How can link building benefit my business?
As we’ve discussed, links are a very important signal that the search engines use to determine rankings. So, we know that increasing the number of high-quality links pointing at your website can significantly increase your chances of ranking well.
There are other benefits to link building, though, that may be less immediately obvious yet still worthy of consideration.
Link building can often involve outreach to other relevant websites and blogs in your industry. This outreach frequently relates to the promotion of something that you’ve just created, such as a piece of content or an infographic. A common goal of outreach is to get a link, but there is much more to it than just this: Outreach can help you build long-term relationships with key influencers in your industry, and these relationships can mean that your business becomes highly regarded and trusted. This in itself is valuable, even if we forget link building for a moment, because we are creating genuine evangelists and advocates for our business.
Sending referral traffic
We’ve talked about the impact of links on your rankings, but what about the impact of links on referral traffic? A good link from a highly-visited website can lead to an increase in traffic, too. If it is a relevant website, chances are that the traffic is also relevant and may lead to an increase in sales, as well. Again, in this situation the value of a link isn’t just about SEO—it’s about customers. A great example of this in action was this guest post written by Michael Ellsberg on Tim Ferriss’ blog. He also wrote a case study on Forbes explaining just how valuable this guest post was to him. “There’s a big difference between being exposed to a large audience,” he says, “and being exposed to a comparatively smaller (but still large) audience which is ridiculously passionate.” In other words, the avid followers of a single blog were far more likely to take the advice of the blogger than (for example) viewers were to pay attention to the anchor on CNN, even if the latter group outnumbered the former.
Good link building can help build your brand and establish you as an authority in your niche. There are some link building techniques, such as content creation, which can show people the expertise of your company, and this can go a long way toward building your brand. For example, if you create a piece of content based upon industry data and publish it, you have a chance of becoming well known for it in your industry. When you do outreach and try to get links to the content, you are showing your expertise and asking other people in your industry to help spread the word and show others the same.
An important note on link building vs link “earning”
Or, the importance of having webpages worth linking to.
Before building links, you need something of value to build links to. Often it’s the homepage of your website. More often than not, though, you build links to specialized resources such as a blog post, tool, research study or graphic. Sometimes these assets exist long before you begin your link building campaign. Other times, you create these resources specifically with the goal of building links in mind.
This introduces the concepts of link earning and “deserving to rank.” All link building campaigns must start with something worth linking to. It’s very difficult to build links to low-value webpages, but when you begin with something truly valuable that people find useful or share-worthy, link building is a much easier endeavor.
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