Basic Link building – where to start?

What is link building and why should I do it?

In SEO, a link from another website to yours counts as something of a ‘vote’ for your website. So therefore link building is the process of obtaining more of these votes.

However it’s not all that simple – the quality of the link counts a great deal. Also if the link comes from a ‘trusted’ source that’s a bonus too. So good links can deliver a boost and bad ones can drag you down.

You therefore need to identify high quality, relevant websites to target as link building opportunities. A quick browse can tell you a lot about the quality of a website – furthermore metrics like its domain authority and its overall link profile will help too. NB: Domain authority is a logarithmic score out of 100 for the likelihood of that domain ranking well for given content – so high DA and content relevant to your website are good indicators of a quality link opportunity.

The trust rating is an interesting one – it’s a human curated list of websites that on the whole are very high quality, extremely low in spammy content and use best practise when it comes to linking. Think of .gov, .edu, .ac.uk types of domains – high quality, official websites and mostly restricted access to getting these domains. It’s pretty easy to register under most TLDs (top-level domains – like .com), but not just anyone can grab a .gov!

Identifying link opportunities

The question of how to identify quality link opportunities can vary between different niches, so we recommend starting a spreadsheet and doing some research. Who are key thought influencers in your field? Who writes about your subject – i.e. who are the top bloggers? Get some names/websites written down and then move on.

Next it’s time to look at the competition. Who is linking to them? These people could be great link opportunities for you too. Run a back link report using your favourite tool – limited features/usage are available for free on things like the open site explorer. Go to the ‘Inbound links’ tab and set it to show ‘all’ links from ‘only external’ pages to ‘pages on this root domain’ – you can then click ‘domain authority’ on the results to sort by this column.

This will give you an idea of the variety of linking domains – that’s another important part of building a good link profile. Say you get one link from bbc.co.uk, that’s great as it has a domain authority of 100. Instead of pursuing another bbc.co.uk link it would be better if you went after another high domain authority link – like getting listed in dmoz.org.

Making contact

You’ve got a vested interest in getting these links, but if that’s overly clear in your approach you likely won’t get very far. Make contacting a natural part of your community participation – ask questions, comment on articles – generally join in. Build that rapport and then ask for a link. Yes that’s harder, but it’s also way more effective.

Keeping tracking

Get back to that spreadsheet! You need to list who you’re building these relationships with and once you’ve gotten these links you could do with noting them down (maybe save yourself some time and use an SEO tool? Well, it’s up to you, if you love your spreadsheet that much, go ahead and do it manually…. You odd person!)

 

So in conclusion – quality links from relevant, high quality sites, build your community, track everything and there you go – you’re link building like a pro! For help with everything SEO – including link building get in touch!