How to Get Backlinks with Resource and Link Pages
Link building gets bad press. So much so that many have tried to rebrand link building as “link earning”.
However, as long as links remain one of the most important ranking factors, anyone practicing SEO has a duty to engage in link building. Specifically: Link building in accordance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Because link building is difficult and links are necessary to reach the top of the SERPs, there is a huge black market. Much of it is blatant, including spam offering guest posts on seemingly trustworthy authority sites.
You also have websites filled with menus of link packages accessible to anyone with a PayPal account. Private blogging networks (PBNs) are the darlings of black hat forums and Facebook groups.
Here’s the thing. Google employees also receive these emails. Members of Google’s anti-spam team are also members of black hat forums and Facebook groups. Google’s quality raters regularly come across sites selling links.
For these reasons alone, link cheating is meaningless and anyone engaged in these activities may be one link away from triggering the Penguin algorithm or drawing a manual action.
Unless you have a burner website, it’s just not worth it.
That said, there’s no point in making link building more difficult than necessary.
After doing every type of link building imaginable, there is one method that consistently outperforms all others:
Create a resource center and populate it with helpful resource pages.
What are Resource Centers and Resource Pages?
For clarification purposes:
- A Resource Center is basically a landing page/category page made up of links pointing to resource pages. Instead of just having a simple links page, it’s better to incorporate:
- Varied text formatting (bullets, numbered lists and short paragraphs).
- Subtitles to divide the page for easier reading and scanning.
- A Resources Page is part of a group of useful and informative articles or guides that are thematically linked to a website.
Resource Page Types
- Tried and true – These pages are the proven winners that reside on competing websites.
- Fresh and bold – This content is designed to put you on the cutting edge of what’s happening in your niche.
The best resource centers incorporate elements of both.
This ensures that your site is unique and adds value beyond what is available elsewhere. It also increases your chances of being found for unique search queries.
It’s best to start with tried and true content. Content that has demonstrated its ability to attract links.
Your mission is to identify link-worthy content and then improve it. This works especially well for non-sexy B2B websites; traditionally one of the hardest links to attract.
The company across the street from my office trains people to become commercial school bus and truck drivers. They’re not my paying customers, but they’ll be getting free advice today, because they’re the epitome of a non-sexy (albeit B2C) business.
The CDL school could really benefit from a good resource center on their website. The starting point would be a search for CDL and see what Google suggests.
Then move on to related searches such as:
Then continue with even more searches related to “Commercial Driver’s License”, “Truck Driving School”, “Trucking”, etc. You can also use a keyword research tool to help you develop topic ideas.
After finding popular topics, it’s time to find linkable content that matches those topics.
My tool of choice for content discovery is Ahrefs Content Explorer. (There are a number of tools on the market with similar functionality.)
When entering the search phrase “cdl license”, the first result shows links from 502 referring domains.
That’s a lot of linking domains and this topic seems to have great potential for attracting links. Creating a page like this is worth considering for the CDL school resource center.
The next step is to repeat this process sentence by sentence until you have a robust resource center full of link magnets for content.
Beyond the tried and true
In addition to the tried and true, it’s a good idea to have fresh and bold content.
Google Trends is a good place to dig up new content. A search for “Commercial Driver’s License” returns the following related topics and queries.
If I see a strong trend, I don’t worry about the content’s ability to attract links. The potential to attract links may or may not grow with interest in the topic.
Either way, content still adds value to the resource center by providing information that the audience has shown interest in.
A natural starting point is to extract the links pointing to the proven original content. There are several free and paid tools that can do this.
Each link tool runs its own bots and provides different link information, so it’s best to get link data from multiple sources.
The second best source of links?
Good resource pages tend to link to other good resource pages. Use advanced search operators to help you find resource pages on related sites. Two of my favorites are:
- “keyword” site:.org intitle:”links” -inurl:pdf -inurl:ppt -inurl:doc
- “keyword” site:.org intitle:”resources” -inurl:pdf -inurl:ppt -inurl:doc
Can we get a link from the Kentucky State Police? May be. It depends on the quality of the resource as well as the reliability of the website as a whole.
Outreach via email
Rule number one: never send a link request based on a template. The conversion rate for link requests is notoriously low to begin with.
If you want to be successful, there has to be some level of customization in all request.
How to prove that you are a human rather than a bot:
- Read the webpage: Is there a realistic chance of getting a link? If not, don’t bother.
- Use a credible email account: Not Gmail. This helps separate you from spammers.
- Pay attention to your subject line: Some webmasters require that a specific topic be used for link requests.
- Find the name of the right person: Whenever possible, start your email by addressing the site owner by name
Be clear about what you are asking.
- Explain why you sent an email.
- Provide the URL from which you are requesting a link.
- Provide a good reason to link to you.
- Check resource pages for broken links. If you have a suitable replacement page, that’s a good reason to link.
- Include the URL you want the webmaster to link to.
Show the email recipient that you’ve spent time learning more about their site. This might further entice them to link to your site.
Resource Centers are a perfect foundation for any content marketing campaign. Along with providing a great user experience, they have the added benefit of powering Googlebot.
Useful resources attract powerful links. The combination of quality content and high value links drives organic rankings and ultimately traffic.
Time range: Ongoing from month 1 or 2
Results detected: 3-12 months
Average number of email sends per link builder:
- 50 to 60 contacts per day with new prospects
- 5-6 follow-ups to “close” on links
- Google Search
Benefits of linking to resources:
- You will earn “real” links – as opposed to buying paid or sponsored links.
- You have the option to bookmark links from thematically or thematically related websites to yours; get highly relevant links.
- Because the websites linked to you are linked, they have the opportunity to send good direct traffic.
- They might even help you in the SERPs. 😉
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by the author