When discussing SEO, it’s quite easy to talk about link building purely in inorganic links – I.e., those that you placed yourself, or made outreach efforts to establish. Yet, a large part of your success will also come from natural, organic links: those that are naturally placed by people through their own volition.
Of course, not all links are good but, with natural links, there are still plenty of examples that can benefit your website – here are the best 5 to look for.
There are a number of websites online where people can go to ask questions. A common example includes Yahoo Answers, for example, where members of a community can both ask and answer public questions.
If you have content that people are familiar with and is relevant to the question, why wouldn’t they use it? This will add to your overall ranking and, of course, catch some traffic from the page itself. Of course, the value of the website will also very. While the likes of Yahoo is publicly visible, there are some extremely popular options (such as Quora) that can generate great links, even though the content is ‘locked’ behind a sign-in page.
Likewise, any website where people can talk and discuss about given topics can also prove useful. Here, people can leave links in their responses so, again, having relevant content is useful. However, forums are common targets for spam so don’t be surprised to see no-follow links appear.
Yet there are still plenty of benefuts to natural forum links. They help authenticate your profile and, of course, they can drive local traffic – this latter part tends to spike up when the link first appears, decreasing as the thread becomes older.
Industrial Connections And Recommendations
If you’re worth recommending, people will often do so. This is the main thought process behind answers and forums. However, you also have to consider the companies you have strong working partnerships with. These are often high authority websites, so there is plenty of potential.
Many sites will often link to their partners, whether its on a dedicated page or through content of their own, which is one reason many companies prefer to offer exclusive or otherwise publicised partnerships (such as official parts suppliers or sponsorship).
If you have unique information or content that others can’t find elsewhere (or even simply can’t find as easily), your page will be a go-to reference for sourcing this data. This is useful in many situations, such as journalism and other forms of reporting.
People will naturally link back to your data to protect themselves. Linking builds their authority and highlights that the source is credible and does exist. Similarly, there are also channels such as HARO – Help A Reporter Out – where journalists can ask for experts, sources and unique insight. Just like public questions and forums, this is a great place to for links to bloom. However, HARO doesn’t offer the links itself. Instead, you often e-mail journalists directly to help them out. In many situations, the link/source will appear in their final work.
Done right, directories can be a useful source of data for people trying to look up your business. The trick, however, lies in finding the right directories and ensuring your business isn’t linking out of some of the poorer, spam orientated ones. There are a few benefits to directories but, as they are still SEO links, you need to avoid the low authority ones that simply spam out links to produce content (or even charge you for the ‘privilege’ of doing so).
Few businesses, for instance, will mind a link on Yelp, but a less useful site may come across as spam and work counter-intuitively to your search results ranking. Directories hold value if people actively use them. Yelp, for example, is a go-to source and trusted by many users online.
As you can see, there are numerous ways natural links can generate themselves. For any SEO agency, this is something worth monitoring: as always, you should look to control any negative links while allowing beneficial links to thrive.