I know what Google says. Write awesome and relevant content and you will rank automatically.
But writing content isn’t enough. Optimizing Your Website isn’t enough either.
In a world where millions of words are published every week, some of them utterly crap, it’s important that you promote what you write and do it proactively if you want to rank.
Link-building is part of the process. But none’s sure which link building strategies work.
There has been plenty of speculation about backlinks and their future with big players even claiming it’s dead.
However, believe it or not, link building is still central to your SEO strategy.
Backlinko’s Brian Dean even went on record to say that backlinks and link authority directly influence your position on Google search result pages.
The truth is simple
If you want to rank, you need backlinks.
And, you don’t just want a link. Anybody can get backlinks. You want a high-quality, do-follow link on a page that doesn’t link out hundreds of pages.
When it comes to link juice, the selfish you are, the better.
And, don’t settle for any link in the footer or header. You want it right where people see it, in the middle where it’s most relevant and visible.
This all-inclusive how to build links guide won’t just tell you which Link Building Techniques work but also the most relevant tactics in 2018.
What will we cover?
(I) What is link building in SEO?
(II) How to build links?
B.- Boken Link Building
C.- Guest Blogging
D.- Link Reclamation
E.- Email Outreachr
F.- Resource Page Link Building
(I) What is link building in SEO?
Moz defines links as streets connecting the pages. And Link Building refers to the campaign or process initiated to amass links to a certain page.
Inbound links is another name for backlinks.
There are natural links, manual link building and non-editorial links.
Natural links are links acquired naturally by a website (when someone likes your content enough to link back to on their own).
Manual Outreach link building results in links built through a link-building campaign.
Non-Editorial, self created links are the ones created by a website owner for their own website on third party websites.
(II) How to build links?
[gdlr_widget_box title=”A.- Write content that attracts backlinks” title-color=”#01a1d8″ background=”#003058″ color=”#ffffff” ][/gdlr_widget_box]
What do you think people do online? What do you do online? Browse, read, watch.
People engage with each other online and connect over trending matters. The best way of getting people to link back to you is by attracting them through your content.
Offer people something of value and they will link back to you.
Thought leaders and successful bloggers often enjoy widespread readership because they create link-worthy content.
Whatever content you create should be relevant, high quality and valuable.
Experts recommend these types of content for generating maximum backlinks:
1. Visual Content
Research advocates visual content over any other type.
In a research, 3M stated that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
Dan Zarrella (the social media scientist from HubSpot) stated that tweets with visual content have a 94% more chance of getting retweeted than those sans visual content.
The biggest reason why people prefer visual content is that it is much more attractive to the eyes, quite simple and easy to digest.
People often tend to skim through which is why web writing experts advocate listicles that offer complicated information in easy, digestible chunks. Infographics, charts and other visual content help the readers understand the story without needing them to read it whole.
In simpler words, visual content helps paint a clearer and easy to understand picture of otherwise complicated concepts.
Bloggers and content creators can create backlinks by making a simple embed code that will help other bloggers share the infographic while also generating a backlink.
You can also make engaging videos to attract maximum links.
Link Building Examples: Food for thought- The Oatmeal
Have you heard of the Oatmeal?
How famous do you think it is? Famous enough to rake in 140,712 links!
The secret ingredient to growing your blog and subscribers list is unique and mindblowing content.
Check out Mashable or Search Engine Journal’s content strategy too.
2. List Posts
Yes, we agree with all the experts out there saying you aren’t trying hard enough if all you write are listicles.
But they are backlink magnets. Why?
Some say that people surfing online are lazy. Heck no! They just have a lot of options which is why it’s hard to grab their attention.
Most of the time, people who come across your content are at office or College or School and can’t take 15 minutes off to read your entire piece.
Most readers just read the title, skip the entire intro and move to the meaty sections of a story/piece.
When you write in a listicle format, you essentially help your readers understand which sections to skip without losing the information.
Listicles present information in small, easy to consume format so even if your reader is in a hurry and still wants the information, he/she can just skim through, grasp the headings and still derive value from your story/piece.
Even if you write a mega-post or an exhaustive guide like this, make sure you present it in a very simple, digestible, listicle format.
According to BuzzSumo, listicles generate more backlinks and social shares. On top of that, they have a better chance of going viral.
Before you ego-bait people, you gotta know what that really means.
It’s a special type of content, usually written in a list form, that attracts people to share the content by featuring them.
The whole point is this is that by including these people in the list, they will share it and give you a backlink.
Ego Bait blogs aren’t always called ego baits. Sometimes, they are just lists of best entrepreneurs, richest people on earth, best up and coming companies of a certain year, etc. Most experts have a different name for it but the premise remains the same: It’s a list that features people or companies or others and often receives a backlink for being a valuable information source.
Take a look at these for example:
Compiling these lists is a great way of getting attention from the people/websites/blogs being featured.
The amount of links you will generate using these posts depends on the topic you pick. If they resonate with people such as digital marketing or content marketing do, you will definitely see a boost in inbound links.
Follow this process
Research your targets and keyword concept> Develop your Content>
Perform Outreach> Follow up
Why is researching your target and keywords important?
If Entrepreneur writes about the top names in Tech Industry that you must know about, it’s acceptable. But if a digital marketing company writes an article about Top names in Clean Energy, it would appear a bit off-point.
Whatever list you generate, it should be relevant to your brand and the people you target.
It’s very simple to find people worth featuring. Look for active blogs that post frequently and analyze the quality of their content.
Don’t forget to look for social channels information and contact details of the blogger or people/brands/websites you feature.
And, don’t just make a list. Be thorough about it. Only mention brands, people, websites that are really worth the adulation.
Don’t forget to drop the featured websites/people a message informing that they have been featured.
Use a script like this:
I j….” list [URL].
You were included because …[write reason] and you deserve recognition for it.
I’d like you to take a look and ensure that all of your details mentioned are correct.
I’d also appreciate any feedback you have. And, if you’d like to share it on social media or your blog, that would be great.
ust wanted to drop a message to tell you that we have featured you in our “Top 10
Do not forget to follow up with the people/blogs you feature.
3.Mega/Exhaustive/Ultimate Guides (and How-tos)
I know what you are thinking.
Yes, I just said that it’s hard grabbing people’s attention online and most people just want to skim through everything but there’s something that search engines love: Giving people the answers they need.
Google is often the go-to source of help for many. People ask all kinds of questions. So, there is a good number of people looking for exhaustive guides.
And, what’s better than getting everything in one place?
The advantage of creating “Go-To” resource content helps you draw bloggers and companies. People can refer to your content when they are faced with a query or a confusion.
The best way of attracting readership is by offering a story of value. So, by writing an exhaustive guide like this link building tutorial, you are essentially helping people out, offering a valuable resource of information.
4. Authentic Research
By authentic research, I don’t just mean genuine research. I mean primary and original research.
Big companies like Forrester, Mckinsey & Company, Harvard Business Review often publish original research and are among the leading names in the industry. Their content is referred to by thought leaders.
What I am trying to say is that primary research helps you establish thought leadership. The fact that the information you offer is 100% original is what helps you draw backlinks.
Nevertheless, don’t underestimate primary research. Certain topics may prove to be quite arduous as a lot of people may not be willing to participate in your study or survey.
To generate authentic, firsthand research, you need access to a large email list full of people willing to share details and answer questions.
Or, you may have to do the task the good, old-fashioned way.
But if you manage to generate relevant and authentic data on a certain topic, it will definitely influence the industry and help you generate more backlinks.
Business to business blogging extensively relies on valuable statistics and data. Business to consumer blogging and content also depends largely on data and relevant information.
Primary research offers a linkable source of information to people writing on the web.
[gdlr_widget_box title=”B.- Broken Link Building ” title-color=”#02b9c9″ background=”#ff9d46″ color=”#ffffff” ][/gdlr_widget_box]
Link building has been around for years but businesses shut down, pages become 404 and links get broken.
Broken Link Building is simple and among the most sought after link-building techniques. Partially, it helps out the webmaster fix the broken links on their page by linking out to a better, updated page.
Here’s what you do:
Research Broken Links> Create Content> Outreach
Basically, you just need to identify which pages have broken links and when you find them, reach out to the webmaster, offer your pages instead to fix the broken links.
Keep looking for websites and high domain authority pages with broken links and offer high-quality and updated content to replace the broken links with.
You can use your existing content to get the links replaced or you can write fresh content to meet the need.
Remember that, industries that are growing won’t need to pursue link building so aggressively. But industries that are established and competitive may give you a hard time generating high-quality backlinks.
[gdlr_widget_box title=”C.- Guest Blogging” title-color=”#fcd437″ background=”#232122″ color=”#ffffff” ][/gdlr_widget_box]
Guest Blogging is probably the most popular link-building techniques.
It actually means to blog as a guest on someone else’s website.
The upside is that it helps you access the traffic that the host website usually receives. With a well written, meaningful blogpost, you can tap into the host website’s readership and drive immense traffic to your own website.
The approach is simple. Look for websites that accept guest posts in your industry via a thorough search on Google.
Find websites that accept blogs by looking for top authoritative websites from your industry. Type their name and follow it up with + Contribution, + guest post, + write us, + contribute to our website, etc.
If they accept guests posts, you will find a page that gives all details on what kind of content they accept.
And, since we are on the subject, I feel I should tell you the truth.
Guest Posting and blogging has been abused. And, there is a penalty waiting for all of us if we keep abusing the privilege.
So, make sure that you
- Offer value in your post
- Do not abuse keywords
- Do not state the obvious
- Make it credible with accurate data
- Follow up
Make sure you write 800+ word blog posts and that they are not shallow or thin.
As long as your content is top-notch, your guest post will be accepted and drive you huge traffic.
Also, one post that worked on one portal may not work on another. Every website has different content rules so play by their rules and personalize.
If you are run a fitness business but end up guest blogging on a branding website, the link may do you more harm than good.
Make sure that you write relevant posts for websites of your niche.
You can explore an angle that combines fitness and branding in today’s times but if you write primarily about branding or fitness on a website that has nothing to do with your niche, the link won’t do you much good.
In fact, Google may spot it as spammy.
Don’t pitch your advanced bakery blogs or lead acquisition insights to a blog that has nothing to do with the subject of your piece.
- The niche of the website you pitch your blog to should be relevant to yours.
- Avoid guest blogging for a website that charges you to publish your piece.
- Avoid exchange of blogs for a link unless there are information and quality involved and you intend to foster this educational relationship with fellow writers.
[gdlr_widget_box title=”D.- Link reclamation” title-color=”#614a5e” background=”#abaf9b” color=”#ffffff” ][/gdlr_widget_box]
Link Reclamation is a lot like broken link building but here, you really just reclaim or fix your links.
Look at the several link reclamation strategies:
404s are links that refer to the pages on your website that do not exist. You can use a tool like Open Site Explorer to identify 404s.
You can redirect these links or just get your webmaster to change them.
2. Brand mentions and Images that don’t link
Plenty of times, pioneering content, famous brands get referred to and mentioned but websites and bloggers often forget to link to them.
If people are writing about your website or your content without linking to it, you can request the author to give you a backlink.
For instance, an infographic that goes incredibly viral gets cited by a number of bloggers who don’t link back to you. You can leave them a friendly message asking for credit and a link.
Even if your images are being used without attribution, you can notify the author to link back to you.
Tools like like TinEye, Google’s Image Search help webmasters find images published without attribution.
[gdlr_widget_box title=”E.- Email Outreach” title-color=”#e6efec” background=”#072d42″ color=”#ffffff” ][/gdlr_widget_box]
At this point, the basics of link-building should make sense to you.
It’s all about offering value.
Many of you might not quite understand how Email Outreach works.
Some of you who’ve already tried it may not really get the point of sending hundreds of emails and not getting a response.
But the beauty of Email Outreach depends on your approach.
Here’s what you should do to perform a successful Email Outreach Campaign:
1. Search For People Who Link to Content Like Yours
Before you come up with brilliant content that’s sure to get you a backlink, you need to locate people who will most likely give you a backlink.
It’s easy to figure out whether or not a prospect in question will link back to you or not. Here’s how:
➔ Does the website allow guests posts or third party linking (no, not organic contextual links)?
Websites that accept guest posts will have a whole page dedicated to “Would you to contribute?” or “Would you like to write for us?”.
Here is a simple way of finding link targets:
Run a Google search for your target keyword.
Copy the first three results’ URLs and look for their backlinks in a tool like Ahrefs or SEOProfiler.
This will give you the whole list of websites that link back to the websites you analyzed in the tools.
These websites are also the websites that you can target.
Now, you need to find out a way to get in touch with them. So, start looking for their email address.
Since you are going to be building links and submitting high quality content to get a backlink, I recommend that you visit each website individually.
You can find the contact details of the website on the contact us page of the websites. Or you can send them your Email Outreach message through the contact us option.
But if it’s too much for you or if the website is certainly big, you can use advanced tools like Voila Norbert to get the relevant email addresses for a specific domain.
Or you can Hunter to find more email addresses.
2. Connect with a personalized script
Now that you know how to source Email addresses, you need to understand how to connect with them.
Most link builders use a bunch of robotic templates and mail them hundreds of people asking for a backlink or submission of a guest post.
Most people target authoritative websites like Entrepreneur, YourStory, etc it wouldn’t be a surprise if they received 1000+ submissions every month.
This is why your personalized message needs to be highly ‘human written’, something that echoes the targeted publisher’s sentiments.
If you are trying to get a backlink from someone who gets more than a thousand requests for a backlink every month, make sure your content is ‘worth it’.
Basically, you just need to stand out.
The simplest way is by personalizing your email script for each prospect.
You can use something like this:
“Hi [First Name],
I was browsing for content on [Topic] this morning and I came across your article: [Article Title].
Great stuff! I especially liked [mention a section of the article].
Also, I recently published a new, all-inclusive guide on [Your Topic]: [URL].
As someone who frequently writes about [Topic], I thought you’d like reading it.
My guide may complement the content on your website.
Either way, keep up the great work with [Website]!
If you have something else in mind, I recommend that you write a draft, edit it well and use it.
But when writing your own email script, don’t do these things:
- Insult the recipient accidentally or on purpose (A lot of people end up saying that they noticed ‘something was missing’ and adding their blog or article link would solve that. Don’t insult your prospect by telling him that they missed something in their work. Instead, politely recommend your work for a backlink)
- Write a script that’s too long (avoid anything above 100-110 words). Consider what kind of message would make a person getting 1000 similar mails stop and stare.
- Forget to mention the right links.
- Not complement them on the work they have done.
[gdlr_widget_box title=”F.- Resource Page Link Building” title-color=”#e9f9f6″ background=”#39414e” color=”#ffffff” ][/gdlr_widget_box]
If you read on the web a lot, you must’ve come across at least a couple of decent resource pages.
They are the pages that give readers links to all the necessary websites. Basically, these pages link to really awesome and mindblowing content.
Take a look at these to understand the concept better:
The whole point why resource pages exist is linking out to pages that really deserve the backlink.
With a little hard work, you can effectively target resource pages.
Do this for successful resource page link building:
1. Search for Resource Pages
Use these tried and tested search strings in Google to search for substantial resource pages:
➔ “Keyword” + “useful resources”
➔ “Keyword” + inurl:links
➔ “Keyword” + “helpful resources”
➔ “Keyword” + “useful links”
2. Examine and evaluate the resource pages you find
Before you begin the approach, think hard about the resource pages you found.
Don’t worry about pages with poor domain authority.
Hunt pages with considerably high, authoritative domain authority.
Also, if there are plenty of links already (50-100), move to the next page.
3. Search your archives for the best fit content or develop fresh content
Identify what they need, look for the required content or develop fresh content that meets the demands.
Try this script
Subject: Question about [Their Website]
I was browsing for content on [Topic] this morning and I stumbled upon your excellent resource page: [URL].
I just wanted to say that your page has been thoughtfully compiled and indeed helped me. I certainly wouldn’t have found out about [Resource They Link To] without your reference.
It’s funny; I recently published an all-inclusive guide on [Topic] some time back. It’s [Brief Description]. You can read it here [URL].
Also, my guide might make a great, informative addition to your page.
Either way, thanks for the great helpful list of resources.
Have a great day!
Bonus tip: Add a touch of humanity. Yep, don’t copy and paste. Be very human, try to connect with personalization. Customize your script every time you approach a webmaster.
And, it doesn’t have to look like a script. The key is to communicate, not talk at but talk to.
Over to You
I hope you got everything you need to rock your link-building strategy this year.
I won’t deny that the success of your link building campaigns depends heavily on your outreach approach, the quality of your content.
If 80 people online have already written about a topic, don’t ditch the idea. Write to outdo them. If your competitors are writing about 20 best ways of building authority online, write about 120 ways of building authority online.
In digital marketing, the best way of being legendary is by doing EPIC things.
Have a question, suggestion or a story? We’d love to hear all about it in comments.