The 3 Strategies of Link Building – Why & How You Build Links
October 14, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park
Do you even know why you’re building links to your site? Links are the currency of the web and are immensely valuable because of the traffic potential that they represent. In the online world, traffic equals money so it’s no surprise that webmasters frantically build links with various techniques hoping to explode exposure and become the “next big thing”.
But really, do you know why you’re building links? Your reply may be “to gain traffic”, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. Depending on your goal and your purpose, your strategies will differ wildly. If you don’t know WHY you’re building links, then you won’t know HOW either.
So what are the main reasons why webmasters build links? The 3 main strategies are listed below.
- Branding exposure
- SEO value
- Direct traffic
Of course you’ll use a combination of all 3 depending on your site and situation, but it’s important to know your motivation behind your link building efforts.
1. Branding exposure
If you’re looking to build a brand online, you need to put emphasis on your brand name – especially when building links to your site. For example, would Pepsi aim for links that say “cola drink” to its site? Of course not. They spend millions of dollars every year to increase exposure for the Pepsi brand with extravagant advertisements and sponsorships.
If your main focus in building links is to build up your brand, then you need to concentrate on getting as many eyeballs as possible to your brand. Buy banner ads in highly visible sections on top sites in your niche, use a familiar logo in all banner ad creative, and place your brand name in link anchor text (e.g. Winning the Web instead of Internet Marketing Strategies). With the ultimate goal of branding exposure, you want to make your potential customers associate your site with a particular niche or idea. This can be done by constantly reminding them of your brand name (in links and in banner ads on related sites) everywhere they go.
2. SEO value
A big reason why links are so valuable is because search engines use them as a large factor in determining the rankings for search results pages. All other variables being the same, a site with more inbound links will usually outrank competing sites with fewer links for relevant keywords.
If your main focus for building links is to increase your rankings in the search engines, you’re going to have to take a different approach than if you were looking for branding exposure. For SEO value, you have to ensure that the link anchor text you are aiming for is more general in nature and keyword-rich (e.g. “internet marketing” rather than “winning the web”). This will enable your site to rank more favorably for those targeted keywords. You should also favor text links rather than images and ensure that your links are not using the nofollow attribute so that they pass value.
In order to increase rankings for your targeted keywords, you need to constantly build links from a wide array of sources using varied link anchor text. Text links on high authority sites will be especially valuable for this cause. There are hundreds of methods for attaining links for SEO, but we won’t get into those here.
3. Direct traffic
Finally, the last reason for building links is for direct traffic. Not only do you seek branding exposure and higher search engine rankings, but you also want users to click through to your site from the link. This will always be a benefit of a link (in fact, it’s the main function of a link) but there are instances when you might want to engage in a link building campaign specifically for the direct traffic.
For example, if you want to promote timely content such as a news article, a long term branding or SEO effort probably won’t be effective. Instead, you can build links in a way that will provide a short burst of traffic with high impact. When I build buzz around my contests, I focus on links from blog reviews, press releases, and social media sites to provide a huge influx of new visitors. Sure, these links have long term value as well, but I’m more concerned about the immediate traffic potential.
I’ve found that links for direct traffic usually need to be surrounded by descriptive text that explains the benefits of your content and uses a call to action. The more enticing your link, the better.
What’s your strategy?
Now that you know the 3 strategies for link building, you’ll be able to better tailor your campaigns around each of them. Knowing the ‘why’ will facilitate the ‘how’.
Which of the 3 strategies do you focus your link building efforts on? Have your efforts been in line with your motivations? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.