Disclosure (full version here): Some of the links you’ll encounter are affiliate links. If you click and buy something, I may get a commission. Thank you!
Link building is far from dead. In fact, it’s going stronger than ever with countless companies hiring in-house link builders or relying on agencies to help them manage it.
High-quality links from authoritative websites still remain a huge ranking factor, and you simply cannot ignore it. Amassing a solid backlink profile takes a lot of time and effort.
A lot of link building guides focus solely on the exact link building strategies to use and not necessarily on the prerequisites you need to have to start building links.
If you’re new to building backlinks, in this article we’ll discuss some of the things that you absolutely need to ensure that you have before you can really delve into link building.
1. A strong content strategy.
You can’t build backlinks without content. Even if you try getting links to your home/product/service pages, nobody will do it for free.
Once you choose your hosting and go live, the first thing you should invest the time in is growing your blog.
The best links are relevant in-content links from blog post to blog post. This way, they naturally guide the user from article to article, and Google is completely fine with them.
Regardless of the niche of your website, you need to invest the time and resources into a creating a strong blog with regular, informative uploads. It will give your existing users a reason to stay longer on your site, and help drive extra traffic from search.
Here are four steps for developing a solid, SEO-friendly content strategy for your website.
1.1 Define your audience.
Who are you trying to reach with your website? Once you know your target audience, you can tailor your content to appeal to them.
1.2 Plan your content.
What kind of content will you produce? Blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, etc.? Plan out a content calendar and make sure you have a mix of different types of content.
1.3 Create high-quality content.
Your content must be high-quality if you want people to stick around. Make sure your writing is well-researched, your videos are well-produced, and your infographics are well-designed.
Managing all of this yourself can take extreme amounts of time, so hiring a website content writer is recommended.
1.4 Promote your content.
Make sure you promote your content on social media and other channels. You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to see what content is getting the most shares and then create content that is similar.
2. A good link building strategy.
There are many ways to build backlinks. However, some are more effective than others, and some yield much more impressive results than others in a shorter timespan.
I won’t get too deep into the details of the dozens of link building strategies that exist. Instead, I will describe the two that I personally think are the most effective.
You probably already heard about this strategy. The skyscraper technique is the process of researching your niche, analyzing your competitors’ content, and creating a piece that is better than anything that they have.
It can be better in a number of ways: longer, mention something that they don’t, or feature an infographic.
After you publish that article, you then reach out to all of the people linking to your competitors and letting them know that you’ve just published something better, and explain how they would benefit from linking to you instead.
The skyscraper technique is an amazing way to build up your blog with quality content and earn some links along the way.
Guest posting is probably the most widely-used link building technique out there.
The concept is extremely simple: you write for another website, and include a link back to your own resource in the body of your guest post.
Most sites accept guest posts for free, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding opportunities within your niche.
The downside to guest posting is that writing a whole article for just one link can be very time-consuming. But you can get many more links from a guest post than just one if you have partners.
You can include links to your partners in your guest posts, and in return, they will do the same for you. It’s a great way of doing bulk procurement.
This way, depending on the guidelines of the site you’re writing for, you can secure upwards of 10 links with just a single guest post.
3. The ability to identify and target high-quality websites for links.
This is called “prospecting”. Prospecting looks a little bit different in every single niche, depending on its saturation.
Some niches can be harder to find prospects in, while others have thousands upon thousands of websites that you can reach out to.
Some tips to identify high-quality websites for links include looking at the website’s domain authority, evaluating the website’s design and content, and checking for recent updates.
Additionally, it can be helpful to look at the website’s social media following and engagement to get a sense of how popular the website is.
A great way to find prospects is to look at the list of websites linking to your competitors. You can do so with the help of a backlink monitoring tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush.
With guest posting, you can start by looking for sites that have a “Write For Us” page. But, in reality, most websites accept guest posts even if they don’t have such a page, so you can just pick your prospects depending on relevance, authority, and traffic.
4. The ability to track and measure your link building efforts.
Just like with all other business-related operations, to get the most out of your link building efforts, you absolutely need to track and measure them.
Especially the email outreach part: your total number of pitches sent, the open, reply, and success rate.
This way, you will be able to tweak your link building pitches and find what works well for you.
For tracking earned links, you can once more use the help of backlink monitoring software like Ahrefs and SEMRush.
However, Google Analytics will be much better for tracking your organic traffic as it is much more accurate with it.
5. A solid email outreach solution
You can’t do link building without email outreach. And outreach takes a lot of time.
If you’re planning to build links at scale, manual outreach is out of the question simply because how tedious it becomes.
There are various email outreach tools available that can help you speed it up. From prospecting to finding contact automation to personalizing your pitches and sending automated follow-ups, you can cut down the time spent on outreach by as much as 90% if you use an outreach tool.
Final point: patience!
Link building takes a long time. Everything about it is lengthy: the prospecting, the outreach part, and even the amount of time it takes until you start to see real results from your campaigns.
A lot of people will also reject your link building pitches. So, patience will definitely come in very handy.