Tips to Earning Authority
Pressure for websites to perform in organic search continues. Getting links from other websites is a major SEO signal to search engines. Most digital marketers have embraced content marketing as a way to super-charge natural link building. Let’s look at some strategies to ensure you’re following guidelines while growing your website’s authority.
1. It Starts with Awesome Content
If your content isn’t awesome, natural link building is going to be a hard, uphill battle. So what’s considered awesome? I think it’s providing helpful information, answering questions that real searchers are seeking, and showing your audience how to do stuff. It’s demonstrating your 10,000 hours of expert advice. You also need to add fresh content regularly.
2. Treat Content with Inbound Links Like PPC Landing Pages
After writing literally hundreds of blog posts for our own site and for our clients, I’ve found that not all content resonates with your audience. You’ll find that some pages are magnets for links and social shares. Pay attention to those pieces of content. Review those page metrics (on Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools) and see what else your audience reads on your website. Armed with this information, you can treat those golden pages like AdWords landing pages… strategically linking to information that gently guides your reader into your sales funnel.
3. Cultivate Relationships In Your Space
Natural link building is based upon other credible and related websites linking to you. Do you have a relationship with industry thought leaders and contributors? While guest blogging (the old-SEO way) has been devalued by Google, it still is a viable strategy if you pick and choose carefully.
Unless you’re a news site, it really doesn’t make sense that 75% of your blog posts are written by guest authors. However, if you do have guest posts, make sure their message is on topic and they bring an appropriate audience. Natural cross-pollination makes sense. Be sure to stay away from link exchange schemes!
4. Ask For Quotes from Respected Sources
Write an article where you can quote an expert in your industry. This tip has multiple natural link building benefits:
- It cultivates a relationship, hopefully one where you can build upon.
- Your source most likely has a bigger audience. And, they are probably willing to send out a link to your piece to get themselves a little PR.
- Quotes from respected sources are fodder for other content — yours as well as others in your industry. Bloggers committed to quality content are on the lookout for quotable nuggets. See how this strategy can build upon itself?
5. Be Social for Natural Link Building
This natural link building strategy takes time and diligence. First, create a target list of those industry thought leaders where you’d love to be on a first-name basis. Follow them on social media channels, and share their content. For those pieces where you can add value, post a smartly written comment (without a link, you want to participant not contribute to comment spam). Do this long enough, most likely the thought leader will notice and reciprocate. Now that you’ve got a “relationship” consider interviewing them; these experts already know the value of social sharing and natural link building. The key to this natural link building strategy is to be social and participate.
6. Find Other Niche Sites
This is a slight twist on #3. Look for websites that serve a similar target audience and offer a complementary product or service. Let’s use a hypothetical example: you have a new type of indestructible, eco-friendly water bottle that has a built-in filter that eliminates bacteria and micro-organisms. It’s perfect for backpacking or travel to countries where tap water can make you sick. What about partnering with an adventurous travel writer? They can use the product and write about it. You can highlight a case study where can give them some link love.
Again, the point is to look for natural link opportunities, not just link exchanges. Otherwise you risk an unnatural link profile which raises red flags (Penguin filters) or ultimately a manual penalty.
Want to read more about natural link building strategies. Moz — one of our favorite White Hat SEO tools — offers a free beginners guide.
What other sure-fire strategy would you add to my list?
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