The Hard Work That’s Behind Natural Links

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Inbound links are important for SEO because they remain a top search engine ranking factor. Inbound links pass trust from one site to the next and convey relevancy to the search spiders. You’ll hear that the best links to earn are “natural” links, or inbound links that occur naturally over time when another website owner decides to link over to your website as a resource. But that word “natural” can be misleading, because there’s really nothing natural about them. They certainly don’t appear out of thin air. There’s actually a lot of work involved in acquiring these natural or editorial links. Here’s what website owners must be doing to achieve them:

Creating a great website

Think about the number of websites that exist today. There are lots of great websites, lots of average ones, and lots of bad ones. In which camp would you put your website? If you don’t think it’s great- why would anyone else? And more importantly, why would anyone want to link to a sub-par website? There are plenty of other websites to link over to. Website owners need to continually invest in their website design, usability, and architecture.

Creating great content

This really goes hand in hand with having a great website. A website is only great if it has high-quality content that is valuable to visitors. Of course, what constitutes as “high-quality” is subjective and can vary depending on the expectations of target audience members. But if you want to be earning natural inbound links you’ll need to separate yourself from the rest of the websites in your niche by publishing content that is useful, informative, and beneficial. It’s these qualities that increase the chances of it being linked to naturally.

Building a brand

So, you have a great website and great content- but does anybody know you exist? There’s a reason why the biggest brands tend to rank towards the top of the search engine results. It’s because they’re trusted. And that trust earns them natural inbound links that continues to bolster their search presence. An important way to build your brand online today and gain exposure is via social media. Create social profiles across all channels that make sense and keep those profiles active. If you’re just starting out, it’s worthwhile to invest in social advertising and target a very specific audience in order to grow your follower count and improve the visibility of the content that you publish.

Building relationships

What do you think website owners are more likely to link to? A website associated with someone they know? Or a mostly unfamiliar website? Typically, it’s the first option. That’s why, in addition to building a brand overall, it’s important to build relationships with other thought leaders in the industry. You can do this by following them in social media, reading their blogs and leaving thoughtful comments, and registering to receive their email newsletters. This gets your website on their radar and they’ll be more likely to link to it if the opportunity presents itself.

As you can see, a natural link doesn’t occur magically. It requires a lot of hard work to attain these links and it’s really a long-term approach to link building.

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