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A Beginner's Guide to Content Strategy for the Web: 10 Things You Need to Know
Be in demand Learn the latest tech skills to propel your career forward. Learn More. School of Data Science. Finally, consider the fact that every website not highlighted wouldn't be in the search without the help of SEO. The highly competitive, lucrative search terms are dominated by SEO efforts. Google has a vested interest in managing SEOs. If we're able to manipulate low-quality websites into search, we could affect their bottom line, no matter how many non-organic elements they include in search.
Before we optimize a page for search, we should first consider if the page actually belongs at the top of search results. If it doesn't, our efforts might be wasted for two reasons:. Google wants to return the most relevant results for searchers. Any wins we experience might be short term if our page doesn't deserve the rankings. SEO is deeply strategic by nature: identifying opportunity within an industry, performing competitor analysis, implementing and testing changes, tracking results.
It can be easy to push the bounds of optimization, but it's more important now than ever before to stick to SEO best practices. Follow Google's guidelines to both the letter and the spirit. The easiest way to manipulate a website to the top of search is to build manipulative links, since links have the highest impact on ranking. Google works hard to keep their search results clear of these manipulative practices with both manual and algorithmic Penguin penalties. These penalties will remove a site from search. This means we have to only build meaningful links that improve human experience on the web.
All search engines use links as a core ranking signal within their search algorithms. In turn, Google is constantly improving the relevance and quality of their search results, finding new ways to cut through the noise and rank the best and most relevant results. Google improves their understanding of links with major algorithmic updates.
Specifically, with machine learning. There are a variety of ways to build good links that will continue to have a positive impact on your website. Google often talks about relevance: in their results, in satisfying user intent, and meeting user needs. Back in an ex-Googler actually said in an interview with James Norquay that "relevance is the new PageRank". Quality links add value to the web by improving user human experience.
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We want every link we build to be valuable to:. If we adhere to creating links that are valuable for all parties, then we make the web a better place — while improving the rankings of our client's websites. At the core of the original PageRank algorithm are authority and trust. The more links you have to your site, the more valuable your own links are. This is because Google counts links as a sign of authority and trust. Therefore, as you accrue more links you accrue more authority and trust.
Although only search engines have access to the PageRank Algorithm, there are a few tools that let us measure the authority and trust of a website:. As SEOs, technical considerations are always top-of-mind.
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We'll avoid a link that might have search value but falls short on our other metrics relevance and human value. We'll also secure a link that may not have much, if any, SEO impact nofollow links , but that advance the reputation, reach, and value of a site. We want links that both humans AND search engines will reward. Here are the technical considerations of a link:. In link building, tactics are the method used to secure links. Strategy is the plan designed to accomplish your goal.
There are hundreds of various link building tactics including broken link building, link reclamation, content promotion, resource link building, influencer outreach, guest blogging, to name just a few. It's not enough to secure links for the sake of links. You need to know why you're securing links. What pages are you going to build links to?
What keywords do the pages target? How competitive is the niche? What opportunities exist? Answer these questions, and you'll have a link building campaign strategy. Strategy is rarely discussed in SEO because each strategy varies client-to-client, website-to-website.
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Each campaign plan strategy must be customized to your goals, assets, resources, and opportunities. Let's cover the basic research and analysis you should perform in order to create a strategic plan to guide your link acquisition. In link building, that means your backlink profile. There are numerous tools that will help you discover what sites and pages link to your own website.
These are typically referred to as "backlink explorers". Depending on the age and popularity of your website, as well as the link economy in your niche, your backlink profile can vary greatly. I strongly recommend performing this same analysis on your competitors, as well. We'll cover more of this in the niche analysis stage.
Once you have a strong understanding of your own website's backlink profile, you're ready to perform a linkable asset analysis. You need to be strategic about which pages you secure links to. These pages need to align with your goals. Unfortunately, it's very rare that you can build links directly to your converting or money pages, for two reasons. If you only target people actively searching to buy a product or service in that moment, you miss a large part of your marketing audience.
This is typically known as the marketing funnel. Image from Wikimedia Commons. In order to successfully build links across your industry, you'll need pages SEOs refer to as " linkable assets ". They can be guides, lists, videos, tools, resources, events, sponsorships, testimonials, etc. It won't always be a direct opportunity to create customers or clients, either. Remember our marketing funnel above; often, linkable assets target the awareness and interest part of the funnel, helping create brand awareness and affinity.
Finding linkable assets often boils down to locating pages that are popular with your audience, and offer good answers for commonly searched phrases in your industry. Your goal in this stage of your research and analysis is to find pages you can successfully build links to, and serve your business's goals. Keyword research is a vital piece of any SEO strategy. You need to identify keywords important to your industry and website. Optimization is core to SEO, but you can't optimize unless you understand the terms you should be optimizing across your site and pages.
This is a deep topic you can spend a considerable amount of time on in SEO. For link building, I recommend focusing on the pages you plan to build links to your linkable assets. It's not enough to understand the performance and goals of your own website. You need to understand how your competitors are achieving their goals, as well as the communities and opportunities across your niche. You need to understand what's led to success for the competition, relationship opportunities across your niche, important link tactics, and the general linking environment.
It takes dedicated research and analysis to determine opportunity, resources, and challenges to achieving set goals. If you've invested the time and energy into analyzing linkable assets, backlink profiles, keywords, and the competition you should have a clear understanding of the project. The term link building is actually counterintuitive, because we do not control the creation of the coded link.
Manual link building is human-to-human marketing, promoting your page to another site owner with the goal of securing a link. If you include these three elements in your link building process, you'll secure valuable links. Links that will help both your marketing and search engine visibility. There are a thousand different methods, often referred to as link building tactics. Typical ways to create value — and thus links — include creating resources valuable to your industry, creating content for your audience, and contributing to your community. Online resources take a variety of forms: curated lists, tools, complex guides, often-needed documents, and more.
The value is very straightforward: create a page that serves as a valuable resource to your market, niche, and community. Contributing content to relevant publications, blogs, and websites is another common link building tactic. This link building method should be used to target high authority websites within your niche. It's also a fantastic method to foster relationships, establish an audience, and build a reputation across your industry. No company should operate in a silo. As you build relationships across your industry, your site should naturally accrue links.
But, if you're active and consistently engaged in community events you should be building quality links. This is typically a long-term tactic. You should scrutinize any way in which your business adds value to the community — typically, there are at least a few link opportunities surrounding community events. Thankfully, many in the SEO community are willing to share their experience, expertise, and experiments. There is no secret shortcut to securing quality links. Every link should be useful for your website, the website linking, and their audience.
Link building is both a science and an art: technical knowledge and analytical skills are necessary, but the defining element is human creativity. Want to work with a top SEO agency? If you have a website and want traffic from search, you need to consistently secure good links from relevant websites. That means link building. Links are valuable in search engine optimization SEO. Links are valuable in audience development. Links are valuable for marketing. Link Building Overview. The Value of Links. How Search Works. Link Building Strategy. Link Building Tactics. Link Building Resources.
Final Thoughts. A Link Building Basic Overview. The What: Link building is the process of securing a link on an independent website back to your own site or a client's. The Why: Google search is based around links. The When: Link building gained popularity with the rise of Google in , and is still vital today in The Who: SEOs, marketers, and website owners use link building to increase traffic to their site through search. Back To Top. Links are fundamental to the existence of the web. There are two primary reasons marketers and businesses should be concerned with links:.
Links are the primary means of online navigation, directing humans from one web page to another. Humans inherently associate links as a signal of authority and trust. Search engines e. Google consider links a "vote of confidence" from one website to another, and use links as a signal of authority, trust, and relevance. Navigating The Web. Links are the primary means of navigating the web. There are essentially three ways to navigate to a page: Bookmark a page.
Type the full URL path into your browser. Click a link. Links as a ranking signal. Search is a primary channel of traffic for most businesses online.
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Intentional Links. Quality links don't happen by accident. Links don't happen, otherwise. In order to secure a link, you need to demonstrate value in a persuasive manner. Further Reading. Google stores their index in numerous data centers, which are incredibly large and complex. SEO Categories. Technical, On-page, and Off-page links. Technical SEO. On-Page SEO. Off-Page SEO. Off-page typically refers to links, although it can also include citations. Off-page SEO typically refers to links. How Google Makes Money.
To better understand search, let me show you a search for 'coffee':. The Knowledge Graph Orange The Knowledge Graph is Google's attempt at explaining real-world information, instead of relying upon another website to answer searcher needs. The Ad Yellow The advertisement represents Google's revenue. Ads are how Google makes money within search. Link Signals AnD Metrics: quality assurance. Link Quality is key! Google's link algorithm is Nicknamed penguin.
Human Value. Technical Considerations. Relevance In Link Quality. We determine relevance at Page One Power by asking pertinent questions, before we secure a link:. Questions To Determine Link Relevance. Would I be excited to show this link to a client? To a family member? To another SEO? Is this link relevant to the surrounding context?
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