4 Link Building Opportunities You May Be Missing

Link Building 1

SEO is always changing, with search engines continuously updating their algorithms to provide more dynamic rankings, and the practice of optimization evolving with those changes. While many ranking metrics fluctuate–such as Google’s recent inclusion of site encryption–some consistently remain important. Of all ranking signals, one is still considered the strongest and most important for sites to optimize for: links.

Links are the core of Google’s search algorithm. A diverse portfolio of high quality backlinks from reputable sites establishes your own site’s trust. It also has positive implications for your PageRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Moz’s own MozRank link metric. Different links carry different weight, which makes the authority of the sites linking to you equally important. This is why link building remains key to a successful online marketing strategy.

There are many ways to build links back to your site, and SEOs should always be on the lookout for new link building tactics. But be careful; Google frequently refines the algorithm to penalize blackhat activities. Certain methods, such as guest blogging, are overused, considered spammy, and generate low quality links. Fortunately, you can think outside the box without resorting to black hat tactics. Here are some link building opportunities you may be missing out on.

1.)   Claim links you should be getting

You may be surprised how often your site, product, or service is being mentioned without any link to the actual website. Reaching out to sites that should be linking to you is both effective and Google-friendly. If the website is already talking about you, it’s likely they are a relevant link partner, and they have a better chance of accepting a link. Some ways to claim missing links include:

  • Link reclamation: Use tools like Mention to find instances of your client being mentioned and reach out to the website requesting a link. You can also contact sites that already link to your client and request a more optimized link (more targeted anchor text, a link to a different page).
  • Reverse Image Search: You can use services such as TinEye to find images of your client’s that are used, but not linked to, on other sites, and request a link.

2.)   Buy Links–the Right Way!

Paying for links has become synonymous with black hat SEO. But there are ways to monetarily ensure links that are so strategic, that they bear no resemblance to traditional, low quality link buying. Depending on your client’s scope or budget, some high-concept ideas include:

  • Event Sponsorship: Offer to co-sponsor an event, in-person or online. You can choose the event based on location or topical relevance. Find out what their sponsorship needs are, and request a link in exchange for your contributions.
  • Charitable Donations: Donating to a non-profit is not only a noble thing to do–it can also earn you a link on the organization’s donor’s page.

If your client does not have the budget for something as large event sponsorship, there are other lower scale options. Paid content placement involves using a vendor to place content on a relevant publisher’s website, with a link back to your client’s. You can also form a content partnership with another relevant site that involves syndication of content or mutual content creation.

3.)   Update old content

Content is still an important part of Google’s algorithm, and a solid content strategy is just as important as your link building efforts. In fact, link building and content marketing go hand-in-hand, as you can use your link building strategies to promote and strengthen your content.

Evergreen content is always of interest to readers, but depending on your client’s vertical, information on their site can become outdated and should be updated periodically. Updating this content allows you to pitch your page to other sites as a relevant source of information. Your content is current, timely, and for sites discussing similar topics, presents an opportunity to link to a related source.

You can also search competitor pages to determine content gaps you may be able to fill. What information is missing in your client’s verticals? What needs are not being met? Create this content, and then promote it to establish credibility in the space and build links. Search Engine Land recommends a similar tactic for Infographics, creating revitalized versions of competitors’ outdated graphics.

4.)   Answer questions and become an expert in the space

One interesting way to build links is a longer-term play that may be slower to yield immediate links, but if executed correctly, can help establish your client as an authority. Similar to finding and meeting needs in the space, dig through Question & Answer sites, forums, and the comments sections of popular sites to determine what is being asked the most, and what gaps exist. You can create content to answer these questions, and link to that content in summarized, yet detailed, answers you post in the forum. You will establish trust in the online community, and if you’ve given a quality answer and it performs well, this increases the chances of that content being linked to. Quora is a great example of such an opportunistic site.

Link building is the bread and butter of a successful SEO strategy. Many of your tried and true methods will always be effective, and there is no reason for thinking outside the box to replace those strategies that already work for you. However, to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm, SEOs should always look for ways to innovate their practice. When executed strategically, and without overusing them, these nifty link building tactics can set you apart from the competition!

10 SEO Plugins for WordPress to Make Your Life Easier

SEO WordPress Plugins 1

WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used content management systems (CMS) on the web, used by over 40 percent of all sites. Known for its user-friendly interface and an array of over 30,000 plugins to extend its functionality, WordPress is something most SEOs encounter on a daily basis. For many larger enterprises, a more complex and intricate CMS is needed, but for blogs and small to medium-sized businesses, WordPress meets most of a webmaster’s needs.

Whether you are working with clients who use WordPress as their CMS, or you yourself use it for your own corporate site or blog, navigating WordPress is an important skill for SEOs to have. Luckily, the extensive database of plugins offers a slew of great tools that will make optimizing the site that much easier.

Check out these 10 SEO plugins you should be using!

1.) WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress SEO by Yoast is a comprehensive plugin that not only allows you to optimize for all the technical aspects of your page, but also helps you write better content. By forcing you to choose a focus keyword for each particular page, the plugin acts as a guide, steering you towards better and more Google-friendly content. It has a highly advanced Google XML sitemap functionality, and it allows you to control all the Meta data of your page, from title tags to Meta descriptions. The plugin even analyzes your pages and tells you which elements are missing so you can ensure each is completely optimized.

2.) W3 Total Cache

Site speed is an important ranking signal for the Google algorithm, and this plugin is designed to optimize user experience and page speed. W3 Total Cache increases server performance to reduce download times and provide transparent content delivery network integration. An important plugin for SEOs, particularly to address the site speed implications of transitioning to HTTPS.

3.) Google XML Sitemaps

Having an XML Sitemap is key to ensuring your site is properly indexed by search engines. This plugin is easy to use and will generate a complete XML sitemap for your entire website that will make it easier for search engines to crawl your pages. Google XML Sitemaps also alerts search engines of updates to content.

4.) Squirrly

Considered ideal for non-SEO experts, Squirrly allows you to optimize content as you’re writing it, and is compatible with other SEO plugins such as Yoast or the All-In-One SEO Pack. Squirrly works in real time, offering advice for optimizing content while you’re editing the page, and indicating (via green lights) when a page is properly optimized. It helps you find and target keywords, and can audit your site on a weekly basis to provide key insights into performance and areas of weakness.

5.) Simple URLS

Simple URLs allows you to manage all the outbound links from your site using custom post types and 301 redirects to avoid performance issues and permalink conflicts. With this plug in you can create, edit, delete, and track outbound links.

6.) SEO Friendly Images

This plugin optimizes your site’s images by automatically updating them with the proper ALT and TITLE attributes.

7.) RB Internal Links

Internal linking is crucial to the architecture of any site, helping you establish a page’s authority within the website. RB Internal Links eliminates the need to manually link to other pages, let alone try to remember unwieldy URLs. The plugin uses shortcodes that are converted into the current permalink on the render of the page you’re editing, and the links update automatically if ever you change your link structure.

8.) SEO Ultimate

SEO Ultimate gives you total control over all elements of your page, from title and Meta tags to 404 errors, rich snippets, Open Graph, autolinks, canonical links, and more. Edit keywords and Meta descriptions, rewrite title tags, and integrate Authorship into your content. SEO Ultimate allows you to set canonical links to point search engines to specific content, and you can even automatically link specifically designated anchor text every time the chosen text appears on your site.

 9.) All-in-One SEO Pack 

The All-in-One SEO Pack is one of the most popular and widely used plugin of its type. Similar to WordPress SEO by Yoast, the All-in-One SEO Pack allows you to optimize your page for search engines by  giving you control over all Meta descriptions, title tags, Meta keywords, and advanced canonical URLs. It also automatically generates all of this for you, making it highly useful for beginners.

10.) WP Social

This is an important plugin for integrating social media, optimizing your site’s Social SEO by integrating Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Card and Google Rich Snippets to your site. WP Social includes all the different kinds of microdata supported by Google, and automatically adds the proper Meta tags across each social media platform supported by the plugin.

As you well know, a lot goes into optimizing a site for SEO. Fortunately, there is an extensive community of SEO experts and professionals who recognize the need for tools that make search engine optimization more manageable. What SEO plugins for WordPress are in your toolbox?