Are there link building techniques that still work in 2019 to help steer visitors to websites?
If so, will they continue to hold value in the years ahead? Search engine optimization strategies change so often that not only can preferred link building techniques change year to year, some question whether they remain valuable at all.
Know that Google officials have stated its algorithms still reward websites with solid backlinks and other techniques it deems organically acceptable.
Which of those link building techniques still work today to influence search engine rankings?
‘Link Building Frenzy’ Leads to Google Algorithm Changes
During what might be called the height of the link building frenzy a few years ago, marketers focused on automation to quickly build backlinks, resulting in a lot of content that appeared to come straight from templates.
It didn’t take Google long to figure it out, and while algorithm adjustments did not eliminate the traffic-attracting value of backlinks, they did switch the focus.
Now, it’s more about the types of links, and how they are used.
That said, here are a few link building techniques that still work in 2019, and should retain their effectiveness in the years immediately following. (Barring major Google changes, of course).
Blogging With a Purpose
It’s been said for who knows how many years now, but blogging is good for SEO, for several reasons.
Among them is the opportunity to properly use keywords and backlinks to bring customers to you. A key today is to ensure that blog articles are kept breathing after posting.
Try to engage audiences to comment and share, and lengthen the “lifespan” of blog posts, and include enough relevant backlinks so your readers, as well as the search engines, notice.
Post regularly and consistently, and don’t let topics stray too far away from your main business objective.
That is, focus on your market or industry, and on trying to deliver what your customers or clients truly want.
Do you appreciate irrelevant or not-useful information online?
Neither do they. Satisfied customers share your information – and provide backlinks naturally when they do.
The bottom line with blogging or online content is to ensure that your content is relevant to the subject at hand. It always should be organized and definitely useful. It’s satisfying to gain backlinks by simply providing solid content that your customers want to share.
Build Relationships, Part I – Ask and Exchange
Along with blogging, the term “build relationships” seems a difficult digital marketing concept for business operators to grasp.
Unfortunately, the Internet has bred a quick-fix mentality, which for a while seemed to work but has been curtailed somewhat by the search engines.
Gaining backlinks to improve SEO takes time, including by the old-fashioned way: by contacting people and discussing the potential to help each other.
That could involve thinking of any relatives, friends, partners, colleagues, clients or customers who might have a website or blog – and asking for a backlink. Sure, it can be time-consuming, but it builds links (that Google officials insist help improve rankings).
While at it, request links inside content (not just stuck out in the open in sidebar, for instance).
While asking for links is old-school, know that current algorithms prefer content and links that flow as naturally as possible.
Maybe there’s a connection between your website and that of someone you know. It should be easier to exchange backlinks than just asking for placement of one.
Also, read our Beginner’s Guide on 9 Ways Guest Blogging Adds Value to Your Website
Build Relationships, Part II – Guest Blogging
Building relationships with bloggers and website content managers will get your links through guest blogging. This differs a bit from just asking acquaintances to swap links; those are existing relationships.
Building relationships takes time to build trust and mutual acknowledgment that you can help each other.
Think deeply about your business and all the niches it may touch, and do research to identify blogs and sites that seem to write often about topics you (and your customers) appreciate.
There are many niche-focused communities in social media platforms including LinkedIn, for instance.
You might start by leaving relevant commentary on posts; even brief comments attach your name providing some branding for you before important eyes.
Actively participating in such online communities rarely is a waste of time and can bring significant rewards long-term.
Contact them only after reading enough of their content to understand what really makes them tick, and it won’t feel like a cold call.
In time, you can build a list of what some call “content partners” – important contacts who will publish your material on their platform along with backlinks.
Get Listed on (the Best) Directories
Think of life before the Internet when the telephone book listing was a must-have for any local business.
The book has fallen by the wayside, but the online version of it has not. Just typing “business directory,” “online directory” or “web directory” will reveal many opportunities to type in your business name along with other information, including backlinks.
With this technique, though, understand that there are good and not-so-good directories. It’s not wise to get backlinks from them all; algorithm changes in recent years can actually penalize you for too many.
But solid, well-established business directories are respected by the search engines. Start with business directories for Google, Yahoo! and Bing, then consider entering information and backlinks to LinkedIn, Facebook, BizJournals, Yellowpages and Whitepages.
Consider niche directories or sites that are local news-related such as Patch.com or AmericanTowns.com. With some, you can even enter a news release or classified ad for free – and include links.
The Breakdown on Small Business Link Building Techniques
Search engine-focused and digitally engaged marketers always have placed much emphasis on link building as a key strategy to build value for websites and the businesses they support.
While search engine algorithm changes in recent years have clouded opinions about their effectiveness, most experts agree search rankings definitely get improved with solid backlinks.
And some of the tips mentioned here continue to work.