For the search engines to find your website, they need something driving them to it, telling them that it’s there. Links help establish this connection by alerting the search engines to pages of your website that are linked to. Sitemaps, XML sitemaps and robot.txt files help ensure that the spiders find and index only those pages you want them to find; however, as a general rule, good quality links leading to your site increase the probability of the search engines locating them.
The quality of links is of paramount importance: I’ve seen a site with 840 incoming links that still doesn’t rank on the first page for its own name. There are, of course, a great number of other ranking factors to consider, but, as the search engines wise up to links and their quality, here is a list of five elements both I and others have experienced as being consistently valuable:
1. Links from other websites to your own – the best way to gain these is through relationships that you build with others over time. Links from websites in some way related to your business are more beneficial than links from an entirely different sector, as algorithms can ascertain that your site is relevant and important to your industry if other sites in the same industry link to you.
2. Guest blogging – share your expertise with others by writing a guest blog for them; as well as reaching out to your own blog’s usual audience, you can reach a new collective – plus it gives that blog writer a well-deserved break!
3. Testimonials – ask people or companies you’ve enjoyed working with and would recommend to others whether you can offer them a testimonial for their site. When referencing who this is from, they can link back to you.
4. Article-writing for publications – write an article for a publication in your area of expertise. Become an authority on your subject and people will want to hear what you have to say. Link keywords in your article back other good sources to illustrate your point and provide a good definition, and also link to your site where appropriate. Credit yourself as the author and thereby direct people to your site.
5. Social media – Although these links have a fleeting half-life of between approximately 2.5 and 3.5 hours depending on the platform, they can encourage visitors and will come from respected sources. As social becomes a bigger part of SEO, regularly incorporating these links can play a crucial role in your link strategy.
Relevant content of a high quality will be shared more readily by other internet users and encourage recommendations, more clicks to your existing content and a platform for both forming relationships and building future links. Other connections can be sourced from good-quality directories or valid blog comments which have been posted to contribute or share a point of view about the given subject matter.
The ongoing process of building quality links is a challenging component of SEO. As part of your strategy for online lead generation, follow the tips above and ensure your site is easy to find and stands out as a top trusted source for information on your industry.