The Basics of Link Building: 11 Simple Tactics to Get Ahead of Your Competition
The Basics of Link Building: 11 Simple Tactics to Get Ahead of Your Competition
As a business owner, you would do anything for your company, right? Afterall, it is your baby and you want to see it grow and thrive.
In this day in age, no business can survive, let alone grow, without building an online presence.
You’re smart enough to know that you need to hire a digital marketing company. Like One Thing Marketing, for example 😉
So we start the ball rolling by designing and building you a custom website and writing content to start bringing in traffic (ie. potential leads) to your website.
Would you like to know one of the ways to really increase traffic to your website?
We said “Link Building.”
To continue to grow your online presence, you need to somehow let Google know that your website and its content is worth ranking in the search results for specific keywords that are relevant to your business.
And Link Building is one of the best ways to do this.
The better you rank, the higher chances of getting more traffic, and more traffic means more leads.
And who doesn’t want more leads!?
Try and keep count of how many times we say this phrase throughout this article. The answer will be in the conclusion.
Now just sit back and relax, because we are going to break down everything you need to know about Link Building into easy-to-understand chunks.
Link Building is the process of acquiring links, or mentions, from other websites to your own website.
In other words, you want other websites to have links that when clicked on, take the viewer to your website.
For example, let’s say you own a pest control company and you conduct termite inspections.
A local realtor may have a list of resources that home buyers should call before purchasing a home. You could reach out and ask to be listed as a resource and get a link to your website from this resource page.
This type of Link Building works best with people you network with or are friends with.
And BINGO! Link Building!
These links will most likely appear in one of two ways:
Words, or anchor text, that are linked to your website
A naked website URL
The goal of Link Building is to acquire links from high quality, relevant websites to help increase future search traffic from Google. And more traffic means more leads.
Note: when we say “quality links” we mean links that come from established, Google-trusted, and industry-relevant websites.
And this doesn’t necessarily mean for you to only get links from large sites like CNN or the Washington Post. Niche relevant and locally relevant sites are good as well.
Some examples of the three levels of links include:
Authority Site = CNN
Niche Site = Pest Control Association
Local Site = Louisville.com
Why Is Link Building So Important?
To get straight to the point, Link Building is important because Google uses links as one of their major factors in how they rank web pages.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, Google has over 200 factors it uses to rank websites in the search results. The amount and quality of inbound links to your website is one of those factors.
The amount and quality of links you have going to your website has a great impact on how well you rank for specific keywords in the search results.
When other websites link to you, they are essentially telling Google that your website and its content is relevant, resourceful, and trustworthy. Google will see this trust and begin to trust you themselves.
And we all know by now that the higher you rank in the search results, the more traffic you can get. And more traffic means more leads!
Here at One Thing Marketing, we explain the importance of Link Building to our clients like this:
Think of links on other websites as mentions or press.
When you have more mentions and press, people are more likely to trust you and use your products or services.
The same concept applies with Google.
The more links you have, especially those on higher-quality sites, the more chance you have of Google ranking you higher.
And this means what? Say it with us…
The higher you rank the more traffic you get and the more traffic you get the more leads you can get!
(You keeping track of how many times we have said this so far?)
Once we get our clients in this mindset, Link Building becomes easier to understand.
This means they can be more aware and look for opportunities themselves or if a situation arises, they know to take advantage and ask for a link.
Risks Of Link Building
With most things in the business world, there is some element of risk for every action, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Acquiring or seeking knowledge about an action will potentially reduce its risk.
The same principle applies to Link Building.
Technically all “Link Building” is against the rules.
Google puts it like this…
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
If you are not familiar with Link Building or try to cheat the system by using old-school or black-hat techniques, you run the high chance of Google flagging your efforts as spam and hitting your website with a Manual Penalty. This can prevent some or all of your site from being shown in Google search results.
An example of a Black-Hat Technique would be straight up buying links or using some type of automation.
This is bad.
You may get links that are not relevant and/or of poor quality that you would not get through manual, organic Link Building.
Google even created an advanced algorithm called Penguin to search for these types of techniques.
The aftermath of this and other types of penalties is potentially not showing up in the search results which then results in a drop in website traffic thus a drop in leads. It’s just a messy situation all around.
Let’s flip the coin…
Best case scenario, you don’t get slapped with a Google penalty. But with these techniques, you could dilute your website’s authority and trust in the eyes of Google which means they won’t be very kind to your rankings in search results.
The moral of the story is…these kinds of practices do more harm than good.
If you’re going to do it – you have to know what you’re doing and do it the right way.
When participating in Link Building, there are three important things to consider:
You need to know what the best practices are.
You want quality over quantity.
If you have any doubt about whether or not you should go after a particular link, don’t do it.
***LET ME REPEAT THAT***
If you have any doubt about whether or not you should go after a particular link, don’t do it!
To elaborate a bit more on the second point; it’s better to have a few links that are of higher quality and relevance than a ton of links that are of poor quality.
Our Link Building experts here at One Thing Marketing know how to do Link Building the right way and the safe way.
One tool we have in our Link Building arsenal is the Website Link Analysis. This audit helps us find all the inbound links to your website, evaluate their quality, and attempt to remove or “disavow” them, if needed.
Up to this point, we have discussed what Link Building is, its importance, and its potential risks. If you have any questions or would like to talk to a member of our marketing team, please drop us a line. We would be happy to chat!
Why Is Relevance Important In Link Building?
Have you ever asked someone a question and their response was some long roundabout explanation that didn’t even answer your original question?
In reality, you have probably experienced this more than once.
The key to answering any question is…relevance.
Let’s use another example…
You hop on Google and do a search for “best vacation spots in Europe” hoping to find lists and articles about amazing European destinations.
Instead, you get a bunch of articles about the history of European royalty in the 18th century.
Is this answer relevant to your question?…..No
In reality, Google would never let that happen. They understand the importance of relevance. When you do a search for anything in Google, you will be given the most relevant information Google can find.
How does Google find the relevant sites?
One key factor is Link Building.
If your website has an inbound link from a website that is in the same industry or niche, it will carry a lot more weight than a link from a website outside of your industry or niche.
Links from relevant websites tell Google that you are knowledgeable about the information you provide; proving you’re a leader in what you do. Thus when people do online searches for information, products, or services similar to what you provide, Google will be more likely to show your website over others.
The higher you rank in Google for specific keywords, the more traffic you will get. And more traffic means more potential leads!
But what if the majority of your inbound links are from irrelevant websites? What happens then?
In this case, this does not look natural and could signal to Google that you are participating in “Black Hat” Link Building techniques, which could land you a penalty.
We know what you are thinking. You’re thinking “I’ll just go get a bunch of high authority, super-relevant links and I’ll be top dog!”
Well before we move onto our list of Link Building opportunities, we want to leave you with this important piece of info:
A few links from less authoritative, but relevant websites can be just as good, as one link from a non-relevant, high-authority website.
You sell camera equipment that amateur astronomers can use to take pictures of the night sky through their telescopes. It is still worth your time and effort to get links on smaller, independent astronomy blog sites as it would be to get one link from a journalist at the Washington Post.
Link Building Opportunities You Can Do On Your Own
You read that heading right!
Link Building is not something that only professional marketing companies can do. Any business owner can join in on the fun.
You probably don’t realize it, but there are plenty of ways you can acquire links for your website all by yourself.
We are not saying that you have to do all the work. At One Thing Marketing, we have plenty of Link Building strategies we can use to acquire links for your website.
But there are certain types of links that we can’t get because they require a personal or business relationship that only you have.
Don’t want to ask for links? Not a huge deal.
We don’t necessarily need you to, but if you want to make the effort, it can be very beneficial for your business.
So hang on, because we are about to dish out 10 Link Building opportunities you can take advantage of today!
Anyone that you have a business relationship with that has their own website, you can ask for a link from their site to yours. This also includes your clients as well.
We will use the previous example of the realtor and pest control company. The realtor can have a link on their website to your website.
If the other party is not exactly sure where to add the link, you could offer these suggestions:
Offer to write a piece of content that will benefit their readers. This article would include a link back to your website.
You could leave them a review that they can put on their website – in exchange for them adding a link to your business in the signature.
Need some help asking? Here’s an email template to give you some ideas.
It’s [YOUR NAME], [POSITION] at [WEBSITE].
I was just on your site and noticed you have a company blog.
I know we’ve been working together for a while now, and I was wondering if you’d consider adding a link to our website on your blog?
Let me know.
2. Dealers & Brands
Let’s say you sell a product from a particular company. That company could have a page on their website that lists all the places their product is sold.
If you are not currently listed, it is worth shooting them an email asking to be listed. Afterall, you are helping sell THEIR product.
This email template can help you get started:
I’m [YOUR NAME], [POSITION] at [COMPANY].
We sell your product on our site here: [INSERT LINK TO PRODUCT]
I just noticed you have a dedicated “where to buy” page on your site – any chance you could add us to it?
Let me know,
If you are already in an association, like your local Chamber of Commerce, find out if they have a list of members on their website. If so, make sure your company has a listing or profile with a link to your website.
If there are associations that are relevant to your industry or location that you currently know of and are not a member, this is an opportunity.
If you work with us, we can evaluate the association’s website to see if acquiring a link is worth the time, effort, and money.
4. Event Sponsorship
Sponsoring a local event like a race or school sporting event is a great way to get your name out in the community, create positive attention, and potentially get a locally relevant link.
Do a bit of research in your area for upcoming events and use the following template to help draft up an email.
I’m [YOUR NAME], [POSITION] at [WEBSITE].
I’m looking to enquire about the sponsorship opportunity list on your site – are you still looking for sponsors?
If so, could you please send through pricing information, along with details of sponsor benefits.
5. Donate to a Business/Cause/Charity
This is similar to sponsoring a local event. When you donate either your time, money, or your services, it is a great way to support what is important to you and potentially get a link.
The Charity’s website, for example, could list out the name of their donors and/or volunteers.
Once you decide which cause to donate to, use the following email template to get the process started.
I’m [YOUR NAME], [POSITION] at [WEBSITE].
I’m contacting you today as I’d like to enquire about the donation process.
Could you send through more details about how to go about this?
6. Submit Your Company For An Award
Is your company great at what they do? (Of course it is)
Many award committees give out recognition for highest sales, best customer service, most successful business, best product, and the list goes on and on.
Do some research on industry-specific awards that you could submit your company to. If you win, you will most likely get some type of mention on their website with a link to your website.
7. Offer Deals/Coupons For Local Schools
Oftentimes, local restaurants, hair salons, or car mechanics will offer special discounts to students at the local schools and colleges. For example, 20% off their meal or a free oil change.
Students love deals and are more likely to use your product or service over your competitor if you offer them a deal.
Contact the school and tell them you are offering a discount on your products/services to all enrolled students. (You could have them present their student ID for verification) The school will then in turn, put you on their local discount list and…
Another link opportunity!
8. Guest Posting
This involves writing a piece of content for a website other than your own in order to build links to your website.
What’s great about this is that not only do you get a link to your website, but the people you are writing content for gets an article that is useful to their audience.
It’s good for both parties!
You could either write something yourself or if you work with One Thing Marketing, we can write something for you that includes a link back to your website.
This could be a little more time consuming because it involves writing content, so it is a good idea to have us check out the website to see if a link from there is worth the time and effort.
If you find an opportunity, use this email template to help you get started.
I’m [YOUR NAME], [POSITION] at [WEBSITE].
I was wondering if you’re still accepting guest posts, as I had an idea for a post that I feel would be perfect for your site.
Basically, I was thinking something along the lines of [INSERT WORKING TITLE NAME], where I’d discuss [GIVE A BRIEF, 2-3 SENTENCE OVERVIEW OF YOUR POST].
Would you be interested?
9. Alumni Directories
Several colleges and universities have alumni directories listed on their website. Each graduate’s profile includes information like their name, graduation year, major, and current job. Even links to company websites and resources can be found.
If you haven’t already, ask each of your employees to set up their profile on their respective school’s alumni directory that includes a link back to the company’s website.
10. Industry Forums
Almost all industries have some type of forum discussing one or several topics relevant to the industry.
Setup a profile that includes a link to your company website. If you have content on your website that helps answer a question submitted to the forum, then shoot back an answer that includes a link to the page on your website that best helps answer their question.
If you or your company gets any type of press, expected or unexpected, this is a golden opportunity to get a link.
If a local news station publishes a story about you, be sure it includes a clickable link back to your website. If the link is not clickable, don’t be afraid to keep asking until it is.
And the best news of all?!
This list is nowhere near exhausted!
There are so many Link Building opportunities that there is no way we could fit them all in this article.
Curious what the others are? Drop us a line and we will be glad to chat with you about other Link Building opportunities or better yet working together!
If you come across a chance to snag a link, but it costs money, feel free to ask our opinion on whether or not you should take it. We can evaluate the link quality and determine if it’s worth your time, money, and effort.
While we here at One Thing Marketing are pretty savvy when it comes to Link Building, we admit we don’t know everything about every industry.
That’s near impossible!
If you think of ANY Link Building opportunities, it is better to tell us than just assume we know about.
Together, we can become Link Building geniuses!
How Much Does Link Building Cost
Anytime you add or do something new for your business, you should ask the question,
“What does it cost?”
And don’t think of cost in terms of just money. Think of it also as time, effort, and potential benefit.
Every action’s “cost” should be evaluated in these terms to determine its worth.
Let’s talk about cost in terms of Link Building. To put it bluntly…
Link Building costs money because it is hard and time-consuming to get the good quality links.
For the links that you can get from associations, donations, and sponsorships, most of the cost comes from their fees.
When it comes to acquiring links through guest posting, that cost is made up of mainly labor.
Time and effort to do outreach (finding opportunities)
Time and effort to create content
Time and effort to build relationships with other website owners
An additional cost that can be associated with guest posting is publishing fees required by the website owner.
On average, the overall cost of acquiring a link ranges from $100 to $500, and potentially even more, depending on the quality of the site and amount of work needed to acquire the link.
Sounds like a lot, but trust us…
…it’s SO worth it in the long run.
When it is all said and done, if your time and effort you put into getting a link brings in 50 new leads to your business, then clearly it is worth that time and effort.
How One Thing Marketing Does It
Not to toot our own horn, but we know a thing or two about Link Building.
We know how to do it, what the best practices are, and how to evaluate a link’s quality.
We implement our Link Building strategy along with our SEO strategy. The results don’t happen overnight, so a little patience now will pay off big down the road.
For our clients, we build two types of links:
These are the more easily acquired links we build in the beginning. This starts forming the foundation of trust and authority that Google associates with your website.
Local Business Directories (Yelp, Yellowpages, BBB, etc.)
Social Profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Replicating links that your competitors have
These are the links that separate you from your competitors. (in a good way!)
We will continue to build and grow your website’s trust and authority in the eyes of Google through Authority Links.
A great example of an Authority Link is a link on a guest post. Based on your budget and engagement, we will do outreach for guest post opportunities on high-quality, relevant websites.
Let’s Start Building!
As you can see, Link Building is a tricky business.
You have to know what you are doing in order to get the best results possible and avoid any penalties.
Lucky for you, we know Link Building like the back of our hand. Our team knows the best practices and what opportunities to jump at.
At the end of the day, it’s all in the game of increasing traffic to your website to get more leads for your business.
If you have any Link Building questions or are interested in getting more leads for your business, give us a shout!
You never know, Link Building could be the “one thing” that lets your business soar!
So… How many times did we say “the phrase”? Answer: 6!
One part founder, two parts bourbon. Dan, our resident SEO genius, works tirelessly to solve all of your online marketing needs. With 10+ years of experience in the field (and even more on the golf course), he translates all the technical mumbo-jumbo into effective strategies that will help your Louisville, KY business succeed.