Link building has always been difficult. Link builders out there already know how tough it can be to build links from industry to industry. Sometimes it gets to the point where link builders end up buying links. Some sponsor content and others even take part in link schemes.
As we all know, this practice is not recommended in ethical link building, and Google doesn’t support any link buying activities.
Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, said that focusing on link building is harmful. Since then, it has definitely become tougher for link builders to build links.
While we can’t take his words for that, we can’t ignore the risks that links can cause. But, we also cannot ignore the fact that links are one of the most influential ranking factors by Google.
So you might be wondering: How you can increase the links to your website without spending too much time building them?
It’s real simple. You earn them. Earn the links.
Link earning has been around since 2012. The term became popular soon after Google launched their Penguin Algorithm. This algorithm targeted low quality and self-generated links. As a result, a lot of SEOs shifted their focus from link building to earning links.
To earn links is to gain someone’s trust and there’s a lot more to it than just that. In this article, I’ll share some ideas how you can potentially earn links in the long run.
1. Tell a Story and Share the Results
Sharing the results of a recent activity you implemented is definitely a good idea. Your readers won’t only know how you think and how you work, but they’ll likely see something new.
I’ll share an example.
Jeff Deutsch shared his story about playing with Google search results on Inbound.org. He shared in detailed how he attempted to game the organic search from beginning to end.
He even shared his earnings with everyone in public so he’s a real deal and not just some made up story. As a result, his story received a lot of comments from the inbound community.
And links from other websites.
The result of this story was a success for link earning and community engagement which is hard to even do. High-value information like this would take a lot of time, effort and dedication to be solid.
Here’s another example..
Ahmed Khalifa shared his issue on the accuracy of Google+ listing for businesses. Again, the story was in full detail and every possible option on how to resolve the issue.
This attracted a lot of attention from the people in the community. As a result, the community members shared some options on how the issue could be resolved.
Wasn’t that good?
Not to mention the number of good links it earned and is still earning.
How can You Do the Same?
- Share your company journey from the ground up. Your loyal audience will be interested to know how you started your company. They would wonder what activities you implemented to reach those achievements of yours. This should be in as much detail as possible with images or screenshots to support your story.
- Conduct a study. Another story you can do is experiment with something in your industry. Regardless of the results, you should share the story to the community in your industry. Some prefer to read successful stories, but learning from someone’s mistake is also important.
2. Review a Product in Your Industry
I am not a fan of product reviews but they can actually help with traffic and social shares. In most cases, product reviews often come with positive statements and promising comments. Which often make the decision-making process easier for buyers. But this type of content doesn’t attract that many links.
In March 2015, Marie Hynes wrote a review of a new feature — the MOZ spam tool.
The review wasn’t promotional, but a reminder for business owners and marketers to not rely on one source. Although, in most cases, one source may be good enough. But in SEO, we don’t have access to the full details of how search engines process pages and how they should rank. That is why sometimes, one source is not enough.
Let’s say, Google provided a free tool for webmasters. And this tool allows you to see a list of top 1000 domains linking to your site. Would you only use search console to inspect your website’s link profile? Of course not. Because you can actually use other backlink explorer tools like Majestic or Ahrefs.
While Marie Hynes’ review of MOZ’s new tool hasn’t earned links yet as I wrote this article, it did attract the attention of people from MOZ, which is a good sign of having quality review.
Another example was a review conducted by Jason Acidre. Kaiserthesage.com is a popular blog in search industry due to its value to the community. Over the years of blogging, it has gained a massive increase of subscribers. Jason shared his story on how he increased his blog’s email subscriber list by 532% in one month in full detail.
Although the review was a bit promotional, Jason shared every single feature of the tool. As a result, it has earned enough links to reach a 45/100-page authority. Isn’t that cool?
3. Do an AMA in Your Community
Doing AMA or (Ask Me Anything) can help you get to the spotlight. You can get the chance to have a direct Q/A with people in your industry. This can also give you advantages for branding and credibility from your audience.
In fact, the more in-depth you answer their questions, the better. They need to know how you handle situations in a simplistic yet effective approach. The good thing about doing an AMA is that you can drive people to your website. Those same people could share a page of your website to their social pages or even link back to you.
Take a look at the Reddit AMA of Windows 8.1 engineers. You can see in the screenshot above that it has earned a total of 52 links from 22 root domains. It also reached a page authority of 58/100, not to mention the social metrics it has earned over time.
For useful tips on hosting a Reddit AMA, check out How to host a successful Reddit AMA on Mashable.
4. Take Part in Big Conferences in Your Industry
Getting out there and meeting people in your industry is definitely a must. Not only for knowledge sharing but also for more connections. Even just attending one event can result in long-term benefits.
Of course, attending is not all there is to it. Speaking can be even more beneficial.
Big conferences always put together a list of speakers for the event on the official website. This list comes with a bio of the speakers with a link earned back to their website. Although there are some industries that don’t have too many conferences, being able to take part in a conference can make a positive difference for your brand.
If you are wondering how you can find speaking opportunities, you can just look for it in Google. Here are two terms you can use to get you started.
- Use inurl:speakers conference “your industry”
- Use “your industry” conferences speakers
5. Create a Cheat Sheet Guide
Creating a resource page in your industry will always be helpful to your audience. By giving a free resource, you’ll be able to increase new and returning visitors to your website. Other than that, you can also develop your website trust factor with your audience, which can lead to the overflowing of links.
Over the test of time, your guide will earn links that you deserve.
A good example in this section is content created by Mark Wallager of Startbloggingonline.com. He created a WordPress cheat sheet that is worth reading and sharing. As a result, the guide has earned links from 46 root domains and has earned an authority of 47/100.
Ultimate resources, this one included, will last awhile if they are designed as evergreen content, although this type of content does require a decent amount of development time. The reason is because you’ll need to gather quality information to make your piece the best guide your audience will find.
Link building has always been difficult. And so, it usually gives link builders a hard time getting good, quality links. If you are having a hard time finding and acquiring links, these tips will help you tremendously. Master these five tips for link building in 2015 and you will see great results.
Featured Image: Image by Joseph Gojo Cruz
All screenshots by Joseph Gojo Cruz. Taken September 2015.