When I first began building links several years ago, it was really enjoyable because I could do it without making changes to web sites. In order to link to a site, I didn’t need to involve the remainder of the IT department.
I found out that link building could influence search engine rankings without a lot of on-page changes, but I quickly reached my limits. Link-building, by itself, certainly had its limitations.
A lot of links can be built that may give a page top 10 rankings for selected keywords, but that does not necessarily mean you will gain new customers.
A better idea is to find a way to improve your site from the point of view or your users. This will greatly increase the odds that others will want to link to your content.
Link building can be challenging even when your content is excellent. If your content is not so great, it will be a nightmare, unless you are willing to risk using questionable tactics.
One problem with simply creating stellar content is that there is often not an emphasis on generating the right type of content. Every site doesn’t require a blog.
For instance, a plumber’s target clients may have no interest in plumbing history, however, they may take a keen interest in DIY plumbing tips that are written by knowledgeable and experienced plumbers. They may be quite interested in things to check when their toilet is leaking all over their bathroom floor at 3 a.m.
Consider what your visitors want to read, what they may find helpful and useful, and what they need. Create your content in a way that may also benefit individuals who are not part of your typical target audience. Using the plumbing example, what type of information would be helpful to those who may considering hiring a plumber and also for someone who’s up in the middle of the night trying to stop their toilet from leaking.
High quality writing will also be very important. Visitors will have a distrust of a site that has poor quality writing. Of course everyone does not have an excellent knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and tense, but when a visitor lands on a site that is poorly written and appears as if it has been translated from Russian to English and back several times, they won’t take a website seriously.
Of course even excellent writing won’t attract a reader to content that is extremely boring, useless, or inaccurate. Most people are pressed for time, and if they read a post that they originally thought would provide them with the information they needed and they later find out that it does not, they become irritated.
Titles that are misleading will waste your reader’s time. Consider how you would feel if you ran a Google AdWords campaign and you hired someone to run your ads for you. The ads that they wrote had a title in them that resulted in many people clicking on the ad, but they subsequently left your site immediately because the title was misleading. There is a chance that you may create a catchy title for your content, but it doesn’t represent what’s actually contained within the body of your post.
Your title is certainly used as a factor in your search rankings, but it is also vital for your users. Your title will tell your site visitors, and search engines what your content is about. Your title is also what will be shown in the search results. Therefore, you need to consider if the title you use is something that searchers are likely to click on.
If someone is performing a search for an online retailer’s discount codes and some of the results show things like ($50 off, 25% off) and others only list things like “coupon codes available”, which ad would you choose to click on? Most people would click on the ads that have numbers.
Most of the posts you see nowadays will contain images in them, and that makes a lot of sense since there is a lot of data that suggests that user engagement is increased when there are visuals within content.
Images can also be great for the purpose of link building, since greater user engagement will certainly increase the odds that someone may link to your content.
Images are great, but in some instances it is easier for someone to read a textual description of steps they need to take rather than learning by examining a group of images. However, others would rather look at the images. That’s why it is a good idea to include both text and images to appeal to both types of visitor.
For example, if you are writing an article and you wanted to reference a post that provides information on how to construct a dog house, you’d probably link to a post that made use of both images and text.
When you include this type of content, make sure that it works properly! How many times have you landed on a site where the video won’t load or the interactive elements don’t work properly? If you pull one of these elements in from some other site, be sure that it works reliably.
If you are engaging your users with some type of quiz, be sure that it doesn’t malfunction on the last page. Very few people will want to link to content that doesn’t work properly.
Consider this from the view point of your site visitors. If they land on a site that they found in the search results or that was promoted on a social media platform, the information that they are seeking may not be on the landing page. If it is difficult to navigate the site and actually find what they are seeking, they will become frustrated.
We are not insinuating that there was something misleading or spammy occurring here. A visitor may want information regarding pricing of a particular service or product and they may have landed on a page that doesn’t include that information, however, the pricing page does include it. If the pricing page is easy to navigate to, the user will not become frustrated. At the very least, make it accessible via an internal search of your site.
Don’t make finding thing difficult for your visitors. If you have a page describing your services and also have a page that details each of those services, then be sure you link to them. This may sound very obvious, but there are still many pages that don’t adhere to this common sense advice.
When you link to outside sources, be sure you only link to relevant and trusted sites. When linking out, consider this the same way you would consider a site that links to you. You only want quality links, so be careful who you link out to.
Visitors will not trust your site when you reference other sites of dubious quality. If a piece of content is created that receives a lot of criticism, with comments by many influencers who reference its inaccuracies, then it is not a good idea for you to link to that type of content. Remember, who you associate with will influence others’ opinion of you.
Quite often, discussions occur on social media sites and not within blog comments. Therefore, you probably shouldn’t disregard content that does not have comments. However, if a post has a hundred spam comments on it, it’s probably not a good idea to link to it.
If someone encounters a post from a source they are not familiar with but they see people they are familiar with sharing it and commenting on it, they will be far more likely to read it themselves, and perhaps link to it. Although people will judge for themselves, they are much more likely to read something that has already appealed to many others. This brings us to the issue of content being shareable.
If you don’t make your content easy to share, others may not be inclined to share it. If your user is able to click on a button that will automatically tweet a link for them, there will be a much better chance that they will share your content with others.
Although, people have been extolling the benefits of social media for quite a while now, there are still many sites that have not placed buttons for social sharing within their content. If people are linking to your posts, it would be much better if you promote easy sharing so that you can get additional traffic, links, and conversions.