Every year self-proclaimed SEO gurus come out of the woodwork to announce the end of backlinks as an SEO ranking factor. But despite all the predictions, Google still relies heavily on the number and quality of backlinks pointing to your web pages in order to determine their rank for important keywords.
Some day that might change; but for now let’s review just a few of the methods that not only work today, but will continue to stay on the good side of algorithm changes for the foreseeable future.
Headlines like “17 Delicious Foods that Fight Cancer” not only grab attention when seen on the web, they also tend to grab backlinks – provided this is a high-quality and useful article. There’s a clear difference between “clickbait” and a highly-sharable authoritative piece.
Tip: avoid common numbers like “Top 10”; instead pick an odd number, or even opt for what is called the “megalist” – something like “133 Sources for Financial Aid”.
Modern man is an increasingly visual creature. Whatever business you’re in, decide on a subject of interest to your target market and make a short 60-90 second video demonstration. Focus on video quality and clear instructions.
The Blockity website builder makes it easy to add a video to your site. Promote your video to influential bloggers in your industry, share on social media, and watch the links collect.
Whitepapers and eBooks
If content creation is not the easiest thing for your business to do, consider working with an experienced freelance writer with this kind of experience. You provide the bullet points, and the freelancer can craft it into an engaging and linkable piece.
Tip: go for “evergreen” content – that which will be relevant for years, not months.
Host it on your website and promote it to customers, social media, and important organizations in your industry. Not only will you attract relevant backlinks and improve your keyword rankings, you’ll further establish your business as the authority and get a nice edge on the competition.
Any low-hanging fruit?
Everything we’re mentioned so far falls into the “link earning” category, because the business generating the content does not have direct control over the links being built. Editorial links earned in this fashion is what Google has always favored and will continue to do so. Each link is truly a vote of popularity for your website.
But how about more direct link building? There are still many links you can build today to increase your presence on the web without the danger of a Google penalty.
These will all vary in the value of the link they generate, but links aren’t all about passing “rank” – they’re about bringing interested, relevant traffic to your website – which is the whole point of SEO after all!
- Business Directories – the good ones. Think The American Dental Association not Joe’s Spam Directory. Use metrics like Domain Authority and others to judge if not sure. Locally-focused businesses will find many quality directories in which to get listed.
- Industry Forums – build a profile and sometimes you get an immediate backlink to your site. Other times you need activity on the forum first. Either way, if it’s a good forum it’s a good investment of time.
- Broken Backlinks – there are some tools available that will list broken or expired links from sites you want to target that may have pointed to a competitor’s page at one point. Nobody wants to send users to a missing page, so inform the site about the broken link and offer your page as a substitute!
The options for link building/earning are only limited by your own creativity. Just keep the focus on quality and realize this is a long, sometimes slow process, but a necessary part of building your online business.