Improving your Video Game's Website: Link Building for SEO

by Game Marketing Genie, on 29-Apr-2020 14:53:15

You need your site to appear when your potential customers are looking for it, and to do this you’ll need it to rank high in search engine results. No matter how great your content is, it’s useless if the search engines aren’t finding it. This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important to digital marketing today.

However, the landscape of SEO is always evolving and link building has emerged as one of the most effective tactics over the past few years.

What is link building?

Link building is the process of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to help you improve the search engine ranking of your page or website.

However, links are not just for humans to follow, as search engine bots also use them to discover pages on the internet and determine how high they should rank a page for relevant keywords in a process known as crawling. A search engine bot finds your website when at least one other website that it crawls has one or more hyperlinks to yours.

The more links from high-quality websites that lead to a particular webpage, the more likely that search engines will consider it a popular or useful resource and rank it higher. Links have been a key ranking factor for search engines since the late 1990s when one of Google's founders, Larry Page, invented PageRank. Google used this metric as part of its overall ranking algorithm to gauge the quality of a page by considering how many links from other websites led to it.

The reason PageRank worked so well was because it mirrored word-of-mouth recommendations. A link could be considered the online version of telling a friend about an interesting book you think they should read. If a website got many links to it from other websites, then it was decided that it could be trusted to be worth ranking high in search.

However, some unscrupulous SEO marketing services started figuring out how to manipulate this metric for their target keywords - just one of the tactics of black hat SEO. Google has since started rolling out regular updates in order to eliminate websites that take advantage of this.

Learn more about white hat SEO (the opposite of black hat) and why you need it in our blog here: Your Guide to White Hat SEO.

Google on laptop computer

Why is link building important?

Beyond being a strong signal for search engines to use in determining their search result rankings, link building also offers many benefits to website owners.

Attracting more relevant traffic

It’s not enough to just get more visitors on your website, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right visitors. Getting a good link from a popular website organically leads to an increase in traffic for your website - and this traffic is relevant to your business.

This is because link building allows your website to be found specifically by people to whom it is most relevant and who will therefore be most likely to respond to your calls to action (CTAs). This is particularly important in the fields of e-commerce and game/app development where leads, conversions and sales are the driving factor behind a brand’s success.

Building your brand

When done right, link building can help grow your brand and portray it as an authoritative thought leader in your niche. Link building tactics including high-quality content creation offer a unique opportunity to build brand credibility by showcasing your knowledge, expertise and proficiency in the field of your choice. 

For example, if you conduct a survey and publish a research report about it, many other websites (both within and outside your niche) can link to it as a way to improve their own articles with industry data. This in turn raises your brand recognition by customers in the market and also helps you get taken seriously as a business that is an authority in its field.

Building relationships

At its core, link building is a deeply interpersonal activity. This means that it requires you to reach out to, and connect with, other real people running websites and blogs that are relevant in your niche with a piece of content that offers their readers some real value.

This outreach is best approached as not just a one-time event but rather a long-term relationship to build trust. The connections built during this exercise can be extremely useful beyond just the links in far as networking as an entrepreneur goes. They offer potential for new business collaborations, exchange of valuable ideas and increasing brand strength.

People looking into the distance

How to get started on creating a good link building SEO strategy

There are two approaches you can take with link building for your website.

Tempting as they may be, you should make sure to avoid using black hat SEO tactics such as buying links and doing link exchanges. While they may work in the short-term, the long-term ramifications are not worth it. Having your website flagged by search engines and purged from the search results won’t be a long term benefit for whatever short-term gains these methods offer. 

You should only employ natural link building tactics including organically earning links from other websites on a merit basis despite how difficult and time-consuming this process is. There are three common ways to get external websites to link to yours organically:

  • Creating high-quality content that is so compelling that other people can’t help but find it useful to include links to it in their own web content.
  • Getting your website and/or product to be reviewed by reputable people in your niche, be they popular industry bloggers or social media influencers.
  • Leveraging your personal connections i.e. asking friends, workmates, and business partners to link to your website, especially if they are in the same niche.

Of the above, creating high-quality, unique and compelling content is the most effective although it requires the most effort on your part. There are four critical steps to follow in creating and executing a successful link building strategy centered on high-quality content:

  1. Know exactly what your target audience looks like
  2. Find out which websites your target audience often visits
  3. Write great content that is relevant to your target audience
  4. Reach out to the popular websites with relevant content

Let's take a deeper look into what these steps mean for you.

1. Know exactly what your target audience looks like

You need to make time to figure out exactly who your ideal website visitor/customer is. Who are you trying to speak to? You should research and put together both demographic and psychographic data to help you create a mental image of the kind of person you’re targeting.

Some key data points to consider include: location, age, gender, hobbies and career. This image that you create in this process doesn’t have to be 100 percent accurate, it just needs to be clear enough for you to execute the next step well. This exercise also helps you figure out the ideal brand voice you need to use in writing your content for you to appeal to your target audience.

2. Find out which websites your target audience often visits

Once you have a clear picture of your ideal audience in mind, you can then move on to researching and making a list of websites that already appeal to them. These are the websites you will need to reach out to with the great content you will create in the next step.

3. Write great content that is relevant to your target audience

This is the core part of this whole process. You can either roll up your sleeves and write the content yourself or hire a writer to do it for you. The important thing is to make sure that you end up with articles and blog posts that are not only packed with valuable advice, opinions or information for your target audience but also well-structured and well written for easy reading.

However, you need not limit yourself to text content. You can also create visual pieces such as videos although these still have to be built around high-quality text elements such as scripts.

4. Reach out to the popular websites with relevant content

Once you have your great pieces of content ready, the next step is to go through the list of websites you made earlier to figure out which pieces match which sites. The more closely the specific topic of your content piece matches the website you send it to, the higher your chances of getting linked to, and gaining relevant traffic from that link as explained earlier.

The key is to remember that you’re talking to real people so make sure that you never send out automated emails for link building. Instead, you need to craft short, custom, personal emails with actual value such that they won’t get ignored or even worse, flagged as spam.

A key tip that works very well by allowing you to provide value to the website owner before asking them to link to yours is informing them of a broken link on their website or a page that isn't rendering well on mobile. This is information that website owners are always glad to gain.

Read more in our blogs on Growth Marketing Genie:

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There are many social media platforms for brand marketing, but you need to ensure you are spending time, money, and effort on the ones that matter. Game Marketing Genie can research to help you find the perfect platforms and create content that is relevant, valuable, and educational for your audience. Get in touch and let our marketing strategy consultants help your business reach a wider audience.

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Topics:Digital Marketing StrategySEO

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