Earning natural links to your website can be tricky business, particularly with the constant worry of being penalised by Google.
There’s no point in having a website if nobody can find it. Link building is one of the most important ranking factors, but one that can be easily manipulated with devastating effects. But fear not! We’ve compiled 5 simple ways to earn links the right way.
Think of it like this, when a site implements a link directing users to your website it’s like a vote of confidence. As more and more quality sites ‘vouch’ for you, search engines will consider your site a leading source of information and therefore, your site will rank for targeted keywords. Essentially, a popularity contest. Simple right? Yeahhh not so much.
Put simply, the Penguin update penalises sites with manipulative backlink profiles. For example, sites that buy links to improve rankings – which is a massive no-no. Google strives to return the most relevant search results to its users. There’s nothing organic about buying ‘votes of confidence’ from other sites and Google are good at catching the bad guys.
So, how can you earn links that comply with Google’s guidelines?
Start with those closest to you, family, friends or even employees. As long as they have a website and are happy and willing to shout about you as well as include a link your site for nothing in return – winner winner chicken dinner!
Go Fishing For Unclaimed Brand Mentions
If you’re a well-known business or brand then there is bound to be many brand mentions across various websites. A quick way to do this is simply Google your brand name – e.g. “Limely”. If the site doesn’t include a link then you’ve got nothing to lose, ask for one. Better yet, set up Google Alerts and receive a notification when someone mentions your brand. Other paid tools are available such as Moz Fresh Web Explorer.
Fix Broken Links
We’re all human, it happens. When sites link to you it’s likely that they’ll misspell your URL, which sends users to an unwanted 404 page. Go to Google Search Console (if you don’t have it set up, get outta here what are you doing!) and download all of your crawl errors. Cross-reference the URLs to check for inconsistencies. Contact the linking domain and ask them to amend the broken link. Failing that you could set up a 301 redirect from the misspelled URL to the correct URL. You’ll lose some authority through the redirect but it’s better than a 404 error page.
Everybody remain calm – we’re talking about the type of directories that you would expect to see your site on. A good example is Yelp; avoid spammy link directories at all costs. A good way of spotting these types of link building opportunities is to go 100% Sherlock Holmes on your competitors. Google their phone number, this will bring up a list of directories that Google consider good examples of linking.
Find opportunities in your ‘most linked content’
Navigate to ‘Links to your site’ within Google Search Console (if the first warning didn’t work, seriously…get a move on). Take a look at ‘most linked content’ and expand the list of URLs on your site. Click on each URL to see the list of sites that are linking to you and use this as leverage. Contact each linking domain and ask if there are any other topics that may be of interest to them so that they link to you again.
Of course this list isn’t exhaustive and there are plenty of creative ways to earn links to your site. But this offers a good foundation to build upon which should really make a difference to your rankings.
And if you’ve made it this far without leaving to set up Google Search Console here’s some handy instructions.