How to Drive Traffic to Your Freelance Website and Boost Search Rankings With a Link-Building Strategy
The goal of every web writer is to get found online. From there, you just need to convince your prospect you’re the best person for their project, get hired, and you’ll be making money.
But, it all starts with getting found online.
We talk a lot about the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when it comes to ranking high in the search engines. Yet, there’s another lesser-known technique that’s equally powerful and important.
It’s called link building. Along with being an incredible self-promotion tool, it’s a relatively simple way to build your credibility and drive traffic to your website.
Get a good link strategy set up and you’ll be well on your way to becoming known as a leading web writer.
The 6 Major Benefits of a Good Link-Building Strategy
Here are six ways a link-building strategy will help you with self-promotion:
- You’ll get a boost in your search-engine rankings. This means more traffic to your website.
- Your website visitors will be well-qualified. When someone clicks on a link to your site, they’ll already know something about you. Depending on the source of that link, they’ll have either read something you wrote or they’ll have read something somebody else wrote about you. Clicking on a link to your site means they want to know more.
- Your credibility as an expert will increase. Links build trust. They’re like tiny endorsements from others that say, “Hey, this web writer is someone you should know about.”
- You’ll get connected to a network of movers and shakers in your industry. Assuming you build your link strategy carefully, you’ll gradually interweave your name with the big players in your chosen niche. Links from the movers and shakers in your industry stand as powerful recommendations for your work.
- You’ll enjoy the domino effect. Links attract links. So, the more you have, the more you’ll get, meaning the number of inbound links pointing to your site will increase incrementally once you get the ball rolling.
- You’ll be seen as a leading competitor in your field. Links position you as a leader. The more you have, the more power you hold, and the harder you are to compete with.
The 4 Major Types of Links
Link is short for hyperlink, which is something you click on within the Web to be redirected to a new location. That much you probably know.
What you may not know is how links differ from each other.
Inbound links: Also called backlinks or incoming links. Inbound links are links that appear on any website or web page outside of your site to redirect traffic back to a page within your website.
Internal links: These are links that connect different pages within your own website. For instance, you can link back and forth to your own blog posts.
Organic links: The links to your site that show up in search-engine results.
Outbound links: When you have a link on your site that connects to another website.
It’s important to know that every one of these types of links gets looked at by search engines. They each make up part of the scoring system that determines how your indexed pages fit with search terms typed in a search-engine query box. Think of links as votes for your site.
Why Links Are So Valuable
Links are important because they don’t reflect what you’ve written (with the exception of internal links). Instead, they indicate what other people have written about you. This means they’re weighted with more authority.
In the opinion of search engines, this makes for a very important distinction between your site and your competitor’s site.
The upside of link building is that you can have fun and be creative. It’s a constantly-developing art form. The downside is that you can spend a lot of time building your links only to find that they give you very little return.
So, the question is, where do focus your efforts for the maximum return?
You must come up with a strategy so you see the kind of ranking returns you want to see. This saves you from the disappointment of only a trickle of traffic after a lot of wasted effort. Your goal should be to build targeted incoming traffic while increasing your visibility and credibility. Because really, the whole point of strategic link building is to establish you as a worthy competitor in your industry.
Start By Defining Your Online Marketplace
Everything about link building has to do with finding quality link prospects. To find them, you must define your target audience. To whom do you sell?
If somebody wants the services you offer, they’ll do a search on Google, read articles, check out discussion groups, and evaluate competition. The sites they use to do this make up the online marketplace for your industry. You want to be listed on these sites, and you want your link strategy to get you there. Aim to get links from the most important sites where your potential customers might look.
Look for 3-5 niches from which to generate links. From there, build a target list of 250 important sites where you’ll want to concentrate your efforts. After that, separate the high-profile sites and info sites from the rest and start with them. Don’t feel intimidated by well-known sites – go for the best!
Check to see whether any invite you to “write for us” or “submit an article.” If so, take advantage of it. Then, move on to the non-media sites. Include references to them in your content with short articles or recommendations that will be useful to your visitor.
5 More Places to Look for Inbound Links
Here are a few other places to find sites that may provide a linking opportunity:
- Directories and resources pages. These are the outfits that will most likely want to link to you – after all, it’s what they do. Quality directories include Yahoo!, Business.com, Best of the Web, and IPL2.
- Colleagues and business partners. See if anybody is interested in doing a link-exchange.
- Trade associations and similar groups. Most will give you a link back to your own website.
- Local interest groups and associations that are in accordance with your specialty.
- Authoritative sites in your industry. Write and publish useful content, then submit it as a guest post. Write about things your prospects want to know about. Make sure whatever you write is there for a purpose, not just there so you have something for the search engines to index.
Depending on which type of link you pursue, you have to take a custom approach that complements the mission of the site you’re approaching. Try to offer something that benefits them.
What Not to Do
- Don’t waste money on “free directories.” These links don’t have any value. You’ll see deals like 50 links for $250. Major search engines like Google and Bing only give credibility (and ranking) to directories with a stated editorial policy.
- Don’t buy links. It’s against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
- Don’t swap links with unrelated sites. If you trade links with business partners or relevant sites, that’s okay. But trading with sites that have nothing to do with your work will hurt you.
- Don’t buy into forum or blog spamming. This is where bots comb the Web for forums and blogs and insert random comments along with a link back to the bot-creator’s site.
- Don’t guest-blog on crappy sites. If nobody reads them, they really won’t help a lot.
By the Way – You Can Actually Charge for This
Link building should become part of your daily routine. Look for a method you enjoy and use it to drive incoming links to your site.
Remember, the end goal isn’t to have the highest number of links possible. It’s to have the highest quality links you can get. Constantly monitor which links bring you the most traffic. Figure out what types of links benefit you the most and whether your sales increase as a result.
Also, negative comments show up in a search with your name or your business name. Be polite and play nice, otherwise somebody will notice and comment about you.
By the way, once you become really adept at link building, you can market it as another one of your services. Simply explain to your clients why they need this and what the benefits are and they’ll likely be happy to hire you for the job.
This article, How to Drive Traffic to Your Freelance Website and Boost Search Rankings With a Link-Building Strategy, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.
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