What is Link Building and Why Does It Matter?
Link building is the process of generating incoming links to your website. These are links from other websites, blogs, and online directories. The benefit is twofold:
- Traffic: People click on these links and arrive at your website.
- Search Engine Trust: Think of each link as a vote of confidence for your website. If someone chooses to link to your site, they are essentially recommending it to all of their visitors. In the eyes of search engines, links to your site indicate content that others find useful.
Theoretically, this means that the more incoming links to your site, the better. In reality that is not always the case, as we will explore next.
Good Links vs. Bad Links
Generating links to your site is easy. Finding good links is the hard part.
There are thousands of websites and directories created just for the purpose of linking to other sites. Enter your site url and a description, and boom… the site posts an outgoing link to your site. The problem? The link is worthless in the eyes of search engines. Remember, they are looking for signs of trust from others. Have you really been “recommended” by this website? Of course not, you just filled out a form and (in some cases) paid a fee.
A good link is a link that someone chooses to place on their site. They linked to you as opposed to another company.
Let’s say you are a mortgage broker. A link from a local realtor recommending your services to their clients is very valuable. Now let’s say your local newspaper is publishing a piece on the state of the lending market in your area. Of course, the articles are also published on the newspapers’ website. Can you contribute a quote or participate in a short interview for this piece? You can bet that you will be included in the article, cited as an expert in your industry, and receive an incoming link to your site!
In the above scenarios, you have clearly been recommended by these sites. They could have linked to any mortgage broker in your area, but they chose you. Again, search engines are looking for signs of trust. What is a better indicator of trust than being promoted by others as an expert in your field?
Why Should People Link To Your Site?
Knowing that you need others to “recommend” your site (by linking to it) is one thing, getting them to do so is another. Most other sites are not going to just “do you a favor” and link to you. Your site has to provide something that interests them enough to recommend it to others.
There is only one way to do this, and there are no shortcuts: You have to provide useful or interesting products or information.
For some businesses, this is easy. Let’s say you sell unique, handcrafted tutus. Or your fitness site has a blog featuring workout tips and proper dieting techniques. These sites contain unique products (handcrafted, custom tutus) and inherently useful content (workout and dieting tips). The main component of these websites is content that people would naturally want to link to or recommend to others. In fact, each site just acquired another link in this paragraph!
Of course, not all businesses are fortunate enough to have this type of content readily available. Maybe you run a local senior center. This does not naturally lend itself to interesting content. How about interviewing the human resources managers for ten local medium-sized businesses? Ask them what their company does to ease the (often difficult) transition to retirement for their employees. Compile this information into an article on transitioning from a full-time employee to retirement. Then notify local news publications of some of the key findings from your interviews.
This type of content can create an incredible amount of links to your site. The ten businesses that you interviewed will all want to link to the article. It is free promotion, and a chance for them to show that they are sympathetic to the needs of their employees, even as they are retiring. Several news outlets are likely to publish a blurb about your article, and link to it. After all, this article is useful information for a number of their readers. It took a bit of work, but you have just created a number of relevant, high-quality links to your site!
In addition to building search engine trust, you are also generating highly targeted traffic to your site. Who is most likely to be reading this information, and thus following the links to your site? Retired, or soon-to-be retired individuals… exactly the people your senior center caters to! It is important to remember that we are ultimately doing all of this for actual people, not search bots. Link building can have enormous benefits without even factoring in the search engines.
Building Your Brand
So you are building trust with search engines, and generating traffic to your website. You may have noticed by now, that there are additional benefits to this process as well. Specifically, you are establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, and you are creating brand recognition. Your potential customers are becoming aware of you; they recognize your name, your company, your logo, and they perceive you as an expert in your field.
This is subtle, but immensely powerful. When searching for a product or service provider, people are much more likely to go with the company that they are familiar with, rather than the unknown entity. In this case, they not only recognize you, but you have been recommended to them!
Variables in Strategy Development
Link building is accomplished through a diverse combination of approaches. Social media, content generation, market research, and networking all play a huge role in the process. Each website requires a unique, customized plan of action. Although similar concepts may be applied, no two link building campaigns will be the same.
Additionally, each client approaches the process in a different way. Some want to be very involved in content creation and active on social media sites. Others want as little involvement as possible, they are just looking for results.
Of course, every client also has a different budget. In a general sense, you can never do too much link building, just as you can never do too much advertising. However, as with advertising, all link building campaigns are limited by the monetary resources available to the project. Regardless of your budget, it is always better to do some link building, rather than none at all.
Finally, the competitiveness of your market can dictate the necessary size and scope of your campaign. Some industries and geographical locations are much more competitive than others. Effective link building for a lawyer in New York City requires much more effort and resources than link building for a house cleaning service in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Because of the variables involved in each link building campaign, it is essential that we develop a custom strategy for each and every business. Strategy Development is the first step of your link building campaign. During this process, we analyze your available linkable assets and link partners, as well as opportunities for creation of additional link assets and potential link partners. We will also research your competitors to determine what approaches are working for them, niche opportunities that are not being exploited, as well as the general competitiveness of your market. A full report and explanation will be provided at the conclusion of our research.
There is a flat fee of $499 for this service, paid upfront. If you choose to then hire us to handle the execution of your link building campaign, this fee will be applied to the cost of the campaign.
Link building campaigns require dedication, consistency, and time… it usually takes several months to even begin to see the results from even the most effective strategies. For this reason, execution of your campaign is based on a set number of hours per month. The time required will be different for each campaign. A recommendation of time required to achieve the desired results will be determined during the strategy development.
You will then have the option to engage us for a set amount of time (usually six or twelve months.) There is a six (6) month minimum agreement for all link building campaigns, with a discounted rate available for twelve (12) month agreements.
What It Costs
Monthly Plan Rate: Determined by Strategy Development