Building a network of hyperlinks is an essential component of any successful search engine optimization strategy. By definition, a well-trafficked website is something that has pathways leading to and from it, which people can follow as they go about their business online.
Of course, some people will navigate directly to your site and then simply close it out once they’re done, but this only happens after they’ve found it by some other means. That goal requires connecting your website with others, including Google, on the understanding that visitors may or may not continue to use the same links over the long term.
While you don’t need any one visitor to use those links over the long term, they do need to get a regular workout in order to continue fueling your SEO. If you don’t have a comprehensive notion of what building a network of hyperlinks means, this might strike you as a sort of catch-22. We’re saying that you have to have organic traffic to your site in order to continue ranking high on a search engine results page, but you probably think you need to have a high ranking in order to generate organic traffic to your site.
This is short-sighted thinking. It’s also potentially magical thinking, since it implies that an SEO campaign can move a client to the top of a results page even before that client’s site starts generating serious traffic. In reality, links to your site from Google or another search engine should start out several notches down on your list of priorities when you’ve just started building a network of hyperlinks.
Start Small with Internal Links
Fortunately for all novice site owners, there are other, higher-priority targets which are almost as obvious in today’s internet marketing landscape. Links between a company’s website and its social media pages are notable examples. These links can even be multi-layered, as when the lead a visitor from a tweet that showed up spontaneously in their feed to a blog post that elaborates on that tweet, and then to a permanent webpage that clarifies the visitor’s interest in the company or personality behind it.
This chain of clicks might start you on the path of building a network of hyperlinks, so as to give the search engine algorithms a sense that your website has a definite place on the internet where users might want to go if they share certain key demographics or shared interests. When your link network is robust and consciously cultivated, it can provide a lot of valuable data to search algorithms and to your web services provider about the types of people you’re trying to reach, and the kinds of consumers who are most likely to click through.
It should go without saying that the farther out you reach when building a network of hyperlinks, the more data you’re collecting and disseminating to search engines. This allows the algorithm to refine where and when you show up on results pages, and it allows your digital marketing team to better understand which aspects of your SEO campaign are and are not working as intended.
Once you’ve mastered the simple chain of social media to blog to webpage, you can begin expanding upon that formula and building a network of hyperlinks that includes other social media accounts, and other websites. As is typical of a network, the connections among those elements can easily run in multiple directions. This is a useful fact to keep in mind not just because it gives you multiple angles from which to approach the issue but also because it makes it an easy sell for partners, clients, and customers with whom you might try to collaborate.
Find Partners and Use All Available Services
If your website features a blog and you identify a website for a related but non-competing business which has its own blog, you’ve found an opportunity for reciprocal promotion that also aids in building a network of hyperlinks for both of you. In order to exploit it, you or your web marketing partners can identify one or more topic areas that are relevant to both websites, and then feature links to each other’s websites on “guest posts” that you each contribute to the other’s blog.
Each time you do this, you also have the opportunity to double up on social media content by making separate posts with links to your own post and your partners’. Furthermore, you can include links back to the social media pages in the posts themselves, or in a guest author byline. In fact, this illustrates a larger point: each time you create links between two types of content, you should try to make sure that users can follow those links in both directions. This helps to maximize traffic around your site and further confirms to the algorithm that it’s a site people trust enough to explore well beyond the first click.
This reputation grows stronger with a greater diversity of third party links that lead to your website. Therefore, when building a network of hyperlinks, you should look to online directories, consumer feedback sites, and online media outlets. While the latter category can be hard to exploit on your own, it bears mentioning that there are low-cost press release distribution services available to virtually all ecommerce companies and their marketing firms.
While there’s no guarantee that these services will land your press release in a major outlet, most of them do create a dedicated page for each release, which can be picked up by Google News or a similar service in the event that someone from your target audience searches for just the right terms while that content is still fresh. If they do, then they could arrive at your website not directly from Google, but rather from a third party site that is willing to boost your SEO while also boosting its own.
This sort of collaboration may seem unpalatable to people with cutthroat impulses when it comes to digital marketing. But we think those impulses are outmoded, if they were ever the right approach in the first place. Today’s online landscape is simply too vast for anyone to expect they can reject collaboration and still get ahead.