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Google Webmaster Guidelines.
These are terms that get thrown around pretty often if you are a brand that is on road to success in the digital arena. But take it from us, blindly following what others are doing is a thing of the past.
Today, you need robust digital marketing and content marketing strategies that will help you not just manage your digital presence, but also consistently grow it. Google receives nearly 3.5 billion searches every day. And having a strong SEO strategy ensures that you can leverage the ones that are relevant to your business.
According to Backlinko, the first organic search result on Google SERPs enjoys the highest CTR of 31%. Think about that for a second. Combine it with the fact that the first result usually has 3x more backlinks than any other result. What does this tell you?
Indeed, having backlinks is kind of a big deal.
But if you, like many other marketers are stumped by the concept of backlinks or link building, don’t you worry. This piece will delve deep into the process of link building, and how you can ace it. We have also listed down some evergreen link building techniques with the help of a few industry experts.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Link Building?
Generating organic search traffic is often easier said than done. In the gospel of Search Engine Optimisation, link building is the one strategy that can help you create organic traffic while amplifying the effects of the other parts of your website.
To put it simply — think of links as the silk strands that help search engines crawl the web. Links will help search engines crawl from page to page on your website, as well as between websites. So, the stronger your internal and external linking, the better your performance across the web.
Primarily search engines use links to:
- Discover webpages so that they can be indexed for relevant search queries
- Assess the performance of a webpage and rank it based on its quality
Many brands enjoy the advantage of getting links from external sources without having to put SEOs and marketers at work. But for brands that are still finding their footing, the process can involve a few extra steps. And it all starts from having content of value on your website. Remember, 94% of the content on the Internet does not get any external links.
Once you have that, focus your efforts on establishing interlinking between the pages on your website. Parallelly, it would bode well to approach reputed publishers so that you can start “building backlinks” to your website. Let us look at how this process of building links works.
How Link Building Works
Depending on the quality and availability of your content assets and resources, the purpose of your link building campaign can vary. Decide on the pages that you would want to acquire links for based on the goals that you have set for your campaign. Then, define your target audience, and conduct outreach to publishers who cater to such an audience.
For your link building exercise to be productive, you need to determine the authority of the website that you are approaching for a link. The higher the authority, the better your chances of getting visibility on search engines. Over 65% of marketers determine the quality of their link by checking the domain authority. Of course, you need to check the website’s relevance to your niche and whether it caters to your target audience.
Once these parameters are out of the way, all you need to do is draft impactful outreach emails that can convince the publisher that your content would be useful to their readers.
Link Building for Local Brands
You might have heard people say that link building may not be a productive exercise for local brands. Sadly, this is a misconception.
A good starting point here would be to get listed on local directories and aggregator websites that will link back to your website, as soon as you sign up and enter your business details. The easiest way to find such sites is by running a quick search for your business niche and location. Here is an example:
You will see that the first few organic results are aggregator websites of lawyers in different localities. Such websites often attract the attention of users who are looking for a specific service and have already the decision to transact.
The other highly effective way to get your brand noticed locally is to get involved in the community. Tim Capper, SEO Consultant at OnlineOwnership says, “If you are a local business, start thinking local and get involved in the community you serve.” He suggests that the local chamber of commerce, tourist boards, and local magazines are all viable options when you are building links for a local brand.
“Sponsorships of local events and charities are also a big aspect of great links and great local relationships for our clients. We even encourage them to be drop-off locations for coat or food drives in their local communities. This is a great way to donate a small amount of space, but still have your brand associated with good work, locally! In Local SEO, I believe we are moving away from link building as something set apart from brand building”, she adds.
It does help to look at link building as a brand-building exercise at its very core. Doing so can help you grow your brand as well as improve your organic search traffic. Win-win.
Link Building for SaaS Brands
SaaS is undoubtedly one of the most competitive industries in existence today. With hundreds of competitors vying for that top spot on search engines, SEO becomes crucial for any SaaS brand.
What’s more, almost every SaaS company takes a similar approach to SEO. They drive inbound organic traffic with the help of quality content and focus on building a readership, which they then convert into paying customers. Additionally, backlinks serve as the perfect “juice” for SaaS companies to dominate over their competitors.
HubSpot is one of the undisputed champions of this strategy. The SaaS brand grew its organic monthly visits from 500,000 in 2015, to 7 million within a span of just a few years. HubSpot consistently posted quality content and positioned itself as a highly authoritative blog in virtually any vertical in the digital space.
Additionally, using a combination of strategies such as guest posting, PR, and encouraging product reviews and testimonials can work wonders. More importantly, SaaS brands should focus on strengthening their internal links just as much as building external links. According to Databox, about 42% of SEOs focus on building internal as well as external links.
Never forget, building links can be a great way to adhere to the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
According to Kaspar Szymanski, SEO Consultant & Co-Founder at SearchBrothers, “When done correctly it can not merely help to boost organic search visibility but also remain firmly within Google Webmaster Guidelines. Which is why backlinks should be built primarily in order to generate relevant, converting traffic to the website. And secondly to support findability and help search engines identify and crawl new content. Avoiding these principles helps to reduce any risk of violating Google Webmaster Guidelines.”
Moral of the story? SaaS brands require you to holistically put in consistent efforts to generate tangible results that determine their success.
Link Building for eCommerce Brands
Another niche that eludes even the best marketers around the world is the eCommerce industry. The sheer scale at which the industry has grown over the years encourages new businesses to enter the market optimistically.
eCommerce brands require marketers to produce a lot of content. But if this content is not promoted extensively, it would be a waste. Of course, the content to be produced needs to be planned out smartly albeit sometimes, with additional quirks.
One such strategy that Matt Tutt, Sr. SEO Strategist at Winston Digital Marketing suggests is to create a unique product simply with PR and link building in mind. He says, “Whilst the links generated from this kind of publicity might not direct to an actual high-value product page itself, it will still carry benefit to the domain/brand that’s being linked to – plus they get the bonus of all the extra media coverage for their brand!”
Starting from exploring brand mentions that have not been linked back to you, to promoting discount and coupon codes, there are plenty of link building opportunities available to eCommerce brands.
9 Evergreen Link Building Techniques for 2022
Now that you know all about approaching link building for different kinds of brands, here are a few evergreen strategies that you should explore. Trends may change, and brands may evolve, but these link building strategies never go out of style.
#1 Build a Powerful Email Outreach Strategy
As discussed earlier, your link building campaign is only as strong as your outreach strategy. Broadly speaking, a powerful email outreach strategy would ensure that you can get a relevant, reputed publisher or webmaster to link back to your content. Easy enough, right?
Except, if your outreach strategy is not effective enough, you would be sending emails to hundreds of publishers and just keep waiting for responses. Instead, you want to create a strategy that comes with an assurance that your emails are going to generate positive conversations.
Anastasia Potashiina, Community Manager at Digital Olympus says, “When it comes to link building, you always have to keep in mind that it’s also about building relationships. Receiving cold messages never feels great. That is why you should remain human and always focus on the person you are talking to.”
Indeed, personalising your outreach emails might be a sure shot way to not only get a positive response but also to initiate business relationships that last.
Talking about business relationships…
#2 Create Strong Relationships
Our next strategy might seem like an old leaf of a dusty book in a library that nobody ever visits. But trust us, it works — every time.
When you reach out to publishers for links, don’t just focus on getting your target link posted. Of course, that’s the goal. But to truly ensure that your website constantly enjoys the momentum of organic search traffic, take it a step further. Work on establishing a rapport with the webmasters and publishers. The result?
Your next content piece might acquire a link immediately saving you hours of research and email conversations.
Sean Si, Founder and CEO at SEO Hacker says, “…you can have amazing content, but you can’t just forward it to a bunch of webmasters and expect to get links. Let’s say some random person emails you saying they have content for you. Would you—in your incredibly busy day—open that email, read it, and read their post? Let’s say a name that’s already familiar to you because they give good comments on your posts, Tweet your stuff, and generally just interact with you—sends you a similar email. To whom would you give your time of day? I bet it’s the second person.”
So, it is not just about taking a strategy and implementing it to generate immediate results. It is also about taking your time to nurture contacts that might be useful for your business going forward. Patience is after all the key to succeeding. Of course, when supported by high-quality content.
#3 Post Powerful and Authentic Content
Okay, we admit that as a standalone tactic, posting “powerful and authentic content” can seem a tad generic. But hear us out.
Having authentic and high-quality content is a proven way to establish your credibility with publishers. More importantly, do not just create content after content with the sole purpose of acquiring links. This might diminish the main purpose — posting powerful content that can educate and engage your audience.
According to Samir Patel, Sr. SEO Director at 85SIXTY, “The combination of a well-rounded approach to creating content for a topic is ideal. When you think about content it shouldn’t be for a single page. The ideas for content should go further than scratching the surface. Identifying the touchpoints from content for a given topic will ensure you have covered off on as many angles as possible for visibility of a topic through content.”
Holding your content to the highest standards will help you get visibility and positive responses in link building exercises.
#4 Conduct Broken Link-Building
Not going to sugar-coat it — broken link building is a tedious process. But if you do it right, you would be thankful that you went through the effort.
With this strategy, you can target webmasters that have a link leading to a 404 page and ask them to replace it with your (more relevant, and working) link. This practice can be quite tiresome. But the rate at which such requests get accepted far exceeds anything that you may be able to accomplish through conventional outreach emails.
Anil Agarwal, SEO & Blogging Expert, BloggersPassion says, “Undoubtedly, relationship building is the BEST link-building strategy. Before asking for help, offer help – that’s how you build great rapport with other bloggers.”
It is the age-old adage of targeting a customer whose problem you can solve through your offering. Such people would be more likely to entertain you than those that do not necessarily need it. What’s more, they might even appreciate your proactive approach and be more receptive to your future link requests.
#5 Invest in Quality Research
The word ‘quality’ is appearing so many times in this piece, for a good reason. It is easy for brands to often overlook link quality over quantity. But only a healthy combination of both can help you achieve the results you desire.
And for building quality links, you require diligent research. For creating highly valuable content, you need to conduct thorough research as well. So, research is the underlying process that will determine the success of your link building campaign. Hence, investing in quality research should definitely be a top priority for your business.
“We prefer spending a good chunk of time on research. Before starting any link-building campaign for our clients, we perform thorough research on the websites we want to acquire links from. It also reduces the effort that goes into building potentially irrelevant links. Publishing relevant content on relevant websites for our clients is our top priority which is only possible by investing in quality research.”, says Vishnu K S, SEO Team Manager at Supple Digital.
According to Aira, 46% of marketers spend $10,000 or more on link building. The right approach towards research can save companies thousands of dollars that they would otherwise redirect towards acquiring backlinks.
#6 Personalisation is Crucial
If you have been in business for some time, you may have already gathered that personalisation is the theme of the modern business world. Webmasters receive several emails asking for a link, so even if you have high-quality content, your email can get lost in the noise.
Did you know that sending personalised emails for link building increased the response rate by 33%?
Personalisation is crucial in link building as it helps your email gets noticed and fetches positive responses. Anastasiia Potashina, Community Manager at Digital Olympus also says, “Personalisation is your friend. Show them that you did your research and are genuinely interested in working with them. Use something that you have in common as a hook, for example: got a link from the website they’ve acquired not so long ago, or you published a post about the same topic.”
This trick can truly help you generate better outcomes out of your outreach strategy and strengthen your link building efforts.
#7 Strategise Article Series
What is better than a comprehensive high-quality content piece loaded with valuable information? A series of high-quality content pieces that delve deeper into concepts that require more clarity.
With that in mind, for topics that involve quite a bit of research, and require deeper insights, consider opting for article series as opposed to a standalone massive article. Don’t get us wrong — long-form guides do have a crucial role to play in an SEO strategy. But topics that warrant extensive discussion, a series of articles tend to be more engaging and effective.
Essentially, you want to create a series of articles in which each article should make sense on its own. What’s even better is that this content does not even need to be textual. You can build links and continue to create a strong link profile effectively through videos and infographics as well.
In the process of building links, businesses should remember that content should be produced when you have something to say. It is also important to consider that a piece of high-quality content can be repurposed and reproduced effectively. The trick is to have something value-additional in all your content pieces.
“Plus having something quotable in a piece of content also helps to get more naturally occurring links; if a piece of content is well researched, has a quote and/or quotable findings, and ranks well, then people are more likely to link to your site as a source, naturally. Giving you more time to spend on outreaching pieces and pages that might not be used in this context.”, adds Natalie Arney, SEO Consultant.
#8 Analyse Competitors’ Strategies
Analysing your competitors is perhaps one of the most effective ways to determine the strategy that will work for you. As a proactive marketer, you should be active on all the channels that your competitors are present on. Stay abreast of the activities that they are carrying out for building links.
About this, Heba Said, Search Engine Optimisation Specialist at Canva says, “I would go first with my competitors’ linking profile, then with searching using footprint to get the best websites to reach for. Always set up a plan, and check the quality before reaching to websites, It’s a waste of time to reach out for sites that already have low quality, traffic and poor content.”
Essentially, knowing what your competitors are doing makes it so much easier for you to have a functional strategy in place. You can replicate what is working for them, and eliminate what is not working.
#9 Consider Digital PR for your Brand
Leveraging Digital PR for your brand can give you a direct competitive advantage. So, if you are not yet focusing on this strategy, it is time to buckle up.
Digital PR is essentially the process of using PR tactics which can then help you acquire more backlinks. In this strategy, you will need to have linkable assets that you can then promote to relevant journalists and publications. Interested publishers will pick it up and publish it on their website, thus awarding you with a backlink.
Not many marketers recognised the immediate advantage that Digital PR can have on their link building campaigns. That was until Google’s John Mueller gave the strategy a thumbs up.
Following this Twitter exchange, Digital PR rose in popularity in 2021 and is only going to gain more momentum in 2022. What’s more, Digital PR has been time and again been considered as a great way for SaaS brands to acquire more backlinks.
“The SaaS brands should do a PR about their product and its use cases. They should not look at this activity for link building purposes but more for branding purposes. There is a good chance an effective PR can give the product required coverage and it will be covered by many other relevant blogs/websites.”, recommends Praveen Sharma from BlueStacks.
With that in mind, Digital PR can be a beacon of hope in the process of acquiring backlinks and generating better results in the process of link building.
Links are undoubtedly a vital ranking factor for Google. So, every growing brand needs to consider link building for being visible and competing in the SERPs. The process of link building is only as complicated as marketers make it to be. If your goals are aligned with your link building strategy, and you have conducted thorough research, link building can be effective as well as effortless.
In 2022, brands must strive to distinguish themselves from their competitors by taking a brand-building approach to links.
If you are still wondering how to get started with effective link building exercises, we would love to hear from you.