If I could bank a dollar every time a shiny new SEO strategy surfaced, I’d be lounging on a Caribbean island by now. This is not surprising because brands are always competing to secure those top positions on Google that get almost all the clicks.
Link building is one of SEO’s main pillars. By getting high-quality backlinks, your website proves to Google that it is credible and deserves to be higher up in the rankings. Today, we will find out how to make the most of this strategy in 2024.
So, here are six time-tested strategies that will help you generate quality backlinks for your site.
1. Unlinked Brand Mentions
The secret of this strategy lies in its simplicity. You simply search the web for mentions of your brand name and request the editors to include a link alongside the mention.
Most outlets react positively. The best part? They have already used your brand name in their piece of content, so you do not need to convince them of your worth.
Here is how to find and secure backlinks from unlinked brand mentions.
- Step 1: Find your mentions. It’s like a treasure hunt, and I’ve got the map! Start by plugging your brand name into nifty tools like Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, or even Google’s advanced search. Here’s how it looks in Ahrefs:
But hey, who’s got time for manual searching? Not us! 😉 So, here’s a tip straight from my playbook: set up alerts. Think of them as your personal SEO butler, pinging you with updates daily or weekly.
First stop, Google Alerts. All you need to do is type your keyword (passport photos in my case) and hit ‘Create alert’. You can also customize it – choose your media, pick how often you want your updates, and there you have it: a hassle-free, automated scoop on your brand.
Now, let’s talk Ahrefs alerts. I recommend it because not only can you set alerts, but you can also download all that juicy data into a CSV file. It’s like getting a ready-to-analyze database of who’s talking about you. Click ‘more’, switch to the ‘Mentions’ tab, and press the orange ‘create new alert’ button.
Then, you can set up details. Remember, set that traffic filter above zero – from my experience, it helps to keep out the junk. My example:
- Step 2: Review your list. This is critical if you want to keep your links under control and avoid having them appear on bad websites, which could harm your reputation in the long run. Ideally, you should pick websites with a good DR (50+) and consistent monthly traffic.
- Step 3: Find contacts. Reach out to editors via personal email. Hunter really helps with finding the right email addresses.
- Step 4: Outreach! Write a short and kind email; be friendly yet straightforward. From my experience, simply asking for a link as a reference for readers is enough.
You might consider adding some personalization to a few first lines to catch the attention of the editor. My trick is to use the article title in the subject line. Also, consider writing a follow-up email to the editor in 3-7 days after sending your first email, just in case your email gets lost in a mailbox.
2. Broken Link Building
Repaying a favor is the foundation of a broken link-building strategy. According to psychological reciprocity theory, human beings feel obligated to pay back a favor they once received. In this case, you help the website owner by informing them of a broken link on their site. In exchange, you request that your link replace the broken one.
Is it not simple?
Not only simple but also effective! Indeed, Nikolay Stoyanov used it to acquire 15 links in a day with a 15% conversion rate.
So, how can you make it happen?
- Step 1: Choose your keywords. Decide if you’re going to build links to landing pages or blog posts, and identify your target keywords that are relevant to the topic.
- Step 2: Search for broken links. The easiest way is to use backlink tools, such as Ahrefs or Semrush.
Using Ahrefs, you have to type your keyword in the Content Explorer. Then, you sort for “Only broken” links. You can also filter queries by DR, page traffic, or publication date.
- Step 3: Validate. Check your lists and identify websites that are credible and relevant to you. You want to build high-quality links that will boost your SEO, don’t you?
- Step 4: Find contacts. Search for email addresses of editors and support teams or website owners. Fixing broken links is sometimes a responsibility of the technical SEO team, so you don’t have to limit yourself to content teams.
- Step 5: Outreach! Try to catch the reader’s attention by pointing out the problem and showing your solution. You also want to show them why your link is actually better for their readers, e.g., you can point out that your article has the latest data on the subject.
3. Get Listed In Link Roundups
The internet is flooded with content.
In this wealth of valuable content, people started to pick out the best assets… So link roundups emerged. Link roundups are content hubs that regularly gather the best content or interesting news on a given topic, just like this roundup on the best email finders.
Getting listed in a content hub brings multiple benefits beyond backlinks, notably establishing you as an authority in your field.
Furthermore, link roundups draw in your target audience by featuring top tools in your niche, becoming go-to sources for users seeking such resources. This exposure can introduce your brand to potential customers, potentially boosting your organic traffic.
- Step 1: Identify your trendy content. Choose the piece of content that will provide you with relevant links plus will be timely, helpful, and newsworthy.
Pro tip: consider doing research and writing a piece that has the potential to be featured.
- Step 2: Find roundup sites. You can search Google with those terms:
- keyword +link roundup
- keyword +monthly roundup
- keyword +roundup
- keyword +weekly roundup
Here are examples of my searches.
- Step 3: Outreach! Search for email addresses for roundup authors and website editors. Then, craft your pitch with the suggested content for the next roundup issue. Underline what inspired you to cover this topic or how you feel it fits into the overall flow of the section. It is great to demonstrate that you have read previous roundups and that your topic will meet the needs of the audience.
One addition: this strategy works great now, but it might become less effective in the next few years. Newsletters are becoming more popular, taking over the roundup articles.
4. Digital PR
Press mentions significantly boost a brand’s credibility. The same is true about the main online news outlets.
It’s not easy to be featured in the most authoritative outlets, yet getting links there incredibly boosts your credibility, both in the eyes of Google and readers.
How can you get there? Well, your story needs to be noteworthy, priceless, and trustworthy, or show some novel insights and data that are worth spreading.
There are a few ways to make it work:
- Strategy #1: “Traditional” PR. Pitch journalists a unique story about your organization or something exceptional that happened there. It’s exactly what we did with our story about the “Tenerife workation office.” With this press release, we earned publications in MSN, Ongig, and HRD Canada, among others.
Just remember: your story must bring value to readers, not simply promote your business.
- Strategy #2: Leverage your own data. It’s exactly what Airbnb does: it used its internal data to build a unique report revealing something new for the travel industry (Travel and Living). You can also analyze your data to discover and tell an inspiring story.
- Strategy #3: New research for media coverage. Journalists love data, so you can catch their attention by conducting research with unexpected findings. Start with fresh, catchy ideas that align with your brand and potentially solve customer problems. Ensure that topics have viral potential!
Then, gather data through web scraping or surveys, and reach out to journalists to share your findings. This strategy earned our travel research coverage on the BBC, The New York Times, and The Sun, showcasing its link-building power.
One thing: remember, Internet readers will associate your brand name with the research result. Be careful with controversial topics. You want to increase your credibility and build expertise in your niche, so pick subjects that will contribute to that.
5. Strategic Content Partnerships
The Internet is sometimes a wild place, yet friendship and collaborative work still exist here 🙂 And as it exists, it’s also an excellent (and white-hat!) way to get some backlinks.
Just imagine you are building links for an AI writing service. They have a website (which you want to link to) with a blog. You want to publish an article about how to use your tool to write headlines that will rank higher on Google.
Now, let’s say you meet an SEO-specialized content creator. What a coincidence! You can ask them for an expert quote for your piece (and give them link credits, of course). In return, they can mention your tool while creating the article on the best AI tools for content writers.
You get it.
You can try this strategy yourself by following these steps:
- Step 1: Identify your potential collaborators. Search for websites in your niche (Ahrefs comes in handy here!) Remember to choose those who can insert your relevant links and whose backlinks fit your content.
- Step 2: Prepare your offer. Investigate in what ways you can help each other. You might offer a guest post, expert opinion, or data for their next piece. Just be creative and look for something truly valuable.
- Step 3: Find contacts. Once again, you can use the Hunter tool mentioned earlier or its alternatives like Voila Norbert to get the editor’s email address.
- Step 4: Outreach! Remember to keep your pitch friendly and casual; you’re doing a collaboration, not sales. At the same time, make sure to emphasize the advantages of your offer. Make it clear how you intend to assist this website and what benefits they will receive as a result.
6. Reach Out to the Brands You Mentioned
How often did you link to other sources in your guest posts?
Not counting, huh?
So, I’m telling you today that it’s about time to leverage the links you’ve used. Consider this: each time you include an external link in your content, you open the door for a new link-building opportunity. Why? Because, calling back to the principle of reciprocity, people love to return favors.
When I get a guest post published, I list all the sources I’ve referenced and find the authors’ contact details. I then send them an email to thank them for their valuable content. In this initial email, I might ask for feedback on my article, but I don’t request anything else. It’s mainly to start a dialogue.
This strategy is more about getting to know each other and starting the conversation. Building backlinks is important, but sometimes it requires long-term action. Finally, whether you win the link or not, this email might be just a kind gesture. I believe it helps build a positive culture in our SEO and content communities, enhancing future collaborations.
3 Link Building Strategies That Are Ranking Down
Change is in the air.
As the SEO world spins, some link-building strategies are losing their groove, much like last year’s summer anthems. Not only have these tactics lost their edge, but they may even backfire, potentially dampening your SEO efforts. I’m spotlighting three former chart-toppers who are now more of a nostalgic echo than a current trend.
Time to say goodbye!
HARO is not dead – but its years of glory have passed.
The problem is that the HARO community gets crowded. Two years ago, it was hard to write an insight that would catch the attention of a journalist and fit their article idea. Now, it’s *extremely hard*.
In addition to high competitiveness, the number of opportunities gets lower. When generative AI tools became popular, writers started to receive more and more generic, AI-written comments. It deterred some great writers from using this kind of platform and made them double-sceptical about the comments they received.
Some journalists from major outlets still use HARO and similar websites to get quotes from industry authorities. So, if you have expertise, a catchy tone of voice, and a bit of luck, you can still win some juicy links there! Nevertheless, you shouldn’t rely solely on this strategy, as its effectiveness is declining.
2. Link Exchanges
*Are you open to a link swap?*
Not sure anymore.
Don’t get me wrong. Exchanging links is an excellent method, but only if you can receive *natural backlinks*, which is actually not the case most of the time.
Additionally, using this approach might place your links on sites that are associated with cryptocurrency or bitcoin. It’s bad company for your URL, and you don’t want Google to notice it.
However, by engaging in well-executed white-hat link-building strategies, you can ensure that your backlinks are high-quality and in alignment with ethical SEO practices.
Finally, paid link services (which are not ethical link-building practices) are on the rise, indicating the dusk of old-fashioned and free link exchanges.
3. Traditional Skyscraper Technique
Every seasoned link builder recognizes the name Brian Dean. Many also know of his famous skyscraper technique, hailed by numerous experts as the most effective link-building strategy.
However, the very success of this strategy became its Achilles’ heel.
Its effectiveness drew so much attention that it became a go-to for countless link builders and digital PR specialists. But as is often the case with overused techniques, it began to irk website owners and content creators.
This strategy is still a great foundation for building new, effective campaigns. However, I’d decline to continue using its original template.
Now that you’ve gotten there – are you ready to build links?
Keep in mind that there’s no universal strategy that guarantees success for everyone. Each industry is unique. What succeeds in the SaaS sector may falter in the lifestyle domain, and vice versa. Consider these strategies as guiding principles or sources of inspiration, and tailor your approach to fit your specific niche.
PS: Is there any prediction with which you disagree? Any great strategies I’ve missed? I would love to chat about that!