Link building has always been an essential component of search engine optimization (SEO).
However, in the 23 years of Google’s existence, link building strategies have evolved into complex practices.
In the beginning, link quantity was the name of the game.
The more links your site has, the higher it will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Today, Google is focusing on high-quality links over quantity to ensure websites that offer valuable content are ranked higher.
This shift in focus has made link building a long but vital process.
Websites need good links to rank, but site editors no longer link to a page “just because”.
Now, link builders should focus on finding relevant sites for backlinks and providing valuable content to that audience.
Link builders must put time, thought, and energy into building sustainable link building strategies to help their websites rank in the SERPs.
How to create your own link building strategy
Link building strategies require a little upfront work, but once you lay the foundation, you’ll be setting yourself up for huge success.
To create your own link building strategy, consider the following steps.
Analyze your site.
Before deciding which sites to follow or how many links to get, you need to know what your site is doing well and what isn’t.
Decide if you should focus on backlinks or keyword research (or both). Once you know what your site is lacking in, you can build assets to help with your strategy.
Determine your target audience.
By understanding your audience, you can create a list of other sites they might visit.
Start by looking at demographics, behaviors, and interests.
What does your audience care about?
How do they search for answers?
What do they care about about your product or services?
Audit your existing content.
Find blog posts and other pages that other sites might want to link to.
Keep in mind that most site owners do not link to product pages, as this practice looks like spam and ads.
Instead, look for the higher educational path pages. Then, look at your competitors’ content.
Are there gaps in the content?
If so, spend some time building these pages so you can be competitive in search.
Create a list of target sites.
These sites should align with your content, your business, and your target audience. Prioritize sites by relevance and authority – this way, you can make sure that you get to the most important sites first.
The important thing to remember is that link building is a long process.
Therefore, your strategy should include long-term goals to see progress.
Connect construction strategies vs. tactics
Before jumping into strategies, it is necessary to review the difference between tactics and strategies.
Oftentimes, people confuse the two, thinking that they are the same thing. While they are closely related, they do have their differences.
Strategy is defined as a plan of action. It usually includes a long-term goal and how you will achieve it.
For example, let’s say your company aims to drive organic traffic to a website.
One of the strategies you could have is to increase your presence on social media.
Strategy, in this case, is not the ultimate goal, but a means to achieving the ultimate goal.
Tactic is defined as a step to achieve the strategy.
Tactics have much shorter timelines than strategies and have a specific purpose.
Continuing the social media strategy example, one tactic would be to post three times a week on specific social media platforms.
Another example of tactic is to create more social videos to increase engagement.
Now that the difference between strategy and tactics has been explained, let’s dive into link building strategies.
Top link building strategies
As with all strategies, it is essential to build one with your end goal in mind. Link building takes time, effort and patience.
As your campaign continues, you should re-evaluate your strategies to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Here are five link building strategies you can implement right now.
1. Post link-worthy content
You have to create content that people want to link to. Link-worthy content has broad appeal and is most likely to be at the top of the marketing funnel.
Most editors want to link to pages that are relevant to their audience, so the more relevant your page is to their audience, the more likely they are to link to it.
Link-worthy content is also educational and informational. It solves a common problem or answers common questions that the audience may have.
However, many SEO experts build link-worthy content by answering common queries.
This means, to get backlinks, not only does your content have to answer questions and solve problems, it also has to do so in a unique way.
Examples of link-worthy content include:
- How-to articles.
- Data and trends.
- Research that benefits your field.
- educational content.
- Inspirational content.
- Evergreen content.
If your strategy is to create more link-worthy content, you can audit your existing content to understand where there are gaps.
Then, by going through the different tactics above, you can plan what content to start with and how much you’ll need.
An outreach is a request for a backlink from a site.
When you create link-worthy content, it’s essential to share that content with sites you think will benefit from it.
Getting a backlink from high authority sites is one way to tell Google that your site is an authority on a topic.
These backlinks act as “votes of trust” from one site to another.
In addition, links from different sites can help expand your target audience, and bring new potential customers to your website.
Oftentimes, outreach consists of SEO professionals sending articles to a site editor explaining why they find their article useful.
However, there are many different tactics communication can achieve, including:
- Press releases for links from relevant websites.
- Promote new content.
- Look for links in existing content.
- Fix unrelated bookmarks.
Networking can help establish professional relationships between SEOs and site editors.
While communication may seem like a straightforward practice, there are outreach best practices that you should be aware of:
- Personalize all your outreach. You don’t want to send generic messages.
- Keep it short and to the point. Site editors don’t have much time to scroll through a long email.
- Explain Why it is useful to link to your site or article for them.
- Provide the anchor text for them. The easier you make it, the better.
3. Doing news-worthy things
This strategy may seem ambiguous, but there are many benefits to earning links from a news site.
For example, many posts have a large audience, and some of them are directed to your website.
In addition, many publications are authorities in their space, and a backlink from them can go a long way with Google.
While you may think that anything your company does can be considered newsworthy, it is essential to consider what is appropriate for your business and the intended publication.
Consider the following tactics:
- Host an event.
- Donate to a cause.
- Launch a non-profit organization.
- Create a new product or solution.
- Announce a new partnership.
- Offer a scholarship.
After you decide on your newsworthy tactics, you should pitch your idea to contributors, publications, and other relevant media contacts.
Then, it may be helpful to convince them why your story is important to them and their audience.
4. Technical SEO
One way to get links is to perform a technical audit on your backlinks.
Sometimes links break.
Pages go down.
The site’s editors are not aware that the links to your site are no longer working.
By performing backlink analysis on your site, you can stay in the loop on how your backlinks are doing.
Some of the tactics in this strategy include:
- Find broken links: You can send an email to the site editor with the correct link, explaining the value it adds to their site.
- Fixing 404 Errors: You can provide a completely new link to a similar page.
- Remove redirects: Ensure that any redirects are related to the final destination. Whenever possible, remove redirection chains.
- HTTP vs. HTTPS: If you recently migrated to HTTPS, make sure all links are up to date from HTTP.
Fixing these problems helps restore connectivity from one site to another.
A redirect link or link to a 404 page has almost no value; It is important to restore these links to increase organic traffic to your site.
In addition, fixing these links makes it easier for robots to crawl and index your site.
5. Thought leadership
A thought leader is someone in an industry who is considered an expert. They are constantly posting new content and coming up with new ideas related to their industry.
As a result, many people are more likely to trust them and use their content as evidence. As you can see, being a thought leader in your industry can have many benefits.
Thought driving content can also help your Google rankings. The more people refer to your content as a resource, the more Google will view you as an authority.
Google wants to provide useful content to its users And thought leadership content is right down that alley.
To be a successful thought leader, consider the following tactics:
- Guest blogging on relevant websites.
- Post answers on Q+A sites.
- Create content on social media.
- Create online classes or certificates.
- Update readers on news in the industry.
- Host a webinar or podcast.
Remember, thought leadership begins with original research, building a strong presence, and keeping up with industry news.
Link construction strategy to avoid
If we talk about successful link building strategies, it is only fair that we touch on which link building strategy you should avoid briefly.
Trying to get all links that may not be sustainable nor organic.
The tactics used by this strategy are considered spam practices by Google, and if you use them, your site may be penalized.
Black hat tactics include:
- Buy links.
- Bribe others for links.
- Spam links in comment fields.
- Link charts.
- Misleading redirects.
While you may think, “the more links, the better,” it’s important to remember that Google prioritizes the relevancy between links.
Instead of looking for a certain amount of links, try to find links that are authoritative and relevant to your site.
As mentioned before, link building takes time and patience. It is not a “set up and forget” mission.
However, with a well-thought-out strategy from the list above and implementing tactics to back it up, your site could be well on its way to earning many backlinks in the months to come.
- Eating and Building Bonds: A Guide to Evaluating Prospects
- How to determine the quality of a site for link building
- Link Building Guide: How to get and gain links that boost your SEO
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