80/20 Link Building Tactics

by Jason Acidre on April 18, 2013 · 66 comments · Content, Search


I’ve been practicing the Pareto Principle or the 80-20 rule since the start of this year, which is basically focusing on tasks that can actually get more results, but will only require minimum amount of efforts.

This rule is pretty much applicable in link building as well, even in online marketing as a whole (as explained very well on a recent blog post by Dan Shure) – wherein you can just allocate more of your time on implementing processes that can help maximize the efforts you exert through the results that you’re sure they can generate.

Just like what Dan advises people who want to apply the 80/20 rule in SEO:

  • Figure out what’s working and do MORE of it.

  • Figure out what’s NOT working and do LESS.

In link development, value results to volume. Making sure that you’re brand is offering real value will help ensure the results that you want to expect from it (whether it’s increasing traffic, brand impressions, shares, sales, and most especially – links).

Below are several link building activities that don’t necessarily need lots of efforts but can certainly help impact your business goals.

Evergreen Content

This type of content asset can tremendously help throw a bunch of links to your site over time, as people will always find them useful.

Some of the most known forms of evergreen content are encyclopaedic articles (think Wikipedia), case studies (particularly using your products/services as the solution), and comprehensive tutorials (blog posts, videos, PDFs, etc…).

Having more of this type of content on your site can constantly grow your link profile, knowing that the information within the content will somehow be never outdated (and can be a valid resource that other publishers can reference to).

link-growthFor more tips on this, you can check out my old post on how an evergreen content can automate your business sales and marketing.

Annual Events

Branded events are another asset that companies/businesses have that can improve and scale their site’s linkability, especially when you have a strong landing page for it that will just be updated every year.

Just think of MozCon. It’s one of the biggest events in the industry that takes place once every year. Its landing page gets a ton of links, along the promotions and the reviews it gets (once the event is done).

mozcon

This platform, when used as a link building machine, is very effective because it offers value. And it’s certainly worth linking to.

mozcon links

You can also check out Kane Jamison’s guide on building links with local events for more extensive tips.

Author Profile Pages

If the faces of your brand are active on content marketing as well as in publishing ton of content outside your website (columns, guest blogs, etc…), then you might want to optimize your people’s profile pages.

rand

Why? Because it’s inevitable for them to get mentioned by other content creators. More often than not, other publishers link mostly to Twitter handles, personal sites or none at all, when they mention people.

So start creating these profile pages, so you can easily reclaim unlinked mentions when you see one.

Get links from ranking pages

Pages that have good rankings, even for long-tail searches, are great source of links. Not just because they can pass ranking power back to your site, but also with the traffic that they can continually send to your site (since they are receiving visitors constantly from search).

There are a lot of link building methods that you use to get links from ranking webpages, such as adding value to the existing discussions whether it’s through blog commenting, forum posting, answering on a Q&A thread, and/or even doing broken link building if it’s a resources page.

Try to do a web search of all the long-tail keywords from your list. And check the high ranking pages for each search result and see if you can help add more information on their content.

quora

The more valuable your contribution is, the more it’ll be noticeable to the page’s incoming traffic (which means higher chances of getting more referred traffic from them over time).

I did get a few links in the past that are still sending me good traffic for the past 2 years (wherein some also converts). Think of them as a traffic channel, not just link sources, to get the most out of them.

For a detailed tips on how to do this, you can check out these guides: this and this.

Build pages from other websites that will easily rank

Guest post or regularly contribute on publications that have strong search shares. These are typically the top sites in your industry (which have really high Domain Authority, Alexa Rank and SE Traffic Price – a metric provided by SEMRush).

Distributing content (that also targets some of your keywords) on sites that are obviously winning it on search will benefit you in so many ways:

  • The content will have better chances of competing in the top of the search results, and it can constantly get traffic, which means that it’s capable of sending you more qualified traffic as well.
  • It can help strengthen your brand presence, as it can continuously get impressions.
  • The link obtained through the contributed content will surely pass ranking power back to your site (because of the authority of the site and the topical relevance of the content).

For example, this post that I did on SEOmoz last year is still sending me traffic, good leads and potential clients to my business up to now.

linkable asset

You can also utilize popular document sharing sites in building external pages which can easily rank on search results, such as Slideshare, Youtube, Scribd, Pinterest, and many more. As these user-generated content sites have strong search share and domain authority, which you can use in targeting your other long-tail keywords.

Partnerships and Associations

I don’t really agree that much with other SEOs or link builders who advise that you need one link from hundreds or thousands of unique domains to really compete in search.

Yes, it’s true that you need a diversified link profile (but you also need to keep in mind that it should be natural).

I’d prefer having multiple links from a single, but trusted domain, than manually reaching out to thousands of sites just to do a guest post.

Because having many links coming from an authority and relevant site proves a deeper relationship between the two websites. If you’re getting lots of links from an authority site, then it implies that you’re also an authority, right? And that’s definitely a strong signal that search engines can use to help them determine how important your site is.

Leveraging partnerships is a very strong link building tactic, especially when you’re associated with brands/publications that have high traffic (audience that you’re also targeting). It can grow your own readership/user-base as well as help you improve your site’s search visibility.

There are so many ways to maximize your existing partnerships, such as:

Becoming a columnist for them – contributing content to your partners’ websites on a regular basis will make your brand more visible to their audience. Just look at what Distilled does on SEOmoz’s blog. They are there. Every week!

Cross-promotion of content – have a section in your site as well as in your partners’ websites that can promote each site’s new content. Gizmodo has been doing this for a while, and it’s sending good amount of visitors to its partners for sure.

gizmodo

Blogroll links – yes, they still work, in referring lots of traffic. It’s also good for branding, particularly in letting your audience know who you are associating with. Always remember that trust is a big thing in online marketing (it makes you more linkable).

Get content from other influencers

Inviting guest bloggers (authority bloggers) to write for your blog is probably the easiest way to bait links. Because they are already experts in the field who have readers who’ll share the content or link to it. And most seasoned bloggers link back to their own piece (which can be their guest blogs too) when they need references.

Another way to get great content from industry influencers is through interviews. But the thing is, most interviews don’t get lots of link love because they tend to be unremarkable. Ask really tough and interesting questions so that they’d be more enticed to link (or some of their followers) to it in the future.

Using Images to build links

Images will always be link and shareworthy because basically the web needs it, whether it’s an infographic, meme, photograph, cinemagraph, typography, GIF and the list goes on.

I have an extensive guide that can walk you through this strategy and you can check it out here – Ultimate guide to link building with images.

Product Reviews

Getting reviews of your products is one of the most powerful links you can get over the web, because links from reviews can send you potential customers who’re almost ready to buy.

Another great thing about having your products reviewed by bloggers is that it helps maintain a positive branded search results for your brand/product.

review

Peter Attia recently wrote a post on how to get blogger reviews (with awesome samples of his own outreach), which you might also want to check.

There are several methods to getting your products/services reviewed by bloggers:

Getting your existing customer base to build links for you

Add an optional field on your sign-up form where customers/users can enter their website’s URL. That’ll make it easier for you to find customers who have their own websites/blogs.

If they liked your product/services, then you have higher chances of getting reviewed by them once you start pitching (or sending them free products that they might like to review).

Getting links from your Twitter followers

You can import the list of your followers using Followerwonk. Segment your list and separate those who have websites/blogs. Since they are already following you on Twitter, contacting them wouldn’t be as hard as contacting an unfamiliar prospect.

Create an affiliate program (use OSIaffiliate)

Offering affiliate commissions will not just improve your traffic and sales, it will also increase the amount of reviews that your products are getting (which is good for branding and link development as well).

But a lot of affiliate tracking and program software generate links that aren’t really helpful or good for SEO (which is why most affiliate marketers mask their affiliate links when promoting products).

Although I found one recently that does have an affiliate link technology that allows merchant sites to get SEO value from the affiliate links directing to them or their product pages – which is OSIaffiliate.

Making your ranking pages more linkable

Pages that are ranking highly for informational keywords have great potentials of becoming a link magnet/machine, because they are constantly getting found by researchers (which could be content creators) looking for specific information.

Start digging your analytics’ search traffic and webmaster tools’ search queries data, and find informational keywords that you are already ranking well for.

For example, I recently found out that one of my pages is ranking highly for the search term “social media marketing strategies”.

social media

The landing page is getting good amount of traffic each week and has also managed to get a few editorial/natural links (as it’s somehow a good resource).

analytics

But the page is not that comprehensive yet, so what more if I transform it into the ultimate resource for social media strategies, right? It will surely attract more links over time, with just minimal effort!

In short, find pages from your site that’s already ranking for informational keywords, then improve and optimize the content for researchers/linkers.

Using Zemanta

Zemanta is a paid content distribution platform that has over 300,000 publishers within their network. Basically, it is guiding tool for publishers where it displays content recommendations while working on their new content.

zemanta

Advertisers or paid users can get their content or images be displayed more prominently in the content recommendations area, which can obviously attract more links.

Rand did a quick review of the service back in 2010, and here are some of the notable advantages of the tool/service (that Rand mentioned) on how it can improve and semi-automate your link building:

  • They can improve branding amongst a blogging audience (as bloggers will see your site/brand name while they write)

  • They can draw in direct links (if the blogger chooses to link to your work in the post or as a “related post” at the bottom – or through links from image references)

  • They can attract direct traffic from the bloggers themselves, who are likely to click on links/content that appears to be interesting

Relationship Building and Influencer Marketing

These two marketing principles take time to implement, but investing on them is definitely a must in this age of marketing. Since having industry peers and alliances can benefit your campaign for the long haul (in terms of branding, social sharing, content syndication, absorbing traffic/followers and most definitely in link building).

Start getting involved in your industry’s online community and make friends with other content publishers in your space. Because once you have your own peers, hitting the publish button will only be the hardest task you’ll have.

There are two keys to be successful with this approach:

  • Consistently provide the content that your network of influencers will likely share to their audience.
  • Reciprocate by sharing their works and adding value to their community as well.

For more tips about this marketing initiative, I have an extensive step-by-step tutorial on how to build relationships as well as on building more powerful content that you can check.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed or follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Louie Sison @ make money online philippines April 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Hi Jason,

Yet another great post.
My take regarding 80/20 rule, blog commenting tactics. Regularly provide quality comments on blogs that receives high traffic. I do this on a daily basis on 5 highly popular blogs on my niche and gives me fair amount of visits.

Regards,
Louie

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LD Puri April 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Pareto’s principle for the win once again. I like it’s application to link building. Great article.

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Panagiotis Kontogiannis April 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Many useful resources in one place, but it seems a lot of concentrate on rand, every webmaster has an individual style and character that needs to improve. I did not believe that zemanta is a tool, who have that power but after reading that article of Jason, I’ve give a try.

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Kaiserthesage April 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Haha thanks for noticing that. Not really a fanboy of Rand, but I think he’s the best sample I can find when I was writing this post.

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James lee@weezlabs April 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Fantastic tactics of Link Building, very much useful information. I found your blog a few days ago from Google and have been reading it over the past few days. I am going to subscribe your blog.

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Tom Gregan April 19, 2013 at 1:25 am

Very much enjoyed this post Jason, both insightful and actionable.

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Noman Ali April 19, 2013 at 5:55 am

Well, Awesome ideas man. Seriously some of them is really to me great. and long tail keyword contribution is good one, Relvent link as well as targeted traffic. 20% chance to convert as well.

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Arwin Adriano April 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

Another extremely powerful tactic from you Jason. 80/20 rule is basically one of the powerful tactics that most of the time overlook but I guess this blog post reminds why we shouldn’t.

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Damien @ Copywriter Melbourne April 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

Thanks for the indepth analysis, Jason. I learned several new things (hadn’t heard of Zemanta) and plan to reread several times to take it all in!

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Jen April 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

Extremely useful link-building article. I find blog commenting no problem, since I read so many of them every day anyway.
I do want to delver into your guide on using images – something I’ve not done yet.

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Brian Dean April 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

Amazing post, Jason. Tweeted it.

I’ve been an 80/20 nut since reading about it in The Four Hour Workweek.

One tactic that I’d like to add is that — if you have solid systems in place that you can outsource — you don’t need to go nuts about 80/20. Once you leverage all of the 80/20 link building strategies here, you can tap into some of the other more time-intensive ones (like broken link building) by outsourcing.

But it’s only possible if you have solid, repeatable systems and a good team in place. If they’re really tight (with tested email scripts, for example) even the most time-intensive link building tactic can “become 80/20.”

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Kaiserthesage April 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I was actually planning to include that aspect of link building on this post (originally, there were 3 tips included on this post’s draft that I decided to remove, including outsourcing, as I thought they’ll fit better on a different post that I was also thinking of writing in the coming weeks).

But yeah, good thing that you’ve added the idea on the comment section! Thanks for that Brian! :D

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Renee April 20, 2013 at 5:51 am

Great ideas here. A couple that I need to use more often for sure. I know link diversity is a good thing but sometimes we get stuck in ruts of doing the same SEO over and over. Blog commenting is just plain enjoyable and I always seem to pick up new ideas or information when I least expected it. Thanks.

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Jan Christian April 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

Wow! I’m surely gonna try this 80/20 link building strategy. This article is definitely a great help for a newbie on seo like me. Thanks!

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Deltadesignz April 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Awesome post, thanks for sharing all of these great link building tactics!

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Brian@Chicago pizzerias April 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I first came heard the term “evergreen” years ago when I was writing music reviews for a free monthly mag. The editor also told me he wanted “evergreen” material. He had to explain that one to me. It’s still something I strive for on my pizza website. I do some encyclopedic entries like “Who is Papa John?” “Where was the First Pizza Hut Building?” etc. People are always looking up those items.

As for yearly events. I haven’t done it on purpose, but in writing about the 2012 Pizza Expo, I even had hits on that post in 2013. So your tips are right on the money.

Also, I do use images. I include them in almost everything I write. I don’t get many links to my images, but I do always make sure to put a title in the “alt” tags so they’re SEO friendly.

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Farrell John Conejos April 22, 2013 at 1:24 am

Hey Jason,

Your post holds a vast amount of useful information. The things you just posted are good things to do to have a very strong foundation in online marketing and SEO. Thanks for sharing such massive information filled posts.

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pieter April 22, 2013 at 6:07 am

Thanks for sharing a perfect writeup here you have mentioned some of the best tips for getting inlinks in a real way and to get appreciated by search engine too

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Ryan Glass April 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

I’m diggin the post, Jason. Lots of great, applicable ways for almost anyone to jump start a new campaign or even spruce up one that isn’t performing as well as originally desired. Kudos.

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Matt Polsky April 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Sick post man, I thoroughly enjoy your work.

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Alex April 23, 2013 at 8:58 am

Thank you for reminding me about the Evergreen concept. I used to do that all the time and I was just wondering why my business was slowly declining. You just gave me ideas for some pages to stay relevant.

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Greg April 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Fantastic post!!! I think evergreen content will continue to grow in popularity over the next year as more and more companies invest in content to attract natural links vs content to build links (articles and guest posts).

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Justin M April 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Hey Jason,
Great info here. This is definitely different then the tons of other link building methods you see everywhere. This is outside the box thinking and it’s great to see. Rather then the usual, regurgitated stuff, but I think we are all guilty of that. Great job on the post Jason.

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Shailesh Tripathi April 24, 2013 at 10:41 am

Your article helped me to understand the topic well and I would love to share this to my friends. I also thank you for this and all the best.

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Christine April 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Awesome post. Some of these link building tactics I’ve never heard of but will be trying stat!.Social media plays a big role everywhere these days. You need to acknowledge that and try to take advantage of it.All great tips – good collection .Social media is definitely a key tool in building a successful business. By using these sites you are able to connect and network with a vast amount of people. Using social media especially Twitter, Facebook and Google+ is now a great strategy to strategically build links that seems to survive Panda update.

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Paul Baguley April 25, 2013 at 8:50 am

Great information as always Jason. Really well laid out and explained. Top stuff

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Andrea Hypno April 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Jason, as always great content. I aim for evergreen content for every article on my blog, so at least some are such. I also use Zemanta and commenting as my main way to build backlinks since I’m not really much into social and I don’t have so much free time. Commenting requires reading others’ posts so I have the added benefit of learning new things, like I di here.

Not strange at all that your content gets constantly linked to. :)

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Sumeet Gupta April 26, 2013 at 12:20 am

Jason all this tips are really helpful for link building who use this old & Spammy techniques like article submissions, low quality directory submissions and forum profile links, the best way to sequre link through association and organisations because they are trusted domains in search engine point of view and also visitors point of view because organisations are trusted and most of them are approved by govt. that sites have lots of genuine traffic.

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Eric April 26, 2013 at 8:01 am

Great tips here, Jason. Definitely a lot of things I’ve forgotten about that I need to re-integrate into my link building plans.

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Anh April 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm

This is such a great, neat, in-depth article. There are some tactics I never heard of or thought of but your article totally opens my eyes. I just bookmarked this and gotta go back to read and find out more about these tactics and apply them for myself. You give some tactics which are just out of the box ideas and totally different from what I repeatedly heard from everywhere.

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Ram Shengale April 27, 2013 at 3:25 am

Wow this is great. I knew about the 80/20 principle and use it regularly for creating content – create less content and promote more. And now this one for link building. Its great man. I am very lazy when it comes to link building, but now I think I should remain lazy and focus on building links this way.

Ram

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Chuka Udeze April 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

Great information Jason, I like the way you aid them out as a matter of fact I was just thinking about that, probably that was what caught my interest in the first place

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Prince Ramgarhia April 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

this is amazing i just want to learn about this and you just explain it very good this is the best post i’ve ever had bookmarked…

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Venchito Tampon April 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Another awesome post from an SEO expert! :)

The Q&A thread, partnerships and associations can help you develop a successful relationship building tactic.

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Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing April 30, 2013 at 6:19 am

Content is essential for an SEO campaign, and preferably the majority of that content will be evergreen. If you are only writing “news” type posts they will quickly be outdated. You may get some links in the short term, but that’s it. Evergreen content can deliver traffic and earn links over the long term.

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Marchi May 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Whoa great advice. Gonna use :)

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Joniel Suezo May 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm

This is a very nice tips for link building nowadays. We know it’s already very hard to build links during post penguin era and traditional link building like directory submissions don’t work now. Glad to have seen and read this tips. Thank you so much!

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Rob @Digital Marketing South Bay May 3, 2013 at 7:04 am

Now this is what I call EPIC content!!! Kudos!

I remember when Zemanta first came out and I rushed to use it on an old blog. I understood how I could use it and the value of community content building, but I really couldn’t dig how clunky it made my site. I guess its a lot better now :)

I recently read about Author Profiles and how to utilize that for some good brand awareness along with creating some dofollow links. This is one of the other things I’m going to try to work into my workflow.

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K.H. May 7, 2013 at 8:25 am

Thank you so much for this information. I am doing SEO work and any piece of information helps. I need to get better and faster; this all can help me work my way to the top.

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Anonymous May 9, 2013 at 11:59 am

80/20 is proven method of efficiency, but not of quality.
If you’re passionate about something, don’t manage your efforts. Give it all. You’ll feel better about yourself afterwards.

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Merlin May 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

agree, it is very good way of enhancing and improving things

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Nick May 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thanks for providing these methods that will give a few ideas on getting more done for less work.
I particularly like the suggestion of Evergreen Content, and more specifically to have posts that are in-depth and (if possible) long. I’ve found that it keeps people coming back for more, boomarking, sharing and (eventually) linking. If we produce content that goes into great depth, people will make return visits and that will increase the chances of getting it linked as well.

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George Anderson May 20, 2013 at 5:01 am

I’ve been a big follower of the Pareto Analysis principle since I learned it within the manufacturing environment 19 years ago. Thanks for an excellent read.

Regards
George

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Alex May 27, 2013 at 6:18 am

Hi Kaiserthesage!
Thanks for your article!
i’m trying to incrase my backlink in google. and your post can help me.
thank you!

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Kirby May 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

Here is another tip.

You can look for sites or blog site that have subcribers and email newsletters to their subs. get in touch with them and ask them if you could give a special offer to their subscribers at no cost. just make sure that whatever you offer is really compelling and attractive.
you can get word of mouth from this and lots of shares.

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Jordan J. Caron May 28, 2013 at 11:28 am

Jason,

This list is money! I read the 80/20 principle but haven’t really tried to apply any prinicples to my daily life. I will however take your suggestions here and apply them to my site and my clients.

Thanks!

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Rameez Ramzan May 29, 2013 at 5:21 am

You mentioned in your post that your post come over Google on top position so, can you guide me how your post come over Google on top position? Is there any special techniques you implemented on that post?

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Jessie June 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Great list Jason! It’s great to have them all in one list. It makes it very for anyone to get started in link-building. I’ll be using this as part of my training for new SEO’s at my company! Once I get the time I’ll write a blog post and include a link to this for sure!

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Matinder singh July 14, 2013 at 7:41 am

such a nice post and very easy to understand just want to learn something about this and found your post best thnx,.

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Rusty July 29, 2013 at 10:55 am

Great post Jason – spot on! I know that for me and my company the best tool I’ve used to harness my link building is OpinionAmp. OpinionAmp gets reviews from my real customers and takes those reviews online to the culture and target audience we’re trying to reach with our product. It’s been a wonderful experience – incredibly positive results!

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Panagiotis October 15, 2013 at 5:52 am

Hi Jason, Link building changes as well as a whole SEO changes in 2013, but there are some people like you who continue to provide guidance, advice and assistance to the young link builders to learn how to optimize correctly. Thank you man.

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Olivier @ Agriya December 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Hi Jason,
You have mentioned here about ‘Quora’ i completely agree with this this Question and answer site will give more back-link. I have seen from my Google analytics. But what about Yahoo answers? Is it the another one way to build quick links?
Thanks for sharing this steps :) many points are new to me i will try those

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Bashoo Zmmarraii December 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Another great post

i have already start to use the link building tactics taught in the post a worth it

i recently wrote a post targeted only user interest in the post and it is now ranking at top 10 result even though the keyword is very tough to rank for but i managed to get into the post

btw the post took me 3 days to write so i put time while writing it up :)

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Abhijit Gupta January 14, 2014 at 4:51 am

Amazing article for basic SEO knowledges. I got a few new link building ideas while reading. This will be a massive help. Most of your suggestions are very simple to apply.

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TWDG Ltd February 9, 2014 at 12:46 am

These are all awesome techniques for getting links.

I would say the evergreen content is the most important.

I have also built a few decent links by reivewing SEO conferences ive been to, I got a link from Moz and Distilled from writing a review of their Link love conference in 2011, the key to review writing is “get in there before anybody else” If you write a good review hours after the event ends it is highly likely that it will get picked up by the organiser as they would probably be watching the social media channels for all mentions of their conference, to guage if it were a success or not.

Great post.

Andy.

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D Thomas March 2, 2014 at 4:54 am

Very good read and informative post, I’ve always found link building one of the most difficult tasks in SEO so this will help make things a little easier, thanks for sharing.

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