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Link building isn't dead, and it's not likely to die in 2016. If you want to build authority for your website to increase organic traffic, link building is still a crucial component of SEO.
The problem is, you may not be aligning your link building efforts with the standards that will lead to success in 2016.
In this post, I'll step you through a few of the ways you can get your link building hat back on straight to see more success than ever before!
Goals are an essential part of link building. Like anything else in life, listing your link building goals will help you strategize a path to help you accomplish those goals.
The big question to ask yourself: Why do you want to build links?
You might think that's a dumb question to ask, as the answer is basically the same for everyone: get more organic traffic. The reason you need to ask yourself this question is the follow-up question: Are you willing to do it right?
If you had to think about that for more than even a second, you're likely going to fail with link building. I say that because this hesitation probably means you know you're not doing it right currently or are looking for some sort of shortcut.
Okay, so how do I do it right?
That's what we're going to get into below, so read on!
Without great content, you won't earn great links. You can go toward the dark side and pay for links to crappy content, but you're still missing half of the equation (and taking huge risks). Google doesn't want to rank great content without links, and it doesn't want to link to crappy content with a ton of links. If you want to see a ton of organic traffic growth, you need this balance.
But what kind of content is worthy of links? How do I even begin?
Before deciding what you're going to write about, you should research your targets. By digging through high-authority sites in your niche, you'll be able to better understand the type of content they link to and figure out what might be missing from their site. Using this information, you can craft content that will be a perfect fit for certain sites instead of blindly hoping your current content is worthy of links.
Here are a few examples of the types of content most sites look for in link-worthy content:
One of the biggest mistakes most marketers make with content is thinking that all they have to do is create some content and the success will follow. "If you build it, they will come" does not apply to link building.
Sure, you have to get started or you'll never succeed; however, you need to spend just as much time strategizing and researching content as you do actually producing content.
Content success is all about execution, but without a proper strategy there's simply no way to execute at a level high enough to actually see results. You don't just earn links by chance; you have to put in the time and effort.
You might be sick of hearing about quality over quantity at this point, but it's not something you should overlook with link building. In regards to content, you can see success with quantity; however, the quantity mindset just doesn't work with link building.
Why can't I shoot for quantity with links? Isn't it better to have more links?
Unfortunately, that's not how Google operates. It's not as if the algorithm looks for a specific number of links before ranking your site for a specific keyword. You can't gain traction without links from high-quality sites. One of the easiest ways to tell a high quality site from a low quality site is to use Moz's Domain Authority as your key metric.
Using Domain Authority, you can better gauge targets based on their quality instead of older, outdated metrics like PageRank. Domain Authority is updated between 4 and 12 times per year, giving you the most up-to-date look at a site's overall quality. DA primarily uses your backlink profile to give your site a rank of 0-100. A site that's just getting started will likely have a DA under 40, while more established sites will easily have a DA score of 70 or higher.
By primarily targeting sites with a 70+ DA, you'll likely achieve better results than you would if you ignored DA and just concentrated on earning links from any and all sites. Beyond the quality reasoning for getting links from DA 70+ sites, these sites are much more likely to receive organic clicks from users. You may find that these links become a huge source of traffic and potentially sales.
Outreach is easily the second-most important part of link building, eclipsed only by content quality. The sites you contact, how you contact them, and how you follow up all have a huge impact on your success. This is why it's so important to optimize your outreach once you've gone through the other steps mentioned in this post.
You start by organizing your targets. Don't just start contacting sites without a plan, as it's easy to lose track of important information or lose sight of your goal. The easiest way to organize your targets is to start a simple spreadsheet. Use it to organize sites by topic, DA, and other essential metrics. (You can also use this to create a system for follow-ups.)
To keep your outreach running smoothly and efficiently, cut out any bad targets before you add them to your list. Sites that aren't regularly updated or lack specific contact information are very, very unlikely to respond, and even less likely to link to your site.
You'll find your success rate will be higher by sticking to this method, which will not only result in better results but an increase in motivation as well.
At the end of the day, your link building success all comes down to the hours you put into it. There's very little automation that can substitute for high quality work and still achieve the same results. So forget the shortcuts and start doing things right if you want to reap the benefits!
Originally Published to the Wikimotive Blog on December 28, 2015