Link building is one of the most important search engine optimization techniques. It’s basic and essential. Almost every successful trading company wants or needs to build links, but getting good results is hard.
In addition, there is no easy way to “hack” link building. It won’t scale like other SEO or marketing tactics.
What you could call “tactical link building” used to be comparatively easy. There were even services for that – you pay a monthly fee and links were displayed. You can also take part in a link exchange.
But a lot of those links bought or traded didn’t make much sense. For example, does a link from a blog about crocheting to an ecommerce site that sells comics make sense? Probably not, but it’s the kind of link that may have come up in the past.
Buying links (and not identifying them as paid) or exchanging links to improve a website’s search engine rankings is a violation of Google’s guidelines and is also discouraged by other search engines.
“I think about links like Google has always thought about links – the ‘editorial link’ was what they were looking for,” said Bill Sebald, founder of Greenlane Search Marketing, live stream for CommerceCo on May 13, 2021 Practical Ecommerce.
An editorial link makes sense in the context. An example is this article on link building where I linked (above) to Google’s guidelines on buying or exchanging links. Another example would be an article on comic book price trends that links to an online shop that sells comics.
Editorial links, Sebald continues, are a reference to Google. They show the search engine which pages are popular for a particular topic, not because of the links trading or buying, but because of the quality of the page content. So an editorial link is a better link.
In the past, Sebald said, some companies bought links to trick Google. But the search engine’s algorithms are too good for this kind of lazy endeavor to still work. Hence, SEO link building requires hard work as every link must be worthy.
Difficult to scale
The fact that SEO links can’t be easily created also means that SEO link building is relatively harder to scale, said James Wirth, senior director of strategy and growth marketing at Citation Labs. Wirth also spoke during the aforementioned CommerceCo livestream.
“We’d all love to hack link building, but it really is [done] one link after the other, ”said Wirth. “We can’t just do this programmatically; it requires human intervention … especially the style [of SEO link building] We do it – focus on landing pages, sales pages and local pages where the links have the greatest impact. “
It is worth it
After realizing that SEO links were difficult to build, Wirth and Sebald encouraged companies to do it and do it well.
Sometimes the key to having a competitive advantage is doing the hard things.
It’s not easy to create compelling content – especially content for landing pages or product detail pages. It will be difficult to find and contact website owners and show them why it makes sense for their business to link to your product page or landing page.
If you don’t strategize the process, it’s even more difficult.
But link building could be an SEO technique your competitors aren’t using – because it’s hard.
Now that you understand that SEO link building is difficult and can give you an edge, try this approach.
- Understand your topic in context. Think about the subject of the page you want to promote. How is this topic used in context? When does someone need help with this topic? What could a site post on this subject?
- Identify “citable” elements. What about the content worth linking to? What is quotable? How does this quotable element relate to the context of your topic? If nothing is quotable, what can you add?
- Choose websites carefully. Don’t just ask for links from every site that publishes guest posts. Take the time to understand why the link or article submitted will benefit the editor. How does the topic of your content make sense for the site and its audience (answered in the last step) and how do you articulate this offer?
- Make a meaningful connection. Reach the publisher not with spam or email templates, but in a personal and specific way. For example, consider calling the editor to come up with an article idea instead of just sending an email with a “guest post”.