Four link building strategies for beginners
Companies have recently started paying our marketing agency for link building services. It used to be something we did for our own company, but never officially offered as a standalone service. When launching this service, we needed a few reliable link building strategies to drive results.
After trying and testing about 20 different tactics, here are the four most effective strategies beginners can use to improve their SEO:
The principle is simple: contribute valuable content that a website would like to publish. Not only does this give you visibility, but some opportunities provide a valuable link to your website. It’s a win-win for the website, the writer, and the audience.
To get started with guest posting, do a quick audit of your existing partnerships, connections, and relationships. Who has websites that would be open to receiving content from you? Then contact each site with story topic ideas. Get approval and write the articles. It depends on the publication, but many allow you to include your website link in your author bio for proper content attribution.
The key to success is to get creative with the audit to maximize your relationships. For example, we got guest posting opportunities with a social media scheduling tool we use for our business, an executive coach I worked with, a former client, my alma mater, a friend, a LinkedIn group which I am a part of and an update of a guest post I did 11 years ago.
The possibilities for guest posts are endless. You just need to squeeze guest posting into your consciousness, and then this link building strategy can really take off to build links to your site (while building your brand).
Answer questions and answers
Answering Q&As is a fast and effective way to get links. This tactic is how we generated the majority of backlinks to our business website (which ranks on the first page of Google for the term “digital marketing business”).
For four years (and still today), our company identified relevant questions in the media, shared answers with the media, and then received a link back to our view from the media.
The best Q&A opportunities come to us through the entrepreneurship groups we belong to, HARO and connections on LinkedIn. Additionally, Quora and Reddit are a few sites worth answering questions on to help establish yourself as an expert that journalists can go to with questions (assuming the questions you answer are based on your area of expertise).
The key to this link building strategy is to watch for opportunities and act quickly. Journalists looking for answers have a deadline. The sooner they receive your response, the more likely you are to be included in their article (as long as your point of view adds value and is accurate).
To get started, create a free HARO account and start monitoring some of the questions on their mailing list.
Real-time unlinked mentions
If you have a brand that is often mentioned and written about online, monitoring unlinked mentions is the best way to generate links. What are unlinked mentions, how do you monitor activity, and what do you do when an opportunity is identified?
Unlinked mentions occur when a website includes your brand or product name in an article, but does not include a link to your website. For example, if a blogger writes about the best places to buy TVs and mentions Best Buy but does not include a link to where a customer can buy those TVs on the Best Buy website, that is an unlinked mention and a great opportunity to get a link.
We use a tool called Ahrefs to monitor these unlinked mentions. We set up a keyword alert, choose to get a real-time, daily, or weekly summary of our clients’ keyword alerts, then evaluate each opportunity to see if there is an opportunity for a backlink.
If there is an opportunity, we will find the author’s contact details and contact the website using one of our pre-approved templates with the aim of getting the editor to update the article. Since our request comes in within 48 hours of posting, the conversion rate of requests into results is very high using this tactic. Set up a branded keyword alert for yourself using your favorite tool and see if this tactic produces results.
Create better content than your competitors
This technique is simple but perhaps the most difficult to perform. Find content that has ranked well on Google, but is older and could benefit from an update. Develop an updated and more valuable version of this content. Then, promote that content to interested websites by linking to the content.
It makes sense, right? If you were running a website linking to an “Ultimate Guide to XYZ” from 2014 and then received an email containing an “Ultimate Guide to XYZ” from 2018, you would be inclined to at least consider updating your site to better serve your readers.
To get started, Google the term “guide + your target keyword”. Use a tool like Ahrefs or Moz Open Site Explorer to analyze the backlinks pointing to this content. If the content has a lot of backlinks and is old, you can publish a new guide and do outreach on all the sites linked to the old guide.
This strategy is a great way to get high value links. It’s just very time-consuming and resource-intensive.
To recap, we know that link building is the single most important determinant of long-term organic search success. Build a portfolio of backlinks from relevant, high-authority sites, and your site will eventually be considered relevant and high-authority for your focus area.
It’s not easy and the results definitely take some time to materialize. But with these four strategies, you can start pushing your website up in Google’s search results.