Every business and brand, regardless of size, wants to dominate its industry online. That means owning as much real estate as possible at the top of the search results.
While search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and strategies are constantly evolving, one vital element of SEO has remained unchanged since a little search engine named Google launched in 1998.
The content of your pages, and the links pointing at that content, are the two most important signals Google looks at when deciding on the positions pages occupy in the organic search results.
But here’s the thing.
Link building is really hard. It’s hard to acquire links from trusted and authoritative domains – especially within your own space – because these domains are trusted and authoritative.
Honestly, link building should be hard. Links are the online equivalent of academic citations.
Building links does take some hard work. It will requires a serious time investment if you want to get the traffic you seek.
So yes, link building is difficult, but that doesn’t mean building links is impossible.
In fact, this post includes a few ideas from our “17 Ideas for Killer Link Building” white paper. We’ve been in the link building business for 15 years! These represent our best, tried and true link building tips that we use every day.
“The content of your pages, and the links pointing at that content, are the two most important signals Google looks at when deciding on the positions pages occupy in the organic search results.”
Idea #1: Create Content That’s Better Than the Best (Skyscraper Technique)
The so-called “skyscraper technique” is about creating content on your site that will blow even the best of your competitors out of the water. This task is as demanding as it sounds, but there’s more: that accounts only for a half of the job.
Let’s break down the process and list the necessary steps.
- Choose the keywords you want to rank for. If the skyscraper technique is your weapon in this fight, then your keywords of choice are the battleground.
- Put those keywords in Google’s search bar and see who’s ranking the highest for them. Now you’ve found your strongest competitors.
- Take a good look at the content on their websites and think about how you can make something even better. Is there anything that needs improvement? How about accentuating on the strong bits?
- Proceed to create superior content on your own site.
- Find sites that link to your competitors. Plenty of SEO tools have that function: for example, Competitor Backlink Spy by WebCEO. Also consider looking for sites that aren’t linking to your competitors yet, but are likely to do so.
- Reach out to those sites’ owners via email. This step is best conveyed via an example.
I was browsing your site and found your article about SEO strategies. Amazing read, enjoyed it greatly!
I couldn’t help but notice you linked to that classic article about Google’s ranking factors. I also love that resource. In fact, it inspired me to create a more thorough and up-to-date version. Here’s a link in case you want to check it out.
It might be worth a mention in your article. Either way, keep up the awesome work.
Bluntly asking for a link won’t cut it. Word your message carefully, but don’t go overboard with niceties, either.
Idea #2: Build Links from Broken Links
If a resource from the same niche as you goes out of business or just moves to a different URL, swift action can earn you a few links. But only if your own site is a worthy replacement.
If you happen to find a site with one or more broken links, and if it makes sense for its owner to link to your content instead (in other words, if it’s relevant content), then you should definitely try and reach out to that person in an email. Very rarely will they just leave the broken link be. More likely, they’ll put the link you’ve provided as a token of gratitude.
Idea #3: Buy from a Company, Write a Testimonial
You can acquire an easy backlink by leaving a customer testimonial on a company’s site.
All companies with products or services to sell love showing off their customer testimonials. It’s how they gain trust of their target audience and encourage them to use their brand: there’s no advertisement more honest than feedback from your clients. For that reason, some companies like to give extra credibility to testimonials by adding links to their customers’ sites.
The obvious catch is, not all companies bother enough to do that. And the other catch is, you must buy their product so you could review it.
Idea #4: Reclaim the Link That Is Rightfully Yours
This idea isn’t too difficult. Finding mentions of your brand online is simple enough, checking if they have a link attached to them takes only a single extra step.
Once you’ve found something that would look even better with a link to your site, it’s email time! There’s a decent chance of succeeding; after all, you are probably already liked well enough if somebody brings you up in a good light.
This method is good to use when there’s no link and when there’s a broken link.
Idea #5: Make a Fantastic Infographic and Share It
I won’t tell you how to design the best infographic, since everyone has a different artistic approach. Let’s just skip to the part where you already have your own infographic and are ready to share it with the world. Once you have that covered, the next thing you should do is make an HTML code snippet for embedding the infographic on a web page – and making the image link to your site.
From there, you have two courses of action by which you can proceed to earn your backlinks:
- Offer the infographic to bloggers in your niche (especially to any you may have used as a source).
- Submit it to infographic sharing websites. You’ll most likely have to write an original introduction text for each of them, or even pay them to host the infographic.
Idea #6: Write Guest Blog Posts for Other Sites
Guest blogging is a popular method of creating links. It also isn’t going out of trend anytime soon. Maybe it will when there’s no more demand for fresh content, but that’s a huge maybe.
The most important thing to remember is that links from low authority sites will do your own site no good; you want to give preference to the ones with higher authority. Also, context and relevance of links matter as usual.
Idea #7: Interview a Thought Leader (or, get interviewed!)
There are two ways this could go:
- You are the interviewer. People love getting insights from thought leaders. After interviewing a thought leader, ask them to link to the interview’s page on your site (or the reverse, putting the interview on their site and linking to yours). It will be enough to acquire a backlink and lots of incoming traffic. Now imagine what will happen if you interview several thought leaders. Do you have a list of big names you want to talk to?
- You are the interviewee. If you are already a thought leader in your niche, it makes things easier. If you aren’t, but you still consider yourself capable enough, you’ll have to look for sites that interview people from your niche and volunteer for participation. Or, find a thought leader in your company and have them do the interview.
#8: Trade Your Product for Blogger Reviews
Plenty of bloggers make a living by writing reviews on various products and services. It’s safe to call it a symbiotic relationship between them and the brands reviewed by them. If you sell your own product and you aren’t overly stingy, it’s a good idea to trade what you produce for a review with a link.
But there’s a catch: asking for reviews and links in return for things is a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines. That’s why you’ll have to word your email very carefully. You want to offer the blogger your product (or service, or subscription) for free and let them figure out the rest. No direct statements.
Want to See Ideas 9-17?
For the complete list of the most effective link building methods, tips and strategies, please download the 17 Ideas for Killer Link Building in 2017 checklist below. The full checklist is available only to WebCEO users. Sign up now and gain the upper hand over your competitors!
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The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor's own.