Backlinks have always been one of Google’s most significant ranking factors. Given that, it’s not surprising that link building has remained a key aspect of any strong SEO strategy.
Link building brings numerous benefits to your website. Apart from enriching your backlink profile and increasing your rankings, it also helps you build a stronger brand and position yourself as a highly authoritative online resource.
However, the way we build links has changed. In the past, you could post spammy blog posts or leave a bunch of meaningless comments on hundreds of sites in your niche. Today, these tactics can only get you penalized.
To increase your rankings and your site’s authority, you need to focus on getting links from highly authoritative online resources.
Here are a few strategies you may want to try out.
Use Public Relations to Fuel your Link Building Strategy
When I say “public relations,” probably the first thing that crosses your mind is traditional marketing. However, PR plays an important role in digital marketing, too. Most importantly, it’s one of the most significant link building tactics.
The idea behind integrating public relations and link building is simple- your goal is to get cited in a highly relevant online resource, such as news, magazines, and so forth.
And, with platforms like HARO (Help A Reporter Out), this has never been simpler. Simply put, HARO is an online community of journalists that are looking for professional insights on a wide range of topics. This is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your niche, put your content in front of the right audience, and build authoritative backlinks to it.
Once you sign up, you can choose whether you want to contribute to HARO or simply help other contributors. HARO will start sending you emails with relevant updates, Monday through Friday. Once you notice the topic relevant to you, you just need to reach out to a journalist and give feedback. If they consider your insights valuable, they will cite you as a source.
You can also turn to some old-school PR tactics, such as writing press releases. Whenever you update your product/service, reach a certain milestone, or accomplish something notable, make the announcement.
Optimize your PR article for your major keywords to make it findable by bloggers and journalists in your niche. They are constantly searching for fresh news and, if written nicely, your press releases may seem like a legitimate resource.
Contribute to Authoritative Sites in Your Niche
Guest blogging is one of the most prominent link building strategies. It means writing amazing content and publishing it for free on another website. In exchange, you can add a link to your site in the author bio section or link back to your content subtly within the body of the article.
Now, it seems like a win-win scenario for both parties. A blogger gets a killer article to publish on their site, while you get an authoritative backlink. Of course, things are not always that simple. Many marketers have started creating keyword-stuffed, spammy, and poorly-written guest articles that bring no actual value to the person reading them. Sure, publishing low-quality content on poor sites may not only compromise your online reputation, but also hurt your rankings and get you penalized.
This is why your posts need to be impeccable. Just like the articles you share on your blog, your blog posts need to be relevant to your industry, data-backed, trending, and helpful to your readers. Most importantly, remember that every good guest blogging strategy starts by choosing a relevant guest blogging opportunity.
Start with a simple Google search, entering for your keyword + “guest post”/ “guest blog” etc. If this is not precise enough, use advanced search operators like the intitle search, the inurl search, the cut search, etc.
Once you find the right link building opportunities, you need to audit them. Pay attention to domain authority, co-citations, dofollow/nofollow links, their relevancy to your niche, the quality of their content, user engagement, their meta descriptions and titles, the overall appeal of the site, etc. If you notice that the site is spammy or that it doesn’t target the same audiences, keep searching for a more relevant site.
Now, the only problem with manual Google search is that it is, well, manual. As such, it may eat up lots of your time and yet, not provide you with the desired results. Fortunately, you can use a link building tool to make this process faster. For example, these tools not only find your link building prospects based on your keywords, but they also use numerous spam factors (exact-match keywords, spammy anchors, poor-quality external links, etc.) to separate quality results from irrelevant ones.
Turn your Unlinked Brand Mentions into Links
Creating amazing, evergreen content is the key to your digital marketing success. It gives you greater visibility, increases your online reputation, engages your audiences and, ta-da, inspires authoritative sites in your niche to cite you and mention your brand in their blog posts.
But, what happens if someone refers to your blog post, mentions your press release, republishes your infographic, or uses your image without linking back to you? Things like that happen. Many marketers will simply forget to add a link.
When that happens, you should reach out to the author and ask them politely to include a link to your site. Most of these marketers will be glad that you’ve reached out to them and they will make the change fast. Link reclamation is one of the most powerful ways to get a quality link easily and even begin a fruitful future collaboration.
Now, there are numerous ways to find the sites that mentioned your brand or used your content without linking back to you. For example, you can use tools like Google Alerts, Ahrefs, or BuzzSumo to track your brand mentions and major keywords in real-time. If you’re producing gorgeous, viral visual content such as infographics, images, or graphs, Google’s Reverse Image Search is also a must-have in your SEO toolbox.
Offer your Content as a Replacement for a Broken Link
Broken links happen even to a most authoritative, well-maintained sites. Logically, every link on your site links externally or internally to another page. Now, if a page a site links to doesn’t exist anymore, that may be a problem. When a reader clicks on a broken link, they will land on a 404 error page that informs them that the content they’re looking for doesn’t exist anymore. As broken links may hurt user experience badly, all reputable websites are trying to identify them and fix them as soon as possible.
And, you can help them with broken link building.
First, you need to look for a reputable link building opportunity. The link prospecting tactics and tools I’ve mentioned above when talking about guest blogging can work here, too.
Next, use tools like Check My Links or Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker to identify broken outgoing links. Check for the topics related to the ones you’ve already written above and pay attention to their anchor text, too. Once you find a perfect match, you need to make sure that the link is dofollow.
If everything’s fine, reach out to a blogger and ask them whether they are interested in replacing their broken link with your piece of content on the same topic. And, if your content is relevant and a blogger likes it, they will probably link to it.
Over to You
Link building remains a key tactic that increases your rankings and drives relevant traffic. And, to make the most out of it, you need to focus on the quality of the links you build.
As you can see from these examples, linking to your homepage doesn’t work anymore. Instead, integrate your link building efforts with a solid content marketing strategy and make every link valuable to both audiences and search engines.
I hope these tactics may help you get better and more authoritative backlinks.
How do you build great backlinks for your site?
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more people and help them on their business journey.