Link building is sooooo awesome. Wait a minute, no it’s not. It’s the dullest job anyone involved in SEO can ever do. Sadly it’s also uber important to your success. In a nutshell, you want people to link to your website, ideally with keywords strongly related to the subject matter you are talking about.
One of the biggest reasons content marketing (such as having a great blog) is so important is that you have a higher chance of people linking to your content based on the topic of the post, rather than just your brand name. Ranking #1 for your brand name is critical, but usually quite easily done. It’s the other keywords/phrases that you chose earlier on that you want people to use as the anchor text when linking to you.
For example, the first line below gives my site some love for the term “landing page examples”, whereas the second gives more weight to the brand name.
So there are two important aspects to a basic approach to link building.
- Write awesome/inspiring/useful/funny content that people want to link to
- Figure out who is linking to you and optimize the links
Here’s how to find and optimize the links:
Step 1: Discover inbound links
You can set up Google Alerts on your brand name, website URL, and topics related to your business. This allows you to discover conversations or mentions that are happening around the web. It’s important to jump into these conversations quickly to add your expertise and increase the odds that readers of the content will proceed on to your site. You’ll also benefit from building relationships with the writers of the blogs/content you are interacting with.
You can also discover inbound links by checking Webmaster Tools, but the most reliable place to check is the Yahoo Site Explorer.
Add your site, then click explore and hit -> InLinks. It’s the best way to figure out who’s linking to you, which leads into part 2 where we optimize these links.
Step 2: Optimizing inbound links
Schedule a monthly audit of all the sites that are linking to you. You can do this by trawling through your Google Alerts as per step 1. Then make contact with the author of the link (often someone who wrote a blog post mentioning you) and politely ask them for a favour: to change the anchor text in the link to something that will help your organic search results for your key terms. This is way better and more legit than the lamo old-school link exchange requests that spam artists send to you.