How to Build Links in 2015 and Sleep Like a Baby
Link building is a risky business.
Very risky if you ask me.
With Penguin rolling out continuously now every new link you get can send your site on a nasty rollercoaster ride.
And yet you must build links.
They are still one of the key ranking factors. And as Matt Cutts confirmed at #SMX in 2013:
“Links still have many, many good years ahead of them.”
So how do you build links in 2015?
The answer, you actually don’t. At least not in the same way you might be used to.
I guess this starts to sound like a cliché by now but it’s true.
These days the best link is earned.
Link building strategies that aimed to simply build any links or citations without offering anything in return to the user are now long gone.
Article or website directories, guest posting only blogs, blog networks and many others are now just a distant memory.
What matters today are strategies that can yield good quality and genuine backlinks. Here are few of them.
Deliver Content Your Audience Seeks
Content is still the best way to earn links.
But not every piece of content you create will gain backlinks. While most of your blog posts will generate either some direct engagement (comments) or social buzz, they’ll fail to build links.
And for a simple reason – they do not deliver advice your audience seeks.
For content to engage people and inspire them to mention it on their blogs, it needs to touch on the very issues they care about.
A link worthy content is created with a specific content persona in mind. It solves a person’s problems. Helps them overcome challenges. Or speaks of issues close to their heart.
The concept of marketing personas is nothing new.
Marketers have been developing a representation of their typical target audience member to better understand whom they are speaking to.
Buyer personas help to:
- Understand the audience’s needs.
- Understand what content types and topics they are most likely to engage with and would like to read.
- Understand what might attract them to content.
- Deliver a consistent message.
- Help planning ahead.
Writing with specific content personas in mind will help you deliver information your audience seeks. It will also make your content worthy of sharing to that audience.
(Almost immediate reaction for my latest post for Userlike. Needless to say, similar happened with every other post I published on the site so far).
Participate in Local Events
Local events are useful not only to promote your brand but also, earn links from trusted resources.
- Journalists and bloggers attending an event might mention you in their event recaps.
- You can get listed in various local and event related listing sites
- You should get a link on the event’s site too
For more information, check out this Kane Jameson’s thorough tutorial on building links through local events.
Launch an App
We are obsessed with apps. From utilities, communication to games, our smartphones are filled with various software we use everyday.
And thus, any news related to apps or software spread like wildfire.
Imagine then what would happen if you created an app or game for your business? It wouldn’t even have to be anything special:
- A hotel could launch a city stay estimator, helping visitors assess if their budget is enough to avail of all activities they wish for.
- A t-shirt company could launch a meme generator.
- A luxury grooming company could create a “groom a celebrity” game in which visitors could change the looks of a famous person.
The opportunities are many.
With a clever outreach and PR, a single app could earn you tons of links, many from highly reputable domains.
Swap Testimonials for Links
This, unfortunately, isn’t a very scalable technique. Yet given how easy it is to generate links this way, it’s worth trying out. .
Contact vendors or producers of software or other products or services you use, offering to write them a good testimonial if they publish it online.
Not everyone will pick you up on it but some companies might.
And give you a link in return.
Organise Group Interviews
Interviews build links, fact.
SEL reported that one of their interviews at some point earned them 4k links.
There are two ways to use interviews to build links:
- Get interviewed or,
- Interview others.
If you can, consider reaching out to media in your industry offering them interviews.
Organise Group Interviews
You might not be in a position to give interviews. Perhaps you’re only starting out or have no brand behind you. In such case, consider turning the coin and interview others.
Gather together experts from your industry. You can conduct the interview live over Google Hangouts, Skype or simply distribute questions and collect responses.
Here’s one example of the latter interview I conducted few months ago.
The key to creating expert interview content for links is:
- A good hook. If you focus on the same thing countless other blogs have focused on, there’s very little chance that your interview will be picked up. Be original and ask about things no one else asks.
- Strong names. When you’re trying to piggyback on someone, you really need to have big names to get your interview picked up.
Create Large Content Assets
Lastly, the big content – long form guides, interactive educational content, 10k long blog posts or any other impressive piece is also bound to get you plenty of links.
Some examples of such content include:
- Link building guide by Backlinko
- Advanced Guide to Sweepstakes by Viralsweep
- The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise SEO by SERPs
- Link Building Strategies by PointBlankSEO
What makes all these pieces stand out is that they are impressive. They cover every possible aspect of the story. They answer every question a reader might have on the topic.
And, they are safe to link to.
Linking out could be compared to referring someone.
When you link out to someone, you (in some way) put your reputation at risk. Send your readers to a poor resource and they will take this back at you.
But point them in the right direction and they’ll be grateful for your help.
Therefore, deliver large content assets. Take your audience’s common problems and answer them in the most thorough way. Teach them new skills. Help them get started.
With a bit of promotion you can be sure that other bloggers in your industry will pick up these assets.
And link to them.
Creative commons image by Lower Columbia College / Flickr