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May 2017
8 MIN READ

A link-building guide for beginners (part two)

simon ensor

In part one of this post, we discussed the importance of link-building and two of the most popular techniques to get you started. In part two we will share some further techniques for you to work on perfecting. From approaching the process with a PR mindset to fixing broken links, we will cover all of the most important bases. With our suggestions, advice and a fair bit of time on your hands, you’ll be a link-building whizz in no time!

Put on your PR hat

There is a considerable crossover between link-building and a digital form of PR. Afterall, both aim to generate exposure and mentions across the web; link-building simply has more of a focus on the links themselves, whereas PR is more on brand awareness. Nevertheless, they are both inextricably linked and it is therefore a good idea to approach your link-building with a few PR techniques. We already discussed guest posting in part one, but many online publications do not accept these. So then what do you do?Editorial pieces that are written by a journalist are another fantastic way of securing links. Easier said than done though, as journalists receive hundreds of press releases and pitches everyday. How can you make yours stand out? It’s an art that takes practice, but to simplify the process you need two key elements. A genuinely interesting story or news hook and an ability to convey this to the journalist sharply and succinctly.It would be impossible to explain the process of securing editorial pieces in one paragraph – it’s an entire industry in itself. Nevertheless, if you are serious about link-building then it’s an approach you certainly need to consider. For prompts you can set up Google alerts or follow Twitter accounts such as @journorequests. If you feel a bit overwhelmed then it is probably worth enlisting the services of a seasoned professional. Nobody wants to encounter a PR disaster and it can be a very time-consuming process to generate results.

Marketable content

Much of your link-building success will ultimately stem from your content. Without high quality, insightful content, you’re going to fall at the first hurdle. Writing blog posts is likely to be at the heart of your strategy but it should not stop there. Playing with other types of content will be key to generating a greater volume of links and making your life as link builder much easier. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Whitepapers. Essentially a considerably longer and more detailed blog post, providing an in depth analysis or insight into a specific topic. Often featuring exclusive research and statistics, whitepapers offer high value content and can generate buckets of industry recognition.
  • Infographics. Got some eye-catching statistics or simply want to make your advice standout? Not everybody likes to read a long article and many of us are better able to understand a concept when it is presented as an image. Commission a designer to create a visually inspiring infographic that brings life to your content and represents your brand.
  • Video. On the subject of visually inspiring content, video is a hot topic and an increasingly popular form of media. A high quality video will make highly marketable, shareable content that will be incredibly attractive for your target website!
Once you have these pieces of content, carry out some research and get in touch with the writers of any posts or articles where you feel your content would add value. Be polite, flattering and courteous. Be sure to emphasise how you are helping them and if your content is good enough then you place yourself in a strong position to gain that valuable link.One word of warning: bear in mind that any content within a whitepaper PDF, infographic or video will not be as easily crawlable by the Google bots compared with web page content. Nevertheless, there is a way around this problem – we always recommend including a transcript of any videos or infographics and an introductory blog post for whitepapers. However, not all websites will allow this, so you may need to consider whether it is worth taking a potential hit in rankings for these particular pieces of content, in favour of generating links or exposure.

Link Earning

Link earning is when a website includes a link to your content without any prompt, payment or request from you. It is by far our favourite way of securing links because not only does it require minimal effort in terms of proactive link-building techniques, it is also a sign that you are producing cracking content. Invest time in implementing a top-notch content strategy and links are likely to occur naturally.A sure-fire way of turbocharging content is to include quotes from industry experts, well-researched statistics and other golden nuggets of advice. Content creators are constantly on the lookout for insights that will back up their point or build on an argument. By providing high quality articles and insights that provide genuine value for users, other content creators are likely to pick these up and link to them through citations.

Fixing / reclaiming broken links

There are a whole myriad of broken links on the web and each one has a detrimental effect on user experience. We all know how frustrating it is to click on a link at the prospect of engaging with some interesting content, only to be met with that irritating ‘page not found’ message. Take advantage of the situation with your link-building strategy. Hunt down broken links within your industry, get in touch with the owner of the page and offer superior content for them to link to instead. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and you can bank yet another link.Similar to fixing broken links is the practice of reclaiming links. There may be links that point to your site but the page in question no longer exists, or perhaps the URL has changed. These are called 404s and can be found via Google Search Console or using Moz’s Open Site Explorer. Simply fix or redirect the link your end, or ask the Webmaster in question to change the link.One final point to check is whether there are any unlinked mentions of your brand name across the web. Also look into whether any websites have used your images without giving due credit and linking back to your site. Both of these are straightforward methods of gaining links that require minimal effort, just a bit of research and savviness. So there you have it, a comprehensive selection of link-building techniques to get you started. We hope you have found our beginner’s guide to link-building useful and remember that our expert team of SEO consultants are always happy to provide advice and guidance.
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