There is on-page SEO, and there is off-page SEO. And just like day and night, each is meaningless without the other. Or are they more like bicycle frames and wheels? If your goal is to win a race or just go for a ride, you need the whole thing, not just whichever half you like more. Same with SEO: if you want it to take you somewhere nice, you need to put some work into both on-page and off-page matters. Together, these two sides of SEO bear a fruit as tasty as a spot in the top 10 search results. Its name: backlinks.
To this day, backlinks remain one of the most powerful ways of propelling your site to the top. Of course, content is still king, and the best way to rise above others is to create something so stellar that it will make people drop on their knees and offer you their links while crying, “We are not worthy.” But… Again, content on your website is just on-page SEO. Anyone with a shred of experience in this field knows you can’t simply write a bombastic post and call it a day. The obligatory next step is to roll up your sleeves, go out there and grab backlinks from relevant authority websites with your own hands.
How difficult is this task? About as much as producing the best content you can manage. But the hunting grounds of backlinks are no mystery land, and there are plenty of secrets to it that are not so secret at all. Let’s get started.
1. Skyscraper Technique
The first on our list is one of the more aggressive backlinking strategies. Here’s where the golden principle “content is king” really shows why it’s the number one rule of content marketing.
The term “skyscraper technique” was coined by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, and while it may prove difficult to execute, the gimmick behind it is straightforward enough that it can be summed up in two simple steps.
- Step 1: find the best content in your niche and make your own, but even better.
- Step 2: find bloggers who are linking to the now inferior content and ask them to link to you.
That’s it! Truly, it’s like looking at the tallest skyscraper in the world and building one that’s even taller. That’s where the name “skyscraper technique” comes from. You can reach for new heights, or you can become the new greatest height in the world.
Now, to give a few more details to this process.
Before you start looking for the biggest hotshots in your niche, recall what exactly it means to defeat them. Your goal is to rank higher than them for keywords of your choice. Therefore, your attack plan should begin with turning to WebCEO’s Keyword Research tool and picking the right keywords for your site. Specific, detailed long-tail keywords that clearly display a searcher’s intent and aren’t too competitive. When you’ve prepared a list, punch those keywords in Google’s search bar and see who’s at the top. Better yet, hop over to WebCEO’s Dangerous Competitors tool to see who’s at the top for your entire basket of keywords. There! Those are the guys you are going to beat.
Now comes the toughest part. Without looking at your competitor’s content first, it’s hard to say how you can outshine it; in fact, it may get even more difficult after you’ve seen it. But the principle is more or less the same every time: remove weaknesses and improve on the good bits. You can write a more informative and detailed text, you can add better visual content (it’s especially worth doing if there’s none), make it up-to-date if needed, improve the design and formatting, or maybe any combination of these examples. Just give it your all! Once you’ve posted your masterpiece, it’s time to use WebCEO’s tools again.
Turn to Competitor Backlink Spy. As the name implies, this bad boy can show you who’s linking to your competitor’s websites. Now all that’s left is to find blogs that link to them and reach out to their owners. Be nice and polite in your email, and you might just get the backlink you ask for. And even should this final step fail, excellent content is bound to attract backlinks from other places naturally. No good deed goes unrewarded, after all.
2. Broken Link Building
Just like everything made by humans, sites live and die. Sometimes they move to a better place with cheaper hosting and smarter users, and sometimes they just disappear. But links pointing to them stay there. After all, we aren’t always aware when a site we linked to a month or a year ago went out of business, nor do we remember all the links we’ve made.
That is, until somebody helpful reminds us. When it happens, it’s most definitely a sign of the broken link building method being in use. It’s another strategy which results in new backlinks, and it’s done in several steps as follows:
- Find a website linking to a resource that shares a niche with you, but no longer exists or has changed its URL. Use WebCEO’s Competitor Backlink Spy for this.
- To find broken links on its pages, use a tool like Google Chrome’s free extension Check My Links. Alternatively, you can add the site as a project in your WebCEO account and audit it for broken links.
- Have content on your site that rivals what used to be on the other side of that link.
- Contact the site’s owner and convince them to link to your content instead.
Overall, it looks pretty simple, wouldn’t you agree? Most of the time, it works like a charm because people will gladly get rid of 404 links on their sites. You scratch their backs, and they scratch yours.
3. Customer Testimonials
When making a purchase from a company, most people prefer to check out testimonials left by the company’s customers first. Indeed, who can give a more honest opinion about a service than those who have tried it? That’s why popular companies love putting their testimonials on display somewhere on their sites. That’s how they earn their target audience’s trust, and it’s also how you can earn an easy backlink.
What does a customer testimonial have? Other than words of praise, there’s also the customer’s name and sometimes even their photo. But some companies don’t stop there and, if possible, put a link to their customer’s website in order to prove that it isn’t a made-up person. Not all companies practice this! But if you are lucky to find one that does, then you’ve found the easiest way to get a powerful link from a high authority domain. Often, you won’t even have to ask, they’ll add a link themselves.
The only catch is, you have to buy their product first.
4. Link Reclamation
Most people feel warm and fuzzy inside when others say good things about them. Seems like this is true everywhere, including the Internet. It feels even better when they attach a link to your site; backlinks have this kind of a side effect. Yet sometimes people speak nice about you, but forget to link to you. Or they do, but then they get the URL wrong and waste it. So close, yet so far! If only there was a way to let them know about their mistake and fix it…
Wait, there actually is. And a simple one, at that. It is a method known as link reclamation. All you need to do is just ask your benefactor to add a link where it should be. Most likely, they’ll do it: after all, they already like you enough to bring you up in their content. Makes things a lot easier than if you were a complete stranger.
Of course, you will need to find places that mention you before you can attempt to reach out to their owners. WebCEO’s got you covered with its Web Buzz Monitoring tool. Find mentions of your brand in a flash!
5. Design Infographics
What’s good about images is that reusing them in various places throughout the Web doesn’t count as duplicate content. And infographics are exactly that: images. Now how can a humble, god-fearing and elder-respecting SEO who picks flowers for his mother everyday not take advantage of this fact? The temptation is too strong to resist. So let’s not.
An impressive-looking infographic can easily go viral and receive lots of exposure. But even if it doesn’t, incoming links from high authority sites can still be yours; it just requires a little extra effort. While being link bait and attracting links go hand in hand, they can just as easily be two different paths. The difference lies in reaching out to other sites’ owners directly.
When you have your own unique infographic that you want the world to see, offer it to bloggers who share a niche with you. Of course, you’ll need to compose a polite, well-written message in order to hear a “yes” in return. Your chances are significantly higher if you are sending it to the sources listed at the bottom of your infographic; be sure to mention it in the email if that’s the case! Who doesn’t feel good when their efforts are acknowledged? For them, your infographic is like a badge of honor and proof of their awesomeness. And for you, it’s an opportunity to get some tasty link juice.
6. Guest Blogging
It is said great content is the best way to reel in backlinks for your site. Luckily, the use of great content isn’t limited to on-page SEO alone; it can serve you off-page as well. It’s a bit easier to picture when you switch roles and imagine somebody else giving to you their own splendid creation. How you benefit from it is obvious, but why on Earth would the other party go through so much trouble? Normally, no one would… unless they had something to gain, too.
That’s what guest blogging is about. Essentially, it’s trading pieces of the content you’ve made for links to your site. Despite being as old as SEO itself, this link earning method has no intention of going extinct; it only gets better with time and ages like a fine wine. Just what do people see in guest blogging that allowed it to persist and grow even stronger? Well, the appeal lies in several things. Other than the obvious act of scratching each other’s backs, it also builds relationships between the parties involved, helps you make a name for yourself in the niche and benefits everyone in the long run!
Don’t jump into the sea of guest posting too recklessly, though. You can still shoot yourself in the foot and get nothing in return for your effort. There’s the matter of choosing the right websites that will assist you in your endeavors. A site that’s too obscure won’t give your articles enough exposure, and a low authority site linking to you can potentially make it look like a link scheme (which equals a Google penalty). And of course, as always in link building, context matters.
You can view domains’ trustworthiness in WebCEO’s Backlink Quality Check Tool.
7. Online Interviews
Let your voice be heard, your name known and your word spread across the Web.
A Linux admin is being interviewed, circa 400 BC.
This is where professionals are truly separated from novices. It’s obvious that not just anyone can be interviewed. You need to be a prominent presence in your niche (which should be your goal, anyway) or at the very least be well-informed enough to freely answer all sorts of questions. Those aren’t things you can accomplish without time and hard work.
But if you are confident in your abilities and status, if you are more of an expert than an amateur, if you have built relationships and made a name for yourself, you might just be ready to receive the privilege of being an interviewee. Of course, you won’t know until you try. I wouldn’t count on an interview request suddenly appearing in your inbox on its own (unless you are super famous); you’ll have more luck if you reach out to people involved in the business. Can you find a website that interviews people in your niche? Or, better yet, do you know someone in your niche who was interviewed not too long ago? Then you’re off to a good start.
You can volunteer for an individual interview, a group interview or a podcast – each is guaranteed to secure a link to your site. But your options don’t end there… you can also reverse the roles and act as an interviewer yourself! It can potentially bring even greater benefits to your site if, for example, you decide to interview a professor and it ends up posted on a .edu resource. Yes, even a backlink from a .edu resource is within your reach with this method.
Does the list of powerful link earning techniques end here? Is that really it? Of course it isn’t. For other ways to catch valuable inbound links and make them point to your site, see 9 More Secrets to Building Links to Your Website! Stay tuned.