SEO has always been a vital tool in the Internet marketer’s box of tricks. And crucial to SEO is getting quality links to your site.
In times gone by, links were easy to come by. If you knew the right tricks, you could pick up links left, right and centre and get a top Google ranking. What mattered was the number of backlinks to your site, not whether your site shared quality content.
Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, launched in 2011 and 2012, changed the SEO rulebook. With these updates, only quality backlinks counted. No longer could you manipulate the search engines. Backlinks from link farms started counting against you.
The recent launch of Google’s Hummingbird update has reinforced the need for quality backlinks.
What can you do to boost your SEO in today’s world, where quality matters?
1) Write great content
The old advice, put on a show and a crowd will appear, is partly true. If you’re going to have any chance of attracting backlinks, your content must be top notch. Outsourcing your blog to places where English is a third or fourth language isn’t an option.
Producing top quality content is no guarantee of drawing a crowd. But lazy content is guaranteed to get you ignored.
As WIRED magazine explains:
“The Panda and Penguin updates of the past taught the online community one thing about Internet marketing — the sites producing the best quality content for the needs of their audience will have the easiest time garnering organic traffic. The Hummingbird update is the logical next step towards separating the best material from the riffraff of the Internet.”
2) Reach out to bloggers
In the real world, networking uncovers business opportunities. The same is true online.
When other bloggers know and trust you, they’re more likely to link to your content. To reach out you can:
- Follow them on Twitter and reply to their tweets
- Comment on their blog posts;
- Drop them an email;
- Connect with them on LinkedIn;
- Like their Facebook Page.
The more time you put into cultivating relationships, the more you’ll get out of them.
3) Join niche communities & directories
Somewhere online, people are chatting about the kind of content you share on your eCommerce site. Whether it’s a forum, a Google Plus Community, a LinkedIn Group or a Facebook Group, there’s a place for you online where you’ll fit right in.
Find these communities and join the conversation. Avoid the temptation to directly promote your own content. Rather, let your expertise do the talking. When people see you know your stuff, they’ll check out your website. That’s when the backlinks will start pouring in.
Lastly, you should list on directories online to generate backlinks.
4) Interview influencers
When you’ve started meeting new people on Twitter or in online communities, why not reach out and ask if they’d like to be interviewed? It’s rare that people will decline an opportunity to talk about themselves.
Once you post the interview on your blog, your interviewee will be keen to promote it too, creating backlinks to your site.
5) Suppliers’ websites
Does your supplier have a “Where to buy?” section on their website? If not, get in touch and suggest they set one up. You’ll get a quality backlink out of it, and it’s good marketing practice for your supplier too.
6) Competitor analysis
Using the free tool Open Site Explorer, you can find out where any website gets its inbound links from.
This will give you ideas for who you should be reaching out to as well.
But there’s also much more that can be done when it comes to your competitors. So taking a deep look at what others are doing and performing a full competitor backlink analysis can help you unearth some amazing insights.
Written by David Masters
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