January 20, 2014
In the digital marketing world, there are two things that you should be doing on a continuous basis: content production and link building. Without these two, you may not be able to attract the target traffic from different channels and this as a whole will affect your conversion rate.
Link building is tough and boring, but at the same time important as it is vital to increase your standing with Google. For this purpose, one has to get their hands dirty and play this game on a regular basis. Building links is one matter but how can you get natural (organic) links?
What Are Natural Links?
Natural linking refers to a pattern of visible, prominent, naturally occurring links that are the result of website content creators trying to add value to their website.
This clearly means that the link that you manually add to the directory or the link that you are getting from some website in result of a reciprocal deal is not set under the definition of naturally occurring links.
How to Get Natural Links?
Getting or generating links is not actually a process but rather it is the result of a long difficult process and hard work that one has to carry on for a long period of time.
Doesn’t matter what your niche is, if you continue to build your brand, engage your audience (online and offline), constantly produce useful and relevant content then you will be able to get natural links that point back to your website.
In this post I will explain in detail about how to build natural links to your website:
Even if you have an amazing, creative marketing strategy and a big marketing budget, but your product doesn’t serve the purpose and the consumers are not satisfied, then you don’t stand a chance of competing with your competition or being in the same arena even. Keep in mind the first P of the 4 Ps of marketing that is the product (or service). If the first element of your marketing mix is useless, then why bother putting in effort in the other three (place, price and promotion)? Focusing on the SEO industry, there are tons of tools available and several new ones show up every month, but there are very few that started out small and after a few years through consistent effort, put in by their creators, gained a reputable and prominent position in the SEO industry.
Moz, previously known as SEOMoz, is considered to be one of the most authoritative companies in the SEO world. You can read the complete history of Moz, written by Rand Fishkin.
Moz is a great product and that is the only reason why there are multiple links like ‘Here is why I love SEOmoz!’ and ‘Community Building Ideas – Cracking Moz Community’ that point back to it. Similarly like me, there are literally 100s of others blogs that naturally link to Moz because of the product itself.
Write “Review Moz.com” in Google’s search tab and you will literally see about 7 figure results in the Google search results.
I reached out to Rand and asked him whether having a great product is important for getting natural links to the website. This was Rand’s response:
Very important. Natural links come to stuff people want to link to – the better the product/service, the higher the percent of people visiting who’ll want to share.
- Continuous Content Development
If you have a fantastic product, in order to gain better exposure, increase traffic and keep your audience engaged, you have to write and develop content on a continuous basis.
Creating evergreen content on a regular basis is very important if you are looking to get some natural links. Try to get your content optimized for search engines, (especially for long tail informational queries) so that when people search for similar content they can easily find you and possibly link to your content.
Raven tool is another renowned SEO tool which has a spectacular blog that they update quite often. The content that they update is usually related to the industry that is helpful enough to engage their audience to read and also share it with others.
When you create engaging and evergreen content on a consistent basis, you slowly witness a community around your brand that starts talking about you, mentioning what they read on other platforms and blogs (within the content, in comments, in QnAs, etc.).As a result you get multiple kinds of natural links from diversified ways.
I agree not all the links that you get are going to be of high quality but if you keep creating GREAT content, you can possibly get the highest quality links naturally without putting in much effort.
I asked Ian Lurie whether continuous content production is necessary to get links naturally and this is what he had to say:
Note: Special thanks to DaniZehra for reaching out to Ian.
YES, absolutely. Here’s why:
Content includes things like product descriptions, imagery and your ‘pitch.’ You should always be improving this content, because folks link to product/service pages, too. I call this ‘business content.’
Most folks mean ‘editorial content’ when they say ‘content,’ though, so I’ll cover that as well:
Every new piece of content allows you to announce that content. When you do so, you put your site in front of your audience and increase the chance of sharing to friends of friends. That increases the chances of another site owner seeing your content and linking to it.
Evergreen content can always garner more links as folks find it over time. It’s a resource that’ll always be useful, so it offers a long-term opportunity to build links.
Every piece of content lets you focus on another niche (or the same one). That always helps with link building, since you get to focus on what Seth Godin calls “The Weird.” A super-focused audience that, when they see your content, will be compelled to take action.
In order to get links naturally to your website, you need to spend lot of time on social media platforms. Do some research to find which social media platforms are most suitable for you and create an active base there!
For SEO, mostly Twitter and Google+ are known as the main platforms where the traffic stays. All you have to do is to build a strong base there and interact with your community.
Dan Sharp (@screamingfrog) is absolutely brilliant when it comes to interaction with the community and users who are using his product.
Similarly, Jason Acider’s profile on Google+ is one of the great examples of successful, participative interaction with the audience on Google’s fastest growing social networking platform.
When you continuously interact with your audience on social media platforms, they tend to remember you and they are more likely to invite you in crowdsourced posts, interviews or for sharing view points, which leads to one or multiple links on different parts of your website.
Sometimes, I have seen people automatically get information from your social profile; they link and mention you in their posts.
When I asked Dan Sharp, if he really thinks engaging the audience leads to natural links, this is how he responds to my question:
Yes, you just mentioned we had interacted on Twitter & you’re about to link to me in this very post, right!? I think communicating in whatever form with your target audience & building relationships has certainly proved to help influence the likelihood of having them talk about you or your brand.
I think the key is to understand your target audience. Are you targeting a certain persona, customer segment, a busy journalist or blogger? What are their interests, what do they share, what do they care about? Obviously you’ll need a reason to interact, or a value proposition of some kind – whether it’s sharing an opinion, a piece of content or solving a problem. Like all good relationships, there won’t just be a single interaction as well and it might take time to develop!
- Participating In Different Communities
You can’t get natural links just by updating kick-ass content and spreading the word about it through Tweets; you need to do more than that. Participating in different niche related communities is very important, which includes other blogs, QnA platforms, forums where peers and influencers are already present.
I am quite active on Moz’sQnA section and Inbound.org community. In Moz community, I rank 8th out of thousands of people.
And on Inbound.org, I am in the list of top 25 members who actively participate in the community.
Jason Acider is the top contributor at Inbound, so I asked him whether participating in relevant communities leads to natural links, and he responded:
It really depends on the value that you are able to contribute to the communities you’re trying to build your presence in. Since, being active alone doesn’t necessarily mean that your brand will become instantly linkable.
Demonstrating your expertise is what will make this type of marketing approach more efficient, so it doesn’t just have to be based on how much you are involved within the community, but rather how consistent you are in providing useful/helpful/actionable pointers to the rest of the community.
For instance, on Inbound.org, submitting great content on a regular basis is just a fraction of how other members will perceive you as an expert in the field, as you also have to ensure that people will also be aware of your own content marketing efforts.
Communities are basically a medium for branding, relationship building and content discovery, so that other enthusiasts/publishers get to see your own work (which is the part that can help make your brand more linkable).
Acquiring links naturally is tough and a time consuming job, but one has to do this and it really pays of well in terms of traffic and conversion growth.
Do you get natural links to your website? Please share with us what techniques you use to do so.