It’s a new year!

And as we all know, SEO doesn’t wait for anyone.

The name of the game is to rank high on a results page, but how does that happen?

You know backlinks are a big factor in that ranking, but you’re unsure of where to start.

Read on to learn about link building tools and strategies.

Start the year off right

We get it.

December is full of things to do, presents to wrap, parties to attend. Projects to finish, books to close, inventory to control.

But now it’s January, and it’s time to 2017 going.

Before you dive right into link building, there are a few things you should do first.

If you couldn’t take the time in December to do any planning or maintenance, now’s your chance.

Start with a site audit

This isn’t just doing a quick once-over to see if things still work.

You need to be more methodical and go through every bit of your site.

You’re looking at issues like:

  • Technical – pages that don’t work, are too slow, are missing header tags, etc.
  • Content – are there gaps you can now fill? Posts that aren’t evergreen and need updating? Forgotten pages that could be useful if promoted again?
  • Design – if you updated your design, did every page get migrated correctly?
  • Links – do they all still work? Do you have the right amount of internal links?

Start by making a list of the items and any issues, so you can easily check them off as they’re fixed.

If you’re new to SEO or would like a little extra guidance, check out this three part series.

Strategy and planning

You won’t know where you’re going if you don’t make a plan to get there.

You should review your previous strategy and analyze the results.

What worked? What didn’t? What worked really well – and can you do it again?

If you didn’t get the results you wanted, we can help.

Let us create a custom SEO strategy for you.

A quick word on patience

Good things come to those who wait, as the saying goes.

Link building and the ranking that follows takes time.

You need to have a little patience as you’re working your link building plan.

Keep cool, and keep creating great content and building solid backlinks.

How is your content game, anyway?

Content is still king

Having great content on your site has been the name of the game for the past couple of years.

Actionable, valuable information should be the starting point of your content strategy.

Here are tips for creating content that people actually want to read:

  • Longer is better: aim for 300+ words when you can. The goal is to provide info your customers can use.
  • Listen first: do some research. What does your audience actually want? What problem are you solving for them? Answer the questions they’re asking, not the ones you think they are.
  • Plan: content is another area where planning is critical. Create a content map for the year if you can, update as needed. This will help keep you on track and on schedule.

If you’re struggling with your content, this 5 point checklist has a ton of detailed tips.

Link building tools

OK, you’ve got your site up to speed and you’re feeling good about your content.

Now it’s time to dive into link building tools and tips.

There are two kinds of backlinks: internal and external.

Both are important.

Internal links connect your content to well, your content.

It improves user site navigation and also helps Google crawl your site.

External means all the places that your content is linked to from other sources.

You should’ve reviewed the internal links during your site audit, so we’ll check that off.

Let’s look at external links and what you’re really after: link juice.

Wait, what’s link juice?

No, it’s not from Florida and doesn’t grow on trees.

It’s the SEO industry term for the power your site gains from the strength of its external links.

Sites that are considered authorities give your links more juice than others.

Think of it as reading the Wall Street Journal instead of the National Enquirer.

And of course, Google has a complicated algorithm that ranks this authority.

So what are link building tools you can use to improve your site’s ranking?

Ask for it

The most basic link building tool is communication.

Think of people you know that you can ask for in-content links to your site (not in the footer, those aren’t as valuable).

Make sure the sites are applicable, though. If you sell shoes, you don’t necessarily want a backlink on a site that makes bookcases.

After you’ve done the friends and family plan, what’s next?

Build relationships

You’ve found sites you’d like to have backlinks on, but you aren’t connected to them.

Try joining online groups that focus on connecting people, or try LinkedIn.

Start small and work your way up.

It takes time, though.

You probably won’t get a backlink on the Wall Street Journal your first time out.

Guest posting as a link building tool

If you’re confident in your content writing skill, offer to write a guest post for someone else.

Well-written content that’s free can be a huge help (think about how much you’d appreciate it).

But make sure you don’t stuff it with a million keywords and backlinks.

Be thoughtful and others will do the same.

See what you can learn from your competitors

Yes, they’re competitors vying for the same customers’ attention.

But they’re likely not doing everything wrong, otherwise, they wouldn’t be a competitor.

See what backlinks they have that would also be useful to you.

How we can help

With this guide, you’ve got a great introductory guide to link building tools and strategies.

But you realize you don’t have the time, or still aren’t feeling comfortable with doing it.

That’s where we come in.

Our services include both local (getting your Google listing optimized) and global (backlinks!).

Contact us today for your free consultation.