Why is it worth to talk about link building? Because namely links have long been one of the decisive factors used by Google and other major search engines to rank websites and pages. Everybody wants to rank in search and you are not an exception either, so you have to build links.
The problem is that there’s plenty of information on the topic out there. Not all articles on link building bring value, so I decided to put together this link building guide. I am sure it will show you how to build links the right way.
Are you ready to start? Ok, here goes the definition.
Link building & its purpose
The definition of link building is simple.
It is the process of acquiring new inbound links or backlinks to a website from external sites. The goal of most link building campaigns is increasing search traffic from Google.
Now let’s look at some link building tactics that’ll work in 2018.
1. Link bait content
To put it simple, link bait refers to creating unique, valuable content which attracts links naturally. Such links are considered ‘earned’. But that does not mean the link bait content technique does not require promotion.
How can you add value to your content?
- Make the in-depth research
- Include a unique data
- A survey
- Attractive/unique graphics
- A free tool
It’s safe to say that link bait is white hat link building in its purest form. It returns us to the way Google originally envisaged links would ‘vote’ the best content to the top.
As you understood, link bait requires a top quality resource as ‘bait’. Сontent that engages users is usually widely shared and deserves high search rankings.
2. Ego bait
I know that influencers can often seem unapproachable, especially when you are just starting out. However, remember that most of them are marketers like you and me, so they will be happy if you feature, quote, or mention them.
Here is a brief list of some effective ego-bait tactics:
- Post an interview with influencer on your site
- Include an influencer in your expert roundup
- Quote an influencer in your content, or linking to their site
- Include an influencer in a top 10 list
You’ll see that most influencers will at least share your content as it contributes to their positive image. At the same time it will broaden its reach and potentially lead to links.
3. Broken link building
I am sure you have noticed that many of the Internet resources that were really useful just disappear from the web. This may happen because the company behind the site went out of business or the site is no longer maintained as actively as it was before.
You can view this as one more link building opportunity:
Create a similar resource on your own site, then reach out to sites with broken links and offer them your content as a good option. The action may be rather successful because most webmasters will be glad to fix errors on their site.
4. Link reclamation tactic
Link reclamation tactic can be divided into 3 sub-strategies. Here they are:
- Fixing broken links pointing to your site (this includes internal broken links)
- Finding & constantly monitoring for unlinked brand mentions
- Identifying of the uncredited use of the copyrighted material, i.e.: proprietary images or video
Let’s take a quick look at each sub-category:
a. Fixing broken links pointing to your site
If there are broken links on your site that are pointing to 404 pages, you are losing valuable link juice. But don’t be scared, you can fix this easily.
We, at Ahrefs, use a free WordPress Redirection plugin for the purpose.
At first, we make our Broken Link Checker tool do its job and then create a 301 redirect for each broken link with the help of the “Redirection” plugin.
b. Detecting the unlinked brand mentions
Here we are talking about the cases when someone mentions your brand on the web but doesn’t include a link back to your site.
What you need to do is reach out to the site, thank them for the mention, and ask to consider adding a link.
c. Use of uncredited copyrighted material
If someone uses your copyrighted material, like photo or video on their site, you could ask them to remove it. But don’t make haste. This is your link building opportunity. So, you’d better send them a polite email and inform about the violation of your rights. Ask a website for accreditation and pick up your link.
Do you know how to find sites using your copyrighted images? Use Google’s reverse image search, that’s not complex.
By newsjacking, we mean bumping into the hot news stream and infusing your own brand or ideas into the story.
It can be a really efficient way of picking up high-quality links from trusted publications.
However, time plays a crucial role here. When something really worthy happens, journalists strive to cover each and every unique angle of the event and collect quotes from experts who are ready to add insight. But you must act very fast here as today’s news turn into dust tomorrow.
6. Guest blogging
You surely know that guest blogging is an effective way to introduce your website/brand to the new audiences and build authority boosting links. Guest blogging doesn’t lose its relevance today.
We are not talking about the low-quality guest blogging that has been squeezed by Google, but about the high quality one, remaining a preferred method for those who are opting for gaining white hat links.
There are top-notch blogs accepting guest posts in most niches, so the method is worth trying.
Today’s link building intercrosses with traditional PR in many aspects, and building links involving interviews falls under this category.
What forms can interviews take?
- Blog interviews
- Participating in ’expert roundup’ posts
But in every case, your goal will be to enhance your profile in the niche picking up some quality links along the way. These are the kind of links that drive traffic as well, so they can be considered a white hat link building tactic.
Source: Digital Marketing
Infographics have always been one of the bullet-proof link building tactics. They went out of fashion a few years back, but now infographics are experiencing a kind of a revival.
Why infographics stay an effective way to maximise return for your outreach efforts? The answer is obvious. Outreach is always more powerful when you include a value proposition for the host site. In this particular case, it is a high-quality infographic, which is often accompanied by a customized introduction. Not a bad bargain, yea? The host site gets some cool content and you get your backlink.
9. Syndication of content
I don’t advise you to syndicate content everywhere. Only cooperation with quality sites + link attribution can lead to traffic increase and rankings boost.
Here are some of the quality sites to syndicate your content:
- Linkedin Pulse
- Business 2 Community
To get the most out of your syndication, you might want to consider writing a custom title and introduction for each platform.
10. Repurposing of content
What can content repurposing help you with? You will be able to squeeze more value out of your content and acquire high-quality links
A few examples of a blog post repurposing:
- A video
- An infographic
- An eBook
- A slideshare presentation
As you understand, each of these pieces of content can then be shared on relevant channels. These channels should offer the opportunity for a backlink.
Just like with any other link building strategy, the repurposed content should be of high quality and capable of standing alone.
11. Building links with images
Here are some examples of ways you can leverage custom images to gain backlinks to your site:
- You can create charts to visualize data
- Create memes specific to your niche
- Create images with quotes from famous bloggers niche celebs
- Create pinnable images for your blog posts
- Provide stock images for use with attribution
By the way, adding ‘swipeable’ images to your blog posts, charts and graphs are also efficient as they encourage readers to download and share them on their own sites, which is a great way to pick up links.
12. Submissions to directories
Undoubtedly, the days of mass directory submissions have come to an end. Nevertheless, there may still be some SEO value in acquiring links from quality or niche specific directories.
How to determine the quality of a directory? I would recommend you to check up the following:
- Make sure that all links added to the directory go through a human review before they go live.
- Check the quality of the sites that are included in the directory and don’t forget about the obvious manipulated anchor text links from the directory pages.
- Use archive.org check the directory age. Make sure that it has been around for some time in its current form.
- Check the directory’s backlink profile using Ahrefs or any other relevant tool to ensure that the site has a more or less clean link profile and has not been building spammy links.
- Check if the page where your link would be placed is cached by Google. You can use the command cache:thedirectory.com/theurl for that.
Remember that directory submission should be a small part (if you decide to opt for any) of your overall link building strategy.
13. Distribution of press releases
Similar to directory submissions, mass press release distribution is a kind of link building tactic which offers little benefit at the moment. Besides, it also may be a sign of manipulative link building.
However, if a press release distribution is aimed at attracting genuine press, which is a legitimate PR tactic, this makes it a legitimate link building tactic either.
If you have some news that is worth sharing (a site launch, for instance), choose one channel to distribute your press release and make sure it is quality and written in the third party.
This will increase the chances of your press release to be picked up and lead to more links.
Please keep in mind that press releases are not the best place to build your anchor text links, so use branded links.
14. Local citations
Building citations on local business directories and portals is an effective tactic for boosting local SEO.
As a rule, business directories have higher acceptance standards than general web directories and list only legitimate businesses. That is one of the reasons why they are reasonably well trusted by Google.
You should be ready that not every business directory will include a link back to your site. Though, many SEO experts believe that a mention from a trusted resource may be counted as an ‘inferred link’ by Google and, therefore, assist with rankings.
You must be consistent in your business’s contact details like name, address, phone number, etc. as this is the key to maximising the impact of your citation building.
15. Commenting on blogs
Blog commenting is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks either to a new or old website. An effective blog commenting strategy will provide that your backlink graph remains constant or goes up with time.
Google likes to see that you are actively participating in a niche and commenting on blogs, so this is a good way to show you are an engaged community member.
You can also build relationships with other bloggers by means of commenting. This will help you with future outreach as it is always easier to get in touch with somebody you know, isn’t it?
Keep in mind that mass commenting will not work here, only genuine, thoughtful one, on a chosen blogs may help to improve your rankings.
Quality comments that add insight and show expertise can also drive traffic to your own site and help to grow your audience. This is classified as an indirect ranking factor.
16. Contributing to niche forums
A good SEO professional always knows where their audience is and follows those people. Most of the niches have at least one forum where their potential customers/clients like to hang out.
If you are an active forum participant, it’s not a problem to drop an occasional link back to your site provided that the link adds value or answers a question.
Such kind of links is good both for traffic and conversions. Participating in a forum and demonstrating your expertise will make the community trust you and anyone clicking through to your site will be semi-qualified.
17. Niche community sites are also worth to participate
Do you use Reddit? Then, you should know that there is a subreddit for pretty much everything, from traveling to astrophysics.
Identify subreddits related to your niche, participate, and occasionally share interesting and relevant content from your own site. This is a quite legitimate way of building links that also drive traffic.
Once submissions achieve a certain number of upvotes, which varies from subreddit to subreddit, they become dofollow and increase their SEO value.
A popular Reddit submission may also bring additional editorial links as many curation sites use Reddit as the source for their content.
Apart from Reddit, there are many industry-specific community sites, like inbound.org for marketers, for example. Again, active participation there will present an opportunity for building both links and relationships.
18. Answer questions on websites like Quora, Yahoo etc.
The direct SEO value from ask questions sites is under debate, but links from them are surely a great way to drive traffic to your site and build your authority in a niche.
You can also identify trending topics in a niche with their help.
When you notice that a particular question is being asked again and again, that means a people can’t find the answer in Google. When you create content on your own site, that fills that information gap giving an opportunity for both bringing in search traffic and future link building.
19. Sponsoring charity organizations and events
Charity organizations often list their sponsors and link back to their sites. Charities are trustworthy by nature. They often have high domain authority, which is the reason why these links may be beneficial for rankings.
Technically, these are paid links, but you are still playing on the safe side using this tactic.
You can also use another effective tactic of offering services in exchange for a write up on the charity’s site. For instance, if you are a videographer, you could offer to shoot a video of some event for free if charity organization includes it on their site with link attribution.
Over To You
It seems like I’ve told you pretty much about link building and now I would like to hear your thoughts. What tactic do you use for link building? What works best for you? Do you think any of the link building techniques are going to change in the future? What do you think of this guide? Have any questions on it? Please feel free to leave them in the comments and good luck with your own link building!
About the author
Helga Moreno is a passionate content creator and marketer at Ahrefs bold enough to believe that if there’s a book that she wants to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then she must write it herself.