Four Link-Building Strategies For Beginners


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Companies recently started paying our marketing agency for link-building services. Previously, this is something we did for our own company but never officially offered as a standalone service. In launching this service, we needed a few reliable link-building strategies to drive results.

After trying and testing about 20 different tactics, here are the four most successful strategies beginners can employ to improve their SEO:

Guest Posting

The premise is simple: Contribute valuable content that a website would want to publish. Not only does this get you exposure, but some opportunities offer a valuable link back to your website. It’s a win-win-win for the website, writer and audience.

To get started with guest posting, do a quick audit of your existing partnerships, connections and relationships. Who has websites that would be open to receiving content from you? Then, reach out to each site with article topic ideas. Get approval and write the articles. It depends on the publication, but many allow you to include your website link in your author bio for proper attribution of the content.

The key to success is getting creative with the audit to maximize your relationships. For example, we have secured guest post opportunities with a social media scheduling tool that we use for our business, an executive coach I used to work with, a previous client, my alma mater, a friend, a LinkedIn group I’m a part of and an update from a guest post I did 11 years ago.

The opportunities for guest posts are endless. You just need to insert guest posting into your consciousness, and then this link-building strategy can really take off to build links back to your site (while building your brand).

Answering Q&As

Answering Q&As is a quick and efficient way to get links. This tactic is how we generated the majority of the backlinks to our company website (which ranks on the first page of Google for the term “digital marketing company”).

For four years (and still today) our company has identified relevant questions in the media, shared answers with the media outlet and then received a backlink with our insight from the outlet.

The best Q&A opportunities come to us through entrepreneurship groups we are members of, HARO, and connections on LinkedIn. In addition, Quora and Reddit are a couple of sites that are worth answering questions on to help establish yourself as an expert that journalists can go to with questions (assuming the questions you answer are based on your field of expertise).

The key to this link-building strategy is to monitor opportunities and act quickly. The journalists seeking answers are on a deadline. The quicker they receive your answer, the more likely you’ll be included in their article (as long as your insight adds value and is accurate).

To get started, sign up for a free HARO account and begin to monitor some of the questions on their email listserv.

Real-Time Unlinked Mentions

If you have a brand that is often mentioned and written about online, monitoring unlinked mentions is the best way to generate links. What are unlinked mentions, how do you monitor the activity and what do you do when an opportunity is identified?

Unlinked mentions are when a website includes your brand or product name in an article but does not include a link back to your website. For example, if a blogger writes about the top places to purchase TVs and mentions Best Buy but doesn’t include a link to where a customer can purchase those TVs on Best Buy’s website, then that’s an unlinked mention and a great opportunity to get a link.

We use a tool call Ahrefs to monitor these unlinked mentions. We set up a keyword alert, choose to get a real-time, daily or weekly summary of our client keyword alerts and then evaluate each opportunity to see if there’s an opportunity for a backlink.

If there is an opportunity, we will find contact info for the author and reach out to the website utilizing one of our pre-approved templates in an effort to get the editor to update the article. Since our request comes within 48 hours after the post has been published, the conversion rate of requests to results is very high using this tactic. Set up a branded keyword alert for yourself using your favorite tool and see if this tactic produces results.

Create Better Content Than Your Competitors

This technique is simple but perhaps the hardest to execute. Find content that has ranked well on Google but is older and could use an update. Develop an updated and more valuable version of that content. Then, promote that content to websites interested in linking to the content.

Makes sense, right? If you ran a website linking to an “Ultimate Guide about XYZ” from 2014 and then received an email with an “Ultimate Guide about XYZ” from 2018, you’d be inclined to at least consider updating your site to better serve your readers.

To get started, Google search the term “guide + your target keyword.” Use a tool like Ahrefs or Moz Open Site Explorer to analyze the backlinks pointing to that content. If the content has lots of backlinks and is old, then you could publish a new guide and conduct outreach to all the sites linking to the old guide.

This strategy is a great way to get high-value links. It’s just very time-consuming and resource-intensive.

To recap, we know that link-building is the most important determinant to long-term success in organic search. Build up a portfolio of backlinks from relevant and high authority sites, and your site will eventually be considered relevant and high authority for your focus area.

It’s not easy and results certainly take awhile to be realized. But with these four strategies, you’ll be able to begin the journey of getting your website to rise in Google’s search result ranks.

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