If you work in the digital marketing sphere, you’ve more than likely heard the term “link building.” But it sounds daunting and confusing with the way marketers describe it. In fact, 65% of digital marketers state that link building is the hardest part of SEO. It makes you think, why is something so difficult still relevant and more important than ever?
Related reading: 20 Ways To Master Off-Page SEO In 2023 – Zen Media
What is link building?
Like it sounds, link building is the process of creating one-way hyperlinks from other websites to your own website, with the goal of improving search engine visibility and rankings.
Link building can be a powerful tool for increasing website traffic and boosting brand awareness. There are many different strategies that can be used for link building, such as B2B content marketing, email outreach, broken link building, and social media. All of these strategies can help improve your website’s visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Why is link building so important for SEO?
Believe it or not, link building came to be thanks to a special search engine named Google. Back before Google existed in the early days of the internet, search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista were the dominant players. They ranked their search results solely based on the content of a webpage. This meant that if you wanted to get your website noticed, you had to make sure it was filled with relevant information and keywords. Clearly, this system had its flaws, as it was easy for websites to cheat the system by stuffing their pages with irrelevant keywords.
Related reading: What Is The Messy Middle? Here’s What Google Has To Say – Zen Media
Enter Google and their now-famous PageRank Algorithm. This algorithm changed the game by taking into account the content of a page and how many other websites linked to it. This meant that if a website had lots of links pointing to it from other reputable sites, then it would be seen as more authoritative and rank higher in search engine results. This is why link building is incredibly important when it comes to B2B SEO.
Types of backlinks
Do-follow: These are links that pass on “link juice” or ranking power to the linked site.
No-follow: These links do not pass on any link juice or ranking power to the linked site.
Internal: These are links that point to other pages within the same website.
External: These are links that point to pages on other websites.
Natural: These are links that are earned naturally, such as through content creation or social media shares.
Direct: These are links that point directly to the homepage of the linked website.
Profile: These are links that are placed within the author or user profile section of a website.
10 effective link building strategies for your next SEO campaign
1. Ask people you know for links
This is probably the simplest way to ease into getting backlinks. Making connections in the industry is crucial and a step in the right direction. Asking people you know for links is a great way to get your website noticed and increase its visibility.
However, it’s important to remember that the links should be relevant to your website or business, as any irrelevant links provided won’t have much of an impact. For example, if you own a jewelry store, it wouldn’t make sense to ask someone with a football blog to link back to your website because that would just be absurd. If you’re lucky enough to find someone with a relevant website or blog, then you can benefit from the increased traffic that comes with more links pointing back to your site.
2. Email outreach
Also known as sending “cold emails,” this technique requires straight-up emailing people and asking them for backlinks. Mainly it involves sending personalized emails to relevant websites and asking them to link back to your website. This requires careful research and planning in order to ensure that you are targeting the right people. You should also craft a personalized pitch that offers value, such as providing (kind, professional) feedback or offering something in exchange for a link back. This will help create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the sites you are reaching out to.
3. Use their name
Marketers get hundreds of emails daily, most of which are most likely automated. They don’t want to see impersonal pitches that have probably been sent to a heap of others. It is so simple to use someone’s name, yet it can be a powerful way to make a connection with them. It shows that you have taken the time to get to know them and are interested in what they say. By using their name, you can build trust with the person you are communicating with.
When trying to find someone’s name, it is important to take the time to do some research. Check their about page or look for the author name under blog posts. You can also click through their social media accounts and see if their name is listed there. Go through the company page or use a tool such as Hunter. Personalized emails generate 33% higher response rates. So, taking these small steps will help ensure that your message stands out from the crowd and makes a lasting impression on your recipient.
4. Use a good subject line
When it comes to emailing, the first thing your recipient will see is the subject line and if it doesn’t grab their attention, then chances are they won’t even bother opening your email. This means that you don’t even get a chance to explain yourself or make your case, which can be incredibly frustrating.
Not only this, but a bad subject line can also trigger spam filters and result in your email being flagged as spam. This means that you’re relying on the person on the other end to actually check their spam folder (which is rare) and see your email as genuine. All in all, this is not an ideal situation to be in, and it’s important to make sure that you use a good subject line when contacting anyone for backlinks.
5. Mention something specific about them
When it comes to reaching out to sites, it’s important to mention something specific about their work. This shows that you have taken the time to do your research and are genuinely interested in what they have to offer. It also gives you an opportunity to introduce your own content and explain why the blogger should care about it.
It’s essential you remain genuine and authentic with your approach. If the site owner or business senses that you are just sending out a templated email, then they will likely not be interested in working with you. To make sure this doesn’t happen, take some time to really get to know the blogger and their work before reaching out. Doing this will help ensure that your message is well-received and appreciated by the recipient.
6. Get on “best of” lists
Getting on “best of” lists is a great way to get your product or service noticed and validated. It also provides a link to your website from an authoritative source, which can help boost your SEO rankings. To find the right lists for you, use a tool like Online Backlink Checker to check a competitor’s website and look for do-follow backlinks that contain phrases like “best” and “top.” You can then contact the writer or site owner and inquire about the process of getting added to the list. Depending on the list, it may be paid placement or up to editorial discretion. If you provide them with a convincing blurb about why your product or service should be included, they may add you to keep their content fresh. This is an effective way to get more exposure for your business and increase traffic to your website.
7. Use the broken link building strategy
The broken link building strategy is an effective strategy for improving a website’s SEO and gaining valuable backlinks. It involves finding broken links on other websites, contacting the site owners, and suggesting they replace the broken link with one that leads to a similar page on your website. This not only helps you gain backlinks but also provides value to the sites you are linking to by providing them with a working link.
There are two primary ways of finding these broken backlinks: manually searching through web pages or using automated tools such as Ahrefs or Moz Link Explorer. Manually searching can be time consuming but it allows you to find more specific links that may be relevant to your website. Automated tools are faster and easier to use but may not provide as accurate results as manual searches. Whichever method you choose, broken link building is an effective way of increasing your website’s visibility and gaining valuable backlinks from other websites.
8. Find broken links from your competitors
Finding broken backlinks from your competitors can be a great way to gain an edge in the search engine rankings. By using a backlink analysis tool, such as SEMrush. With this tool you can easily identify high-authority do-follow backlinks that are throwing a 404 error. These links provide an opportunity for you to reach out to the page owner and suggest replacing the link with one of your own. If it is relevant, they may be more likely to use your link since it helps them eliminate a 404 without having to take the time to find a good replacement.
By taking advantage of these broken backlinks, you can increase your visibility in search engine results pages and gain an edge over your competitors. It’s important to remember that not all broken links will be relevant or useful for you, so make sure you take the time to review each one before reaching out with your suggestion. Additionally, keep track of any successful replacements so that you can monitor their performance and adjust accordingly if needed.
9. Run a backlink gap analysis
A backlink gap analysis is the process of comparing the backlinks of your website to a competitor’s site in order to identify opportunities for improvement. Running a backlink gap analysis is an effective way to identify potential opportunities for link-building. By comparing your site’s backlink profile with that of your competitors, you can uncover untapped link-building opportunities that could help you close the gap and gain an edge over them.
SEMrush has a Backlink Gap tool that allows you to quickly and easily compare your backlinks with those of your competitors, so you can see which sites they are linked to that you are not. This can provide valuable insights into where you should focus your efforts in order to build more links and increase your visibility online.
10. The Skyscraper technique
The skyscraper technique is a popular content marketing strategy created by Brian Dean of Backlinko. It’s a link building strategy that involves finding popular content that has a lot of links, identifying its weaknesses, and creating a new and improved version of that content. It requires detailed research on the niche you are creating content for, as well as pinpointing all the weak spots and omissions of the current content that targets your audience. This includes text structure, visual components, readability, and keyword density. The goal is to create something better than your competitors in order to attract more attention and backlinks.
This technique can be extremely effective when done correctly. It allows you to capitalize on existing popular content. This can help you stand out from other similar pieces of content and draw more attention to your work. Additionally, by improving upon existing content, you can increase the chances of getting more backlinks, which will help boost your SEO rankings. Overall, the skyscraper technique is an effective way to get more visibility for your website or blog.
Bonus: Use more infographics
Infographics have become a powerful tool for link building, as they are highly shareable and provide viewers with easily digestible information in an attractive format. In fact, according to CMI, 67% of B2B marketers use infographics. However, not everyone who embeds your infographics will link back to you, which can be frustrating. To find out who is or isn’t giving you credit, you can go to where your infographic is hosted and right-click the image. Then select “Copy Image URL” to see if any links are associated with it.
If there are no links associated with the image, then you can reach out to those who have embedded your infographic and ask them to add a link back to your website. This will help boost your SEO rankings and increase traffic to your website. Additionally, it will also help build relationships with other websites that may be interested in featuring more of your content in the future.
3 Link building strategies to avoid
1. Ignoring outreach emails
No matter how hard you work on a piece of content, it can be disheartening when someone doesn’t like it. It’s easy to just ignore the email and move on, but this is not the best approach. Ignoring the reply will damage your chances of building a good relationship with that person in the future.
It’s important to take the time to respond to emails, even if it’s just to thank them for their feedback. This shows that you value their opinion and are willing to listen and learn from it. You never know what opportunities may arise from engaging with someone who didn’t like your current work—they may be impressed by your next piece! Taking the time to reply also ensures that you don’t alienate anyone so that they don’t bother looking at your future pieces of work.
2. Use mass emailing software
Mass emailing software can be a great tool for businesses to reach out to their customers and potential customers. It allows companies to quickly and easily send out emails to large groups of people, saving time and money. However, when it comes to link building, mass emailing software should generally be avoided. This is because it is much harder to personalize these types of emails than if they were sent individually. Additionally, many people are wary of receiving automated messages and may not even open them or click on any links included in them. Therefore, it is best practice to use other methods, such as organic outreach or social media campaigns when attempting link building.
3. Not customizing your templates
Customizing your email template is an important step in ensuring that you get a positive response from the recipient. Without taking the time to personalize the message, it can come off as generic and unappealing. This is why it’s important to take the time to edit the yellow bits and references of an email template before sending it out. By doing so, you can make sure that your message is tailored specifically for the person you are sending it to.
If you do forget to customize your template before sending it out, Gmail’s undo send feature can luckily save you from embarrassment. However, “undo send” only works if the recipient hasn’t already looked at the email, so it shouldn’t be relied upon as a substitute for taking the time to properly customize your template beforehand. Taking a few extra minutes to personalize your message will go a long way in making sure that you get a positive response from the recipient.
Link building is an essential part of any SEO campaign. By using the strategies outlined in this article—and avoiding the “don’ts”—you can ensure that your website will be able to rank higher in search engine results and increase its visibility online. Taking the time to properly research and implement the right link building strategies will help you to skyrocket your SEO campaigns.
Looking to expand your link building strategy or still in need of one? We can help.