Link Building Made Real Simple: Build Links Naturally

I won’t reveal you a big secret by saying that Google, as well as other major search engines, review links as one of the primary factors for ranking web pages. This means only one thing for you: if you want to rank high in search, you have to build links. I’m sure you have already studied a lot of information about link building. Some of it was useful, some of it was not.

Link Building Made Real Simple: eAskme
Link Building Made Real Simple: eAskme.com
Other people are reading: How will link building change this year

This article is aimed at telling you how to build links the right way. This brief guide suits users with basic link building knowledge or even without it at all. It covers the best tried and tested methods you will be able to apply straight away.

Let’s start with the definition.

What is link building?

It’s simple. Marketers call the process of acquiring backlinks from external sites link building.
You should understand the goal of link building campaigns as well. They are aimed at increasing search traffic coming from Google and popular sites.

The research done by Ahrefs has found that the number of inbound links to a website has a high correlation with Google rankings.

Take a look at the chart below. It has been taken from the study of over 2 million keywords. It proves that link signals have a much higher correlation score than individual on-page factors like meta tags, keywords, etc.

What is link building: Link Building Made Real Simple: eAskme

Actionable link building strategies

Now we are going to recap major link building strategies one-by-one. Each tactic comes with a short description so that you clearly understood how to apply it in practice.

Well, let’s start with the most popular and efficient tactic according to our survey.

1. Super awesome content

Super awesome content: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme
Photo by Headway on Unsplash

The content we are talking about is called link bait. It can take many forms, but in simple words, link bait refers to any piece of content that attracts links naturally, by saying ‘naturally’ we mean because of its high value or unique proposition.

Such kind of links is considered ‘earned’ rather than ‘built’. By the way, even link bait content requires promotion.

The content value could come from the following:
  • All-embracing research
  • Unique data
  • A survey
  • Attractive/unique graphics
  • A free tool
Link bait is an excellent example of white hat link building, the purest form of it. This is a kind of return to the way Google originally meant links would push the best content to the top.

What do you need to apply this technique? Even after reading the definition you understand that high-quality resource is required as ‘bait’. You need an engaging piece of content that will be widely shared and rank high in search.

Side projects/free tools would also fall under the link bait category. These side projects would generally be separate from your main product or service but related to it. They should provide value on their own.

2. Feature influencers

Feature influencers: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
Photo by Paweł Furman on Unsplash

Do you hesitate whether you should contact an influencer or not? Don’t be scared away by the status even if you are just a startupper. Your niche celebs are just marketing pros. Their hearts melt when you feature, quote or mention them.

The tactic is called ego-bait. It is pretty efficient and includes:
  • An interview with an influencer on your site
  • An expert roundup that includes an influencer in an expert roundup
  • Quote an influencer in your content or link to their site
  • Include an influencer in a top 10 list
You’ll see that most of the influencers will at least share content proving once again that they are field experts. This will amplify the content reach and potentially lead to links.

3. Using broken links

Using broken links: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
Photo by Peter Doran on Unsplash

You have surely noticed that some resources you found useful previously, disappear from the web. Why does it happen? The company behind the site may go out of business or perhaps the site is no longer actively maintained.

This can be an opportunity for the link builder.

Here’s what you can do. Create a similar resource on your own site and reach out to sites with broken links. Offer them your content as a good alternative. Webmasters are usually eager to fix errors on their sites, so you are likely to succeed.

4. Reclamation of links

Link reclamation includes:

  • Fixing of the broken links that point to your site along with fixing broken internal links
  • Finding and searching for unlinked brand mentions
Identifying the uncredited use of copyrighted material. It may be proprietary images or videos
Now let’s talk about each of the above points:

1. Fixing broken links that point to your site

Are there any broken links pointing to 404 pages on your site? You need to fix it as you are losing valuable link juice.

Here’s how we, at Ahrefs cope with the issue. We need Ahrefs and a free WordPress Redirection plugin for the purpose.
At first, we run the Broken Link Checker report in Ahrefs Site Explorer in order to get a list of all broken backlinks.

When we have the list, we create a 301 redirect for each broken link with the help of “Redirection” plugin

2. Unlinked brand mentions

Some websites mention but don’t include a link back to your site. In this case, you can reach out to the site, thank them for the mention, and ask them to add a link. That’s it.

3. Fighting the uncredited use of copyrighted material

If someone uses your copyrighted material it may be a photo, for example, on their site you can either ask them to remove it or take this as one more link building opportunity.  Send the site owner/webmaster/site editor an email to inform them of the violation and asking for accreditation. This should be enough to solve the issue and pick up a link.

By the way, you can use Google’s reverse image search to look for sites that are using your copyrighted images.
Fighting the uncredited use of copyrighted material: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com

5. Get into the news stream

Get into the news stream: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

This technique refers to managing to get into the slipstream of the hot trending news and mentioning your brand or ideas in the story somehow.

It can be a really effective way of collecting high-quality links from big publications.

However, time is everything in newsjacking. When something newsworthy happens journalists are taking pains to cover each and every angle and pick out experts’ quotes that may add insights to the event. But you have to be really fast here as nobody is interested in the outdated info.

6. Writing guest posts

Writing guest posts: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
 Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Guest blogging is an effective way to expose your website/brand to the new audiences and build authority boosting links.

I am sure you understand that I’m talking about top quality guest posts that stay a great method of acquiring white hat links. By the way, low quality guest-blogging has been crushed by Google and is not effective as it used to be before.

Good news is that there are tier 1 blogs in most niches that accept guest posts.

7. Interviews

Interviews: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
Photo by lucas clarysse on Unsplash

Should admit that multiple aspects of modern link building cross over the traditional PR. Building links by posting interviews with niche experts falls under this category.

You can use one of the following interview forms:

  • Blog interviews
  • Participating in ’expert roundup’ posts
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
However, in all cases the goal is going to be the same: grow your profile in your niche and pick up some quality links at the same time. These links belong to the traffic driving ones, so they are also the white hat tactic.

8. Create infographics

Create infographics: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com

Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/

Creating infographics is not a new tactic but today it’s back again after a few years of being out of fashion.

There is a good reason why infographics remain a particularly effective way to power up the return for your outreach efforts.

It’s natural that outreach is always more effective when you offer something valuable for the host site. A high-quality infographic with a customized introduction is one of the types of such value exchange. A great deal: the host site gets your amazing content — you get a deserved backlink.
9. Syndication of content

I don’t recommend you syndicate content everywhere but doing this to quality sites with link attribution can lead to traffic increase and rankings boost.

What do I mean by saying “quality sites”? The ones  like:
  • Medium
  • Linkedin Pulse
  • Business 2 Community
  • Examiner
Write a custom title and introduction for each platform to pull the most out of your syndication.

10. Repurposing of content

What do you need to repurpose content for? First of all, you can obtain more value out of your content, secondly, you can acquire high-quality links.

What can you repurpose a blog post into?
  • A video
  • An infographic
  • An eBook
  • A slideshare presentation
Note that each piece of the repurposed content can be shared on relevant channels many of which offer the opportunity for a backlink.

As far as you understand, each of the content format and platform has a different potential audience.
Just like in the case with all the rest link building it should not be abused. Besides, any repurposed content should be of high quality and be capable to stand alone.

11. Building links with images

Building links with images: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

There is a number of ways to leverage custom images and gain backlinks to your site.

Here are some of them:
  • Creating charts to visualize data
  • Creating memes specific to your niche
  • Creating images with quotes from famous bloggers or celebrities in your niche
  • Creating pinnable images for your blog posts
  • Providing stock images for use with attribution
You can add ‘swipeable’ images to your blog posts charts and graphs and encourage readers to download and share them on their own sites. This is a pretty efficient way to pick up links.

12. Directory submissions

Mass directory submissions are not practiced anymore, but there still may be some SEO value in acquiring links from quality or narrow-niche directories.

You need to determine directory’s strength. Some marketers use PageRank metric for that, but it is not updated frequently and easy to manipulate, so I would advise considering the following points instead.

Ensure that all links added to the directory go through a human review before they go live.

The directory must include quality sites and there should be no obvious manipulated anchor text links from the directory pages.

Check out the directory age using archive.org to make sure that it has been around for some time in the form it exists at the moment.

The directory’s backlink profile must be relatively clean and not to build spammy links.

Use this command cache:thedirectory.com/theurl to make sure that the link you are going to place would be cached by Google.

In any case, directory submissions should be only a small part of your overall link building strategy or you may not use them at all.

13. Press release distribution

Press release distribution: Actionable link building strategies: eAskme.com
Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Similar to mass directory submissions, mass press release distribution offers little benefit and may be a sign of manipulative link building.

However, if your goal is to attract press, it is a legitimate PR tactic which equals to a legitimate link building tactic.

Do you have anything really newsworthy (for instance a project/website launch)? Choose the channel to distribute your press release and make sure that it is of high quality and written in the third party.
This will increase your chances of being noticed and acquire more links.

Keep in mind that branded links are recommended for press releases. They are not the place to build your anchor text links.

14. Build local citations

Building citations on local business directories/portals still stays an effective tactic for improving local SEO.

Business directories have high acceptance standards in comparison to general web directories and will include only legitimate businesses into the list. Thanks to the fact they are likely to be reasonably well trusted by Google.

Llink building strategies for local business

BTW, not every business directory will include a link back to your site but many SEO professionals believe that even a mention from a trusted resource may be considered an ‘inferred link’ by Google and contribute into higher rankings.

15. Commenting on blogs

This is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks to both new and old websites. Effective blog commenting strategy is able to keep your backlink graph constant or raising with time.

Google likes when people actively participate in their niches and comment on blogs, so show that you are an engaged community member.

You can also build friendly relationships with other bloggers by means of commenting. This will help you with outreach campaigns as it is much easier to contact somebody you know.

Remember, mass commenting will not work. Your comments must be insightful, the blogs must be decent as only such kind of commenting may help with your rankings.

300+ High PR Dofollow Blog Comment Sites list 2018 & Free Backlinks

Quality comments, which contribute to the blog post content and show your expertise can drive traffic to your own site and help to grow your audience. This may be called an indirect ranking factor.

16. Contribute to niche forums

SEOs know where to go for their audience. They find the places where their potential customers like to hang out.

When you are an active forum participant, it’s not an isfsue for you to drop an occasional link back to your site if its relevant to the context, adds value, or answers a question.

Such kind of links is good for traffic and conversions. Participate in forums and show your expertise. This is how you build trust in the community. Then anyone who enters your site is already semi-qualified.

17. Participate in niche community sites

Are you signed up for Reddit? Then you surely know that there is a subreddit for pretty much everything, from web development to handicrafts.

What you need to do is detect subreddits that are related to your niche, participate, and occasionally share truly interesting and relevant content from your own site. This is quite a legitimate way to build links that drive traffic.

Did you know that once submissions achieve a certain number of upvotes, which varies from subreddit to subreddit, they become dofollow? Sure enough, this increases their SEO value.

Besides, a popular Reddit submission may bring you additional editorial links because many curation sites use Reddit as the source of their content.

Reddit is not the only one industry-specific community site. There are many others out there, like inbound.org targeted on marketers, for example. Just like I have already told you above, active participation gives opportunities both for building links and relationships.

18. Answer questions on sites like Quora, Yahoo, and similar

Links from question and answer style sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers are a great way to drive traffic to your site and build your authority in a niche.

You can also see which topics are trending in your niche.

Sites to Create Free Blog for Backlinks

Some questions are being asked every now and again. This happens because people posting them failed to find an in-depth answer in Google. This is your chance! Create content on your site that fills the information gap. It will present you an opportunity for bringing in search traffic and building links.

19. Sponsor charity organizations and events

Charity organizations often list their sponsors and link back to their sites. They are trusted by people and have high domain authority as a rule, which may be beneficial for rankings.

You are right, strictly speaking, these are paid links, but you don’t risk much getting them.

You can also exchange your services for a mention on the charity site. For example, if you are a web designer, you could offer to create a banner or whatever you would like to create for free provided that the charity organization includes some info with attribution on their site.

Your turn

That’s it for now. Of course, there is so much to be added to this brief link building guide, but now you know where to start. So, what do you think about the material? What strategies would work best for you and why do you think so? Do you think major link building tactics are going to change in the future? Any questions on the topic?

Please leave everything that is on your mind in the comments.

I wish you best of luck with your link building!

About the author

Helga Moreno is a passionate content creator and marketer at Ahrefs bold enough to believe that if there's a book that she wants to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then she must write it herself.

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