Links will always play an important role in the search, aside from the fact that it’s the core in which most search engines’ algorithms are based on – it’s still the best way to rank content.
Experts also believe that links are still very much important, though it’s known that Google will most probably just value those that are evidently natural and non-manipulative.
Anyway, for the past year and a half, our company/team has been known to specialize in this area of online marketing (although we also offer other technical marketing services, our brand has just been so attached to this particular marketing practice).
Given that we’ve been doing this for quite some time now, I just thought of sharing the things we’ve learned from working with dozens of clients (from different countries, industries, working on various business models), as well as the mindsets that we’ve grown to believe in as a team when it comes to implementing link development strategies.
1. Diversity is one of the key factors to succeed in online marketing these days. That mindset pretty much applies in link building as well.
And the best way to get a good variety of link types (through voluntary given citations/mentions) is to make sure that you’re promoting a great product/service that has a strong unique selling point, which will make people want to share it with their friends.
2. There are 4 major factors that make brands/sites earn editorial and contextual links – content, relationships, expertise and unique value. Being consistent in building on at least 2 of these main factors can certainly help you get ton of hard-to-replicate links to your site.
3. Invest on continuous creation of evergreen content assets that aim to solve perennial problems or frequently asked questions in your space. It’s the best way to scale link building, since they’ll almost always be searched and most likely be used as a reference by people finding your content.
4. There is more value and advantages in contributing content regularly on high-traffic industry publications than submitting one-time guest posts on hundreds of mediocre blogs. Focus on 5 – 10 top industry sites (that your target audience go to) and get more visibility from them.
5. Create high-value content assets before launching a guest blogging campaign. It’s easier to get guest post opportunities when your prospects already have an idea of the quality of the content you produce. Guest blogging is also more efficient when primarily used to support your site’s strong content – wherein it’s more appropriate to include in-content links back to your site’s relevant assets.
6. Invest on developing redistributable content such as images (data visualization, memes, cinemagraphs, etc…), slide presentations, videos/kinetic typographies, PDF/whitepapers and badges. Aside from getting natural links from people who might reuse them, these content initiatives can also help you connect with other content publishers, drive traffic and build brand awareness.
7. Invite authority guest bloggers. It’s the easiest way to bait links – knowing that most seasoned bloggers reference their own works. It’s also a great way to expand your network and following base.
8. Build alliances. Make friends with entities/organizations that share the same ideals as yours (preferably emerging influencers in your industry). That way it will be easier to syndicate your content (as well as theirs) – which exposes your content to a wider audience and can result to higher chances of getting natural links.
9. Apply lead generation techniques when doing link building to get more results from it. Find and participate on specifically targeted discussions using search phrases and search operators that target people particularly looking for solutions (ex: “where can I buy + keyword”, “need help with + keyword”, etc…).
10. Promote useful content where it’s appropriate. There are so many channels where you can promote or build links to your content such as related discussions on other blogs, communities/forums, Q&A sites, and even using paid social ads.
But what’s really important is to ensure that your content will really add value to the discussion and to those who can read them.
11. Always track for mentions (linked or unlinked), yours and competitors’. Asking for links that you’ve really earned (unlinked brand mentions or mentions pointing to your social profiles) is the easiest way to get links through outreach.
Tracking your competitors’ brand mentions is also important, as this can help you find new prospects that you can engage and be connected with. You can use Google Alerts or Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer to track these mentions.
12. Think branding. Link building is more efficient when used as a brand building tool. And given that Google is favoring brands on search results, then link building (when done right) can definitely hit more birds with one stone.
Focus more on branded anchor texts (your brand name, products, events, content assets, etc…) when building artificial links (awareness > link).
13. Aim for links that will get clicked, because they’re the ones that can most likely influence search rankings. Some of the most known factors that make links more clickable:
- Prominent position in the document (the higher, the better).
- Links that have highly descriptive and longer strings of anchor texts tend be clicked more.
- If the link is on a high-traffic page.
- Sentiments of the texts that surround the link.
14. Strengthen your links’ attributes with the help of other signals for them to pass more value (ranking power) to your site.
15. Always check assisted conversions (on Google Analytics). It will allow you to identify and understand link types and sources that are sending qualified traffic and conversions to your site, which you can develop a process to make it replicable.
16. Comment marketing is both overlooked and misused, but it’s definitely one of the most effective inbound marketing techniques out there. Here’s why:
- It allows you to build relationships with other content publishers.
- It can help you establish your brand as an expert – particularly if you’re contributing high-value information in the discussions.
- It opens a lot of opportunities for linking (like being invited to become a contributor, or having your opinions cited by the publishers you communicate with).
Always consider your comments as a part of your content efforts.
17. Start learning how real writers reference other people’s works, because that’s how natural links are done. Use partial match and highly descriptive anchor texts, and understand the concept of co-occurrence.
18. Internal links are the most powerful type of link that you have full control of – make use of them wisely. Make your site’s stronger content (that are receiving natural links, social signals and constant traffic/activity) internally link to your site’s key pages that need more ranking power.
19. Be open to share internal data, especially to content publishers.
20. Try to get links from pages that are already ranking well on search results or submit content to domains that have strong ranking ability (high search share). Getting your brand published on domains that have higher potentials of ranking for your long-tails can constantly send relevant traffic to your site.
21. Update past successful link baits or content assets hosted within your site. I tried this a few months ago on this post, and it doubled the social shares, number of comments as well as the links it generated for that particular content.
You can even implement the same approach when reaching out to other publishers/bloggers (where you can suggest helping them update their old, but still useful content). Use Bill Sebald’s Outdated Content Finder to track pages that need to be updated.
22. Use the linker outreach method to get your content in front of prospects that really cares or genuinely interested about it.
PS: We’ll be launching our company’s website soon, so it would be really awesome if you can follow us also on Twitter @xightph for more updates. Thanks!