You’ve created your high-quality, keyword optimized content and have published it on your website. However, I’m sorry to break it to you that your work is far from over. One of the many attributes that Google looks at when ranking a page is the number of backlinks it has. The more backlinks that a page gets from reputable, reliable sites, the more likely Google will rank it higher in the SERPs.
If you’ve tried link building before, you know how difficult it can be to get a backlink from a website. The reason why link building is hard these days is because the majority of marketers and SEOs are doing it wrong.
Let me begin by saying what link building is NOT:
- Sending spammy, non-personalized emails to hundreds and hundreds of websites asking for a link.
- Ordering hundreds of backlinks from low-quality websites.
- Throwing together a rushed, last-minute guest post and sending it to a blog that will publish anything and everything.
- Excessively exchanging links with others
Getting quality backlinks is one aspect of SEO where you can’t cut corners. If you want your content to benefit by getting backlinks, you have to pay the price and do the work. Although it requires a lot of effort, link building can yield awesome results.
Today I want to share with you 10 secrets to assist you in your link-building efforts that most SEOs aren’t doing:
1. Content is King When Quality and Context are Key
Creating the right content for link building is crucial. Actually no, creating the right content is essential. If your content isn’t interesting, engaging, or unique, you are going to be wasting your time trying to get links. People don’t want to link to a mediocre blog post that’s a couple hundred words long or an infographic with only a few statistics. Websites will only link to your content if they believe your content has value to their readers.
Here is the first secret for creating good content for link building: before you do anything, research the content or resources that you want your new content to replace. Take the time to look at the high authority websites in your niche that you want to get backlinks from. Then, check each of those websites for broken links or content pieces that can be improved upon. This is a smart approach to take, because you’ll understand the competition you are up against and know what you need to create to improve their content.
The second secret you need to remember is to not limit yourself to blog posts. I’ve found that most people on websites are looking for reliable, informational, research-backed sources. Instead of only writing blog posts, look to create ebooks, short reports, whitepapers, and case studies. The more in-depth and creative you are, the more likely your content will turn heads and get links. Infographics and videos are another form of content that can be extremely powerful if used right. If you do decide to move forward with an infographic or video, make sure that it is professional, unique, and quality-made.
Bottom line: if you create content that people actually want to engage with and share, link building becomes extremely easy.
2. Look for Collaboration Opportunities
I already know what you’re saying next: “But I don’t have time to create a twenty-page whitepaper.” You are right in that creating a piece of content that’s actually good takes up a lot of time. However, you don’t have to do it alone.
An easy way to create link-building content is to collaborate with others. For example, if you are an SEO agency and want to contribute something to a marketing blog, work together with an entrepreneur to come up with a piece about SEO strategies for entrepreneurs. Or if you are a jewelry company and want to get a link from a wedding dress company, team up with some wedding planning influencers to create an infographic on the average wedding costs in the US.
If you have a solid idea, people will want to help you create content because they know links will be heading their way as well.
Want some research? Contract out some research work to college students to do in-depth research on your topic.
You can also conduct an interview with a well-known company or influencer. Not only will you be able to use your interview for link-building opportunities, but the influencer will also most likely link to your interview as well.
The same concept goes for roundup content that you write. If you collect quotes and insights on a specific subject from a number of experts, they will more likely link to your content. Even if they don’t link to your content, many websites like to link to roundup posts because of the variety of viewpoints and opinions.
3. If You Reference Other People, Notify Them About It
Building upon the last point, if you do cite someone as a source in your content, you should tell them about it. Your message doesn’t have to be a long one. Briefly introduce yourself, and then tell the source that you’ve loved their insights and have included them in a piece of content you created. Invite them to check out the content, tell them they are free to share it, and then close. Many influencers love being cited as a resource and naturally share their mention with their followers.
4. Think About How You Can Benefit Others
One of the most common mistakes that a marketer makes when reaching out to influencers for links, is that they only write about what’s in it for them (getting a link). Let me be blunt: influencers don’t care if your website gets a link or not. What they care about is what’s in it for them.
Remember that influencers and websites get hundreds of emails every day asking for linking and collaboration opportunities. You need to think outside the box. Instead of asking them to link to your content, tell them that you have a resource that will enhance their website and impress their readers. Talk about why your link is unique and valuable to them. What makes your resource different from what they currently have? Also mention how 404s can negatively impact their users’ experience.
There are many ways to provide value to influencers with links. Whatever your strategy may be, make sure that you mention how your link will benefit them in your message to them.
5. Reach Out to The Right Influencers
There is a difference between reaching out to any influencer, and reaching out to a relevant influencer. If you are always messaging a list of random influencers, you are going to miss the mark and there won’t be a lot of general interest. When link building, you need to research influencers who would be general interested in your content. For example, if you created a study about how car accessories increase the value of a car, you should reach out to male car enthusiasts (and not mommy bloggers).
When compiling a list of influencers to reach out to for linking opportunities, ask yourself the following questions:
- Has this influencer published content about a similar subject?
- Does this influencer publish a lot of resources?
- Does this influencer interact, comment, and engage with their followers?
- Would this influencer genuinely be interested in looking at my content?
Another tip is to look for influencers who are looking for guest post writers. Writing a guest post is an easy way to get a link to your site. Be wary though because there are a lot of blogs out there that are low quality that accept poorly written articles that have only been created for link building purposes. If you see a website that accepts guest articles, look at its content and ensure that they post quality content for their readers.
6. Engage With Your Influencers Before You Ask Them
Reaching out to an influencer is a lot easier when you know them on a personal basis. After identifying your top influencers that you want to work with, it would be smart to follow and engage with them before you send them your pitch. Follow your top influencers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Like, share, and comment on their content. If they have a blog, comment on a few blog posts. As time goes on, influencers will start recognizing your engagement.
Because it takes time to form relationships with influencers, I suggest you start building these relationships while you are making your content. You don’t have to spend hours on this. But simply liking and sharing a post every couple days will make a big difference. Influencers will be more willing to work with you if they already know you and see your engagement. After a few weeks of interacting with your influencers, send them your initial message with your link-building content.
7. Do Something Nice For Someone
This may seem like a simple task, but it can yield great results. When you do something nice for someone, they will want to do something nice for you. Follow your top influencers and websites, and look to see what you can do to help them out.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Create a short list of 404 errors that they should know about
- Promote their contest, blog, or website on your channels
- If they are candidates for a contest or reward, vote for them
- Cite them as a resource on your website or in your content
- Send them additional resources that they can add to the end of one of their articles
- Ask your friends to follow or engage with their content
If you email someone and begin by saying, “I did this for your website” they are more likely to hear the rest of your message out. If you follow the previous step and follow your top influencers, it will be easier and more natural for you to identify opportunities and ways to help them out.
8. Be Authentic and Specific in Your Outreach
As you perform your outreach, remember that influencers get hundreds (if not thousands) of emails every day asking for links and collaboration opportunities. If you don’t come up with a unique strategy that makes you stand out, you are going to get lost in the massive inbox of emails.
If you want to write an email an influencer will actually want to read, follow these guidelines:
- Cut the fluff. Stop sending emails that are 10 paragraphs long. Influencers don’t have time to read a novel. You can still be personable and succinct (2-4 paragraphs max).
- No automated emails PERIOD. If you create an email template and blast it off to a large number of influencers, you are not going to get a high response rate. Influencers are smarter than you think. They can tell when a message is specifically written for them, and when it’s been automated. Do you like to read spam messages? Then don’t spam messages to influencers!
- Get to know the influencer. Trust me. It will be easier to write an influencer if you know who they are and can relate to them. Look at their content, website, and social media accounts. In your email, through in a comment about what they’ve been up to, a recent blog post you read, or something that you share in common. Write the influencer as if they are an old friend.
- Honesty is the best policy. Don’t try to hide your intentions from influencers. If you represent a brand, tell them. If you are looking for them to review and link to your product, mention it. I’ve heard many a influencer complain how they are sick of reading emails from people who are trying to build links who don’t tell it to them straight. You can tell them why you’re writing them. But as I’ve mentioned before, the key is to mention how it will benefit them as well.
- Build the influencer up. No one admits it, but everyone loves to receive praise. Obviously, don’t insincerely gush over influencers. A simple, sincere compliment can go a long way. What do you like about them or their content? Why would they be the perfect person to work with? Thank them for taking the time to read and respond to your email, especially since they get hundreds of emails every day.
Robbie Richards gives a great example of an outreach email in this article (see step #2). I highly recommend you check it out as well as his other link building strategies.
9. Don’t Only Rely On Email
Don’t think that email is the only way to get to know and work with influencers. When it comes to getting quality backlinks, you can’t only rely on one strategy. What I’ve found is I am most successful when I utilize a lot of different methods at the same time.
After following and engaging with influencers on Instagram and Facebook, don’t be afraid to tweet them or send them a Facebook message. Because so many people do send out emails, some influencers aren’t as responsive when it comes to email. Their inbox is always full, and many messages get lost in the cracks. If you’ve emailed an influencer and haven’t heard from them, I would try sending a message from Twitter or Facebook.
Here are some other link building strategies that you can try:
- Find influencers and websites who have already mentioned your product in their content, but haven’t linked to it yet.
- If your business is a B2B service, look at engaging with influencers and business via LinkedIn.
- Consider offering influencers and their followers product reviews, contests, and special promo codes for your business.
- Sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) emails. An email will be blasted to you a few times a day with a bunch of queries from influencers and organizations who are trying to find sources. I’ve had great success following these emails and reaching out to queries that are related to my business or service.
- If your company has news, send a press release to news sites and blogs.
10. Maintain Your Relationships
I’m going to be honest: this step is probably the one that I struggle with the most. After you work with an influencer, it’s easy to forget them and move on to working with the next one. Remember that influencers are people. How would you feel if you worked with someone and then the next day they suddenly dropped off the face of the planet? Influencers want to feel valued.
I try to write a thank-you email to influencers after they’ve linked to me or written about me. You’d be surprised how many have emailed me back to tell me they appreciated my thanks. Additionally, it’s important you keep tabs on your influencers after working with them. Continue to like their posts and comment on them. The more loyal you are to them, the more likely they will be more loyal to you and your brand.
It’s so easy to get links from influencers you’ve already worked with in the past and have a strong relationship with. You don’t have to be their best friend or most loyal fan. But occasionally interacting with them will lead to even more linking opportunities and collaborations in the future.
By following these 10 backlink secrets, you will be on your way to getting high-quality and reputable links to your content. Remember that getting quality backlinks is an ongoing and gradual process. I’m going to tell it to you straight: you’re not going to get 50 quality links all at once. But by implementing a persistent, meaningful strategy, you’ll start to see some great success over time.
Is there a secret that you have to getting backlinks? If you have one that I didn’t mention let us know.