How to Earn Links in 2014

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“SEO” has really become a dirty word these days. What with all those black-hat SEO companies getting customers penalized and all…

In fact, “SEO” has attracted such a negative stigma that “SEO Moz,” an inbound marketing thought leader, rebranded its company name to just “Moz.”

But You Do Need to Do SEO!

Now, it’s important to understand that “SEO” is very alive, and it’s completely legitimate to do. In fact, Google wants you to do it.

But, they want you to do it in a “natural” way so that the sites with the best content that people love to read actually get ranked at the top of the search rankings.

In the past, you could build links by placing them on different websites. But Google has eliminated that practice with many algorithm updates.

Today you have to “earn” links, which means they’re editorially reviewed by the website’s owner before being posted. Then, the link anchor text should also be “natural,” which means it doesn’t use anchor text that matches your keywords in any way.

So How do You Earn Natural Links?

You could actually create a lengthy report on the subject, but here’s the quick of it:

  1. Write Quality Content

This is always the number one thing to do. The number of links you can earn is always capped by the quality of your content. Write low-quality content, and you won’t get as many (or as high of quality) links. Develop high-quality content, and you can earn many more.

  1. Guest Blogging

Yes, Matt Cutts says guest blogging as a SEO strategy is dead. But, he’s referring to the fact that many SEOs have done it only to build links to their websites.

Guest blogging still works if you use it to build relationships and awareness. So, you should be targeting fairly well-known blogs in your niche. Here’s the thing though: you still get to include an author bio and get a link with each post (in most cases). So, send that link back to your website, but don’t use exact-match anchor text.

  1. Manual Outreach to Website Owners

This is the 100% white-hat way to get natural links Google will always love. After you’ve created that awesome piece of content, research websites in your niche.

Let the owners know you created this wonderful piece of content. And if they find it fitting for their audience, ask them to link to it. As long as you write truly quality content, you’ll get a good response rate and high-quality links.

  1. Create a Free How-To Guide

Let’s say you’ve identified a problem that affects your target market. A simple way to earn links is to write a white paper or short report showing them exactly how to solve their problem.

Won’t this cost you business? Nope! It actually earns you more business in the long-run. By being the best solution to the problem your market has, they put more trust and credibility into you. When they’re ready to buy what you offer, your name is most likely to come up.

So, you earn both links and sales.

Be Valuable and You’ll Be Okay!

That’s really all there is to it. The more value you can offer, the better off you’ll be. If you have the very best website of your kind in your niche, you’re sure to earn many links over the long run.

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on: Business.com, Redbooth.com, Kabbage.com, MaterialDesignBlog.com

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