September 1, 2015

838 words 4 minutes.

The New Rules of Inbound Link Building

A laptop open on a wooden table. Learn more about inbound link building.

There is a universal goal for all websites on the internet: to be found. That means getting as close as possible to the #1 spot on the Search Engine Results Page. If you want your website to climb to the top of the SERPs, you need more than good on-page SEO. You need off-page SEO, too. And that means inbound links.

“To put it simply, the more links you earn from relevant, high authority websites, the higher your page will rank.” - Neil Patel, digital marketing and analytics guru

Previous inbound link building practices, such as excessive guest blogging, link trading, purchasing links, or participating in link networks, can now get your site penalized. Today, your strategy should be to earn relevant, high quality backlinks for your site by being relevant and useful.

Create Useful Content

Create content that deserves a place at the top of the SERPs. If you want links to point to your site, then you need to provide something useful for your audience to share.

  • Well-written articles
  • In-depth guides
  • Useful tools
  • Industry insights

Become a resource for your audience, and provide something of value that people will want to share. If you want to reach the #1 spot on the SERPs, earn it with original, valuable, and high-quality content.

Design Compelling Infographics

One of the best ways to create useful content is through infographics. Infographics can convey concepts and data faster and more easily than a blog post or article ever could. Since 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, infographics are a great way to create content that is shareable. Neil Patel has stated that his infographics generate 37.5% more backlinks than a standard blog post, making them a crucial part of any link earning strategy.

Use Online Directories

Listing your website in relevant online directories is just good business. Afterall, people don’t open up a physical phonebook to find a business anymore, but they will go online to look for a service in a directory. To get the most bang for your buck on a directory, make sure you choose directories that are relevant to your business, select the proper category for your business, and include a physical address that is the same on all directories.

Rethink Guest Blogging

Guest blogging as an SEO technique has had its ups and downs. At first, guest blogging was an authentic way for experts to add value to other people’s websites, and the backlinks followed. But as more and more people tried to use guest blogging only as a way to get backlinks, the practice became spammy and Google’s Matt Cutts proclaimed that “guest blogging is done.”

Guest blogging can still be a legitimate way to earn backlinks, as long as you keep to its true, original spirit. A guest blog that offers valuable content to readers will increase your reach, reinforce your branding, and give you exposure to a new audience. Let your byline or author bio be the occasion to mention a similar article you’ve written to earn your link.

Don’t forget to link to other people’s websites within your content. When you cite an industry influencer, link back to their work. Link to references and resources that you use in your articles, blogs, and infographics. Use links to properly credit the data and statistics that you use, and to guide your audience to places where they can find more information on a topic they are interested in. When you give links in good faith, you begin to harness the power of reciprocity: a social construct in which people respond to kind actions with other kind actions. In other words, the links you give are the links you get.

Promote your Content

You’ve created compelling, useful, and visually interesting content. Now it’s time to let people know about it. Promote your content to a wider audience, and you will increase your exposure and backlink potential.

Promote your content on your social accounts. Social shares are not the same as links, but the more shares you get from social, the more people can find your great content. And the more eyes you get on your content, the more relevant links you will get.

Promote your content to relevant industry insiders, as well as anyone you’ve mentioned or linked to. Let people know that they you have referenced or quoted them in your work, or that they have inspired your content. Contact them directly to share your content with them. At this point, you can gently ask them to share your content with their audience if they found it useful.

Backlinks are an important, but tricky, part of off-page SEO. The best backlinks will be from relevant industry insiders who want to share your content because it is truly useful to their audience.

The wrong backlinks are spammy and irrelevant, and can do more harm than good. The key to good backlinks is relevance and usefulness. Master these concepts and you will earn your links.

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