Links are the most valued currency on the web in terms of measuring site popularity and search engine rankings, and that’s one reason why link building is considered to be one of the most vital processes in online marketing.
The process of link building has evolved over time, given that the more that search algorithms, marketing practices and user behaviors change, the more the task of acquiring authentic web popularity encompasses other campaign objectives such as developing the domain’s brand presence as well as exemplifying trust and authority to users and search engines.
You can evaluate the quality of links using certain criterion, such as:
- The visibility of the link that will be acquired; for example, in-content or editorial links can get clicks and are prioritized by search crawlers when parsing/accessing page data.
- The topical relevance of the page hosting the incoming link, since contextual links pass more value and trust.
- The strength of the hosting domain and its ability to pass through high amount of value to your site; this can be measured through site metrics such as PageRank, Domain Authority, TrustRank, mozRank, traffic data, etc.
There are a great many ways and techniques to building links to your website, but there are only a few that are certain to produce high quality links. Below is a list of link building methods that can help establish a site’s brand/authority, generate leads and, most importantly, improve search rankings:
Submitting guest blog posts to known authority blogs in your niche can benefit your site in many ways; besides getting high value links from authority domains, you are also able to showcase your expertise in front of their audience, which you can use to attract more traffic and, possibly, leads from your submitted content.
Consistently implementing this method in your campaign can also help build a strong brand presence for your site, as people who are really interested in your niche can see more of you from different blogs, where you can build and establish an authority figure for your site in the field.
In choosing the blogs to submit your guest posts to, it’s important to choose those that have strong following, high traffic and also provide high quality content to their readers.
If you have an exceptional story related to your industry to share, pitching or tipping your story to news websites is one way to acquire high-power links to your site. However, before pitching your story to these types of websites it’s best to create a “news source content” (that should be authentically newsworthy), as it will help ease the process for news reporters/writers when researching about the subject.
Offer this content as a resource when pitching your story, since this will make your angle more credible and may ensure coverage of the story. Host the content within your site, as the news write up will most likely link back to the content you have created as its original source.
You can use HelpAReporter.com to find reporters that might be interested in covering your story. Make the pitch concise and be sure to leave your contact details in case they need more information about the story or want to interview you.
Another way to attract and acquire links from authority sites in your niche is through “ego baiting”. The most common example of this technique is by creating your own rankings or listings of top sites/blogs or individuals in your industry or location, and incentivizing the linking by offering an embeddable widget that can be installed in their sites (which naturally links back to your site).
Executing this method based on a large scale of list of ranking websites will enhance your chances of acquiring links from authority sites related to your industry, given that they were included on your list in the first place because of their site’s prominence.
This method is where you can ask experts, leaders and specialists in your niche to answer industry-related questions that can give specific, practical solutions to known problems in your industry. Compile their answers and publish it as a blog/article hosted in your site. Those who participate in this kind of survey usually share the resulting content to their own followers through various social networks and sometimes do promote it through linking.
The outcome of this method can do well in terms of social visibility, since the experts that you have interviewed may voluntarily share the content, which increases the content’s linkability with the help of their own networks.
Content-based Link Outreach
Manual link request through email outreach has been a method used by many SEOs for a very long time. However, this technique has been losing its effectiveness due to the continually evolving competitiveness of the online industry, which now highly depends on the quality of the site requesting the link placement.
Nowadays, to truly make your manual outreach worth the time, it’s best to offer highly linkable materials/content instead of offering your homepage for other sites to link to, given that it provides greater value than your site’s homepage. Below are some steps on how to efficiently implement a content-based link outreach:
- Create content that can naturally attract links (high-utility, comprehensive resource or link bait type of blog post).
- Find sites/pages that have probabilities of linking to that content. You can easily search for link opportunities from similar content from your competitors that had succeeded in obtaining links. You can start with Google search, and tools like Open Site Explorer or Yahoo Site Explorer in tracking the links that your competitors’ content has acquired.
- Make a list of link prospects using Excel and segment the list of sites, gauged by the level of difficulty in acquiring the link (like for .edu, .gov or industry blogs’ resources page). You can also include other sites in your industry that you think might be interested in sharing/linking to your content.
- Craft an email template that can be easily personalized when you start sending the link requests. It’s also best to keep the email copy short and concise.
Building relationships in this online marketing age is very essential, since it scales the ability and velocity of a site to grow in terms of lead generation as well as link, business and brand development. Constant interaction (through social networking sites, blog comments, emails, offline events, etc…) with online entities that are thematically related to your site can help you build high-value links that can refer traffic, improve rankings and establish trust/authority.
You can eventually utilize these relationships to acquire in-content citations, leads and blogroll links; they may even serve as social sharing multipliers.
Monitoring brand mentions can help produce more high quality links to your site. You can use tools like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Trackur and Twitter Search to track mentions of your site, name, brand and/or products on Twitter or from external blog posts/articles with no proper link attribution.
Keep track of positive mentions about your brand as well, since you can contact them and request for more links, like offering your other products/services for free to be reviewed.
There are lots of resourceful links pages on any industry over the web, and some of them might be hosting a link that directs to a defunct website. Here’s a guide on how you can search for dead-links and in requesting for the link replacement:
- You can simply search for this kind of link opportunity through manual Google search (sample queries: "link building resources" or "SEO blog links").
- Install the LinkChecker addon for Firefox to detect dead links when skimming the links/resources pages that you have found.
- List all the pages that you’ll find that host dead and forbidden links in an Excel spreadsheet. Include each site’s contact details on your list as you will use these when you start contacting them.
- Email and notify the webmasters about the dead link, and offer a relevant page on your site that fits the theme of the target resource page as an alternative or a replacement for the dead link instead.
Strong Internal Linking
Internal linking is quite an important process in link building that’s usually underestimated. To efficiently employ a robust internal linking structure for your site, it’s important to identify the strong pages on your domain using page-level metrics like PageRank, mozRank, Page Authority, number of incoming links, bounce rates and organic search rankings.
Once you have distinguished the individually strong pages in your site, you can then make them internally link to your site’s important landing pages using its targeted keywords as anchor texts. Allow your strong support pages to pass through the link juice they are receiving from other linking domains to improve your landing pages’ search rankings.
You can also improve these strong support pages’ calls to action and conversions by referring the traffic they generate to your target landing page.