As you have already understood, we are going to talk about links. The formula is simple: all those who want to have a high position in Google should build links. Why? Because Google, as well as other popular search engines, see them as one of the main indexes for classifying web pages.
You have probably studied tons of information on the subject and tried multiple link building tactics. Or maybe you’re new to the subject and you’re looking for a good starting point.
This guide is good for both categories of link builders. It will serve as a checklist for experienced bloggers / site owners / marketers and a real kickstart for newbies.
Why should you take your time to read this guide instead of other material available on the web? Because it includes only white hat work strategies. Therefore, if you follow the tips below, you will increase the ranking of your website while playing on the safe side of SEO.
It sounds good, right? OK we start.
Does anyone need a link building definition here?
Well, I’m pretty sure you all know that creating links is a process of acquiring backlinks to a website with those inbound links coming from external sites.
Each link building campaign is aimed at increasing Google’s search traffic.
The following graph illustrates the correlation between link popularity and Google rankings. It is quite high as you can see.
What kind of links do you need to improve the ranking of your site?
To put it simply, a link to your website can be considered a vote. Therefore, the more votes your site accumulates, the greater the chances that users will see it in Google results after entering your query.
However, not all links are the same. That is, not all have the same “weight” and affect the ranking of your site identically.
What is Linking Page Authority?
A website becomes more authoritative as it stores the links. Therefore, a link from a high authority site will be more powerful than from a low authority site.
This is how we, in Ahrefs, define the linkage of page / site authority. We have 2 useful metrics for the purpose:
Domain Rating or DR, which shows the general strength, in other words, the authority of a site. It is measured from 0 to 100.
The URL or UR rating shows the strength / authority of an individual page. It is also measured from 0 to 100.
Please take a look at the example below, of the Ahrefs backtracking verification. The DR score of the given blog is 86 and the UR score is 85.
Can Nofollow links do something good?
Surely you’ve noticed that some links have the rel = “nofollow” attribute, like this one:
<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.example.com/”> I’m a nofollow link </a>
The Google guidelines stipulate that paid links must also have the rel = “nofollow” attribute. This attribute instructs the search engines not to follow the link. Normally, the links with the rel = “nofollow” attribute should not contribute to the classification of the web page. However, there are different opinions on this point.
Everyone knows that Wikipedia links are nofollow. But many SEO leaders consider them beneficial for rankings because the website has a high level of confidence.
So, the nofollow links contribute to the classification? The ‘Dofollow’ links are certainly preferred, but a high quality nofollow link can contribute to the ranking. And that means you should not miss the opportunity to acquire them. You should remember that if the back link profile of your website includes both ‘nofollow’ and ‘dofollow’ links, it seems more natural.
The location of the link also influences its weight. For example, a link in a sidebar or footer may pass less authority than a text link within the content. Why could this happen? Because it is more likely that the link in your content is editorial, clicked and surrounded by relevant text.
The Google patent “Reasonable Surfer” (http://www.seobythesea.com/2010/05/googles-reasonable-surfer-how-the-value-of-a-link-may-differ-based-upon-link -and -document-features-and-user-data /) suggests that Google try to find out how likely it is that a link is ‘clicked’ and take this into account when deciding its weight.
This means that Google will continue to give weight to footer links, sidebars, etc., as long as the link site is an authority.
Anchor text as a classification factor
Search engines have used and continue to use the anchor text as a classification factor.
In other words, a web page with a target keyword of “leather handbags” is likely to benefit from a percentage of its inbound links that contain the phrase. It can be a partial or exact match form:
- Accurate match: leather bags
- Partial Match: this page about leather handbags
A study on 16,000 keywords (https://ahrefs.com/blog/anchor-text/) conducted by Ahrefs, has confirmed that there is a strong correlation between classifications and keyword anchors:
What do we see in the table above? The pages in position 1 had an average of 13% of exact match links and 24% of partial match links.
The conclusion is that a keyword that contains anchor text positively affects the rankings. However, excessive use of keyword-rich anchors can have quite the opposite effect.
When there are too many anchor text links, this can be seen as a sign of manipulation by Google and may cause penalties on links, such as Google Penguin.
Link weight and relevance
You must know the number of factors that can influence the “relevance” of a link and the weight Google places on it.
- The anchor text
- Other outbound links on the page
The text surrounding a link is also an essential classification signal. Google has a patent for “Classification based on reference contexts” (http://www.seobythesea.com/2013/11/google-context-of-links-identify-link-spam/), which could be taken as a schema to reduce the context of the surrounding text.
How artificial links affect your website ranking
If Google points out that some links are not natural, they are more likely to be discounted and will not contribute to their classification. Numerous unnatural links can lead to serious problems in the form of penalty and decreased ranking / traffic.
I firmly believe that if a site decided to link with you, it was an editorial choice, and that link can be considered a safe and white hat for Google.
It does not matter if the link website found its content by itself (organically) or if it helped them a bit through outreach or promotion.
The links you build manually to attract traffic with the help of guest blogs, content retrofitting, content syndication, etc., are also safe if you use them as part of a broader link strategy and if they are not abusive.
Link Building Tactics
Well, I guess it’s time to talk about link building strategies that will bring you traffic and authority. As I said at the beginning of this blog post, you will find only methods that work here, because I value your time and I do not want you to waste it by reading things that can not be applied in real life.
Let’s start with the most popular and efficient tactic.
1. Creating Link Bait
This is a broad strategy that involves the creation of ‘link bait content’. The link bait can take several forms. They include some of the tactics presented below.
In short, link bait is an incredible content that attracts links naturally due to its great value or unique proposal of its kind. Get links instead of compiling them and do not forget the promotion. Even the best content requires it.
What can be called valuable content?
- Your in-depth research on an important topic
- Some unique information that you are eager to share
- A great poll
- Some attractive and unique graphics
- It can also be a free tool
It is safe to say that linkbait is a pure white hat link construction tactic. This is a kind of return to the way Google initially imagined the links, voting the best content to the top.
What do you need to implement this tactic? Of course, the ‘bait’ is a requirement. In other words, it must have attractive content that people want to share. Your content should be worthy of high search rankings.
If you are creating parallel projects or free tools, they will also be included in the linkbait category.
Your secondary projects must be related, but separated from your main product or service. They must be able to provide value for themselves.
2. Use the ego of the natural influencers
Do not be shy when contacting niche influencers, even if you’re just starting. They are sellers. And even if you’re already famous, you’re a rare celebrity who will reject an additional mention.
These are some of the ego-bait tactics that you can use:
- Post an interview with an influencer on your site
- Write an expert roundup that includes influential people in it
- Quote an influencer in your article or link to your site
- Make a list of the top 10 and include an influencer there
I bet that most influencers will share at least that type of content, as it helps create their positive image. This will expand your content reach and potentially lead to links.
3. Use broken links for your link building purposes
As time goes by, some once useful resources are removed from the web. This can happen because the company behind the website closes or the site is no longer maintained.
Dear link creators, do not miss this opportunity. What you need to do is create and publish similar content in your resource, then come to those sites with broken links and offer it instead. You will see that your efforts will be a success. Most webmasters are ready to correct errors on their sites.
4. Repair broken links that point to your site
You’d better fix the broken links that point to 404 pages on your site so you do not lose the valuable juice of the link.
I will show how we do it in Ahrefs. You will need a free WordPress redirect plug-in (https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/).
First, we ran the Broken Link Checker report (ahrefs.com/broken-link-checker) in Ahrefs Site Explorer. We need this to get a list of all broken backlinks:
When we have the list, we create a 301 redirect for each broken link with the help of the “Redirection” plugin. That’s.
5. Find mentions of unrelated brands
As a general rule, when someone mentions your brand on your site, they already know your business and relate to it. However, in some cases, the writer does not include a link to your site. What you should do is communicate with that site, say “thank you” for the mention and request to add a link.
6. End use of unlicensed copyrighted material
If you discover that someone uses your copyrighted material, such as photos or videos, on your site, you have two ways to proceed: ask them to remove it or credit it. Look at the situation as one more opportunity to build links. Send an email notifying them of the violation and claiming the accreditation. This should be enough to choose a link.
Do not know how to search sites using your copyrighted images? Try Google’s reverse image search (https://images.google.com/).
7. Try to enter the news
Marketing professionals call this tactic newsjacking. The main idea is to enter the current fashion news and mention your brand or present your ideas on the subject.
The method can be very effective to obtain high quality links from popular publications.
But speed is everything in this technique. When something interesting happens, writers strive to highlight all the unique angles and gather quotes from experts who can add some ideas. But you know that today’s trend is the old news of tomorrow. Then act fast!
8. Make guest posting
Guest blogs are an effective way to demonstrate your website (brand) to new audiences and build links that increase authority.
Keep in mind that guest blogs of low quality do not make sense as they are no longer effective. Google simply crushed it. But high-quality guest blogging is still a win-win method of white hat links.
Eventually, there is at least 1 first level blog that is open to contributors of invited publications in each niche.
9. Publish interviews with industry influencers
The creation of links through interviews has something in common with public relations.
The interviews can take different forms:
- Blog interview
- Participate in publications of ‘experts’
- Record a podcast
- Some Tweet chats still have weight
- Webinars also arouse people’s interest
In any case, all the interview formats aim to increase the authority in your niche and obtain quality links.
10. Create infographics
This tactic is not new. It has survived its ups and downs, but now infographics are once again popular.
The reason for his return is the efficiency of the graphics to maximize the performance of his outreach efforts.
It is natural that its scope is more effective when it offers some value proposition for the host site. When you are ready to provide a high-quality infographic with a personalized introduction, this is an example of such an exchange of values. You give great content to the host site and return the favor with a backlink.
11. Content syndication
I do not advise you to distribute content everywhere. However, when you distribute your content on quality sites with link attribution, this can lead to increased traffic and increased rankings.
Here are some examples of quality sites to syndicate your content to:
- Linkedin pulse
- Business community 2
Be sure to include a personalized title and an introduction for each platform to make the most of your syndication.
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12. Reuse your content
Why would you want to reuse your content? Because it can help you get more value from your content, in addition to getting high quality links.
Some of the things you can do to reuse a blog post:
- A video
- An infographic
- An eBook
- A SlideShare presentation
You can share each part of your reused content in relevant channels. Many of them offer the opportunity for a back-link.
As with other link building strategies, this should not be abused! It goes without saying that any reused content must be of high quality and capable of being alone.
13. Build links with images
These are some of the ways in which you can make personalized images bring you backlinks:
- You can visualize some data with a graph
- Create memes that mean something inside your niche
- Provide images with quotes from respected bloggers or celebrities in your niche
- It is recommended to create pinnable images for your blog posts
- You can also provide stock images for your use. But always give them attribution for this.
It is particularly effective to add ‘slide-on’ images to your blog posts, as well as graphics and graphics. Encourage your readers to download and share these images on their own sites to increase the effectiveness of this technique and search for links.
14. Send your content to directories
I do not advise you to send bulk directories. However, there may be some SEO value in acquiring quality links, niche-specific directories.
Take a look at the PageRank metric of each directory. It is commonly used to determine the strength of a directory. Watch out! This metric is not updated frequently and is open to manipulations.
Consider the following points to determine the quality of a directory:
- Make sure that all links added to the directory go through a human revision before they are activated.
- Check the quality of the sites included in the directory. And do not forget the manipulated anchor text links that come from the directory pages.
- The age of the directory is also important. You can use org to make sure that it exists for some time in its current form.
- Also, check the profile of the back link of the directory. You must have a relatively clean link profile and not create spam links.
- Check if Google caches the page on which your link would be placed. You can use this command cache: thedirectory.com/theurl
NB: Directory submissions should only be a small part of your overall link creation strategy. Or you can not use the technique at all.
15. Distribute press releases
As in the case of directory submissions, I do not recommend mass distributions of press releases, since such a tactic will not benefit you. And it can also be seen as a sign of construction of manipulative links.
Each rule, however, has an exception. If your distribution of press releases aims to attract the genuine press, this is a legitimate public relations tactic. And that, in turn, means that it is a legitimate link building tactic.
Therefore, if you have something really relevant like the launch of a site, select a channel to distribute your press release. Make sure it is of high quality and that it is written in the third.
This will increase the chances of your information being noticed and will lead to more links.
For press releases, brand links are recommended. They are not the right places to build your anchor text links.
16. Citations on directories and local commercial portals
Create citations in the directories and portals of local companies, as it is still an effective tactic to improve local SEO.
Commercial directories have high acceptance standards and list only legitimate businesses. Therefore, Google trusts them.
Just know before embarking on this tactic that not all business directories will include a link to your site. Do not worry Many SEO experts believe that even a mention of a trusted resource can be counted as an ‘inferred link’ by Google and affect the ranking.
17. Comment on Blogs
Leaving comments on blogs is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks to your site. Even more, if you do everything right, the strategy keeps your backlink graph constant or grows over time.
Google likes users who actively participate in a niche and comment on blogs. That makes this a smart way to show that you are a committed community member.
But it goes beyond winning backlinks. Commenting is also an excellent way to build relationships with other bloggers. This will help you with your future outreach efforts since it is much easier to communicate with someone you already know.
Mass comments will not work here. Only genuine and insightful comments on selected blogs can help with rankings.
Quality comments, which contribute to the content of the article and show your experience in the field, can attract traffic to your site and help grow your audience. You may think that it is an indirect classification factor.
18. Participate in Conversations about niche forums
A wise SEO always knows where his audience is, and follows it. Most business niches have at least one forum where their potential customers meet.
When you are an active participant in a forum, you can drop an occasional link on your site, where you add value or answer a question.
These links are good for both traffic and conversions. Participate in a forum and demonstrate your experience. This will help build trust within the community.
19. Participate in niche community sites such as Reddit
This will not be news for many of you: there is a subreddit for everything or almost everything, from marketing to cooking.
What you should do is identify subreddits related to your niche market, then participate and occasionally share interesting and relevant content from your own site. This is a legitimate way to generate traffic, which generates links.
When such presentations reach a certain number of ascending votes, which varies from subreddit to subreddit, they become dofollow and even more valuable for SEO.
You can also get some additional editorial links if your Reddit submission is popular, because many healing sites use Reddit as a content source.
Reddit is not the only specific community site in the industry. For example, inbound.org is also good for marketing specialists. Active participation there will give you opportunities to build links and relationships.
20. Answer questions about question and answer sites
The links of question and answer sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers are surely a good way to drive traffic to your site and build your authority in a niche.
You can also use them to identify which topics are currently trending in a niche.
You may notice that people ask a particular question with some frequency. This happens because they can not find the answer in Google. Create content on your own site and fill that information space. This is your opportunity both to attract search traffic and to build links.
21. Become a sponsor
Charities usually list their sponsors and often return to their sites. Charities are intrinsically trustworthy and often have great domain authority. That is why these links can be beneficial for classifications.
Strictly speaking, these are paid links. But they fall on the lower risk side of the link purchase scale.
What else can you do for charities? Offer them your services in exchange for a writing on your site. For example, take pictures highlighting some of your events for free. They will publish some of your images on your site with link attribution.
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