Link building has been a vital SEO strategy for quite some time now. But for those of you that are new to SEO, you’re probably wondering… “What is it? And why do I need it?”
Why link building needs to be part of your SEO strategy
Link building is the art of getting external sources to link to pages on your website. But why is this important?
Google sees every link pointing to your page as a big thumbs up (or a vote, depending on how you’d like to look at it).
When backlinks first became a ranking factor back in 1998 the algorithm focused solely on quantity, making it easy for any SEO to spam links to the pages they wanted ranking. The more links you had pointing to your pages, the more likely Google would rank your site.
Now things have got slightly more complicated. Google doesn’t just focus on the number of links you have; they judge the quality and relevance of your links too.
In 1998 you would have been able to rank your website using forum and comment links. But now, they think about the relevance of the link and the power the linking website has.
This means a Forbes link is worth a thousand times more than any forum links you have.
When link building is used as part of a strong SEO strategy (including building a solid foundation, intelligent keyword research, and smart on-page optimization), the effects can be outstanding for your rankings.
Effective link building strategies that actually work
Link building has been around for 20+ years, and in that time, people have come up with many link building strategies to help you win those all-important links.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best strategies that are most effective today:
1. Guest posting
This has become one of the most popular link building strategies.
Essentially you provide unique content that has your link placed naturally within and it is published on another website. The site owner gets some new high-quality content for their site (free of charge) and you get a backlink.
To score yourself some links using this strategy, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
Find guest posting opportunities
To get started, you need to find websites that will publish your content on their website.
This stage can take some time; you’re looking for websites with a high Domain Rating (DR), high traffic, and page authority.
You can use SEO tools like Ahrefs to find who is linking to your competitor’s pages to get a perfect target list of sites to review.
For any website, you find to add it to an excel sheet ready for the next step.
Check out the website authority
For every website you find, you need to run them through a backlink checker. This could be:
- SEO Powersuite
Running the website through one of the SEO tools above will help you qualify the strength of the site you want the link from.
The higher the authority the more power the link holds. However, don’t be afraid to opt for a couple of mid-low authority links too as this makes for a more natural looking backlink profile.
Contact the blog manager
Next, you need to reach out with your pitch.
The critical part here is to reach out to the right people. Ideally, you want to contact the blog manager/editor, but this isn’t always possible.
To find the right contacts, you can use tools like FTL (Find That Lead). The tool will crawl the site looking for any email address connected to the website.
Make sure when you send the email that the pitch is unique and it stands out from all the rest, if it doesn’t, it will just end up in the junk bin.
Write and send the guest post
If the owner accepts the idea, you can negotiate topics, writing guidelines and sometimes a price (a lot of sites have wised up to just how valuable links are so now charge for publishing guest articles, but the price you agree to depends largely on the authority and organic traffic of the site).
Once agreed it’s time to get to work writing the content. Make sure you’re writing for their audience, not yours.
Once you’re happy with the article, add a link to your site, as well as adding a few other external links that add value to the article.
Then submit your article and ensure it gets published with your dofollow backlink!
2. Testimonial links
You might not think it, but testimonials are an excellent way of building powerful links and often from the referring site’s homepage!
The concept is to get in touch with any relevant products and services you use and offer them a testimonial.
Here’s how it works:
Find the targets
You want to think about the products or services you’ve used or are using that relate to your blog.
You need to make sure the website has existing testimonials and that they link back to the provider.
If you’re struggling to think, have a look at what tools people are using in your niche. It usually takes a quick Google search to find them.
Once you’ve listed a few, find their contact details as you did in the previous strategy. Reach out to them and see if they are interested in your proposal. For those that are…
Write your testimonial
This step is pretty simple; you just need to write a small amount of text explaining why the tool is useful and what it helped you with. The more specific you can get, the more chance you have of being published.
Once everything’s written up, it’s a case of sending it off and enjoying the power of the link.
3. Podcast jacking
This is a beneficial technique to help boost your reputation while scoring a link.
The idea is to reach out to podcasts within your niche and see if they want to interview you. Not only will this get you the link you want, but it will also give your brand exposure to new audiences.
It likes a two for one deal, and here’s how it works:
Find relevant podcasts
This might seem like a difficult task, but it really isn’t. All it takes is a quick Google search using a few topical keywords or even podcasts that have featured your competitors are usually a good bet.
Think of famous people that relate to your niche; let’s say it’s survival.
It’s pretty safe to presume that any podcast that features Bear Grylls will relate to your website.
In this case, you’d search for something like this:
For any podcast you find, write it down and find their contact details.
Send a pitch
For each podcast you like the look of, you need to write to the host and see if they would like to interview you.
Make sure you include why you feel their listeners will benefit from your interview and what you can bring to the table. Make your pitch good!
If they don’t get in contact after the first email, don’t be afraid to send a second or even third email. If they get back to you, they’ll send you details of the subjects they want to cover.
After that, you record the podcast, and once published they usually include your website links in the show notes.
These are some of the best ways to build links for your website but you are certainly not limited to these; you can see more strategies here.
The best idea is to pick two or three strategies and see how they work for you. If one doesn’t work or doesn’t get the results you’re looking for, try a new one.