So you’ve got a business website, but now you’re wondering what you can do to make it more visible in Google without spending a sh#t-load of cash. You’re not alone. After all, what’s the point in spending all that cash on a website for it to sit on page 30 of the Google search results?! There is no silver bullet, and we’ve described a number of ways of improving your web presence in previous articles. Today though, we explain what link building is, how it impacts your search engine ranking, 11 kick ass ways to build links and how to measure your success...
Once again, link building is a technique like so many others in online marketing; It’s FREE. Sort of. It just takes time and effort, once you know how. Let’s also get one thing straight, link building is kind of an umbrella term for so many different online marketing tactics. It’s the “hidden aim” behind a lot of the online marketing tactics you’ll read about all over the web.
So let’s not get too excited, we’re not revealing the “Silver Bullet”. But what we ARE doing is shining a light on the main reason why a lot of online marketing tactics exist. We’ll provide you the principles behind the tactics and give you some actionable ideas you can implement on your link building journey.
What Is Link Building?
Put simply, link building is the act of building links that point from “other” websites TO your website. The more links you have, and the better these links are, the higher you will be ranked by search engines like Google. So for example, if you are a Metal Pressing Manufacturer in the Midlands and someone types ‘Metal Pressings Supplier Midlands’ into Google, you will appear higher up on the search results if you have links to your website from other reputable websites in related industries.
To break it down, your website address is what’s known as a URL (uniform resource locator) and each page on your site will have a unique URL. Other websites can create links to your site using these URLs, meaning users can click on the link and arrive at your website.
Why Do Links Mean Higher Search Engine Ranking?
Simply put it’s about credibility, authority and reliability. A backlink to your website is like a “vote” for your website. The more backlinks you have, the more votes you have. The more votes you have, the more seriously search engines like Google will take you, rewarding you with higher search engine rankings.
What Do These “Backlinks” Look Like?!
Links to your website can be referred to as inbound links, backlinks or just links. Regardless of the term used, a link to your website consists of some key things.
The URL - this is as described above, it’s the web address of the page the link points to
The Anchor Text - this is the set of words that appear to the reader of the page on which the link is placed. e.g. This is the anchor text for a link to one of our articles on Keywords. Anchor text should contain keywords you are targeting in your content.
The alt text - this is the “alternative text” that the search engine can read and it’s the text that appears when you hover over a link. Hover over this link.
That’s the mechanics out the way. Link building is the action of purposely seeking to grow the number of links pointing towards your website. This very article I’m writing will in itself generate a number of backlinks to this very website page, but it won’t do it by itself! We take very purposeful action here at Manufacturing Network once an article is written there’s a whole host of activity. The article is the fuel, we still need to take action to BUILD links.
Why Would Someone Link To My Website?
But why would another website link to your website? Well, you might have something worth linking to. As I mentioned above, that could be great content, like articles others might want to reference when they’re writing an article for their own website.
Alternatively you may have agreed to mutually link to another website because you both get the benefit of an additional inbound link.
It’s also possible to write guest posts for another website and include your URL. More on this below…
Then there's links from social networking profiles, business directory profiles, other search engines, the list goes on.
There are a tonne more reasons why another website may link to yours. Understanding them and going after them is the fundamental activity of link building.
But there is a fundamental truth behind the ease, or difficulty of getting high value links (those that have lots of 'Link Juice') and Shaun Anderson from Hobo Internet Marketing sums it up pretty well.
'Getting other sites to link to yours is easy when you have content worth linking to...'
3 Key Points To Remember About Backlinks
1 - Link Building Is A Continuous Activity
Firstly, this is a continuous activity rather than something that is done once and then forgotten about. This is easier if you have a continual stream of content, as you'll soon run out of the 'low hanging fruit'.
2 - Not All Back Links Are Equal In Value
Secondly, not all links are of equal value. Links need to be relevant and come from reputable, authoritative sources. Google has spent a lot of time ensuring links are high quality and will rank accordingly (e.g. a link from a leading industry source or a news source such as The Guardian will score high) in contrast Google will penalise against ‘black hat’ techniques such as ‘spamming’ non-relevant sites, paying for links or using things called link farms.
If you want to know more about black hat techniques you should avoid for link building and Search Engine Optimisation generally, take a look at this article explaining SEO for UK Manufacturers.
A lot of information on link-building is aimed at ‘internet marketers’ rather than ‘real business marketers’ such as manufacturers, so we’ve put together some advice that works for real businesses.
3 - It's About Web Pages, Not Websites
In the case of small to medium sized businesses where web traffic is modest, as with UK Manufacturers, it's worth focusing your link building campaign at a couple of key pages. This boosts the prominence of that web page in the search engine results of the general Search Engines. The sensible choice is your website's homepage, so stick with that for now.
11 Tactics Your Manufacturing Business Can Build Back Links
How To Measure Your Backlink Building Progress
This is simple and FREE. The answer is Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). It’s a way of monitoring your website’s health and is much simpler than Google Analytics.
It takes a bit of setup but your office web developer or tech whiz should be able to deal with it if you find it a bit too complex or daunting.
Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to use Google Search Console. Within Google Search Console, you can see the links to your site and this provides a comprehensive list and total number of all the websites that contain links to your website. This is the figure you’re trying to boost!
So you can see that there are a number of easy ways that you can generate backlinks to your website. As long as you’ve got some worthwhile content on your website, which you should have, then it’s quite straightforward. It’s not too time consuming, although the general rule is - the more work required to get the link, the more valuable that link is!
Also, don’t forget that link building is not a one-off activity and don’t forget to monitor and measure your progress.
As with a lot of conventional online marketing activities, link building is only free in theory. Link building will require a lot of your time, and once again revolves a lot around creating content like articles and guides. Link building however is an accessible way of increasing the visibility of your website to potential new customers in major search engines like Google.
As Google software engineer Matt Cutts says, backlinks ‘are still a really, really big win in terms of quality of our search results’. So if you’re serious about taking on Google and making your website more visible in the monster search engine, link building is clearly an essential activity.
Bonus Resources For Further Reading
There are a bunch of resources out there on Link Building, but I wanted to recommend some that will be a little more appropriate for you, the UK Contract Manufacturer. So here we go...
Beginners Guide To Link Building - Moz.com
Although it says beginners guide, a better description may be 'Ultimate Guide'. It will take you a while to make your way through the whole guide, but I'd recommend spending a little time on Chapter 4. It expands on the tactics I've listed in this article, and gives some cool examples of how you might go about reaching out to other website owners to build links.
Definitive Guide To Link Building - Backlinko
This is an absolute monster of a resource, but you'll feel like a back linking expert once you've had a good read through this guide. It's actually available as a PDF download which you can print off and go all 'old-skool' on it's ass.
10 Local Link Building Strategies - SEMrush
This article expands on some of the tactics provided in this article, but also goes on to provide some other ideas that may be useful. This article will be really useful if you want some more detailed information about some of the tactics I've described here. But don't forget, if you want more detail, you can always just reach out! Comment below or email me here!
7 Elements Of The Perfect Backlink - SEMrush
Getting into some of the detail here, but it's worth it! I've touched on the fact that not all links are equal in value, but this article explains what the Perfect Backlinks look like. That's maximum backlink-juice style backlinks! Although these types of links may be a little out of reach right now, it's always useful to have an idea of what's possible.
Rand Fishkin always explains things in a way that's slightly mesmerising, that's probably why I like this one so much! But it really is an awesome overview and insight into the world of Link Building and in fact the world of SEO. There's lots of advice and guides out there that can provide completely conflicting examples, not here though - Rand clears all these misconceptions up and takes the 'fear' out of link building in an ethical, search engine friendly way!
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