Search engines such as Google are seen as black boxes that hand out page one search rankings for websites and blogs based upon secret and mysterious calculations. In essence that is true.
Hundreds of scientists and mathematicians are constantly working in quiet rooms to increase the artificial intelligence of its search engine.
Some search engine optimisation experts have used devious means to try and trick Google into getting ranked high in search results. This has been done via tactics such as “Black Hat SEO” that are used to try and fool Google. Google doesn’t encourage these activities and is constantly fine tuning its search algorithms to eliminate these practices.
Google’s objectives is to ensure that it is always delivering search results that users find relevant, interesting and also timely. If they don’t keep doing this then people will stop using Google and then its $30 billion of revenue it earns off search advertising is under threat. Also breathing down its neck are rapidly growing social sites such as Facebook that indirectly are providing alternatives to Google (rumours are constantly circulating that Facebook is building its own social search engine). If Google doesn’t continue to deliver then its whole existence is heading for a slippery downward slope of Web extinction.
In the last 2 years Google has increased the importance of usability such as measuring the speed of websites and sites that are producing unique content , hence the targeting of content farms and de-ranking them.
Google Loves Unique Content
What Google does like is great unique content. We have seen the rise in importance of content creation and curation as a marketing tool over the last few years. People use the web to find information, that is why Google is putting such a high value on unique content. Creating great contagious content that begs to be shared such as videos, blog posts and ebooks also has a big side benefit. That benefit is that people will link to your website or blog and hence Google gives you big ticks in its search engine calculations the more often back-links are created to your blog and website from other websites.
This is is where the tactic of “offsite optimisation” starts to make its importance and presence felt and should be included in your SEO strategy. This is the final stage of getting Google to like you. (Read about the first stage here)
SEO experts generally agree that off-page link building techniques can contribute around 80% of the effectiveness in any SEO campaign. Off-page optimization or building links, is by far the most important activity for assisting us in getting our website well ranked in search engines. And the key driving force in this, is backlinks.
The Importance of “Back Links
A link, or back-link, is the link that you use to be brought to another page. Backlinks are incredibly important because they are basically like “votes” for your page that tell search engines that other webpages like and utilise your page for information. The more websites that you have linked or “voting” for your webpage, the higher your ranking will be. Though, not all votes are weighted the same, as links from the homepage of major websites, like the Australian Government australia.gov.au, amazon.com or facebook.com, are going to be worth a lot more than a lesser known website.
So here are 6 tips for easy link building:
Tip 1: Competitor analysis
Assuming you won’t be getting many links from those major sites, there still are easy link building tactics available to you. Begin your link building campaign with a competitor analysis. Basically, you want to repeat what your best competitors are doing, as one of the key link building principles is to match and exceed your competitors. Meaning, if you can go through and match all the links they have, or at least a majority of them, and find a couple of other ways to get additional links that they don’t have, you will be able to easily surpass them in searching ranking results.
Tip 2: Content, content and content
As always, the best way to encourage people to link to your website, is by consistently providing new, compelling and useful content. Content, content and content, to steal a well known phrase.
Creating compelling, relevant and useful content; such as writing about your products, industry, general current market information with keyword oriented useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factor discussed here. After the Google Penguin update, regularly posted quality content is the recommended method to getting more traffic to your website. Ideally you should post at least 2 new articles per week, more being better, as Google will favour websites with frequently updated material that contains unique and relevant content. And if your website offers good content, other websites will naturally want to link to you as well.
When you are posting articles, don’t forget to apply the same principles of Title tag and Meta Description to your articles, and don’t forget to include your desired keywords or phrases.
Tip 3: Guest blogging
Other ideas for a successful link building campaign include guest blogging. The general idea behind guest blogs is to get a link to your website posted on an already established website/blog. These links tend to carry more weight in Google because they are harder to acquire. Some sites will have very stringent requirements for the types of articles they will accept, so links from these sites have more value. Another popular and highly successful method is to contact bloggers or webmasters in your niche and simply ask them for a link. Or, ask to be a guest blogger for the sole purpose of getting the chance to link your guest blog posting back to your site. Establishing relationships with reviewers, authors, professors, enthusiasts, topic experts or anyone else who is operating a website in your niche area, whether it be through social networking or message boards, is a great way to build a network of people who might be willing to reference your website in their content.
Tip 4: Join web 2.0 site
Joining a web 2.0 site is an excellent method of developing search engine friendly links. If you are not familiar with the name, web 2.0 is the term used to describe websites that have a social networking component to them. Sites like Squidoo, StumbleUpon, and Delicious generate most of their content from the site users themselves. These types of pages facilitate interactive information sharing as well as collaboration, where you yourself can add articles that include up to 9 free backlinks per article to your website. Don’t duplicate any of your existing articles on your website and use them for either Squidoo or HubPages though, as search engines are filtering out content that way.
The best way to build links and create strong SEO benefits through Squidoo.com is by creating unique content that focuses on your keywords. Always try to incorporate multimedia, such as videos or images to gain more trust and authority quickly. It only takes a few articles until you’ll be able to add on a number of backlinks in your articles to your main site. I also really like Squidoo’s RSS feed widget, as this gives nice backlinks plus context to the links, which is great for search engines.
Tip 5: Vendors, Partner testimonials
Always give online testimonials to your suppliers, business partners or anyone else you can give a testimonial to, as it is a great way to get free backlinks from legitimate websites. Don’t forget to include your strategic keywords into your testimonials and hyperlink it back to the appropriate webpage from your website.
Tip 6: Link request to your connections
And finally, source your own networks for possible opportunities to build more links. Business contacts, suppliers, distributors, family members, friends, even your children’s school, all have the potential for providing you backlink opportunities. If you have been nice to them and they like you, ask for a free backlink on their website. Of course, the higher page rank or relevant websites you can link to, the better. If you can manage to obtain powerful and valuable links from websites like edu.com, that would be highly beneficial to you SEO efforts.
There are a lot more tactics involved in SEO to help you compete and surpass your competitors in search engine ranking results. The aforementioned tactics are basic initial strategies that help build a strong foundation and starting point for your SEO efforts, and will immediately help you move your website traffic and search engine ranking results to the next level.
What About You?
Are you creating content that is valuable enough to be linked to? Is your content entertaining, educational, informative or inspiring?
Are you using multi-media such as videos and images in content creation or is it mainly articles? What content marketing tcatics work for your website or blog?
Look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.
Guest Author: Huyen is a digital marketing consultant with a passion to help small and medium-sized businesses get found online in digital world through search-engine friendly website design, organic search engine optimisation strategies and tactics.
Want to Learn How to be Found and Discovered Online?
The book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.
Image by melanie.phung