Link building is an essential aspect of SEO, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood parts of digital marketing. After all, not all links are created equal.
Acquiring high-quality links is one of Google’s primary ranking factors. But the process of obtaining these links have changed in the past few years. Our days of link farming, using article directories, and spamming blog comment sections are behind us. There’s no shortcut to boosting your site’s rankings—Google makes sure of this with each tweak of its algorithm. Every day, it grows smarter in how it evaluates links. And if your links fail to provide value, there’s a slim chance that it will rank high on search engines.
Establishing credibility for your website calls for a strong focus on “white hat” tactics for more effective link building. And that depends on developing a consistent strategy to acquire those links.
Check out our infographic for some actionable tips.
Why Use White Hat SEO?
White hat link building tactics are low-risk marketing strategies. They fall within the webmaster guidelines laid out by Google and Bing, which means you have a lower chance of incurring penalties.
Some examples of white hat tactics include:
- Creating unique, high-value content
- Building a community that interacts with your brand
- Promoting your website through personalized messages
Unlike other “black hat” or “gray hat” tactics, white hat link building strategies appeal to user needs instead of sticking solely to search engine rules and policies. This way, you are more likely to build strong, long-term assets.
Drive Traffic and Increase Rankings
By definition, link building describes the process of earning links from other websites to direct their readers to your own page.
Good inbound links redirect to authoritative websites and use natural anchor texts. Using organic anchor texts provides more value because it tells Google that the webmaster isn’t just hyperlinking random words on a page. And by earning more backlinks from high-quality and high-authority sites, you can drive greater traffic from referrals and rank higher on search engines.
Crafting a Sustainable Search Strategy
Google introduces drastic improvements to its algorithm every now and then. These changes help determine which websites are more relevant for a given search. The 2012 Penguin update, for instance, marked the end of manipulative link building spam tactics.
As search engine algorithms grow more refined and sophisticated, Google is closer to bringing users better search results. And if this teaches us anything, it’s that creating a sustainable search strategy depends on answering search intent.
Building Effective Links the White Hat Way
When it comes to creating an effective white hat link building strategy, make it a habit to ask yourself why another site would want to link to your page. Design each technique around providing value for your searchers. By focusing on link relevance, you can boost traffic, increase rankings, and improve brand recall.
Create High-Value Guest Posts
Guest blogging for high-authority websites through quality content is one of the most effective ways to build valuable links. But rather than focusing on building backlinks, create value by establishing authority and growing your readership.
Before you reach out to bloggers, media outlets, or web admins for potential link placements, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Check the authority of the website’s backlink profile. Make sure it follows ethical standards and is not at risk of incurring penalties.
- Determine who the audience of the website is and if they are relevant to your industry.
- Perform a website audit by checking whether the existing content is informative and up-to-date.
- Gauge the popularity of the website and find out whether it has a strong follower base.
Link to Relevant, Useful Content
High-quality links requires high-quality, linkable content. This could come in the form of media-rich articles, interactive guides, surveys, or infographics. If you maintain your own blog, it pays to link to other blogs, as well. Linking to other blogs in a consistent, opportunity-driven way can encourage one of those bloggers to return the favor and link to your page.
But apart from maximizing link building opportunities, develop a clear, thoughtful plan for distribution. This entails making useful, relevant links a part of your social media strategy so you know the best platform to use when reaching your target audience.
Build Meaningful Relationships
Build links by taking advantage of your existing relationships. You never know, your vendors, partners, or suppliers could be willing to link to your website. Be straightforward when you initiate this type of outreach activity with them and clearly state what’s in it for them when they link to your site.
Take things one step further by creating an expert roundup. Expert roundups are quotes or interviews from influential people in your niche. Take a closer look at your network and choose participants with something relevant to contribute to your audience. The most effective roundups pose a specific question experts can easily respond to and readers will learn something from.
Publish Helpful Resource Lists
A resource list is a landing page that consists of links that point to different authority pages. These pages contain images, subheadings, and bulleted lists for easy reading and scanning. Publishing a resource list makes it easier for bloggers to link to the resource page, instead of creating one themselves.
Resource lists provide useful content for your readers. Their value is determined by the quality and quantity of the included third-party links. More importantly, they help establish your credibility—which is a lot better than making a pushy sales pitch.
Obtain Data-Based Insights
Data-driven content can improve your ability to earn authoritative links. Most people who link to a web page are looking for data to support their claim. After all, concrete, data-driven content can capture reader attention and make your source worth citing.
- Data analysis – This involves conducting original research and using statistical techniques to interpret data. Dating site OkCupid, for instance, performed a data analysis and discovered that photos taken with a camera flash could make a person look seven years older. The post garnered backlinks from over 300 domains.
- Surveys – Relevant surveys are likely to pick up a lot of links. Start by identifying a question that your audience or their influencers would be interested in exploring further. After you receive your results, turn your most interesting finding into the headline for your content.
- Research compilations – Create a comprehensive overview of a topic by compiling previous data-driven research. These research compilations are informative because they collect results from various sources. Their comprehensive scope is the reason these types of asset generate consistent links over time.
Launch a Broken Link Building Campaign
Broken link building involves replacing links to 404 pages on a page with a working link to a different website. Launch a broken link building campaign by finding resources in your niche that are no longer live. Then, reach out to the webmaster and request them to replace the broken link with one that redirects to your content. This allows you to help webmasters clean up their site while building your own links.
There’s a handful of online SEO tools that can make your job of tracking down broken links a lot easier. These include Ahrefs, Moz Pro, and Check My Links.
Align Your Brand with Current Events
Breaking news stories presents you with the opportunity to ride the popularity wave and amplify your brand’s sales and marketing success. If you’re one of the first to publish a newsjack post, you’ll rise to the top of the SERPs because of the “freshness” component of Google’s algorithm. In turn, other publications can link to your content when they write their own story.
Being in the know can also mean sponsoring or speaking at events. Events give speakers and sponsors great website publicity, so make it a point to create shareable presentations that people would want to share and link to.
Boost Brand Credibility through Case Studies
When it comes to building a resource of valuable content, create case studies to demonstrate your brand’s success. Case studies add authenticity to your business, and show customers that you can help them overcome challenges and achieve their goals. If you make a good case study about your client, for instance, there’s a chance that they’ll link to your site.
On the flip side, you can also volunteer to be a part of a case study. Volunteer your time to one of your major vendors and receive a backlink to the study as soon as it’s published.
Create Compelling Visual Content
Visuals are great stories that anyone can easily share online. And they make any journalist’s life a lot easier, too—all they need to do is write a short intro, embed the link to the visual, then their article is ready to publish. Rise above the noise and take advantage of the shareable impact of compelling visual content:
- Infographics – Infographics combine data and graphics with text-based content. It is an eye-catching storytelling tool that appeals to audiences, and can encourage people to link back to you as the original source.
- Maps – Publishers are attracted to maps because they cover hot topics and allow you to compare data between countries. Using maps to show data can also contain an element of shock—for example, if you run a pizzeria, create a map that demonstrates which countries consume the most pizza.
- 3D mockups – 3D mockups provide a look at what something that doesn’t exist might look like in real life. Click Mechanic, for instance, created five concept cars based on Apple’s most iconic products. The result: reimagined products that readers would want to share.
Implement a Cost-Effective Content Strategy
Effective link building requires hard work and a content strategy that helps you acquire organic backlinks over time. Some key takeaways include:
- Use white hat techniques to boost user experience through high-quality content with useful links.
- Provide greater value to users by answering searcher intent and creating informational, shareable content.
- Enforce a white hat culture to achieve sustainable results and avoid penalties from search engines.
Let Growth Rocket help you create a cost-effective link building strategy. We create smart, strategic content assets and promote them on the right distribution channels to expand your reach. To learn more, get in touch with us today.