Practical guide: Optimize your SEO through links
This article is part of a broader blog series on Improving your website’s SEO.
What are links?
Links are very simple. They are the text or button you click on that brings you to another web page. That’s it!
Why are links important for SEO?
From Google’s perspective, links are like votes.
If a website is useful or entertaining, then people will share it with a link. They might share it on social media, their blog, their website, etc. Each of these links is a “vote” that Google interprets to mean that this webpage has value. Generally speaking, more votes means more value.
Just one small caveat. Unlike a democracy, not all votes are equal. A link from an important website, like The New York Times, is a “bigger vote” than a link from your Auntie Gertrude’s cooking blog.
What are the best strategies to get more links?
There are many strategies for link building, but we can’t enumerate all of them – there are hundreds.
We will give you 10 of our favorites. We like these strategies for two reasons: they are easy to implement and measurably impact SEO.
Note: Some strategies out there are unethical. Rule of thumb is if it sounds sketchy, then it probably is. We do not recommend those approaches for numerous reasons and do not discuss them here.
1. Turn mentions into links.
Webpages discuss companies all the time. But many times they don’t link the reference to the company’s site. If you see a site mention you but not link to you, then reach out and ask them to. Good sources to track mentions are SocialMention and Mention.
2. Copy your competition.
Research where your competitors’ links come from, then reach out to those websites and recommend yourself. If you write a halfway clever email, you’ll be surprised by how many people say yes. Two useful internet tools for finding competitors’ links are Moz and Ahrefs.
3. Conduct Broken link outreach.
Find a broken link (i.e. a link that doesn’t go anywhere) on someone else’s website and tell them. If you can offer content that is a good substitute, they often will link to you instead. A good tool to find broken links is Broken Link Builder.
4. Develop Compelling content.
Write something interesting and publicize it well. If it’s good, people will read and share it. Google will take notice and then bump up your search ranking. Try a blog, white paper, or how-to-guide – it can be anything.
5. Provide testimonials.
Find B2B companies that have a testimonial page and offer to do one for them. (Note: you might consider using their product first). If you do a testimonial, be sure to have them link to your site.
6. Give to charity.
Not all generosity needs to be selfless. Many charities reference and link to their corporate sponsors. Even a little money can get you on their site. Plus you will definitely earn some good karma.
7. Post videos.
Google owns YouTube and wants to make embedded videos more common on websites. To encourage adoption, Google’s algorithm highly values video links. Take advantage of this by posting YouTube videos and linking to your site in the description and meta tags.
Twitter is a very high authority site and a gift that keeps on giving. In addition to having a link on Twitter, many aggregators (e.g. Klout, Twellow, and Twitter Counter) scrape Twitter’s data and include it on their own site. So if you tweet a link to your website, your link will be counted multiple times.
9. Enroll in business directories.
Take a few minutes to sign up your business with online business directories. A few go-to directories include Yelp, Manta, LinkedIn, HotFrog, Angie’s List, Yellow pages, White pages, and Merchant Circle.
10. Sign with the Better Business Bureau.
Above we discuss how some links are better than others. This is a high-authority link that is easy to get. Reach out to them directly and have them list your site.