Gaining inbound links to your website is critical, if you’re serious about Search Engine Optimisation and boosting your rankings on search engines like Google. On the face of it (and by reading some of the link building adverts on Google), this sounds a simple task. Believe us it is not!
SEO in general is an arduous task, and being human beings, we naturally try to find shortcuts. Every so often, these shortcuts work and the end result produces the necessary returns. More often though, shortcuts produce short-term fixes or backfire leaving you in a worse position than you were before.
We’ve been in the SEO business for some years now and initally spent countless days and months trying to find shortcuts. Finally, we recognised that the highest quality, biggest impact and longest lasting links pointing to a website are not bought, begged for, or stolen but earned!
So, how do you go about earning quality inbound links? Well, the short answer is by offering something of value. Value as in what’s found on your website or the value you provide to other websites.
Without further ado, below are a few simple ideas that have worked for us. Admittedly they take work to apply, but when done appropriately, almost always always have a significant impact on your long-term search engine optimization efforts.
1. Building an Educational or Resource Section?? to your Website
It is well documented that including an educational section to your website provides a variety of benefits. Firsatly, it adds additional pages to your website that can be optimised for critical keyphrases. Secondly, it can reduce sales cycles by informing and educating prospects online, rather than over the phone. Finally, an educational or resource section to your site can generate a large number of quality inbound links, simply because the content that doesn’t just scream “we are the cheapest” or “our services are the best”. Instead, you are offering quality content that benefits visitors, for example by making their lives easier, helping them make informed decisions or staying on top what’s happening in their industry.
Lets not forget, people and other websites will often link to valuable content without even being asked.
2. Encouraging In-house Experts to Write Articles
It doesn’t matter if you’re a sole trader, SME or large corporate, chances are you have direct or in-direct access to unique industry knowledge or expertise. Did you know that by promoting this expert insight and opinon, you can gain inbound links?
It’s highly likely, that the people in your business have important things to say about the industry – the latest trends, emerging machinery or services, current issues and where they see things heading. By encouraging these people to write articles (or having a content author write them on their behalf), and publicising them to a popular industry portal or magazine, you should quickly witness a rising number of inbound links.
The basic premise of expert article submission is that you are trading something of value for multiple benefits, one of those benefits being inbound links to support search engine optimisation.
3. Integrating a Blog in to your Website
Blogs (e.g. http://www.perceptant101.com/blog) are similar to submitting expert articles to industry publications or including a general educational section to websites.
Primarily, a blog is a specific, targetted and popular way to show off your expert knowledge of your industry, although you have total control over how this is displayed, formatted and presented.
Integrating a blog in to your site will really contribute to your overall search engine optimisation campaign. Not only will it give your main site a boost by offering fresh content (and gaining inbound links from viewers), it will also help show you have your finger on the trigger, by displaying your current knowledge of industry trends, as they unfold. Over time, industry prinicples will recognise the value of your information, and many will share it with others via a link from their own site.
4. Free Informational and/or Industry Related Tools
Across almost every industry, there are tools that people can become reliant on as part of day to day regime.
Mortgage sites are a great example of this, by providing free online repayment calculators and real-time loan comparisons, the same people revisit their sites on a frequent basis. This same principle can be applied to almost any indutry. For example, are you a provider of consulting services? If so, have you ever considered offering a spreadsheet that allows people to evaluate a certain aspect of their business. Another example is the building and construction industry, where a tool that allowed visitors to provide room dimensions, add features to the room and see what it might look like, could be of immense benefit.
Your only limited by your imagination, so have a brain storming session to discuss tools you use internally, that might also be of benefit to your visitors. If it’s a innovative and useful, you might be surprised at the number of websites that will provide you with inbound links.
Gaining quality inbound links to your website can work wonders in terms of SEO. Whilst highlighting the four above, we’re cogniscent there are many more, including video, training materials and interactive games. The main idea here though is simply to reinforce the fact that you earn inbound links by providing value. Of course, it may seem like a lot of work, but your efforts will surely pay dividends in the long run.
About The Author
Dave Jolliff is Technical Director at Perceptant101, an award winning website design, web development and SEO company based in Chesterfield, near Sheffield in the UK.
Dave and his team have learnt over the years (the hard way!) what makes websites tick and why Google treats identical websites differently. His serious of articles (initially published via http://www.perceptant101.com/blog) though try to de-mystify the World Wide Web and provide readers with a clear and concise “call to action”.
Perceptant 101 can be found at http://www.perceptant101.com