Let’s be honest: many marketers would rather avoid the time and effort that link-building requires. Unfortunately, search engines love backlinks — the number one ranking page in Google search engine results (SERPs) usually has an average of 3.8 times more backlinks than positions 2–10.
Backlinks build a website’s authority and credibility by indicating to search engines that other websites consider the content valuable and relevant. But that doesn’t mean that any and all links will have the same effect: recent updates to Google’s algorithm penalize short-cut, black hat tactics such as link buying.
To avoid these consequences, it’s crucial to take an effective and scalable approach focusing on earning high-quality, organic links that will stand the test of time.
Want to learn how to do this? You’re in the right place. Here are 10 of Coalition Technologies’ best link-building strategies for 2023.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Publish Link-Worthy Content
- 2 2. Create Ego Bait Content
- 3 3. Direct Outreach
- 4 4. Crafting the Outreach Message
- 5 5. Review Existing Links and Mentions
- 6 6. Engaging and Answering Questions on Q&A Sites
- 7 7. Thought Leadership
- 8 8. Reverse Image Search
- 9 9. Expert Contributions
- 10 10. Online Directories
1. Publish Link-Worthy Content
The foundation of a successful link-building strategy is creating helpful, educational, and entertaining content. This is because people on the internet like to share content that provides valuable information and/or helps them solve a problem or learn something new.
In this case, high-quality content increases the likelihood of other websites in your niche or industry linking to it, which ultimately increases authority and visibility.
The following types of content can be very effective at attracting links if well-researched and visually appealing.
- Lists: These are a popular format for link-worthy content because they are easy to scan and provide a lot of information in a concise format. They can also cover numerous topics, e.g., “15 Ways to Increase Web Traffic” or “10 Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses”.
- Case studies: Case studies provide a detailed analysis of a specific situation that other websites can use as a reference. For example, a case study on how your software helped a customer increase their productivity may attract links from websites that write about productivity software.
- Long-form guides: In-depth articles that give a comprehensive breakdown of a particular topic attract links because they provide a lot of useful information in one place, prompting readers and other websites to bookmark or share the content. Long-form guides on a topic that is not widely covered by other websites can be particularly effective.
- White papers and research papers: Original research and data are a favorite reference point for many people on the web. Websites that use or quote your white papers or research will usually cite them with a link to your website.
- Charts and graphs: These are a good link-building strategy because they are often used in blog posts, news articles, and research papers. These websites will typically link back to your website as the source of the data.
The infographic below, created by the California Department of Public Health, is a good example of compelling and highly-shareable content.
That being said, remember that valuable content is the backbone of SEO. Beyond being a link-building strategy, it builds trust and credibility with your audience, leading to increased website traffic and engagement, repeat visitors, and even customer conversions.
2. Create Ego Bait Content
Ego bait content is designed to appeal to the ego of a particular person or group of people in your niche or industry to get them to share your content with their followers or link to it on their website.
This link-building strategy takes a more offensive approach than just publishing content and waiting for people to link to it. Instead, you should alert the people or groups you mention when you publish the content.
Here are some examples of ego bait content that can be effective for generating backlinks:
- Interviews: Showcasing the expertise and accomplishments of people in your industry in an interview article or video makes them more likely to share your content with their followers. Interviews also appeal to your target audience because people like to learn more about influential people.
- “Best-of” posts: These highlight the best products, services, or content in your industry or niche. Featured people or groups will likely share the commendation, plus other websites may reference your “best-of” post as a source of information.
- Directories: Directory content lists companies, organizations, or individuals in your industry or niche. This is a great link-building strategy as it can generate links from the companies mentioned and other websites referencing your directory.
- User-generated recommendations: By asking your target audience to provide recommendations on products, services, or content in your industry or niche, you can create content that is both interesting to them and appealing to the ego of the recommended person.
Like most link-building strategies, creating ego-bait content that is well-researched and presented increases the likelihood of people sharing and linking to it.
3. Direct Outreach
Direct outreach involves reaching out to other websites in your industry to request a link back to your website. It is one of the more successful link-building strategies because it gives you control of the links you generate and fosters relationships with relevant websites and individuals.
Some ways to identify opportunities for direct outreach are:
- Competitor analysis: Analyze your competitors’ backlinks using tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush to see which websites link to your competitors. Reach out to these websites and try to secure a link to your website as well.
- Sending out press releases: Send out a press release to relevant publications or websites when you have news or updates about your business or industry. You may earn backlinks if your press release is picked up.
- Promoting new content: Promote newly-published content to relevant websites, social media channels, and even influencers in your industry. This will increase the visibility of your content and possibly earn you some backlinks.
- Unlinked mentions: Sometimes, websites or publications may mention your business or brand without including a link to your website. Use tools such as Google Alerts or Mention to monitor online mentions of your business or brand. When you identify an unlinked mention, reach out to the website or publication and ask them to include a link to your website.
Remember, not all links are the same. Your link-building strategies should garner quality links from high-authority websites relevant to your niche. Also, a diverse range of links from different types of websites is better — target blogs, news sites, directories, and more.
4. Crafting the Outreach Message
Writing the right outreach message is just as important, if not more, than identifying opportunities. It should explain why you think a link to your website would be valuable to your target website’s audience and how it relates to their website or content.
A good rule of thumb is to send a personalized message that’s clear, concise, and polite.
Here’s an example:
Hi [Recipient Name], I saw that you have a section on your website dedicated to [Topic]. I recently published a comprehensive guide on [Related Topic] that I think would be a great resource for your readers.
[Include linked content]
It provides a unique perspective on the topic and includes several original research findings that your readers would find valuable.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Don’t be afraid to politely and respectfully follow up with the recipient if you don’t receive a response to your initial outreach message. Successful link-building strategies take effort and persistence.
5. Review Existing Links and Mentions
A website loses a quarter of its links every seven years, so make sure to also perform backlink analysis on your own site as you seek external links.
Broken links can harm your website’s user experience and hurt your search engine rankings because they prevent them from crawling your website effectively.
At the same time, low-quality backlinks can harm your website’s rankings and reputation. Monitoring the quality of links can help you identify any toxic or spammy links to disavow.
Here’s how to quickly find and fix broken links with a technical audit.
- Crawl your website using crawling tools such as Screaming Frog or SEMrush to find any broken links. These tools will also provide you with a list of all the links on each page that you can use for other link-building strategies.
- Once you have identified all the broken links, prioritize fixing the ones on important pages such as your homepage and landing pages.
- Remove links pointing to external websites, or contact the website owner and ask them to update the link. Redirect internal broken links to the correct pages.
- Update your website sitemap to ensure search engines can efficiently crawl your website after you make all the changes.
- Monitor and repeat. Regularly monitor your website to ensure it is healthy and optimized for search engines.
6. Engaging and Answering Questions on Q&A Sites
The effectiveness of using question-and-answer sites as a link-building strategy has been debated because these sites typically use the “no-follow” attribute for external links, meaning search engines won’t pass link equity to the linked website.
However, there are still benefits to using Q&A sites for SEO. Using Q&A sites is an effective link-building strategy because it diversifies your website’s link profile. These links may not pass link equity, or “link juice” in SEO lingo, but they can still drive traffic to your website.
At the same time, providing helpful and insightful answers on Q&A sites builds credibility and establishes your expertise. This promotes your brand and can lead to collaborations or guest blogging opportunities.
Some of the most popular Q&A sites you can use are Quora, Reddit, and Yahoo Answers. Others like Stack Exchange are ideal for niche topics such as programming, mathematics, and science.
Identify one or two Q&A sites for your link-building strategy, find relevant search queries and answer with a link to your website or relevant content attached.
While at it, gather the most searched queries and develop link-worthy content on the topics.
7. Thought Leadership
One of the most popular link-building strategies, thought leadership refers to the creation of insightful and original content by experts in a field to establish themselves or their brand as an industry leader.
The importance of providing value cannot be overstated when it comes to thought leadership content. Today’s web users are a discerning lot who do not pay attention just because a person or brand is well-known. In fact, 71% of people say that less than half of the thought leadership content they consume gives them valuable insights.
You must create high-quality content to establish yourself as an expert and earn quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
Some successful thought leadership link-building strategies you can take advantage of include:
- Guest blogging on relevant sites: Offer your expertise to the host’s website’s audience through original content that links back to your website.
- Hosting or appearing on podcasts: Appearing on popular podcasts can unlock a wider audience for your brand. Ask the hosts to add a link to your website and social pages in the show notes.
- Creating thought leadership on social media: Attract followers by providing engaging and shareable content.
- Hosting a webinar: The interactive format of webinars makes them especially ideal for educative content.
8. Reverse Image Search
This strategy involves finding websites that have used your images without proper attribution or credit and then reaching out to request a link back to your website.
If you’ve been diligent about creating your own images for your content, this will be one of the easiest link-building strategies you can use.
It also has a higher chance of success because it allows you to identify websites that are already interested in your content and likely willing to link back to it.
There are several reverse image search tools available such as Google Images and TinEye.
Simply upload the image to the tool and it will search the web for other instances on the web. If you find a website that has used your image without proper attribution or credit, reach out to the owner or editor and request attribution with a link back to your site.
Remember, SEO-optimized images are key to link-worthy content as they improve the user experience and encourage visitor engagement.
9. Expert Contributions
This link-building strategy involves having your company’s experts offer their insights, expert opinions, or commentary to industry articles or journalist requests.
Journalists are always looking for experts to add credibility and value to their articles, so providing your experts’ insights can earn you high-quality backlinks and expose your brand to a wider audience.
Some places to find articles you can contribute to are:
- Online platforms like Terkel, Muck Rack, and SourceBottle that connect writers or journalists with experts in various industries. Once you sign up, you will receive alerts for journalist requests related to your expertise.
- Monitoring the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter. Journalists looking for sources or experts for their stories use this hashtag. Reach out to them and offer your expert opinion or commentary.
- Building relationships at industry events, with local PR, etc. Attending industry events, conferences, or networking events can be a great way to connect with journalists, writers, or local PR professionals who may later approach you for expert commentary or article contributions.
10. Online Directories
Online directories can be an effective source of quality backlinks, especially for local businesses or niche websites. It is also one of the most cost-effective link-building strategies you can use.
Additionally, users trust them which is great for targeted and relevant reach. According to one research study, 21% of consumers used the internet to find a local business daily, while another 35% of respondents stated that they used the internet for this purpose multiple times a week.
Submit your website to online directories by creating a profile or listing, making sure to follow the directory’s guidelines. Most online directories also allow you to add your website URL and description.
Ensure that the directories you submit your website to are reputable and relevant to your industry or niche because spammy or low-quality directories can harm your website’s rankings.
Quality Over Quantity
While it can be tempting to try to quickly get a large number of backlinks to your website, it’s more beneficial to build a natural and diverse backlink profile over time. This requires patience, persistence, and a commitment to creating valuable content.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have the time to dedicate to link-building strategies, Coalition Technologies can do the work for you and deliver outstanding results.
For example, we recently worked with a company in the e-commerce industry which was struggling to get customers to its site. Our comprehensive link-building campaign increased organic traffic and search engine rankings, growing revenue from organic search results from $525k to $918k in just twelve months.
Read the full case study here: 1ink.
Want to learn more about our successful link-building strategies and how we can help improve your website’s visibility? Contact us for a free strategy review that includes identifying link-building opportunities.