10 Types of Links that Really Matter and How to Get them

by Jason Acidre on February 21, 2013 · 51 comments · Search


Links will always be important in digital marketing (and will definitely remain as an important element of the web). It won’t ever be devalued as a mean to market a website, because links simply move people across places over the web.

There are so many methods that can be used to build links, but there are only a few that can really make an impact and help brands achieve their business goals (awareness and/or revenue more often than not).

Links that really matter these days are links that can hit businesses’ bottom line, as very well explained by Paddy on his recent post on SEOmoz.

It’s imperative to be smart when it comes to link acquisition campaigns to really add value to your client’s business and to truly take more steps ahead of their competitors.

And in order to accomplish that, you’ll need to start focusing on high-value tactics to get maximum results. Because at the end of the day, results will always be more important than the volume of links you have acquired for your client.

So how would you do that? Try applying the 80/20 principle in choosing the strategies you implement. Think and aim higher for the links you try to acquire, for them to meet what your client actually needs.

Links that are intended for traffic generation, sales/conversions and branding serve as strong signals that search engines can use to reward you with better search rankings.

Great results will always be existent if you embrace that principle and approach link building with that mindset.

So in this post, I’ll be covering the kinds of links that are capable of touching all these 4 points (traffic, conversions, branding and rankings) and the marketing activities and processes that will help you get them.

Contextual and Editorial Links

I’ve written a post 2 weeks ago about how to get contextual links (and 2 years ago about getting editorial links), which explain why they are so powerful.

Links placed within the body of a content benefits sites in so many ways, given that it’s one of the strongest signals around that search engines use to assess sites’ topical relevance, popularity and authority.

editorial

Notable advantages of having been featured on other publications/blogs’ content are:

  • It can send qualified traffic, since the link is highly perceptible to readers.
  • Passes higher amount of link value and helps improve domain authority, which in turn can influence the site’s overall search rankings.
  • Brand impression, which also affect or help increase conversions, especially if your brand has been cited by trusted content publishers.

How to get them:

    • Creating useful content is just the start (whether its text, interactive or tools), as the process of getting natural in-content links relies on your content promotion strategies (using outreach, social media and link marketing).
    • Invest on developing evergreen content assets that are specifically tailored for researchers and customers. This type of content often performs well in search results, especially for competitive  terms, which allows the content to continuously attract more possible linkers to it.
    • Branding through providing exceptional products/services and exemplifying expertise through the brand’s content marketing efforts to build mind share.
    • Build relationships with your readers and with other content publishers in your online space. This can extremely help improve the sharing process of your content and in attracting more linkers to your site.
    • Bring more traffic to your content. The more visitors you get, the higher chances of getting potential linkers to your content. Check out these 50 traffic tips for content from Informly.

Courtesy of: Informly

Links from Ranking Webpages

Getting links from pages that are already ranking on search results for both short and long tail queries matter a lot for so many reasons. But the first reason that really comes into mind is because, in a way, they are already considered as trusted sources by Google.

Why these linking pages matter?:

  • They are able to get constant traffic (through search), which means it will also continuously send traffic to the pages they are linking to.
  • The topical relevance of the content, based on the keywords they are ranking for, adds more value to the link. And thus may help in improving the linked pages’ search ranking.
  • Content relevance will also be a key factor in attracting potential leads to the link’s destination, which means the link can help drive conversions as well.
  • Scalable branding, given that you’re getting continuous brand impressions from the new visitors that the page is constantly generating.

How to get them:

Join popular discussions in your online space (popular blog posts, forum threads, discussions on Q&A sites like Quora and/or online communities like News Hacker, Reddit and Inbound.org).

Popular discussions are more apt to be more visible on search results (especially for long-tails), since they contain most of the signals that search engines look for when ranking pages.

Adding value to these discussions and making sure that your contribution will standout will help you entice more of their incoming visitors to check out your site.

comments

Seed content on high authority UGC and document sharing sites (like Slideshare, Youtube, Pinterest, etc…). These sites have strong search share, which means your content hosted on these sites have better chances of ranking for your targeted industry terms.

You’ll be able to absorb continual traffic and build brand awareness, as your content on these sites get search-driven traffic.

Guest blog on authority sites in your field. Use some of your targeted keywords when contributing content on other publications in your industry, to get long-term value from your guest posts.

Get links from resources and/links pages that are already ranking for industry terms using the broken link building technique.
brokenlinksample

Basically, there are 2 ways to get links from pages that have good search rankings:

  • Add value to already existing pages with high potentials of ranking better (or sustaining its rankings) on search results.
  • Create pages on other authoritative domains with links to your site that will gain its own search rankings.

Links from Authentic Reviews

Links from positive online reviews are definitely one of the most sought after marketing opportunities by any business that offers products/services.

Why does it matter?

  • Online reviews can send new customers.
  • Authentic reviews from users/consumers help strengthen a business’ brand. It can also help maintain the site’s reputation on its branded search results.
  • They can help improve the site’s overall search rankings, based on the sentiments and volume of positive feedbacks that the site/brand is receiving from other websites/blogs.

reviews

How to get them:

  • Blogger outreach on a personal level – to actually get experiential reviews. Dan Cristo wrote an excellent post on how to get more reviews of your products 2 years ago, and you might want to check that one out.
  • Create an affiliate program or a referral commission system to attract more bloggers in reviewing your product or services. Offer this as a value proposition when reaching out to bloggers (give higher commission rates to authority bloggers in your industry).
  • Provide great products and services, or be exceptionally great with customer service (think Zappos). This can extremely help you get voluntary online reviews of your products/services. You can also offer freebies (promo codes, discounts, etc…) to customers who own blogs or have strong following on social networks. That might also increase the chances of getting links from them.

Links from Strong Social Brand Pages

Integrating content strategy with social media is a very effective approach in link building. Many people discover great content through social sharing, and that’s why it’s very vital to have strong social brand pages on social platforms where your target audience is.

Why does it matter?

  • Brand pages on social platforms – like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and many more –allow you to generate traffic every time you promote both new and old content from your site.
  • It’s an efficient channel where you can build relationships with your audience/followers, which can also result to more link opportunities, social shares and traffic.
  • Sends out massive brand signals to both users and search engines – through the amount of followers, activity and interactions.
  • Search engines use these external brand pages as signals to determine authority, which may also add weight to your site’s search rankings.

brand pages

How to build a strong following base for your social brand pages:

  • Let content drive your social media campaigns, by pushing out useful content on a regular basis and promoting them on social networks.
  • Interact with the people who are sharing your content to get them to follow you.
  • Share other influencers’ works to engage as well as to attract them in seeing your own works. Sharing useful stuff created by other brands/blogs is also a great way to nurture your followers.
  • Make your social sharing buttons very visible on your site’s content to enhance their sharing rate.
  • Promote your social media profiles on your site to encourage your visitors/readers to follow you. You can also cross promote your brand pages using the social networks where you already have built a strong following base.

Interview Links

Interviews can be very powerful as a marketing arsenal. I’ve received ton of client inquiries over the past years just because of this marketing method, wherein many have found my business through these interviews (even from group interviews/crowdsourced content).

Why does it matter?

  • The link that will be acquired is solely about you, which means it can pass higher link value to your site.
  • It helps build up your brand or personal brand as an expert in the field, which can indirectly increase conversions based on the perceived value of the brand.
    interview1
  • Can help maintain good branded search results (online reputation management).
    interviews

How to get them:

  • Pitch yourself or your client to be interviewed by bloggers who host interviews on their blogs (use Google Search – ex. “interview + someone in your niche”).
  • Create a Press page to let your visitors/readers know that you’re open for interviews.
  • Be active in content marketing. Because the more you push out useful and expertly made content, the more people will want to know more about you and with what you can share to them.

Newsletter Links

One of my blog posts last month got featured on SEOmoz’s newsletter 2 weeks ago.

newsletter

Knowing that their Moz Top 10 newsletter series has thousands of subscribers, getting viral traffic was almost certain. My blog received 7,000+ hits through that single link.

visits

Why does it matter?

  • Traffic and more brand impressions, obviously.
  • The post that was featured also acquired lots of natural links from some of their subscribers (so it did become a successful link bait).
  • Conversions. I received 15+ client inquiries after.

How to get them:

  • Great content and a solid content promotion strategy are the key elements to get your content out there (and be perhaps fetched by other blogs that have huge email newsletter subscribers).
  • Find blogs that have huge email lists, and pitch to have your content be featured on their newsletter (can be paid placement or reciprocate by featuring them as well on your newsletter).
  • Grow your own list to create a replicable process in driving huge traffic to your site. Here’s a great guide on building an email list.

Recurring Links from regular contributions (columns)

I strongly believe that this method is the future of scalable and effective link building, content marketing and online branding, which I will be explaining why shortly.

But before that, I’ll first give an example. Julie Joyce is one of the most respected link builders in the industry. She’s also a regular contributor/columnist on these sites:

juliejoyce

Why does it matter?

  • Branding. It’s easier to demonstrate expertise when you’re regularly seen on high-traffic publications.
  • You can almost always send many qualified traffic to your site, when you regularly publish content on high authority sites (like the ones mentioned above).
  • It passes trust signals and high link value down back to your site, which can help improve your site’s domain authority and ability to convert traffic.
  • Having a solid author portfolio on trusted publications will eventually boost your Author Rank.

How to get them:

  • Search for your industry’s top online publications (that have high traffic and high domain authority). Apply to become a regular contributor on their site. It’s important to make yourself known first by providing high quality content on your site that are relevant to their audience.
  • If you’ve been into guest blogging, track the sites that have sent good traffic and conversions to your site. Send more content to their site/blog and become a stable content partner for them.
  • Implement authorship markups on your content contributions (if in case they aren’t implementing it yet, start suggesting it).

Constantly creating useful content on your site and promoting them effectively can also lead to getting invitations to become a contributor on larger sites. For instance, I was invited before to become a columnist on Technorati for that very reason.

.Edu and .Gov links

Links from .edu and .gov sites are known to be authoritative, since these domains are highly trusted by search engines.

Why do they matter?

  • These links pass authority and trust, and can influence your site’s ability to rank on SERPs.

How to get them:

  • Nick Bernard from Portent wrote an extensive post last year that details 7 different ways to get .edu links – from sponsorships, posting job openings, offering scholarships and 4 other more. I highly recommend reading that post.
  • Using the broken link building method through .edu and .gov resources pages can also be a viable technique to get links from them. But it’s important to really offer a resourceful content worth linking to, especially for them, to make that acquisition happen.
  • I’m currently testing this method (and I’ll definitely share the results in the next few weeks). Interview professors and publish it on your blog. Choose topics that have high potentials of getting referenced to by their sites/students/faculty.

Press Coverage

Press mentions are definitely a powerful way to make a brand look more amazing to its target audience. It’s also a great way for a brand or a product to be discovered by people.

press mentions

Coverage like that – can simply result to this:

press2

That’s why having a great product and a good marketing strategy is a force to reckon with.

Why does it matter?

  • Getting featured on popular news sites can generate viral traffic.
  • The surge in traffic can lead to user sign ups, sales and/or conversions.
  • Getting viral through press mentions can also result to more link opportunities, as other news sites and blogs may also start writing about your brand.
  • It will also be easier for you to pitch on other publications for coverage, since you’ve already been featured on an authority news site.
  • The link acquired offers high SEO value, based on trust, authority and context of the link source.
  • Definitely good for branding.

How to get them:

Don’t be afraid to pitch, if you have something that’s really newsworthy.

Natural Links from Online Discussions

This is quite similar with how you can get contextual links. The only difference is that they are placed within the discussions (comment threads).

qa

Why does it matter?

  • Elevates your brand, as you are being endorsed by other people (which may also lead to better conversions).
  • Can draw in click-through traffic to your site.
  • Sends trust signals, which is a factor that can slightly impact your search rankings.

How to get them:

  • Be active with your content marketing activities. Keep on publishing content that people can use as a resource. Because your readers will use them sooner or later when conversing with other people in your online community.
  • Build relationships with your readers, especially with those who actively participate on other popular blogs’ discussions or industry forums/communities.
  • Focus on providing solutions to common problems in your industry. Your readers/followers/peers will always refer you when they encounter questions related to the solutions you’re offering.

Bonus:  How to Earn Visibility and Links

I just want to share this awesome slide presentation by Kevin Gibbons on using content marketing to get higher visibility and more links.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and you can 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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