Link Building Tactics I’m Focusing on this 2014

by Jason Acidre on March 9, 2014 · 59 comments · Search


I’ve been asked this question many times, way before the year even started. So I just thought of writing about it, and perhaps to also serve as sort of a module for our staff here at Xight Interactive.

The methods that I’m going to share on this post are the things that I’m implementing for the other sites I’m currently handling (that are aside from the clients we’re working on with our company) for over the next few months.

Scalable Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering competitors’ link data has been a standard process in SEO over the years.

But as search marketing continuously evolve – which makes the practice more complex and competitive on many verticals – spying on competitors’ link marketing activities and outdoing them will certainly need more attention.

Knowing where your competitors are getting links and brand mentions is easier to track these days, as there are many available tools specifically made for this particular task that can provide extensive and up-to-date data, such as Fresh Web Explorer and Mention.net.

mention.net

You can spend an hour a day listing and sorting the mentions and links that your competitors get on a daily basis. It’s also important to understand why and how they are able to acquire these brand mentions.

Because it’ll be easier to come up with ways on how to get link placements from the sites where your competitors are getting more visibility, when you know where, why and how they’re getting it.

Terms that you should be tracking:

  • Competitor’s brand name – to see publications writing about them.
  • Competitor’s branded products – to find people or blogs sharing and reviewing their products
  • Authors/bloggers writing under your competitors’ brands – to see where they are getting published.
  • Don’t forget to monitor your own brand mentions – as this can also help you build long-term relationships with linkers/publishers, as well as in reclaiming unlinked brand mentions.

In sorting your list of link prospects (domains linking to your competitors), it’s also crucial to evaluate if the link opportunity is really worth pursuing – ask yourself if do they have enough authority to pass and impact how people see your brand, or do they have substantial traffic to refer back to your website?

Don’t just follow your competitors’ footprints.

Take a step ahead and grow your own list of link opportunities by finding websites that are similar to the ones linking to your competitors. Get visible on those websites too!

related

HARO

I’ve taken Nishank Khanna’s advice seriously on making good use of Helpareporter.com’s email service to get better branding opportunities.

Lately, I’ve been spending 30 minutes a day trying to answer queries from publishers and journalists (who are looking for sources for the story they’re working on) that are coming through HARO’s daily emails.

But of course, I only pick the queries/topics that I know I’m really knowledgeable about, and you should too. And as for the industries that you’re not really an expert at, forwarding the queries to your clients (who know the topic better) is the best way to go.

haro

For a more detailed guide on how to user HARO to get high-quality brand mentions to your site, you can check out this post by Mathew Barby (as he has included this tactic on his list) or on this forum thread where Nishank shared how he personally does it – including the email template he uses.

Linker Outreach

This tactic works best when your client already has existing linkable content assets on their website (or is very active in content development).

How it works:

  • Identify the pages (informational and/or non-transactional) within your client’s website that are performing really well in terms of user-activity, and contain information/ideas that perhaps no one in their vertical will be able to match. This is also applicable when you’re still at the content planning stage (for upcoming content assets).
  • Find your competitors’ contents that are similar to the assets that your client already has (or planning to have).
  • Make a list of the people and sites/blogs who have linked to their content or shared via social media (list them down on a spreadsheet, including each prospect’s contact details). You can extract these data using tools like Topsy and/or Open Site Explorer (you can also do a manual Google search, using advanced search operators to find social shares from Facebook, Linkedin and Google+).
  • Start reaching out to them. You’ll have better chances of getting them share or link to your content, especially when your content is better than what your competitors have – knowing that they’re genuinely interested about the subject of your content (since they’ve linked/shared your competitors content in the past).
  • Pro tip: don’t ask them to link or share your content, since they are linkers, and they’ll certainly know what to do next.

I did a case study of this method 2 years ago. You can check that post out for a more comprehensive step-by-step guide, with the sample email template I used.

Content Strategy for Links

I was able to meet and catch up with Zeph Snapp (CEO of Altura Interactive) a week ago. He shared a case study on how pushing out more content on a regular basis (like publishing content 5x a week) can steadily grow the traffic of a website from that meeting.

And that approach can definitely strengthen a link campaign, given that the more eyeballs you can get to your site’s content, the higher the likelihood of getting more links to them.

Nurturing your target audience through continual content publishing also puts your brand on top of their minds, making your brand more linkable (a link magnet).

But of course, content alone wouldn’t the trick, that’s why building a strong readership is very vital to semi-automate content promotion (through social sharing and natural linking). And to truly get loyal readers, you’ll really need to invest on creating engaging, actionable and useful content.

Types of content that can help attract more visitors and links to a site:

  • Evergreen content focused on answering most frequently searched queries by your target audience/customers.
  • Content that aims to build relationships (ex: lists, roundup posts, ego bait, interviews, or just plainly citing industry influencers on your own content).

John-Henry Scherck did an awesome presentation recently for SearchFest that also further explains this strategy:

Build Traffic Generators

I’ve always believed that the most valuable links on the web are those that are able to pass traffic back to your site, constantly. They are the ones that will most likely impact your search rankings as well.

Here are several ways to build constant traffic generators to a website:

Distributing content on content-sharing sites that have high search share

Pages from user-generated content sites like Youtube, Slideshare, Pinterest and many others, can easily rank for long-tail search terms – making them a really good traffic generator.

slideshare

Regular content contribution/columns on authority industry sites

This method is my personal favorite, and has been an integral part of most of the campaigns I’ve handled for the past couple of years – and will definitely still use it this year.

Instead of reaching out to hundreds of blogs for guest blogging opportunities, I just chose to focus on a few ones that can really drive results (traffic, brand impressions and conversions).

What makes this approach more valuable is that these domains normally have high DA, high traffic (and most of them are also your target customers), and the content you’re contributing to them have higher chances of ranking very well on search results – which often leads to continuous traffic generation.

Improving existing traffic generators

Identify the domains linking to your site that have been continuously driving traffic and conversions (Assisted Conversions on GA).

assisted conversions

Then further improve your brand’s visibility on these sites:

  • Build 2nd-tier links to specific linking pages that are driving highly targeted traffic and are able to generate conversions. This will help improve these linking pages’ search visibility.
  • Get more links from these domains, to continuously absorb more potential customers from them.

For more tips, you can check out my old post about conversion-oriented link building.

Building microsites

Investing on microsites that will be able to capture smaller segments of your target market is also a good option to make, especially if your business is in for the long-haul.

Niche or geo-targeted blogs are, more often than not, easier to build a community around in, since it specializes on a specific area of an industry. This method can allow your brand to get more quality leads and build links that’ll certainly be hard for your competitors to replicate.

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

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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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Louie Sison March 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

Hi Sir Jason,

You always post vitamin rich/easy to digest actionable contents, I know that’s your second nature aside from breathing…

I would really love to see an article from you about building microsites because that’s what I am interested about now.

Thanks man!
Louie Sison

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Christian March 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm

“You can extract these data using tools like Topsy and/or Open Site Explorer (you can also do a manual Google search, using advanced search operators to find social shares from Facebook, Linkedin and Google+).”

You should add BuzzSumo to this!

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Aaron Agius March 9, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Great list there Jason.

Personally, I’m a big fan of scaling reverse engineering on competitor content and competitor sites. It works really well for our clients.

Keep up the good work.

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John-Henry Scherck March 9, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks so much for featuring my slidedeck in your post – glad your readers could get some use out of it :)

So – regarding microsites, man… I would love to hear more about that and how you approach them. I’ve found that microsites can become huge projects – even with clearly defined scope. So much goes into launching a new site. Most of my clients want a lot of customization – and I am not a qualified web designer, developer, or even a web dev project manager – so it kind of pushes me out of my comfort zone. I know it’s something I should get more comfortable with… but it’s a huge investment and has to be executed correctly for it to work at all – so it makes me kind of nervous. How do you go into it?

Thanks again,

John-Henry

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Brian March 9, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Hey Jason, my post is in your screenshot – cool :)

I’ve keep hearing great things about HARO and that’s one of the tools that I’m thinking of using it too for 2014. Good compilation of tips here, especially focusing on sites that send real traffic.

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Kaloyan Banev March 10, 2014 at 1:44 am

Same strategy should always be applied, it was this way back in the year 2000 and things haven’t changed much 14 years later. Check what top direct competitiors do and do it better. Aim for quality, as well as for quantity.

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Americo Belarmino March 10, 2014 at 2:54 am

A comprehensive slide from John-Henry Scherck. That was awesome and great. Content will attract links but will never replace link building. :)

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Ryan Glass March 10, 2014 at 10:12 am

Jason, tons of useful information, thanks for assembling and sharing. I’d also like to see more about microsites. Probably for the same reasons mentioned above, I’ve been generally uneasy when clients want to jump into that realm, especially if it comes as an alternative to fixing problems with their main site.

BTW, John-Henry’s SearchFest presentation was awesome. I had to stop taking notes and just take all the info in.

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Dustin March 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Nice post, Jason. I love HARO for marketing opps – I actually use it as a source and as a reporter, which gives me a good idea of what both sides of HARO are looking for.

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Slava Rybalka March 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Hi Jason – great stuff as always.

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Marian March 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Your tips are straight to the point and very easy to understand. John-Henry Scherck slide is awesome. thanks for the share.

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Sahil Garg March 12, 2014 at 2:39 am

there is many spam type of articles all over internet to build back link tips, but your article is well Maintained and Enough to start a Perfect Tips for Link Building. thanks for sharing :)

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Paul Gallipeau March 12, 2014 at 8:49 am

Great post, I love this mention.com tool. The “related” search modifier is new to me too. Thanks for the information!

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N I Singh March 13, 2014 at 1:11 am

I always look for link building techniques. While I am thinking about the same way of link building you are discussing in this article, I am glad to find this article. You show me the way more clear.

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Laura | Ricemedia March 13, 2014 at 1:40 am

I love HARO as a tool – there’s a lot of opportunities to be had there.

I’d also say when using OSE, look at Just Discovered links – that can help to see what new links you competitors are getting, for you then to work out why and how you can better that.

P.S – Your Reddit AMA was ace :)

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Lisa Smith March 14, 2014 at 12:13 am

One more mater piece by you, Jason. Thanks for sharing the slide share and blog.

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Aktar March 14, 2014 at 5:44 am

Hi Jason, great share dude, these are really great link building techniques… I will definitely try them dude.

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David Black March 15, 2014 at 3:17 am

I’m quite new to internet marketing and the whole process of link building can seem somewhat overwhelming – there’s some great tips in your post that I’m going to try out –
Much of what I see relies on building solid relationships with other site owners – trouble is they’re probably not interested in people with no previous track record.
I’ll dive in and see where I end up!

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Yhavz March 17, 2014 at 1:03 am

Hi Jason,

Awesome Information. I agree with you that Content Marketing and Content Strategy are very useful these days. It’s just need to be use properly. Info-graphics also are very attractive to the audience/users and it can bring traffic to your site. SEO’s needs to focus on what is useful tactics or strategy and be open to learn more. Thanks for sharing!

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Sid March 17, 2014 at 2:14 am

It seems that i should include Haro in my 2014 marketing strategy for my website. Other tools are also looking good. I never use “related” search method before, i have once used “link” modifier on yahoo and i thought only yahoo allow such modifiers. Thanks for such a nice post. I will utilize some of these tools in future.

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henry March 19, 2014 at 2:18 am

I am also new to SEO. Could you give me some powerful tips to help me create backlinks to mobile version of the site I am working? That will be very well-appreciated.

I will also check on HARO.

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Frank Simmons March 20, 2014 at 1:50 am

Thanks for the strategies but this will again change real soon as the link building tactics are changing so quick and what is popular now will be regrateful in the near future.

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Enrique Vega March 20, 2014 at 4:41 am

Get branding front and center in your online marketing, stay SEO smart, play the game the way Google wants you to play it, and your risk of being whipsawed in some future Google algorithm update, or hit by a manual action, go way down.

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Pawan Kumar March 23, 2014 at 11:42 am

Hey Jason, I’ll look forward at SlideShare and other similar sites having lots of traffic. I’ve already started using Yahoo Answers as those questions get indexed even at Google.

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Ritul Gangwar March 25, 2014 at 2:09 am

Hey Jason,
Link building is a most necessary and starting step to explore any blog. Also it increase your page rank which is beneficial for any blogger.
Very nice article . Thanks for sharing.

Regards
Ritul Gangwar

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dilip yadav March 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Really good info for link building.
Thanks for sharing this info.
I shared this for other to see.
Thanks

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Adam Beau March 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Great post man. I always check them out, and you always provide awesome info. Keep up the good work.

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Irene Enriquez March 29, 2014 at 9:11 am

Building microsites somehow appeals to me more than the other strategies listed here. I may have to do more research on this. :)

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wahyudi March 31, 2014 at 11:26 pm

techniques that you share can be used by other marketers to build links.

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Sofia Rhodes April 1, 2014 at 6:37 am

Thanks for providing much needed information as linking building became quite difficult with regular changes in techniques.This can really help the people who are new to Seo.

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Dmitry Minyaylov April 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Hey Jason, thanks for putting this list together. Cheers

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Vishal Kapoor April 12, 2014 at 12:09 am

Thanks jason for this post which is very useful for me. i am seo expert in a company and your post help me to to boost website to get on google search engine. your seo tips is new and i am sure it works in my website.

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Marvick John April 15, 2014 at 2:33 am

Hi Jason,

Thanks for posting very good article about SEO link building techniques for 2014. This is very useful information for SEO people. Keep it up such a great posting like this.

Regards,
Marvick John,
Suncoast Furniture

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Date2Relate April 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Very very helpful. We’ve accumulated a ton of articles on this subject. This speaks about the subject quite comprehensively. You even mentioned a competitor tool that we were unaware of. Thanks for blogging!

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Silvia Gomez April 16, 2014 at 6:52 am

This page is officially bookmarked. Looks like a fantastic way to focus on SEO from a different perspective. So far I know people that only focus on doing things such as backlinking. How do you feel about automated bots?

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Amir Sibboni April 19, 2014 at 12:55 am

This was incredibly useful and I am bookmarking it. I was doing SEO for awhile, but grew disillusioned with the practice and overwhelmed by the updates. There were better ways of doing it and I got lost in the fray. I am bookmarking this because it’s kind of inspired me to get back in the game just to try these techniques out. Thank you so much!

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Hai April 20, 2014 at 1:36 am

A lot of things are embrasing my mind and I don’t know how to build links for my sites. Maybe These are good ways to do. Thanks for sharing

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Anand Upadhye April 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Hey Jason,

Thanks for the great tips man. I’m new to SEO. I recently launched my website and I’m looking for ways to build Good links and drive traffic. I’ll definitely look at HARO; I read about it a while ago and brushed it off, as I thought that big media outlets are way too busy to write about my products.

Thanks again.

Bookmarked your blog. Will be checking regularly.

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swati May 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm

nice article
link building is very important for website. i try to apply all tips to given in your article and i hope it will helpful with me. thanks for sharing with us.

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Antoinette May 3, 2014 at 8:54 pm

most valuable links on the web – readers/ contributors!

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wajid khan May 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I’m another newbie blogger and have crazy link building expectations your content really helped me to grow up and think out of the crowd.

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Tan Hiep Phat May 21, 2014 at 1:54 am

Thanks for posting very good article about SEO link building techniques for 2014. This is very useful information for SEO people. Keep it up such a great posting like this.

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David May 21, 2014 at 3:56 am

Hello Jason,
That was a great research that motivates me to do link building is the same manner to get the perfect results. I have never seen the use of this kind of link building tactics. I am glad to read it. please share more if you discover more information about it. Thanks for the share.

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Aguaweb - SEO company May 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Thanks for some very strong link building strategiesthat you are using to build SEO for your website. Very informative.

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Lalitha June 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Nice list it took me an hour to read all these points and keeping in mind my dumbness, if I start implementing all these strategies it will take an year

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Mr Marketology June 11, 2014 at 3:00 am

Great information. I really enjoyed the fact that you gave multiple ways to use content to drive traffic and explain the importance of knowing where your links come from and why they are valuable. Not just the normal link building spill.

Finding the best authority sites to leverage has always been better than just getting links “willy nilly”. This also protects you from alot of the SEO whoas that some may face. I would love to hear more on this in the future. Keep me in the loop.

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Lynnea David June 26, 2014 at 4:10 am

Thank you for these awesome link building strategies!

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Mary Gravitt July 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Hello there Jason, Fabulous content here. You’re always sharing a brilliant ideas or article for us! I’m happy to follow your blog once again. I’ll share this to my friends.

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Paul August 2, 2014 at 10:44 am

I am certainly a new follower on this blog after reading these actionable and current online marketing tips and trends. This is the new wave of link building. A better name for it is “Smart Marketing”, rather thank “Link Building”.

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Ganesh Chaturthi August 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Whoaaa! You have explained link building strategies so nicely, but I am curious to know about one thing, Matt Cutts always keep saying that “Focus on content rather than building links”, is it still possible to rank on Google with help of better content alone?

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Sierra Prescott August 7, 2014 at 7:00 am

Thank you for these awesome tips. I’m currently at lost ever since the panda and penguin update. My traffic was dropped dramatically. Your tips really help me alot. Thank you.

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