We’ve already talked about the benefits of link building and how crucial it is for your Google SEO efforts, and subsequently, your rankings.
In order to attract organic traffic to your website, you need to earn and build backlinks, that is, get relevant, authority sources to link back to the content on your website. That’s a sign to Google that your content is high-quality and relevant, as well as that it adds value to your visitors.
The more backlinks you receive, the better your rankings and online reputation will be, which means that your content will be displayed among the top results for relevant searches and keywords.
Stats say that only 0.78% of Google searchers click on the second-page results, and that really puts things into perspective. In other words, if you’re not on the first page of the SERPs, the chances of getting clicks and traffic are slim, to say the least.
Obtaining links from such respectable websites boils down to reaching out to bloggers and webmasters and asking them to link back to your content. And that’s not exactly the easiest and most straightforward thing to do, especially when you’re just starting out.
But, luckily, there are a number of different link building opportunities that you can leverage and improve your reputation and rankings.
Identify the Authority Sources in Your Industry
It’s true that the term “authority” has been overused in SEO.
Although it seems a bit like a superficial buzzword, it refers to credible websites and portals whose content isn’t taken lightly.
You probably trust the information you read on the New York Times more than that you found on a no-name news portal with clickbaity ads and over-the-top headlines.
If you really want your content to get noticed, then a backlink from a credible source is the way to go.
But, many people hesitate to reach out to such big names in their niche because they think they’ll get the cold shoulder. And that’s a big mistake.
If your content is well-written, educational, and packed with valuable information, there’s no reason why a well-known website would be reluctant to give you a link. They want to provide useful sources to their audience too, and if your content hits the mark, it’s very likely to get featured.
You can use any of the SEO tools such as Ahrefs, SemRush, or Moz to analyze link-based authority metrics and find websites that you’ll pitch your content to. For example, Ahrefs has two metrics – Doman Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) that can give you a pretty good idea of whom to reach out to if you want to build high-quality authority links.
No, this isn’t a mistake.
Internal linking, although predominantly associated with distributing hyperlinks among the pages within the same domain. In laymen’s terms, this practically means connecting different pages of your website using links.
But what does internal linking has to do with building external links?
Your internal link optimization is essential when it comes to spreading and distributing PageRank authority across your website. What this means is that only if your pages are well connected internally, every one of them will take advantage of building external links.
Namely, the trick is to maximize the impact of the links you earn and get by passing their authority to other pages on your website, and you can do that by internally linking them.
This is a time-consuming strategy, but since you don’t need any third-party involvement, we can say that it’s low-hanging fruit that you can easily take advantage of.
Question and answer platforms such as Quora and Reddit can be excellent sources for obtaining backlinks and attracting traffic to your website.
This isn’t a traditional tactic because it’s primarily focused on referral traffic and building brand awareness, but it’s equally successful in improving your rankings and generating buzz around your business.
What you should know is that this will get you only nofollow links, that is, the ones that Google will ignore and not crawl, but it will still send you a lot of targeted and potentially qualified traffic. In addition to that, this tactic is great for diversifying your link profile.
The trick with Q&A platforms is in providing value, so it’s not the point to just scribble something and stuff your link in the answer. Such a manipulative approach will only get you banned, so it’s important to actually try and give an honest and helpful answer to the question.
To make the most of Quora, Reddit, and similar websites, try to connect and involve with relevant communities, as that will also allow you to establish yourself as an authority in your field and raise your profile.
Lost and Broken Links
Links get broken and lost over time.
There are many reasons for this, and some of them include site update, updating and refreshing a piece of content where it was featured, and 301 or 404 redirects. In some cases, it’s possible that even a page on your website becomes 404, and links pointing to it won’t be taken into consideration for rankings.
The conclusion is that you should carefully monitor your links and fix the lost or broken ones.
When you notice that you lost a link, take action to reclaim it by reaching out to the person who was your contact for building it in the first place and asking them to add your link again or fix it.
If the problem is on your end, that is, if you have a 404 page on your website, make sure to redirect links pointing to it to another one that’s relevant, get your page working again, or reach out and ask that the link target is updated.
Reverse Image Search
The odds are that you’ve created an infographic or bespoke image and published it as part of your content on your website.
For example, maybe an established industry expert was a guest on your podcast or in a webinar you organized, so you used an opportunity to snap a picture and illustrate the content about that event.
Now, there’s a possibility that someone used your infographic or photo in their own content without crediting you with a link.
Use Google Images to run a reverse image search and when you identify those websites, reach out to them and ask for a backlink.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Similar to the previous link-building opportunity, this one relies on the fact that you can identify brand mentions and ask for a backlink.
Sometimes brands are mentioned in the press and on different websites as a result of their PR activity, and in some cases, those mentions won’t be accompanied by a link pointing back to your website.
Again, this is a cakewalk that you should take advantage of and earn yourself a link with a minimum effort. Simply get in touch with the websites that mentioned your brand and ask them for a link. Given that they have already given you coverage, it’s very likely that they will agree to your request.
Leveraging online directories for obtaining backlinks used to be a go-to link-building strategy back in the day.
It was easy – all you had to do was provide relevant details about your business, and voila! You scored yourself a link.
But then, Google realized that people were abusing this tactic and that it’s pretty spammy, so they decided to pull the plug.
So, why are we discussing online directories if it’s obvious that you shouldn’t build links from them?
The thing is that in some cases, you can still benefit from listing your business in some directories, especially if you’re running a local business or are in a small niche. Regional directories operating within a particular niche whose main purpose is to actually help people find local products or services is where you should have your business featured.
If you’re wondering whether a certain directory submission makes sense for your SEO efforts, just ask yourself whether you’ll find that particular directory valuable and useful to you.
For example, having a backlink from a regional Chamber of Commerce is a good idea. If you are too busy to do this yourself, you can always hire a link building service to do it for you.
Blog and Forum Comments
If you’ve read Google’s SEO Guidelines, you probably know that link building using blog and forum comments is something that the search engine frowns upon.
However, it doesn’t have to result in violating these guidelines.
Namely, If the context is right and if your comments are relevant to the topic and the blog or forum, then you’re only being helpful and resourceful. In other words, by trying to provide relevant answers and contribute to discussions, then your links will be perceived as valuable.
That’s how you can attract some qualified traffic and make a positive impact on your SEO reputation.
In a similar vein, if you use a comment section and forums only to push your agenda without genuinely trying to participate and add value, then your attempts will be marked as spam. In that case, it would count as a violation of Google’s Guidelines.
Before you start looking for new link-building opportunities, it’s best to make the most of those you already have at your disposal.
The logic is very simple: if a website has already linked back to your content, it’s very likely that you can receive more links from it.
Perform a backlink audit in order to identify what sites already link back to you – you can even use your Google Search Console for this purpose (You can also use GSC for content ideas). Simply log into your account, click on the “Search Traffic” tab in the sidebar, and then hit “Links to Your Site.”
Once you have a list of backlinks, jot down their URLs and reach out to these sources, asking them for a new link-building opportunity. If the blogger is happy with your previous post, they will probably be willing to give you another backlink.
Earn Your Backlinks
There are two general ways of obtaining backlinks – one is to earn them, and the other is to build them.
Although both have the same goal, and that is scoring a backlink pointing to your content, they differ in terms of intent and quality.
This difference boils down to creating backlinks vs. creating valuable content that will organically result in a number of sources linking back to your content without you having to ask them to.
We’re talking about gaining a competitive edge, which will set you apart from your competitors.
It’s worth mentioning that earning links is time-consuming and not entirely straightforward.
Here are a couple of tactics to help you accomplish this. Check out this Why Is Content Important for Backlinks? post for more information.
1. Data-Driven Long-Form Assets
Producing well-researched 2,000+ pieces of content that are backed up by relevant stats, findings from a study, and quotes from industry experts can land you editorial links.
These stats can come from your own internal sources or credible third-party data sets.
For example, journalists are frequently tasked with generating several articles a day, and that means finding trusted sources, images, infographics, and other assets. Sharing high-quality pieces corroborated by relevant research studies can instantly bring you links from respectable publications.
A couple of years ago, infographics used to be highly popular, and it was easy to earn links using them.
Things have changed, and now it’s not enough to create a simple how-to, opinion, or advice-led infographic and rack up backlinks.
Instead of that, infographics can be used as an effective method for visualizing your content and highlighting the most important points, which means they should accompany a story.
Think of this visually-oriented format as of making your long-form content more digestible and shareable.
3. Free Tools and Assets
Investing in a free tool that will be useful to your target audience can result in an influx of authority backlinks.
Think about a calculator, analyzer, or testing tool that can come in handy to your website visitors.
For example, a real-estate website can introduce a free mortgage calculator.
Buffer, a social media management tool, built Pablo, with which marketers can easily create appealing social media visuals easily.
If your final result adds value to your audience, journalists and other bloggers from your niche will include your free tool when they’re talking about assets that their readers might benefit from. And, of course, they will link back to you.
There are hundreds of link-building opportunities available, and you don’t need some special skills in order to take advantage of them. All you need is a plan, high-quality content, a couple of tools, and persistence. Don’t forget that a number of credible websites actually want to give out backlinks because it’s good for them too.