Link Building Strategies to use in 2017
On-page optimisation needs efficient off-page optimisation to succeed, with link building being a vital part of the success for any business.
We discuss some of the best tactics to employ in order to generate backlinks before. The underpinning factors to keep in mind are variation and credibility.
As you accumulate quality links, you’re increasing the credibility and therefore the authority of your site as well.
By generating a wide variety of links as well as backing it up with unique content, you’ll be able to drive results and boost your rankings.
There has been a lot of change in what Google is doing with its algorithm ever since penguin slid into place.
With this change, the focus went from quantity to quality, which we’ve discussed briefly before.
So when we discuss link building, we’re going to look at backlinks as well as a few other topics.
Consider building editorial links from social media, citations or guest posts while you focus on using your content to provide value to your readers no matter who they are.
So what are Backlinks?
Backlinks are simply links from another site to your own website.
This means that a site that has more links to it will be popular and relevant to the matter at hand.
This isn’t the only factor in SEO but it is an important one that you have to consider and more importantly use.
Moz, the experts in SEO, devised a checklist which is used by other SEO mavens as a basis for website SEO analysis.
Moz breaks down the seven metrics that Google and other search engines evaluate backlinks by:
Popularity – The more popular the website and the higher its authority, the more the links from it to your site matter. This explains why links from Wikipedia rank so highly and are so useful in link building.
Topic Popularity – If your website is popular within a specific niche community, then related sites that link to you will matter more than those outside that topic that do the same. Make your banklinks purposeful.
Anchor Text – The text you are hyperlinking from needs to use a relevant keyword.
TrustRank – Google wants genuine content and penalises any spammy links. They use their algorithm to rank sites on trust and if the website is trustworthy and its link is relevant to yours, then it will rank higher.
Link Neighbourhood – The link community your website lives in matters as you can be downgraded by association. If spam links to you, your link will also be spam, so look at all the links that go to your website to ensure this isn’t happening.
Freshness – A recent link is better than an old one. If a site was once highly ranked, it may not be as popular now, which means the link will not be as relevant and as such rank lower than a more recent link on the same subject.
Social Shares – The more people that share your content on social networks, the better. Social shares are treated differently than normal links but with so much being shared in our constantly online world, they to help to show how popular your content is and are therefore important to consider.
When you have a strong social media presence it allows your business to reach a variety of people, thereby increasing the variation of quality links created.
This means going beyond Facebook and Twitter, and instead diving deep into other platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ or Tumblr to develop a truly holistic link building strategy.
While social media does differ from other types of link building, it is still an essential factor to consider as it shows how popular your content is across various channels, funneling to your website itself.
As social has grown, so has the diversity of platforms. Of course, you can’t use them all or you wouldn’t have time to run your business! Simply focus on the channels where your customers are and direct your efforts there.
To Give is to Receive in the Testimonial Game
Testimonials are not a one-way thing – you must also give testimonials to products you rely on instead of simply expecting testimonials on your own site.
Brian Dean at backlinko says that “companies big and small love to show off their customer testimonials.”
If there is a product that you use and would genuinely recommend to others, write the business an email and provide a recommendation. Make sure to let them know they can use it on their website or socials. By making it easy for them to use your testimonial without having to ask, you increase the likelihood of them using it.
These days, people know that bots and business-generated reviews are aplenty, so they want to know that a real person actually loved the product.
The benefit of providing a testimonial is that companies will often link back to your website to show website visitors that you are in fact a real person, and that the recommendation you provided was genuine.
Find your Link Reclamation Superpower
Link reclamation is about contacting people who have mentioned you or your company and having them add your link to what they’ve already written.
There are a few tools that will help you find those mentions like BuzzSumo. You could also set a Google Alert to catch when your brand is mentioned in the press.
This allows you to tap into those sources who are already talking about your products and/or services, and getting them to link any mention of you back to your site. While many people do link back to the sources they mention, not everyone does, so it’s well worth engaging with people who have mentioned you in a positive manner.
Of course, you don’t want any links from negative mentions, but you may want to get in touch with these sources anyway to get some constructive feedback.
Once you’ve found the people who have mentioned you, you just need to contact them. A simple email asking if they can link to your website in a post that mentions you or your brand is all that’s needed. Also make sure to thank them for the mention and let them know you appreciate the mention.
It’s as simple as that.
This is something you can do both if your business has been around for a long time, or even if you’re brand new on the scene.
How to get people talking using Blog Reviews
When you’ve got a product that you know would appeal to a specific audience, you could try to generate reviews from relevant bloggers by offering it to them for free.
Whatever your product, it will be suitable for some type of niche. With so much information out there, it’s just about informing the relevant bloggers about what you’re offering.
Reach out to bloggers in your niche and see what they think about your product. You can find blogs in a niche by entering “best of” when you’re searching online. When you find something promising, check to see the domain and page authority, and prioritise new sites over older ones.
A narrow niche is better to target because if your product suits that niche to a tee, there will be less competition than there would be for a product that targets a large audience.
Generally, you’ll come out of your blogger search with a mix of blogs depending on your target audience.
Look for blogs that have a robust and engaged audience, as well as those who blog regularly. A massive audience is not the most important thing for this case.
While your chosen blog doesn’t have to be putting out content daily, they should be engaging with their audiences to some extent every day.
The next step is difficult for many people, which is contacting bloggers by email. Just remember to be honest and offer your product – you’ll likely receive a positive response!
This is because according to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines you are not supposed to ask for a link or a review.
Those guidelines state that “sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link” is not allowed, so just reach out in an open and honest way and leave it up to them whether they would like to mention it or post about it to their audience.
This allows you to stay within Google’s webmaster guidelines while also potentially gaining some benefit.
Submit your Website to Blog Aggregators
A blog aggregator is a list of blogs that is categorised by topic.
All Top is king of this hill and they make it easy to sign up.
All you need to do is submit your website and add a small amount of HTML code to show that you own the website.
Now, you simply have to wait for someone to come across your site from the aggregator.
When your site is approved, it will have its own page on All Top and a do-follow link to your website.
Another blog aggregator to consider is Blogarama, although there are many others online as well.
There are also smaller blog aggregators which showcase a list of blogs, which may be suitable for you depending on your market and where you are located.
Although these smaller sites may not get the same volume of traffic as their bigger counterparts, they still provide an accessible way of acquiring new backlinks for your website.
The process will be different but should be fairly straightforward for all of these types of sites.
Scoop It and Flipboard Curation
Scoop It is a long-standing news curation website that allows you to curate your favourite online content into a magazine format.
Another site that does something similar is Flipboard, which is a news aggregation company that started on the iPad and was later released on Android.
In early 2015, it evolved from being primarily app based to also having a website.
This makes it a great option for content curation as you are not faced with certain limitations such as only being able to share it on more than two networks if you pay, as is the case with Scoop It’s freemium business model.
Scoop It and other similar tools help you build an audience for what you are reading.
This can get you (nofollow) backlinks with just a little bit of time and commitment.
This can be done easily as you can just add the content you read every day anyway to Scoop it, Flipboard or other similar services.
Structured and Unstructured Citations
There’s no arguing that citations are vital for making your business’ presence obvious on local listing sites.
A local citation is any mention of a business on a site regardless of a link or not.
This means that having the company name and phone number somewhere out there can be a local citation.
These fall into two categories: structured and unstructured citations.
Structured citations exist on widely known sites like Yellow Pages, Yelp or Superpages. Unstructured citations can be found on news and press articles, job websites and blogs.
Getting your company listed on any of the above is highly valuable, and much more worthwhile than picking up a link from low quality, spammy sites that have no authority.
Build those Broken Backlinks
Felix Tarcomnicu has a great article covering how to fix broken links as well as other tactics for building up those backlinks here.
The process simply entails finding broken backlinks and contacting the webmaster of the respective site to see how they may be able to fix it.
There are broken link checker tools out there you can use to find the culprits (such as Free Broken Link Check) or you could install the Chrome plugin called Check my Links.
Make sure that you are targeting dead backlinks where you actually have content that you can replace the dead link with.
Once you have content to fill the void, you simply have to let the webmaster know that they are linking to something that does not exist anymore.
Make this easy for them by giving them specific details like the page and the link in question, and give them various options for replacing the broken link to ensure that it is actually done.
If you only offer them your website to link to, they may feel hesitant about doing so.
This is to ensure that fixing the link is easy, and that they get something of value from the replacement link.
This is a tactic that benefits both of you and is something you should tap into regularly to build up those backlinks.
Even if you don’t have a resource that can replace the old link, don’t be discouraged. Let the webmaster know anyway and offer them a few alternatives – who knows, they might be happy just to link to your home page!
It’s all about being a real person, and possibly enjoying some karma by helping them out.
Another link building tactic is through the use of guest posts.
Actively writing blog posts and contributing to discussions in a community that is relevant for your business is a fantastic way of creating backlinks.
When you’re already a pro at what you do, this will be easy as you will already have the expertise needed to write some quality content.
All that’s needed is for you to contact blogs that relate to your field.
Just like getting reviews, you want to go for smaller scale blogs instead of sites that are already authorities or news sites, as these are more likely to get back to you.
This is about offering to help build their content and spread the word about what you do.
Guest blog submissions really help both parties, as it provides content for their website that their audience will love, as well as provides exposure for you to to a potentially new audience.
Before you contact any blog, have a look at its authority so that you don’t come across as just a link scheme.
Huffington Post, Forbes, WSJ and Mashable are all examples of sites with unquestionable authority.
It’s crucial to remember quality over quantity as a final thought when accumulating a variety of credible backlinks.
When the penguin slid into Google, the focus shifted for SEO shifted away from just volume to high-quality link building instead.
Backlink quality is now more important than ever, and Google cares how you actually obtain your links. As the algorithm gets more nuanced, Google will be better able to analyse your site for SEO through backlinks, keywords and all the rest of it.
Google is now shifting more on the user experience, and want to provide their audience with the most relevant content they can. Additionally, they also want to protect users from spam and scams that use Google services for their own ends.
There is a lot more to creating backlinks than just what is included in this article, however this makes for a great first step for improving your own page rank so your website can call the first page home.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a good way to up your SEO game and help your business or website at the same time.
This post wouldn’t be possible without the sources below especially backlinko which goes into advanced tactics that are actually viable for many small and medium-sized businesses.
Some of these are simple while others may require time like content curation or finding broken links and contacting their webmaster. However, once you make these steps part of your workflow, you’ll realise that the effort is well worth it. Soon, you’ll be able to expand on them as you gain more experience in SEO, and get better results for your site.
Finally, here is a great blog post from Single Grain on link-building with content which we highly recommend.
So good luck and good backlink hunting.
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