Contrary to other articles you may have read, link building is not dead. In fact, it is alive and kicking, only in a revamped form. Which clearly means, the old and outdated link building tips and techniques aren’t working.
If you want to take advantage of workable link building tips today, you’ll have to keep up with the new rules laid out by Google and other search engines.
Now, before we actually get to the “meaty” part of our link building tips and understand how to apply them, let’s first look into…
What Do We Mean by “Backlinks”?
Many businesses today are unclear about what a backlink is, and how to gain one. In simple terms, a backlink is any link that is placed on another external website. Hence the term “outbound links” or “external links”.
The aim that you should have is to get as many relevant links as possible, instead of getting links from everywhere. Remember that these links need to be from reputable sources. When it comes to ranking online and impressing Google, relevance along with quality is the key.
What Makes Backlinks So Important?
Google was never the first search engine to launch, because there were already big players on the Internet that were helping people find websites back in the 90’s. However, since the Internet wasn’t as big as it is today, they simply ranked websites purely based on the content, and nothing else.
Today, Google operates differently. With its popular PageRank algorithm, they had more power than any other search engine. Armed with this cutting edge technology, Google not only analyzed a page’s content, but also gave priority to the number of websites linking to it.
While this was a definite game changer back then, the whole PageRank model has gone through major updates. But still, the importance of links hasn’t come down. Even today, you’ll find Google counts backlinks (both quantity and quality) as one of the strongest ranking signals.
4 Harmful Link Building Tips to Stay Away From
Before we get into how you can gain backlinks to your site, it’s important to know what kind of backlinks you should avoid at all costs.
There is nobody actively stopping you from getting a backlink from anywhere, and that’s where in lies the risk. If you decide to go with the wrong type of links, you’ll have a higher chance of getting penalized by Google. Depending on how bad these links are, you could end up getting an algorithmic or a manual penalty.
So make sure you…
1. Say No to Most Irrelevant Links
While it’s impossible to be 100% safe from irrelevant links, you should at least try to stay away from the majority. Focus on being relevant with your link building, as much as possible.
2. Say No to Public Networks
Buying backlinks is easy on the web, especially from a public network. And that’s what makes them bad. You won’t find these networks calling themselves public, but that’s what they are. No “private blog network” advertises in the open.
The thing to understand here is, public networks are bad for link building. Not just because they sound unethical, but also because Google has never favored them. In fact, any website that is leveraging such a network gets in the bad books of Google. Which means their ranking can go for a toss.
Google knows exactly how to identify these public networks, due to these red flags.
- Red flag #1: You find a huge number of outgoing links on the homepage of these networks, and Google knows that a normal homepage will not link to 50-60 websites.
- Red flag #2: These outgoing links are not at all relevant to the network, nor to each other. You may find a link to a gambling site right besides a link to a fitness blog.
- Red flag #3: Most of the content published on these networks lives in the pre-Google-Panda era. In other words, it’s super-thin (not more than 300 words).
3. Say No to Do-Follow Blog Comments
As we’ll look further in this blog post, blog commenting for link building is not bad. It’s only bad when you do it wrong.
A blog that accepts do-follow links in the comment usually sees spammers thronging it. A huge number of outbound links that are not relevant is a big red flag.
Strictly speaking, you don’t want your link in the same vicinity of these backlinks. Because being in the “bad neighborhood” will send the wrong signal to Google. The more you avoid such an environment, the better it is for your site’s SEO.
4. Say No to to Sidebar/Footer Links
People may argue that there is nothing wrong to get your backlink placed in the sidebar or footer. However, there is still risk with such placement of links because they look like sponsored/paid links. Even if your intention is genuine, Google wouldn’t have a clue.
Also, it’s against the rules of Google to sell any type of backlinks, but that’s exactly what vendors are doing. You’ll find yourself in a bad neighborhood again. Chances are that most of these sites are not relevant to your link. Still, that doesn’t stop a vendor from saying yes to virtually any offer that comes their way for the money’s sake.
Let’s now look into link building tips that you can use today to improve your site’s search engine ranking…
#1: Build Real Relationships
With the rise of social networking, and influencer marketing, the importance of relationship building has grown manifold. If you want to survive online and have your business grow, then you need relationships. If you want to get more social shares, you need to build relationships. And, if you want links in good quantity and high quality, you guessed it, you need to invest in relationship building.
Most blackhat SEO guys don’t focus on such link building tips and techniques, because they’re aiming in the wrong direction. But people who have built good relationships in the online marketing world, swear by them.
You won’t even have to ask for a link when you have the right relationships. You’ll attract them anyway. Of course, the condition for this happening is that you’re regularly publishing high quality content that delivers real value.
Since most good relationships begin with what you’re able to offer to the other person, you need to focus on giving in the initial stages. Bloggers and influencers will be more than happy to help you out if you willingly help them out.
The first step to great relationship building is finding great (and relevant) people to connect with. Whether you Google them or search for them on Twitter is up to you.
Once you have shortlisted the bloggers and the influencers that you want to move forward with, connect to them on social media.
- Follow them on LinkedIn/Twitter
- Like and retweet their Twitter posts
- Comment on their blog posts and Facebook status updates
- Reply to their comments.
- Ask them questions
Or if you find a blog or forum that is relevant to your niche, you can search for posts or threads wherein you can join the discussion. Be sure to provide value in your answers or comments. This way, you wouldn’t need to worry when you put a relevant link back to your website. But be careful with your anchor texts so you will not appear as a spammer.
This is a slow process but a proven one to build good, worthy relationships. When you feel that you share the right vibes with a particular person, you can reach out to them via email. And hopefully explore any backlinking opportunities. It may not get you a ton of links, but it will get you the best ones.
#2: Ask for Backlinks
Quality link building doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, sometimes it is as simple as asking bloggers or other relevant websites to link to you. It doesn’t matter if your site is new or if you know few people in your niche. You can always approach small and medium-sized sites that have already linked to sites similar to yours.
Also, this link doesn’t necessarily have to be embedded in the content. If you can get a contextual link, great. If not, you can even ask for a link on the resource page or some other relevant page on the site.
The point is, as long as you are getting in touch with relevant websites without being spammy, you should get a favorable response. If the page you are building links to offers valuable to their audience, many of them will be happy to link to you.
Here’s an email asking for a backlink in a creative way…
#3: Create and Publish Research Content
Talking about link building tips, how can we forget well-researched content?
If there’s one type of content that is difficult to create but has a high opportunity of gaining backlinks, then it has to be researched content in the form of ebooks, reports and articles. When compared to regular content, it’s just on another level because of the value it provides to readers.
Most successful blogs today spend time creating content that is backed by real research. Which not only makes their content credible, but also attracts a to of backlinks. The fact is, good, researched content will not get ignored by websites that want to link to great content.
The idea is to create content that showcases your brand’s area of expertise. Your aim should be to show your readers that what you say is the real deal and is supported by factual data. However, this doesn’t mean that your content should be too technical. Write in a language that your audience can understand & connect with.
In order to ensure that your content doesn’t fall on the boring side, make sure to include visuals that help readers understand the data better. Any publisher in your niche that wants to give more value to their readers will not hesitate from linking to your content.
#4: Use Case Studies Smartly
There are some link building tips that almost guarantee that you get high quality backlinks. Which will not only help you SEO-wise but also drive more business your way. Leveraging case studies for backlinks is one such technique that never fails to get result when executed right.
If your company publishes case studies on your website, you have the opportunity to gain backlinks using them. Get in touch with your partners, vendors or customers and ask them if they would be interested in working together on a case study that they will post on their on website.
Most of the time, companies want to show to their audience/readers how a particular product helped them improve business. If your product is helping them do much more, then they will want to share it. Because it also highlights their own capabilities as a company. In return, you get a backlink that is more valuable.
#5: Leverage Infographics for More Links
Everybody knows how effective guest blogging can be when it comes to building relevant backlinks. But did you know that you could get even more links from trusted sources with the help of infographics?
The core of both these techniques is the same: getting people to publish your content. But infogrophics take your link building to a whole new level.
A lot of times you’ll notice websites publishing infographics, but they don’t really bother to give a link to the source. This could be because the infographic in itself gives credit to you, the creator. However, what you can do is to approach all those websites publishing your infographic and ask them for a backlink.
While you are at it, you may also want to get in touch with websites that have published infographics similar to yours. Ask them to not only share your infographic but also link to your website.
#6: Create High Quality List-Based Articles
If you’ve been on the Internet long enough, you should already know the power of listicles or list based articles. They’re literally everywhere, mainly because they work so well in terms of getting shares, comments and yes, backlinks. Out of the many link building tips, this one may be the most underrated.
According to BuzzSumo, list posts generate the most amount of backlinks when compared to other content formats, including infographics and videos.
Now, keep in mind that it’s easy to go wrong with list posts. There are many list-based articles that are terrible in terms of delivering value. You don’t want to do that.
What you should aim for is creating list posts that are packed with a ton of value and are easy to read. With every single item on your list post, your audience should get something new to learn. Because when they see true value in them, they won’t hesitate to link to it.
Here are a few things you can do to make your list post stand out from the rest:
- Work on your headline and make it captivating.
- Write an introduction that actually introduces the reader to the topic.
- Organize the list points in the most logical manner possible.
- Explain each point in detail and make sure it’s useful
- Make it easy to scan and read by using smaller paragraphs.
The best part about list posts is that they can be easy to create when compared to other types of articles. But that’s exactly why they can backfire. So ensure you’re spending enough time creating one.
#7: Give Genuine Testimonials
If you look around you’ll find that testimonials are a common thing online, especially on landing pages that are selling products/services. Using testimonials to build links is a proven tip amongst the many link building tips that you can implement. The reason it works is because it’s a win-win scenario.
You’ll find that online businesses are happy to take your testimonial and publish it on their website. Even if you are new to the product, they may offer you a free copy or sample in exchange of your review. Building backlinks with the help of testimonials is a genuine technique that Google has no problem with.
If you’re up for it, follow these steps to get going:
- Make a list of all your customers and also of the products that you are currently using.
- Next make a list of products that you have used and will be able to provide a review if given a chance.
- If you are an existing customer, contact them and ask if you can send your testimonial.
- If you are not the product user, ask for a review copy/sample.
- Once you get a favorable reply, give your feedback in a few words and include your site’s link.
The reason why this works better is because you are giving something before asking. And that makes all the difference.
#8: Reclaim Brand Mentions
Do you find websites/blog mentioning you or your brand without linking to you? It happens more often than you think. There could be many reasons as to why you don’t get the link where it is due. But mostly it’s because they didn’t take the extra step.
One of the many simple yet effective link building tips is to find places where you have been mentioned, and ask them to link to you.
Every brand mention is an opportunity for you to gain a highly relevant backlink. And it’s also easier because they already know you and maybe even hold you in high standard.
Here’s how you can go about doing it:
- Try to find any brand mentions you can on social media sites like Twitter.
- Next, use tools such as BuzzSumo to take your search even further and find out where all your brand was talked about.
- Make a list of all the mentions and mark the ones that haven’t given you the credit so that you can reach out ask for a link.
#9: Strategically Comment on Blog Posts
Blog comments have long been abused, when they can be strategically used for:
- Promoting your content
- Diversifying your anchor text
- Creating a natural backlink profile
Blog comments can go wrong when they are used for spamming and stuffing keywords in the hope of gaining backlinks for SEO. Such spammy techniques (like the one below) don’t work and will never work.In order to take advantage of blog comments, you need to take a more strategic approach.
Here are two steps to do so:
Step 1: Find Relevant Blogs of High Quality
When it comes to building backlinks, it’s important that you only focus on quality blogs in your niche so that your links are relevant. In fact, you may already have a list of blogs that you follow, which are good for a start. You can also browse through your Twitter stream to find more such blogs to comment on.
If none of the above works for you, the most obviously step would be to look for blogs on Google with a query like: “niche topic + blog”
Step 2: Get Your Comment Approved
Gone are the days when your comments were posted without approval from the blog owner. Today, you’ll have most of the good blogs send your comment for moderation. So if you don’t mention your link the right way, your comment may not get approved
Make sure you comment carefully:
- Name Field: This is where you enter your name and nothing else. Resist the urge to enter your company or product name or else it may be considered spammy.
- Email Field: Try to mention your company email address to look more genuine. If not, a gmail address would also do.
- Website Field: Leave this field blank to show the blog owner that you are not trying to spam them.
- Comment Field: Make a comment that is relevant to your link, connecting it to a point made in the blog post. See to it that this comment is elaborate enough and not thin.
#10: Hold Contests And Giveaways
Even though there are many effective link building tips a business can utilize, many of them go unnoticed. One such link building technique is holding contests/giveaways. There’s no denying the fact that people online love taking part in contests/giveaways. And they’re popular amongst many professional niches as well.
So how do you go about leveraging a contest to build backlinks? It’s simple: you need to create relevant contests or giveaways where the requirement to participate is to link back. You can have multiple prizes at multiple levels, and announce the winners via social media.
Make sure the prizes that you are giving away are relevant or else your audience wouldn’t find them interesting enough to participate. These contests can also help your site go viral and attract more links your way. The whole idea behind running a contest is to encourage more backlinks and traffic to your site.
Link Building Tips That Will Make You a Pro
This list of link building tips is not all encompassing considering there are constant new updates from Google. However it should be more than enough to get you on your way to ranking in the search engines.
If you need any help executing these techniques, we have just the SEO experts for that. Additionally, if you have more link building tips you’d like to share, we’d love to hear them! Drop them in the comments below.