This is a guest post by Brian Dean from Backlinko.
If you’re like most SEOs, you’re as confused as the cast of Jersey Shore at a TED Talk…
…because it seems that the second you master a new link building strategy, Google cracks down on it.
In fact, there’s a lot of buzz that guest posting (guest posting!) may be the target of a future Google update.
It can leave you wanting to scream: “what’s left!?“.
Fortunately, there’s still a handful of powerful link building strategies that still work over the long-term.
And as someone that’s tried them, I can tell you that they blow most old-school link building techniques — like article marketing and press releases — out of the water.
In my experience, a private, niche-focused blog network is one of the most effective link building strategies on the planet.
But if multiple registrars and fistfuls of class-C IPs make your head spin, why not build a white hat network instead?
In fact, this is something that even big brands like American Express dabble in. They created their small business information site, Openforum.com, to funnel traffic and links to their official site:
Think of how you could take one piece of your business — like drywall tips, Twitter marketing or vegan recipes — and build a mini-site around that subject. When the site builds a bit of trust and authority, start dropping links to your site.
If you’re knee-deep in the SEO field, you may have seen TheShortCutts.com. It’s a site that breaks down Matt Cutts’ often cryptic Webmaster Help videos into takeaway points. This site links to Click Consult, an SEO firm.
Even though it’s just a few weeks old, TheShortCutts.com boasts these impressive metrics:
Why does this work so well?
For some reason, people are slightly more apt to link to a tightly-focused site with a single tool or feature than a page on a larger site.
Infographics and egobait are two of the most effective backlink strategies around.
But when you put them together…
POW! You get a doubly powerful strategy.
Using Infographic Egobait I was able to get my precious metal client dozens of backlinks from authorities in the investing niche, like ZeroHedge.com and Mining.com. And these authority sites push the infographic into the viral stratosphere:
Here’s how to do it:
1. Create an infographic like you normally would: find a hot topic in your niche, collect interesting data, and hire a pro designer to make something eye-catching.
2. Here’s the twist that makes this technique so powerful:
You know that references section you put at the bottom of infographics, right?
Instead of referencing random .edu and news sites, reference authority sites in your niche.
3. Once your infographic is published, reach out to those authority site owners using this tested email template:
Subject: I Heart (Their Site)
First off, I want to say that I’m a huge fan of (Their Site).
I love your stuff so much that I recently referenced (Their Site) in my latest infographic: (Infographic Title).
You can check it out here (Infographic URL).
I’m just sending you a message to give you a heads up.
I’d be tickled pink if you share the infographic with your readers.
Either way, I’ll see you at (Their Site).
Like anything in link building, infographic egobait is a number’s game. The more sites you reference and email, the more links you’ll get.
You probably already know that you can get links by creating a WordPress plugin or theme that automatically drops a link on the user’s site. But that strategy is a bit shady for my liking.
Either way, I’m talking about something way better: getting a dofollow link from one of the most trusted authorities online, WordPress.org.
And you can do it by simply by submitting a unique, functional plugin to their plugin directory.
While outbound links in the plugin description area are nofollow:
The link to the contributor’s page is dofollow:
If you’re hopeless at coding (like me) you can hire someone on Elance or Odesk to make a unique plugin. The WordPress directory mods are a bit stricter than they used to be about accepting plugins, so be sure that your plugin brings something new to the table (in other words, don’t submit another social sharing plugin).
As long as it’s unique and functional, you’ll be OK.
Bonus tip: Re-code the plugin as a Joomla Extension or Drupal Module…which will land you links from two more PR9 domains!
You may already know that you can get some top-notch links by sending your product to top bloggers in your niche for free.
Even if don’t have a product or service to sell you can (ethically) bribe site owners for links.
With free stuff!
I’m not talking a .pdf download or membership area login information.
I mean send them an actual, physical item.
It can be in the form of a branded water bottle, a hoodie, or a t-shirt.
In fact, startup Shareaholic goes as far to send t-shirts to bloggers that mention their product:
Imagine how much you’ll stand out from the masses when you send them a handwritten “thank you” letter…along with some free stuff.
Think of some ways you could do this for your own site (if you do client work for a big brand then you probably already have tons of free T-shirts lying around).
Bonus Tip: Give out free stuff at Tomoson.com. There are a ton of Mommy bloggers there that gladly trade free stuff for backlinks.
Final note from Jon: Thanks so much Brian for contributing! For everyone else, f you’re looking to take things further, check out my link building course.