13 Key Steps for an Effective Link Building Strategy
A powerful link building strategy is crucial for your SEO to succeed.
Link building, with Google’s regular updates and scrutiny, has become a sophisticated and strategy-driven undertaking, therefore, the process of building high-quality links which lasts for long and helps in nourishing other inter-links via a seamless stitch has to evolve.
So, we decided to get in touch with a few well-known names in the SEO industry and ask them which link building strategy do they use. Surprisingly, the SEO professionals were open to share their knowledge with the world and help others succeed online and gave us their most effective link building strategy.
Here are 13 key steps of a powerful link building strategy:
1. Replicate Competitor Links
My favorite link-building method is stealing links from competitors. I use Linkody to monitor all our competitors and getting backlinks from there is super easy:
When I am searching for new blog submission opportunities – I search for “blogs” among all our competitors’ backlinks and everywhere where our competitors have been featured, there are high chances also Linkody could be featured.
If I need someone to write a review about Linkody – I search for “reviews” or “testimonials” and immediately have the complete list of sites that do reviews for backlink tracking tools.
Follow these steps to get started with Linkody:
Create an account: You can create a free trial account without a credit card by using your email. Connect Google Analytics: You have an option to connect your Google analytics to Linkody as this helps the tool to find backlink opportunities faster, you can also skip this step. Add Your Domain: Enter your domain URL and click add domain. Add a Competitor: Enter the URL of your competitor and click add. Connect Ahrefs: If you have an Ahrefs account you can connect Linkody with your Ahrefs account by doing so Ahrefs links will be automatically imported to Linkody and if you don't have an Ahrefs account just skip this step. Check Backlinks: You will now be redirected to your dashboard and will be able to see your website's links. In order to see your competitor links just click on the competitor link from the menu and click view all links from the drop-down, this will load all your competitor links. Now, you can contact the site owners of these links and ask for a backlink to your website.
When I have written a new article and I need sites to link with this content – I just go through all our competitor landing pages and check who also have the same article, then I find all the sites who link to their content and contact them.
This basically means that monitoring competitors’ backlinks is extremely important and automatically creates amazing link-building opportunities.
By Helvijs Smoteks from Linkody
2. Write Guest Posts
The most scale-able is guest posts. We personalize each email we send and match our outreach as much as we to the guidelines etc. We have found that it’s not as effective as it used to be with more and more websites not accepting guest posts due to the volume of spam.
We often get automated responses specifically saying they aren’t accepting guest posts because it’s too hard to manage. When we’re really stuck we try the skyscraper but there are too many variables that can go wrong, planning and research is the key but keeping everyone’s spirits high during the process is more hassle than its worth.
Follow these guidelines to master the art guest posting:
Only write posts on sites related to your niche. Check the reputation and credibility of each site you are planning to write a guest post for. Write the guest post for the people and try to connect with them as this exactly what the website owner needs for their blog. The guest post should have a strong headling and body. Add links to your own site using the anchor text of the keyword you want to rank. Share the guest post with your audience via social media in order to grow the impact of the post. Keep a check on the guest posts and check how impactful was your guest post. Do not stop writing guest posts, you need to write posts for a lot of websites in order to outrank your competition and build your reputation.
You can automate the guest posting outreach process by using some sophisticated outreach tools such as:
PitchBox Buzzstream NinjaOutreach Traackr OutreachPlus Upfluence Inkybee Tomoson Klear GroupHigh Blog Outreach Tapinfluence Markerly
The dead man technique is probably the most powerful way we create backlinks but hard to find suitable deadlinks but works a treat when all the factors happen at the right time.
By Ronan Walsh – Managing Director of DigitalTrawler
3. Create Citations & Social Media Links
I’ve always found the best link building strategy to be what I call “branding”. With branding, you are using free online sources to help spread the word about your site. For example things like making sure you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… page and linking back to your website.
If you are a local business find local business listings/citations, as many as you can and get listed with a link back to your site. If you are startup find launch listing websites and get your site listed. Use high-quality link sharing sites to share your websites URL like Reddit (these can drive traffic as well as long as it’s not done in a spammy way).
To make life easier try these effective ways to build citations:
- Visit Yext powerlisting scan
- Enter your business details and search for your current local score, you will now see your business details current active on different citation sites and also the ones missing your business information.
- Make a list of the sites that do not have your business details in an excel file.
- Visit all these sites and create an account, now add your business information on them.
- Keep checking these citation links on a regular basis in order to be sure they remain active.
- A good Citation score is always above 80% so you need to keep creating citations till the time you reach this score.
There is an alternate way to create citations for your business which involves outsourcing the job to professional companies like:
WhiteSpark The Hoth Local Brightlocal Loganix Yext Moz Local
Make sure to become a part of niche relevant communities and forums and share your link in the signature space. The idea here is to think of it as building your brand. Just like you would with a brick and mortar business, you are finding every avenue to list and promote your business.
When done correctly it can give your SEO a quick jumpstart. This is exactly what I tell any clients, friends or family looking to get started with SEO.
By Dan Pfeffer from https://www.keysearch.co
4. Submit Press Releases
This is probably going to surprise you but my answer is Press Releases, say what? you have to be kidding, right?
No, not kidding and what I mean by press releases is the Good old fashioned kind coupled together with a press launch and event (depending on the industry).
I launched a major luxury chocolate brands site in the UK. The press event for this evolved around a cooking competition with the brand. Users submitted their recipes and images – all of course published on site and a panel of celebrity chefs and master chocolatiers decided on finalists – now for the main event.
The main event was streamed live across a lot of social channels, the celebrity chefs promoted via their channels and of course the participants. Press were handed goodie bags as well as champagne, canapés during the event and of course promotion on their channels.
Results, highlights, and images again posted onto the site:
5K branded links back to site 20K of social traffic still growing, 6 years later. Press Releases follow the format of being posted to relevant industry journalists and influencers in the market. This takes the form of beautiful box and packaging, brochure, product sample or some other branded inventory and an embossed card with a link to the online release, high gloss images and all the tech specs required. We track who received a package and activated their access to product details. We follow up with a polite email 3 - 5 days later.
The last release like this was for wedding venue which had 23 articles (links) written about the venue in different online magazines which resulted in all of the summer dates being booked up for that year.
Forget links – you want traffic and sales!
By Tim Capper from https://onlineownership.com
5. Respond to HARO Queries
We’ve been rooting for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) since we initially began The Content Factory in 2010, and there are a few reasons why we’re such energetic evangelists for the brand. To begin with and most self-evident, the service is free. Second, HARO opens the doors to media coverage that you may not believe is conceivable. It’s likewise one of the least demanding approaches to reliably get high quality, in-content backlinks to your site, which can recognizably enhance your SEO.
As an organization, we have a rundown of HARO success stories that runs out the door and around the block — or near it, in any event. We’ve utilized HARO to get hundreds (!!!) of media positions for our customers throughout the years, my most loved being Huffington Post article about Etta Britt, which transformed into a 3+ minute fragment on the Today Show, and high profile gigs with living legends like Delbert McClinton.
The process is simple:
- Visit HARO’s website and sign up as a source.
- Select your categories.
- Start getting journalist questions on your email every day
- Now answer the reporter’s questions using around 300+ words.
- When writing the answer try to provide strong and relevant content that adds value to the press release and also helps the reporter.
- Add your link to the answer, however, ensure it is entered naturally or you can also add your details in the end as an author.
- Don’t stop by writing one answer instead write as many answers as you can and visit HARO’s site on a regular basis in order to find new inquiries by reporter’s.
If the reporter likes your answer, it will be published on their platform and other media partner channels may also pick it up.
By Kari DePhillips from Contentfac
6. Outreach with External Linking
This strategy is just as simple as it sounds and here is how it works,
First, you need to write an interesting article and add external links to it, once done write an email to the webmasters of that particular site letting them know that you loved their work and linked to a specific page from their website. Now, ask them how they feel about the article and if they would like to link to it.
It most likely they will say yes and you will end up having a high-quality backlink.
When linking to external websites use these simple rules:
Check the domain authority of the external site and the web page you are linking to and also check for their social media shares. Only add external links of the sites that have a strong authority and social media strength. Keep the contact details of the site owners you want to link to handy prior you post the article with their links on it or you may end up adding a link of a site and not be able to connect with them for perks. Send an email to them that shows that you appreciate them for their contribution and linked to their web page in your post and ask them if they could link back and also share your post with their audience. If you do not get a reply in a week, send follow up email and wait for another 7 days and if still nothing wait for another day and send the last email and wait for 10 days. If still they do not reply back simply look for a new opportunity.
However, you really need to be careful while using this strategy as search engines like Google do not like too many link exchange tracks, therefore, make sure you only use this strategy to link to high authority sites only, in order to get that link juice and boost your SEO.
By Jobin John from Egochi
7. Contribute to Industry Journals
I find that contributing to industry journals is a great way to get authoritative links. You need to position yourself as an industry expert in order to be welcomed to post articles. This usually means choosing a specific niche and providing an immense amount of value to your prospective clients over a long period of time.
In order to find and get accepted on industry journal check out these rules:
Search Google with the keywords "[Your niche] + Journals" or "[Keyword] + Journals". Read their author guidelines carefully and ensure you follow and abide by it. Normally, you will find author guidelines, article guidelines and submitting guidelines that you need to go through before posting. Remember these are journals are followed by experts thus you cannot just submit random articles and expect great results, you need to generate some awesome content and submit it to the journal. Your article has to be original and not spun or duplicate, doing this may get you banned and also create a bad reputation in the industry. Every article you submit is first reviewed by experts and only once it is approved it's posted and made available to the audience and followers of the journal. Read sample articles, generally, you will sample articles in the submission guidelines section of the journal, go through it and understand what is expected of your article. Use references, stats, notes, tables, charts in your article to showcase that your article was created after a lot of research and is relevant.
These industry publications are well-read by your target audience. They’ll position you as an expert. Best of all, they almost always link back to your website in your author’s biography, which will boost your search engine rankings!
By Justin Morgan from Dental Marketing Guy
8. Answer Public Questions
Using Answer the Public to find issues/ questions and then answering them and seeding the question and answer back into community forums and via other website owners as guest posts.
Rebecca Caroe from Creative Agency Secrets
I completely agree with Rebecca, by using Answer the Public service as a contributor you are actually helping out a lot of people interested in your niche and branding yourself / company into a success. This strategy is perfect to grow your websites Click-through rate (CTR) as well.
How to use Answer the Public as a link building strategy:
- Visit answerthepublic.com
- Enter your keyword.
- Export the results in an excel file.
- Filter out the list of questions in the results from the rest of the results.
- Start creating posts for every question and answer the questions in detail. You will have a lot of posts on your blog/website which is also a good thing as all these questions are closely connected with your industry and are searched by a lot of people.
- Share all your answers on your social media accounts and also check sites like Quora, Linkedin, Twitter, and Forums to see if anyone has posted the same question, it is likely someone has, if yes, then simply give them the link of your website which has that answer.
- It is likely others who are writing about your niche will link to your site in order to provide answers to questions to their own audience and this is a win-win for both parties.
Answering multiple industry questions makes you stand out of the competition and showcase yourself as an industry leader, which would make your competitors link to your website and also share your links with their own audience in the long run.
9. Interact on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the biggest professional networking platform in the world with around 90 million users. I found that people from every niche are present here, therefore, I would simply use a tool called Dux-Soup and pull up all the LinkedIn accounts related to my keyword and then send out a message to them about a helpful article that I just wrote for them and their target audience.
I would also request them to link to it from their own website and to share it on social media as well, this will give me relevant niche specific link and a ton of traffic as well.
LinkedIn is a great source for getting links however you need to:
Connect with the right people as you want to contact the decision makers and not the staff members. Ensure you are not spamming them. It is common that sometimes you may get carried away and start sending multiple emails, so be sure to keep a track of your emails and not to overdo it. Double check to check if the professionals are still active on LinkedIn. Check if they changed their profession, most people start working for others and forget to update their profile, so it's wise to ask them if they are still in the industry. Check their LinkedIn followers and their site's authority and reputation. Frequent messages can be annoying so avoid sending too many messages and wait for at least 10 days before you send another message. Be professional and make sure your own profile is updated with all the relevant information. Go for a LinkedIn premium account if required to build more trust when they look at your profile.
This strategy will grow my online reputation and authority.
10. Write Testimonials
This link building strategy is really fruitful for ranking and customer acquisition, all you have to do is write a review for a service you are using and drop your link along with it. Every service provider welcomes positive testimonials on their website and also links back to your website through it as an appreciation.
You can also encourage people using your services to leave a testimonial about your business on your own website and then link back yourself and then do the same for them.
In order to find websites that encourage you to write testimonials:
Visit Google and type “Write testimonial” “Your Keyword” example: “Write testimonial” “SEO” and this will give me a list of SEO sites that are accepting testimonials. Check when was the last testimonial written, if it is too old then avoid writing a testimonial on it and move on to the next one. Try to write naturally and submit a testimonial with at least 100+ words. Send an email to the site owner letting them know that you have written a testimonial for them and check if there are any more opportunities like guest posting or sharing direct links. Don't overdo or misuse this strategy only create few testimonial links each month. Like 10 to 15 would be a safe number.
All I have to do is visit them one by one and write some good things about them and in return, I will get a link back.
11. Conduct Podcast Interviews
Podcast interviews are an excellent strategy for link building. As a bonus, interviews on podcasts build brand awareness and thought leadership.
By Christina Coons from Northcutt
One of the most beneficial strategies would be for you to become a guest speaker on a podcast as this would mark you as an expert in the industry and grow your websites authority and trust ratio.
In order to connect with other podcasters and effectively getting invited to try these methods:
Search online for YouTube and Vimeo channels that are talking about your niche. Click on the about section of their YT channel and extract their email address. Send an email to them, either to invite them to your own podcast session or to participate in their podcast as an expert on a particular subject. Your first contact should show them the value of connecting with you and this can be done and sharing your work and reach in the industry as everyone wants to stand with the popular guys. You can even offer some money to influencers to be a part of your podcast or for you to be a part of their podcast session. Share the podcast on your site and social media also in your newsletters to build your reputation and stand out as an expert in the industry. Try to attend as many podcasts, as this would boost your value and make you a brand in yourself. One of the professional SEO experts I know participated in 126 podcasts in 3 months which boosted his value and he managed to grow his business by 436%.
In order to become a guest speaker on a podcast simply send an email to the niche specific podcasting site owner and show them some of your work with the request to be part of their next podcast as an expert for a specific topic.
Once the podcast is launched it would definitely have your link in it and multiple podcast followers will naturally link to it as well as share it on various social media channels.
12. Engage with Influencers
My favorite link building tactic is relationship link building.
It’s simple, really – just find the influencers in your niche or in a related niche (bloggers, store owners, other non-competing businesses, etc.) and start building a friendship with them.
By doing things for them you wish people would do for you. Follow them on social media, share and comment on their posts, comment on their blog, and be as helpful as you can. Link to their content. Don’t ask for anything in return.
Once they’ve gotten to know your face, then you can reach out and ask to write a guest post for them or for their feedback on a post you’re writing. Or ask them for a quote to include in an article with a link back to their site.
Influencers can add that spice to your business that you were always looking for and in order to ensure things go right try these things:
Choose influencers that are fit for you as some may promote your business in exchange for free giveaways and few may charge you some money. So, choose wisely. Check their content, before finalizing a deal with an influencer be sure that their content sharing techniques fit your business model and can really boost its performance. Ask for a link on their social media profiles and the main website. Influencers prefer to do a one time gig for a business and move on with their lives, thus you need to get the best deal out of the situation. Ensure that you make them add a link of your site to their sites and profiles. Always have a contract, email conversations are definitely the key to connect with an influencer however you must have a contract in place to ensure no party uses each others brand for personal or negative promotion. Track the impact of every influencer this can easily be done by providing each one of them a unique discount code. Which means X influencer gets the code X12 and then Y gets the code Y12, and this way when the influencers promote your work on their channels you can check on the codes used on the number of orders and know exactly which influencer was highly profitable for you. You can hire them again in the near future or even on a bi-monthly or quarterly contract. Create trust and strong business relation with al influencers especially the ones you are not going to hire. A bad experience with an influencer can lead them to downrate your products or services. You cannot stop a podcaster or an Instagrammer from posting their personal view about a brand so, be nice to everyone.
Keep doing this, and you’ll eventually have a friend. If you build the relationship well enough, you can do guest posts for each other and even get multiple links from them just by writing an email letting them know about a new article you wrote!
By Bill Widmer https://billwidmer.com/
13. Share Useful Content
The best strategy will always be to put cool stuff in front of the right people’s eyes, I’ve written and made plenty of videos about this, the strategy is essentially 4 parts:
Create something cool/interesting/useful. Find blogs that have an audience who would be interested in that thing. Show it to them and ask them to share it with their audience (human to human). Follow up with them until they see it.
By Dan Ray, Join his Facebook Group at www.danray.me/fb
Conclusion: link building as a success strategy
The process of building high-quality links which last for long and helps in nourishing other inter-links via a seamless stitch consists of the following checks:
Identifying the intent – The intent of ‘what’ kind of link you are trying to build is important. If it is required for sourcing traffic or just brand awareness. Understanding and maintaining the need to have a mix of no-follow and do-follow links is very prudent. Careful identification is a must.
Smart Content – Gone are the days which could fetch you a good link back from a high DA website by just embedding a keyword with a hyperlink. Today, neither the websites allow this activity to a large extent nor the audience falls for this bait as they have matured enough to understand the difference between click-bait and high-quality backlink. Therefore, smart content which can enable the reader to know more about the product/service by clicking on the link and let him remain there for a longer time by indulging him in interactive content.
Predictive Analysis – Do not just leave your backlink once it has been embedded. Always go back to it after a regular period of time to update the content in it, make more addition or simply replace it with a new idea/thought. it is a wise activity to always keep your backlinking activity in check and maintaining a repository of sorts to cautiously analyze which backlink needs re-work or is providing a good ROI. It is very important to nurture the link building as a strategic activity which has smart content and regular analysis as its core pillars.