You should encourage sites to link to your content to build authority. Strategies can be passive (i.e. creating content which attracts links) or active (i.e. actively approaching sites for links. Whatever your plan, your site’s content must be high quality to make it worth linking to.
High-quality sites that are helpful to users will naturally attract more links. This content could be existing content or could be content specifically created with link building in mind. Focus on creating longer-form content, as longer content tends to pick up more links. A study by Backlink.io found that long-form content gets 77% more links than shorter posts.
Certain types of content work better for link building. These are:
- Visual assets, e.g. infographics
- List posts
- Original research
- In-depth guides
Visual assets include:
- Charts and other visual-oriented pieces of content
For example, when you publish an infographic, you will receive a link anytime someone shares it on their site and cites your site as the source.
List posts are great for link building. A study by BuzzSumo analysed 1 million articles founnd that list posts generated more backlinks than other content types. Examples include:
Original research and data
Interesting original research and analysis are highly linkable. If you do not have the resources to create original research, another option is to compile data into an easily accessible guide.
In-depth guides are comprehensive resources that cover everything there is to know about a given subject. For example:
Analyse competitors’ SEO backlinks
Links to competitor sites will probably be from relevant sites to your niche. You can generate a list of high-quality link targets by identifying the linking site and approaching them to add your site. To identify competitor backlinks, use one of the freely available tools, for example:
- Ahref link tool: https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker
- Neil Patel’s checker: https://neilpatel.com/backlinks/
Broken Link building
Broken link building involves identifying links that lead to 404 pages on competitor sites, contacting those sites and suggesting they replace the broken with the one leading to a similar page on your website. This is a time-consuming process, but there are tools which can help. Put your competitor’s site into a broken backlink checker and find links to their sites, generating a 404 error. Broken link checkers include:
Once you have identified broken links, analyse originating page to see if it is of high quality (see the section above on identifying high-quality links) and if your link could be a suitable replacement. If it is, contact the site and suggest your link as an alternative.
Outreach is when you contact relevant websites and ask them to link to your site. For example, if you have written a good guide and want to get the word out, you could search for similar resources and use a backlink checker to analyse who links them. You can then approach these sites to link to your resource as an alternative.
Guest posting is publishing original content on other blogs and receiving a credit linking to your site. Popular blogs require a constant stream of new content, so you may find they will be happy to publish a well-crafted article.
Guest blogging can be used to build page authority in several ways.
- Get your brand in front of an entirely new audience.
- Lead to unlinked brand mentions.
- Build links from your guest posts.
Link Building Strategies to avoid
Getting the wrong sorts of links can actually hurt your search engine performance. Here are some link building strategies which may have worked in the past, but are now best avoided.
Google and Bing both try to remove the influence of paid links in their organic search results. They have algorithmic ways of spotting paid links and so they are best avoided.
Link exchanges & reciprocal linking
It is acceptable to link to websites you work with or are affiliation with and have them link back to you. However, Google’s quality guidelines advise against “excessive” link exchange conducted exclusively for the sake of link building.
Low-quality directory links
These used to be a popular and successful source of link building. However Google now views directories as low quality though there are exceptions e.g. directories targeted at specific niches.