Link building is one of the most important SEO skills. However, successful link building changes on a consistent basis, and it's important you adapt and upgrade your skills on a regular basis.
Link building is much more than simply finding the right links; it's actually a unique blend of knowledge, content creation and understanding the psychology behind linking. In order to obtain high-quality links today you have to be much more creative.
Beyond typical link building strategies, it's crucial you dig deeper to truly uncover hidden gems that most companies are overlooking. If you're looking for a way to stand out from your competitors, finding hidden and more secluded backlinks will be your holy grail.
In this post I'm going to explore where these hidden backlinks are, and how you can use them to increase your rankings.
- Create Infographics, They Still Work
For a while infographics created a ton of buzz in the online space. Not only were they an easy, effective and beautiful means to convey information, but they also naturally attracted a ton of links and shares.
However, the use of infographics has declined sharply as people think the market is saturated. But the market for quality is never saturated! Successful infographics don't have to be expensive either; you can outsource the design of a quality infographic for as little as a couple hundred dollars.
The distinction between creating just another infographic and one that actually interests people are how creatively you're presenting your information. Take some time to brainstorm potential topics that bring together disparate ideas and are intriguing to people.
Once you have your infographic created you can obtain backlinks by sharing it with relevant parties. For instance, if there are successful bloggers in your niche you could reach out to them, giving them free use of your infographic in one of their blog posts in exchange for a link.
- Reach Out: Use Testimonials, Reviews and Case Studies
Testimonials, product reviews and case studies are extremely beneficial when it comes to selling products or services. If you've used any products or services of high profile companies or bloggers, you should consider providing a testimonial of your experience.
Most testimonials include links back to your website, which can be very beneficial.
In regards to a case study you could either write up the case study and your results using the product, or you can get in touch before your write-up to see if they would be interested in running a post on their website.
Same thing goes for product reviews. Consider leaving a review on their website of how valuable their product was, or consider sending them an email expressing your gratitude and results. If it's honest there's a good chance they are going to share what you've written.
- Find Podcasts Within Your Niche
A lot of people look at podcasts as a way to increase exposure for their business or brand. However, podcasts can also be used to obtain high-quality backlinks.
In most podcast episodes there are a series of links at the bottom of each episode that showcase any resources or websites that were mentioned.
By getting interviewed by a highly respected podcast you'll not only get you name and work in front of potential customers, but you'll receive a highly valuable link each time as well.
- Consider the Power of Web Directories
A lot of people began to devalue the power of web directories with some of the more recent Google updates. However, a lot of power still remains throughout using web directories. You just have to find the right ones.
Since most people in the SEO world no longer see web directories as being effective it will be much easier to find high quality directories as well. There is also the distinction between paid and free directories. If you can find web directories in your niche without having to pay, then by all means, go for it. However, some business niches only have paid directories, and in that case it may be worth the price to obtain a highly relevant backlink.
- Consider Making a Donation
There are a lot of high quality sites that accept donations in exchange for a mention on their website. These can be charities, non-profits or even just high-page rank sites that accept donations in exchange for links.
You can find a list of sites or organizations to donate to just by searching “donate page” or “contribute.” Take a look at your favorite organizations and see if they take donations, you might just be surprised at who you can support and who will support you.
- Finding Broken Links
The web is littered with broken links. It's your job to clean them up and in the process come away with a bunch of high quality links.
For this strategy you'll be scouring the web for resource pages that have broken links. First, do a quick search with a phrase like, accounting + resources” or “accountant + resource page.”
Then open up the results and browse the resource pages to check for websites that are linked to that either bring up 404s, or are no longer in existence. You could either use a website like the W3C Link Checker, or you could use a browser extension that actively checks for broken links.
Once you've found a broken link leading to a dead resource, simply email the website owner and inform them of the broken link, and casually mention your website covers the same topic. Usually, they'll be delighted by the value you're providing and gladly substitute your website for the broken one.
- Unlock the Power of Images
Chances are you haven't thought about the power of images to gain backlinks from legitimate sources. Images are a very underutilized tool for obtaining backlinks from otherwise hard to reach sources.
The first method is to build up a portfolio of high quality images and then offer free access, with attribution, to high profile bloggers and companies in your niche. Most bloggers, writers and business owners are always on the look out for high quality images for their content that other people haven? used before.
It might take a little time to build up a database, but by being the go-to image producer for a number of sites you'll not only build a positive relationship with that person, but will have a steady supply of high quality links as well.
- Local Educational Institutions
Links coming from government and educational institutions can be very powerful, and can also help to diversify your backlink portfolio. Government links are usually pretty hard to obtain, and can take up a lot of your time. However, links from local colleges can be much easier to obtain, you just have to be creative.
For instance, sometimes colleges have resource pages for local businesses, or even sponsorships. All it takes is a little exploration of their website to find out what they offer.
Another method is to get in touch with on campus clubs and organizations that you can provide value to. Perhaps, you can become a regular speaker at the club, or mentor in exchange for a mention and link on their website.
- Effectively Use the Power of Email
Reaching out to potential prospects via email can actually be a little nerve-wracking. However, you can't receive anything if you don't ask for it. When you're reaching out to a cold prospect about a link it's important that you provide value in some way. This can either be through entertainment, praise or usefulness.
I've already mentioned sending an email about a broken link above, so I'll cover a few other requests you can use.
- Flattery Request: This request is useful if you're a big fan of their work, and have been following them for a long time. Essentially, you offer praise and a few recommendations as to how they can improve their website (based upon your expertise), and casually mention linking to your website.
- Launch Request: This can be useful if you're launching a new website or service. Essentially, you email people that would be interested in covering your launch and mention the benefit they will receive by blogging about your new business or service.
- Entertainment Request: This email is all about entertainment, and is probably the most edgy of the above requests. Basically, you'll be going for entertainment value in making a joke, or saying something outlandish, and then making a request for them to link to you.
Feel free to get creative about how you email people for links, and invent your own strategies.
- Use the Power of Audio Submission Sites
Audio sharing sites are very underutilized sources of good backlinks. Even if you have no musical talent you can still bring in good backlinks from a number of sources. All you have to do is create a song using something simple like Garageband, and upload it.
However, just keep in mind you don't want to do anything spammy. So make sure you create legit profiles with simple artwork, a good bio and somewhat good quality songs.
By using any of the above strategies you'll be on your way towards obtaining very high quality backlinks that most other people are overlooking. Don't forget that link building should only be piece of your overall strategy, on-page SEO is equally important.