Not too long ago, before the wide Google Penguin updates of April 2012 – most tactics about link building strategies are seen from a quantity perspective.
Thereafter (after Penguin Update) quality takes over, and the way the game is played now changed. But sadly, that was just the beginning of a very difficult hurdle to cross for most SEOs – doing white hat SEO.
In other words, earning links in an ethical way rather than what most SEOs have been doing in the past. Doing white-hat SEO that improves ranking is not easy!
In the past, 500 words article or so is the web standard for published content. Even some “How-to tutorial articles” are not way beyond that figure.
Fast forward to this era, 500 words might just be an introduction in some articles.
According to Google search result stats, the first page SERP usually consists of articles that are 2000 words on average. All these factors combined make building effective links a difficult thing for content marketers.
But do we have to leave our link-building profile to grow based on luck or mere chance?
No! I guess you said that!
If you’re prepared to create your luck and build quality backlinks…follow the link building checklist below.
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan
The saying goes “If you don’t plan, you’ve already planned to fail”.
This is so true when it comes to content marketing because is so easy to get distracted and derail off the track here. This makes it important to plan – know what you want to achieve in your link-building campaign.
- Is it traffic you want from your link-building efforts?
- Do you want to increase your organic search traffic?
- What about your DA and PA?
- Are you building links to a particular post on your site? etc.
These questions are very important because all links are not created equal.
Certain links will only drive referral traffic and not give much value to your search ranking.
While some links might even push down the ranking of your site or completely get your website to de-index in the Google search engine.
Knowing what you want from your link-building campaign will provide a clear direction on how to go about it.
2. Choose a Few Tactics and Stick With them
Now that you’re cleared on why you need to build links to your website, it’s time to choose a few tactics designed to reach your goal in a quick time.
Content marketing and link building are two interconnected wheels that can’t be separated.
You’ll agree that there are countless mediums or strategies to market your content to the target audience. But to achieve your desired result, you don’t have to use all mediums or strategies.
It is never good advice to attempt marketing your content everywhere. Choose a few you’re comfortable with at the moment.
These few strategies must at the time not be too hard for you to execute (shouldn’t be easier too).
From experience, an idea may be very good and one that will yield a better result if implemented.
But it may not be something for you to try due to your current level of experience, status, and resources within your reach.
For instance, when Neil Patel is talking about using infographics to build quality links. He is talking about the kind of stuff he is creating.
Yes, they are infographics too, but from what I see around, all infographics are not created equal so the results too won’t be equal.
In one of his publications, he mentioned creating just one piece of a guide with a whopping sum of $40,000. Yes! You’re read that right – Forty thousand dollars.
When you read next time that infographics are very good for “SEO link building“. Take a moment to check out what type of infographics are bringing in these results.
This will help you a lot. So you don’t waste your valuable time on something you can’t achieve success with at the moment. Because your best won’t be good enough to see you through.
I believe we’re done with laying the foundation upon which our link building strategies will sit.
You must go through the first two steps above. Because they will help you in making good decisions in the next phase of your link building campaign.
So let’s proceed! (Bear in mind that you don’t have to try all the link-building tips listed below. Find one or two that best fit into your marketing plan and stick with it)
Work on your favorite for a while, and measure your progress along. Analyze data carefully and see what can be improved upon or if there is a need to test other waters.
3. Smart Guest Blogging
This sounds obvious on the list, right?
But wait, don’t assume you know all about using guest blogging to acquire quality backlinks. There may be one or two takeaways from what you’re about to read below.
No doubt about it, guest blogging has gained lots of popularity over the years. Many smart content marketers/link builders have been using it to achieve their goals respectively.
Before you go ahead writing your next guest post, think about the questions I asked you in the first tips of this article – Plan, Plan, and Plan.
You’ll need to plan and know exactly what you want.
Since we’re here to discuss using guest blogging to get quality backlinks, I will advise you to find relevant targeted blogs with high DA – Domain Authority – and PA – Page Authority
What are DA – Domain Authority and PA – Page Authority?
Domain Authority and Page Authority are Moz-developed metrics for calculating the SEO strength of a given webpage/domain to compete for the target keyword in the search engine ranking.
Since Google page rank is no longer existent, these Moz metrics become an important metric to use in determining the SEO value a given web page can pass on to another web page.
The higher the DA and PA of a site, the higher the link juice search engine will pass onto the linked pages.
This is something to consider when placing links on your partner site aside from guest posting for links.
To get the domain and page authority of any website, download and install the Mozbar on your Chrome browser.
I wrote a post on this process not too long ago that you can find over here. There are two important tools I discuss in that post that are a must-have for every serious link builder.
Another set of blogs you should consider pitching for guest blogging opportunities if links are what you want to achieve are blogs where the owners and readers actively share published posts on social media.
And encourage their followers to do the same.
This gives your content more exposure and opens the doors for possible linking and syndications.
4. Create a “Resource List Post
You’ve probably seen this one around too, but you’re just too scared to try it.
However, there is an easy way to write a resource list post in minutes without breaking your arm and leg in the process.
Also, no need of consulting dozens of authority bloggers for opinions and waiting endlessly for a reply that may never come.
Here is it!
Sites like Hubspot, Business2Business, Search engine land, Moz, Unbounce, Litmus, etc…. these sites are well known for publishing high-quality trustworthy statistics that you can directly tap into.
All you have to do is get a combined list of relevant statistics your audience will have an interest in. Make it better by expanding on the facts, details, and presentations.
Use the Skyscraper techniques developed by Brain Dean of backlinko to make this a killer package.
When you’re done publishing your resource list post, put on your marketing cap and start reaching out to every known blog you’ve mentioned in your post.
Promote the content further on social media.
Email your list with it and consider making it a sticky post on your blog for a considerable amount of time.
You can as well give it a dedicated page on your blog. Where every new visitor can easily see it – something like a resource page on your blog.
This type of post can be a great tool for blog marketing because you’re helping your audience by putting together very powerful information they can’t possibly see in a single post.
5. What are you known for?
I will illustrate this with examples.
80% of the time the topic of blog commenting on growing blog popularity is been discussed on the internet, and you’ll always read the two names mentioned.
Harleena Singh of Aha-Now! And Adrienne Smith of Adrienne Smith.net
The below image shows Adrienne Smith being mentioned and linked to from HubSpot publication on “5 blogs with comments you’ll want to read.”
She is well-known all over the web for having built loyal followers and a thriving blog community through the power of valuable blog commenting. So also, is Harleena Singh of Aha-Now.
Though the link is a no-follow one.
But a single no-follow link from such a blog like HubSpot is hundreds of times better than 100 links from low-quality questionable sites.
Also, when the controversial topic of a blogger’s monthly income report post is discussed too, one name will always come up – Pat Flynn.
He is widely believed to be one blogger that sincerely for educational purposes published monthly income reports since time immemorial.
If you can walk your way up to the level that when a particular subject is discussed anywhere on the internet, people will remember you.
Earning links without asking for them becomes easier than anything.
This is not an easy thing to achieve and won’t happen overnight, but with patience and consistency, you can achieve it.
Allow me to show you another example of this tactic working effectively for link building. And beyond links, branding, traffic, leads, market domination, etc.
Take a closer look at the Google search image I share in point 8 of this very post you’re reading.
Google ranked top the blog of Pat Flynn – SmartPassiveIncome.com for the search query – “What is Affiliate Marketing” when this post is written.
Look very closely at the next two results in Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog. They have more incoming links to the page, and better PA, and DA.
But Google ranked a blog with less value in these metrics for the search query.
This is because he (Pat Flynn) is a well-known expert on the subject of affiliate marketing. And Google is now all about user satisfaction.
6. Help Other Bloggers
Getting links will come in many forms and disguises. One of these disguises is helping others to achieve their goals.
Your primary aim of helping other bloggers in need shouldn’t be, and not directly tied to getting links. But to honestly help them out too by providing solutions to their problem.
Chances are some of the bloggers you helped out to achieve an important milestone in their career might write about it on their blog. And in the process willingly link to you as a symbol of their appreciation.
This type of link is more valuable and essential because it comes naturally. And other bloggers reading the post will come to know about your generosity.
The person that you’re who may open the doors to a better deal and opportunity.
7. Create a Controversial Post
One of the tactics I have been using to get links and create awareness is by creating controversial posts.
I don’t care what you say about this tactic.
The fact is if done right and you know what you’re talking about plus you can defend your claim – go for it. It worked!
Especially if your post is written on a popular industry-related topic.
Here is an example of a post I wrote not too long ago that attracts new readers and traffic.
8. Competitors Analysis
To scale ahead quickly and build effective quality backlinks that will improve your search engine ranking, you wouldn’t want to waste time finding what works and what doesn’t on your own.
This is where competitor analysis comes into play.
For a web page to rank on Google’s SERP first page, some decent links are certainly pointing to the page. And these links are relevant to the topic on the page.
This is where your work began.
Recently I got a few links from a website of DA 67 through guest blogging.
These links were placed in the body of the content and to crown it – they’re all do-follow links.
I didn’t stumble upon this DA 67 blog by accident.
I was spying on one of my blogger’s friends when I discovered a blog he has been getting links from.
Yes, at will!
So, I pitched the blog owner for a guest post opportunity.
Bear in mind the blogger has been someone I followed and occasionally chatted with in the past. So, this makes things easier.
But I never knew his place presented such opportunities.
Follow these steps to spy on your competitors.
Let’s assume your target keyword is “What is affiliate marketing” which is a long-tail keyword.
Go to the Google search engine and plug in your search queries. Make sure you’re using the Mozbar I recommend in #3 of this post and that it is turned on.
Your result page should be similar to what you have in the image below if it’s turned on.
Type in your search query and carefully watch the top ten results.
Now, here is the BIG problem.
These are actual web pages and not domain roots.
You’re using this strategy to discover where your competitors are getting links from to an actual post on their blog.
Always take note of those three important metrics Mozbar presents you with because you’ll need them for more purposes beyond link building.
Copy the URL of the top results or your favorite competitors on the list depending on your choice.
Take it to OpenSiteExplorer (now link explorer) and paste it in, click the search button. There we go!
As you can see in the below image, Pat Flynn got links from well-established trustworthy websites with high-value DA and PA.
Now that you’re here…
You have the golden opportunity to see where your competitor’s links are coming from.
This will give you an idea of what you can do to increase your chances of matching them up on the search result page if not outrank them.
There are many uses for these strategies.
You can use the Mozbar search metrics result to pre-analyze the ranking possibility of your next blog post based on your site page and domain authority.
9. Build Relationship With Other Bloggers
This is something you must be doing regularly and better if you want to build links easily, and quickly and don’t want to spend tons of money, resources, and effort on getting links.
Left alone, making with other bloggers in your niche won’t automatically get you links. But it is very likely to increase your chances of getting your quality content noticed and cited by relevant blogs.
Guest posting was and still is a good tactic to increase blog traffic, build brand awareness, showcase your expertise, get quality relevant backlinks, etc.
But after the Hiroshima Bomb,” Matt Cutts drop on guest blogging. Many blog owners became afraid of accepting guest posts from writers they don’t know and can’t vouch for their credibility.
So this makes finding blogs that accept guest posts somewhat difficult. Unless you know a blog gatekeeper – you may never get your post accepted.
Even if it’s of very high quality because it won’t even be giving any preview chance.
This is where the circles of bloggers became an important strategy to build backlinks and improve search engine ranking.
It is easy for me to write and submit a guest post to some of my blogger buddies. Because we know each other and at least to certain levels can vouch for each other’s credibility.
Start making friends – and good practice is to start with your peers. Those who are a bit ahead of you in the game of blogging and those who’re just some levels above.
When you haven’t attained certain levels in blogging, don’t try to make Darren Rowse your friends *Sigh*.
I attempted such a thing in my very early days of blogging – boy! It was just a waste of time.
These authority bloggers are very busy people, and may not have the time or patience to listen to your type of worries, concerns, and friendships.
You’re just starting and “may” not even have that type of professional-looking blog these internet vampires would love to associate with.
When I started guest blogging, I didn’t start with Daily Blog Tips, nor did I wake up one morning and ask Zac Johnson for guest blogging.
No, I started with bloggers who are my peers.
Those bloggers are looking for the same thing I was looking for. We collaborate to help each other achieve our goals.
10. Invite Guest Blogger
The law of reciprocity is what we’re going to tap into here.
By inviting other bloggers to contribute their knowledge bank to your blog, and give your audience some unique content. You’re very likely to get new incoming links from the process.
This is how it works!
Other bloggers who have guest posts on your blog might consider telling their audience about it on their blog. This will result in a link back to their original guest post on your blog.
It is a win-win situation – everyone in the chain is a winner. You allow them to speak to your audience and they in return link back to you.
Of course, the primary objective is not to exchange links but to provide value to both the blogger’s audience. But in the process, there is the need for link exchange – if you call it so!
Not all bloggers who guest post would mind telling their audience about it. Some will and some will not, which is okay.
To see this strategy at work, check out my Hire me Page and you will see links to a few places I have a guest post on the web. I decide to link to some of these places for different reasons.
Some were to let my fans know about my progress, while some were to show appreciation to the host bloggers.
Another good example is when Neil Patel does this in one of his recent posts and links out to his guest post on search engine land.
The mention of his guest appearance on search engine land resulted in a do-follow link from NeilPatel.com. A blog with DA 57 and PA 41 at the time of writing this line.
Assuming the guest blogger experiences some exceptional value – traffic, leads, deals, etc.
From contributing to your blog, he might even dedicate a full-blown post on his blog to detail his visit.
Like what Enstine Muki did after guest blogging for Aha-Now in January 2014! Note the two arrows in the image below – those are two links pointing back to the Aha-Now blog.
See the image below…
These tactics won’t bring you hundreds of links instantly. But over time will surely add more SEO value to your blog and increase search visibility.
Links are the building blocks of great search visibility and one reason any part of the internet can be reached in seconds.
The better you have quality credible links pointing toward your web pages. The more love you receive from the vast majority of internet users.
Search engine crawlers included.
Like all things, your experience and unique knowledge count the most.
These 10 link-building strategies are not concrete or absolute rules.
You need to test your experiments, analysis, and research to see what could better work for you.