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6 Absolutely Essential Link-building Principles

Links from other websites — aka ‘backlinks’ — are essential for generating traffic. Not only do they send people to your site directly, but they also increase your ranking in search engines. Therefore unless your operating some exclusive invite-only members club, backlinks will be critical to your success. Here are six principles to keep in mind when generating backlinks.

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Produce good content

Everyone is sick of hearing the phrase “content is king,” but that doesn’t make it any less true. The number-one principle for getting backlinks, above all else, is to have content on your site that is worth linking to. Whether this means your content needs to be informative, unique, hilarious, cutting-edge, or controversial is down to your niche.

Never buy links

Realizing that backlinks improve rankings, many website owners started paying other sites to link to them. When Google figured out what was going on, the sites doing this were penalized heavily in the rankings. You can’t buy your way to the top. You will be found out, and your rankings will plummet.

Video content doesn’t work

Video content has its uses, of course, but building backlinks isn’t one of them. How many times has someone sent you a link to a video, and it was on a website? Almost never, right? They usually just link to YouTube. News outlets will tend to embed the video rather than link to your site, too.

Relationships matter

Another tired cliche that’s 100% true: “Humans are social creatures.” Your chances of getting a backlink from someone are much higher if they know and like you. Spend time connecting with people in your niche. Don’t ask anything of them! On the contrary, try to help them, with no obligations. This way you’ll probably get a nice warm introduction as well as a link.

Don’t go too niche or too local

If you produce content that is too focused on a certain niche or a certain geographic location, you’re limiting the number of people who can link to you. Going niche to some degree is good because it will be easier for influencers within that field to see. But don’t go too far.

News jacking works, but you have to be fast

If you produce content that relates to big news headlines, you could pull in some good backlinks in a short space of time. That is because journalists are always looking for new angles or ways of presenting things. But news topics don’t stay hot for long – you’ve probably got 24 hours.

The right link building strategy can have a massive return on investment, while the wrong approach can not only be a waste of time, it can have a detrimental effect. The principles above will set you on the right path.