It is all well and good creating high-quality content that boosts your brand’s identity and resonates with customers. But these benefits will never come to fruition if your content can’t be found in the first place.

This is where link building – an essential aspect of any SEO strategy – comes into play. Link building is the process of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to your website for greater online authority.

Unfortunately, link building is often easier said than done, especially if you choose to ignore or overlook the following fundamental steps to a successful campaign.

Create audience-focused, linkable assets

According to Michael Johnson, Sales Manager at Page One Power, the more valuable your content is to target audiences, the more likely you’ll be able to attract links to that content. Remember that:

  • Your links should be as good as your content.
  • Sites don’t link; people link.
  • If you want to point links to product or low-value pages, you’re going to have a bad time.
  • Great linkable assets have informational and educational value. They should not be promotional.
  • Links to promotional content could come across as paid, discouraging users from clicking through.

Identify relevant, valued and trusted sites

Rules to abide by when evaluating which sites are right for your link building campaign are as follows:

  • Relevance – Your link should be relevant to the context of the page as well as its audience.
  • Value – The page should engage and provide value to its audience. The anchor text will set user expectations.
  • Trust – “Look at the backlinking neighborhood of the website that you’re reaching out to,” said Johnson, “If you see that they are linking out to a lot of spam or are posting low quality content on their website, those are red flags that mean you should probably avoid that website.”
  • Authority – To gauge site authority, look at the metrics with tools including Ahref’s Domain Rating, Moz’s Domain Authority and Majestic’s Trust Flow and Citation Flow.
  • Diligence – “Always ask yourself the question, ‘In a world without Google, would I still want this link?’” Johnson said, adding, “If the answer is no, then you have to question whether or not that’s an organic link.”

Be creative with outreach

As Johnson explains: “When you’re creating content, think about the people behind that . . . When you’re outreaching to that site, think about who you’re connecting with.”

In order to increase the likelihood of building a mutually beneficial connection with another site, make sure you send sincere and personalised outreach. This could include connecting with the site owners on social media or through a direct phone call.

Also, emphasise that your audience-focused content will benefit the site owners’ users as well. Otherwise there is a good chance they’ll ask for money, and paid-for links are never a good idea.

Don’t lose momentum

If you receive a link, don’t forget to follow up with a thank you to foster goodwill between your brand and theirs. Always keep track of links to periodically check on their status too.

Finally, pay attention to the internal linking of the page that earned the backlink. After all, you’ll want to funnel link equity to lower-value product or promotional pages.