SEO is a hard game that’s getting harder all the time? Do you remember the good old days when you’d just cram as many keywords into your blog posts and be done with it? Well, I’m sure you do remember those days, though I hope you weren’t actually one of those very naughty individuals who partook in such questionable practices.
Those days have long gone now anyway (though you still find the odd cowboy trying it on, but no matter – you won’t ever find those posts anyway). No, SEO is about all manner of things. Keywords, of course, still play a role – albeit a slightly different one – site architecture, image quality, security, the age of your site, its speed.
And of course links.
Links Are Still The Most Important SEO Ranking Factor
According to Jon Ball of Search Engine Watch, links still remain as the strongest signal to Google that the content on a particular site is important. And that of course makes sense – the more links there are pointing towards a particular site or page, the more people that are out there who must think that it’s worth pointing to.
Ball’s claim is backed up by coppyblogger, who states (and provides this handy pie chart) that domain trust/authority makes up 23.87% of Google’s ranking algorithm.
The 3 Types Of Links
Ok, so we’re all agreed that links are still just as important as ever. That being said, the emphasis has most definitely changed. I mentioned above that the more links there are from other pages to your site the better. While this is true up to a point, the fact of the matter is that Google is getting smarter all the time, and it’s not so much a matter of quantity anymore as it is of quality.
Links now have different values in the eyes of Google. Put simply, the higher the quality and the higher the relevance of the linking site to yours, the more valuable the link is to you. So let’s take a look at the 3 types of links that there are and consider just how important each one of them is.
1. Organic Links
We should all know what these are by now. In essence they are spontaneous links that other web users – such as bloggers and journalists – put in their posts that link to your site. They have acquired the rather green sounding name of ‘organic’ because they have always been considered to be valuable, because the linkers have no vested interest in linking to your site, and therefore they are a sign of the usefulness and relevance of your site’s content.
Building organic links is perhaps one of the main aims of the content marketer. The way you go about getting these types of links is to continuously produce lots of high quality, sharable, informative, entertaining and useful content. This is the sort of stuff that web users love, and, if you’re doing your content correctly, then you should find that the number of organic links to your site gradually increases over a long period of time.
2. Acquired Links
Acquired links are less valuable, though no digital marketer should be without them. By signing up to various profiles (including social), directories and other lists, you can upload your blogs and other articles in order to try and gain more exposure.
Try out www.ezinearticles.com for example, or user rating review sites like www.rateitall.com/. If you sign up to enough of these and submit your articles regularly, then you should end acquiring a few more backlinks to your site.
3. Self-made Links
Sometimes when you’re online you will no doubt be contributing to discussion forums and leaving comments on various social media. When you do so, it will of course make sense to include the odd link back to your website.
Do not, whatever you do, overexploit this tactic. It can begin to look very spammy, and may well end up getting considered as such, and you will be penalised for your efforts.
What To Do About Link Building In 2015
It’s becoming an age old adage already, but, more and more it is proving to be true again and again – content is king.
The most valuable links are the organic ones, and the best way to build those is to continue to create the very best content that you can, and get it shared far and wide across social and in your email campaigns.
There are a few trends that are continuing to emerge that you should be aware of for 2015 however. So let’s take a look at them:
1. Make Your Blog Posts More Detailed Than Ever
Let’s face it, nearly everyone has a blog these days, and nearly every website does as well. No matter what industry you’re in, you will find that you will be facing an increasing amount of competition for discoverability on the web. So, stop re-writing and re-purposing the same old material that’s been floating around the internet already for the past decade or more, and start saying something new and interesting.
Wishy-washy blog posts that offer no actionable tips for the reader, or are just revisiting the same old stuff just won’t cut it any more. We’ve already read those things a hundred times before – what we want is something new.
Indeed, this might actually mean that you will need to invest some extra time and possibly money into conducting some valuable research. But if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. And go into some real detail in your posts. Don’t skirt around the edges, delve right in to one or two very important details and explore them properly. Great content is about quality not quantity.
2. Infographics Are Still Gaining Popularity
Beautifully visualized, easy to absorb information is still on trend in 2015, and infographics are the digital manifestations. If you’ve got a graphic designer that can create these for you in-house, then brilliant. If you haven’t, then consider hiring one.
Infographics are brilliant because of their shareability. The information is presented colourfully and neatly, and are often designed to inspire awe through some jaw-dropping statistics, whilst also raising a little smile with some quirky and witty illustrations. They’re great – and they will link back to your site, so start making them.
3. Produce More Video
Video is becoming more and more important for your social media strategy as time ticks by. Users love it, and, although it might be more time-consuming and costly to produce, it will nonetheless be one of the most valuable assets in your link-building arsenal.
From creating your own viral videos to producing your very own animations, the power of video is a strong one, and lends an air of success and professionalism (provided it’s done well) to your website, and will continue to be an increasingly important method of building those all important organic backlinks.
What’s your link building strategy for 2015? Let us know in the comments below.