The SEO industry loves content and in order to create the near endless supply of content, the same topics get rehashed time and time again. What’s worse, the clear solution to make rehashed content better is to make mega-super-biggest-ever lists of tactics and strategies…
So, to save you a lot of wasted time reading about every single tactic ever used to get a link, I am going to cut through the fluff and share with you the three tactics we have used to build tens of thousands of links for our customers over the past few years.
Before we get into tactics, lets take a moment to talk about content. Conventional wisdom says in order to get links you need to create some epic (and by epic I think people assume long) content. Not true – just look at your competitors. In most cases, your competitors will have links to their home page, service/landing pages, and blog content.
This isn’t to say that good content isn’t helpful, but don’t let content be your excuse not to get links and more traffic sooner than later.
What you must keep in mind is that the people pushing out the most content about link building are those who offer training courses, tools, or profit from talking about links instead of building them. Our team on the other hand builds links all day every day, it is all we do. From that firsthand experience, I can tell you that with research and creativity, you can get links to all sorts of pages.
For example, if you are promoting a sales page, just pull in the top 100 sales pages offering a solution to the same problem you are and make a list of all their links. In doing so you are likely to find a combination of link building tactics such as:
- Paid Links
- Guest Posts
- Natural Mentions That They Didn’t Build
- Submission or Directory Links
- Profiles or Forums
How did they get those links? By figuring out what problem the service or product solved and reaching out to sites with an audience likely to have that problem. Pretty simple right?
For example, let’s say you have a rental search page for a specific city and your page lets people filter by pet friendly options. Your “sales” page is now a resource for people needing a place to stay if they have pets and the sites with your audience are now pet shelters, humane societies, vet offices, and the like.
The Only Link Building Strategy You Need in 2020
A Strategy is the overarching plan and tactics are the individual actions used to execute a strategy. Your plan should be to identify and replicate the successes of your competition. Your competitors are those big few companies who are in your market, but they are also the sites ahead of you for each keyword that is important to your business.
Even if you have a small niche site, you probably have a few hundred keywords, which generally equates to a few thousand competing sites. By the time you pull in all that raw data, you should have a pretty good starting list of sites to screen. This is where you transition from strategy to tactic.
Top 3 Link Building Tactics
1. Contributing Content
Contributing content (a.k.a guest posting) isn’t a new tactic by any means, but it has been around so long because it works, plain and simple. The one tweak I suggest is to not contribute content as your brand. On top tier sites, the referral traffic and brand recognition are the main goals, so it makes sense to post content on behalf of your company.
However, mid-tier sites have the power to rank sites for some pretty mega keywords. For example, we used DA 30+ our blogger outreach links to rank a set of keywords ranging from 250K -1MM monthly searches. The sites we use get screened heavily, so they are not your typical DA 30 sites, but you don’t need major publications to make some major gains.
This leads to another common misconception of quality vs quantity. Extreme “white hat” loyalists argue that only perfect links should be built, typically this is to compensate for that fact that they can only build a few links per month…
Anyway, if you take some time to review link profiles of even major sites, you will see that mid and low tier links almost always make up most of their link profiles. The evidence is clear, you need a combination of quality and quantity.
Am I telling you to build a bunch of spammy links on DR 10 sites? NO. However, if you only shoot for top tier links, you are going to extend the timeline to gain rankings and spend a lot more money than you needed to.
Now, back to the original point of not posting everything as your brand. With mid-tier sites you might build anywhere between 10-100 links per month, so if you are using the same bio and author, it makes a pretty big footprint and is easier for a competitor to rip off your entire strategy. So, your company needs to create some personas and contribute content from them to diversify the source of links. Not to mention, a lot of “guest posts” only give you a link in the author bio, which isn’t great for SEO. Remember, top-tier sites will send referral traffic and build your brand, so the bio is good. Mid-tier sites are a means to an end, so use them for the link.
2. Bulk Outreach to Promote a Resource
This has long been an effective strategy, and recently it has been given some fun names like “shotgun skyscraper” or “Pareto Outreach” quoting the 80/20 rule.
The concept behind this is straightforward – make a big list of sites that link to something similiar to your content and email them to ask for a link. When you do this, you will get the following outcomes:
- Ignore Your Email
- Add a Link and Tell You It is Added
- Add the Link and Never Reply to Tell You
- A Price for Them to Add the Link
- Report your email as spam and get your SendGrid Account Suspended 😊 (This may happen if you contact about 250K sites just to see how many links you get with automated prospecting and outreach. Great ROI, not a long term solution though!)
I suppose the last point is what will create the biggest stink about this strategy… spam. If you have ever done link outreach at scale, you know that even with personalized emails and careful screening, only a small percentage of people are going to reply.
That leaves two options, get less links or email more people. That is the entire concept behind this strategy. Executing prospecting, screening, and emailing at scale. Will you annoy some websites in the process? Yes, but cold calling salespeople irritate business owners and that doesn’t stop them.
So long as you are contacting a pool of qualified sites, this strategy will work. Once you get your numbers, scale up your sending to hit your monthly targets.
In case you forget my earlier point, don’t think this only works on “epic” content. If there are 1000 sites linking to your competitors sales pages, why won’t some of them link to you as well?
3.Content Seeding for Links
This is what I think Google must have meant when they said create great content and links will come naturally.
Stop for a minute and think about the process you use for finding supporting links when you are writing an article of your own. In most cases you either search for a piece of data that helps prove your point or you do a Google search for an article diving deeper into some part of your article, so the reader can learn more about an topic mentioned but not elaborated on in your article.
This means you as a business can create informational content for low difficulty keywords and rank that content using tactic number two or in some cases, it will rank without any links directly to it. Then sit back and wait to be mentioned by other people. You may be surprised at the quantity and quality of links you can get, especially if you put out a lot of informational content.
On that note, your content should be better than what is out there currently or offer a contrasting opinion. If the competing content is non-existent or low quality, you won’t have to go over the top to take advantage of this.
Now, I am sure you are wondering if this really works, here is an example of the outcome of combining the three tactics above:
No doubt, the white hat loyalists will be skeptical. However, while others are focused on those mega guides of every conceivable link earning or link building strategy under the sun, spending your time on the three above will put you ahead of the competition.
At the end of the day, marketing is about producing an ROI. Google is a for profit company dealing in misinformation to protect their search results, so why SEOs take advice from them is beyond me. As I have said many times in the past several years – test, test, and test. That should be your source of information.
Link building is time consuming, but at least now you can spend your time on trying to get links instead of trying to figure out how to try and get links. Even better, you didn’t even need to buy a course.
If you would like more insights into execution of the tactics in future posts, let me know @theseoproz on Twitter.