The links to your website are one of Google’s two top ranking factors. The second is the content itself. In Part 2 of How Google Works – we delve into why great content matters. Content that answers your customers’ questions and provides value is the definition of great content. When you create great content, you can hopefully, in time, attract high-quality, relevant links. The two go hand in hand.
Google uses the links your website acquires to help it understand how useful others find your content. Search engines use links to navigate the web and index information. A link to your site from another is a vote for the website in Google’s eyes.
Links are thought to be the most important ranking factor. However, because Google doesn’t share the “secret sauce,” we can’t be sure. We do know that links are essential to your website’s SEO success. The more links you attract, the higher your domain authority, and in turn, the higher your keyword rankings.
It’s simple, the more high-quality relevant links you secure for your website, the better. Some link building tactics still work but in today’s post-Google Panda SEO world, it’s best to think of link building as link attraction instead. Your focus is to create great content that your readers are going to want to share.
When the search engines were still new and relying heavily on link data for ranking, some shady practices started. Due to this history, Google has updated the algorithm to penalize sites for link spam.
Spammy tactics (often referred to as, Black Hat) include buying links from web directories or link farms, and forum comments. In the early days, Google wanted sites listed in web directories. Today, it’s unnecessary. A link farm is a website with nothing but links to other sites. The site itself has little or no content. Another favorite outdated tactic is the forum comment. SEOs built tons of links by adding comments in forums that may or may not be related to the client’s website. All Google looked at were the total number of links. It didn’t matter if they were relevant or high-quality or not. The total number mattered most.
Today, thanks to Google’s Panda updates SEOs are forced to work harder to provide better linking opportunities for their client’s websites. The term White Hat was coined to indicate the difference between today’s practices and the outdated Black Hat ones. So, what works today? How should you focus on securing or earning links for your website?
Create great content that provides value to the reader. This type content will naturally earn links, over time. What works in the post-Google Panda era?
Blog regularly, research shows websites with blogs earn 97% more links than those who don’t blog. (source)
Include Images, articles with images get 94% more views than those without. (source)
Guest blog posts can be a great link attraction tool. You are providing information that’s helpful for another site’s readers and in turn, they provide a link back to your website.
Include videos, photos, and infographics on your website or blog.
Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. (source)
Digital PR – community calendars, newspaper stories, press releases, and other traditional PR efforts can lead to natural link acquisition.
Business owners want their websites to rank well on the search results page, and that’s tough. You can’t cheat. Focus on creating great content, sharing it amongst your fans and followers, and hopefully, they’ll do the same. As you build out your content library, take note of which pieces attract the most links and analyze the patterns to see what more you can learn.
If you need help building the authority for your site and aren’t sure what to do next, contact us we can design a custom content program that will help your website and blog earn the links you need to rank better in Google’s search results.