We’ve reported at length on the decreasing importance of link juice in Google’s ranking algorithm. Many were relieved and many angered when the focus shifted to content.
After all, link building is a time consuming, endlessly frustrating and often unrewarding process, (even though it was so important), so many saw years of hard work go slowly down the drain with every algorithm update.
And while it is true that PageRank is much less of a factor now, that isn’t to say that link building is a useless exercise either.
Links remain a valuable tool for increasing domain traffic, and effective linking still works like a stamp of approval of sorts from the site that’s linking to you. Forget all about link spamming. As mentioned previously, it can get you heavily penalised in the rankings and Google has very little problem recognising it.
But if you’re primarily focused on SEO, don’t forget that good website traffic will improve your rankings anyway.
So, how does one build links that will actually get people to visit your site and add value to your reputation? We look as some steps below.
Audit Your Existing Links
Have a close look at your link profile. Do these links still seem natural and add value to your content? Revising all of them is also necessary as the quality of their site may have dropped since you originally linked to them.
If the links are valuable and relevant then have a look at the type of pages they’re linking to. This could provide important cues on where you should be focusing your link building strategy.
Watch Out for Social Media Mentions
If you get praise on a social media channel make sure to acknowledge that person. You could be building a useful relationship with that user, that could result in some healthy publicity in the future. Conversely, if it’s a consumer complaint, you can deal with it before it damages your reputation.
This can be quite time consuming if you don’t have any social scanning software, but well worth it for the potential goodwill you can build. Google’s social search is an effective alternative, but only for Google+ profiles.
Use Smart Outbound Links to Build Relationships
Promoting another sites’ content in an intelligent way that complements your own content will help build a relationship with that site. If they see that you have the same interests as them, have good content and a genuine appreciation of their site (i.e. not just looking for a reciprocal link) they may think of you when looking to cite a reference in the future.
Connect With The Influential
This relates to social media. If you have a good knowledge of your industry and social networking, you’ll likely have some idea of who the influential people and companies are in your industry.
You probably won’t get a mention back. But keep producing valuable content and tagging them where it’s appropriate and you may catch their attention one day.
Don’t Dismiss Relationships That Aren’t Immediately Beneficial
Despite what’s suggested above, it can always pay to be connected to up-and-comers. Your immediate instinct may say that if they have less of a reputation than your business, they won’t do anything for your link profile.
The ago old adage about being careful when treating the young poorly because your don’t know who they might end up becoming one day, applies here. It doesn’t hurt your profile being connected with an unpopular site with good content so why throw away a potentially valuable relationship?