In everyday life, you can talk about how awesome you are until the cows come home, but it’s difficult to convince people that you are as fantastic as you claim that you are without having the evidence. But when reputable, credible people point at you and say “This person is awesome” then they are far more likely to believe that you are in fact, well, awesome. That is the premise of link building; the digital equivalent of getting raps from reputable people to further your own reputation on Google.
At its core, it means having strong websites that rank highly in Google searches and attract large, relevant audiences link back to your website through an authentic link building strategy. The better or more authoritative the website, the more valuable the backlink becomes. But building links is not something that just happens organically, not in any meaningful way anyway. You are going to need to establish a strong link building strategy and put the work in to successfully build links that will improve your SEO and link portfolio overall. And the key to that is to make sure you’re committed to developing a great piece of content frequently and then utilising your networks through an outreach email technique to blog post and guest post these creations. That, in fact, is the cornerstone to building quality links – and it’s a tricky game to play.
You have probably noticed the value of these hyperlinks yourself in your own internet travels. Think about your web behaviour; you might seek out information through Google and head to a top-ranked site. From there, you read something that resonates and you want to learn more, so you click on the hyperlink that takes you to the source material. This in turn inspires you to learn even more about a relevant topic and so you click on yet another hyperlink.
All of a sudden you have been through five or so different websites and maybe bookmarked one or two. That is the power of backlinks, if you can get those top-ranked Google pages to link to your content, you will discover organic traffic that you can’t get anywhere else. Once you’ve nailed down a strategy, you’ll find
It is not just organic traffic that is going to come to your site either, your own Google presence is going to be boosted because these backlinks are SEO gold. It is going to attract the attention of Google’s search bots and you will be ranked and indexed accordingly. Google wants to know that it is directing people to sites that provide high-quality user experience: content that provides value and totally relevant and accurate information. The more links that point to your page, the more reputable you will become in the eyes of Google and the more you are favoured. And that, young grasshopper, depends on your blog posts and outreach email strategy.
Backlinking and SEO are one of the oldest mechanics used by Google
Link building techniques are not a new thing and Google has been using this method to rank pages since the 1990s, when Google founder Larry Page rolled out PageRank for this very purpose all those years ago. It eventually merged with the overall ranking algorithm and has remained there to this day through every update and every change.
The only difference sits within the link building process now is that it is becoming more judicious. While years ago you could get away with ‘spamming’ links in blog posts, this is no longer the case. These days, you have to work hard and create great quality that other sites continue looking forward to posting. These networks then allow you to build relationships and churn our new content consistently that still allows you to get links. However, cut corners and Google will know about it, especially if you use sites like Public Networks that are designed just to spam link building strategies.
Google is able to pick out black hat strategies like purchasing links and keyword stuffing from a mile away. The key to getting effective link opportunities is through quality content and that has not changed since the 1990s, nor is it likely to change anytime soon.
How to develop link building strategies in 2020
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and evolving while its bots crawl and index through ever-evolving strategies. Because of how high-tech it is, you need to find new ways to let search engines like this know you’re an authoritative, site that offers a great piece of content regularly. Which is exactly where a link to your site comes in handy.
As link building is a practice that has been carried out for over two decades, the process is fairly ironclad in 2020 and this guide will give you all of the methods you need to be successful. However, in saying that, there are some modern innovations to be mindful of when building your link strategies so you can the best possible success including:
Develop strong social media strategies: Google says there is no direct relationship between success with social media shares and search ranking. Despite this, there is strong evidence that shows that there IS a link between achieving success on social media and getting higher Google rankings. While there is no direct signal that search engines are picking up, having your content shared around social media platforms equates to more link opportunities naturally, and from a range of sources that WILL improve your SEO efforts. So it goes without saying that you need to ensure you are sharing and boosting every piece of content on your social channels, as often as you can. Every blog post, every update – get sharing constantly to build links easily.
Aim for quality: There are many easy ways to get a click on a link to your content. Quizzes and polls generally attract a lot of interest, but they do not fare nearly as well when it comes to other sites linking back to them. For this, you are going to need high quality, journalistic-grade material that is original, compelling, engaging and positions you as a thought leader in your industry – especially if you are looking to guest post on sites that know exactly what the audience wants. You need to form strong opinions, check all facts, be grammatically correct and provide insight into relevant and topical trends in your industry and you are more likely to achieve success. In simple terms, you’ve got to be ready to work hard. That’s the real game of SEO and link building in 2020.
Provide testimonials: This is a simple way to get backlinks in your link building while also creative positive relationships with your customers and clients. Years ago, this wasn’t a ‘thing’, but it is now. Reach out to your preferred clients and offer to work together on a testimonial on how your product and/or service has benefited their business that can be housed on both of your websites. As well as a powerful and simple way to get links for both parties, these testimonials are also extremely effective on social media and an email list, especially in places where you can tag each other and strengthen your relationship. You may also be able to establish a link building strategy by giving each other guests posts or a link roundup that promotes each other’s new content. Sometimes you just have to get creative.
Use long keywords: If you are writing an article about the latest trends on a topic that you have covered previously, use long-tail keywords like ‘click here to learn more about xxx’ and include a hyperlink over the word ‘here’ to link to the relevant, great content piece you’ve written in the past. This is called anchor text, which is a great link building strategy that you can use internally. Through this method, not only are you building a valuable onsite link through anchor text, but you are also assisting Google to understand your site, it’s the hierarchy and the relevance and context between pages. All of this makes it more likely for you to rank in search results too – and that’s always a win.
Don’t look for a simple way out: There are many companies out there dangling the carrot in front of you with purchased and sponsored links or poor-quality guest post opportunities. These are not worthwhile fulfilling, and in terms of Google, it’s frowned upon. If they’re known sources to search engines, these pathways can even lead to penalties and put you in a worse position than when you started link building. The same thing applies to guest posts that have been stuffed with keywords to the point that they are basically unreadable. These black-hat techniques are easily detected by Google’s AI in 2020 and they are never worth the risk.
Consider investing in keyword building technology: That is not to say that you are on your own when it comes to creating a link building strategy. Unlike years ago, there are now many bonafide platforms out there that will provide you with all of the tools you need to build a strong list of keywords, an email list, anchor text opportunities and blog post ideas. Take SEMrush and Ahrefs, for example. These platforms will also analyse your competitor websites so you can beat them at their own game and gain authentic link reclamation for future blog post opportunities.
Search results and link building strategies
Getting other sites to link back to your website is not only good for getting traffic from those sources, but it is also a great strategy to improve your standing in the rankings of search engines. Google’s crawlers are constantly indexing sites and determining which ones have the most authority so they can rank them accordingly, and you need to let them know you should be a part of the top-end. Backlinks are one of the signals that bots are constantly looking forward to, identifying a great site from a poor-quality one.
Is SEO and link building still relevant?
The answer is absolutely. There have been many evolutions of Google over the years and many major updates like Panda that have changed the algorithm so to improve the search experience for the many billions of users. But link building remains an important signal and factor in how search engines rank websites, something that Google clearly outlines in its Search Console Help Guide resource page:
“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”
But that doesn’t mean you should go and get a link to your site through any means possible, as there are link building pathways that have enormously good value and those that can actually work against you. Google is only going to favour your site if your link profiles are natural and if they are from high-value, reputable sources. There are methods out there where you can get links through purchasing them or through manipulative tactics, but Google is very awake to these methods and will penalise you in its rankings as this counts as black-hat SEO.
That means you are going to have to take the time to build positive link profiles or at least something that looks like a healthy portfolio to Google. For example, if you are selling tools and hardware then you are going to get more value from link building with a site for national (or international) hardware chain, rather than from a local vendor.
So with that being said, here are some link building strategies you can employ to start getting some of the best and most reputable sites linking back to your webpage, improving your traffic and boosting your rankings on search engines.
How to start getting quality links
The importance of high-quality, great content on your website will be mentioned several times throughout this article and we cannot put enough emphasis on it. The best way to help your site and develop a great link building strategy is to create content that people are going to be attracted to, informed by, engaged with and that is ultimately going to want to make them want to link back to from their website. You want your content to be original first and foremost, so you stand out from the competition. You want this content to be unique, compelling and engaging so that people are going to want to read the whole thing as well. Be thought leaders, break news and ideas before everyone else and don’t be afraid to be a little bit controversial as this will stir up a conversation which is social media gold – earning you more backlinks.
There are many sites out there that have already done a lot of hard work for you and will have content writers that you can leverage to get backlinks for your own website. Research the leading bloggers, reviewers, authors and publishers in your industry or niche and get your material in front of them. They will have massive organic audiences and if you can get these leaders to reference your material you are going to get a lot more traffic and Google is going to view these links as highly reputable.
Reach out to your connections
You will no doubt have a strong network of people in your industry who are trying to achieve the same goals when it comes to getting a link and greater media reach and exposure as you are. You can help each other out in these endeavours, all you have to do is reach out to them and offer them backlinks in return for backlinks – it is an easy win-win situation for you both that requires minimal effort and no expenses. Just ensure that these links are relevant or Google will not look on them favourably. Stick to contacts in your direct industry or niche and work together to achieve better SEO results.
Match your content with other websites
When you are ready to spread your wings and start looking for a link from websites that you have no previous connection with, begin by researching all of the websites that you want to approach for backlinks. It is important that you vet those pages first to ensure they are legitimate and also take a close inspection and look for the most reputable and relevant sites., Another helpful tip is to look for evidence that they are already backlinking to other pages as well because that means they are going to more likely to be receptive to your requests. Create a database or spreadsheet so when you have the content complete, you are ready to reach out to the best sources for backlinks.
Ask websites to link back to you
Now, it is important to be careful here. Do not just email these sites and directly ask for a link as these requests are likely to be ignored. Why? You are only asking for something without offering anything in return. The best strategy is to pitch your content to websites that do not have anything like it on their site already. Offer your content and ideas up for free in exchange for backlinks and you will have far more success as you are offering them enormous value in free, quality content.
Which is the best link building type?
Many people are looking for a single link building strategy they can employ so they can get the results they are looking for, but this is not the recipe for success. It is highly important that you do not focus on a single link building strategy for your website, rather you want to put together a strategy that puts together a wide range of tactics and methods so you are casting the widest net and achieving the best possible results.
There are many different ways that you can build your link opportunities and we have put together some of the most effective and easy to implement measures including:
Dealing with competitor’s link building strategies
Your competition may already have the jump on you with a large list of backlinks that they built years ago and still are. This then elevates them up Google rankings. You can discover where and how they are getting their link building opportunities and try and get them yourself, while also finding out which ones they don’t have so you can rise above them. Any you’ve got that are authoritative, that they don’t, is a leg up. So how do you get link building opportunities like this? Through blog post creation for other sites (a guest post) and link reclamation.
Guest blogging: Do you have expert writers in your team who can help you with guest posting to get you a link? Share them around your industry and get their content published as a guest post on other websites for highly reputable backlinks that benefit both parties.
Referral traffic: We all work really hard to get traffic to our website flowing from as many Google searches as possible. But there is a high volume of traffic that can be directed to your site from outside of Google searches and the process of securing this flow is highly important when it comes to building links.
Broken link building: This works two ways. Firstly, you can find and repair any broken backlinks that may be dragging your own website down. Secondly, you can locate faulty links out there from other websites and offer to fix them, replacing them with your own content and earning the backlink for yourself. Both methods are highly effective. This is a great way to wrong errors that harm your rankings as well, especially if anchor text on a site could easily provide you with a link building opportunity.
Internal link building: For the best possible results on a search engine, you want the search engine to have the best working knowledge of your website as possible. Not only will effective internal link building improve the customer experience for your visitors, but it will also create a map for Google to determine relevance, context and hierarchy for all of your pages and give you improved ranking positions in more searches.
Linking parent and child pages: Speaking of hierarchy, parent and children linking is essential as it tells Google which pages are the most important and which ones are highly specific URLs that fall under these parent pages. This is done through anchor text and link embedding in landing pages, blog posts and everything in between.
Link roundups: There are pages out there sourcing and listing the best content and websites every day. These are called link roundups and getting on these lists is highly beneficial when it comes to a link building strategy, authority and better Google rankings.
Resource pages: These are similar to the link roundups except these ones are more of a permanent fixture that needs to be constantly updated. These URLs have lists of resource pages directly related to a theme, topic, issue and/or industry and for them to be better than their competition, they need to be updated with the latest and most relevant information. Getting your site on these lists will generate enormous volumes of traffic.
For more information on all of these methods, read on for detailed rundowns on how you can beat your competition and achieve enormous results.
How to steal your competitor’s backlinks
A great way to build quality backlinks is to let your competition do the hard work for you. There are ways you can leverage the backlinks your competition has used to reach their way to the top of the Google rankings to boost your SEO strategy and achieve higher rankings yourself.
There are two different kinds of competition to be aware of, domain-level competitors and page-level competitors and it is important to get to know about both so you can have the most success with your keywords and backlinks.
Domain-level competitors are the ones you are in direct competition within SERPs across many search terms. You will need to determine which ones of these are in direct competition with you on a business sense as well as search terms, as there will be some companies competing for search terms that have nothing to do with your industry or operations.
Page-level competitors are the ones that are unrelated to you but are competing for the same keywords. If any of these are ranking above you in Google searches, you want to put the work in to get back above them as well. You can achieve this by getting plenty of strong backlinks from reputable websites using these similar keywords. You still want these to be located on relevant websites, but the more your keyword is used in a backlink the more likely you are going to rise above your page-level competitors as well.
There are many reputable tools and sites available where you can type in your competition URL and get a full list of their external links and backlinks. Do your research and find the right platform for your needs and you can instantly start looking behind the veil and getting a look at all of the keywords and backlinks your competition is using. Just ensure you are viewing the total external links for the entire site and not a specific URL to get a holistic view of their backlinks.
To determine which of these backlinks hold the most sway in Google rankings, sort the domain authority from high to low. The higher the level of the domain authority the more influence it has with Google as it is regarded as a more reputable and influential backlink.
The next thing to determine is are there specific URLs that are being backlinked to more than others? What sort of pages is linking back to your competition, are they specific or diverse? Take down as much information as you can and put it into a spreadsheet and you will be armed with all of the information you need when the time comes to campaign for links.
You are most likely to find that there are one or two specific URLs that are getting back linked to more than others, these are usually in the form of a blog post or an article. This will give you the exact content themes you need to be focusing on that will attract the same levels of backlinks.
This brings us to our next backlink strategy which is guest blog spots. Getting your byline and content placed on other pages is a leading tactic in getting the highest quality backlinks from the most reputable sites. If your competition is doing this, so can you. There are many reputable sites willing to give you a byline and backlink in exchange for quality content. Read on for more information on guest blogging.
The sites you should be reaching out to for guest post opportunities
Guest posting by writing a blog post for other publications is an exceptionally good way to get the best backlinks out there and improve your Google rankings. This is the process of literally providing your content to other sites for free in exchange for your byline and a backlink, which boosts your SEO and elevates you higher in Google searches. It is a win-win for both parties and benefits both sites’ link building strategy.
This is a great way to quickly build up backlinks because simply asking people from websites to link to your site is not likely to get much joy because you are asking for something and giving nothing in return. It’s not a great deal.
When it comes to guest blogging, any backlink is a good backlink but you are going to get more value from the sites that are more reputable. These are the sites that carry a strong Domain Authority score, which is a number from 1-100 with 1 being the weakest and 100 being the strongest. Using various tools available on the internet you can gain access to these authority scores so you know which sites you should be targeting with your guest blogging requests.
Here are some strategies for starting a list or spreadsheet of potential sites where you could have your content posted as a guest blogger:
Google it: The first step is to simply look for the sites that are actively seeking out this content. Google terms such as ‘submit a guest post’ or ‘accepting guest posts’ and you can be connected to pages and contacts that you know are looking for content and are willing to give you the backlink you require. Make sure you take the time to look over these sites and ensure they are reputable and their backlinks are also going to reputable sites before contacting them.
Follow in the footsteps of the greats: There are no doubt some common names when it comes to authors you have seen while reading blogs, articles and researching in general about topics and trends that impact your industry. See where they are regularly published and reach out to those sites as there is a better than even chance that they are looking for submissions.
Use competitor backlinks: In the previous section, we explored competitor backlinks and how they can be used for this purpose. Look for URLs that have a lot of backlinks and you may find a gold mine of opportunity as this is evidence they are already linking to sites in your niche or industry. Provide better content than your competitors and you have a great chance of having a guest blog spot or links back to your content on these pages as well.
Join a guest blogging community: There are numerous forums and social media groups dedicated to guest blogging and you can join a community and learn from those that are experienced in this process and get tips and leads on where to submit your content to improve your techniques and conversion rates to make the process more efficient and more successful.
When you are ready to reach out to some of these sites, ensure you have done your homework first. Determine what level of writing they are sharing with their audience, whether it is B2B or B2C, what topics they tend to focus on and the overall theme and personality of the site. By matching your content to their style you are going to have more success than with irrelevant copy.
Also determine which content or blog post (even a resource page) has performed the best in your link building strategy, as this is the sort of writing they will want to see more of. There are various tools available online where you can see how often content has been shared through various social media platforms so you can see which posts went viral and which ones tanked. This will then help you find new ideas that will work well for future posts or links.
And always be professional and courteous, especially when you face rejection. The internet can be a small place sometimes and you don’t want to find yourself out of favour through simple poor etiquette.
How referral traffic can boost your link building activities
You are going to get traffic from Google searches (where you are hopefully starting to rank higher and higher). But there are also other places on the internet where you can gain traffic from and this process is called referral traffic.
Any traffic that comes to your site from outside of Google search engine comes under the banner of referral traffic and this occurs when someone clicks a link on another site that leads to yours. These are backlinks of the highest quality and should be the focus of many of your campaigns. They can boost your business and web traffic through:
Complementary traffic: If someone has linked to your website they likely see value in it and their business operations are likely to be linked to yours. That means their audience is very likely to be interested in your content and vice versa. Discovering where your referral traffic is coming allows you to reach out to them, develop a relationship and link towards each other to share your audiences and content.
Generate leads: Because this traffic is coming from a complementary source and the audience is likely to have an interest in your content, website and products and services you can funnel this traffic through as potential leads. They are going to be warm prospects at the very least because they are already actively seeking out information on your industry, product and services so referral traffic is a great way to connect with engaged people that are relevant to your business.
User behaviour data: This is especially useful if your website is only relatively new. By funnelling through traffic from a source that is linked to your own, you are gaining access to a treasure trove of consumer data that can be monitored through Google Analytics and pixels for more targeted campaigns that are more likely to have success.
So as we have established, this type of traffic is pretty great for your website, the volume of traffic that is visiting and the impact that they are going to have on you and your business. But how do you know if you are getting it? How do you differentiate between regular traffic and referral traffic? And how can you inspire it if you are not receiving much (or any at all)?
You can discover your traffic sources quickly and simply through the Google Analytics platform. Simple navigate to Acquisition and select All Traffic and then Referrals. Voila – a table with all of the sites sending referral traffic your way. This helps you understand the types of sites that are linking back to you so you can create a profile and start actively seeking more traffic.
A quick side note, you are going to want to achieve traffic through natural methods as Google is onto all of the less natural ways of doing this and will penalise you in searches which will render the process redundant. The best natural ways to attract high-level traffic is to:
Create high-level content: It really is as simple as that. Identify the sites that are backlinking to you and their audience and then create content that is likely to provide them with value. Make sure the content you are creating is original and inspiring and try to use numbers as well – people love facts, figures, statistics and lists.
Use images, videos and infographics: The more of these you have in your content the better as they are engaging and will keep the reader on the page for longer. This process has become a lot more simple in the modern age and while having a dedicated videographer and/or designer in your team is desirable, there is plenty of simple to use apps and platforms that allow you to create compelling and interactive images, videos and infographics that will appeal to your target audience.
Take a deep dive: It is simple to create snack-sized blog articles that can be churned out quickly and easily. But Google favours the long-form articles that have been highly researched and go into depth – and other sites and readers are going to favour them as well. Take the time to thoroughly research your topic material and plan it out with several engaging headlines. Treat each section like a mini-article all on its own with a contents guide at the top, so people can enjoy the article as an entire resource or cut straight to the part that they need information about.
Be a thought leader: Don’t just go with the grain, be prepared to take a bold stance on a subject you are an expert in. Do not be afraid to be controversial either, because these kinds of articles create discussion and debate which is extremely great on social media platforms and generates tons of web traffic. It is content like this that other websites will love to borrow and send referral traffic your way.
What is broken link building and how can I use it?
This typically means finding broken links and using them to recreate the dead content in your link building strategy by assisting Google webmasters in replacing these broken URLs with correct ones. It’s a perfectly legitimate, white-hat link building strategy that you employ to build strong, legitimate links from the ashes of broken URLs.
So what are dead links? Think of a site that looks like that infamous “404” error where the links you are clicking gives you no pathway. Search engines don’t like these pages because they give no value to the user, thus, the website is ranked lower – which you don’t want. There are many reasons why a link can become broken – you just have to find out why. Websites can change their URLs, they can delete content, some businesses and sites can shut down entirely. But the hyperlink that backlinks to those dead URLs will remain active on websites.
These dead links are SEO poison as they are delivering a bad user experience which Google’s crawlers will identify and potentially push websites down the search rankings, so no one likes of wants dead links. It is estimated that almost 550,000 websites are created every single day and as a result, there are more and more broken backlinks being created each day as well, with websites restructuring and becoming redundant.
Unfortunately, the process of discovering broken links and repairing them for your own gain is not as simple as it sounds, especially for newcomers to the space. The easiest first step is to find any broken links directing back to your own website, as there are numerous tools out there on the internet that will clearly show you which links are broken. This process is not really broken link building, more reclaiming your own links, the effect is the same. And if you don’t do it, then someone else could swoop in and do it for their own benefit which works against you.
There are paid options that give you access to many URLs and broken links or free tools like Google Analytics. In Analytics, go to the Content section and select Content by Title. Type in the text that you have assigned through your CRM for your website’s 404 error page (an example would be “Oops, we couldn’t find the page you were looking for” etc) in the box that reads Filter Page Title: Containing. Then you will get a list of broken links and the options available to redirect them to the correct URLs.
Fantastic, now how do I go about broken link building from other places on the web?
This process involves finding broken links between two websites that are not your own. You will recreate the content so the link is revived but now people are coming to your created content and you are getting valuable backlinks for your website. This process can be time-consuming and not deliver enormous bang for your buck – if you are not doing it effectively. You need to create a solid system that works for you, is efficient and will deliver results. And broken link building can be enormously effective.
There are tools available like Wayback Machine available that will show what content used to be at these broken links (which can be found using various paid tools or free ones like Google Analytics as a starting point). When you have prospected these dead links, you can follow these three simple steps:
1. Re-write the content. Ensure it is a similar concept and theme or you could be penalised by Google. If the previous article was about ‘Best Ways to Curate a Cricket Pitch’, then you are going to need to produce content that is about curating a cricket pitch. In this scenario you would want your own website to be about cricket, sport or another related topic as well so that everything is aligned.
2. Offer the content to the domain owner: The next step is to reach out to the website owner and let them know you have discovered the dead link and that you are willing to replace it with like-for-like content for free. You are doing them a favour by removing a dead link to their website and adding value to potential consumers. Do not expect a flood of responses though, 5-10 per cent conversions is winning territory here.
3. Replace the dead link’s content with your own: Which now produces a backlink for your domain, you will get traffic and the internet has one less dead link.
The importance of internal link building
While we are going to spend a lot of time talking about building external links (and rightly so they are worth their weight in gold) it is also highly important to take care of your own backyard first. As previously discussed, repairing your own backlinks is vital for the health and integrity of your site so that Google favours you and visitors don’t get a bad experience that leads to frustration.
It is also important to have these internal links for a number of reasons:
- They connect your site to give users an easy path between connected articles and calls to action
- This means they are going to have a greater user experience and will spend more time on your site
- They are more likely to take action as you have offered them value
- These links create a hierarchy on your site, placing the important pages at the top and leading to calls to action
- They give Google an easy road map of your site and will improve your SEO and search rankings
Google’s crawlers will actually follow through your links to get a feeling for what your site is about and without them, it is going to have to use your general sitemap and make their own assumptions. You can steer the crawlers the way you want them to go and highlight your most important pages so they are more likely to appear in searches.
To set up a link strategy you need to determine three important things:
- The value of each page from most important down to least important
- The relationship these pages have with each other
- The relevance these pages have with each other
Your best content is going to be your cornerstone content and you want Google to know all about it, so you want many links heading to these pages. These can be your best, longest and most informative articles, make sure your other articles link to them.
If you have articles of relevance ensure they are linking together. You can use plugins or simply put in a header directing people to content they may also enjoy. These are called related posts and they help establish links between content for Google and also for your users.
These are the basics of internal linking but you can also take a deeper dive and properly establish the hierarchy of your pages in the next section which will explain the process in more detail.
Linking parent and child pages for SEO
When you have menus on the main pages of your website, the items in the drop-down need to be properly linked to these menus and the right hierarchy established. These menus are called the parent and each item in the drop-down list is one of the children and these need to be connected properly for Google to understand what is going on.
When these children are not properly ordered, ranked and linked to the parent item then Google does not understand the relationship between these links and pages and will not rank you accordingly. Put simply, parent pages are regarded as more important and have hierarchical order over children pages in the eyes of Google. These parent pages tend to be more general in nature (like your home, about or services) pages while the children pages usually link to more specific pages.
Proper structure of parent and children pages will also impact your URLs and further assist visitors and Google to understand the order of your pages. For example, you could have the website www.domain.com that is about a range of different office products. You could then have the parent page www.domain.com/products and under that parent, you could have a range of children URLs like www.domain.com/products/printers and www.domain.com/products/desks
Now it is important to remember to populate these children pages with lots of high-quality content to ensure they are getting maximum reach in Google search rankings. They will be ordered and ranked as children pages accordingly and they are very specific when it comes to content, so you need to work to ensure each child page has the right keywords and quality content to rank her in Google searches.
Having properly assembled parent and children links is also beneficial for the user experience, which you should value just as highly as your SEO and Google ranking. And the two things are linked, with Google analysing the customer path through your website and favouring pages that get high traffic. If your children’s links are of high quality and the path for visitors to get there is clear and simple you will notice an improvement in your search rankings as well.
There is an alternative if you are concerned that your children pages are not meeting the expectations of Google’s crawling and indexing bots and that is to use anchor links on your parent pages. These are those highlighted words or phrases on a webpage that is clickable and will take you straight to the information you want to access on the same page. They are a great tool to use in menus or lists at the top of the page so users can instantly jump to where they need to be without extensive scrolling.
These anchor links can easily be added to the headings on your site and then also added in menus or submenus, linking the two together so that users can easily navigate to the right information for their needs just by clicking a heading in these menus or submenus.
Link roundups and how you can use them in link building for search engine rankings
If your content is working, there is no reason why you can’t get two bites at the cherry. That is the premise of link roundups (also known as content roundups) where you can do a weekly or monthly summary of your best-performing blogs or pieces of content and share them again. These could be marketed as your top stories of the month, the best guides on a certain topic, whatever content has delivered the most results, package them together and release them again for some extra bang for your buck.
But the best way to get maximum bang for your buck is to be included in monthly or weekly roundups that have been curated by third parties. These sites will simply seek out the best content for their industry, subject or niche for that period of time and package them together in a list of best articles for the week or month. Get included in those lists and you will see a dramatic spike in web content.
The huge key for making these lists is to have high-quality content that is thought-inspiring, engaging and likely to generate discussion and debate. If your content is low quality it is unlikely to ever be selected no matter how much you pitch, and if it does get selected it is going to disappoint readers and perform poorly.
To this end, it is highly recommended that you write long-form content that is going to be in-depth and compelling. Lists, guides and tips and tricks work really well in this format as the information is broken up and provides plenty of value to the reader.
When you are ready to present your case, you are going to need to prospect websites in your industry or niche that post these link roundups. This is easily achieved through Google by pairing your keywords with terms like link roundup, weekly roundup, monthly roundup, best posts of the week etc. Then in your search results, click tools and select Past Month to make sure you’ve got the most recent and relevant results on hand.
You can also scour your favourite industry sites and also through social media to find other sites that do these roundups and add them all to a spreadsheet. Now, you are ready to begin pitching. This is going to take some work as you cannot simply create a template and carpet bomb the internet hoping for success. There is going to be overlap and you are going to be uncovered, so you are going to need an individual pitch for each site.
Look for the bylines in the roundups you are targeting and you should find the individual person that is responsible for the roundup so you can contact them directly. Message them with your pitch but not with the aim for it to be a once-off. Try and build a relationship with them and you will find they will come to you actively seeking out content for future roundups. Hint: make sure the content you’re looking at isn’t from years ago.
Make sure all pitches are personalised, pay them compliments on the job that they are doing and explain why your content might be a good fit. Keep it short and simple and try to keep in regular content beyond that for the best results possible.
Leveraging resource pages to gain backlinks
A resource page (also known as a pillar page) is a valuable tool for both the site publishing it and the sites that are listed as it contains a list of valuable information on a specific topic that includes links to pages that will be enormously beneficial to everyone visiting.
While we have spoken extensively about the quality of content required to earn backlinks, a resource page is about quantity as well as quality because they contain many, many links that are reputable and will provide a great resource for people looking for information on that topic and industry.
That means these lists need to be constantly checked and updated to ensure there are no dead links, and that you’ve got no outdated information or any other changes to the URL or content that could damage the reputation of the resource.
That also means these pages are always looking to update their lists to ensure they have the latest and most relevant content which means it usually doesn’t take much convincing to get your links on their resources page, as long as your content holds value. If you have content that matches the theme of the list, has been well researched and is original and engaging, then you have a high chance of being included on future updates of these lists – all you have to do is reach out.
The first thing you need to do is prospect any resource page you come across, which you can do by using Google’s own search operators. If you are looking for pages that list vegan resources, for example, use the keyword vegan in combination with search operators or search parameters. This is a great way to find opportunities for links.
There are many different search operators that can be as simple as adding a minus symbol in front of a keyword to exclude that particular word from your search, through to more complex parameters that will use Google’s algorithm to deliver hyper-specific results. Some of these advanced search operators that you can use include:
vegan intitle:resources inurl:resources.html.
vegan intitle:resources inurl:links.html
vegan intitle:links inurl: resources.html
vegan inurl:resources intitle:resources
You can try different keywords from your website in tandem with these search operators for a great way to find defined and accurate lists of resources pages than you would get through standard Google searches.
Now that you have a list of resources pages, the next step is to ensure that these lists are legitimate before you start pitching your content to them. There are many different tools available that will scrape these URLs and help you compile a lift of verified and reputable resources lists.
After you have run the rule over the sites and removed the junk, you will need to manually review the remaining URLs to determine the best and effective ones to reach out to. Ensure that these lists are linking to external resources, not just their own sites and internal links. Also, make sure that these external links are all relevant to the topic and not just random URLs. And finally, look for signs that these resources lists have been maintained and updated recently as they are more likely to care about the quality and be actively seeking new and updated resources.
Once this is all complete you will have a list of qualified prospects to reach out to and you can expect the conversion rate to be high here. If you have done your due diligence and have the right, relevant and up-to-date content then these sites are likely going to be happy to hear from you and you will have a very high chance of having your URLs listed and gaining valuable backlinks.
Now you are ready to get to work and build your own linking strategy
By using all of the methods listed in this article for your link building and search engine efforts, you are going to be assured of success when it comes to earning a vast network of backlinks which Google will use as signals that you are a truly reputable source they should be including at the top of Google searches.
But always remember that your strategy is only ever as good as the content that you produce so ensure you have the talent and the resources to generate blogs, articles and other content that is going to be desirable to other sites and earn you these valuable backlinks.
By combining quality content in your link building efforts with the methods we have outlined you will soon see an exponential increase in your backlink count, which will translate to better Google rankings, more relevant and motivated traffic coming to your websites and better results across the board. Good luck and happy link building. May the search engine force be with you – you’ve got this.