Friends, welcome to our 3rd SEO Series!

We love chatting all things SEO here at Clapping Dog Media, and what we love most is giving you the tools to get you FOUND online! If you missed our first 2 blog series, we highly recommend giving them a read because we’ve covered all of the essentials you need to know for SEO in them.

We started with the SEO Essentials Series, giving you a solid foundation for understanding how to get great SEO, then built on this foundation with a Blogging for SEO series. Today we’re talking about how to get the triple crown of SEO–link building.

The foundation series covered what SEO is, why you need it (even if you get a lot of referrals), a history of shady SEO techniques, the essential SEO glossary, how to check your page speed, and 5 ways to master SEO in 2017.

Our Blogging for SEO series covered juicy topics like why blogging is such a big deal for SEO, a creative way to get endless ideas for your blog posts, and key tips for writing great content, and how to write traffic boosting headlines, and we wrapped up with how to write SEO friendly content.

If you read through all the posts in this series, you will know more about how to get great SEO for your website than most business owners do! And bonus–we’re super proud of you too!

Today, we’re moving onto our 3rd series: link building. Getting strong backlinks is your secret weapon for propelling your SEO forward and for getting in front of your dream audience.

SEO Essentials + Great Content + Strong Backlinks = SEO Triple Crown

Why do backlinks matter?

SEO is a Popularity Contest

Do you like celebrity magazines as much as I do? (This is really about backlinks…promise)

It seems like I always know right away when someone like Kate Middleton steps out in a gorgeous new outfit (thanks, Google News, for knowing what I like to read about).

The more someone is mentioned in the media, the more attention they get, even if it’s for no discernible reason (looking at you, Kardashians).

In pop culture, popularity breeds popularity.

No matter how great I looked at dinner last night, People Mag is not going to be publishing pics of me in that stylish new dress today. Why? Because no other magazine is doing it, so why should they?

Ok Meg….what does this have to do with SEO??”

Here’s the thing: Google treats SEO like a popularity contest. The votes are links around the internet. The more votes you get, the more ‘popular’ you appear to Google. And not all votes are created equal: Google places more value on ‘votes’ (aka links) from high-authority sites. So, the popular kids get to determine what becomes popular.

When someone links to your website, this is the SEO equivalent of getting photographed in People Magazine. If you make the cover of People for something notable, you know that you’ll have the paparazzi on your lawn in the morning (aka–loads of clients, press inquiries, etc.). Getting a mentioned somewhere relevant online is great for business.

In other words?

Google takes notice when a site with high authority says you’re cool. (aka, links to you).

“Wait…how do I know if a site has ‘high authority’?”

Google tends to keep their secrets tightly wrapped, but we have a few ways we can determine how much authority a website has.

First, we can look at a website’s “Alexa Score”. Take this with a grain of salt, but it can be a useful tool for measuring how popular a site is. For reference, HuffingtonPost.com is #66 in the USA, TheKitchn is ranked #195, and our friends at Bloguettes are ranked #84,365. This shows you a difference between an internationally known news site, a niche blogging site, and an ultra niche blogging site.

Second, you can use this free tool from Moz to get a good feel for your site’s authority, or for a site that you’re considering submitting content to. If this number is low, don’t be alarmed. It’s really, really hard to get a high number. Sites like Google and Wikipedia are very high, like towards 100, and most small business sites will be below 50.

Here’s the best part:

Getting links from a site with a “low” ranking can still have a huge effect on your SEO standings. In other words? Don’t judge a site by its Alexa score. Also, keep in mind where your audience is reading. They are more likely to be on small business’ websites than the big ones and are more likely to contact you after finding you from someone they know and trust rather than a huge site.

Both kinds of sites (high and low authority) can be beneficial for your business, so keep that in mind when pitching your posts.

Beware of bad links

So, back to our celebrity example: Don’t you ‘trust’ what People Magazine says much more than a tabloid with outrageous headlines? Google knows a spam site just like you know a fake tabloid. If your site has lots of spammy links, Google will penalize you big time for it. Having just a few quality, relevant links is MUCH better than having hundreds of spammy links.

Because reputable link building is so important, we’re covering more in the coming weeks about how to get these great links. Plus, we’re giving you a thorough list of the outlets to pitch for guest posts, no matter your size or industry.

So, the takeaway here? Link building is HUGE for SEO. Once you have a site fully optimized, have lots of great content up, link building is the next step to mastering SEO. When you consistently work on all three stages of SEO, you’ll build a stronger reputation online, get more inquiries, book more of your dream clients, and become well known for the work you do.

Feeling overwhelmed with the work it takes to get great SEO? Did you know that we can do it for you?? That’s right, friend, Clapping Dog Media clients get the best of what our powerhouse team has to offer, and that means great results for you. Want to learn more? Get in touch!