Whether you have been around for long or are just getting started with SEO, you must have spent some time researching it and discovered how much links matter to rank organically in the search results. Google sees links as a lot more than just a ‘sweet gesture.’ To Google, it acts as a vote of trust that your site is reliable and credible. Over the years, marketers and SEOs have tried and tested numerous different approaches to increase their site’s backlinks and expand their overall backlink profile. Among these also emerged some unethical practices that made room for link schemes and other black hat SEO practices.
As more and more websites started adopting SEO practices, the link building realm became overly populous – making it all the more so challenging to stick out and earn links from the vastly popular domains.
Simply put, the conventional backlinks outreach is simply no longer as effective as it used to be once. Today, even highly personalized emails can hit the skids. Building backlinks to your site is no longer an easy feat. If you want to increase your website’s domain authority, you need to go above and beyond to seek new options.
And that is exactly why we are here. What follows are six surefire strategies that are a must-try for you if you, too, are struggling to earn backlinks from credible domains.
1. Produce Link-Worthy Content
SEO trends will keep shifting, but great content never gets outdated.
However, what ‘great content’ means really depends upon who you are asking – it will vary from person to person. But if you ask the definition of ‘great content’ in terms of link building, then it is simply a piece of content worth linking to.
In order for a piece of content to qualify as ‘link-worthy,’ it should meet at least one of the following benchmarks:
- Deliver original or aggregated data
- Offer a unique way or point of view
- Be the most authentic and apt resource on the topic
For instance, in an article featuring the latest update introduced by a brand, most websites will link to that particular brand’s article only about whom the content is written. Why so? Because clearly, it will offer the most accurate resource on the specific topic.
While there would be plenty of other websites covering the particular topic just as accurately, the brand is the original source of this data; thus, it seems to be the most reliable one. Therefore, it is the most ‘link-worthy’.
Your content creation strategy should be aimed at producing A-1 content that builds links by itself. If you are able to make great content and optimize it well enough that it acquires one of the five top-ranking positions in the SERPs, you are in a prominent position already.
It’s very straightforward. Let’s understand it with another example. You are creating a comprehensive piece of content on the topic “link building.” You need to include some examples as well, but you have not covered that subject in any of your articles yet. Now since linking to your own content is no longer the option, the next thing that pops up in your mind is to head out to Google and search for content that will be most useful to your readers. So you search on Google and found that the first-ranking content in the search results best suits your needs and also provides additional information to your readers. So you link to it.
You saw what happened there? A high-quality content optimized for SEO will generate backlinks on autopilot.
However, the crucial thing to note here is that this strategy will take time to yield results. You can’t publish a piece today and expect to earn ten backlinks by tomorrow.
This strategy works best when paired with other effective modern link building strategies.
2. PR Driven Outreach
Right after reading this, you might be wondering what does SEO and PR even have in common?
However, establishing relationships is one of the leading techniques to get the job done when it comes to link building, which also happens to be the key to successful PR.
Begin with interacting with the people in your industry or niche and those working at the most sought-after online publications. This does not mean bombarding every connection in your LinkedIn network and soliciting backlinks or media placements. It means building bonafide and mutually profitable relationships.
Start leveraging social media platforms and establishing a brand for your organization as well as your thought leaders. Connect with people in your industry and start sharing creative and original content and ideas.
You do not necessarily need to be the CEO of your organization in order to build yourself as a personal brand.
Moreover, how you demonstrate yourself online is still an extension of the organization you are currently working for. Expanding your own brand will also help increase awareness for your organization.
As you start building connections and become well-recognized among your peers and industry, you will realize that it is a lot easier for you now to pitch them for media placement opportunities.
Again you must be wondering how media placements can result in the generation of backlinks?
It’s pretty simple – when a publisher decides to feature your brand on a webinar, podcast, or live show, they will also promote this feature on their website and across social media platforms.
Once you have successfully obtained the placement, ask your POC (point of contact) to add a link back to your website, as it will be helpful for the audience. Since if the viewers or listeners want to know more about your company, they can do so by simply clicking the link, which will save them the trouble of searching you online.
Building relationships is a long-term game, but the rewards make it worthwhile.
3. Create Guest Posts for External Publications
Guest posting for various external publications comes with a range of marketing benefits. It helps in positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry, reaching your target audience in a new way, thus expanding your reach, and just like you, though – building links!
However, similar to numerous other link building strategies, guest posting too became too spammy too quickly. People started assembling mediocre content, incorporating as many links as possible into the content and sending it to any site that would post it.
Consequently, the majority of the publications formed rigid guest posting guidelines to wipe out writers who were merely producing content to acquire backlinks.
Google, too noticed this. Recently, one of Google’s Webmaster Trends Analysts warned SEO professionals and marketers to refrain from leveraging guest posting as a spammy link building strategy.
Having said that, guest posting sure works well to grow your site’s domain authority provided that you approach it in an ethical way.
To begin with, only approach publications that your target audience often visits. Putting in the effort to create content for a publication that your audience does not even visit in the first place is a clear-cut waste of time and resources.
You may be able to earn a couple of links, but it won’t be in front of your target audience.
In addition to all this, always focus your efforts on the quality of your content and the value it offers to your readers. Only because the content you are writing will be published on an external website doesn’t mean you should give it any less attention than you would if it was for your own site.
4. Build Infographics
Infographics can immediately raise a piece of content from great to invaluable.
However, without the presence of appropriate resources, the creation of infographics might not be the easiest thing to do. These can be easily time-consuming and resource-intensive, all the more so if you are gathering original data.
This is why most content creators and writers choose to hunt for infographics online and link to them in their posts rather than take the time and effort to build their own. And as one can figure out, this brings forward another viable link building opportunity by using original infographics. In place of simply featuring an infographic on your website, you can also choose to pitch it to external publications in exchange for backlinks.
Indeed a great deal of work goes into building a single infographic, but the backlink potential is immense in the long run. Just like a great piece of content can continue to generate backlinks for several months or even years after it has been published, a compelling, informative, and engaging infographic can have the same impact.
5. Reclaim Lost Backlinks
When it comes to increasing your site’s domain authority, you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel.
A great way to rack up a few quick wins is to analyze your own website and look at the lost backlinks. Every link is a reward for all the hard work you have put in, and losing them is indeed baffling but regaining them is not as hard as you may assume.
Various reasons can be behind the loss of your links. Maybe the linking page was removed (404 error) or redirected, or maybe the publisher simply removed the link.
Regardless of whatever the reason is, it is definitely worth the trouble to try and reclaim those hard-earned lost links. At the end of the day, there was a reason that writer chose to link to you. There is also a possibility that they have no idea that the original page is removed or redirected.
You can check for lost links using some SEO tools. There are plenty of them available in the market with in-built features that let you see the links you have lost and why.
As soon as you have discovered all the lost links, the next thing you need to do is reach out to the publisher/writer. While emails are the most convenient way to do this, LinkedIn InMail is just as good. When contacting the publisher, remember to keep your message short and crisp and be sure to point out why your content is still useful enough for them to link to.
Just like in any other type of link outreach, there is a slight possibility that the publisher might not get back to you. This brings us back to the point – it is easier to reclaim a lost backlink from a website that has already seen the value in your page than starting from scratch trying to acquire a fresh one.
6. Look for Unlinked Brand Mentions
Another hack for a quick win – check for unlinked brand mentions.
Each and every positive brand mentioned on the internet is a window of opportunity to acquire backlinks. If a website is taking the time to mention your brand somewhere, it is a clear-cut indication that they already see some value in offerings, content, or point of view.
Moreover, if they are citing your brand’s name somewhere, inserting a link back to you will help their site visitors as they will know where to click if they want to know more about your business.
You can utilize advanced Google Search or some third-party tools to search for pages where your business is mentioned.
If your brand name is similar to some common phrase or word, then you might want to narrow down your search using some keywords related to your solution or industry.
Once you discover an unlinked mention, you can quickly send an email or a LinkedIn InMail to the publisher asking for a link. The best practice is always to tell them how it will be beneficial for their readers.
Doing this every now and then is a great way to generate links and also get insights into how people perceive your business.
To conclude, link building is no easy feat.
Nor is there any silver bullet that will grow your website’s backlink profile overnight. Want to know the actual key to successful link building? – Merging long-term strategies with short-term techniques.
When planning your long-term strategies, consider writing ‘link-worthy’ content, and start building connections with other people in your industry. Besides this ongoing process, take out some time to carry out some more short-term tactics that will help you score some quick wins, like searching unlinked mentions and reclaiming your lost links.
Link building requires a lot more than just sending a few cold emails and keeping your fingers crossed in the hope that the publisher will get back to you. Similar to every other SEO strategy, this too requires all-encompassing planning and lots of patience before you start seeing the results of all your hard work. However, what makes it worth the wait is the long-lasting, immense potential of backlinks that can do wonders in making your SEO efforts successful.