Link building is a skill best carried out as naturally as possible. If you’ve experienced Google's penalties in this area, you know they’re a pain - and it can be difficult to find out what caused them.

Unnatural links are easy and tempting, but they’re not worth the potential trouble. This article will provide you with some link building practices that will keep you in Google's good books.

1. Request

You might think that asking for a link to your site is unnatural. It really isn’t. If there’s a website out there that wants a link from your end, and they trust your business with no monetary inducement involved, it will be a  good link that Google will recognize as such. Start with family, friends and colleagues. It’s not difficult to say, “Hey, I’ve got a blog, and yours is great too. Can you make a mention on yours and create a link?”

2. Going the directory way

We are not talking about spammy directories that allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to create links. The directories here do not have an easy entry point. Moz Local is a good repository to find a listing for these directories. Go for the niche-based directories for your niche area. If you're into home furniture and there is a directory of that available, you should have yours there too. That is perfectly okay with Google's guidelines. People find businesses on various directories, and there is nothing wrong with having your website on them too.

3. Business networking

Many businesses have ties with others they deal with. Connecting with vendors, suppliers, and partners is a strong network to take advantage of. You should make sure you have your business listed with them, as long as they permit it. Check your competitors’ lists to get some idea of places you are not listed on.

4. Unclaimed reference and mentions

If there is a site that is interested in what you do and has already mentioned your brand, there is nothing wrong with getting in touch with them and asking them to link to you. This is an effective method for acquiring high-quality links. Signing up for Google alerts is crucial to let you know you’re been mentioned. You can regularly make searches of your brand, minus your website, Facebook, and other channels, to narrow the alerts to exactly what you want.

5. Restore broken links

Links get broken for various reasons - some quite simple, like a misspelled web address. Using Google Search Console helps to show what links are broken. You can reach out to the link source, and politely ask them to fix it. Alternatively, you can choose to implement a redirect to the correctly spelled web address. Have in mind that a small amount of link equity is lost with this option.

6. Be outstanding

Journalists are always lurking for newsworthy events. If your business can come up with something original, it will be a strong boost towards getting some attention, and some links. Journalists love to cover charitable programs and events, for example. Your website will be the reference, which is a good link in the making.

A way to go about this is searching online. Focus on events that have been happening in your area, and see what you can come up with for your business. You’ll get not only useful ideas, but lists of journalists you can contact to let them know there’s something newsworthy going on.

7. Get on the side of the media

If you’ve got this going, keep it up and ask for more. If you have a story that goes viral, make yourself available for interviews. That is an angle to being linked to. Contacting those that have made a mention, and requesting a link is an easy way to get some rolling in. The press can be very useful for your business.

8. “Help a Reporter Out”

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a mailing list to link a journalist with professionals and businesses. Journalists always want the news that sells. The source of the info is most important to them. For instance, if you deal in health products, there is a journalist that covers that category of news. They may want to use you and your website as a source, to add authenticity. There are HARO requests you can take advantage of for your business. Set up your Gmail, if you use it. Add filters to ensure only alerts for your business keywords are allowed, to avoid overloading your inbox.

9. Which of your content is getting links already?

Google Console shows up links on your website. Go to Google Console, click on links, see how your links are doing. Your page URLs and the links to them will be visible for you to work on. Downloading the links gives even better insights to where the sources are. The content you find with the best link performance is the one you want to optimize for - and showcase to get more links. Contacting your link source and thanking them also helps, and allows you to ask what else would be of benefit to them. You can take this information and build future content around it, which should mean more links from them. 

10. Outstanding content

Great content doesn’t have to cost anything, but it is crucial to building strong links. It can be as simple as a question and answer format. Using Yahoo Answers is a great way to approach this. use it to search out products in your niche area. If there are questions being asked, it is a sign that people are not finding the information they want when doing a Google search. You can create content to address these questions, and thereby make sure it’ll get a lot of attention.

11. Go social

You can’t leave out social platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you want promotion for your business. It is a vital source of your link strategy. Use forum signatures to display your address. Be interactive, and share useful information about your product and services. Only join groups that are relevant to what you do. People will find you an authority as time goes on, and you’ll be sure to get some links to your website.

12. Get the emails going?

An email list is a useful way to keep in touch with your readers and customers. When drafting a message, make sure to include your URL for a click back to your website. Know that people are always around with their smartphones, searching and checking through their emails. Work on an email list for your website, and be confident someone will link through this channel.

Links should be acquired in a natural way that will not attract Google’s penalties. Acquiring such links can come in diverse ways, and you can choose the method which best works for you. This may not be as easy as compared to getting them from spammy sources, but they are reliable ways to keep out of trouble.

Got ways to link build that won’t hurt? We’d love to learn a few, and don’t forget to link to us if these were helpful.

 

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Posted 27 September, 2017

EdwardSuez

Sales & Marketing Guru

Edward is the Sales & Marketing Correspondent for Freelancer.com. He is currently based in Sydney, and is a self-confessed ice-cream fan.

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