We’ve all been there: You’re researching a business and the only information you have to base a decision upon is the website’s own description. Is it trustworthy? Perhaps. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon an amazing, new start-up or simply a lesser-known company. But what if it isn’t? Is it worth the risk?
Consider the difference it would make if you had several, trustworthy sources endorsing the company.
When a website has no one to vouch for it aside from itself, it simply doesn’t feel trustworthy. Compare this experience to visiting YouTube, The New York Times or BBC or one of the other highly trusted websites on the internet and the reason for your unease becomes much more distinct: Websites that are recognized by other trusted sources inherently feel more trustworthy.
Why does this matter? In short, the trustworthiness of your website can make the difference between a visitor engaging with it or not. As we previously discussed in our other article about trust, you need to gain the trust of more than just your visitors – you need to earn Google’s trust. Doing so is critical to your search rank and is the key to bringing visitors to your site in the first place.
This is where your link profile comes in. Your link profile is the database of links that are associated with your website, including links to your website from outside sources. In fact, acquiring links from highly trusted websites is the key to better search ranks. This is supported by Backlinko’s extensive research which indicates that a site’s overall link authority, “strongly correlates with higher rankings.” In other words, links from trusted, highly authoritative websites are the equivalent of these sites endorsing you to Google – they matter.
The quality of your link profile deserves your attention. Whether you’ve made previous efforts to build your link profile, or if you’re discovering its importance for the first time, this article is intended to provide you with steps you can take in order to improve your profile’s overall value.
The Relationship Between Your Link Profile and TrustRank
The goal of an effective link profile is obvious: Establish your website’s authority in order to achieve a better search rank and, consequently, more traffic. Similarly, your “TrustRank” – a term coined by the SEO community – refers to the level of trust that is assigned to your website based on several factors, including the quality of your link profile. Websites with a higher level of trust assigned to them will naturally rank better. While these two factors are separate, they both work towards the ultimate purpose of determining your search rank and should not be thought of as entirely separate.
Think about the way we evaluate recommendations in everyday situations and the relationship between your link profile and your TrustRank becomes more obvious:
If someone made multiple endorsements for a product with no clear basis, or worse, no basis at all, very few of us would find much value in them. The excessive nature of their endorsements may even detract from our overall perception of the product or service that they’re promoting. This same principle applies to your link profile and Google evaluates the quality of the websites linking to you as an indication of what your site is like.
Spam links from low-quality websites make your site look like spam. Authoritative links from high-quality websites make your site look authoritative. The quality of your links matter. It’s as simple as that.
Building a link profile that reflects well on you and that will earn Google’s trust is an art. While it may seem tempting to aggressively build as many links as you can, always remember that fewer, high-quality links will do more good for your profile than a high number of low-quality links.
Acquire Links from Authoritative Websites
Acquiring links from authoritative websites is the gold standard for you building your link profile on top of being SEO rocket fuel.
And while you’re not likely to acquire quality backlinks on demand, there are steps you can take now that are going to position you for greater success over time.
Strategy #1: Utilize Your Social Presence to Its Full Potential
We’ve championed the benefits of social media before, but in case you needed another reason to improve your social presence, your link profile should be that reason. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest are all recognized as high authority domains and so they are powerful platforms for building backlinks that reflect well on your website.
Does that mean you should spend your time developing a steady stream of backlinks from your Facebook feed? Not quite. Many social media sites commonly apply “no follow” tags to their content as a method to counter spam. In essence, this means that the backlinks you include in the majority of your social content, while helpful for directing traffic to your site, won’t contribute to the quality of your link profile. With that said, these “no follow” tags are commonly omitted from user profiles and so including a link to your website as a part of your Facebook, LinkedIn or other social profile are all powerful ways to acquiring a backlink from some of the web’s most trusted websites.
Strategy #2: Make Great Content a Priority
What happens when you find a great content on the web? You share it, of course! Every day, internet users share articles, infographics and other content that they find helpful. If you create content that is particularly authoritative, it could even become a go-to source for information on a particular topic. Aside from creating your own blog, you can also consider guest blogging as an effective method for reaching new audiences.
If you don’t already actively blog, you’re missing out on opportunities to acquire valuable backlinks, in addition to the many benefits of blogs.
Strategy #3: Help a Reporter Out
You may already know about the value of press releases, but are you using websites like ProfNet or HARO? The purpose of these websites is to connect journalists, PR professionals, and even other bloggers with the information you want to share. These services are trusted by mainstream journalists and A-list bloggers alike and, while they won’t allow you to generate backlinks on demand, they will help you acquire quality backlinks over time and quality is what you need to make your profile great.
Strategy #4: Help Re-Build Broken Links
While all of the aforementioned strategies are recognized white-hat methods for improving your link profile, broken link building stands out as a way to not only effectively establish your trustworthiness but also do good for the web at the same time. There are countless broken links throughout the web either due to pages being removed, an address being changed, or a number of other reasons. Broken link building entails reaching out to webmasters and bloggers with the suggestion of replacing these broken links with a link to your own content that is an equivalent – if not an improvement – of the content they originally provided.
Strategy #5: Reach Out to Other Industry Experts
It’s possible to acquire valuable backlinks from other industry experts as long as you go about it in an appropriate manner. While simply asking a webmaster or blogger to link to your website is unlikely to be effective, explaining how your content could be relevant and helpful to them and their audience will help position you as a possible, future resource in their mind.
Similarly, while your primary reason for sharing a link should be to provide value to your audience, there’s little harm in sending a courtesy e-mail to webmasters or bloggers complimenting them for their expertise and letting them know you have linked to their website.
Earning Google’s trust is paramount to your SEO success. What better way is there to communicate your trustworthiness than the endorsement of websites it has already recognized?
Acquiring backlinks from highly trusted websites is exactly what you need to do in order to achieve this.
How will you build your link profile?
Your SEO strategy is important to you. When it comes to the most critical piece of your SEO strategy, isn’t it worth doing properly? webFEAT Complete has helped thousands of local Cincinnati businesses optimize their link profiles and offers industry experts who will ensure your success over time. Learn more about our Search Engine Optimization services or either contact us or schedule a consultation to start seeing results. We’ll build you a profile that’s great!
Also published on Medium.