Over the past few years, Google’s Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin updates have drastically altered how we approach digital marketing. Successful SEO specialists realize that trying new strategies and adapting to changes is mandatory to keep upward momentum continuing. Building quality backlinks is one of the few SEO relics of the past that is still very relevant today, but how you approach link building can make or break your marketing campaign. Here are nine effective link building strategies that work.
1. Find and Report Broken Links
Finding relevant broken links, creating replaceable content, and informing the webmaster is one of the best white hat strategies out there today. This ultra-white hat strategy is appealing because its effectiveness is based on you helping people and making the Internet a better place.
First, you need to locate broken links that are associated with your niche. To accomplish this, use an SEO tool such as Screaming Frog to crawl relevant websites and search for dead pages. Check the context of the link, and if you have relevant content already, you are good to go. If not, consider creating or outsourcing relevant content.
Finally, simply email the webmaster to let them know about the dead page, and provide your link as a substitution. If the webmaster’s contact information is not available, you can try Googling ‘whois’ followed by the domain in question. If this does not produce the contact information, you may want to contact the site’s hosting company.
2. Create New Content Regularly
One thing all high-ranking websites have in common is that they are not sterile. It’s not enough to create a website – it should be an ongoing project. One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your audience interested and create internal links is to add a blog to your domain.
Try to update your blog every day, and link to relevant pages on your domain. Keep your content fresh, interesting, exciting, and evergreen, and use videos, images, polls, and contests to engage your visitors. Quality content will always be in demand, regardless of whether you pepper it with the right keywords to attract algorithms.
3. Make It Easy to Link to Your Website
Not everyone who links to you is going to be Internet savvy, so it is up to you to make linking to your website painless. You can accomplish this by providing a ‘Link to Us’ page at the end of each post. That page should have an HTML snippet that webmasters can simply copy and paste. Make sure your contact information is readily available so webmasters can contact you if necessary.
4. Reach a Broader Audience
Expanding your audience opens new potential for inbound links, so think big. The most effective way to do grow your audience is to stay active on social media, provide excellent content, and hope that people share your content. Another way to reach a lot of people is to offer your content in other languages. There are plenty of translation tools online such as Google Translate, or for more accuracy, you may want to hire someone. Submit this content to non-English directories. Time can also be your friend as long as you create evergreen content.
5. Talk to Friends and Family
Chances are very high that at least one person in your circle has their own website, and it is pretty much guaranteed that most of them have social media profiles. Sometimes all it takes is nicely asking them to link your page. It is worth noting that Google’s Penguin update has been known to penalize webmasters for irrelevant links, so you may want to request that those who link to you also add some context so that the link doesn’t feel forced.
6. Reach Out to Local Media Outlets
Receiving a link from a legitimate online publication like a newspaper or TV station is a great way to boost your search engine rankings. Reach out to local writers and let them know that you are available for commenting on relevant stories. You could also try pitching a story about your company or organization, but that may be a tough sell if you are not doing anything particularly newsworthy. Make sure that you are confident that you are in fact an expert in your field before you attempt this strategy.
7. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Joining your local chamber of commerce is a surefire way to get a link from a reputable organization. As an added bonus, joining will give you the opportunity to form mutually beneficial relationships with other local businesses. You don’t need to limit yourself to just a chamber of commerce either – there are many organizations for businesses to join, including SCORE, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, NFIB, and Meetup, just to name a few.
8. Be Community Oriented
In general, being active in your community is going to help you build links, so sponsor a charity or local sports team, speak at local schools, and provide testimonials and reviews for other local businesses. Get your website listed in local directories such as your building’s online directory, local newspapers, and your city/county directory, and provide detailed reviews for other relevant websites that are listed using Yelp, CitySearch, AngiesList, and Merchant Circle.
9. Just Ask
Sometimes the simplest strategies are the most effective, and it never hurts to ask. Email the webmasters of reputable sites that are related to yours, and simply ask them directly to link your website. Offering to link back to them in exchange can actually result in Google penalties, so consider offering them something in return such as a product review or a mention on your social media pages. You will receive plenty of rejections if you get a response at all, but don’t be discouraged. Persistence is the key to link building.