The Importance of Quality Link Building on Your Company Blog

Chain metal link laid out across wood floor

Your company’s reach online through basic search engine optimization can yield seemingly limitless results. However, anywhere you find an opportunity, there will be competition. The importance of quality link building is essential to a successful SEO campaign. Employing this tactic boosts your ability to outrank the competition in organic search results. It also helps reach your target audience in a way that establishes your business as an authority in your niche.  

But how do you get started with a successful link-building campaign? As a small business owner, you’re inundated with daily tasks while facing vast competition in your industry across the board. You want to separate yourself from the pack, but do you really want to add ANOTHER task to your ever-expanding daily checklist?

This post offers an in-depth guide to the link-building process. We’ll start by discussing link building and its importance to your business.  Then, we’ll take you through an actionable journey to help develop and implement a quality link-building strategy for your website. Are you ready to get started?

Let’s dive in! 

What Is Link Building?

Link building is the process through which a website owner works to acquire hyperlinks to their website from external websites. 

Link Building written with a background of hands and computers

Link building has many benefits, including helping to improve websites by developing consistent link structuring.  

Put simply, link building is a strategy to get your website to rank better. You reach a wider audience by having other websites link to it.  

The link-building process involves putting strategies in place that allow marketers to increase the number and quality of two types of links:

  • Internal Links 
  • Inbound Links (Backlinks)

Using internal and inbound links and strategies to get and maintain them is a crucial part of link building for SEO.

Internal Links

An internal link is any link on your website that links to any other page on your website. Search engines and users use these links to navigate your website. Internal links help to establish the relationship between content and provide other benefits. 

One such benefit is using the existing authority of a page on your website to suggest the authority and relevance of newly-published pages.

Most link-building advice is focused on an inbound link-building strategy (acquiring backlinks). However, internal link building provides improved SEO and a better user experience.  

Types of internal links include both navigational and contextual. 

Type of Internal LinkWhere They Are UsedFunctional Use
Navigational linksNavigation Bars, Headers, Footers, etc.Help users and search engines navigate and find pages on the website
Contextual linksWithin content such as posts, articles, etc.Refer readers to related content, suggest a relationship between pages, and lend the authority of an existing page to a new page

Inbound Links (Backlinks)

Inbound link building is the process through which you get other website owners to link to your website.  

Inbound links (backlinks) can provide a range of benefits, including:

  1. Visibility: Increases the visibility of your website by placing your content in front of your target audience.
  2. Authority: Uses an established website’s authority and relevance to improve how search engines rank the value and authority of your website.
  3. Rank: Helps your website rank higher organically and get indexed faster.

To get backlinks to your website, you need to provide value to the website owner where you want a link. 

How you provide value will depend upon the type of website you want to host your link to and how your website relates to it. You can provide value by

  • Writing guest posts
  • Developing guides or tools helpful to their audience
  • Offering professional opinions for articles

Why Is Link Building Important?

Both internal and backlinks help search engines find your website and establish it as a credible and valuable resource.  Since most search engines want a great user experience, they rely upon links from credible sources to determine if the content is relevant to a search query and is of high quality.  

Additionally, link building for SEO does more than just help you outrank the competition. It can help your business better connect with a broader audience through the types of content you create.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the benefits of link building.

Regulate the Content On Your Website

Link building is a process that should be intentional and well-planned. It influences the types of content you publish.  The general intention of this process is to improve your website’s search engine optimization. A direct effect of this strategy is that the content on your website is better relegated.

Enhance User Experience

During the link-building process, you undergo efforts such as

  • Improving navigation
  • Linking to relevant content
  • Creating content essential to your readers.

These actions improve your website’s ranking in search results and directly improve the user experience.  

Improve Rank in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

The importance of quality link building ultimately helps your small business rank higher on search engine results pages. Not only does better ranking for keywords and topics that matter to your customers improve your brand presence, but it also puts your business directly in front of people already searching for the products and services you offer.

In short, improving your rank in search engines helps you reach and connect with your target audience.

Amplify Your Business’s Online Reputation

In any business, you want to come to mind when a need arises for the goods and services you offer. Link building enhances your business’s digital presence in such a way that it positions you in the forefront of people’s minds, establishes you as a trusted source, and extends the reach of your content.

Developing Your Website’s Internal Linking Structure

The internal linking structure of your website is a plan for how pages, posts, and content are related. This structure defines the content you publish, determines how pages and posts are linked, and specifies essential content to your strategy.

A solid internal linking structure is a guiding tool for content development and a way to pass authority from established pages on your website to new pages and posts.  

Benefits of developing an internal linking structure include:

  • Improved Search Engine Recognition: Search engines better recognize the topic of your content and how it relates to your targeted keywords
  • Higher Authority: Your website will have better authority in a broader subject area as opposed to trying to rank for one search term with one page.
  • Better User Navigation: Planned structure leads to better navigation and more relevant content, leading to a better user experience.
  • Rank New Content Faster: New content on your website will rank faster in organic search results 

What Is the Topic Cluster Model?

Although several types of linking structures are in use today, many theorize that the topic cluster model is the best strategy to work with current search algorithms. Within the Topic Cluster Model, marketers plan primary “pillars” with supporting “cluster” content developed within that broader topic.

Developments in neural nets used by search engines, such as Google, have advanced their understanding of relationships between various topics and interests. To provide a better user experience, these search engines want to get people to high-quality content and articles that facilitate a more natural journey for a reader through and around a given topic.

Research from the University of Massachusetts captures the benefits of this shift in how search engines decide which content is most helpful to users.

It is important to note that the topics generated by the present model are not hierarchical.  Although they could be organized into one or more hierarchies […], they are fundamentally faceted. This is an advantage in that it does not force the model to choose the most likely way in which a reader will approach a given book.”

The University of Massachusetts

This research suggests that by allowing content to be more faceted (or, for the terms of our topic, clustered), users will benefit from finding and exploring books (content) quicker and better understanding the relationship between the books. The paper also states:

The resulting topical clusters can be interpreted as subject facets, allowing readers to browse the topics of a collection quickly, find relevant books using topically expanded keyword searches, and explore topical relationships between books.”

How To Apply the Topic Cluster Model to Your Small Business Website

Let’s look at the Topic Cluster model in action.

Step 1: Examine Your Website’s Existing Content

If you have an existing website, your existing content is the best place to start.  This analysis should examine:

  • The broader topics into which content is a natural fit
  • How this content performs
  • If this content supports business goals
  • If there are popular topics related to your existing content that you haven’t addressed.  

Step 2: Organize Content Into Categories

After examining your existing content, the next step is to organize it into categories, or “content pillars.”  These content pillars should not be based on individual keywords but on broad (but defined) topics of interest.

It is important to note that these should not be hierarchical groups composed of parent topics and subtopics. Instead, these pillars should contain a range of “clusters” in which you can plan and publish content.

If you are having difficulty identifying how you should support your pillars with clusters, an excellent tool to identify potential topics is AnswerThePublic.com. This tool can help you identify areas of intent and give you a better picture of what people want to read.

AnswerThePublic.com homepage screenshot

Step 3:  Locate Any Content Disparities

The next step toward building your topic cluster strategy is identifying all pillars and clusters with content disparities.  These can include things such as

Type of Content DisparityPotential Action(s)
One pillar has vastly more content clusters than othersExamine the pillar to see if it should be split into two separate pillarsAssess the possibility of developing additional cluster content for pillars that lack sufficient information
Pillars do not support current business goals, but the content ranks wellDecide if the content’s authority is worth bringing the wrong customers to your website. Determine if the content could be reworked to support current goals
Content pillars are too nicheResearch the content pillar to see if it falls within a broader topic. Consider expanding the pillar to include additional topic clusters using your keyword research
There is not enough content (or no content) for a given pillarScrutinize why you chose to add this pillar when you don’t have existing content. Determine if this pillar would better fit as a topic cluster instead. Prioritize this pillar in your content development 

Step 4: Do Keyword Research

As with any search engine optimization strategy, keyword research is key! However, there are a few unique considerations for the topic cluster model.

Use a keyword research tool to consider the following:

  • Do the exact primary keywords for existing content belong in the content pillar?
  • What are some new long-tail keywords that would be a natural fit for the content pillars?
  • What keywords have performed well for your website in the past, and are there related keywords upon which you could capitalize?
  • How competitive is the space for any new content pillars you’ve identified as opportunities?

Step 5: Create a Posting Calendar To Fill In Content Gaps

The final step to implementing the topic cluster model is to create a posting calendar to fill content gaps.  

hand marking a calendar clipart graphic

To create your content calendar, follow these steps:

  1. Determine your team’s availability to generate content.  How many articles or posts per week are feasible?
  2. Determine when the content should be published.  Do you post a new article every Monday, a how-to guide on Thursday, and an editorial on Sunday mornings?  Or do you prefer a more laid-back approach, such as publishing content every Friday?  Whatever your posting schedule is, add it to your work calendar as a recurring event.
  3. Next, review Step 3: Locate Any Content Disparities to examine the priorities in content development. Add these to your content publishing schedule.  
  4. Reserve a recurring time on your calendar to review the results and repeat these steps as needed.

Building Quality Backlinks to Your Small Business Blog

Building backlinks (inbound links) to your website is a process that gets other websites to link to yours to build authority and relevance.

When somebody performs a search online, search engines must decide which pages deliver the best information to meet that user’s needs. In today’s competitive landscape, with potentially hundreds of thousands of results, backlinks are not only a good tool to use to help your website rank–they are crucial to rank at all.

shaking hands with city in background

Search engines use algorithms to examine the relevance and authority of your content to the user’s search. Relevance predicts how likely the content is to answer the user’s question and authority suggests how trustworthy the content is. With the amount of content available online, there are almost always pre-existing sources of trustworthy information.  Therefore, the importance of quality link building is a major factor in your ability to rank.

What Are the Different Types of Backlinks?

  • Guest Blogging Backlinks: A process through which you provide a blog post to another website owner in exchange for them linking to your website.
  • Editorial Backlinks: A type of backlink where a website decides independently to refer to your website as a valuable tool or resource.
  • Relationship-based Backlinks: Links acquired through building and maintaining mutually-beneficial relationships between your website and industry leaders or influencers.
  • Acknowledgment Backlinks: Links published by a business or organization that acknowledge sponsors, donors, etc.
  • Free Tool Backlinks: Links that refer to your website as a source for a free tool that is useful to their audience.
  • Badge Backlinks: Awards given by an authority in an industry that links to a website.
  • Comment Backlinks:  Links to your website are created when a blog or article comment includes a link.
  • Press Release Backlinks: Links to your website are included in a press release.

How To Get Quality Backlinks to Your Website?

Now that you know what backlinks are and why they are essential, let’s look at how you can acquire them for your website.

Build Links With Resource Pages

One of the easiest ways to get backlinks to your website is by link building with resource pages.  These pages are built as a list or directory of quality content, tools, etc.  

To get featured on resource pages, begin by identifying opportunities in your industry. Great tools are available for this purpose, but a simple Google search is an excellent way to begin the process. After you’ve identified several resource pages that are a good fit for your content, reach out to the website owner, letting them know about your product or service. Chances are, if you offer content relevant to their readers, they will be happy to provide the link!

Capitalize on Broken Links 

Contrary to popular belief, not everything published online is “always out there.”  Another easy way to provide value to a website in exchange for backlinks is by finding broken links on their website and offering a fix.

To build backlinks using this method, use a tool to check for broken backlinks that are relevant to your industry and can be fixed using content on your website.

After you’ve put together a list of broken link opportunities, reach out to the website’s manager.  Let them know you appreciate the valuable content, but you noticed that one of the recommended links is no longer working. Follow that with some information about your resource, how you believe it could provide value, and welcome them to use it in their content.

Link Building With Listicles

is a trendy type of article that tends to receive large amounts of traffic. Although competition to be placed in a listicle can be steep, so are the benefits.  

The first step is to identify websites that publish listicles relevant to your business or blog.  Following that, analyze both existing and planned content to ensure the website is a good fit.  Next, reach out to the author to request to be featured in existing or upcoming listicles.  

Publish In-Depth Guides

Interesting and helpful content establishes your blog as a trusted source in the eyes of your audience but also makes it significantly easier to provide the kind of value that other websites will agree to feature.

First, establish the kind of knowledge that your audience seeks.  This can be discovered by analyzing your existing content, performing searches relevant to your industry, and using a tool like the one we mentioned above, AnswerThePublic.com.  Ask questions such as

  • What existing content on my website (and others) seems to perform well?
  • Are any gaps in knowledge representing an opportunity for an in-depth guide?
  • What questions are people asking about this topic?

After identifying these areas of opportunity, write and publish the guide on your website. This content will help establish authority for your business and make it easier to get backlinks from other websites using the other methods listed in this section.

Create Shareable Content

A proven strategy in search engine optimization is creating content that resonates with readers so deeply that they are inspired to share it.  This content can include anything from an insightful post to an infographic to something that makes the visitor smile.

Shareable content is beneficial beyond just the engagement it creates with your audience. It signals to search engines that your website publishes content people enjoy. This builds authority with the search engines and increases the likelihood of receiving backlinks.

Does It Matter What Type of Backlinks Your Website Acquires?

Not all backlinks are created equal! Building a refined collection of quality backlinks can establish authority and relevance, but the wrong ones can harm them.

Avoiding “Black Hat” Link Building

Black hat link building is a method of unethical search engine optimization through which marketers attempt to take advantage of the key functions of algorithms. Most search engines now recognize these techniques, and using them will harm your authority.

Techniques in this category include keyword stuffing, spam comments, private blog networks, and even links to your website from irrelevant websites.

Why Page Authority Matters

Above all else, page authority matters because it serves as a litmus test for the strength of a page in a given search.

Page authority alone isn’t a factor that helps you rank, but it can signal which pages need SEO improvements.

Furthermore, it helps you understand the relevance of your content to the primary keywords, determine if your link-building strategies are effective, and analyze which websites are the best candidates for backlinks.

Why Domain Authority Matters

Domain authority matters because it is a metric that predicts the likelihood of a website ranking well in a search, especially when compared to other websites competing for the same or better positions.

A quality link-building strategy must consider domain authority because it can identify opportunities to improve your search engine optimization, determine websites that rank well for a given search, and guide the direction of future content creation.

Why Site Relevance Matters

Site relevance is important to your SEO in two primary ways:  it establishes how your website relates to a search term and determines which websites are the right choice to pursue backlinks.  

Why Editorial Links Matter

Editorial links happen without involvement on your part, so they are a strong signal to search engines that your website is a trusted source of information.

These types of backlinks are important because they increase your traffic organically from the referring website, diversify your backlink profile, and help build brand awareness in the eyes of your target audience.  

Final Thoughts

In the ever-changing field of search engine optimization, understanding the importance of quality link building is integral to developing content and establishing relationships that support your long-term goals.

Although the overall link-building process may seem daunting, it is an important part of establishing your business as a trusted source in the eyes of your target audience and building the authority and relevance of your website. 

By having a strategy to develop an internal linking structure and acquire quality backlinks (and assess their quality), there will be a clear action plan to improve how your website ranks in search results.

Have you had success in the link-building process? What challenges have you faced? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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