How to Boost Your SEO with White-Hat Link Building Techniques
Back in the earlier days of the Internet, it was easy to “buy” your way to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) by adding more links to your web content.
However, when Google pushed the Google Penguin update in 2012, link building for SEO was changed for the better. Instead of quantity over quality, Google Penguin shifted the focus to quality links and “white-hat techniques” for link building.
What is white-hat link building and why does it matter?
To better understand the term, let’s look at the two keyword phrases used:
- White-hat is a search engine optimization (SEO) technique that adopts positive strategies to grow web traffic to your website and to improve your search rankings. The key here is that these strategies are in line with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines; otherwise, they are considered as “black-hat” SEO.
- Link building, as the term suggests, is the process of increasing the number of quality inbound links to your website as a way to improve search rankings.
Link building the proper way (i.e., white-hat) matters because, as Google confirmed, links are one of the most important ranking factors, alongside quality content that’s considered to be the foremost consideration.
What are considered as “bad” links?
We mentioned quality links—that is, “good” links—so what are links that are considered “bad”?
Google Webmaster identified a number of link building schemes that can negatively impact a site’s search ranking. Among them are the following:
- Reciprocal linking – Excessive link building that follows the “Link to me and I’ll link to you” scheme.
- Buying and selling links – Exchanging links for money, goods, or services is considered unethical.
- Web directory links – Most Web directories are considered to be “automated programs or services” for linking back to your website.
- Large-scale article marketing – This includes guest posts and press releases distributed on other websites that contain overly optimized anchor texts. Google uses this example: “There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring.”
5 ways to boost your SEO with white-hat link building techniques
1. Create regular high-quality blog content
Having a business blog is the most essential prerequisite in getting backlinks to your website. The important thing here is that you need to produce high-quality content regularly.
How frequently you write is up to you, as there is no magic number. However, your posting schedule must be consistent so that your audience will know when to expect new content from you.
Key takeaways when creating blog content for your business:
- Know the needs and interests of your audience – You’ll want to create content that people would naturally want to share and link back to.
- Ensure quality over quantity – They say more content is better than lesser content, but it’s best to focus on quality and relevancy.
- Commit to a regular blog schedule – As was mentioned, consistency is key. People, as well as Google, tend to trust websites that publish regularly rather than sporadically.
2. Strategic guest posting
Adding to the previous point about guest posting, it’s actually quite beneficial if done right.
Your approach to guest blogging should be strategic, meaning that you don’t just market your content on a massive scale—you need to carefully hand-pick which websites you should guest post to.
Important things to consider for strategic guest posting:
- Assess the website’s audience – Are they targeting the same demographic as yours?
- Determine the website’s reliability – Are they high-ranking websites that also produce quality content?
- Study what types of content they have – What gets shared the most by their audience?
3. Leverage social media
Social media shares not only boost engagement; shares also improve your social proof and help in link building.
In fact, social sharing is found to be among the top 3 most effective strategies in building good backlinks. Being active on social media as a brand also expands your reach and thereby increases the likelihood of people linking back to your content.
Things to remember when leveraging social media for link building:
- Ensure that social sharing buttons are readily available on your blog – Make it easier for audiences to share your post.
- Do social listening – Take note of brand mentions and study what they’re saying about you. You’ll learn what their needs are, and you also get to build a relationship with people who are already familiar with your brand.
4. Create infographics
Visual content like infographics goes hand-in-hand with your link building and content marketing strategies. When your blog post has an accompanying infographic, you’re ranking both for regular web search and image search.
In fact, one study found that infographics generate 37.5% more backlinks and get shared 42.4% more times than a regular blog post.
Best tips for creating quality infographics:
- Do your research well – Include relevant, accurate, and trustworthy data into your infographic, and most importantly, translate complex data into readily digestible forms.
- Invest in an experienced graphic designer – While there are free infographic generators available, customization isn’t very flexible with these types of services. If resources permit, it’s best to make an investment that could translate to better-quality infographics.
5. Link to trusted websites as your content sources
One way that Google assesses the quality of your content is how credible your external resource links are.
Make sure to link back to trusted websites that are already ranking high in your niche—for example, if you’re a health website, it’s best to link to medically reviewed sites like Wiley and NCBI instead of Wikipedia.
An important aspect here is to do cold email outreach to your resource website.
Let them know that you found the content on their website as credible and that you used their content as your resource. Most importantly, ask them professionally that if they like your content, they can share it with their audience too.
Need help with your SEO?
Link building is but one of the many facets of SEO to help you reach your marketing goals. If you need help with any of your SEO and content marketing needs, including visual content creation, we’re here to help.link building, search engine optimization, SEO, white hat SEO, white-hat link building
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