If you have spent any time promoting websites you have at least some idea that link building is a big part (the biggest actually) in ranking organically in Google.
But what is link building? How do you do it while avoiding the pitfalls of the dreaded Google penalties?
There are many tactics which have popped up since the start of Google and many of these now will get you a big backhand from Google. This is not a post on the actual tactics, but a broader set of rules that will guide you in your link building. When looking at any tactic, follow these rules and you won’t have any problems with Google.
Rule #1 - Make your site worth linking to
This is huge! And probably one of the most overlooked aspects of link building. No one is going to link to a site that looks like it was made in '98, is broken, or has content that sucks.
This means mainly 3 things:
- Have your site built well both visually and technically (See the webmaster guidelines https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en )
- Have your site structured for the best user experience
- Write content that people are actually going to find useful (For the love of little baby Jesus don’t just make content for content's sake, that’s literally just a waste of your life)
Rule #2 - Ask yourself before attempting to get a link, “If Google weren’t around would I spend my time doing this?”
If the answer is no, you are probably doing something shady which goes against Google's webmaster guidelines and could very well lead to decreased rankings. You should think twice before getting this type of link.
If the answer is yes, you are probably receiving some other benefits to having that link such as referral traffic or getting some sort of publicity because of it. This is the type of link worth going after.
Note: If you are placing the link yourself it’s not editorial and therefore goes against the webmaster guidelines, however it can be done in a legitimate way. For instance, adding a link to your twitter profile or in a G+ post - legit. Commenting on tons of blogs or posting all over forums just to add your link - not legit. Just use your common sense and you’ll be fine.
Rule #3 - If link building is your main goal, your priorities are all wrong.
At the end of the day every webmaster wants more high quality links. Everyone wants to rank better. Everyone wants to dominate in the SERPs, but it your main goal is to build links, your head is probably in the wrong place. Useful content that people actually want to watch, read, and interact with should be your main focus. After that, tell people about it through email, events, social media, word of mouth, etc. If people like what you create, you’ll get the links you really want. The editorial ones from legitimate sources that Google is really going to see as actual value.
A strong link building strategy is key for having SEO success. Don't be turned off by everyone's "link-building got me a Google penalty" horror stories. We have all been there, trust us, but moving forward so long as you follow the rules link building is not a scary thing it just takes time. If your company is looking for help with its SEO and link building strategies talk to one of our business developers about how we can help!