You may have the most fabulous website in the world, but if no one visits it, what’s the point? This is why everyone spends so much time trying to get found online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical component of any website strategy, and when you’re aiming for the first page of search results like most businesses, it takes dedication and consistency.
One of the main elements of SEO is building inbound links. There’s always quite a bit of debate around this topic of inbound link building as far as what works, what doesn’t, what’s outdated, and what’s considered spam. But one thing is for sure…. Gone are the days of “creatively” leaving comments on other websites with links and optimized anchor text back to your site, in the hopes of them being approved.
In 2014, you need to seriously step up your game if you want to earn high quality inbound links from trustworthy sites. Here are some of our top tips for how to build inbound links to your ecommerce website in 2014.
Create high-quality, educational or entertaining content.
Hands down, this is the #1 thing you should be concentrating your efforts on when it comes to building inbound links. If you create stellar content, people are naturally going to want to link to it.
If you’re creating a piece of content that has been covered by many other sources, make sure you put your own unique perspective on it to make it different than what’s already out there.
Also, consider the power of visual content. Infographics, compelling images, and short videos. Pinterest is one of the top sites out there right now that helps drive traffic to other sites. If you can create something pin-worthy to promote your content, do it! For more on this, check out our articles: 3 Ways to Improve Your Visual Marketing and How to Generate Leads with Pinterest.
Submit your website to online directories.
This is an easy way to build inbound links. However, it needs to be done in the right way.
When submitting to online directories, keep the following in mind:
- Don’t use services that offer automatic submission
- Check the page rank of each directory you submit your website to
- Don’t trust any list of “best” directories. Do your own research to discover the best for your business.
- Track your submissions.
- Don’t rely solely on directory submissions. They are a small part of the bigger picture.
- Write guest posts for other blogs.
The topic of guest blogging has come under much scrutiny as of late. Mainly because people are abusing it, and the volume of people trying to guest blog solely to get a couple of links back to their site is resulting in an abundance of bad, low-quality guest posts.
That being said, you should strive to find opportunities for guest blogging on sites that are highly related to your industry and customers. Start with reaching out to associates and other people you know that work in your industry to discover appropriate blogs for contributing content. The main goal of guest blogging is to provide another point-of-view or expert advice that is not traditionally covered on that website. Focus on providing value and nurturing human relationships.
Researching link building opportunities with other websites.
This is a slow process that needs to be handled with care if you want to do it correctly and not get dinged by search engines. One of the best things you can do to start forming relationships with other site owners is offer help.
For example, let’s say you know of a blog that covers topics related to your industry. Rather than contacting the owner and immediately diving into your link building strategy with them, send them a link to a 3rd party article and just say, “I saw this article, and I thought your readers would find it of interest.” This will lay the groundwork for future opportunities.
Don’t borrow, beg, barter, bribe or buy links.
Do not, under ANY circumstances, beg, borrow, or buy links. These are the worst things you can do! The search engines will quickly penalize your site for participating in black hat marketing tactics. This could result in your site not getting crawled or indexed by search engines, meaning your site will have a heck of a hard time showing up anywhere in any search results.
These are just a few tips to help you determine the best way to build inbound links to your site. As you get going, feel free to share with us some of ways that have worked for you.