Link building: what is it?
Link building: people know it’s important, but they don’t exactly know why. Link building can be thought of as a system of building relationships that Google views as worthy or reputable. Think of a link builder as an eHarmony representative, but instead of matching you with a compatible person, I match you with a compatible website that can increase your brand awareness and page ranking. The end goal with link building is to increase the traffic to your site, your Google ranking, and ultimately the amount of conversions you have at the end of the month. After all, increasing your brand awareness is fantastic but making money is better!
How does it work?
Websites have relationships, just like corporations and people. With the release of Google’s latest algorithm update named Panda, Google can now determine if a site is considered reputable and a thought leader within a specified field.In other words, it is no longer just about having a well-built site. You also need to fill your site with relevant and informative content. Because of this algorithm update, your online reputation matters now more than ever, as Google weeds out the filler websites and irrelevant information while promoting informative and engaging content to the top of its search pages.
Where do you start?
First, determine where you currently stand. After all, someone wise once said, “You can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.” Fortunately, there are a variety of tools to help you with this part of the process. The first one you should check out is called the Moz Bar. Moz is a Search Engine Optimization resource as well as an inbound marketing tool that can help you monitor your day-to-day SEO workflow.
The Moz bar can tell you what your current Domain Authority is in addition to a specific page’s authority. Domain Authority is a ranking system that scores your site from 1-100 and gives you an idea of how you rank across the World Wide Web. For example, Facebook, one of the most heavily trafficked sites in the entire world, has a DA of 100, while a lesser utilized social site like Yik Yak is ranked at a DA of 60.
Another tool to help you monitor your link-building efforts (as well as the efforts of your competitors) is Analytics SEO. emfluence utilizes Analytics SEO, an enterprise SEO client with amazing link-building potential. This tool does much more than just link building, but for now that is what we will focus on.
Analytics SEO gives you the ability to not only investigate areas where your own site can improve, but also the areas where your competitors are lacking. These could be potential areas for you to succeed or resources for you to incorporate into your own SEO strategy.
Here are some of the areas you can monitor using Analytics SEO for your own link-building plan:
- Competitors’ links and the value of those links
- Competitors’ Domain Authority and Market Analysis
- Keywords and rankings
- Any link-building efforts you take within the platform
Something to keep in mind is that if a site is currently linking to your competitor, why wouldn’t they link to you as well? As long as you have a solid value proposition to offer the competitor, whether it is money, resources, or even just knowledge sharing, there is a good chance you can open a dialogue with that site’s webmaster.
You can also utilize the Open Site Explorer from Moz (pictured below) for research by inputting your competitors’ URLs into the tool.
This tool will give you an overview of your competitor’s Authority, Page Link Metrics and Social Metrics without having to get into the nitty-gritty parts of link building.
Bringing it all together
The final piece in any link builder’s repertoire is strategy. You can have an abundance of technological background but it means nothing unless you have a direction and strategy for your client. Remember, link building relies on all the basic principles of relationship building, so engage with webmasters in a manner that you would appreciate. If something doesn’t work with one site, try it again with another and tweak your strategy and approach until it works. Link building is not an exact science so don’t be afraid to get out there and try!
Congratulations, you now have the basics of link building under your belt! Go forth and learn about your sites’ backgrounds and the challenges each faces to create the best strategy for them. Remember to check the emfluence blog to keep up to date with digital trends and SEO need-to-knows!