The Future Of Link Building Is Bright – Part 1
Link building used to be one of the main pillars of SEO (search engine optimisation) and although there are now many techniques that we can use to improve the online presence of your business, link building will always be a valuable tool.
Think about the last time you needed to hire someone, whether that was taking on an employee, or simply getting someone to come and deep clean your oven. It's unlikely that you gave the job to the first person you found. Instead, you asked for references for your new employee, and looked them up online before interviewing them. If you were hiring an oven cleaner, you will have checked them out online and read reviews, perhaps even asking your social circle for recommendations.
This process is very similar to the purpose of link building. The more reputable sites link to (or recommend) your content, the more highly regarded it will be and you're then more likely to get traffic (and sales) as a result. Link building is a bit like networking, in that you're effectively asking for people/sites to vouch for you. In the eyes of Google and your customers, the better the reputation of the site that links to you, the higher the quality of the link (or recommendation).
If a potential customer saw your website linked from a site they don't like (or that is perceived negatively), they will transfer some of that emotion onto your company. If a customer sees your website linked from a trusted, respectable site, they will likewise transfer that respect to you. We can think of this a bit like a recommendation from your best friend, versus someone who doesn't like you. You're more likely to take your friend's advice, than that of your enemy.
If link building is a bit like word-of-mouth marketing, could the same outcome (a good page ranking on Google and increased web traffic you can convert to sales) be achieved through other means? Sure, there are many ways of achieving this aim, but they form part of a comprehensive marketing strategy alongside other techniques. You can get a good page ranking on Google by being the foremost expert source in your industry, by having a solid keyword strategy and also by paying for advertisement slots at the top of SERPs (search engine results page).You can get increased web traffic through paid methods too, by having ads on Google, on social media and through your email marketing campaigns.
Link building is more than just word-of-mouth marketing, though that is a good way of understanding it. Link building increases your referral traffic, i.e. the traffic that comes from other websites and not from a SERP. Referral traffic is good, it means that someone considered your website to be worth visiting from the site they were already on; they wanted to hear more from you. In certain industries referral traffic is seen as a pre-qualified lead – someone who you know is interested in buying your product. You can also learn a lot about your customers through the websites they were on before they came to yours, making this a great additional benefit of link building.
Finally, the EAT (Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthy) approach to digital marketing has link building at its very core – it is part of all three aspects but especially important, as we discussed in the context of word-of-mouth, for the trustworthiness aspect.
Join us in part 2 where we delve further into link building as a tactic.
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