Link building is FREAKING hard.
I remember struggling when I was tasked by my boss to create a system that could build us at least 25 high-quality backlinks per month back to our site. (It was a new site we were launching in a competitive market, and we needed to get organic traffic fast.)
And it’s not just me.
Most people struggle to build backlinks to their site too.
They try all sorts of fancy tactics they’ve read about online – and lament when they fail to acquire any needle-moving links.
The thing is – link building can be simplified.
All you need is one core strategy and a few tactics that have been proven to work.
What’s the core strategy?
Create something link-worthy.
You may think that this is BS advice that is oft-repeated without any value, but it’s true. Nobody would link to you if you do not have something worth linking to you.
Before you even start experimenting with creative link building tactics, you need to make sure that you’re reaching out with something they would want to link to.
Just to be sure: that doesn’t mean you need to publish a 15,000-words monstrous blog post or some kind of interactive guide. For some businesses, the product or service is “linkable”.
For example, at Ahrefs, we get a lot of links because of the useful tools that we create, not the article we publish.
Just look at the number of links we have to our Keywords Explorer tool:
Think of your strategy as the engine driving your link building endeavors, and the tactics as the pistons that keep it running.
Once you have the core strategy in place, it’s time to experiment with some link building tactics.
Outreach is where you reach out to people in your niche and introduce them to your content (or linkable asset).
Who should you reach to?
2 groups of people:
People who’ve mentioned your target keyword in their articles;
People who’ve linked to similar articles on the topic.
Here’s how you do it:
Type in a related word or phrase into Content Explorer.
Tick the “one article per domain” checkbox and you will have a list of unique sites to reach out to.
Find their contact information and send them an email requesting for a link.
#2: Community site link building
Forums, message boards, Reddit, Quora, etc—these are all good places to market your website and, in the process, build some relevant links to diversify your backlink profile.
This is something we do at Ahrefs as well (this answer is one perfect example!)
Here’s how you do it:
- Enter Quora.com into Site Explorer.
- Click on the “Top Pages” report and enter a relevant keyword.
- This will show you all the relevant pages with the most traffic. See if they are relevant to what you’re promoting and answer the question!
#3: Broken link building
Broken link building is where you find a broken link on a website, and you pitch them to change the dead link to your piece of content instead.
Here’s how you do it:
- Enter your competitor(s)’s domain into Site Explorer.
- Click on the “Best by links” report and add a “404 not found” filter.
- This report will show you all the referring domains pointing to each broken page.
- Create a guide and pitch those sites (or pitch them directly if you already have a 1-to-1 replacement.)
You can also check out this guide on broken link building.
#4: Guest blogging
Guest blogging is one of the oldest link building tactics in the book.
You write an article for another website in your niche. They publish it. You link to yourself from that article. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s how to do it:
- Enter a relevant keyword into Content Explorer.
- Click the “one article per domain” checkbox. Add some filters to filter out only the most powerful and relevant sites.
- You now have a list of unique websites you can pitch for a guest post.
- Reach out to them, pitch your topics and get it published!
You can also check out this guide on guest blogging.
#5: Content repurposing and syndication
If you’ve really created something worth linking to, don’t let it die after 1 week!
Continue to promote it by repurposing it into different formats so you can get it exposed to a larger audience (who may then link back to you on their sites.)
Here are some cool ways you can repurpose your content:
- Turn it into a video and upload it on YouTube.
- Do an audio recording of the post and upload it onto places like SoundCloud and iTunes.
- Turn it into a presentation and upload it onto Slideshare.
- Turn it into a PDF and upload it on places like Scribd.
- Republish it on content sites like LinkedIn, Medium.
- Turn your blog post into an answer on Quora.
- Grab some soundbites from the content and turn it into a meme, GIF or image.
- Splinter the post into smaller, different posts and offer them as guest posts elsewhere.
Eventually, which tactic ultimately proves the most effective for you depends largely on your unique competitive landscape and the resources at your disposal: timeframe, skill sets, team size etc.
The best way to know is to experiment with them one-by-one and find out which one works.