Hi, John here. After you read this post I highly recommend that you read my diatribe on doing better backlink outreach.
In many ways, links are the very foundation of the Internet. They’re how all of us navigate various pages and websites — and search engines use them to “crawl” and index webpages. So if you want to drive traffic to your website and increase its authority, having the right link building strategies in place is a necessity.
Considering how important links are for search engines, you can imagine how crucial link building is for your overall SEO strategy. Having quality links tells Google that your website is authoritative — worthy of citation and a quality resource.
Becoming proficient at link building will mean that the hardest part of achieving higher SEO rankings will be much easier.
But how do you get there? Don’t worry — we’ll explore some of the best-known link building strategies for SEO right here!
No link building strategy can function without quality outreach. As the phrase suggests, it’s the process of reaching out to individuals and companies in your niche and raising awareness of your content. And that content can be anything from product and service links to your blog content.
It just needs to be something that others in your niche will find useful, something they might reference and link to in their content, driving interested leads that are prone to conversion right to your virtual doorstep.
Conversely, not having any linkable assets will spell disaster for your outreach campaign — your industry peers are not likely to link to your website out of the goodness of their hearts, and potential customers won’t click on the links without reason either.
At the end of the day, quality content is the pinnacle of your outreach strategy — infographics, tools, information-heavy blog posts, etc.
Guest blogging is certainly one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s also fairly simple to do as long as you have quality content:
- You write content for a niche-related website
- You include a link to your website within that content
- It gets published, and you receive traffic
When it works, it works big — but you need to make sure your content is present on as many niche websites as possible. Luckily, there are countless websites constantly looking for guest bloggers. And you can find them just like everyone else finds content online: by Googling it!
Just look for guest blogging keywords like “write for us” or “guest blogs,” and you’ll find site owners actively seeking out guest bloggers.
The downside here is that all of your niche competitors and SEO agencies out there are doing the same for their clients. Luckily, some tactics can give you the upper hand in guest blogging.
For instance, don’t limit yourself to niche websites with an explicit “Guest Blog” section. In reality, most websites will accept guest content even if they don’t actively look for it — so write something useful and pitch it hard; soon enough, your backlinking content will be on more websites than any of your competitors.
Broken Link Building
This link building strategy rests on content that may not be as original as guest blogs that you’ve thought of all on your own — but it’s just as useful:
- You find broken links to guides or articles on niche websites
- You create a piece of content that corresponds to the broken link
- You ask everyone who linked to that dead link to use the link to your website instead.
For example, let’s say that you’re a hosting provider trying to get links to your website. Find a niche blog, and look for broken links — if you find a dead link to a guide on different types of hosting, write a guide on the same topic yourself.
Then, find every single page that links to that dead guide, contact the webmasters, and ask them to switch the dead link for your live one instead. It’s a win-win situation — you get traffic, and webmasters get rid of dead links which could detract from their SEO rank.
Tackling Unlinked Mentions
Out of all the link building strategies we’ve mentioned here, this is perhaps the easiest one — at least in terms of the amount of work you need to do. But what are unlinked mentions in the first place — and how do you convert them to bona fide links?
Once your website gains a certain level of recognition (really, any recognition at all) within your niche, other related websites will start quoting or mentioning you and your products. The problem lies in the fact that they’ll rarely go to the trouble of linking to your homepage — resulting in an unlinked mention.
For instance, if someone talked about Airbnb in their travel blog but didn’t link to the Airbnb homepage, this is an opportunity for Airbnb to turn an unlinked mention into a link. All they need to do is to contact the webmaster or owner of the blog.
And this goes beyond mere homepages as well — if you’ve got other products or services that someone mentions, you could provide them with specific links to those as well!
So far, we’ve talked a bunch about all of the links you can gain — but what about the links you’ve lost? Unfortunately, this happens all the time.
There are plenty of reasons why you may lose a link, such as:
- The website that was linking to you doesn’t exist anymore
- The page that contained your link was deleted
- The content that contained your link was updated, and your link wasn’t included in the new version
Unfortunately, you can’t do much about many of these. However, in some cases, it’s just a misunderstanding that could be solved by contacting the webmasters. For example, if your link wasn’t included in the new version of the content by accident — that’s easily solvable. Or, if the new content doesn’t fit your link, maybe you can provide another relevant link or suggest modifications.
Also, if the page was deleted accidentally — and that happens more often than you may think — the webmaster will appreciate you pointing out their mistake.
While we all love organic traffic, sometimes you just have to rely on paid promotions as well. And while many people believe that quality content doesn’t require a PPC push, that’s far from the truth.
In-depth infographics, tutorials, tools, blog posts can all benefit from a small, cheap, and tightly targeted PPC campaign.
You likely don’t have to spend more than a hundred bucks on Facebook ads or Google AdWords — but if the promoted content is useful to your target audience, some of them will certainly link to it; even small percentages are enough to get the ball rolling.
While this may sound like an underhanded, black-hat tactic — it isn’t. In reality, stealing links from inferior pages is a completely legitimate link building strategy. For example, imagine having a huge 5,000-word guide on intermittent fasting on your website — and noticing hundreds of people linking to a 300-word blog post on a similar topic.
People are linking to inferior content because they don’t know that better stuff exists. Feel free to pitch your own competing content to webmasters as a replacement! Just make sure your content is markedly better than your competitor’s and you give the person you are emailing a STRONG reason to switch the link.