21 SEO Link Building Techniques for 2016
Every brand or website targets ranking on top of search results but achieving the same requires a lot of effort over a period of time. The search engine rankings are determined by a variety of factors. Mobile-friendly nature of your website, On Page SEO, Content quality & freshness, Number of backlinks and relevance to the search keywords are some of them.
According to a recent study by Moz conducted across 150+ industry experts, the top 5 factors for search engine rankings were as follows:
- Domain-level link features
- Page-level link features
- Page-level keyword and Content-based features
- Engagement & Traffic/Query data
- Domain-level brand metrics
While there are various tools to help you with SEO, in this article we focus on 21 link building techniques that can play an important role in boosting your search engine rankings and website traffic. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google.
1. Create excellent link-worthy content & amplify them
Today, Content Marketing is the buzzword. Brands are churning out content in large numbers. In fact, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. In such a cluttered space, it is important to create content that is discoverable, sharable and informative to your target audience. Moreover, as Moz points out, “good unique content” is not enough – you need content which his 10 times better than the best content out there. Certain content types like How To articles, Listicles, etc. are examples of Pillar posts that can help you garner a large number of references/links from external sources. Read the BuzzSumo report for more details on this.
2. Leverage Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a gaining prominence as an effective marketing channel for brands. For the uninitiated, Influencer Marketing is the new form of word-of-mouth marketing that involves partnering bloggers and social media influencers to talk about your brand – be it on their blog or social media handles. An effective way to leverage influencer marketing would be to get the top bloggers in your industry to review your product / service. Apart from giving you important backlinks, it would also help you create awareness about your product among your target audience. There are many platforms in the industry that allow you to track the top influencers in your industry niche.
The other way to use influencers is to co-create content when you don’t have internal bandwidth to create your content. It’s important to keep in mind the user and find the right influencers who can create content for those users.
3. Broken link building
Under this technique, you track the resource pages in your industry and check for broken links using tools like Check My Link. Once you make a list of the broken links on these pages, you can reach out to the page owners with the list of broken links that need to be fixed along with the links to useful resources on your website can be linked to.
Visual content grab eyeballs and infographics can be a great format to build your brand and get backlinks at the same time, from people out there are who are looking for informative content in a visually attractive representation. You can also submit your infographics in a whole bunch of infographic submission websites such as visual.ly, infographick.com, bestinfographics.info, etc.
5. Surveys & Industry Trend Reports
If you are looking to create fresh & novel content ideas, Surveys and Industry Trend Reports can work wonders for you. Launch an industry survey in your niche – it can be a simple consumer preference pattern for a consumer brand or an investment survey for a financial services player. Tools like Survey Monkey or GetInsights can let you create surveys in a whiff. They also have many pre-researched survey templates for each industry which can be explored.
Create reports, share it in different industry forums, mail it to top experts for their insights before releasing the report and include the quotes / insights in the report if possible, as it adds credibility to your study. For B2B businesses, releasing industry trend reports can be an excellent way to drive traffic to the site and build authority online. These reports have a strong sharability quotient and can garner a large number of backlinks online. Offline PR can also be activated to create more awareness around the release of the industry report.
6. Skyscraper Content
Skyscraper content creation technique involves finding top performing content in your industry and adding more depth or value to the existing content. Once the content is ready, you can reach out to people linking to the existing content and share the link to your article. In order to find best performing content in your industry, you can leverage tools such as BuzzSumo, Topsy or Google Search to some extent. To read more on building skyscraper content, check out this article by Brian Dean.
7. Writing Testimonials
You can write Testimonials for products / services that you have used for your brand with a backlink to your website that demonstrates how you have leveraged that product. It would be better to write a quick case study to add more value to the testimonial.
8. Content Curation & Industry Round-ups
You can curate the top articles in your industry, take interviews of top experts or compile the insights from the latest industry report & convert it into a case study. Once the post is ready on your website, share the link with the experts and let them know you have linked to their content or have published their interview. For content curation, you can make use of tools like Scoop.It, Feedly, BuzzSumo as well as Google Alerts. Apart from gaining potential backlinks, this would also help you make your property more informative for your audience.
9. Internal Linking
Effective internal linking performs three important functions:
- It makes your post informative for your readers by providing them relevant information for reference
- It signals the search engine that you have more content relevant to the topic, thus boosting the site credibility for the topic.
- Increases discoverability of your existing old content
10. Linking to Expert or Authoritative Sites
Apart from linking to your own content, you can also link out to expert articles which are ranked on top of search results. This way you are linking and connecting content to sites which already have an established authority in your niche. While linking to external sites, do not forget to use the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tag prevents the link juice from passing on to the external site. Even in this article you see we have linked to the likes of Brian Dean, Moz & BuzzSumo amongst others.
11. Leverage Q&A Forums like Quora
Platforms like Quora have rich discussion on varied subjects. You can find topics in your niche and answer relevant questions with reference backlinks to your content articles. This would provide the information to audience who is already looking for similar information and at the same provide you good quality backlinks. Quora also has a blog section where you can submit your existing blog content with a link to the original piece.
12. Repurposing old content
You can repurpose old content in different forms to allow it to reach maximum number of people. You can convert your blog article into a presentation, or downloadable pdfs, Videos or infographics and submit it on multiple platforms. You could even translate the content into different languages if relevant for your brand. For example, a presentation can be submitted on Slideshare. You can also add more juice to your already existing blog content by updating it with latest insights, images, presentation and reference links
13. Guest Blogging
Search and connect with high-quality portals or websites for guest blogging. If done properly, it can be an effective link-building measure. Avoid low-quality websites or duplicate content as part of the guest blogging initiative. It can result in penalty from Google. Even commenting on relevant blogs is still a good practice in case you are unable to get guest blogging activated.
14. Leverage social media platforms effectively
Build an engaged community on Social Media platforms & share your content regularly to amplify the reach of your content. On platforms like Twitter, it is important to share your content multiple times. To prevent repetitive posts, use different post copies, images and stats for sharing. Your engaged follower community is more likely to share or talk about your content. Linkedin has its own blogging feature and you could repurpose your content and publish it there for increased reach. For ecommerce websites even Pinterest can be a very interesting source for quality backlinks and traffic.
15. Ask for backlinks
Last but not the least, ask for backlinks from quality source. For example, if you have great content on Personal Finance, look out for portals which list quality content from different Personal Finance resources and reach to them. If they find your content relevant, they might link back to it. Once they backlink, don’t forget to drop a thank you mail with links to other helpful content which might be useful to them.
16. Reclaim your brand mentions
Tools like Google Alerts, Talk Walker and Mention can help to track the mentions for your brand on the web. Track all mentions for your brand and see if these mentions have linked back to your website/blog. If the backlink is missing in the mentions, mail or reach out on social media and see if that can be converted into a backlink.
17. Keep an eye on your competitors
Track and analyze the backlinks to your competitor websites and check the source of their backlinks. Look at content and pages that have got the maximum links to see if you can produce better content on those topics. Watch out for aggregator sites or industry curators that link to their websites and reach out with links to your content.
18. User discussion platforms like Zomato, TripAdvisor
Platforms like Zomato and Trip Advisor drives millions of visitors to their website daily. Leveraging these platforms in the right way can help claim relevant backlinks and at the same time, drive relevant traffic to your website. Partnering with top reviewers on such platforms (for example – see our list of top food bloggers in India) to seamlessly integrate their reviews / posts with links to your products can go a long way in providing quality backlinks. Forums likes MouthShut.com even have a blog section apart from the review section; you can submit your blog content there with links to the original article hosted on your website.
19. Refresh old backlinks
Old backlinks to your website can return a 404 error over a period of time, resulting from a new site or a change in url. Even in case of new backlinking, there is a possibility that the source site might make a mistake in typing the url to your site. You can use online tools to research the broken links to your site and redirect these.
20. Feedback Site Submissions
Highly recommended for product based websites, submission to feedback sites can help drive lot of traffic to your website & also boost the conversion rates. LaunchSky, Valid8or, Product Hunt, Startup Lift and Beta List are some of the websites that can be used for review submissions.
21. Help a Reporter Out
Help a Reporter Out or HARO as the technique is better known as, is an excellent way to get backlinks from news portals. Once you sign-up on the reporter help portals like HelpAReporter, you are likely to get mails with requirements on information the reporters are looking for. You need to respond with the information from your end, along with helpful links if available.
Few Fatal Link-building Techniques to Avoid:
Sometimes, websites, in their quest to achieve quick results, resort to negative techniques which are not seen in a positive light by the search engines. I would like to list out some of those techniques which should be avoided at all costs to prevent any penalty to your website.
- Do a proper study of the directory where you are submitting your website. Simple submitting your directory to a website for the sake of getting a backlink might not add great value to your site. In fact, Google excludes many such directories from its search engine rankings. Checking the Moz Domain Authority & Spam Score is a best case practice.
- Never buy backlinks or establish a barter system for backlinks. Google Considers backlinks as votes ups for your website and paying for a vote cannot be seen in a positive light
- Excessive keyword optimization in anchor texts in articles
- Spammy comments on 3rd party blogs and forums with links to your website
Hope these techniques can prove handy to generate good quality backlinks for your website. In case you know any other method that works well and deserves to be a part of this article, please feel free to comment and let us know.