When it comes to optimising your website, inbound links are like Google superfood. An inbound link is one that links to a page on your website from another website and is a powerful way to boost your website’s search engine ranking to up it’s visibility.
I need to stress that the operative word in this blog post’s title is quality. By quality I mean links that come from credible sites with content that is relevant to your business, industry and audience. Please, whatever you do, don’t fall for dodgy link-building tactics, (also known as ‘black hat’ SEO techniques). Link-building is definitely one of those quality-over-quantity situations.
Before I start, there’s one thing I really want to emphasize:
The number one rule of inbound links is that you must give to receive.
You cannot expect others to link to your site if you’re not giving a few shout-outs of your own to others. And you should be giving these without expecting anything in return. Just like in the real world, it is all about relationships. You should know, like and trust the sources that are giving and receiving your links.
So how do you go about it? We have 5 ideas for you to implement:
1. Publish valuable content
Publishing high-quality blogs will ensure that your content is shared and linked to through social media or referenced as a source in other articles.
Consider contributing guest articles to other industry sites and including a link back to your company website in your author bio. You can also include internal links to blog posts or web pages within the article where relevant. You should already have made an effort to create quality content for your own site though - other sites will be reluctant to take on potentially crappy content if you don’t have some precedent articles to show for yourself. Remember, the same should be said if someone offers to provide a guest post for your own blog - you only want to accept quality content from reputable sources.
Take a look at popular engineering blogs and check whether they accept guest article submissions, or better yet, whether you can get yourself a regular column. Not only will it encourage click-throughs to your own website but you’ll also strengthen your reputation as an industry expert.
Not sure what to write about? Take at look at these ideas for creating blog post content.
2. Mutual link trades with suppliers and contractors
It’s likely that you have a whole list of recommended suppliers or contractors such as surveyors, earthmovers, construction companies or distributors, depending on your field of engineering. If you’re happy to endorse them, why not provide a page on your website that links to associated businesses that you recommend.
When you’ve set the page up, send a link to each business mentioning that you have included them in your list of recommended service providers.
Dear Trusted Service Provider
We recognise that the success of our clients’ projects relies on the combined efforts of multiple stakeholders. With this in mind, as part of our commitment to ensuring our clients achieve the best results, we like to provide recommendations for service providers from our local network of industry experts.
We just wanted to drop you a note to let you know we have included your business details on a list of recommended local businesses on our website, which you can view here. This includes a link that will take visitors directly to your company website to find out more. Please let me know if there is a particular page URL you would prefer us to link to.
If there is an opportunity for you to include a reciprocal link back to our site too then we would appreciate a link direct to our home page: [insert URL]
We look forward to working with you again soon.
Hopeful Link Builder
If your associates don’t have a page dedicated to recommended businesses, how about suggesting that you write a testimonial that they can include on their website? Underneath your glowing referral they can include your name and business with a link to your company’s website.
Use this idea as an incentive when you ask clients or associates for testimonials for your own site. In return for a testimonial, you can offer them a link back to their website. Win-win.
Free directory listings are a great place to start if you want some guaranteed links without having to work too hard. I know many people are reluctant to list on directory sites, but they’re not all bad and many are great for brand visibility because they often appear at the top of search results. Just because you don’t use directory sites to find services, doesn’t mean that your customers don’t!
Identify quality directory sites for your industry and area (some are free and some will require you to pay for an upgraded listing) and complete a full online profile for each. (I recommend writing up your business blurb on a separate saved document so you can just copy and paste content to suit for each directory listing).
These could be:
- Trade association sites
- Yellow Pages
- Professional services directories
- Local business associations
- Professional membership sites
5. Make sure you are active on relevant social media sites
Share links to your web pages and blog posts on social media. It’s not so much that Google cares how many times your link was re-tweeted. But let’s say your article link was shared on Twitter and re-posted on LinkedIn a few times over, and then your article was picked up by the content manager of one of a popular engineering website who then decides to link to it from their site. Google will definitely notice that one. Make an effort to interact with others online, share their content and reference it online and you’ll be more likely to see your own content disseminated by others too.
These strategies are not hard, but will require time and consistent commitment long-term to ensure their effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to reach out and actually ask other people to share your links. Although, there is a fine line between blatant self-promotion and asking for help, so only ask people who you already have an established rapport with.
Have you successfully used any other link-building strategies to strengthen your engineering firm’s search engine ranking? Share them below.