19 / January 2016, Matt
By now it should be obvious to everyone that modern SEO is not about clickbait and keyword stuffing. You want to build a brand online, and use content to bring in readers who will become customers. To do this, you need to create content that people want to see, and do so consistently over time.
But writing the content is only part of the battle. Google uses many signals to measure the quality of your site, and part of its algorithm for doing so rests on how much authority you seem to have in your field. Excellent, accurate, unique content triggers some of those signals, and should function as your primary building block. To help demonstrate your expertise, though, you need also to build up the links to your content pages.
Links help your website both directly and indirectly. The former is simple: a link to your page creates traffic to that page. Every time someone clicks a link into your website, you have a new visit. While ideally your traffic begins with organic searches and growth, you benefit every time someone comes to you from the outside. The best content doesn’t matter if no one sees it, so links in create a direct path to more viewership, more readership, and more potential customers.
More than this, though, every link to your site represents someone acknowledging that you have something important to say on the topic you are covering. If you garner links to your site from multiple sources, this signals to Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and any other search engine that people trust you to provide relevant information. Links create cachet.
Of course, some links carry more weight than others. Links to your HVAC site from an online matchmaker matter less to search algorithms than links from, for instance, Angie’s List or a heating and cooling trade group. When you can garner links from those who have expertise in your industry, or who have garnered a strong following among those who follow your industry, your reputation score will grow quickly. You can create growth for yourself by aligning yourself with those who have already achieved strong reputations in your industry.
Waiting for this to happen, though, seldom works. You need to reach out to these industry thought leaders. You may be able to do a guest post on a well-trafficked website, or provide some complementary content that makes sense for them to connect to. You may even find another business that works well with yours: someone who sells products that you can service, or vice versa, or someone whose offering goes hand-in-hand with yours.
In any event, you can achieve significant gains by pursuing backlinks from other reputable websites and industry leaders. Building your website from the ground up must come first, but pursuing potential backlinks can do wonders for lifting you up quicker than you thought possible.
Another important source of links? Your own site. When you link among pages on your website, you help direct higher traffic and page views. You should give someone an easy roadmap through your site, giving them both the ability to navigate through multiple pages and the motivation to do so. Clicking links makes this navigation simple for the user, and often yields quick dividends for your site.
As usual, there is a right way and a wrong way to link among pages on your site. Linking among unrelated pages, or pages with nothing more in common than that they happen to be on your site, will usually be counterproductive. It creates a frustrating experience for your readers, as they find themselves clicking along an incoherent path—or more likely, they find themselves jumping to a more user-friendly website.
Instead, build links among content pages that fit together. If you have a blog, linking to previous posts with information you reference can make following along easier. Linking from a content page to an action page makes all kinds of sense, so long as the action is related to the content. And anytime you have content built around what you do, linking to a contact page gives a potential customer an easy way to fulfill that potential.
By laying out a clear path from place to place, you give your customers an easy way to find whatever they need on your site. People want to be able to navigate and find things easily within a website. You can provide this, and build your page rank in the meantime, by providing useful, responsible links that lead them to where they want to go.
Social media provides another excellent source of links back to your site. Every link from Facebook or Twitter can help you build your audience, and can demonstrate that your site has some reliability and authority. It can start with your own social media pages, letting you guide your followers and fans to content they might find interesting. You can also benefit from those people’s social networks; every new view represents an authority bump for you, and every new viewer represents someone who might become a great customer.
In addition, social media makes it easier than ever to reach out to those industry thought leaders who can do so much for you. When you have excellent content, those people are more likely to want to link back to you, as providing links to what you have created helps them too. They and their customers can benefit from your expertise, and you can benefit from their seeing your expertise in action.
Finally, searches within social media can themselves provide an aura of authority around your work. Facebook page likes and Twitter favorites and retweets show that you have a following, one that tends to compound on itself once you get the ball rolling. Build up your social media presence, reach out to both current customers and respected industry veterans, and watch your backlinks improve your page rankings.
The big secret should now be clear: there is no secret. You need to create compelling, useful content before any of this takes place. If you want to reach anyone, you must have something they want. And as with anything else online, that something is information. When you create compelling, unique, relevant content for your customers, you give them a reason to find you and learn more about you.
Building that content takes time, but your investment will pay off. You need to build enough to demonstrate real expertise in your industry, and you need to create it frequently enough that it cannot grow too stale for the search engines to keep your page ranked well. You need to give something more than what others provide, and do so consistently.
When you provide the information people want to see, the rest can start to fall into place. No expert will link to your content if it doesn’t reflect well on them. But when you give information that their followers would like to see, written in a way that they will enjoy reading, you provide a reason for an influencer to direct people to you. Their expertise reflects powerfully on you.
Further, the more interesting your content, the more your social media strategies will pay off. You can’t write garbage and expect people to share it—at least not as part of a message with which you want to be associated. But when you write focused, powerful content on themes your customers find important, they will want to share and retweet that information. Moreover, they will want to come back themselves to read more, and convert their own page views into purchasing behavior.
Backlinks can send important signals to Google, whose rankings then send your information to more customers than they would absent a linking strategy. Your approach to SEO should build in this strategy, setting yourself up to look good enough for people to want to link, for people to want to click on the links, and for people to want to be your customers. It all starts with writing what they want to see.
At 1st in SEO, we will help you build a multi-faceted approach to your internet marketing success. We begin with content, by working with you to write excellent, original, relevant copy for your site. We achieve this not in an all-in-one shot, but over time, building out regularly so your customers always have a new reason to visit your site. We find ways to demonstrate your expertise and pass it on to the people who will benefit the most from it.
Next, we build out complementary strategies to help you distribute that content. We will help build out your social media presence and increase your reach out across the potential base of customers. We identify those with whose presence you should be aligned, and work to get backlinks from the sites that matter most for your success.
Finally, we maintain a steady focus on your business needs, and continue working on your SEO marketing to achieve those needs. Linking within your site and working with strategic partners can help make significant inroads. We stay on top of this for you and create ways for you to keep finding new customers while retaining the loyal group you already have.
Working with 1st in SEO means working with a trusted partner dedicated to helping you achieve results for your business. We take on the hard work of marketing and writing for you, letting you do what you do best. Contact us today to get started.