and are needed to maintain a natural backlink profile.
Aim for a natural backlink profile
On this subject, then, a natural backlink profile is crucial. Too many of either dofollow or nofollow links may raise suspicions with search engines, and penalties may follow. Moreover, your backlinks themselves need to appear natural in execution, from keywords to anchors. Thus, it’s an excellent idea to improve your links so they look natural. Some steps in that direction include the following:
- Use a wide variety of anchors instead of reusing identical ones
- Don’t have your anchors exactly match your keywords
- Balance your dofollow and nofollow links
- Acquire links from both authoritative and “random” websites
These small steps will help your backlinks appear natural and avoid potential penalties over suspected black hat tactics.
Use the broken links strategy
Another less frequent practice is the broken links strategy. This strategy doesn’t just let you get the most out of your link-building efforts, but it also boosts your SEO.
As the name suggests, it’s a simple concept; find pages with broken or missing links and offer to replace them with your own content. Such page owners may turn down guest content, but fixing their dead links is likely very valuable to them. Thus, your content is more likely to be accepted, and it serves as a direct backlink to your website. At the same time, their website benefits as well, and you may find an opportunity for more professional collaborations. It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved.
Use the skyscraper technique if possible
Similarly, on the subject of offering content, you may consider the skyscraper technique to get the most out of your link-building efforts.
Coined by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, this strategy is very simple as well:
- Find pages that host popular content on your industry
- Expand on the content they host and offer more value
- Promote it over your competitors’ content
SEO’s mantra of “quality being king” is on full display here. Such pages show demand for quality content within your niche, so it’s up to you to supply it. Both of your SEOs will benefit, and your links will offer more value to you.
Keep an eye on your competitors
Finally, speaking of your competitors, it’s always wise to keep an eye on the competition. In the case of link-building, it is undeniably crucial.
You may want to learn from your competitors’ mistakes to avoid failing keywords and unpopular topics. Conversely, you may follow their successful strategies – replicate their content marketing philosophy, approach the same sites, and so on. Of course, it’s never wise to outright copy your competitors; you should always be original and offer unique, quality content. But in all cases, from keyword research to the skyscraper technique, your competitors can inform your link-building efforts.