Many years ago, link building – just like search engine optimization and various forms of digital marketing – was a straightforward concept. Such practices could be blatantly pursued through shady and black-hat methods with practically no negative repercussions for brands. As search engine giants such as Google began to build more sophisticated algorithms to combat abusive link building and SEO tactics, people were forced to change behaviors.
Ultimately, and in the wake of these changes, all too many people declared that “link building is dead”. In reality, link building remains very much alive – brands just have to work harder to earn these links without facing penalties.
Because not every link building strategy actually yields real results without punishment, let’s take a look at seven strategies that you can actually use to build links in today’s tough SEO climate.
Maintain an Active Blog
Arguably one of the simplest ways to boost the number of inbound links earned is through simple blogging. Evidence suggests that just by having an active blog, a website earns nearly twice as many inbound links as websites that do not have blogs. Given that content creation is at the center of SEO in general, this strategy is arguably the first one that any website or brand should implement for a broader link building campaign. The premise is a very simple one: the more pages and posts a website has, the more opportunities are created for other brands and websites to link back to them.
Build High-Quality Multimedia
With dozens of link building methods, deciding on a key few can be challenging. Ultimately, readers and consumers want access to high-quality content. While detailed blog posts are one great way to achieve this, another – arguably more effective – method is via the creation of high-quality multimedia. Brands that focus on constructing digital content in the form of videos, podcasts, infographics and comparable content offerings will be able to influence and reach entirely new segments of their target audiences.
Many people don’t like to read blog posts but will absolutely watch a video or skim through an infographic. These forms of content can be ideal for building links in industry roundups and social media posts, so take advantage of this phenomenon.
Milk Social Media for All It’s Worth
At its core, building links via passive methods is most easily accomplished by increasing visibility and exposure. Social media offers better options for boosting both organic and paid visibility than virtually any other platform. As websites focus on building audiences via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, every post they make reaches a larger number of individuals.
Especially helpful for websites that maintain active blogs, sharing each new piece of content with your audience creates opportunities for other websites to find your content. When said content is of high quality and relevant to their audiences, brands will be far more likely to link back to you in future curations. Coupled with paid ad campaigns that promote your latest content, social media is an invaluable tool in maximizing link building leads and opportunities.
Analyze Your Competition
The nature of link building is constantly in flux: the last thing you want to do is fall behind the times. As such, competitors can often shed light on emerging practices that you may have otherwise missed. Relatively few websites can claim that they’re at the top of their respective niches, which means most have something to learn from one or more competitors.
A variety of backlink analysis tools allow websites to assess the composition and quality of other websites’ inbound and outbound links. Careful research and assessment of your competition’s links often will reveal new opportunities for building links, whether it be via specific websites or broader niches that you might not have previously considered.
Ninja Others’ Broken Links
As the internet ages, so do a large percentage of links on it. Websites come, go, and otherwise migrate servers. The end result: links that once worked no longer function. This phenomenon creates an exceptional opportunity for websites to earn links when approached properly.
The easiest way to pursue this is to gather a list of blogs and websites with pages that are relevant to your niche. By using a broken links checker to identify any potentially non-functioning links on these websites, you can compile a list of targets. You’ll then approach each website about the broken links in question, notifying them of the issue. In the same email, request that they replace the broken link with a link that points to your own content.
Obviously, the content you’re requesting links for must be relevant and comparable to the broken links in question, but chances are that you’ll find several opportunities for backlinks when using this tried and tested method.
Create Authoritative Content
With an active blog and social media presence, you’re already assembling a formidable link building empire. However, making true inward roads within a niche often comes down to authority: namely, how trustworthy is the content you’re serving? One of the easiest ways to build authoritative content in the pursuit of building links is by creating high-quality viral round-ups assembled by other respected bloggers and websites.
This form of link building serves two purposes. First, it results in a high-quality content offering that relies in part upon the trustworthiness of other, more established entities in your niche. Secondly, link building strategies are sometimes a two-way affair; by creating outbound links to other websites within your niche, it becomes easier in the future to build inbound links with them.
Monitor Your Existing Links
Link building isn’t just a game of absolute numbers were links are earned and taken for granted: it’s a strategy that constantly pursues and relies on relative growth. Once you’ve earned one or more links from a particular website, it then becomes necessary to periodically verify that the links in question are still intact. It’s virtually guaranteed that if you have a particular number of inbound links today, you will have fewer next month if no new links are earned.
Links might be lost due to websites closing, blogs migrating to new servers or even because you’ve made internal changes that altered URL structures and did not implement the appropriate redirects. Link building is just as much about maintaining existing links as it is about earning new ones, so be prepared to constantly verify that existing links are functional – and in the event they are not, reach out to the appropriate parties and request a fix. While not every link building strategy is right for every website, there are several that remain highly relevant and effective regardless of niche. These seven link building exercises, in particular, will not only help you earn more SEO juice, but will lead to a higher quality of content, a larger following on social media, and better relationships with other brands in your niche.