Link building is one of the fundamental building blocks of Search Engine Optimization. Websites with many external links have considerably higher link authority, which plays an important role in Google's ranking algorithm.
Obtaining backlinks requires the help of other websites. It's a process of creating relevant content, contacting others, and hoping they respond favorably. There are a number of techniques you can use to gain backlinks, but none have a success rate of 100 percent. Fortunately, there are ways you can improve your content and outreach methods to improve your conversion rates.
1. Create valuable content.
When creating your content, ask yourself: have I created a ‘linkable asset'?
Your content should be unique, relevant, and valuable to your reader. Others online should want to share your content by linking to it. Does your content answer an important question, or provide information unavailable elsewhere? Can your content be used as a foundation for other valuable content? Create content that can serve as a building block for others. Link building should be mutually beneficial – your content provides something that helps others, and in return you earn backlinks.
Valuable content starts with your topic. Your content should be relevant to popular search terms in your field. Finding relevant topics is easier than ever – use one of the following to make a list of popular search terms in your niche:
Relevance only plays a small part in determining the value of your content. Your content should have something to offer that similar content from competitors does not. Some ways to increase the value of your content include:
- Updating it. If similar content on the web is outdated, add something new to your own in order to make it stand out.
- Making it longer. Long-form content is generally preferred online, as it often contains more detail and information.
- Making it one-of-a-kind. Create content that is unlike anything else on the web. This is one of the best ways to earn more backlinks.
- Adding data. Data (such as statistics, surveys, and studies) can be useful for many reasons. Create content with data – others online may need those numbers to support claims in their own content.
2. Make the effort.
If you want to earn backlinks, you're going to have to work for them.
It's very rare that backlinks happen spontaneously, especially if you've just started posting content online. In order to become an authority in your niche, you'll need to bring your content to others.
According to Neil Patel, the Skyscraper Technique is one of the best ways to start your link building journey. The three-steps of the process are very simple, but require effort:
- Make a list of linkable topics in your niche.
- Create valuable content relevant to those topics.
- Actively reach out to other sites with similar content and request backlinks.
This process doesn't have a 100 percent success rate, but it gives you a starting point to work from.
3. Reach out to the right people.
Building links is dependent on relevance. Your content should be relevant to those you are reaching out to for backlinks.
Ask yourself the following questions when you are preparing a list of blogs to contact:
- Do we share the same niche?
- Will they have an interest in my topic?
- Have they linked to other websites before?
If you cannot answer “yes” to each of these questions, find someone else you can reach out to for backlinks. Blogs that are not in your niche, are not interested in your content, or don't link to others will be very unlikely to link to you.
4. Engage with influencers.
Link building maybe mutually beneficial, but you're still asking for a favor. Engage with those you reach out to in order to build a professional relationship with them. Instead of sending unprecedented requests for backlinks, talk to others in your niche.
The marketing specialists at Groove created an engagement checklist you can use to improve your outreach methods:
- Follow influencers on Twitter.
- Send them two polite, relevant tweets.
- Leave two comments on their blog.
- Share two of their blog posts.
- Send them a personal email.
You can establish a basic relationship with influencers by following this checklist. Once they've received your request for a backlink, they'll already know who you are, and you'll have already provided them with something valuable – engagement.
5. Be genuine.
Your request email should be genuine. Influencers may get dozens of request emails per day, so you'll want to stick out from the rest.
Sending a genuine email is the best way to stand out. Everyone wants to feel special, even influencers with very large audiences. If you email feels impersonal, they'll be more likely to pass you over in favor of someone else who took the time to express genuine interest.
What are your strategies for successful link building? Are there any tips or tricks we missed? Let us know in the comments below!