Want to get your website appearing high in the search engines? Your website needs to send signals that it is authoritative, ie can be trusted.
How does it do that? One way is by having other websites linking to it. These count as digital form word-of-mouth recommendations. The more links you have, the more likely search engines will think “this website seems popular, let’s rank it higher – it’s obviously giving people what they want.” It’s sounds pretty straightforward… except it’s not as simple as that.
The websites need to be of a certain quality. That means they need to have been around for at least a year, are recognised within their industry, or have built up a solid set of customer reviews.
In terms of website “hierarchy”, any domains ending in .gov or .edu are seen as top of the link building tree. After all, you can’t get much more authoritative than a government or educational institution.
But for most websites, especially those in the B2B sphere, getting a link from these types of websites is rare. So you need to look at alternatives.
You might receive emails from SEO agencies advertising link building services. But don’t be tempted to buy a load of low-quality links. It can be tempting and may even give a short-term lift to your traffic.
But it sends a message to the search engines’ ever-improving algorithms that you’re trying to manipulate search results. Because if one day you have 0 links, and the next day you have 1,000 websites all linking to you, that is going to look unnatural. Which will trigger an alert at search engine HQs, who will investigate to see if your activity contravenes strict guidelines. And will probably result in your website being knocked down the rankings, or even removed from the index.
Content is king
It’s a cliché, but only because it’s true. You need to create great content. The sort of content that your audience will want to share, and link to in their own content. The days of keyword-stuffed rehashed blogs are over. No more writing just for search engines; they’re too intelligent these days. Focus on writing for the reader.
Infographics are another powerful tool. These may not be as popular as they were, but with 65% of people visual learners, images will always attract readers – especially online where people scan and want information delivered in easily digested chunks.
Build it, and they will come?
Content creation is just one element. You also need to make it easy for people to find your content.
That could mean working on your social media channels. On Twitter that might include creating a hashtag, reaching out to influential tweeters, participating in live Q&As. On LinkedIn that would involve LinkedIn groups. Either creating and managing your own community, or joining active groups and participating in discussions.
If you’ve quoted a website in your content, consider contacting them to let them know. A quick “Hey, I’ve linked to your website in my blog: www.chiefnation.com. I hope that’s ok?” Of course it’s going to be ok. You’re just giving a subtle nudge for them to consider linking to you, publicising to their social media followers, or even contacting you to discuss business opportunities.
Measuring the results
You can use Google Analytics to show you which websites are linking to you. Here’s how:
Open the website in Google Analytics
Click Behaviour, Site Content, and then All Pages
You’ll then see a list of your most popular pages.
Click on Secondary Dimension, Acquisition, Source/Medium. This will show which websites are linking to you