There's no doubt Google has been creating a stir as of late in the online and Inbound Marketing world with its continued algorithm updates. We've touched on the subjects of Google Panda, Penguin and Knowledge Graph and it's clear these are hot topics with marketers right now who want to be informed on to make the best decisions moving forward, to avoid harming their SEO performance in organic search.
A common gray area for many, and a crucial component to your overall SEO performance, is the topic of link building. A lot of the same white hat rules still apply, but regardless, we wanted to review some of the key link building best practices in this current post Penguin era.
Lead With Exceptional Content
The safest and most proven way to build quality, inbound links for your website or blog is to create useful or entertaining content. Creating this content on a consistent basis is key, and obviously having a strategy in place to fully leverage and promote this content through social media will only amplify your results. Our team here at Weidert Group can speak to this directly, since our number one source of quality inbound links is from our blogging efforts.
Any marketer can see that the content marketing movement is continuing to build momentum. For those who continue to ignore it as part of their marketing mix, they're only falling behind and continuing to miss out on opportunities such as attracting new inbound links, increased traffic and more leads.
With the explosion of Pinterest, the use of visual-based content such as infographics and the memes (see image above) has been an excellent way to produce content that can go viral and build a high amount of inbound links.
Stick With High Quality Directories
The days of seeking out and applying to every directory on the web for an inbound link are over. It's important to stick to high quality, notable directories and niche directories that are specific to your industry. Another important component to these directory links, which I'll touch on below, is being able to control the actual link text from these directories. It used to be favorable to have keyword-rich link text but with the Penguin update, it's been proven that branded link text (your company name for example) is a safer bet.
Diversify Your Link Text
As I stated above, experts have found branded link text is the new favorable approach in online directories. This approach is also recommended with dofollow blog comments where you can often use your name or company name. Not only does this help diversify your link text but it appears less spammy to both Google and the blog administrator. With that said, shying away from keyword-rich link text altogether in other locations isn't necessary. Having a strategy in place to diversify your link text in blog articles and website content is still a safe method of building links if they truly lead the reader to useful, relevant content.
Monitor & Engage In Online Discussions
An important component of Inbound Marketing, specifically social media, is monitoring and engaging in online discussions. By using Google Alerts or other social monitoring tools for specific terms related to your industry, you can monitor when others are posting questions or discussions related to these terms and then join in the conversation with helpful insights. This builds credibility, especially if you can share a link to a blog post or article from your company in relation to the topic within your comment.
Google Alerts should also be used to monitor any mentions of your company to ensure the mention includes a link to your website or blog. If a link is missing it's easy enough to contact the writer and see if they'll add one.
Knowing Google will continue to enhance how their search algorithm works to reward the best content and most credible links, the key is to focus your time and efforts on creating original content that is aimed at addressing your targets' pain points and needs. Taking this approach will stand the test of time of future algorithm updates and the links will follow.
Frank was key to establishing Weidert Group as an inbound marketing leader when we first adopted this approach. He has a knack for using technology to amplify smart marketing strategies, and a deep knowledge of SEO and content promotion, exceptional project management skills, and a thorough understanding of HubSpot's marketing and sales products.