If you’ve spent any time at all in the world of SEO, you know how important link building is. But you also know how tricky it can be.
It’s a combination of every single skill you need to make your company successful. You have to be brilliant at creating content and pushing sales. Your marketing and psychology have to be top notch. There’s just so much that goes into it.
But, if you want to rank on search engines, you have to build links.
And in the ever-changing internet landscape, you hear conflicting information all the time about how to do things best. That’s why we wrote this guide, to help show you the best link building practices of 2018, including different types of links you should include in your link building efforts.
The Fundamentals of Link Building
Recently, Google itself has come out and admitted that backlinks are one of the three things that their bots look for when scanning the internet for the most relevant blogs.
Let’s take a look at the pre-Google days. Back when Yahoo! ruled the internet, they ranked their results based on the content of a webpage.
So when Google came in, they completely changed the game. They used their algorithm to look past what was on the webpage. Instead, they looked at how many people linked back to it. And that idea stuck around for the last 20 years.
Google focuses a lot more on the quality of the links rather than the quantity of them, though.
So, what makes a quality link? How are you supposed to link build with them?
Before we can really talk about how to build links, you have to understand what makes a link quality and what makes a poor quality link.
Page and Site Authority
More than anything else about a link, their page’s authority will impact your rankings. It’s easy to check this out using Ahrefs as a tool. All you have to do is plug the URL into their tool and look at its URL rating.
Another thing to consider is the kind of authority the entire domain has.
While it’s probably easier to get a blogger with no following to link to your page, you won’t get as much of a boost from them as you would from, say, one from Huffington Post or the like. It’s worth the effort you put into it.
This is another place where Ahrefs is an invaluable tool. Just check out the specific site’s DomainRating.
You also want to make sure that your links are coming from sources that are relevant to your own website. If you run a blog about cats and all of your links come from blogs about amusement parks, you’re not getting a link with a ton of quality.
Where You’re At
If your link is stuck in a sidebar or a footer, it’s not worth much. But if you manage to land in the middle of a quality piece of content, you’ve struck gold.
Also, you will get the most out of a link that is there for an editorial purpose. If you just throw a link out through a throw-away account on a high authority web page, you’re not getting all that you could out of it.
But if a blogger thought your product or service was awesome and they wanted to talk about it on your blog, that’s quality link building.
The Anchor Text
The anchor text is the series of words that the link was actually placed in, like the clickable part of a sentence. Google actually uses this in ranking determination as well.
In the days of the past, SEO experts strongly encouraged you to try to get your keywords into your anchor text in any way possible. But that was abused quickly and now it’s almost considered spam.
So, for the most part, you shouldn’t try to stuff your keywords into the anchor text. But if you get one anyway, it’s still a win.
These are the things that are situated around your link. These words help the algorithm figure out what your page is about, so they use it to decide where you should rank in their listings.
A few years ago, Google said that guest posting was dead. And, in some cases it is.
But if you can get a genuine guest post on a legitimate blog where you aren’t paying the person to publish your post, it’s going to help your chances.
How to Get Links With Content Marketing
Just like with link building, it’s no surprise that creating amazing content is going to get you more chances for amazing backlinks.
But there’s a trick to it.
Here are the kinds of content that will get you more links.
Putting a useful visual aid on your website, like an image, diagram, infographic, or chart can do wonders for your link building.
If another page finds your image useful, they can link to that image and it counts as a link back to your site. You just can’t get this with exclusively text-based content.
There’s just something really fun about a quick list, right? Think about BuzzFeed. They divide up their content into easily manageable pieces of information and it zooms around the internet faster than you can say “viral.”
If you can include original research and data, you’re going to get links. This stuff is easy to link to, and when someone cites your research they link it back to you and those links can add up fast.
If you can include every available piece of information in your post, you make it a one-stop shop for that topic. People will use it and link it because they find it useful.
Building Different Types of Links Through Email
If you want to create high-quality links, you have to be willing to reach out to people through email. But how do you avoid ending up tossed in the spam folder?
Find the People Who Will Link to You
This probably sounds silly. How do you find the people who will be most likely to link to you before you even ask them if they”re willing to link to you?
This is where Ahrefs comes to the rescue again. Search for your keyword in Google and pick up the first URL you find. Plug it into Ahrefs.
Now, look at that page’s backlinks. Any of the sites you find there are good places to start.
Make it Personal
If you want to reach a lot of people, you’re not going to have time to write a detailed, personal script every time. But you still want it to look personal enough that the recipient doesn’t feel like they’re just a notch in your SEO bedpost.
So, create a script that has a lot of places for you to add in details about their work. Include something you like about their posts and be conversational about it.
Black Hat Linking
Blackhat SEO is when someone who is trying to advance their ranking through means that are against a search engine’s rules. To find out if your methods are black hat or not, ask yourself if the content you’re creating is actually adding any value to the market or if you’re just hoping the search engines notice you.
Going against Google’s guideline comes with penalties. We’ll talk about them here.
This is a penalty that targets a site that tries to link build through spammy methods. This includes things like bad guest posting and spamming blogs with your comments.
It’s pretty easy to avoid. You just have to make sure your link building tactics are above board.
While Google Penguin is automated, you can still receive a manual strike from the people at Google. You’ll get a message through the search console.
The method behind figuring out who gets a manual strike is proprietary, so just make sure you’re going about this the right way.
Link Building Strategies
Here are two of the best ways to build links in a legit way that won’t earn you penalties from the higher-ups at Google.
Resource pages provide links to great content about specific topics. These pages are created for a website’s visitors to find important information quickly, so if you can score a spot on one of these, you’re in link building heaven.
With this method of link building, you will search for research pages on those blogs we mentioned before, the ones that show up in the backlinks of the other pages ranking in your chosen keyword.
Scour those for resource pages and see what they have.
Do they have an area missing? Can you fill that gap? If you can or if you have, send them an email with a tested script and try with all your might to get your content listed up there.
This is another brilliant method. Instead of asking for someone to add your content to their page, you’re trying to fix a problem for them. A lot of times, it’s a problem they didn’t even know they had.
Find a page that is relevant to your topic and check for one with a lot of outbound links. Then, check for any broken links.
You can check for broken links by adding the Check My Links extension to your Chrome browser. If you find a link that you can possibly take the place of, email them about their broken link and offer your content up as an easy swap.
If you notice that someone has mentioned you on their blog (in a positive light, we hope) and didn’t link to you, you should reach out to them and ask for them
If you find people using your images without referencing back to you, don’t get mad about it. Simply send them an email and ask for them to link back to your website in a friendly way and see what comes of it. This could be a great opportunity for link building.
Most people are sending their emails in the morning. The early bird gets the worm, right?
Eh, not so much on this one.
If you send your email at the same time everyone else is, you’re going to just get grouped together with everyone else. Your target is much more likely to just glaze over your request and keep moving.
But there’s a lot less of this in the afternoon. So try sending your emails then.
Make it a Twofer
Instead of just sending one email asking for a link, send two emails. Except, don’t ask for anything in the first one.
Send out an email to get the feel for the other person. Introduce yourself and mention how much you like their content. Strike up a conversation.
Then send in your request when you’ve decided that they’re a good fit for you. And put a lot of effort into it. You’ll save time.
Guests posts are great when they’re used properly but they take forever to write.
But podcasts are a great opportunity to show up and get talking about something you love: your business. Most podcasts include links on their homepage to whoever they’re talking to that episode, too.
The Bottom Line
There are so many ways to build up your backlink profile, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy task. You have to make sure you’re using different types of links while also staying off of the black hat spectrum of link building.
It’s a difficult thing to balance, and it’s something that takes a lot of time. But you’ll find that it’s absolutely worth it when your website starts to climb up the rankings in Google and your page is flooded with visitors who keep coming back.
For more information on link building and how important it is for your SEO strategy, visit us today.