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Which of Your Link Building Strategies are Working? Here’s What You Need to Know

About 32% of your Google ranking is based upon backlinks to your site. That’s just about a third! The reason Google considers these so important is this: When you have other quality sources linking back to you, you gain authority in Google’s eyes. And when you gain authority, your rankings go up. When page rank improves, so does traffic. And when traffic improves? You get more conversions and leave less money on the table. Obviously, you need to figure out how to build lots of high-quality backlinks.

Link building is hard work. It takes lots of time and, if done quickly without regard to where those links come from, it can actually harm rather than help. Your job is to first make a plan to get quality backlinks, using several strategies, and then to analyze whether each specific strategy is getting you results. Then, you will know which strategies to continue and which to dump.

First, let’s look at the strategies that you can choose. There is already some research that shows which ones are most often effective, so that is where your selections should begin. Choose from among those that are proven effective.

  1. Skyscraper Strategy: This is a more long-term strategy, but one that will payoff well. You will not get backlinks from good places unless your content is exceptional. No site wants to send its visitors/customers to someplace else unless there is a huge value to be had. And this strategy is all about producing valuable content. Basically, it means that you search out content related to your niche, often from competitors, study it, research it some more, and see how you can take that great topic idea and improve upon it is meaningful ways. Write that new content, put what’s new and/or different in your headline/title, and then start promoting it everywhere.
  2. Broken-Link Building: Lots of big-name sites have broken links – links that go to places that no longer exist. When visitors click on them, there are either 404 or 401 messages that say that link is no longer available. Your job is to find broken links on reputable sites that are related to your niche. You don’t have to do this manually. You can use a broken link finder tool for any website. So, go to those large reputable sites that are related to your niche, use the tool to find the broken links that directly relate to your business, and then contact the webmaster with a personal message. Identify the broken link and explain that your site is active and could be a great replacement for that link. Chances are, the webmaster will be happy that you found the link and be more willing to replace it with yours.
  3. Linking Out: Google does actually look at who you link out to. And when you link out to reputable, high-quality sites, you have a perfect “in” to contact that site owner. Tell him/her that you have found the site content really valuable to your customers/followers and that you have linked to them in your posts. Provide a copy of your posts that have linked to them. Chances are, if the post has rich content, they will post it too. After all, it is one more post they don’t have to produce that can be of value to their target audience too. This is how reciprocal arrangements begin and how you get backlinks from a site that Google likes.
  4. Reclamations: There is the very real chance that your company is being mentioned and you don’t even know it. If you don’t monitor this, you are missing out on the chance to get some great backlinks to your site. You need to use a monitoring tool that will tell you whenever your company is mentioned on the web or on social media. Those mentions may not include a backlink to your site, and you need to take care of that. Contact the webmaster and request to add the link. You will probably get a “yes,” because everyone wants to make it as easy as possible for their readers/followers to get to valuable information efficiently.
  5. Guest Blogging: This is especially important for startups. You are unknown. You can do a lot of things to make yourself known, but one of the most important methods is to get links from influencers in your niche. Again, this can be a more long-term strategy, but the sooner you begin the better. Start following influencers in your niche and participating in discussions. You have to get your name in front of them often so that they remember you. After a time, you can send that influencer a great post you have written, perhaps one in which you have mentioned them. Ask if they would be willing to post it on their blog. If they see it as valuable, chances are they will say “yes.” You get a backlink from a source that Google thinks is an authority in your niche.
  6. Think about .edu Sites: Most marketers don’t think to use .edu sites, and they should. They have amazing credibility with Google, and if you can get a backlink from them, you become credible and authoritative too. You can do a search for blog posts on .edu sites in your niche pretty easily. Then access some of the posts and use your tools to check for dead links. Follow the same procedure. If the site allows guest bloggers, all the better.
  7. Social Media: There has been a lot of thought out there that backlinks from social media are not really considered quality by Google. Not true. Especially if those backlinks come from Facebook pages or Tweets of reputable and authoritative businesses and/or influences. Use a social media cheat sheet to find businesses and brands that relate to yours on social media. You can participate in conversations on these posts and leave your link or you can pay for links.

Once You Get Those Backlinks – Which Ones are Worth Your Time?

The list of strategies to get backlinks goes on and on. Once you are getting them, however, you need to determine which high-quality sources are getting you the “biggest bang for the buck.” For example, if finding dead links is really working and bringing traffic and conversions to you, then that is a strategy you need to continue. If guest blogging on authority sites is working well, then step up those efforts. It’s hard to do it all, so you need to limit your tactics to those that are getting results. Here are methods to determine which strategies are working best for you.

  1. Yes, there are tools to determine where your backlinks are coming from. Use these to analyze the amount of traffic you are getting from both types of backlinks and more specific businesses/blogs/mentions within each type. Then analyze how many of those “hits” have resulted in actual conversions. Remember the goal of backlinks is not just traffic – it is conversions. Lots of traffic without those conversions is meaningless. Many of these tools, such as open site explorer by Moz, will dig pretty deeply for you and even isolate the blog post from which a backlink came. The additional benefit is that you can check out the backlinks your competitors are getting, and consider those for your own backlink tactics.
  1. You can also simply ask your customers who get into your sales funnel where they came from. You don’t have to ask them to write anything – just check a box. Devise a simple form, just asking where they found you, from a set of options – an ad (if you place ads), a blog post, Twitter, Facebook (those social media platforms you are using to place backlinks), an .edu site, etc. Most of your target customers who are in your funnel will take the time to mark a box, and you will have great information about which strategies work well. And, if you are not getting backlinks from a certain type (e.g., .edu sites), then dump that strategy.
  1. As you use a backlink analysis tool, be sure to look at which pages on your site are getting the most traffic and staying power. Some pages may be getting good traffic but not the conversions you are looking for. When you find such a page, then you can work to improve it, so that backlinks are actually getting results.

Remember, you have to work smarter, not harder, and that means putting effort into what is working. SEO is important, of course, and getting backlinks from good quality sources will certainly improve your rankings.

But the other side of all of this is critical: Getting those high-quality backlinks involves you creating great content in the first place. If you focus on the content first and then on the backlinks, you will be in a much better position in the long run.

By Rick Riddle

Rick Riddle is a successful blogger whose articles can help you with self-development, personal finance and content management. If you want to know why discipline is important and how self-sufficiency can help you in reaching your goals – follow Rick on twitter.

21 replies on “Which of Your Link Building Strategies are Working? Here’s What You Need to Know”

Hey Rick, Great post, (of course). Thank you for sharing.

All of points you showed is very important for almost every blogger who wants to grow their blogs.

Great post, Rick — I just want to weigh in and say I get hit almost DAILY by people trying the broken-link strategy, or just asking me to add their resource to older posts.

Count me NOT happy to constantly be asked to go back to old posts and, Ministry-of-Truth style, change them. Also, it’s almost always for some resource I’ve never heard of and would never want in a post on my site. I’m not sure how effective this strategy really is — but as you say, maybe after you’ve built some credibility. I also get asked to go change old posts I did as a paid Forbes reporter! Um, no.

I think the broken link strategy (sadly, like many strategies) worked better years ago than it does today. Partially this is due to many people using it (and thus making site owners tired of the bother).

Also so many sites today are blogs. There is much less need to update broken blog links than broken links on a website. Blog posts are understood to be date sensitive so a broken link doesn’t really mean the page is in need of being fixed (though I still usually update to remove the broken link). When this strategy was first being used it was for website where there really is something broken about the site if links don’t work.

Really, usually I’d go for Neil Patel and keep on with his latest posts, but doesn’t like, this strategy gets to mentionedd a lot? Well guess gotta try it out.


Thanks for posting these strategies! Do image links social profile links still help? Also, how do you go about acquiring emails to do link building outreach? This post was incredibly helpful and I can tell you know your stuff.

Hey Rick,

I just started focusing on link building. I have read through the article and the comments. I will try to implement some of these ideas. I am currently working on writing higher quality posts. I hope to do a guest post within this month. Thanks once again.

Great content will bring you extra links, I do agree, but you do have to get the word around, specially if you have a new website. I would also add that .edu links are extremely hard to get, and if you happen to get one, it’s on a subdomain on that university or school page. Still a good link, but not will all the juice.

You’ve described some good tactics over here, some of them I’ve ignored for a while, but started getting back on track with them to see what are the effects for my website / blog.

Hey Rick,

A useful reminder indeed on what currently works in link building.

I am fan of the skyscraper technique as well, but I struggle to use it topics which are seasonal or for content that is informational. To make good return on your time, the Skycraper technique should be used only for evergreen queries in my opinion. What are your thoughts on that?

Awesome post. Guesting posting and social media both are working superbly for me. I never used broken link strategy till now. One of my friend used it before few months and his success rate was around 4-6 percent.

Hey Rick,
It’s a nice article you have here, all are awesome. Link building has gone beyond the normal comment link way. I’m glad you could say a few points here.
Thanks and do have a wonderful day ahead.

Excellent post, this post is really impressive and informative, I was struggling to generate high quality editorial links for my website, i would like to follow the powerful link building strategies which were discussed in this post. Thank you for such a nice information about link building.

Thanks for this awesome article, I was trying to make backings for my personal blog. How you think about tech blogging, is this possible to takeover the positions of high authority blogs for keywords like how to android and blah blah.

Link-building rarely works the way it is supposed to. For example, if I wanted to build a link for a an attorney, I would go to every article I could and paste it in comments like this:

and then make sure anchor text is juuust right. However, there is more sources now saying that quality outweighs quantity a million-to-one. Whether Google is just yanking our chain over and over is still to be determined, but no one can hold a candle to the behemoth, soooo there’s that.

That’s exactly something I am focusing on these days. I was in process to start a new online business, and that’s exactly the thing I discussed with my friends to know their views. Many understood the point of going micro-niche, and many simply ignored the fact that micro-niche can help me achieve certain results and authority within short-span of time in certain industry.

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