How Easy Is it for a Startup to Build Links in 2018?

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By Boris Dzhingarov

If you’re a startup and only have a limited understanding of link building or SEO in general, knowing how to get high quality links fast can be a challenge. However, with all the different tools at our disposition today, there are many ways for startups to start amassing links naturally without having to pay or resort to shady black hat tactics. Let’s take a look at some of the ways startups can build links organically in 2018.

Start with Valuable Content

Too many startups think about their link building strategy before they even have a clear content strategy in mind. But I’m sorry to break to you, there is no way to build a sustainable SEO and link building strategy without solid linkable assets to begin with.

However, not every piece of content is linkable. For content to be clickable, it has to be valuable in the first place. There are some content formats that are more sought after then others, and by investing in these, you have more chances of attracting attention from blogs and other websites.

According to a recent study conducted by Vertical Measures, people tend to gravitate towards content like case studies, infographics, videos, free guides, research and whitepapers. When they were asked why they chose to link to external sources, most marketers said that they either wanted to 1) reference or cite a source or 2) provide additional info to their audience.

When it comes to research, nothing beats original data. What makes original data so powerful is that it’s exclusive. So, every time a certain website needs to cite your study, they’ll have no choice but to link back to you.

In the case you’re unable to get your own data, an alternative would be to interview an authority in your field. So, if other websites eventually want to use quotes from your interview, they’ll have to refer to you in order to use them.

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Use the Power of Video Content

Video content is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and is one of the best ways to generate links from mobile and social media users. It gives your audience an alternative medium for them to consume your content and allows you to reach segments that would rather engage through video than text. Mobiles are increasingly becoming ingrained in our everyday lives and people are starting to veer away from long, text heavy blog entries and articles and video will only end up filling that gap in the long run.

Create a List of Potential Link Sources

Now that you have your content strategy in place, it’s time to start looking at potential link sources and strategize a way to reach them. Yes, I say reach because while you want to attract visitors organically to your site, you also want to proactively reach out to bloggers/influencers and site owners who you believe could help you build visibility and reach your audience.

When looking for sources, you should prioritize sources that are actually looking for content and are high quality as well. You want links back to your site from authority sites if possible and from people closely related to your niche and industry. Sites where content plays a central role will have a higher impact than sites where content is simply a complementary resource too.

When looking for bloggers or influencers, there are some rules that you should apply if you want to get better results. For one, don’t make the mistake of shotgun blasting templated emails to your list of prospects. Take the time to personalize your interactions and get to know what they’re about. And be picky with who you approach as well; only go for people who could actually benefit your brand and have a track record for working with reputable brands.

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You should also make it a duty to join various blogging groups and look for bloggers looking for products for their roundups and reviews. If you’re going to sign a promotional agreement with them, make sure that you run down what you expect from them exactly, and what the benefits are. If a blogger doesn’t seem to think your product fits their audience or doesn’t believe in your product, move on and stay courteous so you don’t end up burning bridges.

Take Advantage of Local SEO and Local Citations

Local SEO is more popular than ever, and if your startup is especially close to your community, you simply cannot afford to neglect it. Make sure that you register with some local directories but be selective while doing so. Putting up listings in a low-level directory or one that has nothing to do with your niche could actually do more harm than good. Only go for high quality directories with a solid reputation that are closely related to your niche. As a rule, the more stringent the terms and vetting system a directory has, the better it will be for your results, but do your research as well.

When posting your contact info, make sure that it is consistent across the board. You should also make sure that you set up your Google My Business page if you haven’t already done so, and make sure that your contact information is consistent with your website, social media pages and directory listings.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is another great way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche and gain tons of visibility and organic links to your site. However, you have to exercise caution when using this approach.

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Targeting is the name of the game when it comes to guest posting and you should make sure that your content is tailormade for the sites you’re intending on posting it on. Posts that are irrelevant will go straight to the garbage bin never to be seen again.

Make sure that you do your research on the site in question to ensure that your content is actually relevant. Look over the submission guidelines and make sure you follow them to the letter. You should also make sure that your interactions are personalized as well, as canned messages will reflect poorly on your brand.

The writing has to be top notch and properly edited; if the editors have to make tons of edits to your content, it’s much less likely to go through. You should also try to sweeten the deal by adding internal links and images to the content. If your post ends up being accepted, always make sure to send some link juice back their way as a sign of good faith.

Link building should be a long-term effort and not a sprint race. By applying the few simple tips in this article, you should be able to gather tons of organic links from various sources and gradually build your brand’s visibility.