60% of all traffic on the web comes from search engines such as Google. To reap the benefits of increased organic traffic from Google and similar platforms, you must improve your website’s relevance and authority.
That’s why you need backlinks from authoritative sources.
But link building is more than finding authority websites and pitching them your articles or tools.
Link-building campaigns that drive results follow specific industry secrets. We’ll take you through five link-building tips, showing you the best tools for your next backlink campaign.
We have plenty of examples and actionable steps you can implement today, so start reading.
Tip 1: Build Relationships Instead of One-Off Interactions
Asking for a link without any previous relationship is like asking a stranger to marry you so you can get a Green Card.
That makes an awesome rom-com topic, but it’s not great for building links on authoritative websites.
In fact, there’s an art and technique to outreach link-building. First, build a professional email address and warm it up. That means:
- Send several personal and professional messages.
- Respond to incoming emails.
Now for the fun part.
1. Shortlist Your Prospects
Check their websites before sending any outreach messages. You want your guest posts and links to appear on websites:
- With high domain authority/domain rating
- Relevant to your domain, niche and target audience
SEMrush is a great tool for your outreach efforts because it’s very intuitive.
Let’s say your domain is the data collection company Native.io.
- Add a few keywords relevant to your business and your main competitor.
- See which prospects pop up in the tool.
Notice that you have:
- A list of prospects to the left
- The URL type
- Authority Score (AS)
The prospects above appear in descending order of rating.*
* More about this in the fourth of our link-building tips.
But you can just as easily order these prospects by domain authority if guest blogging on very authoritative sites is your strategy.
Now go to the next step.
2. Connect to Your Prospects
Your prospects are real people, not just potential business partners. So:
- Add them on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter.
- Leave a relevant comment on one of their posts. Make sure to like a few posts too from time to time.
- Share their post on your social media accounts, adding a helpful mention.
Pro tip: Bring something of value to them first so they will remember you and be more open to your pitches. That way, when you do reach out for a link, it won’t be the first time this person sees your name, at the very least.
3. Pitch Them
One of the most effective white-hat link-building strategies is link reclamation, aka broken link-building:
- Find a dead link on one of your prospect websites.
- Reach out to the website’s blog owner or head content manager, bringing this link to their attention.
- Make sure you start with praise first for some ego-baiting. However, be truthful and genuine and don’t say things like “I love your blog and found it very valuable”.
- Pitch another article or tool you created to replace that dead link.
- Alternatively, you can pitch a new guest post/tool/resource just because they fit within the website.
Here’s a neat example from Brian Dean at SEMrush:
Example time: Let’s say your prospect is techtarget.com. Insert this website in the free Ahrefs Broken Link Checker.
And choose one backlink you would like to report.
Side note: Do you always have to be so technical and build this relationship to get high-quality backlinks in relevant sources?
Insider tip: A solid SEO strategy is looking for unlinked mentions.
There may be cases in which a relevant website already mentioned your products or company without linking to them.
That means they already like you.
So you can jump straight to the marriage proposal – aka the link adding in website building or whatever the youths call it these days.
You can also use Google Alerts or SEMrush Media Monitoring Tool to find those mentions:
4. Maintain the Relationship
Keep the fire in your relationship with signs that you care about each other. Yes, we’re still talking about links.
- Monitor each other’s blog articles, videos, social media content, newsletters and any other content type.
- Keep the conversation going on email and social media platforms.
- Keep an eye open for other inbound link opportunities.
- Offer them links from your website when they post/create something valuable for your target audience.
Tip 2: Create Roundup Posts
Roundup posts are pieces of content created with (others’) expert insights.
This link-building tactic creates an aura of credibility, authority, and expertise. That aura is transferred to your brand by association.
- Participate in others’ roundups to get more high-quality links to your website.
- Create your own.
The problem: To participate in roundups organized by another company or editor, you must first receive an invite or seek out opportunities through platforms like HARO.
That’s why creating your expert post is a more proactive link-building strategy.
Here are three ways in which you can leverage this strategy:
1. Ask for A Link/Mention in Return
When you work with these experts to get their quotes, you build a relationship. They can see your professional MO and opinions on the matter at hand.
Therefore, it’s easier to ask for:
- Links in one of their blog posts
- Shares or shout-outs on their social media
- Any other recommendations
2. Leverage Your Expert’s Reach
If the piece of content is executed well, these experts will most likely share it on their website and social media profiles.
In fact, the media will likely pick it up too.
And those very authoritative editorial links will bring you access to a larger target audience, increasing your organic traffic.
Here’s a neat example from Any Crestodina’s “34 Ways to Get The Most From a Conference.”
Notice that the article combines the author’s notes with contributors’ insights. Each expert can repost this piece on their social media channels and websites, thus getting more eyes on Orbit Media.
3. Use Social Shares
Relevant content gets more shares. So focus on a roundup post that:
- Explains an essential piece of information or tool
- Elicits curiosity
- Sparks debate
Another piece from Orbit Media looks like this:
In this article, top SEO experts argue about the benefits of deleting outdated content for search engine optimization. This debate can spark online controversy, especially in dedicated SEO and marketing groups.
Pro tip: To engage your audience, add value to them first.
Tip 3: Pay Attention to Your Anchors
The third in this list of advanced link-building tips is paying attention to your anchors.
You can have the most valuable links on the highest quality websites, but bad anchors can ruin your entire backlink profile.
Remember: Anchors tell Google how to index your mentions.
That’s why your anchors must be:
Let’s say you own the influencer platform inBeat.co.
And you want to build lots of links to it to increase website authority, search engine ranking, organic traffic, and – obviously – paid subscriptions.
You follow the steps above and get many backlink opportunities from authoritative sources.
Let’s say 95% of the links you built to your website use the anchor “free influencer platform.”
That’s a huge mistake because it tells Google you’re out to spam people instead of producing relevant content.
And if we know anything about Google, we know they value relevancy above (almost) anything else.
Here are some examples of good anchors if you're building backlinks for inBeat:
These anchors are clickable because they:
- Tell online visitors exactly what they lead to.
- Are relevant in the larger context of the article where they are published.
- The anchor “find relevant influencers” sends visitors to an article on inbeat.co about finding these creators. And that’s in the larger context of a piece about blogger outreach.
- The “Instagram engagement rate calculator” anchor is useful for marketers learning to make Instagram post templates. They can use this calculator to measure their campaign’s effectiveness.
Tip 4: Don’t Rely on Vanity Metrics Alone
Two of the most common vanity metrics are:
- Domain Rating (DR)
- Domain Authority (DA)
Note: Sure, DR and DA are worthy indicators to consider. But they’re not stand-alone metrics; they interact with other variables.
Let’s expand on three problems before offering a potential solution.
Problem 1: Websites can have high domain ranking and low traffic
Website rankings oscillate, especially if your prospective website ranks for multiple keywords. Their organic traffic shows whether they get visitors.
And, most importantly, if those visitors are part of your target audience.
SEMrush Traffic Analytics tool helps you audit prospective websites and see if they fit your needs. Let’s say you want inbound links from National Geographic. Here’s how their traffic analysis looks:
As you can see, National Geographic gets a steady stream of traffic. And most of that represents organic searches and direct traffic.
Problem 2: Prospective websites may have high DR, good traffic, and no relevance.
The example above shows you that National Geographic has a good stream of traffic.
And Ahrefs shows us a 91 DR for this website:
But your website might not fit this source.
For example, if you sell fitness shoes and can’t make those shoes about culture, history, or travel in any way.
In this case, getting relevant links from fitpro.com are a better solution, although their DR is lower at 56. Despite the lower domain rating, a backlink from this website is actually more valuable since it is relevant for your target audience.
Problem 3: High DA and DR may result from PBNs.
PBN stands for Private Blog Network—this network of websites links between each other to artificially inflate their number of backlinks.
As a result, Google increases their rankings.
The problem is, PBNs have been around for decades now and while they are arguably effective, they are also against Google’s guidelines. When you get links from PBNs, you are effectively trying to rig the algorithm instead of earning links through legitimate methods.
Problem: Your prospective website may be the center of this PBN, thus getting the most link equity. And you can falsely assume that this website is an authoritative source based on its DA or DR value.
Warning: These websites may interlink poor-quality links such as irrelevant or duplicate content. You want to avoid PBNs at all costs if you want to build high-quality, valuable links.
Solution: Establish clear website performance indicators before prospecting.
Depending on your goals, look at your prospects’ traffic, backlink quality, content, and target audience.
- Conduct a competitor analysis to see where your competition mostly gets incoming links: Plenty of free and paid SEO tools help you get started. Then, reverse-engineer their strategy or watch for other insights for your outreach process.
- Search for prospective websites using SEMrush: This tool can rank them by URL rating. The SEMrush rating is made up of 50 factors, including:
- Organic traffic
- Value to your website
- Cost per click (CPC)
Tip 5: Do a Sanity Check of the Prospective Website Before Requesting Any Links
Your prospective website should:
- Look good on desktop and mobile.
- Load properly.
- Lack spammy links.
- Cover one topic only (or a group of similar topics) and not be too diverse (e.g., news websites).
- Lack links to forbidden websites (casinos, porn, gambling, medications, etc.).
You can perform a manual audit to see if these websites look good, load properly, and aren’t diverse.
SEMrush can also tell you data about your prospects:
As for links – you can always use Ahrefs Backlink checker to get their full link profile, with inbound and outbound links.
How to Get High-Quality Backlinks
These five link-building tips above will help you reach SEO success. You now know the importance of relationship building, anchor texts, and key metrics when judging prospective websites.
You also know how to get started with link-building tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to optimize your link-building campaign.
And most importantly, you have the right mindset. Bring value to your audience and prospects, and you’ll reap more value in return.
All this will help you dominate SERPs, increase organic traffic, and accelerate your conversions in the long run.
But there’s a way to make this whole process a breeze:
Schedule a free strategy call, and Breeeze will give you personalized SEO solutions to optimize your website for search engines.