Getting higher rankings in online organic search results has always been associated with getting links from other websites. Before 2008, this was relatively simple, as what counted was the quantity and not the quality of backlinks.
The more links existed to the given website, the higher was the rank of the websites in search engines. However, over the last few years, Google engineers have implemented a number of changes to the algorithms of their search engine that resulted in this strategy no longer being effective.
What counts now are natural links of good quality (i.e. links that have not been paid for) from reliable and trustworthy websites. More attention is also being paid to the type of anchors (the text of the link).
There is a list of the most common groups of links:
- Exact Match: a phrase in the link is the keyword you want to rank for
- Partial Match: a phrase in the link contains a partial or modified version of the phrase you want to get higher positions
- Brand: the link contains the name of your company’s brand
- URL: the link is in the form of URL address
- Zero Match: the text of the link is not associated with your offer or brand (e.g. ‘read more’, ‘click here for more’ etc.)
Keeping an anchor text cloud natural and versatile became a very important task for SEO specialist because unnatural link profiles have been penalized under the new algorithms. Some websites have been punished and lost most of their organic traffic (the Penguin algorithm).
Google algorithms have also started to pay attention to the quality of content. Illogical texts with no added value (thin content) have had their rank lowered (the Panda algorithm). However, in this article, we will focus on link building.
How to get natural links?
One of the most popular strategies in this respect is “link baiting”. The idea is to create content on your website other publishers will link to not because you asked them to or paid them for it, but because they decided to do so themselves.
It can be a post answering a question commonly asked online (evergreen content), a helpful e-book, an interesting economical comment, viral video, etc. There is a number type of content you can post a link. Let’s have a look at a few examples and see how active content marketing can help your website get more valuable links.
Boosting link building with social media
Great materials will always be a good bait for linking to your website. When creating a new blog post or revising the existing posts, think if your articles are worth mentioning by others.
See if the content you create is attractive enough for people to wish to share it with their friends, e.g. via social media. Before publishing, it’s a good practice to ask your co-workers for an advice. While creating the content we are usually too subjective and lack distance to what we create.
In terms of getting higher ranks, you have to remember that social media traffic and the number of shares are (so far) nowhere near as good as links with good anchor texts. Treat this channel as a means of reaching your readers. If your content becomes popular, lots of people who could potentially be interested in it will see it. This, in turn, will increase the chance of getting valuable and thematical links.
These can include:
- a link and a comment on a popular financial blog,
- a place on the list of interesting industry articles,
- a mention on an industry associated forum,
- a mention on a news portal, etc.
How to create the perfect article
There is no perfect formula to create attractive content users will be happy to link. Trust me, you can spend many hours writing a helpful and educational post on your blog and not even get half a link. Meanwhile, your competitor will share a photo with a motivational quote, getting 25 links a day. Ultimately, your content has to draw attention and the key is to know the target user.
You must engage users in such a way that they feel they just have to share your message with others. This can be a unique comment on a popular topic, helpful information, case study or a useful tool.
These link baits work for a specific period of time. When writing an article on the important event, the release of a new product, or a software update, it is very likely that the author will refer to the other relevant articles.
For instance, when preparing an article on a new iPhone, the author will refer his or her readers to other sources so as to provide them with access to more detailed information. One of these sources could be your company blog. This is often the case. You can also create the news yourself. If you are first and you distribute your news right, you may get links referring to your website as the original source of the news.
Financial analysis department
Today, all major brokerage firms have an analysis department and a financial news department. Here are some tips that will help you use your content in link building strategy:
- Take care of distribution. Analyses and comments should be regularly sent to all major publishers.
- Make sure that analyses always contain links to your website. Many publishers of financial news copy content directly from the most popular feeds. This is a chance to get more links.
- While publishing your articles in few places try to rephrase it. Do not publish the same text in a number of places on your websites. (duplicate content issue).
- Reach publishers and seek for interviews. Make sure the articles contain links to your website.
- Create analyses about the most popular events and create financial comments for the most popular IPOs.
- Reach the publishers who have mentioned your brand name and try to convince them to link to your website.
- Make sure that the links to your website have the “dofollow” attribute.
Social media plays a very important role here. News often fades away, so reaching users in a fast and direct way becomes crucial. The life cycle of a news item is very short and dynamic, so the chance of engaging users is also fleeting.
The latest news is commented primarily on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and on websites aggregating information, such as Reddit.
In comparison with the articles mentioned above that are valuable only for a short time, evergreen content is a lasting chance to get backlinks to your website. These articles offer universal value. This may be a handbook on how to use an application, a description of harmony indicators or formations, or a financial glossary.
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Another good example is a free online tool, such as a pip calculator or expert advisors. Organizing brainstorms with the sales department is a good idea to come up with the most relevant topics. Several important factors may be distinguished when developing a content creation strategy. These include:
- What are people looking for? (Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Semrush, SpyFu, RavenTools)
- Is this a topic that is gaining popularity? (Google Trends, Ahrefs – Content Explorer)
- What is the probability that this content will fade away within a year?
- If this idea has already been created online, can we do it better?
Don’t forget about guest posts. You can publish your content on other blogs and websites and their owners, in exchange for the content, may reward you with relevant links.
Widgets or gadgets?
Widgets and gadgets can be interesting baits, generating hundreds of links in a relatively short time. Examples include:
- Specialist calculator (e.g. an energy performance calculator for those looking to buy a house),
- Recommendation widget (e.g. a widget redirecting to a registration system),
- Widget displaying special offers (e.g. a Groupon widget showing the latest offers and promotions),
- Widget confirming the quality of the websites,
- Widget displaying FX rates.
The challenge is to create something that generates real value for users; quality is the key here. If the widget is useful only for you or, even worse, it’s not useful at all, you can’t expect that it will be embedded on other websites (and, as a result, generate links). Remember that simply creating a widget is not enough.
Quizzes and games
Quizzes and games are another way of getting links. You have to be careful here, but this method can create huge benefits. One of the popular approaches is to reward quiz participants with orders that display their result. If the user wishes to share his or her achievement, they can publish the result on their website.
Pictures and infographics
Pictures and infographics generate references and links from many publications and often work well in social media. Additionally, visual projections more and more often replace long, boring texts.
However, it’s not that simple. You can employ a graphic designer to create the infographics, use a tool such as the Piktochart, or create it yourself. The biggest challenge is to make sure that it’s unique and attractive.
E-publications, e-books, e-magazines
White papers and e-books, as well as other materials for download, are a great possibility to get a link. Providing users from your industry with access to valuable resources (tests, case studies, guides) will most likely make them link or like your content.
Videos can also be a very effective way of getting links. Think about the popularity of videos nowadays. The viral nature of such content is what makes it so valuable. If you publish your videos on YouTube, embed it on your website and try to make sure that the links which you will promote send users to your website with the embedded video rather than directly to YouTube.
Contests are another great incentive for users to link your website. Users do it for a simple reason: they want to win. If the winner is the person with the highest number of votes, the participants have to share and link the contest website. Never doubt the power of competition! Especially if you offer valuable prizes.
Scholarships and patronages
Scholarships could be an attractive contest’s prize among students. Universities and Student Research Clubs are always looking for scholarships to support the development of their students.
To promote their initiatives they often publish information on their websites. Domains of this type are trusted by Google, so links from this places are very desirable. This way, you may even get a link from a trustworthy website on .edu or .gov domains. Websites of this type are trusted by Google, so links from this places are desirable. Not to mention a little prestige for your brand.
Patronages are interesting, too. You can try and offer your patronage to events, courses, seminars, and releases of new products.
Promoting your content
You may think, “OK, I have prepared excellent materials and spent a lot of time doing it. It’s perfect. Now all I need to do is wait.” Unfortunately, the answer is NO.
Advertising and distributing your content are necessary to achieve the targeted goals. Sharing content via the relevant social media channels, informing about new posts on industry groups, publishing links on the right forums, and even publishing short press releases are the starting steps that play a major role in reaching your prospects. You can also work with the right influencers and coaches. You need to reach with your content to places where your potential clients can find it.
Think about an interesting article you have read recently. Would it be so popular if it had been published on a niche blog or a website with a small reach? This is very unlikely!
OFF TOP: Don’t forget to make sure that your posts are displayed correctly. Give them a proper heading and a correctly uploaded picture. In the case of Facebook, you can use the Facebook Debugger to check if descriptions and titles are shown correctly.
Remember that success breeds success. If you can build an audience that will appreciate your content, the subsequent promotion will become much easier.
So how to get links? – summary
Use link baiting! Try and employ all of the above methods of getting links, but don’t force it. If you really create valuable content and combine it with efficient marketing, links will come.