You may have heard that link building is no longer effective in maximizing your website’s exposure. I’m here to tell you that is absolute BS. While backlinks are one of many different ways to signal search engines to direct people to your website, they remain one of the most important ranking components in the SEO industry.
Why? Because backlinks are a way of measuring your authority, trust and social connectivity! They are one of the most effective ways of notifying search engines that you have relevant content to share that people are actively looking for.
So, if you really want to boost your search engine ranking, maximize exposure and drive red-hot leads into your sales funnel, you absolutely must create a rock-solid, unbreakable backlink campaign for your website.
These days, a lot of people refer to link building as “content marketing”. In fact, according to a recent poll on DMOZ, over a third of respondents (36%) refer to it in this way. But whatever you call it, it’s still a very important element of search engine optimization that shouldn’t be ignored.
In this special report, we’re going to look at the very best ways to build effective links in 2018 and beyond, as well as the best practices for finding and obtaining those links.
I’ll also show you exactly how to set up proper link structures and what to avoid so that you are building high-powered linking campaigns that are designed to last for the long-haul.
After all, who wants to have to rebuild every time there’s a change? If you follow the strategies in this report, you simply won’t have to.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s begin!
Before we talk about what currently works as far as link building, we should talk about how things used to work, and how they have changed in recent years.
A few years ago, almost any link was a good link. Almost. Obviously, links from very low quality sites, or known spam sites, were discounted, and enough of them could even get you penalized or banned, but having thousands of low-to-moderate-quality links could push you to the top of the search engines for all but the toughest keywords.
You could write a quick 300-word article and submit it to thousands of article directories and end up with a whole bunch of links that would boost your SEO considerably.
You could even shortcut the work by purchasing links from online marketplaces, or submit your site to thousands of link drops with automated software that did all of the work for you. But those days are long gone.
These days, it’s all about quality, not quantity. One well-placed, high-quality link is more effective than a dozen low quality links.
And the best news is that it only takes a few short days to build sustainable backlink campaigns that signal search engines that you have quality, share-worthy content that visitor’s will enjoy.
While it will take a bit longer than the outdated methods, the payoff will be worth its weight in gold.
Let me show you how.
The first step in obtaining quality backlinks is to make sure your site is “linkable”. This means getting your content out there so people can find it, and making sure your content is relevant, targeted and share-worthy.
You’ve probably seen your share of content round-ups, right? Those articles titled with headlines like, “Top 10 Must-Read SEO Articles”.
The reason these are so popular is because they’re an easy way for bloggers and website owners to create content for their site without writing a lot themselves.
Rather than having to craft an original article, and spending hours doing so, they simply create a post that shares the top resources, with outbound links to relevant websites. Needless to say, because these posts are so popular, they are also fantastic sources of quality backlinks!
So, you need to make your content as attractive as possible to the people who are creating those types of articles. You can do this by creating “link bait”, which are high quality articles that other people will want to link to because they extend coverage of a topic, provide more value and help readers expand their knowledge.
According to Moz, about 75% of content found on the internet has zero inbound links. This is partially due to the sheer volume of content, of course, but it’s also due in part to the lack of quality.
Let’s say you’re running a blog for internet marketers. You’ll want to create a few articles that are much longer and much more in-depth than the rest of your content. These articles, known as “pillar content” will form the cornerstone of your website, and they’ll be the articles that are most likely to generate backlinks.
But you also need to be sure your content is easy to find for people who want to link to it. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your content is available through social media.
Pinterest is one of the first stops for a lot of people who are creating effective content round-up articles. It’s easy to find content on Pinterest because of the visual format and overall structure, and with its millions of users, it’s easy to tap into your market and maximize exposure.
If you want people to find you easily on Pinterest, be sure you create high quality images that are taller than they are wide, feature text that lets people know what your article is about, and includes a couple of primary keywords in your description.
Be sure to share your content on other social media channels, too, and include keywords and hash tags. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can also help your content get discovered.
As for what you should share, begin by creating content that you know your audience is actively looking for. If you develop content around what your target market finds most valuable it will be easy to reach out to new visitor’s while maximizing exposure within your market.
Then, create complimentary (or auxiliary) content that supports your main articles. This could include a series of blog posts, podcasts, video content or even tweetable posts that are easy to share.
Backlink Best Practices
Simply getting links from social media communities isn’t enough. There are other factors at play that can have a big impact on the overall effectiveness of your links. So, let’s take a look at a few of the most important factors that you’ll want to pay close attention to.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the effectiveness of the links you get is the overall authority of that site. I’m not referring to how respected the site is in general, but the actual search engine authority of the domain and the page the link will be hosted on.
It’s not even worth the effort it’ll take to get links from sites with low authority so you want to focus on high-quality content websites and blogs that have an existing readership and are relevant to your market or niche.
You can find out more regarding domain authority, including how to check it and monitor it at: https://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority
While no-follow links can help you get direct traffic, you shouldn’t spend too much time pursuing them. They won’t help as far as SEO. However, that doesn’t mean they carry no value at all.
If a nofollow link sends targeted referral traffic to your website, of course you want it! In addition, nofollow links are typically part of a natural backlink profile so while your focus shouldn’t weigh heavily on them, nofollow links from relevant, authority sources will still add value to your backlink profile.
The location of the link you’re trying to obtain is also important. Ideally, it should be on a page that has good page authority, as well as near the top of the page. A link at the bottom of the page, in a bio box, or in the sidebar isn’t going to be as effective as a link within the content itself, and near the top of the page.
Of course, if all you can get is a bio box link or a buried link, it’s still better than nothing. But if at all possible, try to get a link in the content near the top.
Link to Content Ratio
Link-to-content ratio is also an important factor to think about. If your link is one of dozens on a page, the authority of that backlink will be greatly reduced.
But if your link is the only one on the page, you will get a huge chunk of the page’s authority passed to yours. So, if you have a choice, always try to get a link on a page where yours will be the only outgoing link, or at least one of only a few.
Buying backlinks was one of the most common (and effective) black hat strategies from years ago, but today, they aren’t worth the trouble. If Google detects that you have purchased backlinks your website will be penalized. It’s not worth it.
That being said, there are legitimate ways of purchasing links through indirect methods, such as with paid product reviews, paying to guest blog on authority websites (or offering to guest blog in exchange for a link), or by purchasing sponsorship spots on authority domains.
All of these methods are reputable ways of establishing a prominent backlink on an established website without risking your website being hit with a penalty that lowers its ranking score.
If you plan to purchase links keep in mind that you should always build more organic links than paid ones. You should also build links slowly while measuring overall effectiveness. Take your time and take deliberate steps to generate high-value links that will increase your authority and ranking score.
Rule of thumb is to generate no more than 15-20 links per month.
And finally, make sure to conduct due diligence on any website offering paid links (in any form, whether it be as a sponsor or a paid review). Carefully read their terms and conditions, check their website authority as well as any reviews or feedback from others who have used their service. And be careful! Consider the risks involved as Google considers any paid exchange in order to generate links to be a violation of their guidelines.
While exchanging links carries no risk of being penalized, there isn’t a lot of value in doing it for SEO purposes. The two links will basically cancel each other out unless one link has a much higher authority than the other.
In that case, the site with more authority will probably pass a small amount on to the one with less authority, and the one with smaller authority will pass next to none onto the site with more.
The only exception to this rule might be if a site with a lot more authority than yours offers to exchange links with you. This isn’t likely to happen, but in the event that it does, it might be worth it to exchange links, because you will receive some authority, even if you pass a small amount back to the other site.
Now that we’ve talked about some of the best practices regarding link building, let’s talk about some of the ways you can obtain those highly coveted links.
Above and beyond anything else, the best way to build quality links is to create excellent content that people are excited to share. You could write this content for your own website, or offer to guest blog on an established website in exchange for a link.
Just don’t start writing content for every site that asks you to. You want to be selective about who you give your best content to, even if you are fully credited. Focus on writing content for sites that have a higher domain authority than your own, and who promise to leave your link intact and not place the no-follow tag on it.
Always thoroughly research websites that you are considering before you agree to guest blog. Check their ranking score, and read through some of the content on their website to gauge relevancy as well as overall quality.
While most social media links are no-follow, you can still benefit from posting your content in two specific ways.
- Increase Your Social Signals. Social signals let the search engines know your content is in-demand, relevant and share-worthy. The more shares it gets, the stronger those social signals affect your SEO.
- Increased Discoverability. The more your content gets shared, the more likely it is to be seen by people who could link to it.
To begin, use social listening tools to locate your target audience. These resources will help you quickly find your audience while also helping you keep a pulse on your demographic. Better yet, you will easily be able to receive alerts whenever you, or your brand, are mentioned.
HootSuite is one of the most popular social listening tools, but you can find a full list of top apps and products here: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/top-10-free-social-media-monitoring-tools/
Make sure you’re posting your content on social media frequently, and be sure you post it on as many different channels as you can. One of the easiest ways to ensure consistent posting is to download a tool like HootSuite and schedule your tweets so that they are automatically published at certain times of the day.
You also want to pay close attention to the level of engagement your content is receiving (in the form of likes, shares and mentions). This will be a clear indicator as to what content is most relevant and of interest to your target audience. Then, create more content in that same vein!
Believe it or not, a mention of your website without a link can still add value to your SEO strategy by increasing your social signals. As long as your site, or brand name is somewhat unique, a simple mention on an authority site can boost your rank authority.
It may sound too good to be true, but it really does work. And the more often other sites mention yours, the greater the impact will be.
While getting buried on resource pages or link lists isn’t going to be as effective as a link within the content of an exceptionally well-written article, it can still have a benefit if the site has enough domain authority.
So, if you come across a site that offers links on such a page, you don’t necessarily have to pass it up. Just don’t depend on it for your main source of links, because these pages won’t pass on much authority.
A surprising source of links that a lot of people don’t think about is the posting of infographics and similar content. Infographics tend to get shared and pinned on Pinterest quite regularly, and they are often shared via website’s and blogs as well, along with a link to the original source of the graphic. (You!)
If you can’t create infographics yourself, you can hire someone to do it affordably on freelance marketplaces like www.Upwork.com, or you can just purchase an infographic template from a site like www.Envato.com, and edit it to match whatever information you want to convey.
Be sure to mention on the infographic that people are free to share the content as long as they link back to your site.
Help a Reporter Out
If you have something interesting and newsworthy on your website, you can go to Help a Reporter Out and look for opportunities to help journalists and bloggers find new ideas for articles.
In exchange, you can get a prominent link to your website—often from a website or blog with a lot of authority!
You can use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to check a site’s domain authority:
You can also use Moz’s Site Explorer for free:
Remember, when building your link profile, it’s all about quality over quantity. One high quality link is worth more than a dozen of low-quality ones, so always pay close attention to how you are building your links and make sure you create a targeted plan of action and follow through.
Build your links over time. Don’t rush out and generate dozens of links in a single month as search engines want to see an established pattern of natural growth.
Develop a reputation for high quality content that is relevant, on-point and useful to your target audience. Not only is creating share-worthy content one of the easiest ways to build authority in your market, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to generate powerful backlink campaigns as external websites begin to link to your material.
Create pillar-style, informative how-to posts that will capture attention and help you to stand out in your market. Link building for SEO is all about developing as many social signals and possible, so the more you get people talking about your content, as well as actively engaging and sharing it, the faster you will create an unbreakable backlink profile.
To your success!