A Short Guide to Link Building for SEO

by | May 10, 2023 | Digital Marketing tips

Link building is an essential component of an effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and digital marketing campaign. By increasing the volume of backlinks to your website, the rating and authority assigned to your domain by popular search engines increases. 

A backlink is any link to your website from a 3rd party or external website/source.

In simple terms, the number of backlinks associated with your website will determine the profile of these SEO indicators. This is why link building is such a valuable tool for amplifying SEO performance for websites. 

Understanding Backlinks 

Backlinks are essentially internet votes. These ‘votes’ signal to search engines that your website is legitimate and valued for a specific industry or niche. 

While backlinks from any website can help improve your search engine visibility, backlinks from other local websites in similar niches can be especially valuable. These backlinks are called “local backlinks,” and they can help increase your visibility in your area, which can attract higher quality leads to your website.

Link Building 101 

The key to successful link building is to always prioritise quality over quantity. While having numerous backlinks from different websites can be beneficial, a few high-quality backlinks from reputable sources will be more effective at increasing the overall profile quality of the SEO indicators mentioned earlier. 

Link Building DOs:

Collaborate with local businesses:

Reach out to other businesses in your local community to establish opportunities for collaboration. For example, guest posting is a widely used link building technique – you can offer to write a blog article or guide to feature on another’s blog, or offer to feature their business on your website in exchange for a link.

List in business and industry directories

Ensure your website is listed in both local and industry specific business directories. Not only will these websites link to your website, but will also provide real estate to display related descriptions and keywords –  assisting with SEO relevance. Examples here are Apple Business Connect, Bing Places, Google Business Profile, Yelp, and other local directories.

Create high-quality content

The most effective way to build links is by naturally earning them – creating high-quality content that is practical, relevant to your industry, educational, and genuinely useful to your audience, ensures other websites will naturally link to your content. 

Use social media

Share your website content on social media and tag other businesses in your community. This can increase the visibility of your content, and make it more likely that other businesses will link to your content if they find it useful. 

You should also create as many relevant social media accounts for your business as you can manage, making sure to include links to your website in all profile sections. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that simply creating social media accounts won’t be enough. You need to actively engage with your followers and post high-quality content that’s relevant to your niche. 

Undertake personalised outreach

Reach out to organisations in your field with an offer to produce content in exchange for a backlink. When reaching out to other website owners and organisations, it’s important to be clear and concise about what you’re offering, and why it would be valuable to their audience. 

Compile broken links

Find websites in your industry with broken links – once you have a big enough list of these broken links, email the respective website owner with an offer to help replace their broken links to a page/article on your website instead.

By doing this, you not only help the 3rd party website fix its broken links, but also provide value to its audience by offering relevant and useful content. To find broken links, you can use tools like Ahrefs to analyse the backlink profiles of other websites in your niche.

Publish press releases

Press releases can also help to create backlinks to your website. There are a variety of paid and unpaid resources that will publish your content. Ensure to write content aligned to your SEO strategy in order to maximise this potential, including links on related keywords where possible. Be sure not to add too many backlinks, as this could be seen by search engines as spam.

Link Building DON’Ts:

Don’t buy backlinks from a third-party provider or through automated link building services

Some businesses may try to sell backlink packages, which is not a legitimate way to improve your search engine visibility. Search engines like Google penalise websites that use these types of shady practices. 

The risks associated with buying backlinks extend beyond just the possibility of a penalty. You have no control over the quality of the backlinks you receive, which means you could end up with low-quality links that are not relevant to your niche.

Don’t use low-quality directories

While business directories can be a valuable source of backlinks, not all directories are created equal. Avoid using low-quality directories that have little value to users. Instead, focus on reputable directories in your industry or community.

Don’t use link schemes

Link schemes like private blog networks (PBNs) are tactics used to manipulate search engine rankings, and they can result in penalties or even a ban from search engines. Avoid using tactics like link exchanges or paid links, which can be seen as manipulative by search engines. 

Don’t spam website owners with requests to include links to your website

While reaching out to website owners to request links to your website can be an effective link building strategy, it is essential to approach it professionally. Sending repeated and unsolicited requests to website owners without offering anything in exchange can be seen as bad etiquette.

In summary

Building high-quality backlinks for your domain is a crucial component of an effective SEO strategy, and local backlinks can be especially valuable for businesses looking to improve their search engine visibility in their region. 

Remember to prioritise quality over quantity, and avoid shady practices like buying backlinks or using link schemes. With the correct approach, backlinking can provide a significant boost to your business’ SEO rankings. 

Consider hiring an SEO Agency

If your business requires a backlink strategy and you are unsure about where to start, consider reaching out to The Ethical Agency, South Africa’s leading digital marketing agency for sustainable organisations. Our team of SEO specialists can help create a customised backlink strategy for your business that will improve your search engine visibility and attract quality leads through your website. 

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