You probably know that getting inbound links (also called "backlinks") is essential for your SEO strategy. They build trust in your business and improve your rankings in search results. But what are they and how can you get them? Here's what you need to know about inbound links.
What Are Inbound Links?
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are links to your website from other websites. They serve three major purposes for your business:
- They drive traffic to your site from other sites.
- They build trust in your brand.
- They increase your visibility in search results.
When another site links to content on your site, it brings you traffic directly from their audience. This is a great way to boost awareness of your brand. They also act as a major trust signal for search engines. If other sites are linking to your content, you must be a reputable source of information.
Search engines count an inbound link as a “vote of confidence”, which can lead them to increase your rankings in search results. However, you need to gain backlinks from trustworthy and relevant sources. Links from poor quality or “spammy” sites harm your reputation. They can also make search engines penalise you.
So how do you get high-quality inbound links? Follow these five simple steps.
How to Get High Quality Inbound Links
1. Create Quality Content
High-quality, informative content is the key to getting more inbound links. The more useful your content is as a resource, the more people will link back to it. If your content can add more information and value to other people’s content, they’ll want to link back to you.
You should also link back to your previous content. This way, you offer a host of other resources to explore if readers want more information about a certain topic. Search engines also take into account how viewers use your website. Keeping them on-site for longer, through making it easy to explore related content, is a signal to search engines that the viewer finds your website useful.
Links build trust in your site and help establish you as an authority in your field. Search engines take this as a signal to boost your rankings.
2. List Your Business in Directories
Registering with online directories is an easy way of getting inbound links. Many of these entries link back to your website. It also makes it easier for customers to find you.
Choose reputable directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Local Search and any specific to your industry. Google trusts these directories. You should also list in local business directories in your area, that are specific to finding businesses in your local region.
3. Get Published on Local News Outlets
Do you have a story you think will interest the local press? Send it to them. However, be sure you ask for credit as the source and include a link to your site. In addition to local news outlets, consider other content publishers like blogs, local magazines, and community groups.
Backlinks from local news outlets are great trust indicators. They also draw attention to your business locally. But make sure your story isn’t too promotional. Remember, it should be of interest to the local community and be useful and entertaining. After all, a local news outlet isn't likely to publish a promotion piece for your business.
4. Get Links by Sponsoring Local Events, Teams, and Organisations
You can gain many backlinks by hosting or sponsoring an event. Alternatively, you can sponsor a local community group, sport team, or local event. But make sure the link to your site is prominent on all marketing materials. You can also list the event on event directories, linking back to a page on your site.
To take this tactic to the next level, create a page on your site (this could be a blog post) talking about your involvement in the event, or why you chose to sponsor. Tell the story, share the great work of those you're sponsoring, and ask your partner to link to this page. This will ensure the link is highly relevant, and doesn't come off as "spammy".
5. Build Relationships
One of the most important ways of getting inbound links is by building relationships with other content providers. Approach other small businesses in your neighbourhood. Also contact experts and influencers in your industry. Offer to link back to their content if they’ll link back to yours. Remember, relevancy, trust, and value are important - don't go throwing around links just for the sake of it (it may actually hurt more than it helps).
Local back links demonstrate that you are a trusted local business and an authority in your field. Links of this kind are ideal if you want to improve your search engine rankings.
Provide value, build trust, and be useful
Getting inbound links boosts your brand and helps your SEO. Also, they add value to your own content. And links can help a new audience discover you. Remember, the links themselves are not the "goal" - brand awareness, leads, and sales are. Don't get caught up in "chasing backlinks" at the expense of providing useful, relevant content to your audience; you might rank, but who cares if everyone instantly clicks-off your site or never converts, right?
By posting great content and attracting high-quality backlinks, you can improve your visibility in search results over time. What's more, if your local competitors are not engaging in link building, it won't be long before they're wondering why your business dominates search results.