The Importance of Inbound Links
By Thomas Young, CEO Intuitive Websites
One of the most common questions we hear from clients is, “how does my website get ranked higher in Google?” There is no simple answer to this question and millions of pages of website content are readily available to help answer this question.
The bottom line is many factors impact search ranking results.
The better question is, “what is the most important thing we can do at our company to move higher up in Google rankings?” The answer is to build quality links to your website from other websites of importance to your online target market. These are called inbound links.
Just like any good SEO company, we will take care of the coding, keywords and content details. However, links to your website are still best handled by the the owner’s of the website.
Links are Important to Google
Google got it start through the use of links between websites as a sort of popularity contest. The sites with the most important links got the best results in Google. Although in recent years inbound links have diminished in importance, they are still an important factor in higher rankings.
Google is currently placing more of an emphasis on consistent content that is relevant to the search phrase, mobile search and local search results. Remember, the greatest fear of Google is people will stop using the search engine, which could happen very quickly if a better search engine comes along.
Here are a few steps to increase the number of inbound links to your website.
Make a List of Important Websites
Start the process by developing a list of the most important websites in your industry or market space. Your sales team would be an excellent resource for this list. It should include associations, conferences, suppliers, marketing organizations, partners, vendors and more. Competitors are probably not included, unless you are partnering with them.
Target the websites where you already have an established relationship and where trust is already high. These sites are the most likely to provide you with an immediate link to your site.
Find the Web Contact at Each Company
You may decide to pursue sites that would be a great inbound link, but you have no contact to pursue.
Making the right contact is the most difficult part of this process. Getting links to your website is like asking for referrals or networking. It is based on trust and a relationship with the company proving you the link. It may be important to spend a few minutes understanding how you work together before asking for the link.
Develop a Contact Strategy
If you don’t already know the contact, you will need a specific reason for the call and inquiry. You can reach out in either email or phone call. This really becomes like a cold call sales call and can be challenging to get people to respond to you.
Here are a few reasons to offer for linking to your website:
- Our website provides valuable free resources for your visitors.
- We have partnered in the past and this web link will support the partnership.
- There are synergies between our sales team for referrals.
- A link exchange helps us both rank higher in Google and Provides resources to our website visitors.
It may be necessary to provide a link exchange, although it is not recommended to use this as your main approach.
Where Do I Put the Link on the Website?
You may be asked by the contact where the link should be placed. If possible it should be on a standard website page, such as the resource page. This is better than a link in a blog post, forum or in social media. Many of those pages are set to now be indexed as a link by Google. The resources section is always a good place for links to other websites.
These are just a few ideas to get the process stared. Inbound links can not only improve your search rankings, but also send more traffic to your website as a referral and help increase leads and sales.