Latest posts by Andrea Ferguson (see all)
- Do I Really Need to Care About GDPR? Maybe. - August 7, 2018
- Quick Thoughts on Where to Put Your Sidebar (or, Ode to the Sidebar) - March 7, 2017
- The Return of the Beautiful Web - March 5, 2017
One of the most important factors in increasing your site’s visibility to search engines (also known as search engine optimization, or SEO) is having a high number of quality links to your website from other highly-ranked websites, or link building. While the necessity for high-quality links still exists, the way to go about it has changed dramatically. Here’s a summary of the outdated and the updated methods:
- Reciprocal links or link exchanges: I link to your website, you link to mine. This kind of mutual backscratching used to drive rankings up; however, search engines don’t consider this kind of web traffic legitimately earned, so they no longer give credit for it.
- Resource links: These can be either the long lists of links that you find on “directory” websites, or the more targeted lists that you find on “Related Links” website pages. Search engines prefer the latter, since they tend to be more relevant…and relevance is important when it comes to your rating.
- Anchor text and keyword phrases: These are clusters of keywords on another website that link to yours, or repeated clusters of keywords on your own site. Both tactics get dinged by search engines for being “unnatural” and “inorganic.”
- Article submissions: Article sites that accept articles on any subject don’t generate as much search engine link love as do those sites that specialize in your area of expertise. Be relevant.
- Writing for search engines rather than site users: In the old days, keyword stuffing and keyword density targeting mattered. The more often you used the terms that people might search on to find you, the higher you ranked. No more. Search engines are smart enough to see if you’re writing for them or for your users, and they much prefer that you write for the people who will be reading your content. So instead of “We make Florida widgets that widget buyers in Florida prefer over other Florida widgets,” try “People love our Florida widgets.” From there, link to a testimonials page with high-quality compliments. Bonus points if you link to your customers’ websites to keep the link love flowing.
- Guest blogging: Establish yourself as an expert by posting useful, relevant blog posts on your own website. Then reach out to respected online publishers and offer to write similar articles for them. Not only will you benefit from the exposure, the link back to your own website in your author signature will generated leads and traffic for you. Want to go advanced? Build a solid Author Rank via your Google+ account (we’ll tell you how to do that in a future post).
- Repurposed content: Turn your blog posts or research into videos or infographics that can easily be linked to and shared.
- Social media: While the links themselves won’t contribute to your search engine ranking, the traffic that they generate certainly will. Make sure that your posts contain subject words and hashtags that are easily searchable.
- Professional organization website links: Rather than go for all-purpose directory link listings, ask your professional organizations if they have a place on their website to list your company and URL.
- Forum participation and commenting: Engage in active discussions relevant to your expertise. Besides the link-building advantages, you may also form relationships that lead to future work and partnerships.
- Disavowing of spammy links: If you or someone else (maybe an old-school SEO service) built bad links to your site in the past, Google can help you clean them up.
- High quality, useful, relevant content: It’s true, content is pretty much everything where SEO is concerned. Make sure that yours is relevant to your subject, clean, lean, and useful to your site visitors. If it is, your site will be visited often, your content will be shared by your users, and search engines will love you.