The techniques being used today to build links to a website have certainly evolved along the constant evolution of search. And apparently, the growth of search as well as the increase in competitiveness led to the birth of many creative, advanced and scalable link building tactics.
However, this doesn’t mean that we have to ignore the basics – knowing that “advanced” is just being really good at the basics.
Just like before, search engines are getting smarter every day, and they are now smarter than what they used to be.
But the most obvious change is that link building is not just a part of SEO anymore.
Link building is a branding tool.
Links that can send substantial amount of relevant visitors are valuable (in SEO, branding and conversion or lead generation standpoint).
Links affect search rankings, but it also allows websites to get directly discovered by its target audience/customers.
Search is now more reliant with marketing-driven metrics. And when your links are authentically byproducts of your marketing, they are much stronger.
So in this post, I’ll revisit several methods that can help you easily drive quick and easy wins when it comes to acquiring solid links to your site.
Link out to others
Linking out or mentioning others’ works, especially those who are in your field, can strongly enhance the linkability of your site, seeing that you’re using other trusted sources as a reference for your content.
Although, the linkability of your site won’t just stop there, since it can also help acquire links through:
Getting trackbacks – which is not as bad as most people think, as it can also refer traffic back to your content (and can also serve as a signal that search engines can use to find and index your content).
Initiate reciprocation – this is one of the best ways to get into your prospects’ (or target influencers) radar, and if you’re providing good content, then the probability of having them link to you in the future would certainly be high.
Getting social links – many have forecasted that social links will be the future of link building, well it is. Publishers tend to share content (especially if they’re good) when they are mentioned in it, and this can somehow drive more relevant traffic and send signals that search engines use as a ranking factor to determine a page’s popularity/authority.
Some of the most popular methods used in getting industry influencers’ attentions:
Ego-baiting (making a list of top brands/experts in your space).
Writing about or reviewing their company/product/service.
Expounding or contradicting their ideas.
Curating popular blog posts in your industry.
Talk to people
Building relationships, which is very vital in this age of marketing, obviously starts with conversations. The Internet made communication easier for people, so why not invest some of your time and effort in connecting with other publishers and influencers in your industry.
There are so many ways to engage your target link prospects and there are also many ways to acquire valuable links through conversations such as:
Relationships are considerably a solid driving force for marketing, knowing that building alliances can help make the syndication and distribution of your content a lot easier. The more you exchange ideas with people in your industry, the more link opportunities you can get.
The web has grown so much this past decade that it seems like any industry that you can think of already has a place online where enthusiasts actively participate/discuss (niche communities).
Inbound.org, Hacker News, Bigger Pockets and a lot of other popular subreddits on Reddit are few samples of these kinds of online communities – that seemed to become a huge part of the modern culture of industries.
Establishing yourself or your brand as an authority on these platforms can certainly impact how others see you, which often makes your brand more linkable.
Another approach that you can take advantage of is through finding online publications in your industry that have “community blogs”. It’s easier to get published on these kinds of blogs, but it’s very important to ensure that the ideas and information that you’ll share will be more likely useful to their audience.
Publish content on popular/linkable websites
If you consider your brand an expert in what you do, then aim to get published on the top blogs in your niche – because there’s so much value to get from that.
The best thing about submitting content on site’s that you know that are highly linkable (and have a huge following) is that aside from building high-value links to your website, you also get to attract 2nd-tier links pointing to the content you’ve contributed.
This type of content placement easily connects you with other content publishers (which can get you ton more of links), and definitely potential leads/customers to your business, given that your content is visible to thousands of those blogs’ followers.
Transform your site’s successful content assets into other formats, as you can easily get more links back to your site (as the original source of the content) once you start distributing it to other content platforms.
Some of the formats that you can use to repurpose your existing content assets:
You can upload your slide deck on Slideshare (and include links on your slides). I’ve done this approach a few weeks ago, and was definitely successful, as the deck (that was originally published as a blog post) managed to get 3,000+ views and send almost a hundred of new visitors to my blog.
You can also convert your guides/articles into video tutorials and upload them on video hosting sites like Youtube or Vimeo. The best part about using method is that videos, particularly from Youtube, have better chances of getting higher search rankings for long-tail search terms. So it can certainly help you attract highly targeted traffic.
If you have ton of long-form content or series of blog posts that can be combined into one, then turning them into an Ebook is also a great option. Aside from offering it as a giveaway to your readers, there are also a couple of ways to make the most out of your Ebook or PDF documents for link building, like:
Other ways to ensure that your infographic will reach more of your target audience:
Encourage your readers to use it, by providing an embed code on the original page hosting it.
Launch it first on high-traffic blogs/websites in your industry, to ensure that it’ll be seen by your target audience.
Promote it through your guest blogging campaigns (by embedding it within your contributed content).
Use reverse image search (via Google image search or Tineye) to track blogs who have used your infographic but didn’t link to you.
Transcribe videos from other influencers in your space
This part of the post will actually be a part of Pole Position Marketing’s annual link building secrets free ebook – and I’ve just thought of giving you guys an exclusive preview of how extremely awesome next year’s edition will be.
Many influencers and/or experts from different industries use videos as a medium to communicate their brands’ messages and also to showcase their expertise. Using this content format these days may come in various forms such as:
Webinars, hangouts or Q&As
Infomercials and kinetic typography
Transcribing videos created by thought-leaders in your industry and publishing the transcription in your own website can benefit you in so many ways, seeing that:
The method allows you to build a linkable content almost instantly (since the information shared in the content is from an industry/topic expert).
It helps you to get into your target prospects’ radar, which will make it easier for you to connect, engage and build relationships with them.
You can get links directly from them (through attribution), if they decide to use your transcriptions alongside their videos.
What makes this strategy really viable is that videos – as a platform for online marketing – have been well accepted and widely utilized in many industries, which means the tactic can be replicated on any other verticals.
You can do it manually, or you can also use Inqscribe – a video transcription software.
Make sure that the transcript is readable (removing the uhms/ahs, breaking the transcript into shorter paragraphs, appropriate use of punctuations, commas, etc…, and including images/screenshots if possible).
Don’t forget to give link attribution to the original source of the video content when you publish the transcript on your site/blog.
Let the original source of the video content know about the transcript you’ve created, and start engaging.
Regular content contributions
I’ve mentioned this many times before, that regularly contributing on the top domains in your industry is far better than link dropping to hundreds of mediocre blogs through guest blogging.
It establishes trust and indicates relationships – a factor that is very important to search engines.
It can help improve AuthorRank (given that you’ll be consistently contributing content on highly credible publications).
It can scale relationship building (as you continuously engage with their readers) and content distribution efforts (especially in promoting your upcoming content assets).
Great for branding, based on your association with the authority blogs you regularly write for.
Profile pages are easy link acquisitions, and there are ton of places over the web where you can build a profile with a link to your website.
Though it might be easy to get these links, there are ways that you can do to make them hard-to-replicate.
Because it’s not really about the link (whether it’s dofollow or nofollow), it’s about how you make use of your profile pages to make the links coming from it more valuable.
This is done mainly by strengthening the link value that your profile pages can pass back to your website/brand. Here are several methods that you can implement to efficiently integrate your profiles with your campaign:
Interactions and activities occurring on your profile page(s) (ex: engaging your followers on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for them to click-through to your website).
Building links to your key profile pages (ex: linking to your Google+ or Twitter account when leaving comments on blog posts you read).
Cross linking or promoting your other profiles on networks where you have a larger following base (ex: asking your followers on Twitter to also follow you on Google+).
Lastly, the easiest way to become the ultimate link building machine is to have a strong readership – and most especially if other content publishers are also reading your stuff.
This is not really that easy to pull off, as it requires hard work and consistency (in pushing out content that will make your target readers return for more).
Some of the strategies for content development that I focused on to gradually build my blog’s readership:
I created more evergreen content, so I can continuously attract new readers to my blog (as most of them find me through search).
I tried to blog regularly (3x – 4x a month) so my existing readers will have a reason to come back.
I used to allow dofollow links on the comments section to entice readers (spammers) to comment on my posts (because the higher number of comments new readers see, the more your content gets interesting to them).
I focused before on publishing long-form content (with unexpected hooks or ideas that they won’t find anywhere else) to increase the shareability of my blog posts. Because the more social shares, the more you can get new readers, and more potential linkers.
Once you’ve built a strong readership, link building gets a lot easier.
Jason Acidre is the Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive - a digital marketing agency based in the Philippines. He's also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre.