April 14, 2017
If you’re involved in online marketing, you likely already know that buying links is a big no-no. Not only does Google frown upon it, but the practice makes your content seems spammy and cheap, which nobody likes.
What’s more, buying backlinks isn’t sustainable, and it will eventually burn out, leaving you with nothing but a bunch of cheap links that don’t mean anything. If you want to develop lasting value, you’ve got to draw up a plan to earn high-quality, inbound links from reputable sites in your niche.
Although it’s true this is more than just an overnight pursuit, it’s one of the best things you can do to make your content more useful and authoritative for readers. Here’s how:
Why High-Quality Links Matter
According to a prominent Moz study, 99.2 percent of the top 50 sites in a Google search results have at least one high-quality link pointing to them. As if that weren’t enough, the same study also showed that sites with more high-quality thanks pointing to them ranked higher than content without links.
While this is not to say that it’s impossible to rank well without any links in your content, it’s a widely accepted truth that one of the best ways to hit the top of the SERPs is to earn high-quality links.
Remember, though, “high quality” is the operative term there.
While links are currently some of the most significant ranking factors of a page, their history is a little spotty. Not too long ago, black hat SEOs found that they could manipulate Google search rankings by stuffing content with low-quality links.
As such, Google developed a tactic to crack down on spammy links. Today, the only reliably safe way to build a good link strategy today is to earn links organically, rather than buying them or building them.
5 Tips For Building High-Quality Links
Although building good links can feel like a challenge, the five tips will help simplify the process:
1. Connect With Influencers
No matter what industry you’re working in, influencers exist. Influencers are those people with massive social media followings or an expansive reach in your given industry. Because they possess a significant amount of power and sway, one of the best things you can do to build links organically for your site is to reach out to these people.
First, locate the most prominent and accessible influencers in your industry. Once you’ve done that, begin building a relationship with them by interacting with them on social media. You can also consider writing a blog post and mentioning some of their content or teachings. After you’ve done this, send your influencer a message and let him or her know that you’ve mentioned them. Chances are, the influencer will share your post and help expose your content to their audience.
2. Guest Blog For Relevant Platforms
There’s no limit to how much content the web needs today, and guest blogging is a fantastic way to earn some high-quality links to your site while also positioning yourself as an authority in your industry. Keep in mind that, while guest blogging can be a learning curve, it’s easier to get started than you might think.
The first step is just identifying a suitable guest blogging platform in your industry and reaching out to the owner of the site with a pitch for some unique content. While not all your pitches will be accepted, a good guest blogging strategy is one of the fastest ways to the top of the SERPs, and keeping at it will eventually pay off.
3. Conduct Interviews With Industry Influencers
If you’re nervous about how exactly to develop a relationship with the influencers in your industry, consider snagging an original interview. Interviews are great for several reasons. First, they’re some of the most unique content available. Second, they’re an excellent way to provide value to your audience and snag a high-quality backlink from the influencer in the process.
4. Write Ultimate Guides
Ultimate guides are a hot form of content right now. In addition to the fact that they provide outstanding value to your customers, they’re also incredibly evergreen and can earn you links long past the publishing date.
Another great thing about ultimate guides is that are useful no matter which industry you’re in. If you work in content marketing, for example, you can create an ultimate guide to how to get started as a content marketer. If you’re in the automotive industry, an ultimate guide to the most popular types of automobile coatings today might be interesting for your users. As a general rule, ultimate guides are long form (commonly several thousand words) and go in depth on a topic.
5. Write an Infographic
Infographics are some of the most shareable forms of content on the web today. In fact, they’re “liked” and shared on social media three times as often as other forms of content and creating one is a great way to earn a higher ROI on your written material.
Because they’re highly digestible and value-packed, infographics are ideal for all types of industries and appeal to various readers. Create one yourself using a free infographic builder or hire a team of experienced content professionals to help you develop one.
While earning high-quality external links is great, you also need to remember to bring internally to your other content.
Not only do high-quality internal links strengthen your overall content strategy, but they also help ensure that people reading your blog posts can find your other material quickly and easily.
The Case For Organic Links
Although buying links might seem like the fastest way to the top, it’s a short-lived strategy that will burn out and leave you disappointed. Today, the only way to succeed with your content is to write material deserving of high-quality inbound links.
When other reputable sites link to your content, readers and search engines take it as a sign that your content is worth paying attention to, and it ranks accordingly.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia's blog.