SEO Strategies – A Link Building Guide

What is a backlink strategy and why does it matter for your website?

In simple terms, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours, and it’s vital to your overall SEO strategy.

If we think of a spider’s web, when Google is crawling your website, we want to send strong signals to it that your website is well structured, has quality content that is answering peoples search queries, and also that it is linked to other high quality, relevant, and trusted websites.

The foundation of a good link building strategy begins with an effort to create content (blog articles) that are relevant to your industry and the service you provide and that add value to your audience (the people who will be reading them). From here you can move on to building a network of complementary websites that you can place you article using what we call an Anchor link, to earn a backlink or link from another website to yours.

Link building has two main benefits: Firstly it extends your brand and website to a broader audience, that results in increased traffic, and it builds up your website’s domain name power, which can boost your performance in search results. The technical terms are “Domain Authority”, “Trust Flow”, and Citation Flow” and these are measured by Google on a sliding scale from worst ranking to best ranking.

Why should a link building strategy matter to your business?

In recent years, Google’s Algorithm has made Backlinks one of the top 3 search engine ranking signals. What we find with some of our clients, is that quality content and on-site / off-site technical SEO will only get them so far, and then they will require to consider link building if they are looking to further improve their rankings or Domain Authority, and this is down to a number of variables, but most often is decided on what level of investment their competitors are making into link building strategies. Luckily, using industry tools such as SEMRush, AHrefs, and Moz, we can access your competitor’s information and then X-Ray their strategies. This gives you some leverage when building your own link building strategy to replicate the successful parts of their campaigns and gain an understanding of what we need to do to get you to a position where you can compete and overtake.

Search engines want to bring the most relevant and useful results to their users and they do this by crawling your site, and indexing the relevant pages accordingly, as well as analysing your external link profile. So it is a crucial and often overlooked part of an SEO strategy for businesses.

Is link building just about quantity?

Link building used to be a numbers game, meaning you just had to build as many links with your keywords included in as many places as possible. However, as search algorithms became smarter, businesses and agencies had to become smarter. The biggest turning point was the release of Google’s Penguin update in 2012 which targeted links regarded as spam, penalising sites with low-quality backlink profiles. Regardless of this change, we continue to see businesses placing large amount of links of “spam like” sites such as unfollowed links or directory sites, and have seen the negative impact that this can have on a website’s Domain Authority and Trust Flow.

What are the measurements of success?

There are several important metrics used within the industry that not only act as Key performance indicators, but allow you to make sure you can keep evolving and improving your backlink strategies. There are lots of metrics, but the key areas to look at are relevancy, search visibility, keyword rankings, trust flow, citation flow and site authority. The higher a site’s domain authority, measured by Moz between 1 and 100, linking to your site, the greater the boost to your own site’s authority and ranking position for targeted keywords.

The importance of quality

Long gone are the days of building out spammy links. Today search algorithms can identify if external linking content is useful to readers and relevant to the site being linked to. The content that you place should be on high authority websites with good Domain Authority that are topically relevant to your sector. Google will see this as a ‘vote’ and will over time improve your rankings as your site becomes more important within your sector and with the keywords being optimised.

For example, placing content on a highly relevant and popular blog website with high traffic is going to have a much more positive impact than placing a link onto a local directory site.

Also note that long-form content (500 words plus) is more valuable than shorter, less informative placements. Today’s strategy is much more about quality over quantity.

A smart approach to SEO

Today search is an incredibly competitive, ever-changing space, meaning we have to be much more reactive and proactive when it comes to backlink strategies.

The first thing you need to think about is building a list of bloggers and publishers who you know want to work with you and whose content is relevant to your target site. Once you have a list of people who are happy for you to write for them, you will want to begin writing relevant and engaging content that links to your site naturally; these links should include your core target keywords in and around the linking anchor text.

If you are looking to scale or outsource this, Outlaw Social have access to over 20,000 relationships with bloggers, website owners and publishers – across all the key verticals: Technology, Finance, Sport, Business, Gaming and more. We also have strong foreign language capability (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and more).

To make these backlinks even more effective, you can tailor your onsite and off-site content – along with the keywords you are targeting – to seasonal search trends; this way you can drive authority and value to ranking keywords when they are being searched for most by your target audience. 

Finally, writing and placing On-site blog content on your own site is essential for your website for two reasons; firstly, it helps keep your site dynamic and improves the number of pages and size of your site which will help your Domain Authority and general rankings.  Secondly, the way you write the content is important to ensure you asking questions and answering them.  This is exactly what Google is looking for from websites in 2020.  

Link Building terms explained

Content Creation

We produce 500-word articles professionally written in the UK that are topically relevant that will talk about your sector and will have a hyper link back to your Landing Page.

High Quality Link Placement

Ensuring content is placed on high authority websites with good Domain Authority that are topically relevant to your sector. Google will see this as a ‘vote’ and will over time improve your rankings as your site becomes more important within your sector and with the keywords being optimised.

Tier 2 Linking

In order to get the maximum benefit from the article written above and to improve the Link importance you can do some extra low-level Links to the article to help create noise and make the ‘vote’ a little stronger.

Social Signals 

Again, to support the content you produce, you can do some, Facebook Likes and Tweets of the article for example.

PR Links

Producing PR articles that are set all over the web through a network to improve visibility of your website. 

What is white hat link building?

White hat link building is a strategy of driving more targeted, organic traffic to a website using SEO link building, linking relevant content on other websites to your website.

What is black hat link building?

Black hat link building refers to a set of practices which are deployed to increase the ranking of a web page or website in search engine returns. Black hat techniques violate the terms of service of Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Black hat is used as a term to describe the bad guys in SEO, and originated from references in western movies where the bad guys tended to wear black hats – a little history lesson for you.

Get in touch

Search is becoming more and more competitive, but by employing effective outreach strategies, remaining reactive to changes in the industry and regularly auditing your existing backlink profile, you will see your site rankings and search visibility improve over time.

If you would like to explore if Link Building and SEO is suitable for your brand, you can book a call or zoom call with our search team by emailing us at hello@outlawsocial.co.uk.