Link building is, by far and away, one of the most valuable things any digital marketer can know about.
There are tons of different things a digital marketer can learn, but link building is one of the few that will apply equally well to every website project you ever contribute to. Links are the currency of the web and remain the biggest factor when it comes to search engine visibility.
Of course, there are good links ... and there are bad links.
Google has advanced to the point where cheap, spammy links generally make no difference at all – and in the worst case scenario, they can actually reverse your progress. So, you need processes in place to consistently seek out high quality linking opportunities.
There’s also link attrition to think about.
That’s the gradual loss of links that happens naturally over time as pages change or move and sites go down. While link attrition doesn’t happen nearly as fast as it used to, it’s still a concern that can affect anywhere from 15% to 30% of your link portfolio in a given year.
Again, this is where quality links come in. Links from authoritative sites don’t turn over nearly as often, since high-quality sites don’t close down as often. As we speak, a growing number of websites have been chugging along for 20 years and show no signs of stopping soon.
So, how do you get your links on awesome sites like those?
There is no automated link building program that can do it. Automatic link building was always popular among shady “black hat” types, but it never had the returns these so-called SEO experts promised. The industry is still feeling the effects of those bad apples on its reputation.
But, it’s a new day, and there’s a whole new link building strategy you can use.
Here are the top link building techniques you need for white hat link building in 2018.
1. Content Marketing
If you want links, you need something worthwhile to link to. Content marketing provides you with the fuel you need. At its heart, it’s a simple concept: Use keyword research to find out what your audience wants to know, write compelling content on those topics, then post it consistently.
Over the course of your content marketing career, you’ll find most content is evergreen – that is, it’s about topics your site viewers will always need information on. How-to guides, posts that serve as a general introduction to a topic, and glossaries or FAQs are typical evergreen posts.
However, some of the most viral content out there – getting the most links the fastest – is more topical. When you document a trend or take a position on something hot, you have a chance to seize the moment. It’s a great idea to balance fresh and innovative content with reliable topics.
How to get the most from content marketing:
- Build your web content strategy around keyword research based on your buyer personas.
- Develop a consistent schedule for your blogging and stick with it – at least once a week.
- Magnify your efforts by promoting your best content on social media and your email list.
2. Blogger Outreach and Influencer Marketing
An influencer is anyone with an existing platform – whether online or off – whose opinion matters to your audience when they’re making purchasing decisions. An influencer can be just about anyone, including authors, industry figures, politicians, and celebrities.
Not surprisingly, though, some of the most influential influencers around are those who operate popular blogs. With the right link building techniques, blogs can take off very quickly ... and that actually puts them at a disadvantage of finding and curating content for readers.
The basic idea behind blogger outreach is that you develop a relationship with bloggers and they, hopefully, elect to link you and present your content to their rabid fans. That means not only sharing your content with them but also remembering to “like” and comment on their work.
The more time you invest with a blogger, the more likely he or she will link back to you.
How to get the most from blogger outreach:
- Get to know a blogger’s body of work well to ensure a match and create real rapport.
- Target the resources you share or offer a blogger to their recent topics and interests.
- Provide feedback in the form of comments and shares to kindle the relationship.
3. Community Outreach
The rules for getting backlinks from established community resources are a bit more strict than those around bloggers. Sure, there’s no formal “code,” but the caretakers of top web assets tend to be professional associations and others who take their responsibility (and reputation) very seriously.
A backlink from a major community resource is well worth it, but it’ll take time to achieve. You should scout out ways to add value, then follow through. That could be something as simple as pointing out broken links or as complex as offering to overhaul and update a major article.
How to get the most from community outreach:
- If possible, be an active member or contributor to the organization you connect with.
- Look for concrete, actionable, and immediate ways to add value, not just get a link.
- Stick to it long-term and share resources from others when it benefits the community.
There’s lots of content types out there and plenty of them share well on social media, from videos to cat memes. If you want to get boatloads of backlinks, however, infographics may be for you. They take a long time to design, at first, but they can pull in new links for years.
So much can be said about infographics that it would take a whole series of posts to cover it all. In terms of backlinks, though, just remember the key: You want to present interesting, preferably fresh data in a new, intriguing way. The easier it is to comprehend that data, the better.
How to get the most from infographics:
- Make an HTML page your graphic’s online “home” and include that URL on the image.
- Focus your infographic on the latest trends – topical infographics get shared the most.
- Tell a story with the data and keep your infographics clean and visually consistent.
Prepare Your Link Building Strategy in 2018
Since there’s a vast variety of content formats to choose from, it’s vital to understand what content is best for backlinks in 2018. For example, everyone loves video content, but videos are usually discovered on a specialized engine like YouTube and may not have real backlink “pull.”
Bloggers and brands alike are tempted to give up on white hat backlink methods when they don’t get the results they want. That leads to complicated schemes, trashy links, and often, to getting ejected from Google search results entirely. And nobody wants that!
With these white hat backlink tips, you’ll be ahead of the game – and you’ll also be playing by the rules. That will create the kind of sustainable results that you really want, putting your site on a trajectory to become a top contender on Google.