Much has been made in the world of SEO about the impact of Google’s “Penguin” update from last April and how this change to Google’s algorithm has shifted emphasis away from website back links towards the importance of valuable content and social sharing. While it is true that the Penguin update did indeed punish websites that took aggressive shortcuts with their SEO link building, especially with links that appeared unnatural; and while it is even more true today than it has ever been that quality content valued by your audiences (especially social audiences) is what Google rewards the most, there is still a place and purpose for an effective link building strategy within your ongoing SEO efforts.
When it comes to link building, Google rewards links coming from websites with an established history and an inherent, active audience. Websites with a loyal, strong following tend to generate great content, which in turn tends to get shared even more across other sites. These are the types of sites that, when linked back to your website, will help improve your visibility in natural search results. The secret to attracting these websites and receiving links from them lie in how you approach link building. The content you create and distribute needs to be optimized in such a way to encourage sharing and wherever possible, embed a link (or credit) back to your site.
Here are some tips to help you keep generating third-party links:
1) Blogger outreach
Blogs that link back to your site (or your blog,) or content that you create for third-party blogs where you receive an author credit through Google author tags will benefit your SEO efforts (make sure you have a Google+ profile page created to reap the full benefits of this.) Many blogs allow for guest posts, and a quick search online will help you uncover dozens of blogs in your industry that are aching to receive your valuable content! In addition, you can directly contact those blogs that you feel would benefit from what you have to say and ask those bloggers what kind of content they want to see — and offer to create it for them.
2) Blogger contest
Sponsor a blogger contest on your site and encourage bloggers to write about a topic of interest to your industry, with the winning blog entry capturing a prize. This way you get the advantage of several blogs writing and linking back to your site, and you can even ask other bloggers to nominate their friends and fellow bloggers to enter your contest, further keeping the initiative alive.
3) Photos, videos and infographics
Content takes many shapes and forms, and visual content tends to have a higher chance of being shared across sites. Infographics are a proven tactic in capturing links as a content-rich infographic with an embed code that links back to your site can generate several new links. Videos that you create, share and post on YouTube and Vimeo should also be properly optimized to contain links back to your site. Photos that you create and share with your content should be embeddable and you should ask for a photo credit and link whenever a blog or journal uses your photos.
4) Profile pages
Companies who promote their executives via press releases or articles should create a profile page of each executive on your website. That way when they are quoted in the media or if their photo is shared in an article, it is easier to ask for a link back to their specific profile page rather than to a generic home page.
These are just some ideas to keep your link building efforts going. It’s also a good idea to periodically audit and fix any broken existing links you already have. That way you can always be assured that your link strategy is constantly working to improve your search visibility.