Acquiring links can be one of the most frustrating, yet beneficial, elements of SEO. Despite the efficacy of link building is a controversial topic within the industry, past and present studies have shown that there is still a huge amount of value in this exercise.
Many different factors will dictate which link acquisition techniques are best for you and the website you are attempting to rank. This article will cover 8 link acquisition techniques, catered to both beginners and more experienced SEOs, backed by a leading SEO Agency.
#1. If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get
This tactic works well for all levels of experience. There is no harm in asking within your network of friends, colleagues, and peers for a link. Just keep in the mind that the usual link building rules of relevancy, quality and originality still apply.
This tactic is actually more of a philosophy that should be carried through to a lot of different link building methods. Actively asking for links and pitching your content will yield far better results than passively waiting for people to find and link to your content.
#2. Network, Network, and Network
Networking has always been a key driver of business growth; a fact that is still true in the world of link building. A link is essentially the online equivalent of a real-world recommendation, and to achieve these ‘recommendations’, you need to display a willingness to participate within a community.
The former relates back to point one, where you can then ask for a link if it offers mutual value. The latter requires a different method, whereby producing and posting valuable content to the community can result in links back to your website from impressed peers.
#3. Create a Blog
In recent years, more businesses have begun to embrace their website as a blogging platform; offering valuable insights into topics related to their industry.
As a means of increasing traffic and authority, the idea of a complementary blog is nothing new. However, with Google’s algorithm further leaning toward consistent updates and high-quality content as a ranking factor, blogging has become a near-necessity for those looking to succeed in the online space.
Creating a repository of quality content on your website has myriad benefits. Not only will it help acquire keywords to the domain, it will also offer valuable resources to your audience that they may then link to in their future posts. Creating a blog that is link-worthy is not an easy feat. In fact, it requires a lot of planning, research, and work.
As a starting point, you will need to identify in-demand topics within your industry. This can be done using your own personal expertise or through the use of specialist content tools.
One which I would strongly recommend is Buzzsumo, a tool that has been specifically designed to “find the most shared content and key influencers online”. This tool allows you to see which content within a selected niche has been engaged with the most.
#4. Business Listings
Business listings are something that SEOs of all levels should consider. The quality of business directories can vary greatly, with some not even being shown on Google results due to the high levels of spam. Avoid listing your business on these sites.
Instead, look for trusted business directories that actually receive genuine traffic, use an SSL certificate and are relevant to the business itself. There are fair few resources online to aid you if you search something along the lines of “quality business directories”.
Business directories allow a business to build something called NAP consistency (Name, Address, Phone Number). By ensuring that the format and spelling of your contact details is the same across all of your business directories, your website and Google my Business listing will result in a much greater chance of appearing in the local pack.
#5. Resource Page Links
Finding websites within your niche with dedicated resource pages can be an excellent way to secure relevant links that also have a strong chance of passing on referral traffic. You can use search strings in Google to help identify resource pages that relate to your website. Below are some examples of useful search strings:
“Keyword” + inurl:links
“Keyword” + “helpful resources”
“Keyword” + “useful resources”
“Keyword” + “useful links”
In place of “keyword” enter a keyword that is relevant to your niche.
The top result lists a number of external resources, one of which could be yours! If your business is related to yoga in some way then there is scope to produce an article/guide/tutorial and ask the owner of the resource page to list your content as a resource.
A lot of link building is about reaching out to people and seeking links for your content, rather than waiting for links to find your content.
#6. Identifying Competitor’s Backlinks
Using tools like Ahrefs, you can discover websites that link to your competitor’s websites but not your own. There are a few different ways to do this in Ahrefs, which are listed and explained here. The gist of it is to find a website linking to a competitor, identifying the type of link and the reason why they have been linked to. If you can mimic and improve upon the content being linked to and then reach out to the referrer, you stand a good chance of acquiring a new link!
#7. Guest Posting
Guest posting is still powerful and a relatively easy entry point into link building. There are countless websites that offer guest posting opportunities for well-written and original content.
Each guest posting website will have its own list of writing guidelines but generally, they require a minimum of 600 words, three outbound links to trusted sources and a relevant topic for the website’s audience.
Guest posting enables SEOs to build links with more context. Nesting your anchors within a paragraph of relevant copy can not only aid the ranking position of the anchor itself but also for keywords within close vicinity of the anchor.
There are some considerations you should make when producing your content to maximize the SEO benefit. Ideally, you would want the link to your website within the first 200 words. You also want to confirm that the link you are receiving is a ‘Do-follow’ link.
Link building has continuously evolved since the first links were formed and there is responsibility for SEOs to stay up-to-date on legitimate methods. The effectiveness of different methods changes as Google adapts and improve their algorithm. There is an element of trial and error, as well as, self-education using trusted resources.
The type of business also plays a large role in which tactics will work best. For example, businesses with physical products can reach out to reviewers for links, whereas serviced-based businesses may ask for testimonials or produce insightful articles. Either way, link building is still worth the investment for businesses taking a longer-term marketing approach.