Marketing 18 min read

2021 Link Building Guide: Increase Your Rankings

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/link-building-link-outreach-4111001/

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/link-building-link-outreach-4111001/

Link building is still one of the most important search engine optimization strategies to date. In this post, LinkDoctor’s Daniel Martin has shared some valuable tips to help you improve your link-building strategy and Google SERP ranking.

Did you know that a website’s rank is greatly determined by the quality of the sites it is linked to? Essentially, the more quality backlinks your website has, the more chances it has for ranking. This is where link-building steps in.

For purposes of excelling in search engine optimization (SEO), link building is a must. The approach and the effort you put into this process determine your brand or site visibility. To survive in this game, you need to use a variety of approaches.

In this guide, we’ll look at:

  1. What is link building?
  2. Link building tips and tricks for beginners.
  3. Winning link-building strategies for 2021.
  4. Link-building mistakes to avoid.

Link Building Tips and Tricks For Beginners

First, you need to understand what link building is. This will guide you come up with the right and most effective link-building tips and tricks.

What is Link Building?

Link building is the process of gaining authority and trust through high-quality backlinks. The ultimate goal is a higher ranking in the search engines. Backlinks are simply links from one website to another site with relevant or related content.

You can acquire high-quality backlinks by pitching unique and helpful content to industry authorities. The authorities may be publications, blogs, or even competitors. Many factors influence the SERP ranking of a website. Backlinks are arguably the most critical when it comes to optimizing a website for SEO purposes.

To cut a long story short, your site won’t rank unless you continually invest in high-quality backlinks! The following are tips and tricks beginners can use for link building:

1. Link Roundups

Collaborate with other sites to create link roundups for organic links.
Source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2011/03/11/friday-links

In this case, blog updates are linked to websites with which you may be interested in collaborating. Pitching should be done via email or any other appropriate way of contact. Request to link your content, which has to be relevant, in their upcoming blog posts and updates.

Link roundups are most effective when webmasters feel your content will add value and weight to the topic in question. Before pitching, research the best presentation styles to find the best approach to grab their attention.

2. Broken Link Building

Broken links negatively impact the user experience. When potential clients click on a link and find that the page doesn’t exist, increasing the chance they’ll leave the site.

In this method, you’re supposed to find sites having related content to yours. But, have broken links and request them to use your link in place of their dead links.

3. Resource Pages

This is where website owners link to content they find valuable and helpful for people. The main differences between resource pages and link roundups are:

  • Link roundups are done many times while resource pages are a one-time link to ever-new content.
  • With link roundups, pitching is done before writing the blog. With resource pages, pitching is done after writing the blog post.

For you to succeed in this method, you’ll need to promise to promote their content to your audience. Let them know that you won’t mind linking their content to great pieces you’re working on.

4. Guest Posting

Guest posting is arguably the most effective way of gaining authority in your industry. In a recent COVID-19 link-building survey, over 75% of SEO professionals said that guest posting was their preferred method for quality backlinks.

With quality content, you can target relevant sites. Then, request to write a post on a topic that would be of value to their audience. This method increases your site exposure, increases traffic, and you gain opportunities to interact with industrial players and shapers. Use search engines to find sites in your niche that accept guest posting and send some of your outstanding samples.

5. Sponsored Posts

Research the sites that give advertising opportunities and request to make a “native” buy. This is where you sponsor a post instead of buying banner ads. Work with the webmasters of the sites you’re interested in and come up with content consumable by their audience.

6. Link Reclamation

At times, you may lose quality backlinks due to:

  • Change of URL of the linked sites
  • Migration or break down of the linked sites
  • Direct removal of your site’s link

First, get to understand why you lost the backlink and then contact the webmasters for replacement. Using crawling tools, enter your domain address, then go to “lost links” and evaluate the situation.

7. Unclaimed Mentions

With great PR, stellar content, and staying active on social media, your site will get mentioned many times. In most cases, the mentioning sites won’t include a link to your site due to various reasons.

Use tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention to find these mentions and pitch for link inclusion.

6. The Synonymous Approach

This is where you pitch sites that have related content to yours for guest posting. However, you should ensure that they are not in direct competition with you. Social media is perfect for finding these opportunities.

7. Commenting on Forums

This method is used to promote your content, get traffic, and help with earning links to new authoritative sites. You can use search engines to find forums relevant to your industry then leave helpful comments in the questions sections. Make sure to include your website link in the comments.

8. Directory Links

Directory links still matter. Just choose the correct online directories.
Source: http://business.foursquare.com/claim/

Directories work just like online phone books. With high domain authorities, directory links can give your site numerous, quality backlinks in a short period. Though they haven’t had the best reputation, you can do research and get the best out of them instead of buying backlinks.

In addition to the above-mentioned tactics, there are many other tips that beginners can use to excel in link building. This includes but not limited to the following:

  • Landing Press Linking
  • Local SEO
  • Video Links
  • Professional Organizations
  • Event Links
  • Conference Links
  • Pitching for infographics
  • Cold blogging or pitching

Winning Link Building Strategies for 2021

Know and understand how search engines work to crack a good link-building strategy.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Website owners should know how search engine works before anything else.
Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/google-search-engine-browser-search-76517/

Search engines use complex and secretive algorithms to make a verdict on the ranking of a website’s content. Over time, the algorithms have greatly changed in order to give end-users quality and accurate responses for their online searches.

Not all factors affecting a site’s performance on search engines are known. Most webmasters are aware of some of the most critical factors that influence SERP ranking.

Above everything else, and considering all factors, your site rank is dependent on high-quality backlinks and stellar content.

Search Engines use the following steps to come up with the best results for searches made:

  1. Search Engines scour the internet for relevant answers.
  2. Search Engines use algorithms to determine the ranking order.
  3. Search Engines display the most relevant pages.
  4. You get the answer.

How Does Link Building Affect Ranking?

A website’s linking profile provides information on the reliability and trustworthiness of its content. When more authoritative sites link to your website, search engines interpret that your site has quality content and a good user experience.

Search engines view each backlink as another vote of confidence; the more backlinks, the higher your rank. However, don’t think that search engines (SE) will blindly translate any backlinks as an indicator of authority. SEs are aware that webmasters use certain tricks to manipulate the SERP ranking guidelines to rank high.

This is why they keep changing the algorithms to provide a level ground for all players and boost user experience. You should always strive to have a good link-building strategy that ensures you play by the rules to avoid penalization and demotion.

Features of Quality Backlinks

High-quality backlinks should address:

User Experience (UX)

Every link built should be valuable to readers. If users find the link unhelpful, then it’s not good and works against UX.

Link Authority

If the link is from a trusted authority in your niche, users will tend to trust your content. Otherwise, you’ll end up losing potential clients.

Link Relevance

Is the backlink relevant to your industry and the people you target?

Industry-relevant content has more value and weight than content from industry-irrelevant sites. If you’re an SEO firm, a link from another firm adds more value and weight than having a link from a car manufacturing company.

Technical Relevance

From a technical standpoint, links should address:

Placement

Search engines value links that are placed higher up the page than links placed at the bottom of the page.

Contextual Relevance

Links surrounded by semantically-related words are more valuable in the eyes of the search engines.

Indexing

Search engines cannot index your site if they cannot crawl it and this affects the ranking.

Anchor Text Relevancy

Anchor texts show readers that there’s a link. If you’re linking to an SEO firm, SEO-related words are most effective.

Dofollow and Nofollow Links

For SEO purposes, search engines value dofollow links more than nofollow links. In a link-building strategy, dofollow links are highly recommended.

4-Step Link Building Strategy

A winning link building strategy involves a combination of several factors including:

  • Evaluating your backlink profile
  • Setting goals
  • Reaching out to relevant sites

A link building strategy can be broken into the following four steps:

Step 1: Audit Backlink Profile

To make a decision on the way forward for your campaign, you should be aware of the status quo. Find out where your links come from, the content attracting most links, and the anchor texts used. After laying down the foundation, do a complete audit by finding the following information:

  • Total number of backlinks on your site
  • Number of nofollow and dofollow backlinks
  • Authoritative domains linking to your site
  • Keywords you’re ranking on as a result of the backlink profile
  • How do you rank when compared to competitors?

After collection of the above data, move on to the next step which can make or break the backlinking campaign.

Step 2: Development of Frameworks

Before linking to other sites, make sure your content has a value addition. With this in mind, use the right keywords and quality content to attract and convert both the potential and the targeted audience. Use the following steps:

  • Evaluate the reasoning used by your target audience.
  • Research keywords the target audience uses to make online searches.
  • Think of the questions the target audience may ask when given the solutions you provide.
  • Research on the background and behavior of your target audience

With this information, you can strategize on target sites for the link-building campaign.

Step 3: How To Get Backlinks

As we discussed earlier, there are many ways to get links. These ways can be summarized as:

  • Outreach campaigns
  • Beyond outreach campaigns

Outreach Campaigns

This is where content is used to drive more traffic to your website. For a successful outreach campaign, use the following steps, and in the order given:

1. Content gaps identification

Look at the content trending in your niche and find ways to create better versions. You can also include something they missed out on and pitch them for collaboration.

2. Create a list of sites to approach

Sites that link similar content to your competitors are the best to target.

3. Use the right approach

Be courteous and always remember that the people you’re approaching are human and could be facing various challenges in life. Looking at it closely, nobody wants to receive an unsolicited email with useless information that appears to be spam.

If the first attempt fails, take a break and restrategize before pitching them again.

That said, the outreach process can quickly overwhelm you, as there’s a lot of work involved. Hiring professionals offering blogger outreach services may help to focus on other pressing link-building issues. Such professionals have the resources and time to reach out and build relationships with your niche’s bloggers. This also saves you time and helps you gain valuable backlinks.

Beyond outreach campaigns

This is where a company gives off link-worthy vibes to its community. This is most effectively done by participating in the affairs and activities of the community. It can be achieved through the following:

  • Hosting Industrial events
  • Starting charities and donating towards their success
  • Organizing giveaways
  • Giving scholarships
  • Starting corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.

Step 4: Reaping benefits from the link building campaign

Link building is a process that requires patience, constant evaluation, and re-evaluation. Work with people who may be more proficient in this field and ask for their opinions and advice.

Keep in mind that all companies can respond differently when solutions are adopted to solve the problems they may be facing. Finally, play by the link-building rules and guidelines that search engines use.

12 Link Building Mistakes You Should Avoid

There are link building mistakes that can take a long time to fix.
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/computer-virus-hacker-4282377/

Even the most seasoned experts get things wrong at times. In link building, getting things wrong may result in lost opportunities and by extension, great financial losses. That’s why beginners should be aware of the following common link-building mistakes and work towards avoiding them.

1. Break Things Up

Research proves that large content blocks do not appeal to potential clients and may even drive them away. Large content blocks may overwhelm readers and make them lose interest and leave your site.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Aim to write easy-to-read, short, and concise text blocks that will leave a lasting impression on people. Use the following steps for the best outcome:

  • Invest in a professional web design
  • Customize navigation
  • Use HD videos and pictures

2. The Perception That More Content is Better

With link building, quality content is necessary. However, quantity doesn’t translate to quality. The main focus, whether you’re writing long or short content, must be on quality.

Quality content should be authoritative and concise. Readers are likely to lose the point when long posts are used to communicate.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Before writing the blog post, check your data for any irrelevant, boring, or unhelpful content. Ask yourself what is to be lost by excluding a certain part of the written content. If nothing is to be lost, exclude it. But, if there’s something valuable to be lost, keep it.

3. Overemphasis on Domain Authority

Domain authority or ranking is an important thing to keep track for any website.
Source: https://ahrefs.com/

Third-party links may eventually boost your ranking. Still, caution should be taken as the domain authority or rating metrics keep changing and overemphasis may lead to:

  • Self- constrained opportunities
  • Lack of proper and subjective evaluation
  • Failure to strategically position yourself
  • Unbalanced link profile

How to Avoid The Mistake

Evaluate the potential for growth for sites with low domain authority (DA) and invest in those that are the most promising. Keep in mind that sites with only high DA links can appear fake and inorganic.

4. Failing to Craft Trending Content

Research on the trending topics in your niche and create content around those topics. To stay ahead of the game, always take a different approach and use different methods of presentation from the other players.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Whether your content is short or long, find areas that haven’t been comprehensively covered. If you’re making use of graphics, make sure to use high definition and trending images. Better yet, find a great content marketing specialist who can help you.

5. Outreach Personalization

Most webmasters fail to personalize their relationship with the linking sites. The use of old and overused lines won’t bring out the desired effect. This often leads to the deletion of emails from the inbox without a chance of being opened. Be creative and be different from others.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Aim to personalize the connection creatively. You may use a personalized template to address the person you are reaching out to. Try to find out their likes and dislikes, how they’re faring, and points that may be of interest to them.

6. Failing to Use Elevator-Catchy Pitch

Lack of an elevator pitch makes your template appear ordinary which may lead to it being ignored.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Use the following questions to come up with a catchy elevator pitch:

  • What problem does your content solve?
  • How is your content different from others?
  • What value does your content add to the other sites?

7. Copying Your Competitors

Having profiles similar to your competitors will not help you rank higher or have greater traffic than them. Instead, try to be unique but competitive.

How to Avoid The Mistake

The best way to get a unique profile is by evaluating your competitors’ strengths. Finding out which of those you can adopt and improve upon is also another factor.

8. Failing to Diversify Strategies

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/idea-brainstorming-teamwork-meeting-2654150/

With link building, the strategy is king. However, having different strategies will be much better for survival. With a single strategy, you tend to overuse it until the initial results are no longer achievable. What works now may not be relevant in the future. Try to be ahead of the game by implementing different strategies.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Stay ahead of the competition by constantly evaluating:

  • Type of content that may work for you in the future
  • Your outreach strategy
  • How you package and repackage yourself

Note: Every step of the journey requires constant evaluation and re-evaluation. You can either ask for help from an expert or keep track of your own strategies to know what works.

9. Lack of Enough Anchor Text Links

Most webmasters fail to get enough semantic keywords for their anchor links. This creates many similar copies of anchor links which are bad for SEO. Semantic keywords assist search engines to know what you’re talking about. For example, if you use the words “white” and “milk” in the same sentence, search engines will decipher that you’re referring to color.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Simply put, learn the right way of coming up with semantic keywords.

10. Lack of Brand Mentioning in Your Links

The best way to approach this is by linking the internal pages to the home page. When writing a post, and you happen to mention your site, link that particular text to your home page.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Request webmasters of sites linked to one of your pages to include your brand name within the link.

11. Lack of Social Signals

With the recent algorithm updates, search engines (particularly Google) base their verdict on factors that are not easily manipulated, such as social signals. In simple terms, Google ranks and determines the value of your content based on the number of social signals your page gets.

How to Avoid The Mistake

  • Make sure your social media buttons are visible
  • Request readers to share your content
  • Contact and engage social influencers in your niche
  • Make use of sponsored tweets, especially from industry shapers.
  • Create stellar content.

12. Buying Links

Link buying is never a good idea. It could even get you in trouble.
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/euro-bank-notes-handshake-1144835/

Key points to consider when buying links:

  • The value of paid links is always low compared to natural links.
  • You end up paying more for the links than what they’re worth.
  • Once search engines discover the use of purchased links (and they will), penalties and demotion result.

How to Avoid The Mistake

Avoid link buying schemes at all costs and build your link profile organically. The best option is to buy a blog to avoid chances of getting caught. Exchanging links can also be considered a form of buying links, so you have to be careful with that as well.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by reading this guide, both beginners and experts can excel in their skills to help websites dominate the SERPs, improve revenue, and more.

Getting valuable links shouldn’t be as difficult as many website owners make it out to be as long as you are dedicated to it. But, it’s easier said than done. There’s a process that websites should go through because there’s no shortcut to success.

Daniel Martin loves building winning content teams. Over the past few years, he has built high-performance teams that have produced engaging content enjoyed by millions of users. After working in the Aviation industry for 9 years, today Dani applies his international team-building experience in LinkDoctor to assist in solving his client’s challenges. Dani also enjoys photography and playing the carrom board.

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    Steve Groom March 11 at 2:27 pm GMT

    Excellent article on Link Building. Very thorough.

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