9 Simple Link Building Tactics that Work for Any Business
It’s pretty clear to most that the hardest part of an SEOs job is link building, because it really isn’t easy.
Most people that are in the process of getting their site to the top of the SERPs struggle to gain these all important little backlinks, no matter what number of bizarre tactics or inventive methods they use.
If this sounds familiar at all, then this blog should be able to point you in the right direction, as we list out our nine best link building strategies that you can get started on the moment you’ve finished reading this article.
These are tactics that are easy to replicate, and will genuinely make a difference in driving traffic, and bringing business to your online shop front.
However, before we dive into what these tactics are, let’s take a moment to clear up the difference between link building tactics and link building strategies.
Link Building Tactics vs Link Building Strategies
Your link building tactics exist within your overall link building strategy. And your strategy? That is your one singular factor that makes your site linkable, and really, it’s the core of your business.
Whatever makes your site linkable, what service you provide, what tools you can offer, that is always going to be central to your link building strategy.
Your link building tactics work within your strategy, and are the individual techniques and actions that help keep your site building up those good quality, link juice rich backlinks that can send your site to the top of the search engine rankings.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at a few link building tactics, that will supplement your link building strategy to perfection
Outreach to Your Industry
Essentially, every link building tactic has to start in the same way – with outreach. You’re aiming to get other sites to link to yours, and unless you’re a really well known authority in your industry, this is pretty unlikely to happen.
So, first off, what actually is outreach?
Outreach is essentially a step you take to reach out to people in your industry or niche, with linkable resources, whether that’s content, a tool etc.
Really, in the first stage, you’re just introducing them to your content, who you are, what service you provide, what you do as a business. And for all the work-shy out there, here’s one great bit of news for you – you don’t necessarily have to have any content for them to link to at all.
If you have a tool that is genuinely useful in your niche, then you can get a link that sends loads of really targeted, good quality traffic to your site.
And if the people using that tool find it really useful, they themselves might reference it in future blogs or articles, getting you links without you having to lift a finger.
However, unless you have some kind of online tool to offer, the best way is, unfortunately, still creating content.
At least sending linkable assets, whether that be a blog or an infographic, means you’re benefiting the person you’re reaching out to, provided you’re sending something useful to them. The whole point of outreach at this point is to make your relationship mutually beneficial, as you’re unlikely to find a company that will link to you simply out of the kindness of their heart.
You’re looking for people who have written on similar topics to you, or are planning to write about topics that land within your niche. Remember, put some effort in here, no one wants to be approached to begin any type of business relationship with an email that’s clearly been copy and pasted, and sent around one hundred different potential contacts.
Take some time to learn about the business you’re contacting, the individual in question that you’ll be shooting an email off to, and try and establish a real relationship, and you will stand a much better chance in your manual outreach link building tactics.
Guest Blogging with a Twist
Guest blogging is a classic, tried and tested link building tactic, that essentially involves you writing a guest blog on another site, and including a link within that points back to one of your own pages.
Most of the time people search for sites to write a guest blog on by using Google’s own search parameters – ‘topic + intitle: “write for us”’. For example, if you’re working in the travel industry try typing:
Travel + intitle: “write for us”
And you’ll see a list of travel sites actively searching for guest writers and bloggers to contribute to their site.
However, this is a pretty saturated market, with so many content writers looking to get their blogs out and linking back to their own sites.
We’ve found that actually, it’s well worth looking for sites that aren’t actively advertising writing opportunities, and submitting them a blog regardless.
You’ll actually be hard pushed to find many companies that won’t take a free, top-quality bit of content that could help them drive traffic and attract more users to their site.
Just remember, with this link building tactic, your outreach, your communication with whoever runs the site you’re submitting your writing to, needs to be personal, and you need to make it clear why it benefits them to publish your work on their site.
Broken Link Building
Link building by targeting broken links is a great way of snatching up any low-hanging fruit opportunities, as these are literally links not pointing anywhere, that could be pointing at your site.
There are three basic steps to getting a broken link pointing to your site.
1. Find a broken link that’s relevant to your site
2. Create a piece of content that would work as a new landing page for that link
3. Reach out to the owner of the website and ask them to link to your content rather than the resource that no longer exists.
There are loads of free tools you can find that will crawl a site for you and find broken links. Try your competitor’s sites, sites that are an authority in your industry, whatever suits your particular needs, then get creating content based around those broken link opportunities.
Unlinked Mentions of Your Site
It may be a case that right now, your site is getting mentions on the internet, without being linked back to your site.
Finding these opportunities and requesting links is a really effective tactic for boosting the number of inbound links to your site, for a couple of reasons.
One, the person or company you are reaching out to already know who you are. If they’re mentioning you in their articles or blogs, then half the work is done for you. You don’t need to introduce your business, yourself, and convince them that you’re someone worth linking to, as they evidently already recognise you as an authority in your niche.
And the space for them to add a link already exists. They don’t need to worry about creating content around your niche or expertise, as they’ve already mentioned you.
Again, there are a number of tools you can use to find mentions of your brand online. Find the most authoritative sites in your industry that mention you, then reach out to them and see if they’ll agree to link back to you.
Again, always keep in mind our tips for outreach.
Reclaim Lost Links
If earning links is hard enough work, then losing them can feel like a real kick in the teeth for an SEO who’s put time and effort into a link building strategy.
And in reality, you’re probably losing links all the time, which you can counteract by ensuring you have a steady stream of links being built to you, and by examining why those links keep getting lost, and developing a tactic to reclaim them.
The first step you need to take in this process is working out exactly why you are losing links.
There are usually two reasons it could be:
1. The link was removed from the page it was built on
2. The page itself no longer exists
Reasons for the link only being removed could be down to the content on that page being rewritten, or the author has updated the content and decided to remove the link to your site.
You can use free tools like Free Backlink Checker or SEO Review Tools to track down where you’ve lost links that once provided you with traffic and that all-important link juice, then, once again, it’s down to you to reach out to the author of that content.
Don’t be too pushy, enquire as to why the link has been removed, and potentially create some new content you feel could be a useful resource to replace the link you’ve lost, or to target another part of the post.
If the page itself has been removed, then there’s usually very little you can do to win that link back, except search for places on that site that might be a good place to link back to your content that has lost the link.
And although it’s unlikely, sometimes pages are deleted by mistake. If you have a good reason to suspect that this is the case, try letting the owner of the site know.
If you’re right, you’ll get your link back, and help to continue to improve your good business relationship.
Pay to Promote your Linkable Assets
There is a way of getting people to link to your content, without having to reach out directly.
Remember what we said earlier about linkable assets, and how sending them out to potential contacts that find them useful could see you gain links from those people?
You can also get those linkable assets, whether it’s an infographic, a blog, a tool, a podcast, a tutorial, in front of the right pairs of eyes, without having to contact them directly.
All you should need to do, if your assets are relevant and useful enough, is let the people in your industry know they exist.
And you can do this by using paid Facebook or PPC campaigns.
Lots of businesses promote their content on social media or on search engines, not usually for the reason of gaining lots of links to it, but to get it in front of the right people. If you’re smart enough with your paid advertising to get your content shown to the people that will find it genuinely useful, you should start to see an uptake in links back to that linkable asset.
Compete with Pages for Backlinks
Sometimes, you’ll come across a page that, to you, looks thin on content, poorly written, maybe even spammy, and you’ll find it’s got a huge number of referring domains.
If you find a piece of content like this that exists in your niche, and has found itself with loads of backlinks, you might find it unfair that your well-written, comprehensive and long form piece of content on the same subject has virtually no backlinks from all these domains.
Start by asking yourself why someone might want to link to an inferior piece of content over yours, provided yours genuinely offers more use than this piece you’ve stumbled across.
The answer is, they wouldn’t. No author or business would knowingly link to a piece of content that they know isn’t as good as another piece. I’m sure you can guess what the next step is here.
Reach out to them. Introduce the people linking to this poor resource to your high quality content, and gently suggest that yours might offer more use to users, and a better user experience.
Content explorers can help you find these pages with a lot of referring domains in your area of expertise, then you can start to find blogs or pages that seem thin on content, and are worth improving on.
Repurposing Your Content
It might feel like virtually every link building tactic boils down, at the end of the day, to outreach. However, not all link building tactics have to, some of them simply boil down to making sure your content can be shared on the right platforms, on video sharing sites or resources for sourcing infographics.
And this is where repurposing your content comes in. If you’ve got a really successful blog post that attracts a lot of traffic and an impressive amount of backlinks, then search for other places you can display that content.
You could repurpose and reformat your blog as an infographic and promote it on sites like Visual.ly or Slideshare, to reach a wider audience who may then use your linkable asset, and link back to your site.
Or, you could turn your blog into a training video to be promoted on any number of video-sharing sites, with the same aim of reaching a wider audience and increasing your chances of someone finding your content useful, and linking back to your site.
Another benefit of repurposing your content is, quite simply, that the number of people seeing your brand and your business increases, which is plainly just good business sense.
No-follow Links from User Built Links
This might seem a little unintuitive to a lot of SEOs, but the fact is, links from places like Quora, Reddit, and other forums, do have their benefits.
There is no such thing as a site that has a backlink profile made up entirely of high quality follow links from authoritative sources, and any that do would look as if their profile was entirely unnatural.
Every good quality site has a backlink profile of both follow and nofollow links, and search engines absolutely recognise that a site can’t control who links to them.
So, posting blog links in forums, although it seems self-promotional and a little spammy, can actually be a good way of attracting traffic, and boosting your link profile to have a nice balance of top-quality inbound links and nofollow links from other sources.
As long as you don’t go overboard with this tactic, and you only post resources in places where users will find them genuinely useful, you’re really not doing your link building strategy any harm by increasing the number of people coming across your content.
After all, as the number of people who see your content increases, the greater chance you have of someone linking back to it down the line.
You can do the same on blog comments, provided you leave an insightful, genuine comment and a link to a resource that builds one what the blog has already covered.
The author of the blog is likely to notice you’ve left a comment linking to your own site, and provided you’ve gone about everything in a way that isn’t overly self-promotional, you leave yourself with a great chance of building a relationship with this author, increasing the chances that they will link to your site in the future.
A Note on Buying Links
The old black hat SEO method of buying links to boost your link profile is thankfully a dying art. Google actually specifies in Google support that buying or selling links to pass PageRank (essentially link juice) is an example of a link scheme that is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.
So basically, we wouldn’t bother.
In fact, not only is buying links against Google’s guidelines, but it’s also a really expensive practice.
Buying a single link can cost you anything from £30 to thousands of pounds, and when there are organic, honest ways of establishing a great link profile and building an authoritative website, it’s simply not worth jeopardising your entire SEO strategy for some links.
To Sum Up
Link building takes time and effort. However, none of the methods we’ve outlined above are exactly complex, and all of them are completely free.
Some of these tactics will work for your site, some might be less effective, and you might be brushed off a few times by businesses that don’t have time to start building links to other sites.
But as long as you keep practicing the essentials of outreach, and keeping open to opportunities when they arise, then before long you’ll have built up a solid link building strategy that turns your site into an authoritative, trustworthy site, worthy of a good ranking.