Shoot up the SERPs by following these three link building boosters: creating linkable assets, leveraging influencers, and engaging in some link hustling.
Backlinks, content, and RankBrain are Google’s top three confirmed ranking signals, likely in that order. Despite the industry buzz surrounding backlinks supposedly losing their SEO value, they remain absolutely essential.
Explaining links in a nutshell: Links are effectively, online recommendations. A link is a metaphorical pat on the back from one website owner to another saying, “I trust your information.”
Google monitors the credibility of websites linking to yours, and adjusts your rankings accordingly (over time) depending on how many authority websites link to you — in addition to the strength of this collective authority.
That said; acquiring frequent, credible links to your website is highly recommended. This process of search engine optimization is known as link building.
So, how exactly do you maximize your link building impact while remaining safely within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?
Booster #1: Produce Linkable Assets
The first step to dominating search engine results through link building is to create exceptional content that is brilliant enough to consistently earn links — all on its own.
Of course, promotion is always strongly advised. But as a rule for creation — if your content is superior enough to gain links without the need to request them…you’re onto a winner.
As marketers and business owners, content is at the heart of everything we do.
Check out the interest in “content marketing” over time, in comparison to “link building” on Google Trends. The reason? Content is the new link building tool!
Link-worthy content is known as a linkable asset — and you want as many of these valuable content assets as possible.
NOTE: I’m not suggesting you pump out hundreds of low-quality pieces of content. That would be pointless. Every piece must be extraordinary. If you can publish quality + volume like HubSpot, that’s great. If not, release just one piece every month. And make it phenomenal!
So, why are linkable assets required?
There are over 3 million blog posts published each and every day. That means unless you invest sufficient time in setting your brand apart from the competition, nobody is going to link to it — and your Google rankings (+ traffic) will suffer as a result.
In contrast; do it right, get noticed, and your brand will reap the rewards.
The concept is simple: Make your content relevant and better than anything else you can find in your niche. Then promote it like crazy!
I spend a lot of time creating my content. But that equates to only 5 percent to 10 percent of my entire process…the remainder is the distribution of that content.
Once you gain a few links and features, the domino effect often follows.
- Headings, title tag, meta description, and social meta + structured data.
- Make it utterly beautiful.
- User Experience. Make it a joy for your visitors + keep RankBrain satisfied.
- Make it intriguing and addictive.
- What will your visitors take away from your amazing content?
- Is it a viable lead or sales generator?
- Optimize for every channel and spend >90 percent of your time promoting it.
Types of Linkable Assets:
- Long-form or colossal content
- Profound material
- Data-driven research
- Infographics + Gifographics
- Free tools
- How-tos and highly educational pieces
- Controversial topics or newsworthy linkbait
Booster #2: Utilize Influencer Leverage
Industry influencers hold the keys to the door of huge, engaged audiences — and with such exposure comes heaps of potential social shares and backlinks. You just need to find a way of getting them to unlock that door for you…
Never nag. Never pester. Provide value to influencers first, before even thinking about asking them to do something for you. This is imperative.
When we’re talking links, even more caution is required. Social shares not quite so much…but blatantly asking for links without any previous interaction is very much frowned upon.
You only get one shot at this. Give an influencer the wrong impression and you will be ignored or even worse, blocked! Initially, you’ll need to find relevant influencers.
Twitter is one of the best tools for first-touch communication. It’s deemed very low pressure and also quick because of its word-count limit.
Advanced search operators on Twitter work similarly to how they do in Google search. For example; use phrases in quotation marks, like “small business” (which you can replace with your chosen keyword) and “influencer” (a word you can also replace) into the Twitter search box.
Then, use Twitter’s navigation options to segment your search by person, tweets, or multimedia types.
Instead of “influencer,” you can try “thought leader,” “speaker,” “Forbes top 10,” “Forbes top 20,” or “contributor” to name a few. Discover more ideas like these in influencers’ bio sections.
Open each profile in a new tab and weed out those who don’t have any engagement and/or large audiences.
Now, begin to connect with your chosen few influencers (sincerely)!
I recommend three levels of engagement, spanning a period of one to three months:
LEVEL 1 ENGAGEMENT
- Follow the influencer on all channels
- Share their content
- Leave genuine comments on their content
LEVEL 2 ENGAGEMENT
- Share their content and engage using a more personal tone
- Endorse them on LinkedIn
- Cite them in your content (and make sure they see it)
LEVEL 3 ENGAGEMENT
- Ask for their contribution to a roundup post
- Ask for their input on your material (careful here…many influencers are BUSY)
- Hire them to promote your content!
Finally, when you have surpassed Engagement Level 3, a lot of barriers will have been demolished. This makes it much easier for you to request links and social shares in a much more direct manner, but never forget to be respectful at all times. Influencers get asked for all sorts of favors — all day, every day.
Booster #3: Engage in Link Hustling
This is one of my favorites! And although a great tactic for anybody, it is especially valuable for larger businesses with presence and clout. I used this method while developing the SEO strategy of an international construction company.
It involves discovering where you have been mentioned and simply requesting a link instead of settling for an unlinked brand mention. Simple, right? Yet, immensely powerful — depending on how large and/or reputable a company you run.
I have seen cases of thousands, literally thousands of unlinked mentions! It would be a great shame not to make the most of those instances. If a website team has already considered your brand worthy of their material, often you will find there isn’t a hefty barrier preventing interaction…which is usually the case when conducting cold link outreach.
To begin your link building hustle, you need a paid tool like Mention; which can alert you immediately whenever you get mentioned anywhere across the public web, including social media — which presents opportunistic links.
You are able to use advanced Boolean filters to prevent wasted energy and ensure you only get the results worth pursuing. Obviously, this takes some time to optimize.
Another great tool to use is Link Prospector — mainly for its filters. Primarily an SEO citation finder, it provides incredibly useful sorting functions so you can prioritize your link building efforts effectively:
- High or Low DA (Domain Authority)
- Number of Inbound links
- Number of Outbound links
If required, apply the same outreach tips in Link Building Booster #2 to contact relevant employees at these brands. If they aren’t on Twitter, chances are they will be found on LinkedIn!