Link building continues to be one of the most important SEO activities you need to carry out. It’s the process of obtaining hyperlinks (or simply ‘links’) from an external website to your own – this is called a ‘backlink’. Its main purpose is to drive referral traffic to your website and increase your site’s authority.
Sites with more backlinks will tend to rank higher in the search results. This is because Google and other search engines see sites with more links from external websites as more credible and of higher value. However, it’s not simply enough to have a load of backlinks pointing to your website – it’s all about quality. In fact, in a February 2021 Google Search Central SEO hangout, John Mueller pointed out that having one good link from a relevant site is more impactful than millions of low-quality links.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss just some of the link building techniques that you should be incorporating into your SEO strategy.
Link building techniques in SEO
1. Utilise social media
The first link building technique in SEO, we will look at is utilising social media. In the modern age, there shouldn’t be a brand not on at least one platform. The benefits are seemingly endless; it is a great way to increase brand awareness, improve website traffic and a much cheaper way of generating leads. When it comes to link building, there are also a few ways in which you can use social media to your advantage.
It’s all well and good to spend time creating content and set it live on your website, but you still need to get it in front of your target audience. Sharing content, and links to your website, on social media is a cheap and effective way of driving traffic to your website. Content that you publish on social media should be relevant and easy to digest – with so much available on Twitter and Facebook, you need something that captures people. While it is best practice to not share older content, if it’s relevant to the latest news story then why not dig it out?
It’s also important to embed a share button within your articles, this acts as free publicity when someone decides to tweet about your content.
Establishing relationships and building a network
Not only is social media a good place to engage with your customers, but it can also be used to establish industry connections. It’s important to build natural relationships in a way that contacts trust your expertise and will be wanting to share your content. Just remember to share your links to your website on social media. You’d be surprised how many simply post the entire article on social media – missing out on valuable traffic.
Every industry will have its ‘influencers’ – people who have the authority or knowledge to guide the action of others. These are the people who you will want to connect with the most. Interact with their posts and content, and even look to approach them to share a relevant post of yours. Following these individuals is also a good means of discovering new industry trends and potential new content.
2. Discover unlinked mentions
When writing an article for their own website, an author will usually cite external sources. If you’ve got the relevant content, then they may mention you or one of your products. While the majority of authors will link back to your website, unfortunately sometimes they won’t – either forgetting or just not having the courtesy.
Discovering these ‘unlinked mentions’ is easier than you may think, and there are a number of tools at your disposal. Ahref’s Content Explorer is just one of many (notice how we were sure to link back to their site). Also consider looking for unlinked mentions that are related to misspellings of your brand, there may be some out there. You can do a quick Google search of your brand to find any unlinked mentions, but this may be a more time-consuming method.
Once you’ve identified the relevant unlinked mentions, it is then a simple task of contacting the author and requesting them to link back to your site. Be sure that the article you are having linked back to your site adds value – avoid those that may have negative connotations with your brand. Don’t hassle the author. Other people are busy too and the last thing they’ll want is someone breathing down their neck with an email every day asking for a backlink. Being polite goes a long way in encouraging someone to link back to your site.
3. Check competitor backlinks
It is said that checking your competitors’ backlinks could help you gain up to 20% more links to your site. This is extremely useful in identifying gaps in your backlink profile. If your competitors have links from other websites, the chances are that those will be relevant to your content. Each of these sites provide you with the opportunity to gain another backlink – after all, if your competitor can gain a link, so can you!
Be sure to reach out to these websites. It could be with your latest press release or a blog article that they may be interested in. There’s nothing to be lost here, and it’s a great way of broadening your industry network.
4. Consider guest posting
Writing a piece of content for another website within your niche is known as guest posting. It’s one of the classic link building techniques in SEO to guest post and for the author to link back to their website.
Websites that look to frequently publish new content will usually have a ‘Write For Us’ page (we do!). While these sites are great at accepting submissions, they can receive loads which means that your submission could take a while to be accepted.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t approach these sites, but you should also look further afield. Just because a website doesn’t publicise the fact that they take guest blogs, it doesn’t mean they’d be adverse to a submission. It could actually be quite the opposite. If you write clear and relevant pieces of content, the chances are they’ll publish it (after all, it’s free). These websites could be found through your own research or, following on from the previous point, identifying your competitors’ backlinks.
Remember to adhere to the guidelines set by the website you’re writing for – they have their own audience they want to target.
When writing a guest post, it is vital to include an expert author biography. This can be just a sentence or two, but it helps to build authority and credibility, and will encourage more users to click through to your website. For example, my author bio is;
“Oliver Griffiths has a passion for football, film, video games and technology. He can be found at Tillison Consulting running a number of clients’ digital marketing campaigns across all sectors and platforms.“
It’s simple, to the point, and brings more personality to the post.
5. Introduce a blog page
Most websites nowadays will have a dedicated blog section. This can be a place that shares the latest news about the business or industry, or offers up helpful tips on a given subject.
As well as being informative, blogs are also link-building havens thanks to the endless opportunities to add links throughout your posts. You are then able to encourage linking to them, and so the link-building cycle grows! Bear in mind that the better the content and social activity for the content the more backlinks you will attract. Once you have a variety of posts, you are then able to ask competitors to add links to them on their site, and so the link-building cycle grows!
When writing a blog post, always make sure it’s factually correct. A well-referenced blog with statistics and trustworthy sources is more likely to be shared by a reader, creating another way for traffic to find your website.
Search engines love great content and are always on the lookout for ones that are updated, well presented and consistently link rich. Having one of these will not only help your user find what they are looking for, but also help your search ranking rise. It’s a super easy link building technique in SEO.
6. Recover broken backlinks
The last thing you want when someone tries to link to your website is for the backlink to lead to a dead or non-existent page. This can be caused by a number of things. Maybe the author misspelled the destination’s URL, you might’ve moved the page elsewhere, or it simply may no longer exist.
Unfortunately when it happens, it doesn’t only look bad for the author (whose source is no longer available), but it will have an adverse effect on your website’s user experience. So you need to identify the broken backlinks. There are a number of tools to help you do this such as the Check My Links Chrome extension or Link Juice Recovery.
Upon finding these broken backlinks, it is up to you to contact the author and provide them with the correct link so they can sort the issue. Because this adversely affects their content, they should be more than happy to put the new link in place.
7. Create link-worthy content
As mentioned earlier, the modern-day reader wants content that is relevant and easy to digest – this rings true for link building techniques in SEO. Websites are much more likely to link to your content if it provides snippets of information that are easy to find. Let’s have a look at some examples.
Some information that you may write in a 4,000-word blog may easily be compressed down into a smaller infographic. This acts as a more visual representation of what you’re trying to convey.
An infographic is effective as other blog authors or social media admins can easily take them to display within their content or timeline. Typically they’ll link back to you in their article or, if they’re sharing on Twitter, by tagging you.
When creating an infographic, consider putting in your logo (or watermark) just so people know where the graphic came from if the author doesn’t reference you.
Guides and ‘how-tos’
Breaking down the information that you’re trying to put across in your content into step-by-step guides or lists is another way to make it easier to read. It also makes it easier for authors to find the information that they are looking for and linking back to your website.
Conducting interviews with industry experts is a great way to improve your credibility like some of our T-Time With Tillison videos. Typically interviews are easier to publicise through a video but you can also write up the transcript in an article. Interviews are an effective way of establishing backlinks as other authors can directly quote questions and answers from the interview and link back to your website.
8. Factor in domain authority
In the early days, SEOs would be frantically pumping out content and try to get it placed on as many websites as they could. And this used to work; it would result in higher search rankings. However, now Google values quality and relevance over quantity. But what makes one backlink more valuable than others?
One of the leading factors that influences the value of a backlink is domain authority (DA). This is ranked on a scale of 1-100. When you are looking for websites to include a backlink on, it’s important to prioritise websites with a high DA. One link from a website with a high DA is worth more than several links from a group of websites with a lower DA.
9. Conduct thorough backlink audits
A backlink audit is the process of evaluating all the links that are directed toward your website. To do this we use Semrush’s Backlink Audit Tool – this gives you an overall toxicity score. A high toxicity score indicates that you have too many harmful links that are pointing towards your website.
Having a high number of toxic backlinks can lead to your website being penalised by Google so it’s vital that you get rid of them. This can be done by simply asking the site owner to remove them. However, with the more toxic, spammy sites it’s unlikely that you’ll have any success. So we use the Google Disavow tool, this allows you to upload in bulk a number of links that you no longer want associated with your website. One you’ve carried out your backlink audit on Semrush, you must remember to disavow otherwise it’ll have no impact on your toxicity score.
Another important feature within the tool is the ‘Lost and Found’ report. Here you can discover lost or broken backlinks and go about reaching out to the website owners to fix them.
We’ve given you some of the most important link building techniques in SEO that you should be adopting. With link building being a major ranking factor for Google, it’s definitely an activity that needs looking at.
So how much link building have you done? What kind of techniques do you use? We’d love to know so let us know in the comments or by tweeting us @TeamTillison.