Step one of an SEO program consists of all of the “start up” work; researching the industry online, competitive analysis, conducting keyword research, and implementing the selected keywords into on site content. Once all of that is completed, now it’s time to move on into step two of the SEO program which is link building. Step one is revisited from time to time, but step two is really one of the main ongoing component of SEO. Link building is necessary because the inbound links that point to a site are what help to convey trust to the search engine spiders. In addition, they help to generate traffic to your site. But remember not all links are created equal.
In order to keep things on track, it’s recommended to outline the link building strategy for at least 6 months or a year ahead. For a website owner that is completely new to SEO and link building, there will be plenty of items to fill up the strategy for the first few years. Items like submitting information to local sites and industry directories, blog commenting, press release distribution, article submission, and social media sharing keep the strategy moving forward in the beginning. However, usually somewhere between years 2 and 3 a website owner begins to wonder if there really are any more links to build. It seems to them that they have all of the most important ones.
What’s important to recognize is that no matter how long you’ve been working at building links, there will always be more opportunities. Eliminating or cutting back on SEO link building once a certain level of success has been attained is a mistake. Those results can gradually disappear over time if SEO isn’t maintained over the long term. The search engines like to see a steady online marketing effort, as opposed to drop offs and then quick upticks.
Even if all of the local profile and industry directory links have been exhausted, there are plenty of other ways to build links. Over the long term, the best link building campaign is one that has a strong content marketing component. The content that is published is what will get noticed and shared by others, building natural links back to your site, which really are the best types of links to have.
The first priority should be to get regularly updated, “fresh” content onto the actual website by incorporating a blog, press releases and news posts. Each of these posts is an additional opportunity to rank in the search engines for specific targeted keywords and to generate an inbound link from a third party that finds the content valuable. Another way to build up your inbound link portfolio is to look for guest posting opportunities on other sites “guest blogger”. Share your expertise in exchange for a link or two back to your site within an Author Bio section. In addition to improving your link portfolio, these guest blog posts can improve your visibility amongst target audience members. If a blog post is shared in social media it can also improve social signals, another ranking factor.
No matter how long you’ve been working at SEO and building links, there are always additional opportunities to take advantage of. They may be harder to attain, but usually that is a sign that the link is more valuable.