Building links to your site can feel a little like the wild west. There are tons of link-building strategy gurus out there that take you on a roller coaster ride of what to do, but the truth is that there are some fundamentals to learn first.
You need to start simple with your link-building campaign and build up confidence in your strategy before branching out with more complicated ones.
This short guide will highlight tips to help you get started on your journey to search engine rankings.
1) Score easy links from sites with average content
Okay, so you are a great writer or have a team producing the best content out there. One of the best ways to acquire a link is to find a weaker article and replace it.
Yes, this does take, and the scalability is not great. When you are starting and don't have connections to webmasters, this can be a brilliant way of building a relationship.
Search for content in your niche posted on websites. Use a tool like Surfer to copy that page's content and see the SEO score. Look at how well the search query is answered, and if you feel like there is an opportunity to write something better and more meaningful, then you have a winner.
By overwriting this previous piece of content, you are providing more value to the website on which it is posted, and it makes for a compelling argument to get the webmaster to replace the old content.
Slip in a link to your site in the content (this is great and all, but make sure your link will be helpful to the reader and provide them with something valuable).
2) Focus on quality links pointing to strong content
As a beginner, nothing is more disheartening than watching your efforts go to waste.
If you are struggling to see any natural rise in organic traffic and rankings, it's more than likely that you have been acquiring links from low-domain authority sites that are not providing much link equity.
If you don't know what link equity is, then here is a short explanation:
It is the power that one page shares with another. If page A has a high DA of 55, and you get a link from that page, your page looks more authoritative and topically relevant. So, if you get links from sites with low DA ratings, you are missing out on the shared power.
An excellent tip for solid content is to choose an evergreen topic. This ensures your link will remain intact and provide longevity, which is what you want!
3) Do some investigating and find competitors' backlinks
Know your enemy. This is especially true when it comes to link-building. If you know who is linking to your competition, you know what sites you should try to get links from.
You won't do yourself any favours by acquiring links from just one domain. Diversify your efforts and obtain a list of links from 10 different competitors.
That way, your backlink profile will be unique and not a copy-paste. Unique is always exemplary!
An easy way to find competitors' backlinks is to use a tool such as Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz. Take the URL, paste it into the relevant domain search function, and head to backlinks to view their profile.
4) Tried and tested guest posts
One of the most used techniques for link building is guest blogging. There is a good reason for that!
All sites need rich content that keeps their visitors coming back.
This is where you step in. Take the time to write a high-quality and fascinating blog post. Use this article as leverage to get it posted on a website. After all, it's free for them, so you have put in all the hard work.
An additional excellent tip is to include entity matching in your guest post. This helps search engines determine the relevance of your linked content to the target page.
Check out a tool like Textrazor to get relevant entities for your post. All you need to do is copy the text on the target URL on your site and paste it into Textrazor, and viola! Your entities await.
5) Diversify your link profile
It's all good and has high-quality (dofollow) links from high-authority websites, but it tends to look unnatural. Google's algorithm doesn't play nice with the phoney.
You want the bulk of your links to be top-notch, but a healthy link profile has balance.
Build links using different methods to get a more rounded profile. Use lower DA sites, PBNs, social media, and community pages to get links from other sources.
While these might not hold as much weight, they bring in traffic which is valuable all in and of itself.
Bonus tip 6) Stay away from link schemes
If you want to dodge the proverbial bullet of Google link schemes must be avoided like the plague. Engaging in shady link-building efforts will get your site a manual action penalty which will tank your rankings and lead to your site being written off.
Yes, it's that serious.
Manipulating the page rank by artificially obtaining links is not acceptable. High-quality links should be obtained through white-hat link-building tactics.
Let's have a look at exactly what Google has to say about link schemes:
What is the best link-building strategy?
There is no clear-cut winner for the best strategy because you can make many of them work to your advantage. The best link-building method is the one that drives the most organic traffic to your site.
Guest Blogging is the most commonly used strategy, and there is a good reason for that.
How do I start building links?
The first step is to pick a tool such as Ahrefs or Semrush that you can use to find relevant websites in your niche. Find their backlinks. Develop a pitch that makes linking to your site enticing, and start your link building.
What should you not do in link building?
Engage in spammy link-building techniques that result in low-quality links to your site in high volume. This is a one-way ticket to a manual action penalty from Google.
What is link equity?
It is the power that one page shares with another. If page A has a high DA of 55, and you get a link from that page, your page looks more authoritative and topically relevant.
So, if you get links from sites with low DA ratings, you are missing out on the shared power that helps boost your ranking.