You would be forgiven for avoiding all the SEO tricks of the past, as Google seems to be swiftly changing just about everything when it comes to its algorithms and SEO requirements. Link building is an age-old method of earning better rank status, but is it still relevant? Is link building dead? Believe it or not, link building is alive and well, and in 2019 no less!
Is link building still relevant to SEO in 2019? Yes, link building is one of Google’s top reputation management tools. Carry out Google-friendly link building by:
1. Asking for in-content backlinks from sites relevant to your niche
2. Building solid relationships in niche-related communities
3. Creating testimonials
4. Creating a niche blog
5. Writing quality guest posts
While link building is still relevant, how it is done is different to methods that were relevant back in 2004. Times have changed and along with it, so has link building. Link building must be done correctly in order for it to boost SEO efforts and secure a good Google page rank.
What is Modern Link Building & How is it Different?
When we talk about link building, we are not talking about the methods of the past where marketers and website owners would try to get as many links to their website out there as possible.
A backlink is a reference/mention from another quality website or niche website, that links back to yours. Outbound or outgoing links is something different. It can get a bit confusing because backlinks are also often called inbound links. When a relevant and respected source references (or links back to) your website, search engines such as Google take notice. It is almost like a highly respected member of society mentioning your name at a cocktail party to all the decision-makers in your industry. It is gold!
Keep in mind that the website linking back to you should be a niche website, industry expert, or high-ranking website. This means that they deem your content valuable. And if other valuable sources are saying that your content is valuable, Google places importance on that.
Link building has changed in that you no longer need hundreds of links out there to earn a good search engine ranking. Nowadays, you just need a few high-quality back links that endorse your growing reputation. Some marketers still try to make use of black hat link building methods and this is no good for a website’s SEO. While it might work for a short time, Google’s algorithms will very quickly uncover poor link building strategies and content might even be removed from the search engine. Google has published its regulations regarding link building schemes. If you are going to do link building (and you really should), do it the right way.
How to Do Link Building the Google-Friendly Way
In order to have the type of website that other industry experts want to link to, you have to create a delightful user-experience. That is what Google is all about and because linking to poor quality websites can negatively impact on a website’s ranking, other industry pros will only bother to link to websites that actually offer a quality experience. Google offers some insight into what they believe to be a delightful user experience.
Below are a few brief elaborations on each of the Google-friendly link building methods that you can use to boost your website’s backlinks and subsequently, your SEO.
1. Ask for in-content backlinks from sites relevant to your niche
If you are just starting out, you might not have contacts in your niche industry yet. This stage is about building a level of trust with your target audience and getting your name out there. Find people who have websites and blogs that would not mind featuring content from your website or mentioning your website in their own content. Do not opt for sidebar or footer links. Simply ask for a mention and a link. Try only ask this of websites and blogs that are within in your niche, or compliment your niche. For instance, if you sell fishing tackle, you might not have enough draw in your industry yet, but you could ask a company that sells waterproof jackets to mention your website link in their content, when writing about jackets that might be good for fishing excursions. Asking for links in completely unrelated industries will have a negative impact on your SEO, so avoid that.
2. Build solid relationships in niche-related communities
In some industries, you will need to earn the respect and trust of your peers before you can start asking for quality backlinks. After all, they have worked hard to position themselves as experts and get the rankings that they do. The same is expected of you. By building solid relationships with others in your niche industry, you can start earning that trust and respect. By creating quality content too, you could earn some interest from them in terms of backlinking. Join online niche industries, participate in forums, comment on blogs, join social media pages and have an active presence. Get yourself seen by your peers and have something valuable to say. Also, show them support. Comment positively on their posts, like their blogs and videos – become a friend. You will find that if you do, the favour and support will be returned.
3. Create testimonials
Website owners and marketers love positive product testimonials. If you have used another professional’s product in your niche industry, sign up to their website and various testimonial websites and leave a review/testimonial on their product. This is great for you, and the company in question. It helps them to build trust with their audience, while at the same time, you get the opportunity to get your name and website link in front of your target audience. You will find that it is easier to get a positive testimonial including a link approved, than it is to get an email request for backlinks approved.
4. Create a niche blog
Establishing a niche blog of your own is a great way to start positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. You obviously know your products and have a deep interest in your industry. Now you have to share your knowledge, insight and guidance with those who are interested or have similar interests. Do not just use your blog to link back to your own website. Be consistent with your posts and write content that really appeals to your target audience. You can also feature “how to” articles for topics and situations that are specific to your audience. For instance, if you sell baby care products, you could feature a blog post on “how to keep nappy rash at bay” or something similar. To keep things simple, create a list of topics that your target audience will find interesting and work your way through it meticulously.
5. Write quality guest posts
Many niche industry websites welcome guest posts. It helps populate their website with content and offers value to their readers. The thing with guest posts is that there is a right and wrong way to do it. If you are hoping to write guest articles that simply punt your business and products, it is not going to do good things for your SEO. You need to write posts that offer pure value to the reader. A gust post does not have to focus on your business and specific product range. You can of course include a link back to your website and products, but keep this to an absolute minimum and make sure that when you do mention it, it is not a hard-sell mention. Research topics that your target audience will find interesting or frequently search for online. Even if it is not regarding your specific product, you can really use the added exposure to your advantage.
Is link building important? Yes, it is! All you need to do is take a look at websites that rank well in search results and scrutinise their SEO strategy, to see that link building is not the only strategy they have, but it certainly forms a large part of it.
While link building is most certainly still relevant to SEO in 2019, how you go about it is important. Spend some time creating content that other industry experts will want to link to. And work on building solid relationships with those who can put you in front of the right online audience for your business. You can create your own link building strategy or hire a professional SEO expert to assist you with creating a link building strategy that is designed for the best SEO results.