If you’re looking for a boost for your website, either in search rank or sales numbers, link building is going to be the strategy with the most potential by far. Link building is pretty much exactly what it sounds like—you convince other sites to create links pointing back to your own website, usually by giving them a reason to do so or offering to do the same for them. Why would this process be so important? I’m glad you asked!
Link building is still one of the most important ways that any website owner can achieve a number of goals, including improving performance in search engines and driving traffic from buyers who are more ready to convert. Not just expanding, but improving your link profile can be enough to turn your entire domain around.
You should plan a smart link building strategy in order to…
Promote awareness of your brand
Building links will go a long way to promoting your brand to the largest possible audience, at least if you do it correctly. The idea of building links on great sites is that doing so opens you up to a new audience that could number in the tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions!
A good link, especially if you can get the new website to promote it somewhere visible, is your chance to experience a massive shock of new visitors and new potential customers for your products. Even if you don’t draw visitors, the first links you build will go part of the way toward cementing your brand in the public eye.
It can take many, many impressions for a brand to finally stick, so it is important to build as many links as you can. However, there is a limit to that. Don’t underestimate the importance of quality when it comes to link building—it’s not just important for your link profile, but also to your brand.
The sites that you choose for your link building strategies will have an effect on how your website is perceived. If you choose one that matches your personal tone and the style preferences of your audience, you’re likely to come into contact with a lot more people who are ready to buy. The reverse is also true—if you make the mistake of linking to a website that has a complete tonal shift from yours, you may be drawing visitors who are going to bounce as soon as they arrive.
Grab traffic with intent to buy
Building links will help you draw traffic with better intentions. While you can go far by running advertisements both online and offline, the quality of your traffic will always be affected by the content the viewer was looking for before following the link to your website.
As an example, imagine that your products include ski equipment. You want to build out links to any website that might be involved in the funnel of people buying ski equipment, such as enthusiast sites, ski equipment review sites, mountain vacation sites and so on. In this situation, the best link you could build might be one to a site that books ski trips.
That way, the visitors who arrive on your site from the previous one will have followed a process from booking their trip to seeing options for the equipment they need in the very next step. This is someone who is now far more likely to consider purchasing something.
You can find all sorts of combinations like these for any business, as long as you’re willing to do the research and reach out to others who have the same sorts of needs that you do. By choosing relevant websites for your link building, you don’t just strengthen your brand; you improve the behavior of your visitors. You make them more eager to click the purchase button, because they were already in the funnel of buying a product.
Enhance Domain Authority
So far, we’ve only talked about the ways that link building can open you up to new opportunities in an abstract way. While strengthening your brand and driving better traffic are important, they are very difficult to measure. That’s not the case with the next way that link building helps you out.
Domain Authority is a metric that was created by Moz to help website owners approximate their authority. It wasn’t created by Google, but it does make a very educated guess at how much authority Google thinks your site has based on how your link profile looks. It’s not just an important measurement; it’s the most important single measurement of your website!
This metric measures the number and quality of both ingoing and outgoing links, along with some other information like domain age, and returns a single score that runs from 0-100. A 0 is only possible for brand new domains, but growth doesn’t have to happen quickly. A slow-growing link profile strategy, focused on the easiest (spammiest) links is going to languish in the low scores forever.
By contrast, making dramatic improvements to the link profile can turn an entire website around in a matter of months. A 10-15+ change in score is likely to result in performance changes in almost every metric a website can be judged by, including our next reason.
Improve your place in search results
Building out links can help you seriously improve your place in search engine result pages. While search engines like Google have always been indirect about what factors really contribute to a website’s place in the SERPs, years of experimentation have shown that certain additions have a strong effect. Improving link profiles has improved search engine ranks for many businesses that have tried it.
This is thought to be because Domain Authority is one of most important factors when determining a website’s place in the results. Domain Authority is balanced against PageRank, an older and less reliable measurement that is still in use, to gauge where a website should appear. When scoring your website or individual pages, both of these measurements refer back to your links.
PageRank measures the influence of the links, whereas Domain Authority takes a broader look at the size, age and relevance of links. If you want to rank in search engines, then there really is no escape from the need for high-quality links.
Open the way to relationships with future partners
Building links is a community activity. It takes the trust and effort of a lot of different people, and if you’re smart, that means that you’ll respect the camaraderie and community that grow out of it.
The basic method of building links helps to explain why this is an important step. If you want to build a link on someone’s website, there aren’t many ways around it that don’t involve speaking to them directly and asking them nicely if they’ll put your link on your website. You shouldn’t be surprised if many of them start by saying “no.”
The problem is that hosting your link is a risk that the website owner is taking. If your own site is very low authority, your link could be judged as spammy in a way that could affect the other website’s scores. That’s why it’s important to be able to add value when you’re making these requests, and why it’s also important that you make sure that you’re taking care of the relationships you build in this awkward asking-for-favors phase.
To add value to the people who are helping you out with links, combine your request with something enticing for them. For example, if the website that you’re pitching to has a lot of topics in common with yours, you can offer to supply them with a piece of content. Posts, infographics and many other kinds of content are perfect for this. By giving them something that saves them money on content costs, you can ensure that they’ll be more receptive to your request.
Is it time you invested in link building?
Link building is such a necessary and powerful strategy that it’s hard to overstate the importance of doing it for any website handling any type of service. It’s important for home service businesses, online storefronts, branding sites or anything else. For a brand new website, building links is absolutely crucial to future development. Even sites that have a healthy list of backlinks can benefit from a few more that are better targeted.
No matter where you stand right now, you can launch a link building strategy that will allow you to promote worldwide awareness of your brand, grab more intentioned traffic, enhance your site metrics and open the way to amazing future partnerships.
To get started, all you need is your own time, or a staffer that you can dedicate to contacting people and negotiating links on their sites. Just in case, you may want to get started early by building some interesting new content that you can wrap your link into.