Google’s great insight that allowed them to build a better search engine was the value of links as a mechanism for differentiating between sites. Whereas earlier search engines just looked at the text on a page, Google considered the relationships between sites. Each link was considered a vote, and sites with many incoming links (often referred to as backlinks) were given higher search rankings.
Whilst Google has changed a lot since its early days, links are still among the most important ranking factors for SEO. However, whilst in the past, getting a lot of low-quality links or buying links would work as a strategy, these days, it is essential only to get high-quality links relevant to your business. Avoid inferior quality links as they will not help a site rank better and harm your natural search performance. Best practices for link building are as follows:
- Build relevant, quality links.
- Create great content which people want to link to
- Aim for a range of links from various sources with different anchor text.
- Do not buy links.
- Avoid low-quality sites.
Building links is more complex than it used to be, and as many tactics which worked well in the past, e.g., directory submission or blog comments, no longer carry any weight. Focus instead on building links organically from high-quality sources.
Quality content provides more content for the search engines to index and provides ‘linkbait’. Sites with excellent quality content will naturally receive links from other sites whose owners believe the linked content is a useful resource for their visitors. Quality content can take the format of text, applications and resources such as how-to guides.
Other websites will be happy to link to high-quality sites which share similar or complementary content. Your strategy here is not to get thousands of random links but high-quality links from relevant sites.
Sources of links can include:
- Business partners. Ask your business partners to recommend your services by placing a link to you on their site.
- Suppliers. Many suppliers will have a list of resellers on their sites.
- Quality directories. There are often specific local business directories that promote nearby businesses.
An excellent source of links is websites that link to your competitors. There is a free backlink checked on Neil Patel’s site.
Generating stories about your business is an excellent way of getting excellent quality links to your site. One way to create media interest is to submit press releases to relevant media websites. Media websites tend to be well indexed and highly ranked by search engines as they contain a large volume of quality content that attracts links and is often updated. The following types of media sites can be targeted when distributing new stories:
- Blogs. Many bloggers are hugely influential in their fields and may be interested in writing about your product and services.
- Press release sites. Websites that accept and distribute press releases. Some of these sites are free and others charge a small fee.
- Online magazines. Online magazine and newspapers often write stories after direct approaches and press releases.