In the domain of SEO, content is king and backlinks are currency. Increasing the number of organic, inbound links to your website is one of the most powerful ways to increase your rankings.
But what are organic backlinks? More importantly, how do you get them?
Google loves Organic Backlinks
An organic backlink is the result of someone linking to your content from their website or social media page because they genuinely liked it.
It’s what naturally happens when people surf the web and find things they want to talk about, share or reference in some way. It means that your content has to be interesting enough for an anonymous audience to engage with. Natural engagement, sharing and interaction – this is what Google values.
If you take a step back and look at your website content from an outsiders perspective, how does it read? Does it address important questions and provide real answers? Is it funny? Controversial? Does it provide value that other pages of it’s kind don’t?
Or does it read like sales copy?
There’s nothing wrong with sales copy – but it’s important to realize that people are probably not going to share it on their Facebook page or link to it from their own website.
This means that if you want to encourage the growth of your organic backlink profile (for the purposes of SEO), you need to change your angle and create content that is engaging and share-worthy, right?
Let’s be realistic, if a plumber were to write the world’s best article on sump pump installation, is it likely to go viral? Probably not. And herein lies the conundrum. If your niche topic doesn’t revolve around a general interest “top 10″ sort of theme, chances are the only people that will find your content noteworthy are other people in the industry.
To a plumber, the other people in the industry are competitors. Competitors are more likely to re-purpose great content for their own use, rather than link to it and knowingly promote it.
Regardless, it’s still important to put quality, filler-less content on your webpages – primarily because your visitors will appreciate it. Also, since the Hummingbird update, Google’s “spiders” are better at understanding the language on a web page and determining how relevant and valuable it is to the reader.
Actively pursuing and building quality links isn’t really organic. But creating content and waiting for people to spread it around the internet is hardly a strategy you can build a web presence on. For the everyday business, receiving “link love” requires more tactical engagement and a lot of outreach.
Google’s distinction between white and gray hat link building keeps changing and it has a lot of webmasters and SEO’s concerned about the safety of their web assets. As most SEO’s know, a single Google algorithm update can drop rankings like a hot potato. Unnatural link profiles are being exposed, and SEO’s that have built careers on gaming the search engines are running for cover as client sites get “Google slapped”.
So how then do we build links safely? When it comes to your branded “money site”, we recommend staying well within the bounds of white-hat SEO. We build on-page SEO and quality written content so that it enhances the experience of the user and builds on the value of your products or services. Any inbound links will come from relevant and well curated sites with real visitors.
Our writing team is skilled at blogger outreach and can secure coveted guest posting positions on niche topical sites that actually rank because they provide value for their readers. These types of links are not easy to obtain and they present a real opportunity to get in front of readers and get some real link love.
What many people don’t realize is that when it comes to backlinks, it’s more about quality than quantity. Which means, you don’t necessarily need an abundance of links to compete with the big players in your industry. In fact, a page may rank because of a handful of real, quality links that are passing page rank “juice” to your site.
These types of links can be powerful. But we only recommend using artificial linking strategies on secondary niche sites, micro sites, authority properties (like Blogspot pages, Facebook or a Youtube video) or press releases. Pages or videos hosted on authority platforms respond very well to a steady influx of aggressive promotions. Which means they are less expensive to rank and carry little risk of a penalty. It’s very possible for a niche specific YouTube video to attract as many clicks as a robust corporate website on the same search engine results page.
The Future of Backlinking
There has been some discussion about the future of backlinks and whether they will continue to impact the rankings of a webpage to the same degree. Google’s position, as reported by Matt Cutts, is that the quantity and quality of backlinks will continue to be used to measure a website’s relevance at least for the foreseeable future. The longevity of your links and the value you get from them will be determined by your investment in white hat strategies.