Some say that link building efforts are dead and buried, and that social has overtaken traditional SEO efforts. Don’t be fooled. For now at least, links remain the way the internet works – an interconnected roadmap that provides signs to Google and the like as to what your website is about, who your audience are and how valuable the quality of your content is.
So, the next question: just how the heck can you get started building links when you’re an expert in equine, rather than marketing? Answer? With this tick list for your link building mastery and Google domination, that’s how.
Just a moment – isn’t link building plain-old bad SEO practice?
You may have heard the much-misunderstood news – link building is bad for ranking. Depending on who you’ve listened to and what you’ve read, you may even believe that link building can lead to Google banning your website from their results altogether. So what’s the truth of the matter? Here’s the rub – links can indeed damage your search ranking, but only, only, if they’re black hat. A few shady examples include:
– Posting meaningless links on other blogs (ergo: spamming)
– Displaying different content to the search engines through web design trickery such as text that’s the same colour as the background on which it’s displayed
– Injecting hidden links on another website you don’t own through hacking
– Hiding keyword links on a page that only the search engine can read
Now onwards and into the link building tasks that you should be focusing on…
Five sure-fire ways to win Google-boosting links
1. Firm foundations: undertake keyword research
What words and terms are your target market using to discover your products or services? This is the very first question to be answered before anything else. For this, you need to use Google’s Keyword Planner. Simply enter a list of products or services and select “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”- this will lead you to a long list of suggestions based on Google data. This firm foundation can then help you brainstorm content ideas based on what your target market are searching for, and what they want to read.
PressPoint Pro-tip: Opt for a keyword inclusive business name
‘Businesses that have a strong keyword in their business name rank 1.5 spots higher than if there is no keyword in the name’ – Local SEO Guide. Business name with no keywords? Don’t worry – it’s not time for a rebrand and expensive relaunch, it’s simply a bonus if your company name (and therefore your URLs) naturally feature a valuable keyword.
An alternative is to use a website address that’s keyword rich. Let’s look at an example:
www.smithswholesalers.co.uk could use the URL www.smithsequinewholesale.co.uk
2. Be found: list your equine business on local and industry directories
Google my Business? Check. Yelp? Done. 192? Check, check, check. Hopefully you’ve ticked these three important directories off when it comes to adding your business. Now? You should research local directories and industry specific listings – these can help boost your local traffic and help strengthen your signal to Google that you’re in the equine industry.
3. Carefully construct a content plan
Here’s the most important takeaway from this entire blog – high quality content attracts links. At the crux of this is the fact that your fellow equine businesses link to content that’s worth sharing, so each piece must make for a valuable read – sharing your insight, experience and guidance. And it’s not just blogs that you should create – a rich collection of differing content types can boost social shares, ranking in Google images, and links from a wide variety of differing websites. So considering creating:
– How-to guides
PressPoint Pro-tip: create blogs that are 1500 words+
A Backlinko report revealed that longer content tends to rank higher. The average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words.
You may have noticed that our blogs are always around the 1500-word mark, and with good reason. So-called ‘long-form’ content tends to rank better on the search engines, as proven time and again by stats and facts.
A word of warning however – the quality rule applies. There’s no point in creating 500 words of insightful content, with 1000 words of fluff and filler. Only write to a length that suits the topic being covered.
4. Be my guest: invest in guest posting
Waiting, and waiting, and waaaaaiting. There’s no escaping the fact that waiting for links back to your content can be frustrating. One way to overcome this is to put the feelers out for guest posts on other websites, which link directly back to your website.
PressPoint Pro-tip: reaching out to other website owners should involve a two-step process
- Get involved on their blog – comment and share their content on social media where appropriate. When it comes to guest posting, flattery will get you everywhere.
- With the website owner flattered and primed, send them an email pitching your guest idea. The template below provides you with a good idea as to how this should go, but you should certainly customise it as according to the receiver.
Subject: You should blog about [insert your guest blog post topic]
[insert their first name], as an avid reader of [insert their site name] I would love to read about [insert guest blog post topic], and I think your readers would as well.
Your content on [insert existing post from their website #1, insert existing post from their website #2, and insert existing post from their website #3] is great, but I think you can tie it all together by blogging on [insert guest blog post topic].
I know you are probably busy and won’t blog on it, so I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. How about I write it for you? Don’t worry, I’m a great blogger and have had my posts featured on [insert previous guest post URL #1] and [insert previous guest post URL #2].
Let me know if you are interested. I already know your blogging style, plus I understand what your readers love as I am one.
Look forward to hearing from you,
[insert your name]”
5. Make the right friends – with strategic partners
Forming partnerships with fellow equine businesses and local companies isn’t only good business sense when it comes to the power of networking, it’s also a way in which you can gain links and content shares from naturally complementary websites in your world.
6. Be sociable
Networking online and in-person is only ever going to take your website visitor count up – so get out there and head off to equine events and trade shows (just don’t forget your business cards, complete with social links). Then follow up by posting social updates mentioning those you’ve spoken to, with a blog event round up summarising the highlights of the event.
7. Reinvigorate old content
You may have read this with a worsening feeling of dread if you’ve created tonnes of content with no consideration paid to link building. Fear not, we’ve got good news: ‘updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%’ – Backlinko.
Whilst undertaking this content overhaul, you should also implement those keywords where it makes sense to.
At PressPoint we revel in all things PR and marketing related, but we know just how overwhelming challenges such as link building can be (not to mention time-consuming, resource-sapping and super frustrating awaiting the fruits of your labour).
Ready to talk? Call our team on 01953 851513, or send a message over and we’ll be right back in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org.