Let’s assume you know how powerful backlinks can be for your site. You’ve read how they are still one of the primary ranking criteria in Google’s algorithm, and seen where backlinks drove a site’s organic visibility and increased its domain authority. You’ve decided your site needs backlinks, now where to start?
There are many different strategies to build links to your site (guest posting, link reclamation, and content promotion are the ones we use most often). But before we advise anyone to begin a link building campaign, a review of their site and some basic improvements need to be made for the site to become an optimal link target.
What is an Off-Page SEO Link Target?
You know you need to build links, but what pages should you link to, and why? Does a link to any page on your site work? The simple answer is no. For a link building campaign to be really successful, one must be thoughtful about the targets you choose. At Portent, our SEO and Content Strategy teams help determine these targets and reassess them quarterly, but this is important to do even if you don’t have dedicated teams to help. Ideally, you will create a list of 10-15 pages on your site to build links to. The ideal link target pages are those which are:
- Highly converting
- Lacking in page authority
- Needing improvement in ranking for that page’s keywords
Location, Location, Location!
The links you place that point to pages on your site not only help the individual pages rank better—they also help lift organic visibility for the entire domain. Therefore, it is ridiculously crucial that your targets live on the Top Level Domain (TLD). There is absolutely no value in building links to a subdomain. Links built to www.blog.target.com have no effect on www.target.com, and any work you do is pointless. Before you begin a link building campaign, make sure your content is not on a subdomain.
Guest Posting Link Target Best Practices
If you’re going to begin a guest posting link building campaign, you’ll need great content on your site to link back to, once you land a guest posting opportunity. Here is a good checklist to use to evaluate the content to see if it’s linkworthy:
- Is it promotional? Link targets should not be “salesy” or over-promotional. Ideally, there is no pricing on the page or wording that tells customers to purchase your product specifically.
- Is it authoritative? The most successful link targets are high-level, trustworthy pieces of content that address a subject related, or tangential, to the site’s topic. For instance, a blog post titled “Our L3 Tires Called Tire of the Year!” will not be nearly as successful as a blog post titled “How to Choose the Best Winter Tires” when it comes to link building targets.
- Is it high-level? It is best for link targets to be pretty general (and therefore more helpful to a broader audience) in nature. For instance, “How Mitral Valve Regurgitation in Seniors Might Be Avoided” would be less useful as a target than “5 Tips for Keeping Your Heart Healthy at Any Age” would be.
Content Promotion is slowly becoming our bread-and-butter link building strategy. Creating amazing content and promoting it widely can move the needle pretty quickly. There are some best practices when creating content on your website to promote, and here are just a few:
- Create only one landing page. Publishing a report on two different pages, for instance, is not helpful. You will only want one link target for your campaign.
- Optimize the page you create. You will want someone savvy in technical SEO to weigh in on your topic, and provide on-page optimization.
- Your content can be on your blog. Your landing page can be on your company blog as long as it is not on a subdomain.
A Little Trick
Some companies want to build links to overly-promotional product pages that no one on the internet wants to link to. It could be a page that they get the vast majority of their conversions on. What to do? The answer: Jumplinks.
Put your piece of newsworthy content at the bottom of that highly converting page, and create a jump link to it. Then, when you promote the page as part of your campaign, give the media the jump link.
If your content is great, they will link.
Here is a handy little checklist to make sure you are ready to build links to your site. You should answer yes to all of these questions:
- Is your content (link target) on the TLD?
- Is your content authoritative?
- Is your content helpful?
- Have you optimized your content from an SEO perspective?
- Have you created and prioritized a list of 10-15 link targets?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you are on your way towards a successful link building campaign that, over time, will boost your organic visibility and garner results like nothing else can.