Link building is one of the most challenging aspects of SEO. However, it has a huge impact on your website’s SERP rankings. Time and again, almost every ranking factor study shows the importance of links.
Simply defined, link building is the process of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage to boost search engine rankings. Given how frequently search engine algorithms change, building authentic backlinks is rather challenging.
For starters, many black-hat SEO techniques have emerged in the past decade, which results in severe Google penalties. Identifying authoritative websites in your niche and getting a link back from them is also painstaking if you don’t know the right methods (or people).
And content marketing is an effective way to earn backlinks and boost SEO.
In this article, we explain 6 link building tactics that use content marketing for optimal results:
1. Guest blogging for expertise, authority and link building
The benefits of blogging for businesses have been proven time and again. Business sites with blogs get, on average, 97% more inbound leads. Guest blogging increases your credibility, authority and drives relevant traffic to your website.
To find inspiration for blog topics in your niche, type the keywords into Google and check out blogs in the top results. Create a bank of ideas and pitch to leading industry e-magazines and publications consistently.
If you have trouble in finding guest posting opportunities, use any these search strings on Google:
- Your Keyword + “guest post”
- Your Keyword + “write for us”
- Your Keyword + “contributing writer”
Once identified, be sure to study the website’s audience and their published articles. Create content that provides value to the audience.
Guest blogging takes a lot of time and effort. It is getting increasingly harder to get your posts accepted. Using a freelance platform like Link-able, you can connect with freelancer writers in your industry to make it easier and work with them to build extremely relevant backlinks directly to your content.
2. Pillar pages to build backlinks
What is a pillar page? It is a single page that covers all aspects of a topic. For example, you can write a pillar page about a broad topic such as SEO. And then, pieces of cluster content around “blog SEO”, “technical SEO”, “on-page SEO” and “off-site SEO” that have more specific keywords within a topic.
The pillar page is a centralized hub that is longer than a blog post. It is hyperlinked to cluster content blog posts.
Here is how HubSpot explains the primary topic pillar pages and the more specific pieces of cluster content.
While posting content regularly is essential, pillar content will set you up as a niche authority and continue to bring readers well after you post it. Essentially, pillar content is in-depth information in the form of a tutorial, how-to guide, or list post on a topic addressing your readers’ pain points.
Pillar pages can consistently generate an organic website and referral traffic, improve search rankings, and ultimately increase conversions.
In fact, HubSpot found an increase in their rankings when they added more internal links through the pillar pages.
Once you create the pillar page, the next step is to have in place a promotion strategy to build high-quality backlinks for your website’s longest and broadest content pages. You can also work with the best SEO agencies for startups to gather more backlinks easily.
3. Skyscraper technique for turning content into high-quality backlinks
Coined by Brian Dean, the Skyscraper technique is a popular link building strategy where you improve the existing popular content or find new ways to communicate that message. This can include updating statistics, employing a better design, or leveraging a more engaging medium.
After creating the in-depth guide, find out all the people who have linked to similar content and reach out to them to include your updated article. You can use SEO tools to automate this process.
This technique works well for building backlinks because:
- Existing demand – When you discover existing successful content, you know that there is demand in the topic you consider addressing. (For example, an income calculator for freelancers.)
- Serious ranking potential – Google has already indexed the existing resources. Adding to that, nobody likes pointing visitors to outdated resources. Use this opportunity to persuade the site owners to link to your “skyscraper” content.
To keep the in-depth piece of content useful, stay updated.
Tip – Update your existing content regularly with new trends, topics and statistics to maintain the value you worked so hard to create.
4. Create expert roundups and interviews
This kind of content is known as “ego-bait” – everyone loves to talk about themselves and their work. If you reach out to domain experts and bloggers, many of them will be happy to contribute to your roundup article as long as their site gets a link back from you.
Featuring an expert or a domain specialist with a loyal following and extensive knowledge will earn you backlinks as readers are likely to keep referring to advice from an expert.
To make the most of this strategy, assess whether the influencer or expert you are reaching out to is in the habit of linking to resources that feature their inputs.
When you promote the article on social media, tag their handles so that they can retweet and share your post on their feeds for social amplification.
Here’s a pitch of an outreach email that nails personalization. You can replicate this format for your expert roundups and interview posts.
Keep the outreach emails simple and easy to read. Include single lines and links to your work. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to skim through the email to decide if it is worthwhile to respond.
5. Use the broken links strategy to attract links with minimal effort
If you don’t have the time to create new content from scratch, then a broken links strategy is a lesser-known and highly useful option. It involves finding web pages on an external site with dead links. Then, request the site owner to replace the dead link with a link to your site featuring similar content.
The reason this strategy works so well is that when you tell others about the broken links on their website, they quickly realize how they could attract penalties from Google. Therefore, they are happy to replace it with new links.
If you are new to this strategy, start with running a backlinks check on competing sites. Each broken link becomes a potential lead for you to acquire.
Backlinks being an important ranking factor, outreach is a great way to build white-hat links.
Tip – When running a link building campaign, don’t forget to send follow-ups.
6. Earn social exposure for increased visibility
Although Google has said that there is no relationship between social signals and ranking, use social media to increase your content’s reach. Think about how often you use social media platforms as search engines. Today, they play an integral role in how we find answers to our questions.
Leverage the massive user-base on these social media networks to engage with your audience. Treat them as discovery platforms for your content pieces to gain greater exposure.
Promote your linkable assets by running ads on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Along with capturing the attention of your prospective customers, they double for lead generation. You can get help from social media marketing tools to get more exposure.
Increased engagement around your content on social media grabs more eyeballs that result in more links and mentions.
When it comes to ranking in Google’s search engine, backlinks are important. However, not all backlinks are equal. The link quality depends on relevance and placement. And link building isn’t hard when you have high-quality and valuable content.
My advice is to give these strategies a try and see which works best for your website. Even spending an hour or so per day will help you build some decent backlinks.