Amid all the recent changes to the way Google ranks sites, one thing is clear — a natural linking profile is more important than ever. And there’s no fooling them. New algorithms, human reviewers, and link analysis tools have made it increasingly easier for Google identify a website that has a natural linking profile, and to rank it accordingly (i.e., higher). This means focusing less on trying to give search engines the impression you’re popular (via unnatural backlinking efforts), and instead focusing on the creation of pages people naturally want to link to themselves.
1) Write quality content. Let’s say you sell hiking boots. Your target audience doesn’t want to know why your boots are better than anyone else’s. Certainly, it’s important, and that’s the kind of copy that can and should be included somewhere on your website, but not in the form of content that you expect people to want to link to. And you can be sure your target audience does not want to read content stuffed with keywords. Readers don’t like it and neither do search engines.
Now, a series of articles or blogs on the top 10 hiking trails in every U.S. state — that’s the kind of content that naturally builds links.
2) Share content via social media. All the places you may post depends on the nature of your business, but it’s safe to say every business needs a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. There are specific days and times when research shows is best for optimal readership and subsequent sharing, but it’s worth testing out yourself to see when your followers seem most responsive to your posts.
And don’t think you need limit yourself to one post per content page. Every couple of months, you may re-post content provided it’s accompanied by different text introducing the link.
3) Develop relationships with influencers. While it’s wonderful when anyone shares your content with their followers, it’s even sweeter when it’s someone with a large, relevant following. That’s why you should take the time to identify the infuencers of your target audience and follow them via social media. Like, share, and comment on their content (not obsessively, mind you), and always within the context of what they are talking about. Take the time to seek out their blogs and comment there too.
This strategy greatly increases the chances that influencers of your target audience will follow you and, in turn, link to and share your content.
4) Stick to a schedule. It’s easy to get bogged down in the urgency of daily to-do’s that distract from activities necessary to achieve your long-term goals. Don’t let that happen with this link building strategy. Create, publish, and share quality content on a regular basis. This may be weekly, daily, or multiple times a day dependent on the nature of your business. The same goes for making time to develop relationships with influencers. Bottom line, add it to the calendar to be sure it gets done!
5) Be patient. A good way to set yourself up for failure is to have an unrealistic understanding of what constitutes success. If you’re expecting the quality content you post today to get retweeted a hundred times and have twenty backlinks tomorrow, you’re bound to be disappointed. A share here, a link there; over time, that’s success.