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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
definitely very helpful for a website. Thanks
First of all thanks a lot for the great article. going to use some of the great tips listed in the article.
Thank you for this great tips.
Is it true that adding some dofollow links will aid you in the long run?
And how much internal linking is too much?
Internal linking vs external? 50/50 or?
Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail.
I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.
Great article, as always Emma, found myself reading through every comment above too, thats how I know its a GREAT article!
Couldn’t agree more with your first point BTW, monitoring brand mentions for leveraging links makes up about 50% of my strategy.
Keep up the good work.
Great article for creative link building techniques
Hi Emma, I thank you for sharing all those tips. But I still confused about anchor text (link building). which is the best, anchor text with keyword, or general words like “click here” “check this out”, or our brand name?
With the Penguin 4 on its way, noone knows what to expect in SEO universe this year.
It might be very surprising for all of us.
I’ve been saying for a couple of years that the only way to truly and safely build back links is to create quality content that people WANT to link to.
Signature links are not natural back links, neither are blog comments.
Unfortunately for us, the last 10 years has seen methods created which started off this way, along with link directories and other outdated methods.
I see it all the time, links in comments that have absolutely 0 to do with your niche.
I do think that articles are a great way to drive extra traffic and relevant backlinks to your website, but I’ve always stayed away from this because I won’t write articles for websites that are not mine.
Blogs are a good way too, providing the content is written yourself and not plagiarized poorly from some other website. Its also a good traffic builder.
Quality over quantity should be priority for anybody doing SEO.
It makes sense. What’s the point in a user entering my keywords and coming up with irrelevant results. In a sense, link building in itself is a bad thing as its cheating natural content out of ranking in its respectful position.
I understand the importance of websites ranking high, but it should be a truly natural process. I think the way the last 10 years has taken us has pretty much wiped out that chance now.
People are clever. The next measures Google puts in, somebody will find a way around them. Same thing happens in all walks of life. People are lazy, people want returns for as little investment (whether it be time or money) as possible.
The cultural life of the hard working 50’s and 60’s is long over. Wish I was there to see it, I was born in the [not so] wonderful 1987.
I like the idea of getting interviewed. But will high quality sites not snub you by not replying to your email. About guest posts, I am hearing that many are now stopping guest posts because there may be a penalty attached to it. Problogger has stopped taking them.
Thanks for sharing this. I’m a huge fan of updating broken links both internally and externally.
With penguin, many link builders are having to go through backlinks and clean house. Why not make the best of a time intensive process and look for broken link opportunities as well?
I also appreciate the points Lyndon made. Indeed, a tactic is only as good or bad as the motivation & scale in which it is done. As you mentioned many tactics have gotten bad press, and rightfully so, should be done with discretion.
I’d disagree that things have changed that much.
It would be more accurate to say that now people are basically being forced to do things the way they should have been doing them for years.
Instead, we can see huge chunks of the SEO industry showing that they are 2+ years behind the curve – which has left them (and their clients!) vulnerable and likely performing under-par.
Link Building is in 3 distinct categories;
1) Direct SEO Value
2) InDirect SEO Value
3) Taffic/Lead Value
Far to many people only associate (1) with Link Building – where as the focus should be mostly on (2) and (3) – with a little on (1).
Worse than that – people take note of what G has been doing, misread it and then worsen their situation.
G recently hit directory sites – again. They’ve done it several times over the years (funny how most SEOs don’t mention that). So the general point of view is that directories hold no Value.
This utterly ignores that some Directories still get a flow of traffic (sure, Yelp and Yell may only get a single digit % of what G gets – but that’s still a Ton of traffic!) … some of which a site could benefit from. Worse yet, a load of peopel are being told to not bother with Directories – despite there being numerous directories that G uses for Local SEO (think of NAP and Reviews/Ratings).
Then there is the article marketing/syndication bash.
Indeed – most of those site suck, horrendously.
But there are still some good places to get content in, if you can. But you should be focusing on Quality content, not what amounts to little more than a “look at us” post.
(as an addition – if people are looking ahead to thingsl ike AuthorRank – getting good content out and reviewed is likely to be beneficial in other ways).
People also tend to ignore the concept of 1st and 2nd generation links.
They don’t build links on nofollowed pages/sites because they hold no PR value.
You don’t put links out just for SEO Value – you want traffic and conversions.
Take Commenting for example.
Sure, comment links may pass no PR etc., but they do get the occassional click. If your comment is good enough, if the link destination is good enough – it will pick up a few new links … and these will be Organic links! Chances are, they will not only pass PR, but be from topically relevant pages!
So the biggest problem with Link Building is the mentality, lack of imagination and lack of fore-sight of most link builders.
Nice info, 1st time learn about this website from S.E. Land news letter.
Lots of good advice here! Thinking a bit more about links when creating content and when promoting will definitely prove to be a good investment of time! Many don’t think of it that way but should do!
Excellent article Emma. I’ve found the response to competitions we’ve run with clients to be easy to superb. They’re not that difficult to setup either.
You have listed good methods Emma but I believe contests isn’t an easy option really. Very demanding, time consuming and need a solid thought and idea to pitch people…. Thanks for the post :)
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