Link building SEO, what is it?
I know you must have heard this, “to rank on search engines first page results, you must create high-quality backlinks to your website.”
Unfortunately or fortunately, it turns out that this true. Backlinks remain one of the most important Google ranking factors, and you better take them seriously if you want free search engine unpaid traffic to your website.
All industry studies carried out by SearchMetrics, Backlinko, and SEO PoweSuite to determine Google 200 ranking factors found out that backlinks, content, user experience and technical factors, such as speed and mobile friendliness, were the most critical ranking signals used by search engines.
Now the question is, how do you get or create high-quality backlinks to your domain and website content?
The answer is simple, use the right link building strategies.
It is true that finding backlinks is not an easy task, but using a combination of the right link building strategies, patience and consistency your efforts will eventually bore fruits.
The good news is that I have already done most of the research for you, and compiled 10 highly actionable link building strategies that you can use to get backlinks even today.
Important note: Link building works best when you have a website. Thus, if you have not created a website yet, follow this link the ultimate guide to creating a website in 2018, and build one today.
Also, remember that backlinks are just one out of the many ranking signals used by search engines.
Keywords, page speed, content, user experience and website security are also other critical signals, and you can find detailed information on each and many others in these two resources: the ultimate guide to on-page SEO and the definitive guide to off page SEO.
Therefore, you cannot choose to work link building strategies SEO only and isolate the other SEO signals because all are important and have an interdependent effect on each other.
Want to learn more about link building strategies, use the two books below to find more in-depth information.
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What is link building?
Link building is the process of creating and getting high-quality backlinks to your website content and domain.
A backlink is a hyperlink that links a web resource, such as a web page to another webpage. For example, if another blogger likes this guide and refers his/her readers to it by mentioning and linking to it within the post that is backlink.
Search engines believe that a page or post with many high-quality backlinks is a signal that the page is essential, and has relevant information, which deserves to rank on search engines.
Therefore, the process of acquiring quality backlinks to your website using the right link building strategies, such as email outreach and content promotions is called link building.
Ten years ago link building was easy and fast, but the 2018 landscape is different because this process requires creativity, persistence, networking, consistency and strong social skills just as Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team puts it “link building is sweat plus creativity.”
Thus, the landscape of link building changes with time, as shown in these two articles here and here. All that is important now is to know the link building strategies that still in today’s 2018 as explained in this post.
Why is Link building important?
a) Google Search Algorithm Prioritizes high-quality backlinks
Google has a market share of 90% in the search engine industry.
b) Internet live stats
Did you know that there over 3.9 billion internet users in the world per day who make more than 1.3 million Google searches per day?
You want to reach these one billion plus customers who go to look for information in search engines, right?
If yes, then use the right link building strategies, which will earn you high-quality backlinks, and this will encourage search engines to showcase your products and services to those searchers.
c) Industry case studies:
All SEO industry case studies, such as SearchMetrics, StoneTemple, Backlinko Goole 200 ranking factors and SEO PoweSuite have reached unanimous findings that backlinks are one of the most critical ranking signals used by search engines.
For example, a recent study by Backlinko on Google 200 ranking factors found out that all domains featured in Google’s first page SERP had more than 200 domains (backlinks) referring to them as shown in the image below.
d) Backlinks act as votes
Think about it we cannot blame Google for assuming that a page, post or domain with many links referring to it signifies valuable, useful and credible information because this is just how we operate as humans.
These links are votes of confidence, which helps to distinguish authoritative sites from spammy ones and newbie sites.
e) Backlinks improve Page rank and domain authority
The more high quality backlinks your site gets, its page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA) increases.
Having a high PA and DA means that you will not struggle to rank in search engines in future or be known by your customers because you will have an established authority already.
f) High-quality backlinks drive traffic and more visibility to your site
Therefore, if a URL from your website exists in another more prominent site with a high PA and DA and already enjoying Google traffic, then you will be helping Google to find your content.
Thus, you will get ranked faster because the backlink from the authoritative site acts as a vote of confidence, which tells Google that other authority sites with higher PA and DA think you deserve some spotlight because you offer value.
h) Backlinks build positive brand image and customer loyalty
Getting high-quality backlinks from other authoritative sites is equal to receiving a direct recommendation to the clients and audience of that site.
For example, if another blogger links back to one of my blog post, he/she is simply referring his/her customers to other similar trusted resources on my website.
Thus, this is return will build my customer base, increase sales and produce a positive brand image.
Types of Links
There are three major types of backlinks: natural, manual and self-created in link building SEO.
a) Natural links
These are backlinks that you receive without any effort from your side, such as contacting the editor or sharing the article with them.
For example, they come across your article, read it and leave a hyperlink in their editorial content.
I know you must be thinking they are the easiest types of backlinks to get, but no.
Yes, these types of links are the most ethical and SEO friendly, but you will need to write skyscraper content earn them.
b) Manual links
These are backlinks that you earn or get by doing some manual tasks, such as email outreach.
You have to contact other relevant website owners, bloggers and online entrepreneurs in your niche sharing your content and asking them to link to your content ethically as I will explain in the link building strategies below.
c) Self-created links
These are backlinks that you create yourself by carrying out several tasks, such as commenting on other blogs, submitting guest posts, submitting articles to directories and acquiring forum signatures.
They are the easiest to create, but you need to be aware that Google considers them black-hat SEO practices and they are not seen to possess the qualities of high-quality backlinks discussed below.
What are the characteristics of High-Quality Backlinks?
So are all backlinks equal, and do they drive the same importance in search engines?
The answer is NO. Some links are valuable and more important than others, and these are called high-quality good SEO links, which you should aim to get at all times.
Therefore your mission of using these ten link building strategies is to get backlinks with the following characteristics.
a) Has a keyword-rich anchor text
This is the text that the editor or author giving the link will write before they add the hyperlink.
You are safest when the referring domain uses a text that matches the keywords reflected in the content they are linking to from your website.
For example, if another authoritative site linked to this post with the anchor text “link building guide.” that would be a high-quality backlink than if they used general terms, such as “link,” “click here,” “guide” and “visit” among others.
Generic anchor text
Keyword-rich anchor text
b) Co-citations or neighboring words relate to the anchor text
Google and any other search engine have a strict policy on spamming, and this is why they will look at the words and phrases surrounding the link anchor text to find out if they are related.
The higher the relationship this makes the backlink more quality and essential in Google’s eyes.
Link co-citations example
c) Received from sites with high PA and DA
For example, if you gain a backlink from Forbes or any website with a top-level domain (TLD), such as .edu and .gov., website, that is a quality link worth too much search engine juice.
Therefore, you should always aim at getting backlinks from sites with high PA and DA in all your link building efforts because this is also one of those signals that Google use to rank pages.
d) Linking site and the one receiving the backlink are related
By related I mean they have some relationship, such as are in the same niche and serve similar audience buyer personas among others.
For example, if you are in the SEO niche and receive a backlink from a blogger in the fitness niche that sounds spammy right?
Therefore, the best high-quality backlinks come from other entrepreneurs with similar business models and audience to your website.
e) Put in the best SEO Positions
The best position you want your link to be is embedded in a piece of relevant content and not trashed in places where search engines have little crawl importance, such as footers and sidebars.
Borrowing from the previous point on the relevancy, you want your link to be in positions that are SEO friendly and easily accessible by search engines.
f) Have a DoFollow attribute
Backlinks with the rel=’nofollow’ attribute tag discourage search engines from crawling the places they are linking to.
In such a case, the only backlinks that will be quality and suitable for SEO are those with a rel=’follow’ attribute tag.
See an example of a no-follow link below.
10 Link Building Strategies for 2018
1. Write Killer Content
I know you have heard of the famous phrase that “content is king.”
Yes, content is king, and it will always be one of the most crucial link building strategies because your customers and readers only stick around as long as you are providing solutions to their problems.
So how do you use content marketing as a link building technique?
a) Write killer SEO content
Always remember this, no want will give a backlink to sub-standard content, products, and resources.
And this the secret in link building strategy, which brings us to one of the fastest ways to build links through producing skyscraper content, which is ten times better than any other out there.
This is content that is original, keyword-rich, well-researched, long form and detailed to answer all questions from your readers.
Who wants to share too shallow and content with countless errors? No one of course!
b) Use content types that generate more backlinks
All content types are not equal because some get more shares and backlinks than others.
For example, in the entertainment world, gossip news about celebrities gets more shares than regular news articles.
Similarly, in the SEO world several studies, such as Buzzsumo 1 million article analysis found out that these types of content get more shares than others.
- Visual content: This is content with images, diagrams, infographics, charts and any other visual Take an example of this infographic with over 2.7 thousand backlinks.
- List posts: These are posts that provide numbered lists of tips, tools, techniques, myths, and reasons among others. Look at this example on 21 SEO techniques, which has generated over 5.3 thousand backlinks.
- Original research and case study data: These are detailed research reports that conduct real studies and come up with conclusive results. For example, this industry case study on Google ranking factors has generated over 3.3 backlinks.
- Ultimate guides: These are guides that cover everything on a given topic, such as the definitive guide to starting an online business. Readers love to find all relevant information in one location instead of moving from one position to the next. For example, this guide has generated over 1.3 backlinks.
Recommended reading: Link Building through the Skyscraper Content Technique.
2. Find and outreach to “likely linkers”
“Likely linkers” are people who have linked to similar content from your competitors and other websites in your niche.
These can be your competitors active and engaged readers or other market influencers interested in the type of content, products, and services on your website.
Important note: Before you can search for other “likely linkers” anywhere, the ones to begin with are influencers, brands and products you have mentioned within the content. For instance, if you mentioned a market influencers, such as Neil Patel and Brian Dean, then go ahead and share your content with them. If your content is good these mentions are likely to give you a backlink.
Step one: Run a Google search with your target keyword
For example, if you have written a definitive guide on “link building” that you want to create high-quality backlinks for, all you have to do is first enter that keyword on Google and run a search.
Step Two: Measure PA and DA with MozBar of the SERP results
Let me first remind you why this is important.
When we were looking at the characteristics of high-quality backlinks, we found out that one of them is that they must come from authoritative sites with high PA and DA.
Therefore, the reason for measuring PA and DA in this link building strategy is to make sure that you are targeting the right backlink sources.
Sites with DA and PA above 50 are suitable to kick-off this step.
Step Three: Grab the URL of the SERP result with highest PA and DA and copy it in a backlink checker tool.
In this example, I used Moz Open Site Explorer and got the results below.
Important Note: Only pick the likely linkers with authoritative PA and DA from the report.
Step four: Find the email addresses of those Likely Linkers
Next, all you have to do in this link building strategy is find the email addresses of the editors, writers, and owners of the websites or products you identified in step three above.
Step five: Send an outreach personalized email
Finally, after you find email the email addresses of the “likely linkers,” send the person a personalized message like the one below.
Remember you are not imposing or asking directly for a backlink, but you are leaving room for the person to decide if your content deserves a backlink or not.
Keep an excel sheet to monitor and follow up on the success of this technique. The best link building strategies for your website will be those that yield the best results and stress you out the least.
3. Pitch to Authors of Curated Resource Pages
In this link building strategy, curated lists are content pages that pull together similar information, such as resource pages, round up posts and “best of” list posts.
So your aim in this link building strategy is to let the author know that you have a similar resource on that specific keyword targeted by the resource page, which they can add to the list.
Step one: Run a Google search with a combination of the following search phrases.
“Keyword” + inurl:links
“Keyword” + “helpful resources.”
“Keyword” + “useful resources.”
“Keyword” + “useful links.”
“Keyword” + “roundups.”
“Keyword” + “useful roundup.”
“Keyword” + “best of resources.”
For example, I used “SEO” + “helpful resources,” and these are the results I got.
Step Two: Measure PA and DA with MozBar of the SERP results
Remember that we must only pick the result with a high PA and DA because you are not looking for any backlink, but those from high quality and authoritative sites.
Step three: Find their email addresses of the authors of lists with high PA and DA
For example, I took the option of Forbes article on Teach yourself SEO resource post, and below are the results.
Step four: Send a personalized outreach email
Remember you are not asking for a backlink directly here, but leaving a room for the person to decide if you deserve one.
Additionally, remember to keep a backup of the email so that you can follow up later.
Finally, send them a personalized message like the one in the example below.
4. Create backlinks in broken links opportunities
This strategy works different from the two above, and it’s one of my favorite link building strategy.
It is easy to appear needy and spammy in the “likely linkers” and “resource pages” link building techniques because you are almost begging for links.
The good thing about the “broken link” link building strategy is that you will be offering a solution to the owner.
So this strategy is all about finding a broken link in a website with content relevant to want you to have on your site.
So your role is to reach out to the owner notifying them about the broken link and suggesting to them that you have a piece of content that will act as a replacement.
Step One: Identify a website or domain with many outbound links, high PA, and DA
Here is where MozBar Chrome extension comes into play again.
The good thing about using this Chrome extension is that you can use it from anywhere on the web on any website you visit.
Therefore, you can identify a site with many outbound links using a Google search or make it a habit of testing every website you visit in your day to day browsing.
In this example, I will use Google search method for the keyword “link building” to find websites with many outbound links as shown in the image below.
The reason we are looking for a site with many outbound links is that the many they are the higher the possibility that some of them are broken links.
Step two: Use a broken link checker to find broken links
You need to have a broken link checker tools to implement this link building technique.
The advantage of this tool is that you can use it from any website you are on as you continue your research every day.
Step three: Find the email address of the site owner and reach out to them
Remember to do a follow up for better results.
5. Build backlinks through link reclamation
Just as the name suggests, it is the process of reclaiming a link that was not attributed to your domain or website by the author/ editor who mentioned in a given piece of content on their site.
Most times when authors mention brands, products and other web resources they may forget to add a backlink to them. See an example of unnamed mentions below.
Step two: Find email addresses of site owners and send link reclamation outreach message
Find detailed information on this reclaiming unlinked mentions article.
As a blogger, website owner or any other type of online entrepreneur, there are many tools and resources that you use on a daily basis.
For example, you can leave a testimonial on your hosting company, such as SiteGround, theme Companies, such as Elegant Themes or Email marketing company, such as Convertkit expressing your experience after using their products.
So how is this a link building strategy?
If you are lucky for your testimonial to be featured on their website, that is a backlink. See the examples below.
7. Be a guest Blogger to gain backlinks
In this link building strategy, guest blogging is the process of publishing an article on another website other than your own with higher authority and readership than yours.
For instance, if a write a blog post and it is published in Forbes that is a backlink.
These narratives developed after people began to use black hat SEO strategies, such as paying to get guest posts. However, the truth is that guest posting is still relevant in 2018, and it can attract high-quality backlinks to your website.
To succeed in this link building strategy, you must do it the right way without becoming a victim of search engine penalties or use black hat SEO techniques.
Step one: Find guest posting opportunities
There are many methods you can use here, such as Google search, image reverse search and influencer method among others.
In this example, I will use the Google search method to illustrate how this link building strategy works.
Run a Google search with the phrases below to find guest posting opportunities.
- Keyword “guest post.”
- Keyword in title:“write for us.”
- Keyword inurl:”write for us.”
- Keyword “submit a guest post.”
- Keyword “submit” AROUND(4) “guest post.”
- Keyword “guest post by”
- Keyword “accepting guest posts.”
- Keyword “guest post guidelines.”
- Keyword “submit a blog post.”
- Keyword “contribute to our site.”
- Keyword “submit article.”
- Keyword “guest author.”
- Keyword inurl: “guest post.”
- Inpostauthor: “guest + post” Keyword
- Inpostauthor: “guest + blog” Keyword
For example, I typed SEO intitle: “write for us,” and these are the results I got.
Step three: Pitch your ideas to the editor
Thirdly, pitch ideas to the editor or author using a personalized template like the sample below.
Find more templates and tips to guest blogging in this article.
Depending on their response in this step, you can continue to step four below if their reply is positive and gives you the go-ahead on your idea.
Step four: Write and submit the post
Finally, write the post and do follow up once the editor has given you the go-ahead. See more tips here.
When your guest post is published, you will get a byline and a backlink at the beginning, and the end of the post is referring the audience to your website or full bio like the one in the example below.
8. Use HARO to get backlinks
So what is Help-A-Reporter-Out (HARO)?
This is an authority new aggression site that helps reporters to gather information from people all over the world.
So what happens is that you receive three emails per day from HARO, and you a have the option to reply with relevant pitches and information to the ones that are relevant to your niche. Look at the sample below.
Step one: Sign up for an account at HARO
Before you can use this link building technique, you must have an account at HARO.
Step two: Choose the most suitable HARO inquiry
Check your email every day three times per day to access emails received from HARO.
Filter the ones that are relevant to your niche and write a pitch in response.
Step Three: Contribute
To complete this link building strategy, choose the best question and write your pitch to the reporter in response.
The goal here is to highlight any relevant content related to the pitch on your website and also leave a bio of who you are and where full information about you can be found, such as your website.
Sample of HARO Inquiry
Sample of HARO Response
Step four: Earn the backlink
If your pitch will be high quality, you can earn a backlink in two significant ways.
Firstly, the reporter is likely to add a link in their content referring readers back to your website.
Secondly, you will receive a byline at the end of the article as one of the contributors as shown in the example below.
9. Use Branded Techniques
These can be branded images, inforgraphics, blog posts or anything else which is unique and an original creation from your websites.
Every time you create an excellent piece of content or find a new exciting approach give it a name. See the examples below:
- Moving Man Method and the Skyscraper technique by Brian Dean of Backlinko.
- The Briefcase technique by Ramit Sethi.
- The Poster Boy formula
So how does this work as a link building strategy?
The answer is simple, every time other people link back to your technique, they will link back to its origin, which is most likely your site or an original piece of information that brought about the method.
The more you set your brand apart from other competitors in the market, the higher the chances of people mentioning you every time they borrow information from your site.
10. Get self-created backlinks through content promotion
This final link building strategy is a powerhouse of several activities you should consider doing in your get backlinks approach.
Think about it there is a high possibility that no one is linking back to your content because they do not know that it exists and they have not come across it yet.
Writing an ultimate killer guide is just one side of the coin, but sharing it and promoting it in the right channels to be discovered forms the other side.
If so, you can use these techniques to create links back to your website;
- Blog commenting
- Building relationships in forums
- Article submission to directories and social bookmarking sites &
- Interview influencers’ among these.
This article on 10 promotion techniques will give you all the detailed information you need to actualize the four opportunities above and many others.
What are the best tools for Link building?
- ConvertKit and Boomerang: Convertkit for sending bulk images and Boomerang for timing emails. Remember that you must send your outreach emails at the right time for them to have a high open rate.
- Hunter.io or VoilaNorbert: For finding email addresses and other content information for likely linkers and influencers in your niche. If you are a heavy user of the Email outreach technique, consider using a tool like Buzzstream.
- Check my links: If you choose to use the broken links method to link building, use this tool to find broken links on any website. An alternative is Citation Labs’ Broken Link Finder and Citation Labs’ Link prospector, which will help you to search for broken links on the web based on a keyword instead of hunting them page by page.
- Ahrefs: This is a powerhouse tool that will help you monitor mentions, backlinks and other competitor data related to backlinks and your niche market. Alternatives are Buzzsumo and Moz open site explorer.
- Authority spy: This tool will help you find influencers in your niche. Remember this is the people who you want to earn quality backlinks from.
- SEMrush: Use this tool for market research, keyword research and other activities related to SEO link building.
Visit this article the complete list of SEO tools to discover all the tools you can use for link building.
Building backlinks is not always easy, but do you know what, you need to begin the work today with the hope that your efforts will bore fruits tomorrow.
The truth is that there is no secret to building quality backlinks quickly and efficiently in the world of white hat SEO.
This is not to say that it is impossible, NO! It simply means that it takes time, consistency, persistence and using the right link building strategies.
The golden rule is that little creativity, research and identifying the right backlink opportunities in your niche will finally get you there.
The good news is that the effort and perseverance are worthy because it will drive free search engine traffic to your website.
Now over to you!
Put these ten strategies into use in your link building strategy, and you will begin seeing results in the next three months or so.
A quick reminder, before you sweat out for these link building strategies you need to get your site ready for carrying out these ten on-page SEO activities and also these four off page SEO best practices.
Want to learn more about link building strategies, use the two books below to find more in-depth information.
Feel free to leave a comment below asking a question, sharing your own personal process of keyword research or even better provide a suggestion of a post you would like me to write about.
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