A problem that a lot of us have when trying to build links is our tendency to try and learn more, read one more article on link building, find that one magical link building technique that will net us some high quality links, etc. How about this – pick a strategy and hit it hard. I’m not going to sit here lying to you, because I have had this problem. I love reading about SEO & Link Building, and I’m always searching for another article about a new tactic or something I haven’t heard of yet. Sometimes this curiosity can hurt you, because you end up losing time trying to find something that isn’t there when you could be trying some of the other tactics you’ve heard of in the past.
You know what? Let’s pick a few very simple link building strategies and see what we can do. Yes, you’ve heard of them before, but just because you have heard of them doesn’t mean they don’t work.
Yes, it does work. No, it’s not what it used to be, but put some time into it and you’ll get results. I’d usually recommend this for the smaller websites or sites that struggle getting links (i.e. boring niche or eCommerce).
- Open an excel sheet (or Google spreadsheet if you don’t have Excel)
- Use search to find directory lists. I guarantee you that you will come across a few nice organized lists, including some directories you might of forgotten when doing directory submission in the past.
- Find more lists. Keep finding high quality lists, whether you just want to find the top 100 directories or if you’re going for a 4 digit number.
- Copy & paste all the directories into the first column of your excel sheet. Alphabetize & delete the duplicates (NOTE: for duplicates, they must be exactly alike, so make sure you format all your directories the same way. Ex. Make all sites directory.com, not http://www.directory.com, www.directory.com, directory.com/, etc.)
- Create a notepad format of all the information you need for submission so you can copy & paste easily.
Some people use auto-submission software, which I do not recommend because of potential penalties. Yes, I’ve heard of them working, but it’s better to be safe than sorry (cheesy, I know). If you don’t want to do it yourself, hire cheap labor – ex. A high school student or two willing to work for minimum wage.
Writing linkable content
How many times have you heard this one? Probably too many to count. You can go to conferences for creating content, read huge guides all over the web, or even books at your local libraries & bookstores, but they’ll all say the same thing. Here’s what you should do:
- Figure out which keywords you want to write about.
- Think of at least 10 topics for each keyword/subject. Yes, some of the content will overlap, but that’s ok.
- Now ask yourself some questions on the subject you’re writing about – if you were someone searching for information on your keyword, what kind of questions would you be asking? (Ex. For a huge niche keyword I wanted to rank for with my piece of content, I decided to name my article the exact keyword, then have different subtitles asking every question I could think of about the keyword.)
- Edit. Review. Add some more information to it, and then start again. Maybe ask a friend or two, someone else in your company, or whoever you can find helpful. If you really want to have linkable content, you need to be able to constructive criticism and be able to make changes.
- Make a plan. You’re making this content so you can build links, right?
- Create a custom bit.ly URL shortener that you will be posting on your social media accounts (ex. Bit.ly/your-keyword-here)
- Turn the article into a 4-500 word blog post, with a “read more” feature at the bottom leading to the article (If you’re posting the content on your blog, you might not need to do this, or you can try some variation of it)
- Contact people in your niche about your new piece of content, let them know that you’d appreciate links to it (consider a free giveaway to those who link to you).
- Make sure you contact everyone who links to you and show your appreciation – you could even comment on their blogs too. This encourages linking in the future.
- See where other similar competitive content got links from, and contact those webmasters of linking too. If you’d like, find broken links on those pages and ask the webmaster to remove the broken link and insert your link.
- Link out to sites you want links to using future blog posts (or previous ones), and once you do so tell the webmasters you are linking to them, and you’d appreciate a link to your new piece of content.
Unfortunately for some niches (including one of my client’s) are extremely boring and hard to drive links to their content, so most of the link building for this will be manual – you’ll have to contact webmasters for links. Remember – social media can be great for building links if you know what to do with it. Try offering the piece of content as a PDF, and to get the PDF you have to tweet about it (paywithatweet.com). Get creative to get the word out!
I just gave you two examples of how to use 2 of the most common link building practices to build links. Yes, they will work, but only if you put the time and effort into each. Coming from a link builder, I can say this truthfully: You’re not going to come across some magical link building strategy that will change the game. There are numerous techniques (check out my complete list for more) that are available for you to attempt, but until you put in the time and effort on each, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
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