Advanced SEO Tactics: 5 Ways to Turbo Charge Your Link Building
When it comes to SEO, links matter. Link building is one of the least popular yet most important parts of any SEO campaign. Any webmaster who has tried to build up a website understand the struggles as well as the frustrations that come from pitching, e-mailing, searching, scouring, guest posting, and even begging for links. Usually with very few results.
Links from other sites (aka backlinks) have long been one of the most important ranking factors in Google. In addition to this, SEO specialists have noticed that links are a contributing factor in "Authority" and "Trustworthiness," two factors Google has stated play a major part in ranking websites. Other factors contributing to those rather nebulous terms are pretty much unknown outside of the search engine's own engineers.
Like it or not, this means that gathering backlinks for a website is crucial. This can definitely be a challenge. Years of websites' mass e-mailing (spamming) make most website owners immune to requests. If not outright hostile towards them.
If backlinks are so important but so hard to get, then how is a webmaster supposed to build a website that gets results?
This is a legitimate and valid question. The following five advanced techniques can be a great way to take your link building efforts to the next level.
#1: Talk Directly to Brands
Especially when dealing with niche websites or affiliate websites, generally website owners often only reach out to other small websites trying to do the same thing. This is a big mistake. One of the best ways to get good backlinks to a website is to reach out to the actual companies or brands whose products that website is promoting.
An outdoor blog selling ALPS tents should contact ALPS to tell them about the product review. Someone reviewing backpacking food should reach out to each of those companies. The response rate is much higher because this is more of a partnership. Brands love positive reviews of their products. Many will have media pages with links to all positive reviews or mentions. Sometimes they will ask you to write an original write up of your experience or review for them to publish, or even include a testimonial that includes a link to your site.
Brands are always looking for positive PR. This makes them much more likely to be willing to link out to your reviews. While these are rarely "high authority" websites in Google's eyes, many companies aren't that great at web design, these are still sites in your niche, from actual recognized brands, which makes them very relevant and very important to the Trustworthiness and Expertise in Google's E-A-T score.
Reach out to brands, especially if they have a marketing department. You might be surprised at what type of profitable relationship you can build well above and beyond getting a couple links.
#2: Statistics & Original Infographics
Certain types of posts are going to get more natural links than others. Understanding this is critical to get the most out of your efforts. When writing informational posts, look for keywords that can call for statistics or which you can create infographics for.
Statistics get links. If you do the legwork to find a couple good statistics that you publish, many websites that share that information will cite your website as a source. As your information spreads, you can Google search the stat, find websites that use that information without citing your website, and then send them a polite e-mail letting them know that you did the original work for it, you're happy their readers found it useful, and politely request them to cite your original post as the source with a link.
Infographics are a strategy that can still be very effective, but many people are doing them wrong. Don't pay a cheap outsourcer on Fiver for a quickly thrown-together infographic. These are a dime a dozen and don't add a lot of value. You want one that has top-notch writing, excellent eye-catching headlines, and outstanding graphics too.
A truly amazing infographic that is obviously put together well, and ideally has interesting facts and many statistics, can still get shared. Don't forget to promote it on Pinterest for even more opportunities for links and shares.
After some time, you can even use Google image search to search for your graphic. Any way that it pops up online where they don't link back to you, send an e-mail asking for the link. The key here is to be nice. Thank them for sharing your graphic, mention the hard work you put in, tell them you're 100% okay with them using it, but please link back to the original website to credit your hard work.
The overwhelming majority of webmasters will be happy to do just that, giving you even more links back to your website.
#3: International Link Building
I've been absolutely floored by how well these strategies work. To the point where, to be honest, I'm kind of hesitant to share it. What really surprises me is how few studies have been done on how international links can help out your website, but I think I know why.
There are tons of spam links out there. If you build a website for any amount of time, you'll eventually see a bunch appear in your profile. It's just the way it is. Many of these come from different countries or at least IPs in different countries. So it's easy to assume all international links are low quality, right?
Well, no. Spammy international links are bad just like spammy links from websites based out of the United States are going to be bad. Good international sites in other countries that have great content, good EAT, and are related to your niche, are going to have a positive effect.
In fact, the positive effect can be two-fold. Not only do these links count as solid links that up your profile in your home country (assumed the U.S. but could be Great Britain, Canada, wherever), but they also are a huge boost to your site being able to rank in the search results of the home country where that international link came from.
If you're monetizing with Amazon's OneLink program that means you get international sales. So links that boost your rankings at home and abroad means your monetizing all your traffic, not just domestic.
Why does this work so well?
While there haven't been a lot of deep-dive studies on this technique, there are a few reasons this strategy tends to work well. Right off the bat it seems in many countries website owners have not been flooded with the linking requests that most of us are familiar with. So they're more open to listening, to guest posting, and to adding a link.
Since not a lot of people shoot for international links, the market isn't flooded with spam and requests. This keeps webmasters more open to techniques that have continued to become harder and harder in larger markets. When you're one of the only ones doing it, you're that much more likely to get a good response.
Another reason this tends to work is that there are many businesses that want some degree of international business. Building a relationship with you can be valuable for them, and so they're more open to giving a link because when you guest post and open up that relationship (especially if you promise to promote the guest post) then you're actually adding a lot of value. For many decent sized well-established blogs domestically a guest post just isn't that valuable.
Those are the reasons for getting these links. Why do international links help boost you in domestic rankings? There's been less study on this, but there are a few things that stick out. While a single international link doesn't seem to move the needle much, a small group does. A lot of them can do wonders.
These links are almost always unique compared to your competition. In other words, when Google compares your site to others in the niche, you have a wide array of legitimate backlinks that none of your competition has. That is a major plus as you are getting boosts to your profile that they are not.
Finally, having a number of different links from international locations might count as a major EAT boost. Google has talked about Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness as being the biggest factors for ranking alongside relevance. If your site not only has a solid backlink profile from the country you're out of, but also dozens of links from non-spammy, legitimate websites in your niche from 10 or 15 different countries…that definitely sounds like an expert with authority, doesn't it?
In other words, that formula might just give you an extra little EAT boost on top of the actual direct SEO benefits from the links themselves. This makes a lot of sense, and also further pushes for this as a great strategy for outreach and boosting your site's rankings.
Give it a shot. You might be surprised just how effective it turns out to be.
#4: Social Link Builders
There's a lot said about social media and many arguments end up losing the forest in the trees. There are certain social media sites that are very well regarded, that can push massive traffic on their own, and that Google recognizes links from. There's an argument about whether or not these links help and follow vs. no-follow, but Google rewards time-on-page, rewards a low bounce rate, and likes seeing multiple sources of traffic.
So even if the SEO help that comes from websites like Facebook, Pinterest, Quora, or YouTube are indirect – that doesn't make them any less effective, does it? This is one where people think "no-follow" and instantly lose interest. But you shouldn't. Google expects to see a mixture of no-follow links otherwise they get suspicious.
The search engines also care about social media footprint. In other words, even if you can't hammer down just how important it is, you know this is a factor in what sites rank and which ones don't!
At the end of the day, you want traffic. Doing well on certain platforms means getting a lot of direct traffic. That is good in and of itself but it also checks the SEO list of getting traffic from multiple legitimate sources.
This means you aren't 100% reliant on search engines who can change your rank at any time for any reason, but you have other sources of traffic like syndicating your content. You get social evidence, you get no-follow links so you don't have to waste time finding any, and you almost certainly get some boost to trustworthiness with all that social evidence.
#5: Apply Good Marketing to Guest Post Outreach
If you have had a niche website with any amount of success at all then you have probably received dozens, if not hundreds, of e-mails requesting a chance to offer a guest post. See if any of these lines sound familiar:
- I stumbled upon your blog and really liked your content…
- I recently published a blog post that I think your readers would love…
- I've been following your blog and really love it.
- I recently visited your blog and was intrigued by…
- More quality content for your blog!
These are very common lines that were used on various big-name blogs to give a basic template for how to reach out. Nothing wrong with that. A really good guest post can be valuable, but the majority of people pitching you are planning on sending a minimum effort, minimum quality article to get themselves a link.
In other words, they want all the value you can give them for minimal effort. That's not the attitude you want when looking for really good content. You can see (or you've experienced) why this makes the guest pitch posts so tedious. There's a reason that in the world of "content is king" most people get a response rate of only 1-2%.
The funny thing is, there are plenty of website owners willing to respond to the right email. I'm stunned at how many simply accept this terribly low conversion rate and just begin shot-gunning requests. While this can work as far as pure numbers, you're only going to get the links from sites willing to give out links to pretty much anyone in the niche.
Why not apply good marketing? Stop using templates that have been overused to death! Don't barely change templates, put more effort into redesigning them. A person can still tell it's based off a copy and paste template. Use good marketing practices: a catchy, snappy headline aimed at the reader. Give an offer nobody else is matching. Take the opposite track of everyone else in your niche.
If everyone else pitches in extremely formal language, use casual (but respectful) informal language that's more friendly and open. People are offering 1,000 words? Offer 2,000 to 3,000. Don't call it a "blog post." Call it an "authority post."
When people are giving those canned lines, be direct. Saying things like "We both know the SEO benefit so I'm not going to b.s. you" have done wonders for me in outreach. Of course, you need to offer more value, prove you can do it, and follow-through.
You wouldn't try to sell something off a boring template. Use normal marketing techniques for reaching out instead of templates and the number of responses you get will boom. More guest posting, and sometimes on websites that generally don't accept guest posts. Those are going to be powerful links no matter what the niche!
Watch Your Traffic Numbers Boom!
These are five advanced SEO techniques. These are how you open up the gates once you have your foundation in place and made sure all the basics are fully taken care of. If you follow this advice for gathering links, unique outreach, brand partnerships, and writing content that attracts links you will definitely see a major difference over time as your traffic numbers boom!