Increasing the number of relevant and authoritative websites that link to your own page is an essential search engine optimization strategy. Although this somewhat challenging methodology contains several potential pitfalls, if you heed best practices and take a thoughtful, educated approach, growing the number of germane links to your site will help take your marketing to the next level.
In a previous post, we discussed key resources to help you kick your linking performance into high gear and outlined several tips for increasing links and traffic ‒ and ultimately conversions. These are:
- #1 Asking friends, family, colleagues, and industry pals to help promote your website
- #2 Listing your site in industry directories
- #3 Pitching including a link to a website that has already talked about your brand
- #4 Gaining testimonials-with-a-link from the websites of your partners, vendors, and clients
- #5 Getting mentioned and linked in the resource listings pages of sites covering topics relevant to your brand
And now we continue with our overview of best practices for beefing up your number of solid links from key sites:
#6 Cross Linking
Sometimes the best links you earn could very well be under your own nose ‒ that is, on your own site! Linking one relevant page to another within your website can help improve signals for each page when done right. While these links may not contribute to huge ranking improvements, they can help a search engine discover and understand your pages a bit better.
Consider adding a few internal links within popular content to pages that need a ranking boost. These links should use appropriate anchor text, text that makes sense for the page you’re linking to. Also, these links shouldn’t be overdone ‒ one link for every couple hundred words is recommended. The last thing you want is for links to go unused! Links should be clicked and used by your audience. If you find your internal links aren’t being used it’s a good idea to update them with something more useful, or no link at all.
#7 Reclaim Links to Broken Pages
Opensiteexplorer.org is a free and paid tool which will show you the number of backlinks to your site, as well as to your competitors’ sites. Additionally, the tool comes with a “Top Pages” report outlining the HTTP status of each page (how the page resolves in web browsers). A 404 error, or a page which is no longer live on your site, will show in this report. These pages are broken and offer an opportunity for SEO. Any links pointing to broken pages still help your site, but they aren’t guiding users to the right page.
If someone were to click on a link that points to a broken page, they wouldn’t be sent to the right page. In order to fix this you can reclaim the links pointing to broken pages by asking them to be updated to point to pages that are live.
#8 Links from Client Sites, Sites You Own, Widgets, and Embedded Content
Have you heard of “Whiteboard Friday?” Moz, the Seattle-based digital marketing software company, publishes videos at the end of each work week. In a few short minutes you’re given information about a topic in digital marketing, with the help of a whiteboard that illustrates helpful points. In November of 2016 Rand Fishkin of Moz published a video encouraging marketers to garner links from client sites, sites they own, widgets, and embedded content, along with best practices on how to maximize results and avoid problems.
If you have sites you own that are authoritative and relevant to other sites you own, cross linking opportunities may exist. Proceed with caution, use the best practices outlined in Moz’s video, and, if you’re still cautious, consult an SEO professional.
#9 Get More Links from Sites Already Linking to You
Earning more unique links is the main goal of link building; however, earning links in general can still bring great benefits. In 2017, consider looking at the sites that currently link to your site and see if additional opportunities exist to ask for more links. Partnerships, interviews, resource lists, unlinked brand mentions ‒ these are all possible ways to achieve a second (or third or even fourth) link from a website already linking to you.
How many links are too many links from one domain? This is a great question and one that is incredibly subjective. Remember, search engines don’t like websites that mimic spam or use spam. Too many links from one domain could mimic a spam tactic, and site wide links (such as links in the footer or side rail) aren’t recommended. Links on authoritative, relevant, and useful pages are the best choices for additional links. Just don’t go overboard.
#10 Create a Marketing Campaign Around Evergreen Content
The old adage “if you build it, they will come” usually doesn’t work when it comes to content marketing. You spend countless hours writing and editing a great piece of content, hit publish, and expect the traffic to start pouring in … But it doesn’t quite work that way.
Content promotion is an often overlooked part of the content marketing process. A variety of advanced techniques can improve your promotional strategies long after a piece has gone live. Content that is perpetual, doesn’t become dated, and features unchanging facts is often referred to as “evergreen” content. This type of content can be promoted for years!
What type of evergreen content performs well on your site? With a glance into Google Analytics you’ll discover pages that do well quarter after quarter, from a traffic perspective. Looking at the most-liked content ‒ content that keeps visitors on the site the longest, content with the lowest bounce rates, and so on ‒ can be key performance indicators (KPIs) of evergreen content.
Once you know the evergreen assets on your site you can get started on next steps. What are you doing to promote these assets? Try out a few of Kissmetric’s 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content, which apply to evergreen content, too:
- In social media updates mention the social accounts of resources you included in your piece of content. They may not know you wrote about them, and in turn they may help promote the piece of content to their audience for more amplification.
- Email any of the sources featured so they can read, comment, and share.
- Contact people who have shared similar pieces of content and ask them to share your piece too.
- Repurpose the evergreen piece of content into a video or infographic format, and start promoting that new piece as well.
- Crosslink applicable and relevant evergreen content to each other to strengthen signals and drive traffic.
- Use ad dollars to drive traffic to evergreen content. Set up a Facebook campaign or AdWords campaign and pay for clicks.
#11 Partner with a Local Non-Profit and Give Back
Cause marketing or cause-related marketing is when a for-profit business and a non-profit business partner for mutual benefit. When organizations share a common goal it’s a great opportunity for co-branding and a way to improve the local community. Going into a situation with completely selfish and self-serving motivations is never recommended. Regardless of the marketing outcome, a partnership with non-profits is a great way to support good causes and charities.
Think about your company’s mission relative to the goals of organizations around you. A company that offers content marketing, for example, could partner with a local group that improves literacy. By working together, they can help educate the community and improve literacy in adults, teens, and children. A company that sells mobile devices could work with a not-for-profit independent living facility and teach the elderly how to use their digital devices.
Both of these examples showcase ways a company can find common threads uniting its for-profit efforts with non-profit methods of giving back.
There are so many ways you can resurrect your link building this year! Hopefully these ideas will get you thinking about increasing your links. From content promotion to reclaiming broken links, there’s no shortage of projects to take on. Where will you start? Share with us in the comments below a few of the tactics you’re looking forward to implementing in 2017!