Do you know how valuable links are? Links help users find information and pages, and give writers the ability to share pages and information with their readers. You might also want to know that they are helpful for SEO as well.
So how do you build better links? How do you get more of them? To get started building better backlinks, try out these tactics.
1.) Unlinked Brand Mentions
It’s pretty common for a company’s brand to be discussed online without anyone in the discussion referencing the website or their contact information. As marketers, we can reach out to these individuals, thank them for talking about us, and respectfully ask that they include a mention (with a link) of our website. The purpose is less about building a link and more about giving their visitors a better user experience.
There are important dos and don'ts such as: Try to avoid the use of the word “links” in your outreach, and make every outreach specific and personal. No templates, please.
Google Advanced Search: The very best tool for finding unlinked brand mentions is trusty old Google advanced search. Understanding advanced search commands such as inurl or excluder command “-“. This article on Search Engine Land is a list of advanced link building queries you can try out.
2.) Competitor Analysis
You can get good ideas, concepts, and inspiration when you take time to check out what your competitors are offering and who links to them. Are those sites that should link to your website as well? Exercises like this can help you understand what content naturally earns links and is linked frequently.
How to analyze your competitors.
Begin by pulling backlinks for your competitor. Open Site Explorer will be your best bet for pulling backlinks, or the free version of the ahrefs.com tool. Simply put in the domain and see what comes back. Be prepared to see a massive list. It might seem overwhelming at first, but with our tips you can get started. Next, export the data to a spreadsheet so you can review those linking domains. Categorizing those domains isn’t fast and isn't easy, but it’s a valuable exercise that helps you in the long run.
Tips for Competitor Link Prospecting:
Organize your list and aggressively approach the highest yield opportunities first: those with the most authority or those with content (and so readers) similar to yours.
Review links from domain names ending in .edu and .gov. How are your competitors earning links from these hard-to-earn-links-from sites? Do any opportunities exist for your brand as well?
Review the most linked-to content. Open Site Explorer’s “Top Pages” tab is a great source. What makes the content link-worthy? Is it content you too can create and develop?
Review the highest authority pages. How are your competitors earning links from these high authority pages? Do any opportunities exist for your brand too?
Search for URLs which have the word “links” or the word “resource” in the URL. These are often pages which are lists of resources or similarly related links, if your site isn’t listed then it’s an opportunity for you to grab!
3.) Try the “Direct Approach” which is proven by Public Relations professionals
Some aspects of online link building closely resemble the way public relations professionals do digital outreach campaigns to reach out to today’s influencers. Their proven tactics and strategies, aimed at building relationships with key decision makers and online publishers, are worth taking the time to study.
A great way to get better links is by getting in touch with journalists and online bloggers because they influence the masses. Hearing about what they need for their next editorial, content needs, or a need for expert sources is a good opportunity for you to build links. It's about them, not you. You are calling to give them a good story, good quality content – not to get a link from them.
Best practices for Reaching Out:
Personalize your approach – familiarize yourself with the journalist's prior work. During your initial pitches make sure you are adding details of personalization that show that you took the time and effort to get to know them. The very last thing bloggers or journalists want to see is a generic template of a pitch. Do your research, there is nothing worse than praising a piece or a blog that you think they wrote but it was actually another blogger.
Be straight to the point – These people are busy and have short attention spans, be brief, straight to the point and direct.
Understand their audience – Journalists and bloggers know that their readers are really important. Understand who the readers are and ensure you align your pitch with what their audience will find interesting. Explain to them how your company or client can relate to their audience and can be a source of information and or entertainment.
Avoid over promoting – Do not oversell your pitch. You are providing a source for information, not a self-serving promotion. Present your company or client as a source for news, information, or entertainment. If you overdo it they might see you as a pure pitch man and mark your communications to them as spam.
Turn the “No” into a “Yes” – It's not easy turning that no into a yes. There is a fine line between being pushy and assertive when you make your pitches so be careful, pay attention and stay professional.
Clear up any doubt – Journalists or bloggers will probably have a “show me” attitude so show them. When you do your pitch, find ways to address their concerns and doubts. Listen carefully to what they are doubtful about and respond appropriately. Do not leave them with second thoughts.