Link Building and Brand building with Semalt SEO Agency


You have a website, and the results of your activities aren’t meeting your expectations. Don’t worry!

We have the best solution to your problem. You will need to work on two essential points: link building and brand building.

Link building is one of the pillars of SEO strategies. By creating a network of links to your website, it shows Google that your website is a reference in its domain and deserves to be at the top of the SERP. Also, you'll have to work on your branding. A recognizable brand allows you to sell high volume merchandise at a higher price. It is also known that market leaders are companies that invest heavily in branding.

The purpose of this article is to explain how Semalt Agency can help you plan the links creation process and brand development, to make this process as transparent as possible and to adapt it to your budget. 

Link Building: Learn how to use this strategy

Did you know that the search engine’s classification work is based on what the links have to say? It is through it that the bot explores new content to index and perceive the relationship between pages.

These relationships show the relevance of a webpage, which is essential to being well-positioned in search results.

Yes, creating a website with a reactive design, improving the speed of the pages, and creating relevant content are good options. It’s not enough to have the best results in your digital marketing, though. It's time to study link building and create a powerful network of links to your website!

What is link building?

Link building is the set of SEO strategies that aim to create a network of links to a page in order to generate traffic and reinforce your authority on search engines.

These links can be external or internal. But when it comes to creating links, we usually think of external links: that is to say, links acquired from other sites, also called backlinks or inbound links.

The role of these links is to show Google the popularity and authority of the site on the market. The searcher looks for links that point to the site to see whether it is sufficiently cited and has good references or not.

The more links your website receives from trusted, popular, and referred sites, the more relevant it is in its field of expertise.

Now let’s talk about why links are so important.

Why are links important?

Links are important as long as the Web exists. The World Wide Web can be defined as a set of interconnected documents that form a "Web."

Links are therefore responsible for this interconnection, allowing users to navigate between pages, sites, images, videos, and files.

Search engines rely on this structure of links to explore and rank Web sites.

While initially there were relatively few sites, all was well. But the volume of users, websites, content, and searches has increased dramatically. As a result, search engines had to improve their algorithms to provide better search results.

First, search engines left behind the need to register and started chasing the webpages for its indexation, with the goal of cataloguing all webpages and making content available to users in an orderly manner.

To fulfil this mission, search engines used the interconnected structure of the web. It works to this day; links show the web paths of search engine bots, which trawl through sites for new content or updates.

From then, it was no longer necessary to list sites in alphabetical order. It was necessary to analyze what the pages offered and whether they had the information that users wanted to find.

The intention was to measure the relevance of the site based on the number of links it received from other sites. The logic was the same in the academic field: the more citations an author receives, the more authority he or she has in his or her field of knowledge.

So, the more links a site receives, the more relevant it is in its field of expertise.

Therefore, the links demonstrate the authority of a website. This is also how links have become important for search engines and SEO professionals. 

How does Google rate links?

Google's algorithm uses a multitude of factors to rank a page, and some of those factors go into Google's evaluation of links.

Now, which factors do we need to consider in our link building strategy?

Number of links

This was the first criterion adopted by Google. It was the basis of Page Ranking: the more links a site receives, the more relevant it is. The number of links to a page showed its popularity on the Web.

Today, this criterion remains one of the most important factors in the evaluation of Google links. It cannot come alone, though; it is useless to receive many links from sites that are not relevant and reliable. It is necessary to combine the quantity with the factors we will see below.

Diversity of links

What do you think is worth more: one person who says several times that you are nice, or several people who say once that you are nice? The more people who speak well of you, the more recognition you get in your group.

This is also how Google evaluates and classifies each website. For the search engine, the site displays more authority when it receives links from several different domains. Therefore, the diversity of the link profile is also included in the evaluation.

Context of the link

Google can understand the context around the link to see whether it is really relevant or not.

Google also evaluates the words that appear near the link, also called co-occurrences. Those words help the search engine to understand the topic of the page and determine whether the link makes sense in that context or not.

Anchor text

The anchor text, which is the clickable text of the link, says a lot about the linked page. Usually, it provides a keyword or a short description of what the user will find on the page when clicking on the link. Therefore, Google uses this factor to index pages.

Reliability

The search engine started to consider the reliability of the sites in the ranking.

So, the closer your site is to trusted sites, the more reliable your website will also be for Google and the more link juice your site will receive.

Links from other pages to your website

In dependency creation, you can work with internal and external dependencies. However, it is important to know which has the most weight in the ranking.

To understand, just think: does Google trust more what your site says about itself (internal links) or what other sites say about your site (external links)?

Links from your site to your own pages

The links you insert in your own website are not as heavy as backlinks, but it helps to show the hierarchy of your pages to Google.

Links from your site to other pages

In addition, links from your pages that lead to external sites also have a weight in the ranking.

Google also evaluates whether you provide links to popular, reliable, and authoritative sites. 

Link gain speed

In the early days of SEO, backlinks were one of the main tools of the black hat, which are practices used to deceive the researcher.

Many websites created link farms or used programs to buy and sell links. Thus, they quickly gained backlinks.

As a result, Google has strengthened its algorithm to identify and penalize this type of practice. One of the resources to verify this is to check the speed of winning links.

Gaining many links in a short period of time usually sets up a black hat system, because a natural link profile has a progressive growth.

Nofollow x Dofollow

Another factor that Google evaluates when analyzing links on a page is the nofollow attribute. When this attribute is inserted in the code of the link, the bot knows that it should not be taken into account for the ranking of the linked page.

In other words, nofollow links do not transmit link juice. 

Brand building: analysis of the needs of the market, competitors and target audience

To create a unique brand, you need up-to-date information on the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, as well as an understanding of who your target audience is.

During the literature search, analysts use 4 methods of information analysis.

- Structurally functional. We analyze not only market players, but also raw material producers, suppliers, logistics, transport companies, distributors, and vendors.

- Comparative analysis. We analyze companies with the same type of activity. For example, only transport companies or agencies that promote the brand.

- Content analysis. Highlight trends. For example, by analyzing the market for wine products, we talk about the latest developments in label design.

- In-depth analysis. We determine the advantages and disadvantages of the company, as well as the opportunities and threats that come from the external environment. 

As a result of the study, we obtain comprehensive information on a specific business area, industry development trends, and market prospects. The statistics will help to correctly define the brand development vector.

Branding strategy

Have you been trained? Let's start studying the steps of creating a brand. Of course, after reading this article, you can decide that everything is easy and simple and that anyone can create their own brand. However, for good brand development, it is necessary to have experience in project management, knowledge of advertising, design, and even psychology, as well as complete information about the market situation where you plan to position your brand.

The branding project includes the following main steps:
  1. Design, description of the objectives, and planning of the project.
  2. Analysis of the current market situation (marketing research).
  3. Drafting and updating of technical specifications for the development of brand elements.
  4. Searching for an executor and controlling the execution of the work.
  5. Promoting the brand and monitoring its effectiveness.
If you have your own brand but it loses its popularity and relevance and loses its position in the market and its consumers, then you need to change your brand. Global practice shows that a successful brand change can breathe new life into the brand, but creating a new brand is expensive. Therefore, don't rush to immediately cut everything off of the vine and start again.

We will consider each step of the brand design process in more detail. 

STEP 1: Design, describe the objectives, and plan a brand development project

Planning is the key to the successful implementation of your project. Without a clear and well thought-out procedure, you will not be able to carry out your project without losing sight of everything.

The main purpose of the plan is to organize your actions, set deadlines and the sequences of tasks, set a budget, and have the means to evaluate the achievement of objectives.

At this stage, it is necessary to determine, and better prescribe, the objective of creating a brand (the objective must correspond to the mission of the organization), the place of the brand in the architecture of other brands or corporate brands, and the desired characteristics of the brand (quality, life cycle, competitive advantages, etc.), and to formulate measurable brand parameters, according to which its effectiveness will be further evaluated.

It is also necessary to analyze the available resources of the company (financial, labor, information, etc.), to plan the terms of the project, and to indicate the company's budget for the project. If the project will be managed by several people, you must determine the team of people responsible for the project. 

STEP 2: Analysis of the current situation and market research

Once you have defined a brand development plan, you need to analyze the current market situation. This step can be divided into several sub-steps:

- Collection and analysis of brand information

- Competitor analysis

- Analysis of the target audience

2.1. Gathering brand information involves determining the need for a brand, defining its price segment and its markets (regional, national or international). It is also necessary to indicate how long the brand will be present in the market and whether seasonality is typical.

If the company has a slogan and current communications, analyze it (make sure all is appropriate for the brand or its creation is necessary). Another important point is the definition of the marketing objectives that the brand faces for a period of one to three years (market share, increase sales, creation and improvement of the company's image, etc.).

As a rule, all this information is systematized in a memorandum (a memorandum is a short form in which the main parameters of a future project are prescribed). By filling in a brief, you can review and analyze all the available information in a comprehensive way.

2.2. The next step is the competitor analysis. The biggest mistake is to think that you have no competitors or that there are few competitors and that you should not pay attention to them. Everyone has competitors and the degree of competition is increasing every day. Therefore, first of all, you need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors (do a thorough analysis). It must be said that nobody will do better than you! Remember, this process is endless, and you should not be deceived because you think you already know everything.

2.3. At the stage of target audience analysis (studying consumer preferences), it is necessary to clearly describe your target audience (age, sex, shopping locations, etc.), but also to know what the buyer wants and which of his needs are not being met. The main problem here is that the consumer never knows exactly what he wants. Therefore, you need to be a subtle psychologist to predict the consumer's reaction to your idea. It is also important to understand what motivates consumers to make a purchase.

All studies can be conducted by several methods: field research (primary data method) and literature research (secondary data method, also called desk research). The difference between the two methods is that desk research uses information previously collected and already available, while field research uses data to solve specific objectives from scratch. In addition, marketing research is both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative methods provide accurate numerical data; this is usually statistical information on the basis of which various calculations and predictions can be made. 

By using quality methods, you can determine the actual needs of consumers, their relationship with the product, their reasons for buying, and much more. On the basis of this data, you can learn how to improve the product, what is worth focusing on in the advertising campaign, and what is worth changing in the product in order to attract more customers, and so on.

Literature research offers a number of advantages over field research: speed of implementation, availability of multiple sources of information, and lower financial and labor costs. However, there is always a need to ensure that the information is "fresh" and up-to-date.

There is no need to "reinvent the wheel" once again, especially if issues and problems similar to yours have already been raised. The best solution would be to use the information that is already available and collected. If you are not sure you are up to the task, contact Semalt professionals.

Semalt's marketing specialists will also qualitatively conduct all the necessary research for you and provide you with a report in which all the information is presented in a simple and understandable style, and everything is "laid out on its own shelves."

Only constant monitoring and analysis of brand performance, the market situation, the competitive environment, and consumers can guarantee the long-term and successful presence of your brand.

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