You already know some of the most common ways to build links:
- Create original research studies.
- Guest post.
- Prospect broken links like a maniac until you find a single link that works.
Unfortunately, most of these are either too expensive, too time-consuming, or too saturated.
Instead, tap into these three alternative link building strategies that can dramatically improve your rates of link acquisition.
1. Topic Takeover Method
Broken link hunting is my least favorite link building strategy of all time. And it’s far from an alternative link building strategy anymore.
Its odds of success are worse than finding a needle in the world’s largest haystack.
Instead, implore a more aggressive method that I call the Topic Takeover:
Search for content that mentions a specific niche topic and aggressively pitch your valuable content as the “next step” for readers.
Here is how to do it.
First, launch an SEO tool and use the content explorer feature. Personally, I prefer Ahrefs.
In this example, I will show you the exact process and responses I got when using Topic Takeover for my travel blog.
Using the content explorer, type in the niche topic that you want to build links for. In my case, this was a blog post about a hike in Hawaii.
Be sure to set a filter publish date (the more recent the higher your chance at success), domain rating minimum of 25, only live links, and any other filters you might like:
Depending on the date range and specificity, you should return some stellar results on high authority sites.
Next, export the list:
Upload the list into a Google Sheet to start tracking progress, outreach, and live links.
Next, open each individual blog post and search for your target term:
The context of the mention here will be critical in helping you craft a personalized email.
When it comes to scaling this, be sure to prioritize personalized emails for higher authority domains.
Find the author of the article you are viewing by looking at either the top or the bottom of the post:
Using any number of email finding tools, you should be able to find their contact details with relative ease.
The final step is crafting a meaningful email. Being genuine in trying to both provide value to the readers of their content and your own blog.
Your email should include:
- What you liked about their content.
- Why it resonated with you.
- A quick one-sentence pitch about your post.
- How your post will add value to their readers.
So, does this actually work?
Absolutely. Here is just one of the dozens of emails I received:
This tactic isn’t sexy. It’s nothing revolutionary.
It’s just a matter of context and value, and how you can deliver (and receive) it.
2. Turn Homepage Mentions Into Landing Page Links
When your brand starts to acquire recognition in the form of mentions and links, you will start to notice one thing:
They are almost always geared toward your homepage.
Homepages are super easy to link to when talking about a product in a blog post.
While easy for the site writing about you, it’s not always the most valuable for your brand.
Imagine it this way:
You own a social media scheduling tool and are mentioned in a post about social media.
The specific mention revolves around the aspect of scheduling times and uploading directly within the tool.
Would you rather:
- Have a generic homepage mention forcing the users to click through multiple pages on your site to find what was just talked about in the post.
- Have a direct link mention to a specific landing page on your site showcasing that exact scheduling feature.
More often than not, the second option is far superior.
It’s likely to both reduce bounce rates from frustrated users who can’t find the exact feature mentioned and increase conversion rates on that referral traffic.
So, how do you use this alternative link building strategy? Using the Content Explorer on Ahrefs, drop in your brand name in multiple variations:
This will return a filtered list of brand mentions.
Export the list and sort the results in a spreadsheet.
Pull up each listed content piece and search for your anchor, in this case, “search engine journal.”
From here, it’s up to you to contact the post’s author and pitch to replace the homepage link with a more valuable landing page directly related to the context of the original mention.
3. The Give & Take Approach
Links are valuable, there is no doubt about that.
Google has confirmed time and time again that links are a critical factor in search engine optimization.
Every single website out there wants to acquire links, but few want to give them.
If you are struggling to acquire natural links, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
Simply taking advice like “create better content and the links will come” is pretty far-fetched in a digital landscape of billions of pieces of content.
That might work for websites with an established authority for the last decade.
But a new website looking to build their domain rating? You are going to need to do a ton more than just create content and expect your link profile to skyrocket.
One of the best approaches is the give and take.
It’s simple, effective, and while time-consuming, can be scaled with the right process or hiring.
So, how does it work?
It’s relatively simple. First, fire up Ahrefs (or any SEO tool that you like) and repeat the same beginning process as the Topic Takeover method:
Search your target topic / phrase that you want to get a link for using the content explorer.
Be sure to filter again for publish date, only live links, and one link per domain for better, condensed results.
Now, instead of reaching out via email to ask for a link in the post, find the author of the post you are looking to acquire a link on.
Search for any more relevant content they have created recently, or better yet, find their own personal blog or website.
From here, look through their most recent content to see if any of their posts align with topics you’ve covered in your own content or company blog.
Now, drop a link for them in your content where appropriate and where it will add the most value for readers.
In your outreach email, keep it simple:
I loved your post on [Topic]. In fact, I actually linked to it here [link]!
I was reading another post of yours [link] here. I loved where you talked about [topic]. I recently wrote an in-depth guide on this subject: [link]
I think this would be an extremely valuable continuation of the subject matter here for readers, what do you think?
Link building is more than just guest posting and broken link hunting.
It’s about value, expertise, and creating better experiences on the internet for your readers.
Follow these three alternative link building strategies to start driving big link acquisitions faster.
- 3 Ethical Link Building Strategies to Try This Year
- 4 Link Building Ideas That Won’t Get You Into Hot Water
- Link Building Guide: How to Acquire & Earn Links That Boost Your SEO
Featured Image: Pixabay
All screenshots by author, February 2020