In 2016, Google confirmed that links were among their most significant ranking signal. Later on, Backlinko concluded the same in their research. Namely, they analysed 1 million Google search results and found that the number of domains linking to a page influence rankings more than any other ranking signal. Additionally, the site’s link authority can also heavily influence your rankings. And, that’s logical. The number and quality of links leading to your pages tell Google how authoritative they are.
Given these facts, it’s not surprising that link building has remained the basis of your SEO efforts. However, to get the most out of it, you need to structure your link building campaign carefully.
Here are a few tips that may help you.
Set Clear Goals
Just like with any other form of SEO, your link building campaign needs to be based on clear, timely, and achievable goals that are truly relevant to your business. First off, you should write down who you are, what you do, how good/bad your current online presence is, what you want to improve, and what your expectations are. Based on the summary you create, you will conduct keyword research, choose priority landing pages, and set the right metrics for your link building research. In other words, setting clear goals will help you build better links and create more meaningful campaigns.
Now that you’ve determined your major objectives, you need to start looking for your link building prospects. Start by entering some simple search strings, such as a keyword + “write for us”. This is the basic level of your search and it may sometimes present you with too broad results that have nothing to do with your niche. In this case, you can use advanced search parameters (intitle, intext, allintitle, filetype, inurl, exact match, etc.) that will filter out unwanted results more effectively. The next step is the competitor analysis, where you can find the most reputable sites that are linking to your rivals’ sites and connect with them.
Of course, conducting your research manually will yield fruitful results, but it is also extremely time-consuming. To save both your sanity and be able to focus on some more creative aspects of your link building campaign, you should automate link prospecting with link building tools. This software will help you tailor your link prospecting strategy to your needs and customize the search parameters. As some of them even have inbuilt spam factors, they will help you cherry-pick the best results and eliminate the poor ones efficiently.
In SEO, there is just one rule you need to keep in mind- link building isn’t all about making short-term, overnight wins. It’s not even only about boosting your rankings and visibility. This is a long-term process that helps you position yourself as a leader in your niche. This is exactly why you should never focus on the quantity, but on the quality of the links you build. Here are a few metrics you need to measure when assessing the worth of your potential link building opportunities.
- The Page Authority. Simply put, the sites with a higher PageRank give your site more authority.
- The Domain Authority. Popular domains such as huffingtonpost.com or nytimes.com would definitely mean more to search engines than the sites no one heard of.
- The relevancy of the site. The idea behind this is pretty simple- getting a link from a site that has nothing to do with your niche hurts both your online performance and user experience.
- Dofollow and nofollow links. This is one of the first things you need to check. Namely, the nofollow tag is added to those links that Google doesn’t consider as an endorsement. This is why you need to chase dofollow links whenever this is possible.
- The quality of posts published on the site. A few years ago, Matt Cutts emphasized that we shouldn’t do guest posting anymore, because it became too spammy. But, this doesn’t have to be so. Publishing on highly relevant sites like Forbes or Entrepreneur, for example, can still help you build your online authority. Before you connect with a blogger, always check whether they accept paid posts, whether the content they share has exact match anchors, or whether the blog exists just to publish guest posts. These are some of the most obvious indicators that the site uses spammy SEO practices and that you should avoid it.
Customize your Email Outreach
When reaching out to a blogger, many inexperienced link builders forget two important things. First off, you’re contacting a real, genuine person. Second, any reputable blogger receives numerous guest posting pitches every day. So, to get them to link to you, you need to stand out and spark their interest. Here are a few quick tips on how to do so.
- Present yourself and tell them why they should work with you. What is it that sets you apart from the rest? Is it the reputable sites you’ve published your content on recently? Maybe you have a hot idea for your guest post. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s relevant to a blogger.
- State what you expect from them. Do you want them to promote your giveaway on social networks, embed your infographic, mention you on their list, or publish your guest post? Make sure your content is interesting to them and emphasize the value it can bring to your shared target audience.
- Show that you’re a real person. Use their name, mention their previous work, use a professional email address and email signature, and create a short, authentic, and straightforward subject line.
- Follow up with them to remind them of your offer, but respect their time. Bloggers generally don’t have enough time to review all emails in real time, so be patient.
There are numerous link building strategies. You just need to choose the ones that are white-hat and that will work for your link building strategy.
- Get your page featured on a resource page.
- Use tools like Check My Links to find broken links on an authoritative site. You will contact a blogger, inform them about their broken link, and offer your content as a replacement.
- Reclaim the links to your site. For example, if one cited you and didn’t link back to your site, used your image without a link, or linked to your page that doesn’t exist, then this technique will be helpful.
- Reach out to a blogger with a relevant guest blogging pitch and ask them to publish your article on their site.
- Publish valuable and relevant content on your blog and earn quality links. If you’re following some of the greatest names in the digital marketing industry like Rand Fishkin, Brian Dean, or Neil Patel, then you’ve must have noticed how engaging and exciting all their blog posts are. Today, storytelling is the critical element of brand building and content creation. By producing visual content, list posts, original research, or comprehensive guides instead of just simple articles, you will inspire people to come back to you and link back to you without having to send hundreds of outreach emails.
Over to You
By jumping in the untapped link building waters enthusiastically before you’ve previously done your research, you would probably get distracted from your initial goals and ideas and fail. This is why you need to have a solid strategy to back your link building efforts up. Set realistic goals, use tools to simplify your link prospecting efforts, “humanize” your email outreach, and use different link building tactics.
What strategies do you use when crafting a link building campaign?