You've launched your business and, with it, your website. Now you want to start driving more traffic to your site and build your brand salience.
You've likely heard of that popular and mystical tool — search engine optimization (SEO). And I'm willing to bet you've discovered that having good links to your site is one of the top three factors that will increase your page rank on search results.
So now you just need to get a bunch of backlinks out there, right? Easy enough.
Depending on your industry, scaling your linking efforts sufficiently to meet or beat the competition can be challenging, especially if you work for a small or medium-sized business (SMB).
Perhaps your competitors are industry giants with far more financial resources and personnel than you. Perhaps their size isn't the issue, but they have found ways to generate a prodigious amount of links every month. So you may be tempted to generate as many links as you can, no matter where or how.
But wait. It turns out that not all links are created equal. And focusing on link quantity rather than link quality can hurt you more than it helps. So you need to learn how to create high-quality backlinks at scale.
Here are a few tips for building a portfolio of high-quality links to your site that will improve your business's visibility.
How to Create High-Quality Content Worthy of Backlinks
There's an old saying that "Content is king", and it remains as true today as when it was first uttered by none other than Bill Gates.
But, just as with your backlinks, content must be high-quality to make a difference. And that means that your website must have relevant, authoritative and engaging content to make it worthy of backlinks.
The better your content, the more likely you will generate organic links rather than having to create your own backlinks.
For SMBs that have neither the time nor the personnel to build useful content internally, there is a cost-effective solution: freelance content writers. Of course, freelance writers do come with costs. Indeed, you can expect to pay as much as $45 an hour or more for highly experienced, quality content creators. However, experienced freelancers are a good investment, as they are extremely efficient, and you can often get useful content quickly.
1. Create Relevant Content
When creating content, think about its probable lifespan. Content about an issue that will fade from your audience's consciousness quickly will have limited effect on your backlinking strategy. So, you should take into account how long your content will remain relevant to your prospective audience.
Can you easily update content to reflect changes rather than simply letting the content expire? Updating content reinforces your expertise and is a simple way to create new content with little added effort.
As a general rule, you should review your content frequently to make sure that it remains relevant or valuable and repair or replace broken links.
2. Become an Authority on a Business-relevant Topic
It's a simple fact that people like to cite experts. Authoritative, well-crafted content sets you up as an expert in your field. Other writers will create more organic links to your content, and you may even get opportunities to insert quotes into different pieces, allowing you more opportunities to build backlinks.
Building relationships also helps build your expertise. Working with reporters or industry organizations can reinforce your status, and when the time comes that they need a source to cite, they can call you.
Never underestimate connections within your own company, as these relationships help you extend your reputation. They also keep you informed about company activities that may serve as unexpected linking opportunities.
Protect your reputation and the effectiveness of your backlinking strategy by monitoring who links to your content. Links from less reputable sites or, worse yet, from spam sites will hurt all of your efforts.
3. Use Visuals or Videos in Your Content
The attention span of the average internet user is relatively short and getting shorter all the time. So your content needs to grab their attention. And that means using visual hooks to catch the reader's eye and break up the monotony of long pages of text.
Images, infographics, and videos create reader engagement with your content, increasing the likelihood that they will follow your backlink cues. Well-crafted images also draw the reader further in by providing them with summaries and overviews of your content. But choose your visuals carefully: Stock photos, for instance, will be much less impactful than unique images that directly relate to the material.
Because you will want the same from others who link to your content, make sure to properly attribute the sources of any images or video you use from other sources.
4. Reuse Your Content
No matter how you created your content, you invested resources to do so: researching, writing, creating graphics, and more. Make the most of those resources by repurposing your existing content. It is infinitely less costly and time-consuming to modify content for other uses than to create entirely new content from scratch.
There are many ways to reuse your existing content. For example, did your research uncover data that you didn't use but could be helpful for another piece? Could you take a slightly different approach to an issue building on what you have already created? Did you produce graphics that you can post on your social media accounts?
Keep in mind that repurposing content does not mean just dumping the same piece in several locations. You still need to create unique, high-quality content that is more than a verbatim repetition of existing content. But you can certainly increase your efficiency and speed of content creation by leveraging your existing efforts.
Yes, SEO Matters
For high-scale quality backlinking endeavors, the more you know about SEO, the better. Most search results are never clicked, and the likelihood that a user will click through to your page if you are not in the top three search results is negligible.
However, if you can manage to get in the top three positions, your odds increase drastically. The top result will get clicked 30% of the time, compared to 15% for the second and 10% for the third.
Keywords are still an essential tool for increasing your page rankings when they are properly used. And as you increase your page rank by incorporating frequently used keywords, you increase the likelihood that others will create links to your content.
While not directly tied to scaling your linking efforts, you should ensure that you have properly secured your site. Site security is always an essential task for any business to maintain the business's reputation and client base. And because cybercriminals are now using company SEO efforts as an attack vector, as you scale up your backlinking efforts, you must remain vigilant for attempted exploits.
Building an effective linking strategy involves more than just getting as many links as you can from anywhere at any time. It requires the thought and effort necessary to create content people will see as worthy of their links. But the businesses that make the investment in high-quality content will find it pays off.