Link building is an ever-evolving industry, with new techniques and strategies cropping up every few months. However, there are a few key link-building tactics which should form the basis for building your website’s authority. In this article, we’ll explore the top link building strategies for 2022, including top tips and useful resources to help you implement a killer link-building strategy for this year and beyond.
Arguably one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in SEO is the way we build links. In fact, the very idea of “building links” is a controversial topic, as Google crashes down on unnatural link profiles. Think about it; if you’ve built a link, it is unlikely to be a “natural” backlink. However, there are ways we can actively improve link profiles with quality backlinks and still fall within Google guidelines by using creative link building techniques.
1. Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves looking for broken links to your competitors’ sites or other sites in your industry. In the same way as internal broken link building, you can look for these opportunities by running your chosen relevant sites through link analysis tools and looking for broken links. You can also use the Broken Link Checker plugin for Chrome and carry out some basic checks on-page.
Once you have identified a potential opportunity, contact the site owner to let them know they have a broken link. Sites generally want to know if they have broken links as it is in their interest to resolve them, which means you can get their attention and are offering them something beneficial to them. This is also a good chance to suggest a page on your website that might be relevant to their website and worth a link.
You won’t always get a link through this technique, sometimes the site owners will just fix the link and be done with you, but if you can get a link out of it you will likely also build a relationship with the site owner, meaning more potential opportunities in the future.
2. Data-Led Digital PR
No-one likes hard work and readers are no exception. If they can get a load of information in one place without having to carrying out their own research and digging then that’s what they’ll do.
Carry out your own research project on an aspect relevant to your industry and then create a free report with your findings to send to a concise list of targeted journalists in your industry. This doesn’t have to involve any major investment into market research; it can in fact be something really simple. You might already have all the data you need from your own company records.
Consider things like changes in pricing trends over the last x years – you can simply look back at your prices and see what’s changed and why. Gather data, create some nice little graphs and charts and combine into a well-written and presented report.
Then, you’ll need to build up a list of relevant journalists and publications who regularly discuss topics within your industry. Check out our recent guide on the best digital pr tools to support your outreach campaign.
3. Monitor Brand Mentions
With Google Trends and other similar tools, you can easily monitor each time your brand name is mentioned across the web. You can also set up email or browser notifications to find out whenever your chosen keyword (in this instance, your brand) is mentioned and when you find a new mention, go and check it out.
If the site is discussing your brand, check whether they link to you somewhere on the page. More often than not you will find that they already are which is great and you can try and build a strong relationship with them in the future for further links. You can also review the anchor text and see if it could be improved. If they’re not linking to you, contact the site owners and politely request that they make your brand name an anchor to your site or suggest they link to a piece of your content that further builds on their article.
One great way to get a natural backlink is to find someone to interview you or provide a quote for a blog post or news article on a relevant industry site. This might sound difficult to achieve, but in reality you are an expert in what you do (or should be) and your opinion is valuable to the right person.
To begin this process, look for high quality sites which discuss topics relevant to your business. See what sort of content they have written before, looking at style, quality and target audience.
When you identify a potential interview opportunity, send the site a polite email or message and pitch the idea. If you get a positive response, find out what sort of questions they want to ask and you can begin compiling some responses.
When you provide your answers or quote for the interviewer, make sure you remain neutral and unbiased. Avoid talking about your company or brand (unless it’s directly relevant to the post) and concentrate on providing genuinely interesting or useful insight. No-one wants to read your opinion on how wonderful your company is, but they may be interested in what you have to say on a relevant topic.
5. Run Competitions
Competitions are a proven technique for increasing social engagement and followers, but they can also be good for generating quality links. With the right promotion and a great incentive to enter, competitions are often linked from other sites across the web.
6. Refresh Old Content
Sometimes, great content on the web that is still read and ranks well is actually several years old and may even be mildly out of date in terms of content. Equally, sometimes great content becomes so out of date that it is no longer read or listed in rankings and no-one rewrites it.
If you can find content like this that is relevant to your industry it provides you with a fantastic opportunity to recreate the content, pitch your idea to the original site and supply them with a link to your site.
The best way to find this sort of content is to search Google for terms related to your business and add words like “definitive guide”, “complete guide” or “whitepaper”. Browse through the results and look for old or out-of-date content. Then think about how you could improve it.
When you’ve got a target site and idea, contact the site owner with your proposition. If the original page has a lot of backlinks and/or good search engine ranking, you could really win big with a high-quality link.
7. Use Embeddable Resources As Link Bait
Spending the time and/or money into creating a quality, a shareable resource can be a worthwhile investment. However, by adding embed code at the bottom you can transform a quality resource from interesting and potentially shareable to solid gold* link bait.
The perfect example of a site doing this well is YouTube. With embed codes on every single video and people all over the world embedding videos on their own sites daily, their link profile will never stop growing.
There are many different types of resources which can be embedded, including:
Remember to include a call-to-action with your embed code as well as social share buttons to encourage engagement.
8. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has received a bit of a bad wrap in recent years. Yes, it’s true that Google has definitely cracked down on this technique in recent years. However, it’s important to understand that guest posts can still be part of your overall link building strategy. In Google’s T&C’s they state that you should never explicitly pay for a backlink placement on a website, that is, unless you’re willing to tag the link as ‘nofollow’ or ‘sponsored’, which depreciates the value of the link.
Where guest blogging can work though, is by reaching out to genuine businesses and publications and forming a relationship with the website owner. The trick here is to avoid spammy, low-quality websites which are clearly built with the sole purpose of selling backlinks. A common indicator of a site like this is that they’ll often not have a proper contact page with an email address or physical location, and they’ll have a large call to action to “write for us” – usually in the header or footer. Instead, you’ll want to find reputable ‘shoulder niches’ which have distinct crossover with your business but aren’t a direct competitor.
For example, if you’re a plumber perhaps you can offer your expertise on a website that sells radiators. Or, if you own an accountancy firm, why not reach out to an online business publication for SME’s and discuss the best ways to finance a new business? With so many crossovers between businesses, there’s an endless stream of opportunities to consider.
This technique in particular is nothing new, but the benefits of guest blogging are often significantly underestimated. In addition, there is a hidden benefit to guest blogging; relationships. The process of placing guest blog posts naturally allows you to build personal relationships with site owners and if your first blog post is successful there will likely be an opportunity for you to do so again in the future.
The process of guest blogging is really quite a simple one, only it takes a little time and manual effort to be successful. However, the rewards are well worth it, as a well-placed blog post not only gives your site a quality backlink but also potential referral traffic and brand awareness. With a bit of reach, strong outreach and quality content, a guest blog post can pour in traffic.
9. Create an Industry Glossary of Terms
By creating a useful resource for your industry or niche such as a digital marketing glossary of terms, you can gain valuable natural backlinks by other sites linking to your page and referencing your brand. These sorts of resources are also fantastic for those good old social signals and can be magnets for social shares and engagement.
Content that provides real value to users can also rank really well in organic search, if it’s well-written and comprehensive. Google loves content that meets the needs of the users and if your glossary answers specific questions about an industry term you could find that a growing stream of organic traffic may arrive at your site.
10. Use a “Top 10” Post as Ego Bait
Consider creating a “Top 10” list of businesses, people or products relevant to your industry but not directly competing with your own. For example, if you sell digital cameras, you could create a post on “Top 10 Camera Cases” or “Top 5 Gadget Insurance Providers”.
The clever thing about this tactic is that the people or sites you reference will often be more than happy to shout about it and are likely to link to your site on their own. Let them know you have included them in your chart with a polite email and a quick tweet and watch them share and promote your page for you!