Technical SEO Implementations to Increase the Impact of Your Link Building Campaign
A link-building campaign is a marketing strategy that focuses on building navigational links that direct users to a website. Website owners attempt to gain these links from other websites through content marketing, social connections, or by providing something else of benefit to the public.
However, you won’t make the most out of gaining those links if your website doesn’t utilize effective SEO practices. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the technical SEO checklist you need to know to increase the impact of your next link-building campaign.
Why Should I Use a Link Building Campaign?
Improving your site’s SEO value is a proven way to increase your ranking in search engine results pages. The most common way to do this is by improving the quality of on-page content. This includes using relevant, high-volume keywords, providing sources for arguments or claims, and providing proof of your qualifications regarding the subject matter.
However, Google would begin to factor in not just the quality of on-page content, but how many sources link to that page for reference. Google would see a high number of links pointing to a page as a sign of trustworthiness and value. This would then go one step further by separating backlinks as high quality or low quality.
A low-quality link will hurt your site authority. That’s because a low-quality link comes from a domain that’s seen as untrustworthy, spammy, or otherwise malicious. If you’ve ever had an obscure blog link to your site along with a host of additional link spamming, you might be familiar with this.
Conversely, high-quality links come from other sources that are highly ranked and favorite by Google’s algorithm. Because that domain possesses trust and authority, you can gain referral value any time one of those domains links its users to your domain. Therefore, a link-building campaign can prove highly beneficial to multiple parties as everything can gain something of value for their website.
You can maximize the benefits you gain from a link-building campaign by implementing key technical SEO tactics. This will ensure that the new traffic you receive explores as much of the content on your site as possible.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is a subsection of SEO that focuses on optimizing your site in a way that makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index it. By this, we are referring to loading speeds, optimizations for different devices, repairing broken links, and much more.
If your link-building campaign is successful, you are going to receive plenty of first-time visitors to your website. However, first impressions mean everything. If your website is filled with errors that make your website miserable to navigate on a mobile device, for example, those users are going to bounce away and avoid your site going forward.
Furthermore, neglecting to fix errors on your site hurts your quality score. When your site has a low-quality score, other site owners that link to your site can see this when they perform a backlink audit. Because site owners won’t want to link out to low-quality sites, they’ll likely remove the link and disavow your domain from any future link-building efforts.
How to Improve Your Link Building Campaign?
Now that you’re caught up on what you need to know, let’s get into some examples of what you can start doing now to improve your next link building campaign:
1. Optimize Site Speed for Desktop and Mobile
Loading speeds are vital for improving the quality of your website. Not only is speed an essential factor in Google’s site quality scores but it’s statistically proven to change how users engage with your site. The ideal benchmark for loading times is anywhere between two to five seconds. However, each second that passes significantly increases the bounce rate, with a five-second load time having a bounce rate of 38% on average.
Whatever your load times are for a LAN-connected home computer, consider that a visit from a mobile device will likely increase that time due to the unreliability of wi-fi or 4G connections. This means that if you’re not already, you need to be taking extra lengths to ensure that your website loads reliably for all users.
To gain insights as to how you can improve your site speed, be sure to utilize Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Review your list of errors and implement the necessary changes to enhance the overall performance of your site. You can also check out our previous tips for speed optimizations here.
2. Optimize the Efficiency of Your Site’s Security Layers
The security of your website is another factor that highly impacts user retention. However, what you may not know is that your existing SSL certificate may be having a notable impact on your site loading times.
For starters, your website needs an SSL certificate to benefit your ranking. The SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate ensures that any data transmitted between the user and the domain remains confidential. Most website builders simplify the process of obtaining this to make the internet more secure.
In addition to this, a website without security is shown to noticeably increase the bounce rate. Not only are users afraid of insecure connections, but most web browsers will also now flag a site and attempt to direct users away before they have a chance to access your domain.
There are three different types of SSL certificates. The type offered for free by many website editors is known as a domain-validated certificate. This is the least secure type of encryption and is meant for smaller sites that generally don’t exchange any sensitive information.
The second is an organization-validated certificate and provides additional security layers to protect information captured from customers. This is important if you’re attempting to gather contact details from your visitors for marketing purposes.
The final type is an extended validation certificate and provides the highest level of encryption available. You will want this for your website if your business solicits highly valuable information including payment details or background information about the visitor.
Not only is your site security necessary for protecting consumer information, but the quality of your SSL can also improve your site performance overall. You’ll want to use a tool like SSL Server Test or DigiCert’s SSL Certificate Checker to run diagnostics. If these tests return any errors, you will need to consult your certificate provider for more information. If they are unable to resolve the problem, look into upgrading your certificate with a different provider.
3. Optimize Your Page URLs
This is a simple adjustment to make, but an important one to ensure that every page URL maintains its value. Before publishing a new page or article, always take efforts to optimize the URL slug. Be sure to eliminate the date of publishing from your URL to avoid making any standout content appear old or irrelevant.
Utilizing this practice is also useful as it affords you the freedom to make updates to content without needing to redirect to new pages. You can then continue to reap the benefits of the SEO work you’ve done previously on all existing pages. It also eliminates the potential of any navigation issues or page speed impairments caused by too many redirects.
In addition to this, avoid creating temporary page URLs whenever possible. If your business utilizes frequent or recurring campaigns, you can update this page every campaign cycle with the relevant information without the need for creating temporary pages that won’t carry SEO value after their use expires. If creating temporary pages is unavoidable, choose a page to be a permanent part of your navigation and use similar content on both pages.
4. Run a Backlink Audit and Resolve Any Issues
Now that we’ve run through our technical SEO checklist and resolved off-page errors, it’s time to examine our existing backlinks. Run your domain through your backlink audit tool to determine your existing number of backlinks, errors occurring with those links, and the number of toxic backlinks that you need to address.
It’s possible that if you make changes or updates to your site, it can impact existing links to your domain and result in a 301 redirect or a 404 page not found error. Not only does this null any value you would otherwise obtain from the link, but it can also actually lower your value overall. If your audit points out any navigation errors, pinpoint the problem, and correct the navigation issue as soon as possible.
Second, use the audit to create a list of every low-quality link and get to work on addressing them. Google first recommends that you reach out to the webmaster of each domain and submit a formal request that they remove the link to your website. If you do not receive a prompt response, or if they take hostile action such as ransoming your link, you can submit a disavow list to Google.
To disavow these toxic backlinks, you will need to compile a list of the domains you wish to disassociate with. Refer to your site report within Google Search Console and include reference to any attempts made to have the link removed by the webmaster. It’s best to do this regularly and as soon as possible as it can take Google several weeks to respond to your request. After successfully disavowing a domain, they will no longer be able to impact the quality of your website through backlinks.
5. Capitalize on New Visitors with Internal Linking
Internal linking can also provide SEO value to your domain and should be part of any solid SEO strategy. Search engine crawlers navigate and map out websites by following links. When you associate one page with another, you are helping crawlers understand how one page’s content relates to another. Likewise, a page on your site that has value and links to another page will help it to understand that the new page is also valuable.
This works similarly for new visitors. When your link-building campaign gets new visitors to your site, you don’t want them to simply stop on that one page. While that boost in value to the referred page is great, a boost in value to multiple website pages is even better. Make sure to take advantage of every opportunity you have to refer your new visitors to relevant content that would be of interest.
Methods of doing this can include linking to blog articles that support statements made on the page. If you are running a promotion for a product, link them to the actual product page to help them learn more and get them closer to converting. You can also link to your About page or any pages that help show off your authority and credentials as an expert in your industry. Finally, link to pages immediately related to the page in the navigational hierarchy. This helps with organization and encourages visitors to explore without the fear of understanding how to get back to their original location.
As a final note, internal linking should not just apply to the backlinked page. Make sure to exercise internal linking throughout your website whenever possible to bolster your site’s SEO value and increase your user retention.
6. For On-Page Content, Focus on EAT
If you’ve spent any time researching how to improve your search engine optimization strategy, you may have seen the acronym EAT. This stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Not only are these all factors into how Google assigns a quality score to a page but it is also the best way to earn the trust and respect of your visitors. You can learn more specifics from Google direct by reading their evaluation guidelines, specifically section 4.5.
EAT essentially mandates that website owners publish informative content that is backed by evidence and/or scientific data. The author of the content should be someone with experience or expertise in the field and be ready to share sources to validate claims. Finally, the content should always be relevant to the core subject matter of all other content on the website.
EAT impacts page quality scores, site rankings, and user engagement in mutually beneficial ways. When new visitor navigates to your site, they want to engage with content that is trustworthy and backed by experts in the field. When they can trust the source, they can confidently learn something new and make informed decisions when purchasing a product or service. If a visitor can trust a brand, they are more likely to convert and more likely to share content with their peers online. All of this then results in higher quality impressions, which Google accounts for when determining the quality of a website.
Why does this matter for link-building campaigns? Content built around the principles of EAT is the type of content that others want to backlink. Website owners may want to educate their audience on matters they are either unequipped to speak about. The alternative is that they may currently lack the reputation that more famous and trusted industry experts possess. While new visitors may not yet trust the new website, they can trust the proven source. In turn, it creates a positive impression when the writer goes through the effort to research and provide high-quality sources.
By providing EAT-centric content, you give other website owners natural motivation to backlink your website. Your quality content provides SEO benefits to both you and the link sharer, and you gain a quality backlink, as well. If you’re unsure of how to create content worthy of a backlink, try some of these suggestions:
7. Consider Guest Blogging for Other Sites
This works well if you have the knowledge, experience, and credentials worthy of creating shareable content. Most website owners will be eager for new content that they don’t have to write themselves and can provide value to their audience. By taking the time to write an excellent article for another site, you get the opportunity to establish your brand in front of a new audience and to gain that valuable backlink.
Approaching others to guest blog is a great way to start forging your network of associates online. Those you connect with can potentially return the favor and feature content on your site, as well. It’s a nearly-free and effective way of ensuring quality backlinks and improving the quality score of your domain.
8. Try Creating and Featuring in Round-Up Posts
A round-up style blog post is any post that collects excerpts or statements from other trusted sources around the web. Many websites practice this type of post to gather reviews, opinions on a social matter, or helpful tips on something that the reader is trying to learn. Simply mentioning the trusted source in your article can help drive further engagement.
As long as the content is valuable and your domain is trustworthy, these sources will likely be more than happy to take the backlink. Likewise, if you have credentials and authority on certain subject matters, you can volunteer to feature in another site’s round-up posts to gain a backlink to your site. Because a round-up post is a compilation of information from a variety of sources, the time investment is negligible, but the benefits can add up quickly.
9. Use Open Graph Tags for Social Sharing
Social media is one of the best platforms for sharing links online, making it a mandatory part of any great link-building campaign. With this in mind, you should utilize Open Graph tags to enhance the quality of your link preview on social platforms.
Open Graph tags allow you to qualify certain components on your website to control how it previews when shared on social media. Without these tags, the platform attempts to do its best with the content it locates, often resulting in an unsightly mess that’s unpleasant for the users you are attempting to attract.
There are a variety of Open Graph tags available, but there are several that are mandatory to improve your social sharing. The first is a tag that identifies your title. This will ensure that the title of your webpage appears in clearly visible, bolded font. Another is an image tag that allows you to designate the exact image you want to appear in the preview. A third is the description tag, which allows you to provide a brief meta description of what the content is about.
In addition to these, you can also use Open Graph tags to identify the page URL, the language of the content (using the locale tag), and the content type (e.g. article). While you can manually create these Open Graph tags in the header, most website editors feature a social tab in the settings, where you can edit your social metadata.
By taking control of how your link appears, you give yourself the best opportunity to generate clicks from that shared link.
10. Create Custom Goals and Conversions to Gauge Campaign Success
Finally, you will want to utilize Google Analytics or an equivalent tool to create custom goals and conversions for your link-building campaign. This enables you to get a better idea of how users engage with your website after clicking a backlink, and whether or not you’re getting the results you need.
A link click alone simply adds another number to your overall web traffic for the day, week, or month. However, analytical tools can help you keep track of what channels are used to access your website. You can decipher valuable information from this including which backlinks are more valuable as well as additional interests that the visitor may have.
By setting custom goals, you can utilize the information you gather to make improvements to your site and your link-building campaign. You could set a custom goal of increasing the average user session to a certain time frame. If visitors are bouncing from the backlinked page sooner, you know to focus on making the content on that page more engaging.
You can also set a custom goal of getting a user to visit X amount of new pages after visiting the linked page. Using the data gathered, you can begin to rethink your approach to internal linking in a way that makes additional pages on your site more appealing to your visitors.
Your overall goal with your link-building campaign may be to reach X number of sales with new and returning audiences. However, by creating step-by-step goals and micro-conversions, you can get a better understanding of how well your website fares at each stop of the process. This can make your pathway to success less daunting and provide a clearer illustration of what causes a visitor to exit the sales funnel prematurely.
Implement These Technical SEO Tactics to Improve Your Link Building Campaigns
By adhering to this technical SEO checklist, you not only enhance the potential effectiveness of your next link-building campaign but improve the quality score of your website overall. A high-quality website will help you to collect valuable backlinks, attract new audiences, enhance your brand’s reputation, and keep new and returning customers engaged.
In summary, you can enhance the benefits of your next link building campaign by:
- Optimizing your site speed and improving mobile-friendliness
- Upgrading and optimizing the SSL Certificate protecting your website
- Optimizing page URLs and keeping promotional pages a permanent part of the navigation
- Properly disavowing toxic backlinks
- Use internal linking for improved site navigation
- Focus on the EAT principle
- Take control over social sharing
- Enhance your campaign monitoring by setting goals and micro-conversions unique to your business needs