Long before link building (AKA "backlinking") became a popular method of website ranking, the rampant overuse of stuffing specific keywords and phrases literally everywhere was the most popular way to rank higher on search engines.
The method behind this tactic was simple: the more a keyword or phrase was used, the more likely that page contained relevant information and the better the website ranked in search results.
Over time, marketers and SEO specialists started exploiting this practice; So much so that they started overusing (or "stuffing") the targeted keywords to rank higher. They started incorporating all relevant keywords in their domain names, too, which led to www.reallylongdomains.com. The reality was that the content may have had all the keywords, but was offering little value to visitors.
To combat this, Google introduced the PageRank algorithm update, developed and named after one of their founders, Larry Page. PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a "vote" (essentially page A is endorsing page B).
But Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes a page receives; It also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are considered important and trustworthy weigh more heavily and help to make other pages become important, too.
LinkedIn for Link Building
There are a variety of tools available today for effective link building. They range from powerful aggregators that have information about top website owners, contributors, and editors, all the way down to the old-school Google search method, cold emails, and everything in between.
Tools are wonderful but they’re not the ultimate solution. To earn quality links, ones that are strong enough to fight the tides of changing search algorithms, you need tools combined with a strong strategy.
➔ Step 1: Identify potential link partners
➔ Step 2: Engage and build a connection with your link partners
➔ Step 3: Earn the link that increases your chances of success
But before you begin…
Build a website and add it to your profile
Before you build your profile on LinkedIn, make sure that you have a great website. For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, a domain name such as www.betterbrand.online will have a much stronger impact than www.digitalmarketing-agency.com.
A long and clunky domain name with hyphens or numbers can make the website look spammy. However, new domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, and .SPACE allow you to have domain names that are short, meaningful, unique, and contextual.
Make sure you have a fantastic website on a great domain name, add it to your LinkedIn profile, and start engaging using the 3-step formula.
Step 1: Identify potential link partners
Link building is all about having the right business goals and strategy for marketing. And once that’s done, you want to identify the right people on LinkedIn to add value to your business and content. Here are two ways in which this could be done:
Look for familiar opportunities
This involves spotting the appropriate websites you want backlinks from and then getting in touch with the relevant people. These people could be the editors, webmasters, owners or perhaps people who have been featured on the website in the past.
This exercise is fruitful when you have a clear picture of your goals; whether it’s a content contribution or receiving a mention.
Here’s what you can do on LinkedIn to find them:
➔ Conduct a simple search focusing on the company or publication that you’re after.
➔ Filter your search by “people”.
➔ Make a list of people associated with the publication that you can engage with.
Look for smaller, newer businesses
When trying to build a strong network, most people tend to focus on big corporations. However, in an effort to connect with the big fish, you may end up ignoring the smaller or the newer ones. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore upcoming businesses:
➔ They can help you earn more links with half the effort.
➔ Over time, some of these small businesses will become popular and your established relationship with them will help you with link building.
Step 2: Engage and build a connection with your link partners
You have probably received direct messages at some point from people you don’t know - and, we agree, it can get annoying. Doing so will only serve to decrease the efficiency of your efforts. Take it gradually like you would with any other relationship. Start by liking and commenting on their posts & eventually add them to your network.
It’s also imperative that your comments add value to their posts. Simply typing ‘great post’ or something generic makes it a waste of your time and effort and will go unnoticed by the person you’re trying to engage with.
Talk about the useful insights you gleaned, share your opinion, or offer more information to support their content. These are little things but they go a long way in establishing a great relationship with them.
Step 3: Earn the link that increases your chances of success
You certainly shouldn't outright ask people to add a link to their website. It’s necessary for you to know what your connections have been talking about and any possible articles they may be planning to write in the near future.
The efforts you put into establishing a relationship with them will give you great insights. You can share links from your website for reference content or you can even suggest writing the article for them, depending on the nature of your relationship with the partner.
Bonus Tip: Join groups and engage
Joining the relevant groups on LinkedIn will not only give you industry insights but will also help in identifying potential link partners. Active engagement in these groups will help establish your prominence, too.
Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn offers numerous benefits to your business in the long run if you're willing to put in the effort. Earning backlinks and mentions will help to bring organic and qualified traffic to your website.
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