Link building is one of the toughest aspects of SEO, and how to get ahead alludes a lot of new and advanced SEOs.
However, there is a secret many of the world’s top SEOs and digital marketers keep to themselves. They’ll tip-toe around the issue all day long, but it is not something that they’ll just come out and say:
The Untold Link Building Secret: Authority Drives Links
There’s a lot of great advice out there to guide you through link building, with detailed information on finding relevant targets, creating the right type of content that attracts links, and reaching out to editors and publishers.
The big thing no one seems to come out and say is that authority is the ultimate link building tool.
What do I mean by authority?
By authority, I mean credibility. For instance, would you link to basketball tips from Michael Jordan’s official site or an unknown blogger? I know I’d much rather send my site’s visitors to Michael Jordan’s site.
Of course, we’re not all the Michael Jordan of our industry, so obtaining that level of credibility is tough. This is especially true online, where competition is intense and standing out means working harder than everyone else.
What you can do, however, is create a plan for building authority that will aid in your link building efforts more and more as time goes on. Here are a few ways to get started:
Network with the Big Dogs
The company you keep reflects greatly on other people’s perception of who you are. This means that networking with authorities in your industry publicly, whether in real life or online, has a big impact on your own authority. (Call it authority by association!)
And thanks to Twitter, as well as other public-facing social media sites, it’s easier than ever before to network with big personalities in your industry. They might not always respond, and you won’t win over everyone, but just simple interactions and enthusiasms toward people in your industry will get you noticed.
Take time to follow anyone and everyone relevant to your industry, work on crafting original thoughts and content, and reply to/retweet content you enjoy. This simple act can get you noticed. It may not be quick to happen, and it may not work out in the long run, but the payoff for becoming known as a high-quality industry contributor and personality is more than worth the hard work and dedication.
Fake it ‘Til You Become It
This classic piece of advice may sound cliché, but there’s a reason it resonates with so many people. If you’re looking to achieve something, you’re not going likely to win by acting like you’re a nobody with no knowledge or credibility. You become something by showing the world that you’re confident in your abilities.
Now before I start getting off on a motivational rant, I’ll give you a few pieces of advice that you can take action on immediately:
- Present a Professional Image – If you want to be taken seriously online, the first thing you need to do is present a professional image. This means using high quality images for your profile/cover photos, optimizing your profile descriptions, and ensuring your content is not offensive.
- Have a Personal Website/Blog – A personal website is a great place to send people to not only get to know more about you and your career, but a place for you to write original content to share with your industry.
- Start Guest Posting/Contributing to Industry Blogs – As a digital marketer, when I think of a top industry personality, I’m thinking of the people who show up on site after site with incredible content. And they probably didn’t start out as superstars, they worked their way up over time. So start building a portfolio of content and consistently find new sites to target and topics to tackle!
- Be Extremely Active on Social Media – In my experience, the most successful and influential people in any given industry tend to be extremely active on social media. This doesn’t mean it’s required, or will guarantee success, but getting out there and communicating with other professionals will help you gain valuable connections that could help propel your career in the near future.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
By nature, I think the world’s most driven people love learning and doing things on their own. There’s a sense of pride that comes with achieving something with little to no assistance from others, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with asking for help. It doesn’t make you less intelligent or capable, and definitely won’t impact your success.
So if you find yourself lost trying to solve a problem, or you’re simply experiencing a decline in motivation, reach out to someone you look up to within your industry. I can’t tell you that they’ll be grateful to help or just ignore you, but there’s no shame in asking.
Authority Flows from Users to Search Engines
In the end, you could forget all of the advice I’ve just given and put in more time to achieving more with traditional link building efforts. But before you do that and dismiss this advice, think about this:
The end result of link building is to build more authority with search engines. If you instead worked on building authority within your industry, that authority will get passed on to Google. There will be more links to your site/sites and more mentions of you/your business, which Google and other search engines will find and take into account.
So start faking it, making it, and becoming an authority within your industry to see extra success with link building.