As SEO continues to evolve and become more complex in order to keep up with the changing search engine algorithms, there is no longer anything “easy” about link building. At one time nearly every link had value and there weren’t as many restrictions. Paying for links and being associated with “link farms” wasn’t such a bad thing. If it got you a link, that’s all that mattered. Now that’s not the case. Not all links have value and some links can actually do harm to your site.
The best approach to link building is to create content that will get your site linked to naturally by others. In order to do so, it’s necessary to create great content that is worthy of being shared and maintain relationships with people that have shared your content and establish relationships with people that may be likely to share your content in the future.
Here are some steps to follow:
- Become active in the community
The first step towards initiating a relationship is to get noticed by others in the industry. Start small by researching industry related blogs and posting comments that add value and demonstrate your knowledge. Follow others in social media and share their work with your social following. Link to a great blog post that someone else wrote within one of your blog posts. Each of these tactics are ways to get noticed without being pushy. If you’ve endorsed the work of others, they will be more likely to help you out in the future.
- Improve an existing relationship
If you’re creating great content and are becoming known in the industry, it’s likely that people want to be connected to you just as you want to be connected to them. Check your analytics and back links to find out who is already linking to you naturally. You may already have some strong supporters of your work. Reach out to these people and thank them. A “thank you” will be appreciated and will ensure that the support continues.
- Take advantage of social media
Social media is a great way to make connections with many people. Following influential people in the industry will give you access to some great information. Sharing and Re-Tweeting their content will get you noticed and may even result in the favor being returned eventually.
- Don’t forget about offline connections
Social media has resulted in many people ditching the old fashioned way of networking. Why pay money to go to an industry event to meet people if you can simply connect with them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.? The thing is, meeting someone face to face still remains a more powerful way to network. There is a more personal connection that is above and beyond simply clicking the “Follow” button.
Relationship building is an important way to grow inbound links over time. Not only will it improve your link portfolio, but these relationships may lead to new business opportunities as well. Links that occur naturally based on relationships are favored and weighed more heavily by the search engines.