One of the hallmarks of my SEO philosophy is that a strong backlink profile is absolutely required for a site to perform well. Not only do backlinks earn a website higher organic search rankings, but they can also help catapult your business to the next level by getting it out there in the online community as a trusted source of information.
Engaging in advanced link building is one way to provide tremendous value to businesses looking for maximum exposure for their sites. So, how do you do it? If nothing else, advanced link building requires you to become adept at forming relationships on the web and using those connections for a give-and-take network of backlinks.
To my mind, advanced link building is what will separate your business or portfolio of clients from the competition and allow you to come out on top. Here are some practical advanced link-building methods that I have used in my own business ventures for two decades and counting.
1. Analyze The Competition
When it comes to link building, you want to keep your friends close and your enemies, or competition, even closer. As an agency, one of the first steps you should complete for any client is a competitive link audit. This crawls competitors’ websites to discover valuable backlinking opportunities you may also be able to utilize. The review can be conducted through a variety of tools, such as Ahrefs, SEMrush and Moz’s Open Site Explorer.
List out your top five competitors and check their backlinks and referring domains. The key elements you want to look for include: domains linking multiple times to the same domain, link opportunities within branded content, dead links and shared links among your competitors. Completing a competitive link audit will provide a variety of link-building resources that you can acquire organically with some thorough research.
2. Create Quality Content
Link building should go hand in hand with your content marketing campaign. When new content is published to your website, you want to ensure new links are also built into that page. Similar to how paid media boosts traffic to a landing page, a high-quality link will have the same effect.
As one of the most powerful ranking factors, your links must come from quality, trustworthy sites. Otherwise, they will kill your SEO. Many effective content marketing strategies can help you win backlinks. All of them require creating new, consistent and quality content for your website, but there are a few specific ways to go about it.
You want to develop fresh, creative, long-form content for your site that others will want to link to. This can include stories, case studies, videos, infographics and guest blogs on other websites. By creating diverse and engaging content, your target audience will be more motivated to read and share it.
3. Build Business Relationships
As part of your advanced link-building strategy, you not only want to build links to your site but also build relationships with others within your industry. However, just as we ignore the endless onslaught of daily robocalls, an email from an unfamiliar person or company will also often be overlooked. Building links requires a bit of PR, so you want to focus on forging connections with other authoritative figures in your space.
To get the attention of a valuable individual or brand, you will need to be involved in similar communities. A great place to sign up as a source or blogger is on HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This service sends you targeted emails multiple times per day to show you stories for which journalists are seeking resources. If you provide relevant information, these writers will often give a backlink to your site when quoting you.
4. Share With Influencers And On Social Media
Social media continues to skyrocket and is becoming more and more relevant in determining search results. Obtaining backlinks on social media shows Google that you’re creating content people are actively sharing and engaging with. It’s essential that you link to your social media pages on all of your content. Those links will act as calls to action for your readers to share it with others. You can also use the power of influencers to help boost your credibility and your backlinks.
Let’s look at a technique called “ego baiting,” in which you appeal to an influencer’s ego by tagging them in content. This encourages the influencer to read it and possibly link back to it in the future. You can also create a post that references various thought leaders with an @mention, and email influencers with a request to comment once it’s live. Ideally, you want to encourage interaction between you and the influencer to build a relationship for the future.
5. Use Tools And Widgets
If you have created a tool or widget for your business, such as a mortgage calculator, it can earn you several backlinks. A widget hosted on your website, for example, can become a valuable reason for people to visit your site. Alternatively, you can build a widget to be hosted on other sites — ensuring it contains a link back to yours, of course.
When creating your widget, it should be functional and easily digestible for users. This includes ensuring it is easy enough for web developers to install on their own website, if that is the route you choose. Put in the time and effort to develop a well-thought-out tool, and it will have the potential to become an industry standard and deliver incredible ROI.
Link building for either yourself or an SEO client is all about forming relationships with others based on your mutual possession of high-quality content that you want to promote. Everybody needs a little help with that sometimes, even if the content is killer. That’s exactly where advanced link building falls into place.
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