Ask the Experts: Top 3 Link Building Strategies in 2013
Every inbound marketer becomes overfilled with joy when they see their website getting linked to from other quality sites. Getting links from authoritative websites is a very tough job. You’ll need a good content strategy in order to earn those valuable links. Even though link building without content is possible to a certain extent, getting links from authoritative sites requires a creative strategy tailored to the specifics of the business.
So what kind of link-building strategies are going to work for you in 2013? We asked several industry experts this question. Let’s hear what they had to say!
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Industry Guides, Researches and Whitepapers
Ann Smarty – Twitter: @seosmarty
1. Guest post but do it right: Only high-quality guest posting works. Try doing second-tier link building as well but don’t overdo: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/second-tier-link-building/
2. Give away something for free. For example, photos! Nowadays everyone has a camera, so just start your own collection, host it n your site and invite people to use your photos for free. They will give links to you because it’s awesome.
3. Evergreen content: Huge guides teaching your audience something. Make it really useful; re-package it into an eBook someone can download and take with them while traveling. Brand it well and enjoy your links coming. Tools like Viral Content Buzz are perfect to get an initial word out about your awesome guide. After that (if you did everything right), links and shares will be flowing on their own.
Daniel Smulevich – Twitter: @DSmulevich
1. Link Bait
Google has improved in understanding which links are not real editorial votes, therefore as an industry we should progressively move towards link earning. Whereas deliberately provocative content will work well as link bait, it will not get you the right sort of attention. Think of interactive pieces that may not only interest, but actually be useful to your target audience and their influencers. Just remember that the visual aspect is often as important as the content.
You now know that you shouldn’t build links for search engines, but for humans, so you should focus on links as source of relevant traffic and a way to get your brand in front of your target. Getting a sponsored feature on an online publication in your niche will cost you a fortune, so why not strike a deal to provide content they don’t have the capability to produce. For instance, you may use one of your web developers to create interactive and customisable guides that take advantage of the publication’s content and add value to them, and propose the magazine to publish them on their property.
3. Get Your Link Back
I’m finding an increasing number of sites with inbound broken links with TRAFFIC. Every site usually has a certain number of broken inbound links, however when they are hundreds or thousands 301-redirect them may not be ROI effective. You can set a custom report in Analytics that shows you the broken referral links that are leading people on your website, but they are given a 404 page (and then often bounce). Start with 301-redirecting just those links- this is precious traffic wasted! Click here to add this report to your Google Analytics:
Jason Acidre – Twitter: @jasonacidre
Getting contextual links through content-driven marketing
Creating and publishing content assets on a regular basis is definitely on top of my list of most effective link building techniques. Given that the links produced through this method can surely add value to the site (in terms of business, SEO and branding perspectives).
It’s also easier to get ton of quality links to a site if it has a massive resource of content, as the brand/site is seen to offer real value to its target audience, users, community and industry. Doing outreach (to get links and shares to content assets) is also far more sensible than the other types of pitches link builders do.
For more resources on link baiting, you can check out some of my old posts on how to do it:
Relationships, associations and collaborations
Relationship building has been very important in online marketing these past few years, particularly in building strong links. Some of the stuff that you can actually do to get high quality links from your industry peers are:
- Regularly contributing content on their site (particularly on high-traffic publications in your industry), to continuously absorb traffic from them and to also build strong signals that can exemplify trust and authoritativeness in the field.
- Getting your peers to write content for your site, which can help you build more natural links to your site (from them as well as from their followers).
- Getting natural links from them, as they are more likely to use the content of their peers as a reference on their own works.
I think I have only two on my own list of best link building strategies to implement this year, although there’s really a lot of techniques out there, I just like focusing on those that I believe that really work.
Anyway, if you’re really interested to learn more about effective link building techniques, you can check out my recent post on how to get the links that really matter.
Vinny La Barbera – Twitter: @VinnyLaBarbera
There are many different ways to build a strong a link profile in 2013; however, the one that we at imFORZA have found to be the most effective and to hold the most longevity through all of the recent and possible future algorithm updates is through content marketing.
By producing quality content, preferably content that has a unique and creative angle on what’s most relevant, and promoting that content through social circles and effective outreach, a company can garner lots of valuable backlinks in the short and long term.
The key to effective content marketing for link building though is to really focus on who the content is for. Once that target audience is determined, then the combination of useful, relevant information along with social promotion and outreach to the right influencers can be extremely powerful – and very effective.
Kim Tyrone Agapito – Twitter: @kimoftheworld
Being the first and thorough means a lot and content publishing for link building is no exception. But then again, what type of content? Try researches, whitepapers, and analyses – things that you would normally print out, edit, check and then submit to your professor or academe advisor; or pieces that can vie for a Pulitzer award should there should be a version of it on your niche. I might be exaggerating but achieving something close to that wouldn’t hurt. As a quick reminder, these are pieces that you would be PROUD to be attributed to you. These are materials that are hard to produce and consequently deserve to be linked at.
Get into News
With proper branding and anchor text (and of course content), getting your press syndicated by hundreds of websites can be a good thing. Just make sure you have a news item – something that calls for having a press release to begin with.
But the real gem in getting into the News is having a genuine and authoritative link. Think of CNN, BBC and all those new network acronyms. Yes, that could be a wishful thinking to many of us but Google regards news sites very highly, including those small, local and niche news sites with a lot lesser traffic.
Think of the fact that Google religiously screen and monitor what is indexed in news.google.com, add that to today’s social nature of news = links and tons of referral traffic for you.
Timeless / Evergreen / Green Content
You certainly have heard of these types of content. These articles that could stand the test of time, content that would still be relevant, authoritative and linkable after a considerable number of Page Rank refreshes and algorithmic changes. Examples of these articles can be found on WiseGeek, eHow and to some extent Squidoo (often considered compressed or tweaked Wikipedia entries with a couple of BIG and UNIQUE POINTS or totally FRESH information).
Joshua Titsworth – Twitter: @joshuatitsworth
I don’t think there are any “top techniques” for link building this year. Since Penguin hit a lot of people had to change what they are doing. But the one common thing I’ve been working on is focusing more on getting the client better exposure/promotion. But, my three favorite ways of getting links recently are:
- Use existing resources on the client site, or have them created to use for promotion. We’ve got a client who has an energy conversion calculator on their site. For most people that may not seem like something enticing, but we found some Q&A sites where people were looking for a way to do that online. It’s a quick, easy and legitimate way of dropping a link. What would be a good online resource potential customers would want? Build it, promote it, get links.
- If you haven’t started building some social accounts to use for clients, start now. Social accounts that have a lot of activity on them have more push than those just created 5 minutes ago. Get the accounts created and start using them. You can always tweak and change the voice the accounts later to fit whatever need you may have. Actually use the account or get someone else to use it. Keep it general enough so it doesn’t get pigeon holed into any particular niche until you need it to be.
- Make the product pages on the client site interactive. I could literally spend my entire paycheck at Thinkgeek.com. Not only are their products amazing, but the fact they take time to create videos for some of them being used and allow for customer photos to be uploaded is pretty cool. Customers are able to give direct feedback and share experiences, which is why if you think about going this route you’ll need to make sure the customer service team is top notch. I’m not saying to copy exactly what Thinkgeek.com has done, but it’s a good example to look at to draw inspiration from. Not every niche is as social as theirs and not all will be willing to share photos. If you’re looking to create pages that spark interaction, make sure you know who the audience is you’re trying to communicate with.
Michael Ramsey – Twitter: @Moketronics
2013 is going to be an exciting year for SEO. (With the way this industry goes, what year hasn’t been exciting?) Google is trying harder than ever to combat web/link spam, finally announcing that they’re going to start paying more attention to some of the worst spammed search verticals.
- It’s impossible not to point to content as one of the most talked about link building strategies over the last couple years. Guest blogging has really taken off in particular. The thing is, “content marketing” is not new at all. The idea of publishing great content for users to reap SEO benefit has been one of the best options for a long time. Of course it’s not always easy to come up with awesome content, and it’s more important than ever to focus on quality. As some of the old, easy and spammy link building options start to fail more and more, strategies have to shift. If you write content that deserves value and deserves to rank, you’re doing exactly what search engines want. It’s a lot less likely that a post that says much the same thing as 50 others posted months ago on more authoritative sites will ever be of much use.Reworking great existing content into a wider array for formats is going to be particularly valuable. That amazing blog post could also be a video, podcast, deck, infographic or some other format will only increase the places it can be promoted.
- Community building is also going to be more important than ever for promoting many sites. Certainly some situations aren’t really appropriate or viable for building out an invested and active community, but in most cases it can work if carefully nurtured.As more people start getting involved in social media, sites like tumblr, social bookmarking recommendation engines, blogs or their own websites, they become sources of traditional links and social signals. The power of a community will push your content, promotions and website in general further.
- Partnerships and other types of collaboration are also going to be huge. This of course ties into content marketing, but even beyond that there will be some great examples coming of unique ways for complementary websites to work together. This will be particularly valuable to SEOs working on small business sites. It makes perfect sense to reach out to similar businesses in geographic areas where they don’t complete. Of course this can’t just be a link exchange or wheel scheme. Instead, it will be content exchanges, cross promotions and other concepts that are beneficial to users as well as the sites themselves.
What do you think about link-building in 2013? Please share in the comments below!