If you’re serious about increasing search engine traffic, you need to focus your efforts on link building. And you must be very systematic when it comes to how you create and promote your content. While it’s true that content is king, you can waste a lot of time and energy if you don’t have a clear content marketing and link building strategy.
Why are links so important?
To answer this, you have to go back in time to days of the internet before Google. Search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista were the market leaders. Their search results were ranked 100% based on a web page’s content.
Google’s PageRank Algorithm completely changed the game. Instead of simply analyzing page content, Google looked at the number of links to a page. Now, nearly 20 years later, links are still the best way to determine the quality of a page. Their algorithm keeps getting more complicated, focusing on link quality and not just quantity, but links and link building are still at the crux of search traffic.
If links increase search traffic to my website, how do I get more links?
- Step 1: Find content worth linking to
- Step 2: Create new content that’s even better
- Step 3: Reach out to website owners that have already linked to similar content
Step 1: Find something worth linking to
Your goal is to create a high value page that you can use for links. Keep in mind that this needs to be real, informative, helpful content. Content so useful that people can’t help but link to it. The way you do this is to find content that has already generated a ton of links.
Step 2: Create new content that’s even better
The next step is to take what’s there and create new content that’s far better than the original.
Make it longer
Sometimes if you publish a blog post that’s simply longer or includes more suggestions that will be a difference maker. If you find a link magnet – the article that’s worth linking to – with a title like “50 Ways to Reorganize Your Kitchen”, publish a list of 150 ways.
Maybe you found a great article that is a link magnet but the content is old and out of date. That’s a great opportunity for you to come along and make it more current.
A visually stunning piece of content can generate many more links and social shares than similar content on an ugly page or site.
If you’re updating a list post, go deeper. Most list posts are just a dull list of bland bullet points without any deeper content that people can actually use. If you see a list post like that you can easily add a brief description and a reference that is a link to another site.
Step 3: Get your word out and reach the right people
Step 3 is the hardest part of the link-building process since it involves asking people for links. Instead of emailing random people, you need to find site owners that have already linked to similar content. The theory is that those people are likely more inclined to link to you if they’ve already linked out to another site.
So how do you do this?
- Use an SEO backlinks tool like (ahrefs.com, majestic seo, or Open Site Explorer) and export all of the links pointing to your competitor’s content into a spreadsheet.
- Omit referring web pages that don’t make sense to contact. Examples of these are forums, article directories, etc.
- Email all of them using the following type of template:
I was searching for some articles about [your topic] today and I came across this page: [url].
I noticed that you linked to one of my favorite articles – [title of article].
Just wanted to let you know that I created a similar one. It’s like [name of their article], but more thorough and current: [URL].
Might be worth a mention on your page.
Keep up the awesome work!
Obviously you should tweak this template for every person you send this to.
Remember that the goal here is building quality links. You should aim to get a 10% success rate. Hopefully those links that you do get will increase your organic search traffic.