Link building has changed dramatically over the past few years. Old-school tactics such as directory submissions, blog and forum comments, and other tactics that were widely adopted once upon a time, now only create low-value links from a search engine perspective. In today’s content-driven online landscape, what are the biggest link building challenges, and more importantly, what can we do to overcome them?
Choose Quality Over Quantity for Your Backlinks
Building a strong backlink portfolio is one of the key ways to succeed with your website’s search engine optimisation, which has led to many people trying to hack the system and get as many backlinks to their websites as possible in the shortest period of time.
If you buy links, or get a high volume of low quality links, Google is likely to penalize you. Working at getting consistently high quality backlinks is a slower process but your website will benefit hugely in the longer term.
Doing a backlink audit will help you to carefully assess all of your current backlinks so you can make sure that they are relevant. If you have backlinks from link farms or exchange groups, or anything in the gambling or porn industries, you will want to disavow them straight away as it could have an impact on your website’s reputation with Google.
Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs will help you analyse links and assess whether they need to be disavowed. If a site isn’t indexed by Google, avoid it (you can check this using the site: command in Google).
Guest Posting Is Harder Now Than It Was in 2008
It’s much harder to guest post on websites now than it was a decade ago. Many websites are closed to the idea, or are much harder to win over. If you want to be successful, you need to be methodical and structured to optimize your chances of a pitch being approved.
What are some top tips for succeeding with link building through guest posting?
- Don’t cold-call: generic emails to people you haven’t interacted with yet are not advisable. Have you commented on their blog? Do you follow them on social media? Do you know what they’re all about?
- Write a personalized pitch email including the blogger’s name, and make sure all the links and details you include are correct.
- Be succinct: big blogs get hundreds of pitches a week – they are much less likely to read your email if it’s long.
- Demonstrate your value: be generous with links to their website, share their tweets, and comment on their social media posts.
- Use a really great headline
- Include specifics about your idea: what is the suggested topic? Has it been covered on their blog before? How will it benefit their website? What keywords will it rank for? Why will their readers be interested in it?
- Include a bio that demonstrates your value – where you’re based, what your background is, and why you’re the right person for this post.
Building Relationships with Influencers
Influencer marketing has seen a huge increase in recent years, with many businesses growing overnight because of careful influencer strategies. The rise of YouTube and Instagram personalities has opened a whole new sector of marketing, and crafting tactful relationships with influencers in your niche can have a powerful impact on your business and your sales.
Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful way to build business, as around 92% of people trust recommendations from family and friends (even if they don’t know them personally).
When you’re thinking about working with an influencer, you need to ask yourself some key questions:
What do you love about their work? Do their values align with yours? Do you find their content exciting? Are they a relevant fit for your business? Does this opportunity fit in with their existing content and audience?
Meeting people in real life is a powerful way to build relationships. Are there any industry events where you could meet them? Could you send a piece of “happy mail” or a note to their PO Box?
Influencers have often worked very hard for a number of years to gain an engaged following online, so don’t expect them to work for free. Offering them fair compensation for their marketing support is more likely to give influencers a good impression of your brand – after all, free products are great but they don’t pay the mortgage.
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