Who's interested in attracting quality links and as a result, increasing traffic?
But we know that not just any link will do. The more authoritative the website the link is coming from, the better. Which is exactly why you want to build your link-building campaign around attracting authoritative links.
Let me explain absolute and relative authority
There are two camps that authority links fall into.
On one hand, we've got absolutely authority websites like Huffington Post, the New York Times and Google's blog. These sites are labeled as "informational" versus navigational authorities.
Then there are websites that are classified as relative authorities. These are websites run by bloggers--think Mashable or Dooce. While the link juice that they push back to your site isn't as high as an absolute authority--they're still absolutely worth attracting.
Let's chat about how to do that
1. Write brilliant content
The number one rule is to write content that is worth a link. But, you'll need a fairly extensive library. Building up a website's authority with content marketing will take time and you're not likely to attract an authoritative link right out of the gate.
Once you've got an impressive library to show off, approach your short list of authoritative sites and ask for a link. Perhaps you wrote about the author and now he/she might be interested in sharing it with their audience. On the flip side, maybe you wrote an article that directly conflicts his/her stance on an issue, which could spark a firestorm of other responses. Either scenario...you win!
Here's a few ideas to get your brain working:
- Share an infographics or eBook covering your niche topic
- Upload free images
- Interview an expert
2. Don't forget guest posting/blogging
Sharing an original, highly-researched piece with a publisher as a guest post is a great way to get links to your website.
Now, this approach is typically more successful with relative authority sites, but if you develop a strategy that focuses on building links, traffic and exposure via guest posting on a few cherry picked websites--you'll reap the fruits of your labor.
Here are some resources to help you write, submit and get your guests post published:
- How to Land a Guest Post Without Fail: 21 Secret Tips
- 10 Tips for Building a Successful Blog Post Strategy
- 3 Essential Elements of Guest Blogging Proposals [that get accepted]
If you're struggling with what to write about, just ask! Ask publishers what they're missing and offer to create it for them. Just make sure that you only agree to produce content that you can create professionally and will attract people in your target audience.
3. Know the difference between a good site and a bad one
Its fundamental that you know the difference between a good website and a bad one. In a similar blog post, Neil Patel wrote about four ways to determine if a website is a bad one.
- Negative PPC--if you come across a website that has SEO links based on pills, casinos or porn, then its NOT a good website to get a link from.
- Link Overload--avoid sites with a high link-to-content ratio. Anything above 20% links and 80% content its NOT a good website to get a link from.
- Keyword Stuffing--your first clue is the title description. If it looks like someone treated it like a keyword meta tag, then its NOT a good website to get a link from.
- Ad Overload--ads are on both sidebars, above the header and multiple times in the content block itself...then its NOT a good website to get a link from.
4. Offer to fix other peoples' broken links
The internet is an ever changing place. People shut down their websites or pull pages--and then links die.
If you're looking for some low-hanging fruit, consider combing a web page by a publisher (think Mashable) who links out A LOT and the page is a few years old--I'll bet there are few dead links on that page. Imagine if you worked through the entire site?
You can easily use a link validator tool like W3C's Link Checker to find those dead links. Another option is to manually make a list of all the dead links you find and approach each author with several content options.
5. Build something useful
One of the fastest and most productive way to generate tons of high-quality links is by creating a highly-useful, FREE tool. And then tell everyone about it! People naturally want to share stuff that's useful and FREE!
One of the best examples? Hubspot's Marketing Grader
I realize that this might be easier said than done, but it's such a powerful investment. If done well, your tool could also generate hundreds of newsletter sign ups each month!
6. Hangout with your audience [IRL]
As a blogger or someone that works almost exclusively online, it's easy to forget about the power of a genuine face-to-face interaction.
One option is to travel to an industry-relevant conference and hook up with those people that you're looking to influence and link to your website. You absolutely can't be a pest about it, but find them at the bar. Magic usually happens after you offer to buy someone a drink or two.
Bottom line: offer to make them an infographic or a beginner's guide (ahem, remember content gaps...?)
7. Go after the .edu and .org domains
What organizations do you belong to? Whether it's an alumni group, a business group or a non-profit committee--do any publish a directory? On the outside, these might not seem like high-traffic, authoritative options, but Google loves .edu and .org websites the most--and they typically are very industry relevant.
Creating meaningful and well-researched content could also naturally attract links from these sites. You could offer to be a case study, sponsor a student event (which is usually low cost), volunteer to be a guest speaker to the graduate students or consider writing a review about one of their programs with solid data points and future predictions.
If government websites are what you're really after, consider hosting a community event, create content that supports a charitable cause or even run for an office.
Just know that if you're going after these audiences, it's important that you can effectively demonstrate your ability to create professional content. As with other publishers, be smart: inspect their websites, identify the content gaps and offer to fill them.
It's absolutely not a waste of time if you invest it in attracting high-quality and authoritative links--it's 50% of your SEO grade! Google has said loud and clear that they will (and do) penalize brands that practice buying links. Instead, keep creating great content--and share it, and build your authority and network. Using some of the suggestions above will help generate links that never go out of fashion--and keep on giving!
What positive and successful link-building strategies have you implemented? Please share them in the comments below. And don't forget to subscribe to our weekly "Keep it Current" rag or follow us on social media: @eelectriklady