Search engine optimisation is a varied discipline that comes down to two factors, on-page and off-page. On-page SEO ranking factors refer to any undertaking that optimises an actual web page to make it attractive to search engines. This includes the content of the page itself, as well as its architecture and its HTML. Off-page factors are those that are influenced by readers, visitors and publishers, these factors include social shares, trust and links.
In this article, we’re going to be discussing off-page ranking. In particular, link building and three strategies that webmasters can employ to build inbound links. These links will lend trust to a website and ultimately influence the rank of a website in the search engine results pages.
Search engines use digital bots, also known as ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders’ to constantly trawl the web and analyse the content of websites. In order to do this, the bots follow links, think of them as the roads of the web. A link from another website to your own can work as a trust signal and let search engines such as Google know that you are an authoritative source.
However, the quality of the links you gain is important as different links have different values and some links are more valuable than others. This is what people within the industry often refer to as ‘link juice’. Also, it’s worth noting that spam links can have a negative effect on a website’s overall rank, so it’s best to generate links in an authentic and ethical way. Avoid link farms and salesmen who offer a lot of links for a low price, this is known as black hat SEO.
So, how do you start to gain trustworthy, valuable links to your website? Here are three proven strategies that webmasters employ:
1. Natural links
In order to gain natural links, you must first start to create content that your audience and other webmasters might find valuable. If the content you create is of high-quality, engaging and promoted properly then you will often find that you start to accrue links naturally as other websites use your content to back up their own. Conscientious webmasters will always link back to the original content on your website, thus giving your content authority in the eyes of the search engines.
2. Outreach links
Again, you’ll need to have high-quality content for this strategy, but rather than wait for other websites to link naturally you need to reach out and earn them. Highlight websites and blogs that you feel would benefit from your content and simply contact them and ask for them to feature your content, with a link back of course. If the proposition is of mutual benefit then you will find you get success more often than not and you can always offer to reciprocate.
3. Guest blogging
Many publications, blogs and websites are happy to recruit guest bloggers as it adds value to their own website, in return you can often negotiate a link to your own website. As a guest blogger, you will usually be required to create a unique piece of content that will be hosted solely on the host website. This can be more time consuming, but it’s worth its weight in ‘link juice’ and you will usually get a byline and full credit for the article.
Link building should be part of all good search engine optimisation strategies, and it’s something that needs to be done regularly to ensure a steady flow of high-quality links that build up over time. Older links can begin to degrade, so fresh links are always beneficial to a website.
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