Link building can have a hugely positive impact on your business, but only if it is carried out correctly. In fact link building can have a negative impact if you pursue it incorrectly, and this can lead many people to deciding it is in their best interests to leave it aside. It is easy to see why some people decide it but the fact that some people avoid link building and other people do it incorrectly indicates that it is worth doing properly.
This guide takes you through the extensive ways of link building and no matter what industry or sector you are in, or what sort of marketing work you are looking to undertake, this guide aims to provide you with all of the link building tactics you need to use.
Basic Link Building Tactics
We are going to look at some complex link building tactics and some link building tactics that are better suited to certain niches but to start with, we will look at basic link building tactics that can be used by everyone.
Using Resources/Link Pages
A number of websites have links or resources pages and if you can find yourself listed on one of these pages, you will find that you will receive a lot of benefit. To obtain this sort of link, it is usually a case of making a polite request to the webmaster or site owner but it is best to do some research before you start sending off emails.
The most important thing when it comes to receiving links is relevancy. You want to make sure that you are being placed on sites that are relevant to you and what you offer, so think about what the other site does or offers before you make a request. Relevancy is one of the biggest factors when it comes to search engine algorithms and this is increasingly the case. It is also fair to say that the more relevant your site is to the original site, the more likely it will be that your request for a link will be accepted.
Look at the link profiles of your rivals
There are a number of tools, with SEMRUSH being a strong option, to use in order to examine the links that your rivals receive. Using one of these tools provides you with the chance to obtain all of the links that your rival receives and then examine them in a spreadsheet. Some links may not be able to be copied or replicated and some may be difficult to obtain but knowing the links that your rivals receive provides you with the platform to draw level and move beyond them. In the most simplistic overview of link profiling, if you have one more than your rival, you are ahead. This isn’t strictly true because not all links are equal, quality counts too, but if you have all the links that your rival has, and you manage to add more high quality links, you can be confident that you are doing what you can with respect to link profiling.
It can also be helpful to not only examine what your competitors do, you should look at other companies in your local area. You should look at how firms in your vertical are obtaining links. It is even an option for firms working in e-commerce because there will be other e-commerce firms developing links. Researching the links that relevant firms receive and then obtaining these links for yourself will be of considerable benefit.
There are many members’ sites where you are provided with the chance to add a link in your profile. There are some sites, such as Twitter, which offer a nofollow link (a link that will not provide you with any link benefit) but some will. You should think about signing up for membership sites and boards that are relevant to your area or industry because the relevancy of these links will be of considerable benefit to your firm.
Example: CrunchBase. Sign up here.
Help others link to you
If you want other businesses or sites to link towards you, make it easier for them. You should generate HTML ready snippets that can be dropped directly into other sites content. Not every user or individual is confident or savvy when it comes to using the internet so making it as easy for everyone to link to you will pay off.
You should consider creating a “Link to us” page that provides the information that people need to link to you.
Link to others
If you want others to link towards you, it makes sense to link towards other people. Whether you use this to gain favour with others, in the hope of receiving a reciprocal link, or you just want to be seen as an authority in your industry, this is a smart move. If you are in a really competitive industry you may want to avoid this, you don’t want to run the risk of directing potential customers to rival firms but on the whole, this is a service that is of benefit.
You should also look to make the most of your internal links on your site. You can control these links 100% and it makes sense to create these links manually. There are some tools that will generate links for you internally but by creating content that expands on previous points or leads to other arguments, internal linking suggests that you understand your market and that you talk about related points in your content. This sort of writing can provide you with a platform for future content too, although you should look to make sure you don’t replicate content you have posted in the past.
Make sure you are directing people towards your content
If you are creating content and you want people to link to it, you need to make sure that some people see it in the first place. This is where you should be contacting your social media lists and your email lists, not to mention people you speak with and see in real life about your content. Getting as many eyeballs on your content as you can is a great way to generate interest in linking to your content.
Segment your content
If you are in a position where you are able to write a lot of great and relevant content, brilliant, but make sure that you are presenting this information in the best manner. With more people accessing the internet via mobile devices and people being accustomed to short and snappy posts, you want to make sure that you provide people with short and to the point posts.
Spell-check and check your grammar
If you provide content and there are a lot of mistakes, people will think less about what you offer. It makes sense to allocate some time to review your content before you submit. If you are not confident about your ability to spell check or test your grammar, apps and tools are available.
Create content that is evergreen
There are times when you want to create fresh and relevant topics but these may have a very short shelf-life. This is why creating evergreen posts that are always relevant can make sense. These posts can be resurrected or linked to at any point, and they will still make sense.
This for instance is something that can be used in years to come.
Consider providing content in other languages
It may be that you have a potential market waiting for you that uses a different language. This isn’t a pressing engagement for many sites but some sites operating in a global market place or who may appeal to a broad audience could find that translating some of their content will be of benefit.
Make your content readable
If you want people to link to your content, you need to make sure that people can read your content and that it makes sense to them. This will often depend on your site, your products/services and the people that you are looking to reach. A technical product will often need a more technically detailed content to promote it but again, there may be times when you are looking to present a technical product in a non-technical manner. Readability can mean different things depending on the reader so think about your audience and then tailor your content towards them.
Optimise for social media
There are a number of different social media platforms to choose from and it may be that certain platforms are more relevant to your business and audience. Look to find the most relevant social media platforms for you and then focus on these platforms.
Develop an RSS Feed
If you run your blog on any of the major Content Management Systems, you will have an RSS feed but if you don’t, you should do so. You should look into doing so at Feedburner because this will provide you with statistics with respect to subscribers. This can help with link building by ensuring that your work is properly acknowledged when others take it.
Here’s how you can do this for your website:
Develop a blog
It really makes sense to develop a blog for your business for a number of reasons. It allows you to link internally but it also provides a greater opportunity for people to link towards you. The blog by itself will not create any links but if you create readable and relevant blog posts, you will find that blogging will greatly benefit your link building ambitions.
Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Blog For Beginners!
There is an old saying of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and this is the case online as it is offline. If you can develop relationships with experts, respected authority figures and other webmasters and website organisers you will find that there are plenty of ways in which you can foster a good relationship. You should be looking to develop this relationship because you want to and because you are interested but in the long term, there will be ways to benefit. When it comes to developing relationships, it pays to:
- Be kind and polite
- Care about others
- Build relationships
- Participate with others or get involved with other groups
- Meet with people in real life
- Attend conferences or networking events
- Get in touch with people to see how they are doing
- Engage and promote OTHERS on social media
- Ask questions of people
- Answer questions when asked
When developing a relationship, promoting should be the last thing on your mind but in the long run, you’ll find that having developed relationships and shown yourself to be knowl3edgable and trustworthy, people will be more than happy to link towards you.
Ask for a link
There is another saying along the lines of “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. This isn’t entirely true but sometimes asking for a link to your site from someone you know or work alongside with is all you need to do. It may be that the other person doesn’t understand the importance or benefits or linking. Maybe they have forgotten to link towards to you. There could be plenty of reasons why someone would be willing to promote you with a link but haven’t actually done so yet, so feel free to ask for a link at times.
You should also ask for links on social media. You don’t want to be continually asking for links on social media but the occasional request can be of benefit. As with everything, you should look for some relevancy. This may mean asking people in your local area or in a similar industry. Relevancy should always be your starting point but you may be surprised at how you can stretch relevancy.
Submission Based Linking
When it comes to developing links, you will find that there are a number of ways in which you can do so through submitting content or articles.
Not every widget directory will provide you with a link but you will find that you can very quickly build a number of links directing towards your site through the use of this tactic. By placing a link into your widget, you can place yourself in front of a large audience and if people decide to embed your widget, you’ll receive a lot of links. Examples of widget directories include GadgetsDirectory, Blogspot or SubmitHere.
Web App Directories / Mobile App Directories
If you have an online app or tool, or a mobile app or tool, it is possible to get links for it. This isn’t for every business but if you are looking into developing an app or having one developed for you, you should be aware that this can be a good way to develop links for your website.
Web 2.0 Submission
This tactics is similar to submitting articles to article directories but you’ll find that you rather than text you can provide video, images and other interactive elements. If you use original content, you will find that you are passing on a lot of value, which will help to drive more interest towards your links.
If you are creating video content, and given the increasing demand for video content you should be, it makes sense to get as many links as you can from the various video sites. Many of these sites only offer nofollow links and some have to be included in the description, but if you are making videos, it makes sense to place them in as many places as you can.
There are tools available which will upload your video content to a wide variety of video sites so these may be of value. OneLoad is an example of a site that charges to upload videos to a range of sites but it can save you considerable time.
User Rating Reviews
There are sites where users can submit ratings of products and services and this can be a great way to generate links. There is a wide range of submission sites where you can be listed and by providing links you can offer people a chance to find out more about the service or product that is being reviewed.
Theme/Template/Logo Design Directories
If you are a designer that creates themes or templates, there are a number of sites where you can upload these designs and then receive links. You may have to include credit links within the themes or templates and the most popular locations of the designs to place links include the sidebar and the footer of the page.
There are hundreds of RSS directories and if you use an RSS feed, you can submit to as many or as few as you want. These links will not directly link into your content but they will boost the link juice that your RSS feed enjoys which of course links towards your content. In brief, there are benefits to be gained from creating content, using an RSS feed and then making sure that directories are aware of your feed.
Press Release Submission
The majority of press release submission sites will allow you to place a link or two in the body of the press release. There are free options and there are paid options but for SEO purposes, the benefits of the free options are rapidly diminishing. In fact, some experts will advise you that some overused free press release submission sites can harm your SEO. The link building aspect and the chance to receive publicity from the submission though means that press release submissions are still an important part of life for many businesses.
If you run a podcast, you should be looking to have your site or podcast listed on any relevant podcast directory site.
When it comes to using a paid directory, you need to find out what the value is. If there is a great deal of value to be made for making a payment, you will find that it makes sense to make the payment. If there is not enough of a return on your investment, don’t make the payment. Some directories that are worth the payment include The Yahoo Directory, the BBB, JoeAnt, BOTW and Business.com.
If you have a site that provides non English content, there are a number of directories that want to know about you and share what you have to offer.
Niche Specific directories
It would be impossible to run through all of the niche specific directories that there are to choose from but given the importance of relevancy, you should hopefully understand how being listed on this sort of directory can really help with respect to driving the right people to your site. Some of these niche specific directories may charge for listing but this may be a suitable purchase depending on the value you receive from the link.
If you create documents such as Word Documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations or even PDFs for your business, there are sites which allow you to share these. You will receive a link in return and you can even include links within the content. Again, many of these links are nofollow links but it can be worth pursuing to provide people with insight into what you offer.
A really thriving area of online usage is infographics and if you create infographics, people want to see them. There is a rising number of these blogs or directories on offer and if you are found by the right user, you may find that you receive a lot of links in return. There appears to be a growing number of paid-for directory sites in this field, so again, it is down to you to determine the value in this but there are ways in which you can get a positive return for the infographics you create.
Free Web Directories
Given that these directories are free, they aren’t going to give you too much of a benefit but they can provide some benefit and it is another place where your site can be seen. The only thing you need to qualify for a listing on these directories is to have an active website.
Company Directory Submissions
These work in the same format as general website directories but you should be looking to be relevant with every entry. Don’t try and be listed in every possible directory, only opt for directories in your local area or that are relevant to your industries.
Other directories that could be of benefit if you are involved with these stages or processes include:
- eBook directories
- HTML design and creation directories
- Blog directories
- 1-800 or Freephone directories
- Article directories
It used to be that some of these options, especially article directories like Ezine, were of great benefit in getting link-juice but the benefits have diminished in recent years. Again, there are benefits to be gained from being listed and linked to from these directories but the overall benefit may depend on how much spare time you have on your hands.
Using your content for links
If you create content or have content that is relevant for your business, you should be able to use this content to obtain links to your site. Not all of the sites and tactics listed in this section offer links, but if the content is strong enough or relevant enough, they may provide links.
This is something that can really pay off because all companies are looking to receive testimonials and positive feedback for their products or service. This won’t work for the big companies but you’ll find that there are plenty of local and small companies who will be happy to take a genuine testimonial from you and then link to your business. This provides the testimonial they receive with an air of credibility so this is an area where all parties benefit from your creating a testimonial.
Trading Articles or Guestblogging
Creating content is important but you don’t always need to place it on your site. You can create it with the intention of giving it away and this is where trading articles and guestblogging can provide you with additional links and the chance to be seen by a new audience. If there is an imbalance between the two firms, it may be that an additional trade, such as buying an amount of StumbleUpon traffic can ensure that all parties feel as though they are benefitting to a similar degree.
Guestblogging has probably been run into the ground in recent years and if you are asking for swaps or trades, you may find many people are no longer interested. However, this is an area where focusing on developing a relationship as opposed to fixating on a content swap can be of benefit.
To make sure that you are an attractive proposition for other bloggers and that you aren’t penalised by Google, here are some tips for you:
- Invest in the time to create quality blogs with over 800 words
- Have a number of outbound links in your article
- Make sure you provide an internal link or two
- Have images and video content in if it makes sense
- Place your link in the middle of the content, rather than a bio, if you can
Guest blogging can be worthwhile but only if you put some work in.
Images & Cinemagraphs
If you take a lot of great pictures, make use of them by allowing people to link to them and use them. This is an area that has been overlooked by many people. This has sometimes been down to the fact that people will often take images without properly crediting the rightful owner, but there is also the fact that many people don’t understand the benefits of images when it comes to linking.
If you set the images up on your site and undertake some SEO for them, you will find that people will take them, creating a link to your site. You can enhance the chances of this occurring by copying and pasting the HTML code into their posts, which will increase the chances of receiving a link. This is the exact same for cinemagraphs. If you can get other webmasters and bloggers to use and embed these items, you should get a link pointing back towards you.
Focus on a community
If you are able to reach out to a certain community, that isn’t necessarily in your line of business, but is connected or linked, you can provide yourself with another area where you can place content. The most obvious example of this strategy would be with environmentally friendly content. This is because there is a link to all businesses when it comes to environmental issues and there is a wide range of environmentally focused site who are looking for content or links.
If you have something relevant to say about an industry issue, make sure you say it to the right people.
Get a column
Rather than focusing your energy on one-off trades or blog posts, you could benefit by having a regular column in a site, blog or even more traditional publication. This will provide you with a high quality link, a strong boost to your reputation and an opportunity to push a lot more traffic towards your site.
You aren’t the only person looking to get links to their site or create content. There are plenty of other sites and it may be that other sites will undertake interviews to fill their site. This is a chance for you to be seen as an industry expert while drawing more attention to what you do. Whether it is a written word interview or something where you speak, it is a chance to promote what you do and create links in the direction of your site. You can see from here that getting time and space on podcasts or hangouts are of a similar nature and benefit.
If you are aiming to obtain links from colleges and schools, it makes sense to provide them with content that is aimed at them and that they can do something with. This means that rather than creating content and then trying to share it with others, you should look at others, see what they need, and then create content that meets these needs.
Join in with crowdsourced posts
If someone comes to you and asks you to get involved with an outsourced project or post, make sure that you devote the time to it. It may only take 5 or 10 minutes of your time but it will place you as someone who is willing to get involved, it will boost your reputation and it will ensure that you receive a link or two.
Here’s an example of a successful crowdsource post we promoted:
Use content to attract links to you
There is only so much you can hope to achieve with submissions and reaching out to others, there will be times when you need to naturally attract people to you.
A white paper is an industry or area specific piece of work that has involved a lot of research and will usually have some form of focus or point to the process. There is a need to clearly understand the objective and that there will be intended results, even from the very beginning of the process.
With internet technology making it much easier to undertake live video links, group chat and webinars, you will find that creating a webinar every month will provide you with the chance to obtain a lot of links and interested people.
If you have design skills, creating online tools which are available for free, such as a calculator, can be of great benefit. They don’t need to elaborate, in fact, it is often best to create one tool that does one job.
Seasonal content is always of value and merit, and it is the sort of thing that is likely to be shared on social media platforms. In order to be on time with seasonal posts, you need to be ahead of the game. This means creating a calendar that encourages you to create topical posts weeks in advance of the date or holiday itself will be of great benefit. If you have a series about the FA Cup Final, there is no point publishing it all in July and August, you want to have it good to go from the moment the two semi-finals have been decided and there is a build-up in the excitement to the big game. Similarly, if you have Halloween content, you need to be ready throughout October.
Here’s a great example of a timely blog post..
With surveys, there are two steps to the process and this means that there are two opportunities to obtain links. The initial step involves getting people involved with the survey and this can provide you with the chance to reach out to an audience. If it is an interesting topic, you’ll find that people will want to have their say on the matter. The second step comes with the publication of the results. If you can wrap the results up, add some insight.