Link Building: Where to Start?

Links are the main element which search engines use to rank websites. This has been true for many years, and SEO companies and webmasters have been working for a long time to perfect the art of link building. That being said, it is still necessary to cover the basics first to make sure everyone is up to speed. Google’s Webmaster Tools is an invaluable asset for any webmaster or SEO professional, as it contains loads of open and easily accessible data about SEO. That is a great place to start with SEO.

Google Webmaster ToolsHere’s how to get started with Google Webmaster Tools. You can sign up for the service with an existing Google Account or create a new one. You then have to authorize your account by adding either a meta tag or HTML file to your site. This proves to Google that you own and have access to the site. You then pick your preferred canonical URL for your site. You should pick this based on how you advertise your site, how Google has already indexed it, and any incoming links you already have. Lastly, check your site to makes sure that there are no errors, like a broken link or missing page, and that all your meta tags are correct.

Now you’ve set up the service, and you’re ready to begin. The first thing to do is research what your visitors are searching for. Click on the “Search queries” link under the section labeled “Your site on the web.” You can then sort the phrases by traffic, location, or search type. Star each phrase you think is relevant, and then you can go to the favourites tab and view just your starred phrases. These can be exported to a downloadable spreadsheet. In this spreadsheet, you should enter the landing pages for each result. This is a great place to start because you know people are already using these phrases to find your site, so you’re almost guaranteed success with targeting those phrases. It’s also worth looking at high volume phrases and targeting these to try to bring more visitors to your site. Ideally, you want to find a balance between the high-traffic phrases and the phrases you already rank for. 

Now, before you start link building, you should check out the links you already have. Go back to the “Your site on the web” category can click on “Links to your site.” There are several things to look at here. The first is who links to you the most. You should also pay attention to what of your content is linked to the most. Keywords in links are another important thing to pay attention to. Once again, you can export all this data. Use this data to decide where to start with your link building. You can look for more sites similar to the ones that already link to you. Perhaps you can improve the link text of your existing links to make them more valuable. You can see what content is already being linked to, and use this to decide what additional types of content to create. This information gives you a huge amount of knowledge about link building, and it’s a great place to start your SEO efforts.

Many SEO professionals and webmasters start blindly placing links around without using the data that’s available to help them makes smarter decisions. Link building isn’t always about quantity – a few well-placed and target links can make a big difference in SEO. Following the advice in this article can really give you a boost and make your SEO efforts much more effective.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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