So you’ve got your website set up, it looks modern, it’s easy to navigate, you’ve got all your CTAs (calls-to-action) in the right place, but now you’ve hit a stumbling block – how do people find your site?
If you want a constant stream of traffic to your website you need to be link building and gaining backlinks!
But how do you do this?
What even are backlinks?
Don’t worry – in this article, I’ll cover all the things you need to know to get started doing link building for your new site.
You’re likely here because you want to scale your blog and make money blogging. If that’s the case, here’s a more in-depth guide to making money blogging.
What is link building?
Link building is the term used to describe any efforts you make to get links from other websites to your site. These links are called backlinks.
If you’ve spent any time researching what you need to do to get your site to rank well, you’ll have come across this term.
If you dig a little deeper you’ll quickly find out that link building, and gaining more backlinks, are one of the most powerful things you can do to get your site ranking higher in relevant search results.
Problem is, it’s also one of the most difficult things to do, too.
Why is link building tough?
The problem with link building is that, in most cases, you have almost no control over when, where, and how many links you get from other sites back to your own.
It’s also difficult because you’ve got to fight upstream, as those big authority sites that rank for your search terms are linked to more frequently than small ones and make it difficult for new sites to get a foothold.
In the past, people have tried to game the system, which led to search engines like Google penalizing those sites for using the wrong types of backlinks and using disingenuous SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.
You don’t need to do anything shady to get your site to rank, and while it’s difficult to get your site to rank, it’s by no means impossible so don’t be discouraged.
So, what can you do to honestly build links that will boost your site up the search engine rankings and ensure you stay on the good side of search engines?
Let’s dive in!
How to do link building correctly
Links have to be natural
Search engines love backlinks that are mentioned naturally within the flow of the text on a page!
For example, take a look at the screenshot below from one of Doug Cunnington’s blog posts where he links to a page:
It’s a great example of a natural link since it’s mentioned in the flow of what he’s teaching you.
This is what the search engine bots that crawl over your site like to see!
Links should be in the body of the text
While links included in footers and sidebars won’t be penalized, they certainly aren’t as useful for your SEO efforts as links in the body of the page, like the link in the example above.
How often do you see vital links to other sites in the sidebars and footers of other sites?
You don’t… and that’s why search engines aren’t going to pay much attention either. They’re not that important!
If you are featured in a “great resources” section or a “best-of” post on a website, that works just as well as it being embedded within the text.
The website that links to your site matters.
For example, if you create great content on how to use Canon cameras, and Canon link to you on one of their own pages, that’s going to matter far more to your link building efforts than if a small blogger recommends your tutorial to their own audience.
Because Canon is a huge authority (and the manufacturer) in the photography space and their own site has a lot of authority so that link will mean more to search engines!
However, do not discount links from smaller sites!
As long as the link is genuine, it’s a good link.
It will help contribute to your SEO efforts and hopefully drive an engaged audience toward your content.
Always create GREAT content
If you want quality backlinks you have to be creating quality content!
If your content doesn’t offer value to audiences in some way no one is going to want to link to you.
This doesn’t mean every post has to be a 1,000+-word epic guide, but it needs to be something other sites could point to as a useful or entertaining resource.
If you prefer, podcasts and videos work well too for gaining backlinks!
You also need to remember that the only thing a search engine wants to do is show their users the very best results for the terms they’re searching for.
Focus on creating valuable, evergreen (or regularly updated) content that answers all the burning questions your audience has, teaches them something new, or offers entertainment value.
I really can’t underline the importance of great content. I’ve actually written a blog post that covers the topic more in-depth if you’re interested in learning more about the importance of the content you’re creating.
Reach out to other sites
There is absolutely nothing stopping you from reaching out to the sites you’ve linked to in your own content to tell them how much you loved that piece of content, and that you’ve linked to it in your own.
They’ll check it out and hopefully share it with their own audience or link back to your site in one of their future posts!
Create your own
How many backlinks you can create for your own site is limited, but it also can be done.
You can boost your own backlinks by:
- Listing on good directories
- Using social media
- Guest blogging on other sites and linking to your own site
- Create content on authoritative sites like Quora, Medium, and YouTube
How NOT to do link building
By now, you’ll have a good gut feeling for what kind of SEO and link building tactics search engines like (anything natural and honest), so you’ll be able to use your common sense moving forward!
However, we’ll briefly look at the kinds of backlinks search engines frown upon.
- Pay directly for links
- Do link exchanges that don’t make sense
- Use software or bots
- Spam forums or comments with your links
Going about link building in the right way is all about creating great content for your audience that they love and are happy to share.
If you nail your content, your link building will a much easier and more natural process for you.
It will also future-proof your site against any major algorithm changes by the search engines that aim to make dishonest sites disappear from the rankings!
What’s your approach to link building?