11 / January 2016, Matt
SEO marketing provides tremendous opportunity for you to grow your business. It gets you noticed by a large audience composed of people who are interested in what you do and what you have to say. These are the people who are already looking for you, whether they realize it as they enter their Internet searches or not. When you approach the SEO process and work it steadily over time, you will see results that move quickly toward an improved bottom line.
Part of the process uses organic searches, creating content that you optimize around relevant, effective keywords and keyword phrases. In addition to building through searches, though, you miss out on some of the ranking success and potential site visitors if you do not also take other steps to drive traffic to you. Successful SEO marketing includes generating backlinks to your site. These are links from outside of your site that bring people in—and they are critical to reaching the maximum impact for your SEO campaign.
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! searches generate results based on a multitude of signals. While your keywords and how you build them into your content play an important role in this, other signals of the importance and relevance of your content also factor in. Backlinks provide an important signal to the search engines that your site has enough value for people to reach you through references from outside of your own site. Anyone running a business will vouch for his or her own company; when other sites link to you, this suggests a reputation that brings your rankings higher.
In addition, these backlinks drive traffic directly to you. You run an SEO campaign because it brings potential customers to you. While site rankings play a big role in that, the backlinks also build the number of visitors. They provide an important tool for increasing your audience directly as well as indirectly, thus doubly impacting the success of your marketing.
Because backlinks play such a critical role, it is important to reach them the right way. Many ads and unsolicited offers will give you the “opportunity” to purchase backlinks by the hundreds. This may seem enticing, but what it ultimately accomplishes is twofold: it gets you paying for links from sites that are likely not relevant to your content—thus bringing visitors with lower likelihood of conversion into revenue; and it raises a strong likelihood that Google and Bing will identify you as a spammer, and kill your rankings.
Your goal as a business owner or operator is not just to get visitors to your website. If you do not increase your revenue as a result, you have not achieved anything. Building backlinks need not take a long time, but short-cutting the process does far more harm than good. You need to take the time to develop your site and build backlinks that reflect well on you to achieve your goals for your SEO campaign.
The first aspect you should focus on is the content itself. Great SEO content focuses on information, and builds optimized keywords in. Search engines exist and function to connect Internet users to the information they want, and until you have provided that information, you have nothing worth backlinking to. You need to build out a library of content that is relevant to your business and/or industry; that provides something unique; and delivers quality to those who visit your site.
Relevance is paramount to your ability to create backlinks that help you. If people are following links to content that relates only tangentially to what you do, they are likely looking for something that will not lead to conversions from site visitor to customer. Your content should reflect a deep understanding of issues that matter to those who would purchase your products or services. Otherwise, you are creating a disconnect between your website and your business that will sink your SEO campaign quickly.
Unique content can be harder, in that you are seeking to link from related information to your site; in other words, someone else is writing about similar topics. You can provide unique content in different ways, though, despite the common themes. Excellent writing always provides something unique, in the manner in which it is provided rather than the general idea around which it centers. Additionally, you can provide videos and other forms of content that deliver the information in a different, more effective way than can be found elsewhere.
More significantly, in all but the rarest of cases, your product or service is not something that no one else can deliver. Your business success does not hinge on your doing something others do not; it hinges on your doing it better. When you approach SEO marketing in the same way, you will see that unique content means delivering information in a better way than anyone else delivers similar information. There may be nothing new under the sun, but there are things that are better than their prior counterparts. When you deliver content of the highest quality, you are providing something unique.
As you build your content library, you can then start the work of gaining links to that content. One of the quickest, most effective ways to do this is to share links to your site through your social media accounts. In addition to serving as a networking tool and a way to identify customers, your posts that link back to your site provide potentially effective backlinks to your website.
To make this work, of course, you must build effective social media pages, just as you have taken the time to build an effective website. The two work together; one feeds the other. Your website should provide links to your social media pages, and vice versa. Each should rank separately with the search engines, so you need to take the time and care to nurture each to be the best it can be, in terms of quality and the search rankings that follow.
The greatest benefit to sharing content through social media pages does not come from the links from one to the other. When you build out great content, your network will start to share that content with their networks. This is where you start to develop more extensive backlinking from multiple sources. Again, that benefit comes both from the effect the links have on your rankings and from the potential to build exponentially on your customer base. When people who know you share your content with people who do not, you earn new opportunities to gain customers and increase your revenue.
Besides building through your own platforms, you should seek out industry leaders. Anyone who wants to do well running a business should already be doing this. We achieve more by learning from those who have already done some of the things we want to do. You can learn a great deal about how to run your business by reading websites and social media pages of people who are running similar businesses well. And when you engage these people and communicate with them, you often gain new insights that can increase your business knowledge and acumen.
In addition to the benefits that you gain through business understanding, though, these site owners can provide opportunities for backlinks to your site. One way to do this is to provide guest posts on their site. This should not come through pay for play arrangements, or through a regular post-trading agreement, but rather with the occasional, topical post that benefits the other site owner while also allowing you to link people back to your site. You should approach this with the same care as you do for posting on your own site, as the quality of the content you post there reflects on you just as much as anything you deliver on your own site. Further, delivering quality for someone else makes that person more likely to respect you and your business, and to potentially help you further down the line.
You may also reach similar results by providing comments on these reputable sites, along with a link to something on your site that provides relevant additional information. You should always seek permission, or at least confirm the site owner’s policy on linking from comments, before you do so. But if you have something to add to the conversation on a topic appearing on another relevant site, this provides a tremendous opportunity for you to lead others to what you have to say—and in turn, to use your expertise to bring them over to your site.
Finally, you may be able to backlink from sites of people you already know. Be careful if you choose this approach; your linked content must be relevant to the content from which you are linking. Search engines will punish you through your page rankings for links that are not relevant, and the potential gains from site visitors who are not necessarily interested in your content, products, or services are minimal anyway. Backlinks must lead people who want to know about what you provide to you.
One more source of backlinks comes from pay per click, or PPC ads. These programs place advertisements for your business on relevant web pages, and charge you based on the number of potential customers who click on the ads. Each click includes a link to your website, thus leading potential customers to you.
PPC advertising is available through a multitude of programs. Facebook provides a PPC program that lets you target your ad appearances with as much specificity as you like. You can target an age range, a geographic area, or people with an interest that aligns with your target audience. Similarly, most PPC providers allow you to identify where you do or do not want your ads to appear.
For PPC to be effective in driving traffic, the ad itself must be enticing for these potential customers. You should take the time to create custom ads that provide a glimpse of the value that you can provide to those who visit your site. Plain, boring, or unattractive ad layout and ad copy will not bring people to you. The ad should be interesting, and should stand out from the content on the sites on which they are posted.
Further, you need to monitor the placement of those ads. While programs such as Google Adwords promise to only place ads on sites related to what you are advertising, you should always check the settings and the list of sites on which they appear. You can eliminate certain categories of websites or specific URLs from the list of where the ads can appear. Plan to monitor this regularly, to avoid any implied connections that you feel do not reflect well on you or your business.
Because of the expertise and effort that building backlinks requires, many business owners who try to do the work on their own eventually neglect the process. This can either come in the form of not building out backlinks in the first place, or not following up to ensure proper placement, not following up on responses to content placed on other sites, and generally failing to see the process through to achieve the most success possible. Any of these approaches can ultimately harm your business reputation and your site rankings, thus undercutting the performance of your SEO campaign.
Instead of going it alone, the most successful businesses call on experts to shepherd them through this process. 1st in SEO can help on all ends of your SEO marketing campaign. We will build out a content library that reflects well on you and demonstrates the excellence of your business. We will then work with you to establish the most effective plan for building backlinks. We will build your site rankings and drive traffic to your site, a site that we optimize to deliver maximum conversions from site visitor to customer. Contact us today to learn more.