Popular Link Building Tactics Over the Years

In this part, I’ll be talking about link building techniques that remained prevalent throughout the years.
They have endured all algorithmic changes because they abide by the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Most of the tactics I will mention below can be found in this post. So it’s best if you read that article soon to help you gain a better understanding of how each of them works and how you can replicate them in your campaign.
That said, below are some of the best you need to know before jumping into the link building fire:

Guest Posting

Guest posting is a great way to increase your online visibility by publishing content on someone else’s blog.
More importantly, this tactic lets you secure a backlink on the body of the content or the author byline.

You can read about finding guest blogging opportunities for building links here that I wrote.
Here’s a breakdown of the process of finding guest posting sites:
  • Search for Write For Us pages from sites in your niche using this search operator: keyword inurl:write-for-us. Replace keyword with your niche
  • Reverse-engineer the process by finding blogs that popular authors in your niche have written for using this search command: inauthor:author. Replace author with the author’s name
  • Verify the quality of the blogs accepting guest posts by looking at their SEO metrics
  • Organize the blogs according to authority and reach out to the best blogs first
  • Submit your post in observance of their editorial guidelines to increase chances of publishing

Blogger Outreach

This tactic requires you to send cold emails to potential link building partners within your niche.
The key to blogger outreach is creating the best possible outreach email to bloggers that maximize conversion rate.

When done correctly, you can see a hundred percent increase in website traffic in a span of four months.
Here’s how a usual blogger outreach campaign goes:
  • Find influential bloggers based on their niche, follower count on social media, reply ratio, and their site’s SEO metrics. Use a tool like Buzzsumo or Ninja Outreach to extract this information
  • Organize your list according to the metrics gathered above. Reach out to bloggers from most to least authoritative
  • Determine how you plan on getting a link from their site and craft your outreach email based on this goal. Send them out using an outreach tool like Mailshake to manage your interactions with the bloggers
  • Set up follow-up emails to them to increase their reply rate

Unlinked Mentions

Also known as link reclamation, this process involves finding mentions of your name or brand without a link back to your site. The goal now is to reach out to these sites and request a backlink.
There’s a good chance that you can reclaim your link from their site since they mentioned your name in the first place. Maybe they just forgot to attribute your name to your site so reaching out to them is worth a shot.

A case study shared by James Brockbank at PAGES shows that they were able to secure 72% of unlinked mentions into backlinks for an international travel brand. They secured links from sites like MSN, Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet, and others.
So if you want to try on this tactic for size, here’s what you must do:
  • Discover brand mentions using Google Alerts (free) or Mention (paid). Using a paid tool, in this case, is ideal because you receive the alerts in real-time
  • Send an email to the person responsible for corrections on their contact page. It’s best to not reach out to the author or journalist especially for bigger publications because they’re busy with their next assignment
Aside from the email you will send, timing is key to getting good results from this campaign.
So when you receive an alert about a mention of your brand without a link back to your site, reach out to them immediately. It means they just published the post and would be more receptive to corrections before they move on to their next post.

Skyscraper Technique

We’ve touched upon this technique earlier when discussing Brian Dean.
It’s arguably the best way to create linkbait content for your blog. Due to the sheer information and value contained in a skyscraper post, people tend to naturally link to it.

Here’s how you can do this tactic:
  • Search for content in your niche with lots of backlinks. Use Buzzsumo or Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to find content that also has lots of social shares
  • Recreate this post on your website or blog but make it even bigger and better.
  • Reach out to people linking to the original post and find a way to get them to link to your post instead
  • Over time, your post should be ranking for your target keywords and generate natural backlinks

Competitor Analysis

Whether you like it or not, the best way to find link opportunities is to spy on your competitors.
If they perform much better than your site on organic search, then all the more reason for you to check out their link profile. Linkbox bulk backlink checker tool will help you to analyse only available backlinks of your competitors.

From here, you can identify potential websites where you can also bag a backlink or two in the hopes of levelling the playing field.
In Matthew Woodward’s case study, competitor analysis was responsible for opening their weight loss supplements site to better link opportunities.

The findings pave the way for his team to increase organic search traffic by 14x in a span of eight months.

Here’s the deal with this tactic:
  • Perform keyword research to determine which terms you want to rank for on Google. For those with existing content, find out the best keywords that your pages are ranking for
  • Identify your competitors for your target keywords
  • Check their link profile and filter out the best backlinks using SEO metrics
  • Figure out the kind of backlinks they have and replicate their process of acquiring them
Our very own Jack Vivian digs deeper about competitor analysis here. It’s a must-read post if you want to take your analysis on a whole new level.

Paid-Link Placements

This is where link building gets tricky. Paid-placements are against Google’s guidelines — counting as an inorganic intervention.
I just want to make an important distinction. When I’m talking about paid link placements, I don’t mean paying someone to do your organic link building for you. If the outsourcing party uses link building methods that don’t necessarily breach the guidelines then you’re not breaching them by paying them to work for you.

I mean paying a webmaster directly to alter their site just to add a backlink to your own website.
Any type of link that requires direct intervention is a big no-no in Google’s eyes.
But we also mentioned how some people were able to see increased ranking on SERPs using this tactic (along with others).

Again, it is totally up to you to pursue paid links as part of your strategy.
And if you do, it’s possible that you win organic search just like Charles did.
But before you begin, you need to know how much a backlink costs on average and the risks that come with it.

Based on the studies conducted by Ahrefs across 180 blogs, the average price for a backlink is $77.80 which is lower than the $352.92 average in 2016.
Using this price as a benchmark, cheap linking building services from Fiverr are out of the question.
If $5 for 10,000 instant backlinks didn’t work before, it definitely won’t work today.
So if you’re looking for a paid link supplier, a quick Google search ought to do the trick.
In fact, some would even reach out to you via email or social media.
The real issue with paid links, on top of Google’s disdain for manipulative link building, is finding trusted sources.

It’s easy to buy from a vendor that lets you choose blogs from a wide range of niches.
Securing the link after publishing is a different story.
Assuming that your vendor has no control over the websites where you can find your backlinks, your link can be removed without warning.

That’s what happened to Artёm Klimkin of LinksHero when he lost seven of the 22 links he purchased ($550 in total) within a five-month period.
Again, paid links carry additional risks that you need to worry about.
But if you can find a trustworthy provider for paid links, then you should definitely give this tactic a go.

Private Blog Networks

PBNs are the secret weapon of all black and grey hat link builders.
It is a sophisticated form of manipulative link building where people purchase expired domains with existing authority and link profiles to build brand new sites.
From here, they use the sites to build links to their target websites.

Aside from determining which expired domains to purchase, you need to mask your digital footprint so the sites don’t point back to you and penalize your target sites.
Private blog networks also allow people to implement a tiered link building campaign. This is where people organize websites into tiers based on their SEO metrics.

For example, sites with high scores go to tier 1, those with a lower score go to tier 2, and so on.
From here, sites from the last tier link upward to tier 1 which then links to a backlink of your money page.

Here’s a visualization of this tactic.

The goal is to use your tiers to help strengthen the backlinks of your target site.
As with most unnatural link building tactics, there are lots of naysayers about PBNs and with good reason.

To begin, PBNs give you the most control among any other link building tactic out there.
The fact that you own the websites means that you can place your backlinks anywhere you want.
But with great power comes great responsibility. And your responsibility is to keep your PBNs on the down-low.

Through the years, Google caught people like Spencer Haws, Hayden Miyamoto, and Nathan Gotch using PBNs. The damage cost them and their clients thousands of dollars a month off the table.
So let it be known that when you’re using a PBN to build links, you’re playing with fire.
But if you know how to navigate through the scorching heat of this tactic, then you can enjoy a cool and steady ranking increase over time.

For instance, Matt Diggity ran tests on PBNs and uncovered an algorithmic filter that Google uses to penalize expired domains used for building links.
To avoid the filter, he waited around 36 days before creating backlinks to websites from the domains.
The increase in organic rankings across all sites for weeks show that PBNs are alive and well.

What’s Next?

Judging from this post, much has been said about link building.
And believe it or not, there’s more to say about link building as a whole. And that’s a good thing!
Compared to other ranking factors, building links remains to be the most dynamic among the bunch.
Google continues to improve its search engine by providing users with an up-to-date algorithm that provides them with better results. At the same time, SEO continues to push the boundaries of acquiring links which in turn forces Google to make algorithmic changes.

This delicate but necessary dance between Google and SEO helps link building continuously flourish with new ideas and approaches for increasing your organic rankings.
That’s why you need to be vigilant for any changes in getting links.
To cap off this post, I’ll leave you with additional readings.

Link building is best done with tools on hand.
They help automate the process of finding SEO metrics, link profiles, and other variables so you can focus on developing campaigns using the provided data.

Linkbox is one of the most convenient backlink management tool.
Finally, once you have a better picture of how link building fits into your site’s SEO, it’s time to formulate a strategy that best suits the needs of your website.
If you have any comments or thoughts about the post or link building, feel free to drop a line.

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