• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

A Brief Guide to SEO Link Building Success in 2020

As the CEO of a full-service digital marketing agency, I see far too many marketers and website owners subscribing to outdated link building practices in an attempt to improve their SEO. Unless these practices are nipped in the bud early on, they can actually have the opposite effect.

The truth is, many link building tactics are either unnecessary or downright damaging to your SEO performance. While most marketers know better than employing black SEO tactics, not everyone understands how backlinks differ in value.

While a backlink can do wonders for your ranking performance, a dozen other links can barely move the dial. That’s why I’ve put together this brief guide to improving your SEO link building strategy while staying compliant with Google’s updated webmaster guidelines for 2020.

Below, I’ve put together a list of the best link building tactics for 2020 that will have a noticeable impact on your ranking performance and won’t penalize your website.

Start local.

Local SEO should be the starting point of any successful link building strategy. Local business mentions (or “citations”) tend to work very well with Google’s PageRank algorithm. They also go a long way in improving your bottom line, with 18% of local searches (download required) on mobile devices leading to a sale within 24 hours, according to 2014 data from Google.

A local citation is any mention of your business details on the web, including name, phone number, website URL, address, or zip code. Whether your website is associated with a physical address or a physical storefront, local citations accumulation helps Google understand who your website or store serves. In other words, quotes help search engines build confidence in the physical presence of your business.

Building local SEO backlinks is easy as there are a plethora of registries and directories where business owners can enter their business information. Here are some great places to start creating local quotes:

• Google My business.

• Apple Cards.

• Foursquare.

• Yes.

• Bing.

• Acxioma.

• Facebook.

• Better Business Bureau.

• Yellow Pages.

Invest in value-driven content.

Linking to your website’s landing page can help build your page’s domain authority, but it won’t impact your bottom line as much as blog posts in your marketing funnel. Before you link or guest post, invest in creating solid SEO content where you have at least 30-50 search engine optimized blog posts on your website that provide real original value to readers of your niche.

Having a solid base of blog posts on your website allows you to build backlinks to articles that direct readers to a money page. For example, if you’re an e-commerce vendor selling fitness equipment, backlinking to a review of treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes hosted on your site can help drive sales. However, the blogs you link to should always match the searcher’s user intent. In other words, don’t link to a sales-oriented page if the reader is just interested in learning more about a certain product.

Start guest posting.

Contact high authority hosts or domain administrators in your website niche to write a guest post for their website. In the bio section of the article, be sure to include a link to your website landing page and provide a link to a relevant informative blog on your site. These links will carry more “link juice” to your website depending on the authority of the host platform.

Guest posts are an effective part of a link building strategy because they are mutually beneficial. On the one hand, they benefit the website host by adding free content to their website. On the other hand, the guest shows one or two free backlinks to their domain, which will help them boost their SEO performance by transferring domain authority.

Correct broken links.

If you deleted a page from your website, any inbound link that returns to it will now generate a 404 error. You can easily find these broken links by running a link audit with third-party SEO software such as Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Once you have identified the broken links to your site, you can redirect (“301”) the destination of each broken link to a new relevant location on your site. Never leave a 404 error link on your website. Instead, pass the PageRank to another property on your site.

Use HARO or Qwoted.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and Qwoted are services that connect journalists with industry experts. They are also one of the easiest ways to accumulate high quality backlinks from major publications such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal.

Journalists working under tight deadlines write questions (“pitch source”) on these platforms, and users can share their expertise in their response. Experts whose answers are used in the final article are often rewarded with a backlink to their website. This is a technique that we have used successfully for years in my agency.

Remember to keep it real.

The key to a successful backlinking strategy is to create original, value-driven content that your readers can’t help but share with their networks. Without amazing content, domains with significant PageRank are unlikely to be willing to link to your website.

Equally important is that you remember to always keep your backlinking strategy authentic. If you buy backlinks or use a private blogging network (PBN), you are almost certainly going to receive a penalty from Google for violating its webmaster guidelines.

The truth is, there is no shortcut to successful SEO. Instead, you need to be prepared to create content worth sharing and not be intimidated by the prospect of pitching your content to high authority areas or thought leaders within your niche. Over time, they will transfer PageRank to your domain. The next thing you know, you will be the thought leader.