With all the different SEO strategies out there, it can be hard to know which links are best for your site. To help you navigate the SEO maze, we’ve collated some effective SEO link building techniques, and matched them with industries, businesses, and websites. We’ve also included plenty of actionable SEO pro-tips so that you can bask in the glory of their SEO link building efforts. Don’t just settle for getting a link: go after the right link.
Where your SEO strategy starts
Let’s get the fundamental SEO strategy pillars out of the way:
- Costings: How much time and money can you dedicate to your SEO right now?
- Remember to factor in other forms of marketing like PPC, email marketing and social media. SEO is part of an overall marketing strategy, but you will need to put aside some specific SEO budget too.
- Got time to spare? Start making a difference today by dedicating your time to carrying out some free local SEO.
- SEO Skills: Can you do SEO yourself, or will you need to hire a freelancer or an agency? Do you need expert-level SEO, or could you make do with a student who’s still in training?
- Backlink Portfolio: What links has your site already got? Do you need local citations or contextual links? Who are your top referring domains? What anchor texts have you got?
- SEO Aims: How quickly do you need to see SEO results? Is your niche competitive? What’s the search volume for your main keywords?
Answering all these questions should only take about twenty minutes, and then you’ll have a good idea of what your overall SEO strategy should look like, segmented into budget/SEO skill set/link targets and overall SEO target. Identify what your SEO priorities are from looking at the questions you’ve just answered. Remember, building links is a means towards an overall rankings aim; choosing the right link to go for always pays off in the long run.
In an SEO context, content marketing means building a great piece of content, and then building links back to it. A large chunk of time should be devoted to promoting content. Some influencers even swear by an 80/20 split for content creation, where 80% is actually spent on content promotion. Like the old adage goes, is your content actually good if no one is there to read it?
Creating SEO content for websites
- A quality aged website with a blog is all you need to try out this SEO strategy.
- Writing meaningful content in your own niche often means just answering the FAQs and queries you already receive.
- As well as answer common questions, try to cover a topic/area that hasn’t been done before.
- Include images and rich content, and make sharing as easy as possible.
- Content on topics like home design/interiors, retail, entertainment, and food works because they are popular and shareable. Figure out where your business crosses over with these popular topics and get planning. Follow industry blogs to get ideas. Some examples of content crossover below to get you started:
|Business selling||Keywords||Content idea|
|Acrylic splashbacks for kitchens
|“kitchen design”||Style Your Kitchen with a Durable Design: An Expert DIY Tutorial|
|Bathroom tiles||“bathroom design”||History of Decadent Bathroom Design Through the Decades|
|Belts||“fashion belts”||Belts: The Fashion Body Type Guide|
|Pet food||“pet super food”||Super Food Fixes & Recipes for Common Pet Ailments|
Examples of content marketing
Content marketing works best when you answer your audience’s questions, or provide in-depth information on a useful or interesting topic. Here are some great content ideas that you could use on your website:
- A how-to guide with links, images and even video.
- Create a whole content series for maximum impact.
- A history guide.
- Don’t just regurgitate, analyse to add value. Don’t write “History of Wedding Hats”, but “How Wedding Hats Transformed Fashion 1900-2016”.
- A comprehensive guide to a place, event or product can be a great way to answer your audience’s questions.
- A comparison content piece like a chart comparing different software, products or brands will target savvy browsers looking to make smart choices.
- An interesting roundup of a survey, or a data-analysis piece adds authority.
- An in-depth expert interview- also great for those ego-bait links. People love to share content that features them, especially if it makes them look good.
Content marketing pro-tips
- Once the content is indexed, use the skyscraper technique to identify a list of sites who would have an interest in linking to your content. This could be because of a previous piece of content they have linked out to, because of a competitor link, or simply because your content fills a need on the site.
- If you have featured a local business, person or area in your content, you can be pretty certain they will link back to you.
- Use varied footprints to find your targets, don’t just stick to link round-ups and resource pages- think outside the box to target sites that get less ‘spam’.
- Use friendly and concise outreach emails that don’t veer off-topic. Focus on the benefits of the link, and make it as easy as possible for people to give you one.
- Bloggers and social media influencers are also great outreach targets: you may want to contact them on Twitter as well as email.
- Optimize your content so that it can capture natural backlinks over a long period of time.
- Content marketing for SEO= your tent-pole marketing content.
Private Blog Networks
Private blog networks, PBNs, are branded in the SEO community as black hat SEO. A riskier tactic, this is best left to mid to heavy-weight SEOs as there will be a fair amount of technical set-up to get you started. If not building a PBN, you can also buy links from one, but buying links goes against search engine guidelines and could attract penalties. PBNs should be confined to ranking:
- churn & burn sites that won’t need to stick around for long.
- building links back to the links that link out to your actual money site.
Up to you to decide whether the risks of PBN are worth it…
Wikipedia links are no-follow, but they have tremendous authority nevertheless. The hardest thing about a successful Wikipedia link campaign is making the link stick. The key with Wikipedia is to see the link in a context of sources and citations, so you have to get the relevancy absolutely spot on.
Wikipedia links work well
- if you are industry thought-leaders, or sell patented products in a specific niche.
- for information heavy websites with plenty of content.
Wikipedia link challenges
- Wiki links are hard to sustain, and even harder to regain once lost.
- You have to learn the community guidelines & standards (they’re not easy!)
Easy enough to do, blog commenting is an SEO tactic that is easy to master and delivers good results if you stick with it.
Blog commenting pro-tips
- Comments have to be of a high quality, not just spam- this gets deleted.
- Engage with the author and other commenters to form a conversation.
- Best to stay positive in tone, unless you are looking to start a fight for a reason.
- Build up your commenting ‘brand’ by going back to a site and engaging with its content on a regular basis.
Blog commenting works well
- For personal brand and persona authority building.
- Blog commenting is an SEO link-building staple and can be used in a meaningful way for a range of websites.
One of the more common SEO tactics, this is a powerful one if done well, extremely frustrating if done badly. Valuable guest posting requires quality writing and research and a whole lot of outreach emails. Don’t give up after the fifth rejection, keep going until you find your content a home. But, if you are getting nowhere:
- Go back to the content to make sure it’s of a publishable quality.
- Tweak your outreach emails, making them more personal and direct.
- Check who you are outreaching to- is there a content mismatch?
Guest posting opportunities
- Guest posting works well for many sites, but it works BEST in a niche where a lot of web content is being produced and there’s a genuine need for new content on a regular basis.
- Niches like: travel, marketing, SEO, design etc.
- Any visual niche is great as original images are popular with bloggers and editors, and they cut down on writing time. Just make sure you use royalty free images, or attribute creative commons ones properly.
Guest posting tips:
- If you use personas for outreach, have solid social profiles and persona blogs for added credibility.
- Always interact with any published content, promoting it via social networks.
- Links in author bios are more accepted than in-content links.
- Quality content is one thing, targeted quality content even better.
- Always be polite and thank people for a link. You never know when they might come in handy again!
- Good relationships with bloggers and editors will help MASSIVELY. Take time to listen to their needs & concerns too.
Infographics can be surprisingly simple to create, and act as a great showcase for a brand, as well as a magnet for links. A visual signpost like an infographic is great for the busy and overwhelmed web surfer. Think of an infographic as a bitesize blog post, broken down into soundbites. There are loads of infographic submission sites out there for easy links, but you can also try embedding your infographic into a blog post, or outreaching it as a link asset.
- The right balance between design/data should leave you with something attractive but meaningful, so don’t neglect one for the other.
- Think about the headline and intro copy carefully- this will often make or break a submission decision.
- Use a free infographic tool like Piktochart if you are low on design time.
Infographics submissions work well when:
- You can provide unique data or insight on a topic.
- The topic covered is popular or surprising.
- Your infographic has a personality, weighing in on a topic.
Not limited to any niche, website, or industry, a good infographic is always a good idea.
Local Citations & Directories
A mainstay of SEO link building, local citations can be obtained from forums, review sites and plenty of other sites with user-submitted content. Registering your website and business on a local directory is often one of the easiest, and fastest, way to get links.
Citation & directory tips
- Local citations MUST BE CONSISTENT- down to the spacing of your address and phone number.
- Sign up as a user on trade forums for quick local citations.
- There’s massive differences between how much directories want you to write, so vary your site description from a few words up to a paragraph.
- Use LastPass to cut down on time when filling in directories.
- Create a submission email and use a different phone number to manage directory upselling.
- Review sites are great places to get citations- get yourself signed up to the major ones in your niche.
- Openly address a negative review as soon as it comes in, and move the conversation to a private forum until the issue is resolved.
Citations work well for local businesses
- Anyone looking to build up a local business presence should start with citations.
- There’s a directory for everyone, so go niche to up your keyword relevancy.
Any more for any more? Which ones are your favourite go-to link building tactics right now, and why?