Links to your website from other sites can affect your ranking in search results. Links from low-quality websites and websites that have been penalized by search engines will have a negative impact on your ranking. Links from authoritative sites will have a positive impact.
Search engine optimization (or SEO, for short) determines how well you rank in Google, Bing, and Yahoo search results. While every site’s “recipe” for determining quality links varies, the goal remains the same: boost online visibility as much as possible.
Your customers are online. If you've spent time and effort building a quality business, now is the time to show them. Here’s what you need to know to increase your online visibility and make your content marketing that much more effective:
What’s a Link, and Why Does it Matter?
The number of quality inbound links you have can greatly affect your SEO. A link is a special piece of text on a website that directs a user to another resource online. Meanwhile, inbound links are links on other websites that route visitors to your own. Not all links are created equal, however.
Smaller, lesser-known sites produce lower-quality links than large, popular ones. Sites that don't receive much traffic or contain black hat SEO will be less trusted by search engines. Even if they provide a link to your website, it may not help your SEO much.
But if a blogger on a popular website links to your content, you could receive a huge SEO boost for that page. In addition, you'll see more incoming traffic as people click on that link.
There are many ways to obtain inbound links. Most businesses try to earn links organically by writing excellent content: The types of articles people link to when writing their own articles. Post statistics, reports, or industry analyses to encourage readers to use you as a resource.
Another way is to simply ask. If you have a relationship with another business that blogs, you can offer them an inbound link in exchange for your own. This type of trade-off may seem manufactured, but it will increase both companies' online visibility.
The Multicolored Hats of SEO
When talking about SEO methods, people often use the terms white hat, grey hat, and black hat. The difference between each category is strategy and philosophy.
Black hat SEO methods go against the terms of service of search engines. Consequently, they provide little in the way of link quality. Search engines become more sophisticated year after year. Most of them are now able to recognize black hat SEO, and they will lower your rank or ban you because of it.
Some examples of black hat SEO are keyword stuffing, link purchasing, duplicating content on multiple pages, placing hidden text, or hosting malicious code.
Grey hat SEO lies somewhere in the middle. It's not technically against the rules (yet). However, it's always ethically dubious.
Some examples of grey hat SEO are repurposing ranking content from other websites, buying domains and linking back to your main site, or creating adorable social media profiles for your pets and then spamming them with ads and unrelated content (it's a thing).
White hat SEO is the most effective and ethical way to increase your online visibility. Naturally, it takes the most amount of work to do correctly. It also takes time. Ideally, you'll create tons of useful, unique content and build out your web pages month after month.
Eventually, you'll start to gain more trust from the online community. People will create inbound links to your web pages and you'll increase your online visibility even more.
How To Do White Hat SEO
Every business should aim to have its link portfolio filled with a vast majority of white hat links. It retains the integrity of your business while also helping fellow site owners provide quality content for your readers. Here are some great ways you can increase these sort of backlinks for your own company:
1. Stay busy with your blogging.
The higher quality content you produce, the better chance you have at building and maintaining a white hat link collection. Whether you link to other blogs with great resources or guest post for others that offer quality links back to you, posting regularly will benefit you immensely.
Focus each blog on a target keyword to ensure you rank for relevant searches.
2. Review and curate online resources.
Maintaining a helpful list of links and resources for your readers will increase your site’s outbound link content, while also turning your resource lists into veritable link bait. If you’ve posted an exhaustive list of whatever it is you’re cataloging, people interested in the same thing will flock to it and share it amongst themselves, boosting your search ranking.
3. Create content for your readers.
Whether it's a recipe card template or a slide deck for people interested in your work, offering great content on your site brings you huge benefits. Quality content (especially free content) often becomes viral in niche communities. This brings huge benefits for the backlinks your page may receive.
Increase Your Online Visibility
There are plenty of other ways to bring white hat links to your site, but one rule remains the same throughout all of them: Quality content gains readers, and grows your link portfolio. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to the top search result!