Does Your Link Acquisition Strategy Need a Refresh?
Links are one of the top 3 ranking factors for SEO, and that’s coming straight from the folks at Google. If you want your site to perform well in the search engines, you need a solid link acquisition strategy.
Like many elements of SEO, building your backlink profile is a constant process. Whether you’re just getting started with link building for your website, or you’re looking for a few new ideas to refresh your strategy, crank up your site’s linkbait potential with these 5 proven link-building techniques.
1. Build skyscraper content
The skyscraper technique works as follows: you research popular topics that have been covered in your space, you choose one and improve it ten times over, and then you reach out to the same publishers who linked to the original article once you’ve published it.
With 56K social engagements and shares, this is clearly a popular topic. If we were a dental office, we might develop a similar article titled “20 Surprising Secrets About the Dental Industry.” Like the original, our article might feature expert quotes from dentists, but we would take it further by also including the following:
- Original data results from our survey of 100 dentists across the country, or within our local state or region, answering questions about the largest misconceptions on oral healthcare
- Original infographics illustrating these data results
- Links to additional, authoritative resources like medical journals and the American Dental Association
See how we did that? We took a topic that we knew was popular, caught the public’s attention on social media and earned links from top publishers. Then, we improved it. Now, we can reach out to the websites and influencers who shared or linked to the original article, and let them know about our new and improved version.
This link-building strategy works because you can confirm that there’s sufficient demand and a large link-building target audience – before ever writing the content.
2. Develop relationships
In many ways, link-building is PR for the digital age. Identify the top journalists, editors, and bloggers writing about your space. These are the people you want to be your friend.
Instead of hunting down their contact info and shooting them an impersonal press release on BCC, develop personal relationships with them. Follow and read their content, so you can share it on your social profiles and comment on their own profiles. If you live in the same area, show up at the same networking events.
Once you start running in the same circles, you can take your business relationship to the next level. Ask them what kind of content they need or find useful for their column. Then see if you can provide it for them.
Over time, these relationships grow exponentially valuable. It’s not just about you having someone to reach out to whenever you’ve got something press-worthy to share. It’s about them having an instant resource the next time they need an expert quote for their article covering your industry’s latest news.
Not all of these mentions will result in a link, but some of them will, and even without the link, the brand exposure is still valuable to your business.
3. Recover lost links
You’re tracking your backlink profile, right? If not, put reading this article on hold, set up a backlink report with your SEO software, and come back to keep reading.
Tracking your backlink profile is not only a nice opportunity to pat yourself on the back on your growing SEO presence, but it’s your best defense against losing links for good.
Most SEO software, like Ahrefs or SEMRush, track your link acquisition efforts for you. Typically, they’ll pay special attention to your lost links. Here’s how Ahrefs does it:
These softwares notify you of lost links via a report and big red letters in their dashboards – that’s how important it is. Many times, when you lose a link, it’s by mistake. Someone issued a code change, or the blog post linking to you got updated or deleted. It’s also possible they removed the link because your content was out-of-date, and a competitor offered them something better (see tip #1 on skyscraper contact).
Whenever you lose a link, visit the site and investigate why they might have dropped the link. Then reach out and request that they reinstate the link, while outlining the value of it for their readers. If you believe the link was dropped due to outdated content, give them a link to an updated, better version.
4. Find broken links
Sometimes, horror of horrors, you’re the one to blame for a lost link.
Did you recently delete some of your site pages? Or move to a new domain? Don’t let that link juice go to waste! Whenever you delete or redirect old site pages that had links pointing to them, you need to reach out to those webmasters with the new, relevant link.
These sites have already linked to you, and they don’t want to send their visitors to a 404 page. Give them the link to the updated content so their users can stay informed.
Knowing your top-linked pages should be a consideration of any site migration process. Track which of your pages have links, and how many, and think carefully before deleting or moving them. For more tips on moving to your new site without losing SEO, read this.
5. Turn mentions into links
We saved the best for last. This is one of those quick SEO tasks you can do in just a few minutes: transforming linkless mentions into backlinks.
Start by using a tool like Mention or Google Alerts to get notified whenever anyone mentions your brand online:
Monitoring your online reputation is smart. Depending on who’s mentioning your brand, you get the opportunity to reach out, address any customer concerns, or foster a new business relationship.
It also gives you the opportunity to turn that mention into a link. It’s not uncommon for people to highlight businesses without linking to their website. They think the mention is enough. However, because they’ve already mentioned you, it’s only natural that they should link to you as well, should their readers want to learn more.
Reach out to the writer of the article, thank them for highlighting you, and ask for that link!
Keep the momentum going
We mentioned at the beginning that link-building is an ongoing process. It takes time, and it takes work, but the results are well worth it.
One way to speed up the time and minimize the work is by partnering with a SEO agency to develop and execute your link-building strategy. With over 10 years of experience, we’d love to throw our hat in the ring. Contact Your Marketing People to hear our ideas for growing your backlink profile.