Backlinks have been a fundamental part of search engine optimisation for over a decade. But whilst the principals of link building have remained largely the same, the techniques used continue to change.
If you’re new to SEO, getting high quality backlinks to your website can be daunting. This is due to it being one of the most risky and time-consuming aspects of search engine optimisation.
What Are The Best Link Building Techniques?
In this article, I’ll be revealing 5 of my favourite link building techniques for 2020. They include easier methods such as link reclamation and more involved methods such as guest posting.
Throughout you’ll also find a selection of link building tools to scale each of these techniques. All whilst ensuring that you gain links from only the most relevant and high quality websites.
1. The Round Up Article
From weekly news summaries to annual industry predictions, there are plenty of opportunities to have your content featured in so-called ‘round-up’ articles. You’ve just got to know how to foresee their publication and pitch to the author.
How to Find Round-up Articles
You needn’t pay for a costly tool when in search of round-up articles. Simply use your preferred search engine, whether that be Google or Bing.
If using Google, begin by using their “intitle:” function as shown below. This allows you to quickly find articles that feature specific words and phrases in their title.
For example, if you’re a financial advisor search for articles featuring the term “roundup” and the phrase “personal finance”. You’ll then discover dozens of round-up articles to target.
How to Get Links from Round-up Articles
Now that you’ve got a list of relevant round-up articles, you can begin the outreach process. Whatever method or tools you use, this will look similar.
Most of these articles will get published weekly or monthly. They are also written by the same author most times, whether it be a staff or freelance writer.
If their contact details aren’t available on the website, turn to Twitter or LinkedIn. Tools such as ResponseSource are great for higher budgets too.
If you’ve got content ready to pitch, then you’re ready to send your email. Or write a particular piece of content to pitch to the writer.
Whatever content you produce, ensure that it is suitable for various types of round-ups. This will allow you to scale your link building efforts more effectively.
Also remember that the writer will typically have finished their piece a week or two before publishing it. You must allow yourself adequate time to make contact and build a relationship.
2. The Guest Post
Most blogs have a small team of writers. They therefore rely heavily on external experts to achieve a consistent flow of content for their readers. You simply need to discover blogs who accept guest posts and check that they are of a high quality.
How to Find Guest Posting Opportunities
There are few tools to find guest posting opportunities. However, search engines such as Google and Bing make it easy to discover blogs who welcome guest posts.
If using Google, perform a search like that shown below. This will serve up a list of blogs actively seeking guest bloggers and show you how to best apply.
For example, if you’re a personal trainer search for the term “personal fitness” and phrase “write for us”. This will reveal any personal fitness blogs with a guest post application page.
How to Secure a Guest Post?
Each blog will have different requirements and processes, but they’ll usually want examples of previous content you’ve written. This could be on your own blog or somebody else’s.
When seeking guest posting opportunities, the outreach email is vital. Vlado Pavlik reveals why journalists often ignore outreach emails in his brilliant article.
It will typically take a few follow-ups before you receive a response. BuzzStream is a great tool for managing your opportunities, systemising outreach, and monitoring backlinks.
3. The Link Reclamation
As you build links to your website, you can expect to lose some too. This may be because of blogs editing old posts, migrating their entire website or, sometimes choosing to remove the link. But by monitoring your backlinks, you can quickly identify lost links and reach out to website owners to reclaim them.
How to Identify Lost Links
Google Search Console reveals exactly who is linking to your website. However, tracking which of these links have been lost can be laboursome and tiresome.
Tools such as Moz and Ahrefs keep track of all backlinks. They also allow you to identify the links that you’ve lost from one week to the next.
Another great feature of these tools is that they reveal the quality of the lost links. You can therefore easily filter them and focus your efforts on reclaiming the most valuable backlinks.
How to Reclaim Lost Links
Once you’ve identified lost links to reclaim, you must reach out to the post author or website owner. If you’re struggling to find their contact details, try Twitter or LinkedIn. Alternatively, use a tool such as Hunter if you’ve got a budget.
When reclaiming lost links, the outreach email is very important. Remember to be chivalrous and highlight the benefit it offers to their users. It’s important that you don’t come across overbearing, as this will often lose you the link.
4. The Unlinked Mention
If you’re a widely recognised brand, you may be mentioned in blogs regularly. Frequently, the writers of those posts forget to link to your website. These pose great opportunities to gain a backlink, especially if they have used your original content in their post.
How to Find Brand Mentions
Google Alerts are a free way to discover mentions of your brand. You simply set up a few alerts for your brand name and abbreviations of it.
You’ll receive an email each time these terms or phrases are mentioned, whether that be in the article’s title or the post itself.
Mention is a premium tool that does the same thing. However, it compiles all mentions of your brand into a single location with key metrics about the source.
How to Secure Unlinked Mentions
Now that you’ve found blogs who are mentioning you without a link, you’re able to start the outreach process. It’s typically easy to find an email address, but you can also turn to Twitter or LinkedIn.
The approach you take in your email can vary, dependent on whether they’ve used your content or have referenced your brand. Below is an example from Joshua Hardwick that shows how a simple and straightforward outreach email can often work best.
6. The Press Release
Whether you’re a small business or large brand, you have news to share. This could include a new product launch, recent acquisition, or company milestone. Each of which are great opportunities to earn backlinks from influential publications within your industry.
How to Write Press Releases
Writing a press release isn’t as daunting as you may think. This is as they typically share a similar template and don’t require an extensive amount of copy in most circumstances. Allowing you to quickly write an engaging press release for the media.
As you would imagine, the headline of your press release is key to its success. It should contain enough depth for the journalist to grasp the topic whilst also leaving them wanting more. If your headline is too fluffy, it’s likely to remain unopened in the journalist’s inbox.
Once you’ve written a great headline, you can focus on the content at the heart of your press release. Lorraine Forrest-Turner breaks down her press releases into the five core paragraphs shown below. Each covers a different aspect of the story in a natural and engrossing flow.
- Paragraph 1: Provide a summary of the store in a few sentences.
- Paragraph 2: Offer context on the story and highlight why its important.
- Paragraph 3: Include details on the story, such as who’s involved, how it developed etc.
- Paragraph 4: Give relevant quotes to add information and credibility.
- Paragraph 5: Show people where they can find more information, purchase a product or get involved.
Although it can be tempting to touch upon several topics in a single press release, this should be avoided at all costs. Otherwise it demands far too much disection by the journalist, further reducing the likelihood of it recieving coverage.
How to Distribute Press Releases
If you’re on a limited budget, you can store the details of each media outlet in a spreadsheet and distribute your press release individually by email. Alternatively, use a tool such as BuzzStream to speed up the process with the ability to send several emails at a click of a button.
BuzzStream also allows you to create sequences, therefore automating the follow-up process in the days following a press release. After all, we’ve all overlooked an email and benefit from a gentle reminder on occasion.
It is, however, important that you do not hassle the journalist too much. Don’t see their failure to share your press release as an attack on your business. They may be dealing with a tight deadline on another editorial or your press release may not suit their publication.
5. The Content Pitch
Content is central in many of the link building techniques shown above, such as round-up articles and guest posting. However, producing timely and quality content will naturally increase the number of backlinks to your website. By undertaking a little outreach, you can then use this content to get more links from targeted websites.
How to Create Linkable Content
Don’t confuse creating linkable content with creating sharable content. Whilst both demand that the content is high quality, content that is shared a lot on social media isn’t always the most linked too.
The most common way for content to recieve backlinks is via a citation. Another writer may have found an insightful stat or compelling opinion in your own content, for example. So they’ll deem it necessary to link to the original source of that stat or opinion.
For you to gain citations, your content must contain something original. This could be because of a new study or different stance on a current event in your sector. If they can find similar content elsewhere, the likelihood of you receiving credit is slim.
When creating content, you must also consider its style. Whilst short and snappy articles are great for social media, in-depth analysis and insightful infographics are great for getting links. I touch on this and much more in my article on writing link-worthy content.
How to Build Links to Your Content
Whilst quality content from authoritative writers will naturally gain links, you must also have an outreach strategy in place. Otherwise, you could miss out on valuable backlinks.
Maintain an up-to-date Google Sheet of trusted blogs for your sector and their writers. Then announce any new content with an email which highlights the popularity of the subject and the benefit it could provide for their readers.
Once you’ve established a relationship with a blog or writer, they may keep a keen eye on any future content you produce. Allowing you to get links far into the future and strengthen your authority further.
Above are 5 great ways to get backlinks to your website in 2020. They can all be achieved with little or no budget, but each demand some time and effort. But once you’ve begun creating unique content and building relationships in your sector, they can be easily scaled.
When combined with a fantastic site structure and great content, strengthening the quality and quantity of links to your website will significantly aid your SEO. But if you’re still unsure which approach to take, please request a free SEO consultation
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