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Step Up Your Link Strategy to Get Better Search Results (Infographic) Getting noticed on the Internet starts with good content. Knowing how to leverage it is the real key to success.

By Murray Newlands Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Great SEO can make a company, bad SEO can kill a company. For consumers, links are a way to learn more information about a subject, but to search engines they can serve as an indication of content that's popular. If multiple pages link to the same article or news item, search algorithms assume it must be of value and rank it higher. External links are a major factor in how Google determines search results, according to separate reports from Moz and Searchmetrics.

However, because this process can be manipulated, it's important that those links be legitimate to avoid being seen as spammy by Google's algorithms. While organic links are more important than ever, the legitimacy of those links is also more important than ever. With Google placing such a strong emphasis on links, here are a few things you can do to improve your links for SEO purposes.

Related: 7 Advanced Ways to Improve Your Site's SEO

Provide code

You can't control what others write about you, you can make it as easy as possible to link to your content. This is often done using grab buttons, which not only invite visitors to copy and paste your code to their websites or blogs, but make copying available with just one click. Tools are available that can help you create these buttons, incorporating your logo into it.

In addition to providing an invitation to link to your content, you can also invite visitors to share your link on Facebook, Twitter and other social sharing sites. In addition to being important to algorithms, these links also introduce your content to an audience you might not have otherwise known about you. Many CMSs offer widgets to accomplish this, but you can also get it from the various social media sites.

Guest blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to place external links on a variety of sites while also growing your audience. Your colleagues are likely as time-challenged as you are, so your offer to provide a blog post will likely be met with relief. Since you're time-challenged, as well, you could set up an agreement with a few colleagues to swap blog posts in order to get a day off from your own blog while also helping your friend.

As part of your offer to guest blog, make sure you'll get a link to your site out of it, as well as a brief bio. When you host guest bloggers on your own site, show the courtesy of not only linking to the blogger's preferred site, but also sharing the content on your social media networks as a thank you.

Related: Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimizing Your Website

Cover a newsworthy topic

Your content is likely to be shared if it provides something of interest to people in your industry. This is best accomplished through creating content that is newsworthy. To do this, set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your industry and post as quickly as possible once important news breaks. Try to avoid controversial topics unless you can tackle it from a completely professional, objective standpoint. You may alienate someone who would have otherwise considered working with you.

Once you've posted the news item, don't just share it on Twitter and Google Plus. Consider linking to it on other sites where you regularly network with professionals, including LinkedIn and any groups or forums. If you don't currently belong to networking forums, it's a great way to meet others in your industry who will be interested in linking to your content.

Link to others

As with every other networking opportunity, the best way to receive is to give. As you find content that interests you, link to it in your own content and share it on social media sites. In doing so, you'll likely attract attention from those who originally posted the content, as well as others in your industry who will begin to see you as a thought leader.

As you strive to come up with share-worthy content and link to interesting content by others, your own readers will find your content more interesting. This high-quality content will begin to naturally attract external links that will only continue to help your site gain greater visibility in searches.

Through links, your site can both reach more users and gain greater visibility in search engines. By working to ensure quality, genuine links are posted throughout the internet to your site. Your own content also benefit from all of your hard work as you strive to generate interesting blog posts that catch the attention of other professionals in your industry.

Related: 5 Dead-Simple SEO Hacks to Save You Time

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How Startups Can Step Up Their Link Strategy To Get Better Search Results

Murray Newlands

Entrepreneur, business advisor and online-marketing professional

Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor and speaker. He is the founder of ChattyPeople.com chatbot builder tool and Sighted.com. Read his blog MurrayNewlands.com.

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