Links are one of Google’s top three most important ranking considerations. This means, if you don’t already have a link building strategy in 2020 you’ll need to get started.
The question remains, how do you go about building links? Link building is considered one of the hardest SEO tactics by roughly 40% of major corporations. If large corporations are struggling with link building, it makes it even more intimidating for smaller companies to confidently pursue link building strategies.
We’ve broken down all the basics and a few advanced strategies you can use to get started with link building in 2020.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are the links found on sites leading back to your site. It links back. Pretty simple, right?
You want to collect high-quality backlinks from sites with high domain authority. This gives you extra ‘SEO juice’ and can result in you ranking higher on search engine results pages (otherwise known as SERPs).
You’ll want the anchor text of these backlinks to be keywords. Oftentimes content writers will link back with a branded keyword or a naked link, which is essentially just the URL itself within the content. These are both less desirable than a keyword or long-tail keyword being used as anchor text.
You can find tools online that will uncover all your backlinks, both good and bad. From there you can manage the backlinks, culling bad ones that can potentially hurt your rank. Here’s the best backlink checker we’ve found to use in your link building process.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the act of creating and earning these backlinks for the sites you manage. The entire goal of link building is to rank higher in search engines. Google has determined backlinks are the best way to prove the quality of a site or single page. This means you need to prove the quality of the site via collecting backlinks.
Link building strategies include:
- Public relations
- Content marketing
- Broken link building
Building Links: Top Strategies for Beginners
If you’re still learning your way around link building and content marketing, it’s best to start with the very basics of good link building strategies. Here are some of the best ways to build links as a beginner:
Build Links on Resource Pages
Resources pages are pages that exist solely to link out. They are collections of the top information. For example, a list of top marketing agencies is a resource page.
You can build links on these types of pages by reaching out to the owner of the site. Make sure you compliment their content and subtly indicate you have quality content that would improve their page. Just remember, don’t be pushy or rude.
Build Links by Fixing Broken Links
For this strategy, you’ll need to use a broken link checking tool. Search for broken links using the tool and find one with multiple broken links.
From there you can work on a bit of email outreach to alert the site owners to the broken links while also pitching your own content for inclusion as one of their new, fixed links.
How to Start Your Email Outreach
Email outreach is a huge part of link building in 2020. You want to get into the inbox of bloggers and site owners and avoid being dropped into spam folders where it’s unlikely you’ll be noticed. You can use a site like Ahrefs to locate who has given out backlinks. From there you can find emails from these linkers and pitch them your own content.
When you reach out you want your emails to look natural. Don’t copy and paste anything that is obviously generic as you’ll get immediately moved to the trash bin. If you have the time, once you’ve developed an organic-sounding email script, spend time on each correspondence to make it personalized to the contact.
While you can send emails in mass and you may get a few responses, it won’t create a good name for yourself among blogging circles. Spending extra time on your email outreach can result in a higher response and success rate.
Black Hat Strategies to Avoid
As a digital marketing professional working in SEO or a business owner looking to compete online, you should be well-versed on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Black hat SEO can potentially penalize your site once Google discovers you’ve disobeyed their guidelines.
Black hat SEO is closely linked with the Google Penguin update. This update focuses the heat on those who post spammy blog comments across the web or post to sketchy guest posting sites. Because this is a manual penalty there is a chance for your black hat methods to skirt by unnoticed.
There is plenty of controversy between black hat and white hat SEOs. But whether you want to take a risk on black hat SEO or stick to white hat methods, you’ll need to make the decision on your own.
Advanced Link Building Concepts
Once you’ve mastered the basics and have a clear understanding of link building best practices, it’s time to move onto to something more difficult. Advanced link building includes using tools like BuzzSumo, reverse image searches, and Boomerang to better manage your link building process.
BuzzSumo can be used to locate the name of your company in online content with no existing backlink. Reverse image searches can be used to find where images from your site have been used across the web. And finally, Boomerang can help you time your emails to the optimal delivery time of the person you’re trying to get that sweet backlink from.
Using these tools together alongside your existing strategies will help keep you a step ahead of your competition in the SERPs.
Finding Success with Link Building in 2020
Building links, especially your first few, can be overwhelming. But as you gain more experience and knowledge of link building best practices it will turn into an easier process. By studying how others have used link building to succeed in their market, you can develop link building processes to make the steps easy and repeatable.
For more information on link building and SEO strategies, check out our related blogs.