There are many link building strategies out there but none will be as detailed and dedicated as what you are about to read below. I am working on my own link building strategy as we speak so this is great since I can share my experiences.
I’ve seen some very good lists. Jon Cooper has the best one that I’ve ever read. However, I will try to go into more detail in my list. In fact, my inspiration is from Jon’s list. I will try to expand a little on the more important parts of link building and leave out those that will take time and have little or no effect on your rankings. I’ll try my best to give examples and tips on how to achieve each link.
And the most important benefit in my list will be input from you, the readers. If I feel that your suggestion is good enough to add to this list, I will not only put your idea into the post, but also link back to your site. Just make sure your link is relevant to this blog posting.
This is a never-ending list, which I will keep adding to. So keep coming back for more input from your fellow linkers and me
We will go from hardest to easiest.
Writing a blog is extremely important. What better way to tell users what you’re all about then writing a blog post on your blog? Yes, writing is hard but keep in mind that in today’s world blogging is the voice of the writer. As long as you have something good to offer, people will read what you have to offer. The more you write, the better. Also, don’t just blab about nothing. Put some research into it; add diagrams, pictures, videos, and infographs to make it as interesting as possible. Like Peep Laja taught us all, there must be a value preposition in order to gain not only trust but also a long-term customer/client. Here are a couple of amazing sites I get my information from with an AWESOME blog:
These are just a few and what I do is register for their newsletters. What you’ll notice is that they let you register for email reminders of new blog posts. A great way to get the latest information fast. You should also follow them on Twitter and keep in touch. You would be surprised of how many contacts I found through Twitter
And the most important of them all for blogging is… You ready? Write something that you would read when browsing. Don’t just write to rank. Aren’t we all trying to build conversion numbers and generate new leads? Well this is the way to do it. Take time and get good stuff on your blog. You don’t have to write everyday. You could do it once a month for all I care. But just make sure it’s the best piece of work you can do!
Create your very own RSS feed! Yes, if you have a blog, you need to have an RSS feed as well. Most CMS’s have this feature already but you need to dig in and link accordingly for your users to be able to subscribe to it. I use http://feedburner.com to get insights to my subscribers list. I use:
- Feedburner Email Widget You can put this widget anywhere. I have it in the footer for now. I will redesign and update my site soon so you can be sure it will be somewhere more prominent.
Interlinking is also one of the most important things you can do to improve your page authority within your own site. We all get lazy and overlook this part of linking. Whatever relates to a keyword on another post, link it. Now don’t go and link everything on a page. I have a rule where I don’t link more then 3-5 keywords on a blog post less then 800 words. I would assume it would be okay to link 5-8 keywords for articles that are 1500 words or less. I use a basic plugin for my site called:
- SEO Internal Links, which saves me a lot of time but is not as detailed as some other plugins. I would rather link manually. Keep a spreadsheet of what keywords you think would fit best post-wide.
- SEO Auto Linker, this nifty plugin is pretty cool. You have a lot of control and that’s what I like. You can:
- Limit the number of times a keyword is linked on a page
- Open link in a new window
- Blacklist pages/posts you don’t want the keyword linked on
- Have keyword linked on posts, pages, media, options and portfolio items
Signing up for sites and having a link back to your site is a start. Signing up for sites is an easy way of getting some quick links (even though there isn’t much link juice). However, stay active on the sites you sign up on. For example, don’t just sign up for Twitter and be done with it. Aside from all the benefits you would get, you’re probably going to meet amazing people that have the same mindset as yourself. Here are some sites to consider and sign up for:
- These are just a few and I am sure there are niche sites where you can submit your site.
Ask your friends and family for links. Obviously their site has to be relevant. What better way to get links? I got some links from colleagues and that boosted my rankings a bit.
Research your competitors because some of them had a head start. Find out where they are getting links from and try to do the same or better. Try looking at where they get their links and try to something that is more extra ordinary. Here are some links to get started in your competition research:
Link To Others
Try linking to other sites that you use for your research. Who knows, they might find out and link back to you. It’s not all about getting links. I do this by writing something and referring to the site where I got my inspiration.
Use Social Media to send out your content to everyone. I actually get most of my visitors for Social Media sites. Now different Social Media outlets will yield different results. For me LinkedIn gets the best results. That’s because LinkedIn is filled with serious inquirers and B2B (business to business). The same goes for bounce rates and conversion numbers. LinkedIn does much better.
Here are some sites I use to get my content out there so people get to see it:
Working with Others
Talk to people and create a network. You would be surprised of how interested other people are in terms of working with you. Here’s a simple example where I gave a constructive comment disagreeing with what they wrote on Forbes: Guess what? I got a link because I asked for it later on from the writer’s site.
Getting On Directories
Getting on directories is not my favorite places to submit too. They don’t serve much purpose and not a lot of people visit them. However, if you submit your site to decent directories they’ll give you some link juice. Don’t waste a lot of money on this. Here’s a list of directories to consider:
- http://business.com $299/year
- http://dir.yahoo.com/ $299/year
- Check out http://www.cucumbernebula.com/blog/a-list-of-link-building-lists/#urrs for an amazing list of places to put your link on.
My Favorite way to get links are guest blog posting. I like to go on sites that have at least some flowing traffic and a minimum PR of 3. And through networking I was able to build a great way of getting links. I am sure to get more with time. There are two sites I use to get an amazing list of people that either want guest blogs or want to submit to blogs. You’ll find good bloggers here and there on these sites but there aren’t many. So your best bet is simply building relationships and contributing to the community in your field. Here are two links to get you started:
Links on .edu sites
Getting links from .edu sites is not easy. However, if you can zone in and create a nifty tutorial, plugin, site or whatever that interests a Webmaster you can probably get a link if they see you fit the profile. Try to create an outreach program just for .edu sites and see what you can do to build relationships where it counts. You can even start at where you went to school. I am trying to build a relationship with my online marketing instructor and get this post on http://bcit.ca.
Giving free stuff
Giving free stuff is an amazing linking strategy. By free stuff I don’t just mean give out a free iPod or a TV. I mean make something that’s worth linking too in your own field. In my case, it would be this amazing link building list ☺ or a excel file for online marketers, or an eBook, infograph and so on. The more stuff you give out, the more the community will link back to you. But remember, share whatever you have everywhere. You can even write a tutorial about something you’re good at. Something similar to this link building post. The more detail, the more research, the more examples, and the more links you’re going to gain from your fellow browsers. Look at this airbrush Photoshop tutorial. This person managed to get 170 likes on a simple tutorial that probably took him/her no time. Folks this blog posting took a long time to gather. Lets see those likes
Ask to review
Have you ever used a tool or a web/mobile app? I am sure you have. Try to get in touch with the folks that created the tool/app and ask to write a review for them with a link back to your site. In most cases, you’ve got to have a rock solid site. These sites probably won’t take in a mediocre site to link too. Check out VaultPress because they actually rank for the keyword testimonial page. This can also be a product/service you want to review.
Write some nice things about an SEO company or individual. Ego baiting is really something that is hit or miss. If you have some authority you’ll probably be seen in the industry and thanked. Jon Cooper created a list of 50 companies and people to look out for in his SEO circles posting and it got picked up by industry leaders.
Write interesting stories
Don’t just blog on one subject. Change the scene and write about something else that interests you. You can even write about what’s happening in politics or Hollywood or whatever. There is no reason to stick to one topic. Look at Google trends and maybe you can get ideas. Here’s one on CRO (conversion rate optimization). You can guess what I will writing about soon
Writing white papers
Writing white papers are huge. You can show proven results and how it was done exactly. Go through the stages and make sure nothing is left for guessing. Some sites have partial parts, which I think is important as well. But nothing gets me more excited then full out white papers. Keep in mind that these companies spend thousands trying to build conversion numbers. Some are generous and post their whitepapers on the web. You can benefit from these and even use them in your presentations. It might be overwhelming to be everywhere but this is our industry and if you love it, you should embrace all that’s given to you by others. Read up because you won’t learn this stuff in college or university. Here are some places I get my whitepapers and conversion articles:
You ever had something happen to you, which was amazing or embarrassing? Well guess what? People love to read this stuff. This goes back to #16. Write about it. Get out of the industry talk show and get personal. People love this sort of writing. In fact I should write about the time I drove through the Mexican border with my cousins from Arizona and found amazing new friends who let us stay at their penthouse. Amazing trip!
Something has happened to presenting information on the web. You guessed it, INFOGRAPHS! They are huge now. This is for every industry. They’re attractive and get the point across way better then writing a boring article. Check out this infograph, which got: 131 tweets, stumbled 50 times, liked 24 times, +1 28 times by simply sharing something SEOMoz came up with.
Creation of apps, tools, calculators and plugins are a big link attracter. In fact I am working with a company called Rate House to come up with calculators for:
- Live mortgage rates
- Penalty and more!
Webinars are huge these days. I know SEOMoz does a great job with it. They even call it whiteboard Friday. If you can capitalize on presenting your information in a video once a week or a month I guarantee you that you’ll see improvements on rankings and conversion by your peers alone. HubSpot also has an amazing section for you to check out for webinars. See the more work you do, the more link attraction you build.
I sometimes think a site is just too much to cover everything I want to talk about. Try getting a microsite going. A microsite is 5-7 pages with very useful information. Plus you can test it against your main site. In my case, I want to run a microsite on CRO (conversion rate optimization). Check out these really cool microsites:
Call on experts
Call on experts for advice. By asking experts in your specific field you’ll probably attract visitors. Try to get in touch with them through Twitter. Most reliable experts are very active on Twitter. In my case I sometimes check with @Jon Cooper and @Duane Forrester.
Release already researched data. People love to see researched data to support what they are saying. For example Search Engine Land created a data table for SEO and it got massive attention. Remember, this is an image. There is no reason why you can’t take it. Just make sure you give credit where it’s due. We don’t want to steal material. Nothing kills reputation faster then this.
Twitter is my favorite social media site. Just because I follow and track the most influential individuals in my industry. I also use Hootsuite to streamline my feeds. I am going to give you my Twitter secret right here. It took me a whole year to get all my sources and arrange them the way I want. You can have it for free in this blog post☺. The first step you need to take is sign up for Hootsuite and learn how to use it. Then you need to create streams of users you follow. Here is mine:
As you can see, I have different windows for different things I follow. The first one is for web design, development and design in general. The second one is for SEO and the third one is for marketing. I have more like friends and news. All right, this is the almighty list for you web guys. These guys are the best in their field from web design to online marketing to SEO and CRO:
- UX Movement
- Web design Shock
- Web design Ledger / one of my favorites
- Web designer depot / another favorite
- Smashing Magazine
- Design modo
- Peep Laja / amazing CRO expert
- Neil Patel / another CRO expert
- Wil Reynolds
- Rand Fishkin / all time SEO king
- Jon Cooper / another amazing young kid for SEO
- Search Engine Land
- SEOMoz / all you SEO folks have to have these guys in your list
- Matt Cutts / want to know what’s happening with Google? Matt’s your guy
- Marketing Cloud
- New Media Sources (me:)
And finally make sure your profile looks something like this when someone is at your Twitter account:
Not everything is online. I had a client who sponsored sport teams and holiday events for the city but never asked for a link on their sites. I took over and started asking for links and you can guess what happen because they started ranking much better as soon as these links were acquired. Trust me folks, its not expensive to sponsor a high school sports team or a part in an event for the city. These links have a lot of authority and will give you strength with Google, Bing and Yahoo. You can even donate to charities and ask for a link. Just make sure you don’t spend more they you can chew. Plus it’s all for a good cause with a little something on the side for you.
Scholarships are great. If you have the dough and are willing to donate to a young up and coming student, you can probably land some really cool links. Jon Cooper had a really cool idea where you can hold a contest and have student’s blog and the more likes, tweets and +1’s would mean the money you’re offering. Great tip Jon.
Writing something for your local newspaper is big bonus. I am sure they can appreciate their own citizens chipping in. If your not a great writer its okay. I am not either. What you can do is higher an editor to get your writing up to spec and then you can submit it. Look at this posting by our local newspaper here in beautiful Vancouver:
Give out free stuff to your fellow bloggers and ask for a link back in return. This one is also a good way to get what you want with what they want. You can probably land a couple of really good links offering services or products to people in your industry.
Another way there were planning to build brand awareness is have a contest. Were going to offer our services to 15 lucky folks for free in exchange for a link back. A lot of people are going to apply for this. Who doesn’t want free stuff? And who knows, we might get 100’s of links just for doing something that we love.
Better Business Bureau
BBB (Better Business Bureau) is a great link to have. It does cost quite a bit. The agency I was working at before New Media Sources had to pay $399/year to maintain a link on BBB. If you have the money, get this link. Plus, you get a credible well know badge on your site. We want leads don’t we? BBB is just another way for doing this. Here is the site to get started:
Get registered on a government level. You would be surprised how many government sites out there actually have a directory for businesses. Here is one for Canada, which I am registered for as well:
- Information and Communications Technologies
- Or the Vancouver Public Library / Getting a link from these guys or any library is not easy. If you get involved, it will be much easier for you to get a link and in the end it will be worth it because you’re helping your community.
PR (press release) is good of course. There are a couple of sites you can submit too. Honestly, I wouldn’t pay a dime to any PR site. There are free ones out there. Here are a few for you to get juicy links from:
Niche and company directory submissions. These links pass some juice as well. If their free, why not right? Don’t register for every directory. Some might hurt your rankings and don’t pass link juice anyway. Stick to the good ones. Here a few good places for you to be on:
Video submissions are great. We all know people don’t like to read. So if you have a video, submit it to multiple video sites. YouTube is not the only one you know. Here are some others:
- Daily Motion
- And if you look hard, there are video sites that are niche. I love MMA and YouTube obviously isn’t my destination for MMA videos. Check out http://mmatko.com
Getting on RSS directories is okay as well. You should submit to a couple of authority sites that offer this service. There are people that still go over these. Here is a list of good RSS directories:
Just like RSS feeds, there are blog directories as well. I have to say; most are worthless to be honest. I wouldn’t really stick to the best ones. Here are a few to consider:
Charts & Graphs
Don’t we all love charts and graphs? You can even make them in Excel and share it with people. You know what would be awesome? You can make an interactive chart for lets say SEO. And you can share it all over the web.
Having opinion polls that are hot in your industry is a great way to get links. In my case I can do a poll about white hat SEO and black hat SEO. You could have a poll about politics or which side the toilet paper should be placed (bottom or top). Here are some tools you can use for polls:
Get Funny Guys
Want to know something? If you’re funny, you’re a likable person. Try to be funny on your blog sometimes. The Onion does a great job. Just read that Mitt Romney likes horses just like he likes citizens. Hilarious! Why funny works:
Industry Leader Lists
There is another way of getting lots of attention. Show a bunch of influential players with their Klout or website score. Something like a top 20 list or something. Rate them and see what they have to say for themselves. Use these nifty tools to rate the people you want to present:
- http://ahrefs.com/ / For their linking strategy
- http://kout.com / For their Twitter score
- http://grader.com / For a website score or comparison
- http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/ / Do they follow basic UX
- https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights / Page speed
- http://www.rankchecker.com/pagerank-checker/ / What is their PR (not as important)
Get In Touch
Try to get in touch with already established blogs and let them know that you will be linking to them. Be nice and who knows, they might just link back.
Great web design. Simply put, a site well designed will get you links no matter what. Spend that extra bit of cash flow and you will reap the benefits with time. Try to be extraordinary. Here are some sites for all you designers for inspiration:
Social bookmarking sites are a great way to start building links. They don’t have much authority though. Here are a few sites to get you started:
- http://digg.com / These guys are great for news
- http://reddit.com / I actually browse Reddit. They’re awesome!
Commenting on sites can be a strategy but its rarely used in good faith. If you want to comment on blogs for links just make sure you give a constructive comment. By commenting on Forbes, I got about a 100 visits that stuck around my site. Here is an amazing browser to search for sites to drop your link on:
Paying for links should be your last option. Now I am not saying you shouldn’t do it at all. Some links are worth paying for. For example, if a credible site like a charity puts your link on their site for a donation, it would be okay. For me its okay as long as they don’t publish that they take money and post anything on their site. Some are very expensive and some are not that expensive. When you sponsor or pay a charity and ask for a link, you’re essentially doing the same thing but you’re doing it more ethically. Just remember, when you pay for links, make sure its ethical and works out for both parties.
Relationship building is a top priority when it comes to link building. It can be online. It can be in person or at an event. Speaking at universities is also another way of getting noticed in the community. Try going to Meetups and you would be surprised how many people with great sites are willing to work with you. Here are a few places you can check for events to attend:
Going on forums used to be really important. In fact it used to be one of the most important factors in SEO. Not so much today. It’s still authoritative, if you are in the right place. Try to get into niche forums that are related to your field and participate in 2-3 sites. If you do a good job, you’re bound to get some quality links.
Copy & Pasting
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)
Try to get links from sites that can actually bring you better conversion numbers and leads. We’re all in it for getting more conversions on our sites. I’d rather spend time getting links from sites that will yield results.
SEO, PR & SERP
Don’t obsess over PR (page rank) or SERP (search engine results page). Try to be a CRO (conversion rate optimization) expert instead. Getting customers/clients is much more important. This is where more then 80% of SEO’s are stuck on. Here are some things your SEO might say, which means you have to switch companies or the SEO:
- I have your ranking on the first page. The rest is up to you.
- We guarantee rankings
- You need to redesign your site to get better results
- We use the latest tools to submit your site on a mass scale
Any negative comments should be welcomed. You should reply to either rectify the issue or expand on why you think you’re right. This is very credible. Don’t run away from criticism and embrace it.
Try to leave your links wherever you can. Just don’t leave it on shady sites that might get you in trouble. If the site looks credible and you check their credentials, leave a link. It can’t hurt.
Put a link on your email signature. Here is mine:
Interview someone or get interviewed. In my case, I am waiting to gain a little bit of ground in my industry in Vancouver. Hopefully this post will get me recognized as an SEO/CRO online marketing expert that tracks trends and applies them accordingly. Some sites have one amazing post followed by smaller great posts. Don’t be a one hit wonder. Try to be amazing once in a while.
A face to your site
Introduce yourself and your site everywhere you go. Get into it as much as you can. This way you can get the word out on your site and in person as well. Every site should have a face to it. Oh, I just remembered. Make sure you put your picture on all your posts and about us section. Don’t hide; WE’RE ALL BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.
Don’t forget to have a newsletter showcasing new posts. I subscribe to a few that write amazing stuff my university professors would never think of. Also, link it to Google Feedburner and track your success.
You know your print shop. Advertise there! A lot of business get print done and what better way to get the word out then the place all business’s go to for their print material.
Just like I am asking for your input on this post in exchange for a link, you should do the same. Write something that everyone needs and exchange information. This can be guest blogging, being on the resource section etc…
Keep an eye on your links
Keep on eye on your links through Google Webmaster Tools. Check out my mini tutorial and get the most out of your linking campaign. You can also use paid services like:
There you have it folks. Congrats if you finished reading the whole thing.