SEO is an industry that changes form and shapes every minute of the day. But there’s one thing that you will find constant throughout the years: Google still values backlinks.
But earlier, the sheer quantity of the backlinks could sway the ranks but now it takes a little more. The backlinks have to be really high-quality for your website to make it to the top.
In simpler words, backlinks are crucial to your website’s rankings. They are among Google’s top ranking factor.
But gettings links from discussion forums and shady low-quality websites just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need more; you need trust and authority.
Websites with high domain authority and PageRank need to link back to you to help you gain the advantage you need on the search engines. But how do you do that in 2018?
Here’s an exhaustive guide to answer all of your questions about link building. Read on to find what strategies you can use to build the most competitive links.
Contents of this guide:
- Chapter 1- High-Quality Links
- Chapter 2- Content Marketing
- Chapter 3- Email Outreach
- Chapter 4- Link Building Strategies
- Chapter 5- Black Hat Link Building
Chapter 1- High-Quality Links
Before you learn how to really start Building Links, you need to understand what links are worth your time and what aren’t.
There are good links and there are bad links. Needless to say, you should be chasing the good ones.
Case 1- If you Build High Quality Links, your website will rank high and acquire authority.
Case 2- If you build low quality links, your website will end up getting penalized.So, it’s best to stay alert and only focus on high-quality links. Here’s how you can decipher the quality of the links:
1. Page Authority
The authority of the page linking to you is the biggest factor influencing the quality of the link.
Links that come from highly authoritative pages supply the same to your website. Page authority is also a foundational factor in Google’s algorithms.
2. Site Authority
The quality of the link also depends on the site authority. Basically, a link from Forbes.com or NYTimes.com will prove to be much more impactful than a link from some newbie WordPress blogger.
Links with high site authority are hard to get. You can analyze websites with Moz’s well known Open Site Explorer to evaluate page and site-domain authority.
3. Site Relevance
In addition to the site authority, site’s relevance is just as much a big factor.
For instance, you run a website selling weight loss products. And, you get a link from an authoritative website about music systems. Would you like that scenario? The link is completely irrelevant.
While earlier, page authority was highly valued (it still is) but today, search engines also put more focus on the relevance of the link.
So, the crux of the matter is that you want links from high authority sites with related subject/content to your site.
4. Link’s Position on the page
Where is your link located on the page, embedded in content or buried in the footer portion?
Links in the footer part of the page or sidebars aren’t as valuable as links located in the middle of the page (content).
Bottomline: You want your links appearing right in the middle of the main body of the webpage.
5. Editorially Placed Link
Your link should be editorially placed. What we really mean is that the link to your website should be because whoever linked to your website thinks of it as awesome. That’s called an editorial link.
If you create a profile on some site and drop the link off then it wouldn’t qualify as an editorial link. The owner of the site needs to vouch for the link or otherwise, it would be an unnatural one.
6. Link Anchor Text
The Anchor text of the link is noticed as a major ranking signal.
Anchor text is the part of the link that you can click on.
For instance, let’s say you use the anchor text: “weight loss meals” while linking to your website.
Now when Google sees this, it thinks that the link is about meals that help trigger weight loss.
You probably already know that keyword-rich anchor text rule has been exploited in SEO. So, getting links that have exact match anchor text may result in spam.
Note: There is a strong chance that you won’t get a link with the keyword in the anchor text. But if you do manage to get one, great!
7. Link Co-Citations
Co-citations are the words or phrases that surround your link. This text is often referred to as “baby anchor text” by Google. Text surrounding your link helps Google get a better understanding of what the page is about.
8. Guest Post Links
There is a lot of controversy surrounding guest posts. A lot of people call them spammy. You can check for these spam red flags:
- You paid to get the post published
- The blog has exact match anchor text
- The site publishing guest post only publishes guest posts
- The publishing site is not related to your domain
But if the site publishing your guest post is genuine, high-authority and relevant to your domain and the post contains high-quality content then it may really help you rank better.
9. Nofollow and Dofollow
rel=”nofollow” is the tag used to inform the search engines that this isn’t an endorsement. While the dofollow links are the complete opposite.
So, you want to focus more on dofollow links, not nofollow links.
Now that you know how to scale a link’s quality, you can start with link-building. We’ll get to the best link-building strategies in a little while. Let’s focus our attention on Content Marketing techniques for link building now.
Chapter 2- Content Marketing
Everybody knows that content is essential to amassing awesome backlinks.
But you have to do much more than just publish content.
Like marketers have different sales pitches and copies for buyers of different age and tastes, content too can be classified and strategized for maximum link building benefits.
Research points to below-listed types of content for best link-building results:
1. Visual Assets
Visual assets include photographs, diagrams, infographics, graphs, charts and visual content. People enjoy visual content more than they enjoy text one.
The benefit of using infographics is that they can be re-used and cited by plenty other bloggers and writers online. To get a backlink on your infographics, put a link to your website in the embed code.
Charts and diagrams present complex and large information in the simplest form. So, they are high-linkable content too. Videos are seeing an ever-increasing fan-base online and are quite difficult to copy. If you put real effort into it and use quality gear then it may get heavily shared by other influencers.
The simple strategy of ‘sharing my infographic/video/charts and I get a link in return’ doesn’t prove to be so practical with text-based content.
When you create really high-quality visual content that people resonate with, you will attract a sizeable amount of links. And, people online love visuals so there’s a better chance that your visual content will find a decent audience too.
2. List Posts
There are entire websites dedicated to lists and the pattern is quite a successful one. Numbered list of tips, strategies, reasons, or anything find an audience immediately. People love lists. They are easy to skim through and deliver valuable content in digestible, small chunks. Basically, lists make it easy and faster for people to consume your content.
What would you prefer reading: Top 21 SEO Strategies for 2018 or Best 2018 SEO strategies: An analysis?
Most would vote for the Top 21… list. Lists as a form of content now outperform quizzes, videos and even infographics.
3. Original Research and Data
Tonnes of online blogs and articles link to new data. So, if you are posting fresh industry studies, case studies, surveys or original research, it’s a good strategy.
Statistical data is highly linkable. There are entire websites (and highly authoritative ones) dedicated to publishing cutting-edge industrial data.
4. Exhaustive/Ultimate detailed Guides
Exhaustive guides fully illustrate a topic in detail. They are your one-stop source for gaining knowledge on a particular subject.
They are a huge favorite with the online reader crowd because they offer a humongous amount of information in one place and present it in the most readable and user-friendly way. Basically, exhaustive guides are your go-to resources for a specific topic. Ultimate guides pack an insane amount of information in one place.
A lot of people need help with matters online so guides offer the solution people are looking for and they attract plenty of links too.
When developing link-worthy content for your website or non-website locations, focus on content that your targeted audience will resonate with. You want more shares so your content should address the pain points of your audience. If your content revolves around selling products or services then mention what specific problems or issues your products/services resolve. Answer common and complicated queries and clear doubts through your content.
Try to develop high-quality viral content as well. You will find plenty of guides online tutoring on the basics and the ultimate formula for viral content. But while generating viral content, don’t compromise on quality. You don’t want a substandard piece of content making rounds online as it will just ruin your name instead of making it.
Now that you know what kind of content is favored online and what type of content attracts the most links, let’s get to the process itself.
Chapter 3- Email Outreach
In 2018, if your SEO techniques aren’t 100% white hat, you might as shut operation and penalize your own website. Email Outreach is what you need to resort to for reaching bloggers, influencers and journalists to get a link to your website.
But sending emails isn’t the challenge. Not ending up in your recipient’s spam folder is one. Here’s everything you need to know about Email Outreach:
1. Search for parties that are likely to link to you
First and foremost, you need to look for link opportunities.
The best way of doing that is analyzing who is linking out to your competitors or a website with fairly high links. You can use the tool SEOProfiler to get a list of websites that link to the URL you are analyzing.
You can also use Open Site Explorer tool from Moz to get information on inbound links. All of the websites listed here will be likely linkers.
Now that you know who is more likely to link back to you, you will have to sort the good ones out of the lot.
2. Search for their email/contact address
You will find plenty of tools that yield email addresses associated with a URL and one of them is Hunter.io. Just make yourself a free account with your company email address and type the url whose associated email address you want to use.
Note: Avoid using the website’s contact form as it won’t take you anywhere.
3. Connect with them
Email Outreach involves using well-designed scripts and don’t forget to personalize them whenever you send it different parties. Here’s an example around which you can work your own script:
Hi [First Name],
I was searching for updated content on [Topic] this morning and I came across your article [Article Title].
Great article! I especially liked [mention a specific part that you enjoyed the most or found most impressive from the article].
Also, I recently just published an exhaustive new guide on [Your Topic]: [URL].
As somebody who writes about [Topic], I figured you’d enjoy reading it.
My exhaustive guide may also look great on your page as it packs quite a lot of impressive information. Either way, keep doing the great work with [Website]!
Chapter 4- Link Building Strategies
All the research and content creation hard work is not worth the time if you end up making poor links or opportunities that don’t pan out. So, we have compiled a simple list of strategies that will help you build links in 2018:
A. Resource Page Link Building
Before we get down to business, let’s learn what resource pages really are.
Resource pages are basically pages that offer links to really awesome content on a particular topic. These aren’t paid or biased. These links simply rely on the author of the research page. For instance, somebody running a highly authoritative DIY baking blog would link out to one or multiple really awesome websites on the same topic (DIY baking or even cooking) depending on the personal taste of the author/site owner.
The good news is that these pages exist solely for the purpose of linking out so they make great targets for links and you don’t have to work too hard to look for them.
Here’s a simple process that you can follow for getting a link on these research pages:
A.(i) Locate Resource Pages
These search strings will help you locate the most relevant resource pages online:
“Keyword” + “helpful resources”
“Keyword” + “useful resources”
“Keyword” + “useful links”
For instance, Baking + helpful resources/useful resources/useful links.
A.(ii) Evaluate the page
Once you locate the research pages, you will have to check if they are really worth getting a link from. Refer to Chapter 1-High Quality Links to check the quality of the pages. Look for resource pages with high domain authority.
A.(iii) Check content that’s the best fit for the link opportunities
Look for content that proves to be the best fit for the link opportunities (research pages). Remember that your content may be the best but if it’s not relevant to the resource page then there’s really a thin chance that you will get the link.
A.(iv) Connect with them
Send an email to the email addresses associated with research pages and hope for an answer. If you send good stuff, you will get a link.
Try this script and don’t forget to personalize it whenever you use it.
Hi/Hello [Name of the recipient],
I was looking online for content on [Topic, for instance, baking] this morning and I stumbled upon your excellent resource page: [URL].
I want to mention that your page has some great information and helped me so much. I am glad I came across [Resource They Link To] thanks to you.
It’s funny: I recently published an exhaustive guide on [Topic] last week. It’s [Brief Description].
I’d really like it if you take a look at it. Here’s where you can find it [URL].
Also, given the nature of content on your page [research page link] my guide may make a great addition to it.
Either way, thank you for developing such a useful list of resources. And have a great day!
B. Broken Link Building
Broken Link Building is among the most recommended link building strategies of all times. It’s simple and helps you build a value-based relationship with websites offering outbound links.
- Look for pages that offer plenty of outbound links (like resource pages).
- Check how many links on the URLs you found are broken by running them in the brokenlinkcheck.com.
- Finally, email the site owner about the broken link and pitch one of your site’s pages as a replacement link.
You can try the same script we have mentioned above in Email Outreach with some changes regarding the concept.
C. Link Reclamation
A lot of people mention brands or people or specific sites but don’t link to them.
For instance, you might be running a statistic and research website and your data gets cited a lot but bloggers or writers never link to it. So, emailing writers or bloggers for linking out to you where your website or you were mentioned would help.
You can use an effective tool like Buzzsumo.com to find content that mentions you or your website or your content.
Don’t just look for your website or brand mentions, also check if your image, infographics or videos have been used. It’s not uncommon to see people using the same graphs or infographics over and over again. So, you can run an image search for your content and check if you are being linked to. If there are no links, reach out to the authors and request a link. Most of the authors would be happy to comply.
You can use Google reverse image search to search if your image has been used without attribution.
Proactively create content in image format (infographics) so it is shared frequently.
D. Step Email Sequence
Begin sending out email feelers before you send your email asking for a link.
Why? Because most people probably won’t link out to you on your first email. And the approach is quite rude too.
Podcasts are great because they are available on every topic and you just have to talk like an expert or somebody with a voice about the topic and it’s enough to get a link.
F. Guest Posts
Look for guest post opportunities online by searching these search strings
★ Keyword + submit a guest post
★ Keyword + Contribute guest post
★ Keyword + Submit a post
★ Keyword + Become a contributor
★ Keyword + Contribute an article
★ Keyword + Guest post by
★ Keyword + Want to write
★ Keyword + Accepting guest posts
Once you find the websites that accept guest posts in your domain, evaluate their quality (refer to high-quality links traits to check). Finally, write or outsource a guest post that meets the guidelines of the website you want to publish your post on. Once your post is published, you will get a link.
G. Use “Pre-Curated” Lists to get high quality link targets
How to find more high-quality link opportunities? Just look for best blogs in a particular domain like ‘best education blogs of 2018’ or ‘Top DIY Clothing blogs’, etc.
Note: Always send emails during noon. Why? Simple. Because if you send in emails in morning, people will have 50 other emails to deal with because that’s when the workday starts. There are other priorities and you don’t want your mail to get buried under a list of other important things to do. So, try and connect during noon.
Influencer marketing is getting quite famous with the industry so why not personalize the method and use it for link-building.
Don’t try to buy the attention. Instead, make the link the audience’s worthwhile by maintaining high quality and a relationship with the influencer.
Chapter 5- Black Hat Link Building
Since we are talking link building, we can’t conclude unless we discuss ‘Black Hat Link Building’.
Most of you must’ve heard of it but let’s establish it right here: Avoid Black Hat Link Building at all costs.
Why? Because they are really easy to identify and you risk getting penalized if you indulge in these scorned practices. You don’t want your website paying a huge price for putting malicious link-building practices to use.
Google slams Google Penguin algorithmic penalty, Manual penalty (Unnatural links) among many others.
The Google Penguin penalty can be avoided by completely abstaining from spammy link building techniques and shady links.
You can avoid Manual Penalty by maintaining an incredibly clean link profile.
Backlinks are undoubtedly central to getting higher ranks on Google.
But creating backlinks isn’t as easy as it used to be. It has a lot to do with your content and practice of building relationships with websites that link out to you. The algorithms are evolving continuously and it’s time to update your link-building practices to maximize the output.
Identifying really high-quality links and building them may be tough but it isn’t impossible. As a web marketer, you need a dedicated link-building campaign to actively amass unique and good quality links.
A lot of the strategies we discussed in this guide depend on the nature of your content. You need to identify your target audience and create content that not only informs but also entertains and inspires. Your content needs to be relevant and cutting edge, complete with updated data. Current link-building trends focus on not the only text-only format but also on images, videos and infographics. Many experts even recommend that you expand your opportunities through podcasts.
It is suffice to say that to stay competitive and avoid spammy link-building, you will have to keep looking for more link-building opportunities as they emerge. Diversifying your content and maintaining strict quality standards may also assist your efforts.