During a March Q&A Session with WebPromo Expert, Andrey Lipattsev—a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google—revealed Google’s top three ranking factors: links, content, and RankBrain. Marketers have since begun to improve their link building efforts and backlink strategies.
Some websites, as expected, went the way of the black hat. They scored higher rankings by manipulating the number of links leading to their page. A later update—codenamed Google Penguin—managed to successfully weed out those employing link schemes and similar black-hat SEO tactics and de-rank them.
With those issues addressed, the focus shifted entirely to link quality, not quantity.
The Importance of High-Quality Links
According to Google’s algorithm, the best way to determine the quality of a website is to look at how many people have linked to it. Google considers a linked page to be more relevant and reliable than a non-linked page. The higher the quality of the link, the more authority and trust is passed to the website, landing it squarely in a search engine’s good graces.
Put it this way; which is more credible: the New York Times’ official website, or an unknown blogger’s new page?
If the New York Times links to your website in one of their articles, readers won’t question your legitimacy. But if some brand-new blogger with no visible credentials links to your website as one of their sources, people won’t buy the veracity of the statements.
The latter is an example of a low-quality link, which can potentially damage your reputation and, by extension, your SERP ranking.
Guide to Link Building – Advanced Strategies & Techniques
If you’ve mastered the basics, here are 7 advanced link building strategies you must try.
#1. The Moving Man Method
The ‘Moving Man’ method basically builds links from “outdated” resources i.e., brands and websites that have changed their name, moved to a new URL, or stopped offering a particular service. When this change happens, websites that have linked to the original page end up with an invalid link or a link to a completely different domain.
Sometimes the webmasters are informed of the name/URL change in time and are consequently able to update their links. In most cases, however, the links remain unchanged. New visitors are thereby redirected to a website that is not relevant to the content they were perusing.
This technique, created by link-building expert Brian Dean, requires you to find the websites that are still linking to the old, obsolete URL. You then reach out to them to a. inform them of their outdated hyperlink, and b. gently suggest they add your link to their website instead. If executed perfectly, this method is a great way to get high-quality backlinks without having to buy the links.
#2. Using Infographics
This method is perfect for people who aren’t fond of guest posting or find it difficult. Instead of articles, you can use infographics to build links. It works very much like submitting textual content, only it requires a little more work.
The idea is to find websites, pages, and blogs that have embedded your infographic in their posts. Some webmasters will credit you by way of linking back to the original post on your website. Others won’t. Ergo, you’ll need to contact the sites that have failed to credit you and request a link.
To do this, simply use Google’s reverse-image search (otherwise known as “search by image”) and search using your infographic’s image URL. You should see all the websites that have used your infographic. Go through them one by one to see which ones you need to request a backlink from.
#3. The Skyscraper Technique
The ‘Skyscraper’ technique, due to its straightforward approach and consistently high success rate, is a pretty popular link building method. It’s also quite effective in terms of creating quality content because you won’t need to start from scratch.
The strategy is simple; find great, linkable content in your chosen niche that’s already ranking for your target keyword. Then, create something even better and send it to the people who linked to the original content.
Outreach Template Example
In this method, you’re providing a fresher, alternative perspective to content that is already performing well in its industry. Just bear in mind that it may take several tries and hundreds of pieces of content before you get a sizable number of links in return.
However, as far as link building methods go, the Skyscraper Method offers a good two-for-one. If you consistently put out high-quality content, you establish yourself as reputable and authoritative—two qualities of a site worth linking to. Just keep at it. In time, you may get more ‘yeses’ than ‘nos.’
#4. Link Reclamation
Link reclamation is similar to link building through infographics. There will be people out there who genuinely love your website and content. This usually translates to them sharing it with their followers and readers. In most cases, they may mention your name or brand several times.
If this textual mention is hyperlinked back to your website, it’s called a natural link (which is also great to have for better SERP ranking). But in the off-chance that they only mention you without linking back to your website, you’ve just been given a great link building opportunity.
Just as with infographics, you need to find the sites that have mentioned you and ask them to please link back to your page. This is easily done through Google searches. To be as thorough as possible, search for:
- your brand name
- your website URL
- articles titles
- products or services that you offer
The beauty of this method is that it’s completely straightforward and can result in multiple new backlinks.
#5. Broken Link Building
This is very similar to the ‘Moving Man’ method.
In fact, since broken link building was employed before the ‘Moving Man’ method was created, you could say that this technique was the basis for it. Ergo, the process is the same: find websites in your niche with outdated or obsolete links, and then reach out to the webmaster to inform them of the broken link and suggest your website as a replacement. This is a fair offer as your website’s content covers the same niche.
The biggest difference between broken link building and the ‘Moving Man’ method is that these broken links lead to defunct domains. If the link leads to the dreaded HTTP 404 error, it’s considered dead.
Not only is this frustrating for users, but it can also potentially harm the website hosting the broken link. Remember that Google’s algorithm uses links to crawl through websites, and it’s a mark against your domain if a link is irrelevant, unreliable, or low-quality.
People who are aware of this will be grateful to you for pointing out the potential demerit and are more likely to accept your website as a suitable replacement.
#6. Collaborate with Experts
Collaborating with experts is very similar to guest posting, in the sense that it gives you exposure through someone else’s audience. However, it’s much easier to pull off compared to guest posting, and it still ends with you getting some excellent, high-quality content.
The concept is pretty simple; find people in your niche who produce content that is on par with (or better than) yours. Reach out to them and ask if they’re open to collaborating with you on a project. If they say yes, you’re assured one more high-quality link to add to your database.
This is a great link building strategy, but don’t try to bite off more than you can chew by inviting five or six people to collaborate at once. Spend time planning your collaborative project and write the emails from scratch. Avoid templates.
When writing your initial message, keep everything personal and honest. List all the benefits they can get from working with you, be clear about your expectations, and actively encourage them to ask questions of their own
#7. Offer Free (and Useful) Materials
One great way to generate quality leads and links to your website is by handing out relevant, high-quality content like “X Step” guides, how-to manuals, whitepapers, eBooks and audiobooks, and newsletters for free. As long as the material you’re handing out is useful and pertinent for the people in your industry, people are bound to take notice.
This method may not be as straightforward as the others in terms of link building. But as far as lead generation and content creation go, it’s a pretty solid strategy.
Link building may be difficult to pull off, but the end results are ultimately worth it. These seven techniques are tried, tested, and proven by numerous businesses and brands. Bear in mind, however, that they are not meant to be one-size-fits-all solutions.
Some techniques will work better for others. Some techniques won’t give you the results you want. And some techniques may not even be logistically feasible given your resources. The trick is to try different ones, test and measure the results, and see which ones work best for your business, your market, and your industry.
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