SEO 14 min read November 3, 2017

5 Link Building Techniques You Might Not Have Considered

10 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Kill Your Search Engine Visibility

Marcus Clarke
Founder of Searchant — digital marketing agency that helps businesses increase their organic visibility with transparent SEO methods.
Nearly every article or guide you will read about link building starts off by emphasizing the importance of acquiring links if you want to rank content and increase your visibility on Google.

So let's quickly and briefly get that out of the way!

Links are still very important, they probably will be for a long time yet (probably even in a machine learning/AI world) they are probably less important than they used to be and they are certainly more difficult to get right.
There is a strong argument to be made that brand (brand recognition, brand affinity) may be an increasingly important ranking factor and big brands nearly universally have an extremely high number of links, and while that correlation may not be causal, it can't be ignored.

Without getting out there and getting linked from other websites, you can't very easily build a brand online; it's a two-way street. However you want to think about links, either as getting you in the game, or making the difference, it's likely you need more of them, and better quality.

We won't cover here what is or is not a bad link, that's been covered in detail many times, but we do want to make the point that if you are in this for the long run you need to make sure you aren't building up "future link debt" by building poor quality links. The general target in today's link building world is that links are relevant and a natural fit, and if you can meet those 2 criteria when link building then you're probably on the right lines.

Here we have 5 link building techniques that we use regularly, that often go unloved:

#1

Building links to your other published content

If you think about the organization of information in the offline world, similar works are cross-referenced, that's perfectly normal, natural and helpful. In discussions you reference things that have happened to you previously that may be similar to what you're currently talking about, non-fiction books constantly cite other similar works to back up a point they are making, or offer another point of view.

If you are consistently producing top-notch content around the internet, it's only natural that you would cross-reference to some of your other valuable resources.

And this works well for so many reasons:

  • It shows you are an authority on a particular subject
  • It helps to build up your brand and show you are the experts
  • It reinforces the link value of the original piece
  • It gives another chance of a direct referral back to you
This is not a link building that should be systemised or scaled, it should be used when there is a natural fit that will reinforce the information that you are giving and offer extra value to the readers.

#2

Media page mentions

This is not a new link building method by any means, but it is one that is rarely talked about.

I think it still has some utility when used as part of a link building campaign and I also think it teaches a valuable lesson of thinking about where links are more likely to come from, similarly to how we might look at resource lists that competitor are listed on; we know those webmasters are more open to the idea of adding links, so we might consider those links to be quick wins.

Link building with media page mentions is simply developing great content that features people who have historically and/or systematically linked back to valuable content that they have either contributed to or have been featured in from their media or 'in the news' type of page.

For example let's say you have a client in the dog niche, and you're interested in building links to do with dog toys.

One way you may try and surface these kind of opportunities is with a simple search modifier:
Then manually check through the results seeking out the good opportunities, in this case the first result is worth further investigation:
It looks to be relevant and they seem to link to coverage. If they are active and pass your other link metric checks, then add them to your prospecting list.

You can quickly build up a list this way, and start coming up with authentic ways that you could use some of these prospects in future content. To get you started here's a few modifiers, but finding your own will help you find even more unique opportunities:

psychology inurl: 'in the news"
psychology inurl: "media mentions"
psychology intitle: "in the news"
psychology intitle: "in the press"
psychology intitle: "in the media"

The key to this link building technique is to do it for the right reasons, for that reason I have only used this method a handful of times, for the right clients, in the right circumstances, but when used correctly and for genuinely valuable content it can be very powerful as you are connecting yourself to industry influencers and oftentimes securing a high quality, relevant link back to some great content.

There are many ways to conduct this type of link building but like all good link building techniques it should not be scaled and you should come up with your own way of doing it, that being said to give you some ideas here is just one way of making this type of link building technique work:
1
Search <keyword> "in the news" and compile a list of people you might want to include in a future piece of content
2
Vet the website, are they genuine and relevant? Would your brand want to be associated with them?
3
Once you have decided on the content, reach out for a contribution to a relevant piece of content
4
When it's published, let them know you included them
Obviously this is a slightly simplified list and coming up with the creative idea for the content and working with the contributors is much more complicated, but exactly how all of that unfolds will depend on exactly what you're trying to achieve, so your process must be unique to your situation.

#3

Ego bait influencers or industry experts

No matter what industry or niche you are in, it's very likely that there are a number of influencers within it. Aligning your business with influencers is nearly always beneficial but it's not the easiest thing to do.

One way to create an instant connection with influencers in your space is to feature them. There are many ways you could feature influencers in your space so think creatively so that you are offering something a little bit different and new, if it's just another 'Top 10 Influencers' list then it's likely you won't get much back in return.

Once you've created your piece of content that features influencers, simply let them know it's been published, and give them some easy options for linking to it or sharing it. If they were involved with the content from the start (for example provided a quote) then it's likely they are more inclined to share or link to the post.

Let's take a look at an example from within the SEO industry:
This site is getting ahead by doing a 2018 roundup in late 2017.

In reality, it wouldn't that too much effort to put a post like this together, and while it's early days for this particular post, looking at the social metrics it's already gained it's likely only a matter of time before it gains more links.

Even if this initial outreach phase doesn't yield any links, the amplification is still important and can lead to links in the longer term, and provide the page with some great social proof and social signals. Beyond that, these types of posts often make a great linkable asset generally.
Bonus tip: If you keep the URL slug time-neutral there is no reason why you couldn't update a post like this every year, so that it naturally becomes stronger each year.
If this is a completely new form for link building for you I would suggest aiming lower and working your way up from the lowest level of influence as there will be a bit of a learning curve in how to work with influencers in your particular industry:

  1. Small-medium sized bloggers who are a valuable namecheck but probably don't get featured regularly and would probably be delighted with being featured.

  2. New and upcoming influencers, those who are on there way to full influencers status but aren't quite there yet, getting your foot in the door with them at this stage can be pay dividends as they grow

  3. Fully fledged, industry known influencers.

#4

Reverse blogger outreach

Guest posting has had a hard time over the years, but this version of guest posting or blogger outreach offers much more value to your audience. Whether you have pre-existing relationships with bloggers within your industry or not, asking them to contribute to your blog is a great way to make a positive connection with them that may serve you immediately and in the long term.

Asking or even paying relevant bloggers to write a post about a specific topic on your blog not only shows that you're willing to get industry experts in to provide your readers with top-notch content but established bloggers will bring their audience along with them. Use them to your advantage, what do they specialize in that you are missing the necessary knowledge to cover in depth?

For example if you have a health website, you could reach out to health bloggers with an existing audience:
Not only are they likely to share what they've written with their own audience:
As you develop your relationship with them it's likely they'll also start linking back to you themselves:
At the very minimum your content will be presented to a new and engaged audience via the bloggers social media following and in our experience a high proportion of bloggers will link back to that content at some point in the future, either from their own blog or when they cite themselves from another article.

We've also had situations where these articles have picked up numerous links including press coverage, just because the blogger has the right connections and has built up a genuinely engaged audience. It's important to do your due diligence on the bloggers you want to feature well before you approach them.

#5

Internal link building

You might feel a little bit robbed that internal link building is featured in a post about link building techniques that you might not have considered, because it's very likely that you have considered internal links.

Through numerous audits we have found exactly that, people consider internal link building but rarely get around to doing it, or updating it.

Internal link building is not something that should be ignored indefinitely.
A simple way to 'bake in' internal link building into your process is everytime you publish something new, try and link to it from an old post.

For example, if your new post is about small business tips then do a quick site search to see what relevant content you have previously written about small businesses:
Then simply edit your old post and add a relevant link to your newly published post.

We have found that a solid internal link structure can help Google to understand your site and ultimately increase your search visibility.

So put a plan in place, make sure your most important pages are linked with clear anchor text, as well as giving striking distance pages that little boost by linking to them from more powerful pages on your website.

Review your internal links on a quarterly basis, test, review and improve until you find an internal linking structure that works best for you.
Hope this post was useful to you. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

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