Link building best practices are often changing, and it’s crucial to stay up to date with what works best in the present. To determine the value and relevancy of a website, Google looks at the quality of the backlinks each website has. During the last years, some link building methods have become obsolete while others have increased their popularity.
If you are serious about getting more organic traffic to your website, in this post you’ll find tips on how to rank higher in Google and how to run a successful link building campaign.
Link building strategies
Keep in mind that you have to take link building seriously, and never create low-quality backlinks that can destroy your rankings in Google. Too many low-quality links decrease your organic traffic and recovering from any penalty can be complicated.
SEO and link building are a patience game between you and search engines. It takes time to see results but, in the long run, if done right you will be the winner.
Check competitor’s backlinks
The best and easiest way to find new places where you can build backlinks is to look at the backlinks of your competitors. If you could get the majority of the websites that are linking to your competitors, to link to your website, it means you could outrank them in Google. Makes sense, right? By replicating the best backlinks of your most important competitors, you will be one step ahead of them, and you can become the authority in your niche.
You can get a list of all your competitor’s backlinks along with a report on all their new links, by using Monitor Backlinks. If you don’t have an account yet, you can start a free trial now, connect your website and then add your two or four most important competitors.
You can either use the suggestion tool, or simply add the websites that are currently outranking you in Google for the keywords you want to rank higher.
Once you added your competitors, you can see the list of all their backlinks by looking on the competitor’s page, just as in the screenshot below:
These backlinks are sorted by their value, so you can easily determine the ones passing the most PageRank. In green, you can see highlighted the domains from where you already have a backlink. You should concentrate most of your attention on getting links from the other domains. Use Ahrefs or Moz metrics to determine the value of these websites, and if they are worthwhile of your time.
Every ten days, Monitor Backlinks recrawl your competitor’s backlinks profile and sends you a report with all the backlinks they have built or earned recently. It helps you be up to date with their link building campaigns.
Replicating best backlinks from competitors
Building backlinks from the same domains that are already linking to your competitors can sometimes be challenging, but most of the time, if the outreach process is done right, you can achieve great results.
Note that not all the backlinks your competitors are getting are good, even if they are ranking higher than you in Google. Make sure they are not getting links that are violating Google’s guidelines and only try to replicate the ones that are of high quality.
To replicate your competitor’s backlinks, you will have to take each of the links one by one and determine how they have earned that backlink.
Here are some scenarios, and how you can replicate them:
- Blogger review – outreach to the editor and suggest your website as another great resource. If you are promoting a tool or product, make sure you are offering a trial to the blogger, so they can test it fully.
- Editorial mention – you can again contact the editor and suggest your website as an useful alternative solution. Even if they are not going to link to you right away, this will increase your brand awareness, and if your website is indeed helpful, you might earn a link in the long run.
- Directories – don’t even bother if your competitor has links from very low-quality directories. The value of directory links has decreased a lot in the last years and the trend for the coming years is similar. Only submit your website to the most important and authoritative directories.
- Blog comments – You can place comments on the same websites your competitor is active, but never do it for the sake of getting a link. Instead, think of blog comments like an easy way to provide useful tips to a community with similar interests to yours. If your comment helps users, they might visit your website and eventually become a subscriber or even a paying customer.
- Forum posts – Similar to blog comments, do it only to help others and don’t place links to your website, unless you are providing real help by doing so.
Write guest articles
Another method that works great for building backlinks is to write guest articles on reputable websites in your niche. By publishing useful content on third party websites, you can tap into already established audiences to drive direct traffic to your website and also earn a high-quality backlink.
There are numerous ways to find websites accepting guest contributors, but I’m going to tell you about the ones I find the most useful.
- Use Google footprints:
Guest post + keyword
Guest author + keyword
Guest blogger + keyword
Contribute + keyword
Become an author + keyword
Write for us + keyword
- Use the above footprints to find people that are writing guest posts on a regular basis. Add their website as a competitor in Monitor Backlinks, so you can easily keep track of all the backlinks they are building through guest blogging.
When publishing content on third party websites, always keep the quality at a high level, just as you would do for the blog posts you are publishing on your own website. Time to start writing.
Broken link building method
This link building strategy helps you build backlinks by searching for websites that are linking to outdated resources, like 404 pages. By giving the webmaster a heads up about this issue and also providing your website as a resource, you can earn a high-quality one-way backlink.
I wrote a detailed guide about building backlinks using the broken link building method, and I encourage you to read it to understand more about the outreach process and what are the tools that can ease your work.
Build backlinks using link roundups
Link roundups are one of the easiest and smartest ways to build super high-quality backlinks to your website. So here’s how you can get links from other websites, by using the link building roundups strategy.
There are bloggers in every niche that are doing weekly or monthly roundups of the best content published on the internet. If you have already published an outstanding piece of content, all you have to do is find websites running such roundups and then outreach to the blogger and give him a link to your content. If they like your article, you might be featured in their next weekly roundup and get a link to your website.
If you were to email a blogger to tell him that you have an interesting article and ask him to link to you, he would probably say no. But when you find a blogger that runs a roundup, your chances are much higher because they are constantly looking for new resources to place on their weekly posts.
By using this method, you can even get links from extremely authoritative websites. Here’s an example of a weekly roundup run by Gene Marks, from The New York Times.
To find such roundups in any niche, use these Google footprints:
- keyword + weekly roundup
- keyword + monthly roundup
- keyword + weekly link roundup
- keyword + best content
- keyword + best articles
- keyword + best posts
Make sure you select to view results only from the last month, just to make sure these roundups are still active. Click on ‘Search Tools’ and choose ‘past month’.
The correct way to outreach
To run a successful link building campaign you have to outreach to bloggers or journalists. You have to do this right. There is no other way around, and there’s no time and place for sloppy things. Most often, you don’t get a second chance, and you have to make a great first impression.
These are the main characteristics of a correct outreach:
- Personalize emails. Write one or two sentences about their blog. You can mention how much you like their most recent post and give your opinion on that subject. You have to prove that you’ve done your homework and studied their blog.
- Be short and to the point. No one has time to read long and boring messages from strangers. After all, that’s what you are to them, a simple stranger asking them a favor.
- Provide links and instructions. Make the blogger’s life easy by helping him find the issue you are referring to. For example, if you are telling him about a broken link on their page, give the link and also mention the exact location of the 404 link.
- Prove you are trustworthy. Link back to your social media profile, in the signature.
Here’s an example:
I’m Felix, and I am doing online marketing, just like you. I just finished reading your weekly roundup, and I wanted to thank you for sharing these very useful articles. I enjoyed all of them, but the one that caught my attention most, was the article titled ‘Best content marketing tools in 2015’ by Sujan Patel on SEJ. Needless to say, I love tools that can help me automate SEO 🙂
I was wondering how you are getting resources for your weekly roundups. I’m asking because I recently published a very detailed guide about recovering from a Google penalty, and I thought it might be a good suite for your roundups. The post was very well received by my audience, and it already has a few hundreds of shares on social media. If you would like to have a look, this is the link to the post:
Thank you again Julia, for running these roundups and for all the great posts you are publishing on your blog.
I look forward to reading your articles and tweets.
Notice how the whole email is personal and doesn’t look like a template. Always pay close attention to the outreach process, and the results will be very rewarding. You can use email templates for outreaching, but keep in mind that the more personal the email is, the more replies you will receive.
NEVER, ask anyone for a link directly. Do it the smart way by creating a relationship with the blogger.
Keeping track of your backlinks is just as important as building them
Last but not least, when doing link building, you have to keep track of all the backlinks you are earning or building. It often happens that someone will link to you without telling you about it, especially when doing a lot of email outreach. By using Monitor Backlinks, you will get email alerts as soon as a website links to you. If one of your existing links is removed, or their status goes from dofollow to nofollow, you will also get an alert. In your backlinks page, you can get more insights into these links.
Or you can simply have a look at the chart showing all your backlinks, along with how your average keyword position has increased. All these can help you determine what backlinks carry the most value, and the ones helped you improve your rankings.
Our SEO tool helps you keep track of all your website’s backlinks by giving you notice when any of your links statuses changes.
Please note that in order to get accurate data and more insights about your backlinks and SEO performance, connecting your domain with Google Analytics is recommended.
You can leverage your link building techniques by spying your competitors and determining what works best for them. Only use smart methods to build new backlinks to your website and always keep track of all the backlinks your website is earning. Monitor Backlinks is a key element in improving your website’s organic traffic. We are running a 30 days free trial, so give it a try, and let us know what you think.
What is your favorite link building method? What works best for your lately?