Links are vital to the success of your website.
Every time someone links to your website, they are voting for it. They're saying "this website matters!" And those votes really do count. They flag up your website to people who haven't yet found it and let them visit with a single click.
But also, search engines take the number and quality of inbound links your website has into account when they rank it in their search results. The more links you have coming in, and the better the quality of them, the higher your website will show in results. So it's no exaggeration to say that if passion is the beating heart of your website, then links are its lifeblood.
If passion is the beating heart of your website,
then links are its lifeblood
Before we dive in, two comments:
- There are whole websites, books and training courses that have been dedicated to link-building. Today we're just getting you started.
- We are only looking at "inbound" links (when someone else chooses to link their website to yours) not "outbound" links (when you link your website to theirs).
Let's start with the easy stuff - link your own websites to each other. You might think you don't have any other websites, but probably you do. Your Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube, Pinterest or About.me accounts all have linking facilities. Make sure you link to your website from all of these personal accounts. Doing this is fun, easy and quick.
Link to your website from all of your personal accounts. Doing this is fun, easy and quick
With social media like Facebook and Twitter, remember to link not just as a one-off item in your About or Profile section, but also where relevant in an ongoing way from on your timeline and in your tweets.
Next, think about other websites you are connected to or involved with, especially ones that are in a similar field to yours. Ask your friends and colleagues if they will link to your website, and in return link to theirs - this is called a reciprocal link.
Lastly, think about websites you are not yet connected to. If you want to appear on Google results for a particular search query, let's say "shoe repairs in Newtown", then try looking up that search query yourself and seeing what websites come up. These may include your competitors, but some of these websites may be worth approaching to see they can provide inbound links to your website.
Building inbound links can seem like hard work.
But for that very reason, it's actually a big opportunity
Honestly, it's at this point that most people give up. Building inbound links can seem like hard work. But for that very reason, it's actually a big opportunity. Since building natural links does take a little bit of effort, sustained over a period of time, doing it will give you the edge over the majority of other website builders who don't do it. So carpe diem... seize the day.
When building or asking for links to your website, bear in mind that not all links have the same value. Again, there is a huge amount to say on this. But in overview, try to find websites that:
- Are in the same field as yours
- Have been established for a while
- Have reasonably high traffic
- Are updated frequently
- Already appear high in search results
Once you have identified some great websites, then make contact with them and build relationships with those who run them.
Lastly, this may be obvious but it's worth repeating: work at this and give it time. Developing "natural" search engine optimisation in this way does take time, patience and consideration. If you want instant results, think about short-term paid-for advertising such as Google AdWords instead. Remember that two key benefits of the "natural" link-building approach in this article are that it is completely free, and the results last and grow over the longer term. So go for it - there's nothing to lose, and everything to gain.