Link building options have become limited over the years. Google is now imposing stricter guidelines to stick to natural ways of earning links, putting more premium on building quality content that other websites will decide to link to. But, let’s be honest, only the websites who have already built authority will most likely get links from producing content since it’s easy for them to rank for their target keywords.
Even the most popular link building technique among SEOs, Guest Posting, is now subject to Google’s scrutiny since they view it as an unnatural way to earn links. John Mueller has even said on Twitter, that Google is devaluing links from Guest Posts. While others see this as old news since a 2017 Google Webmaster Blog post mentions that Google discourages Guest Posting, the tweets confirm the suspicions and fear of most of us that Guest Posts won’t have the same value as it used to a few years ago.
Mueller also hinted that there’s a possibility that the algorithm could be ignoring links from Guest Posting schemes since it is an old practice.
In 2020, Google also released guidelines on how to properly attribute links to help them identify their purpose. They introduced rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc” and said that nofollow and the previously mentioned link attributes will not be completely ignored but will be used as hints. Using the correct attribute can help avoid link scheme penalties.
With all of that said, what can SEOs and website owners do to build more natural or at least seemingly natural links? Here are some of the most underutilized but effective techniques:
Some blogs provide related content or additional reading at the end of the article which recommends resources from other websites that the reader may want to also check.
Pitching to these websites is easy if your content is as valuable as the ones they mentioned and is aligned with the original article. The key here is to pitch something that provides an additional but not the same content from the main article and the other recommended content.
To look for these types of opportunities you can use the following search operators:
“Additional reading” + topic
“Additional resources” +topic
“Related content” + topic
Similar to the previous tactic, this process involves looking for related articles where your content can also be cited. But this time, instead of being mentioned as an additional resource, it will be used as a reference. This means that your content should completely align with the things mentioned in the article. This technique works for content like definition of terms, ultimate guides, history and timelines, and other content about facts, concepts, theories, and principles.
To look for these opportunities, you can use these search operators:
“References” + topic
“Resources” + topic
Let’s face it. The skyscraper technique is overused and ineffective. One of the reasons why it doesn’t work is because most people who use it always aim to beat an already well-written content. Most of the time, a writer links to another content as a reference for a small piece of information which means that offering a content with multiple images or videos doesn’t add value to them or their readers. For these writers and editors, the effort of replacing the links is not just equal to the value you think you are offering.
So how can you still use skyscraper technique to get links? If adding additional content is not valuable enough, what can you provide to get links? The answer is fresh and more credible information.
New data and guidelines are introduced almost every year for some industries especially those dealing with technologies. If you can find outdated content that focuses on the old version, it’s much easier to convince these writers and editors to replace the link with yours since it’s a vital piece of information that can affect the credibility of their content.
There are two ways to find opportunities like these. The first one is to use ahrefs content explorer or other similar tools to find articles from past years that have not been updated. Just make sure that the website did not publish a new version of the article. Then, check for other websites that are linking to that outdated content.
The second one is to manually search for articles that mention old information. Similar to the previous one, you have to check if it has multiple links and if the website did not publish a new version of the article.
A lot of content marketers think that statistics compilations are boring but they actually provide a lot of value. For professionals, they use statistics to back up their presentations and proposals. For other content writers, they use the statistics to make their articles more credible.
For instance, I created this article titled Undeniable Statistics that Prove the Value of Employee Training in 2018. Despite not doing any outreach, it has garnered over 200 referring domains.
Most content writers rely on stock photo sites to supplement images for their blogs. This means that a lot of blogs end up with the same boring photos that are not related to the topic of the article.
If you have graphic designers or photographers in your team, you can create unique stock images, icons, or vector images that other blogs can use. This can be especially helpful for industries, products, or services who are underrepresented on stock photo sites. You can create vectors or icons for concepts that are unique to your niche.
Make sure to label your design with a Creative Commons license so they show up on Google Image search as creative works that can be reused. This will also make it easier for you to track sites who will use the images if they don’t link back to your website.
Some websites are prone to have their content republished or syndicated by other websites. By getting links from these websites, you’ll get more links with much less effort and time. Find these websites or authors in your industry. Then, find a way to get a link whether it’s through getting interviewed, contributing an infographic, or collaborating on a content.
Here’s an example. I earned a link from wordstream through HARO for the article titled 9 Ways to Lower Your Facebook Ad Costs.
Since wordstream is a very popular website in the marketing industry and the article provides a lot of value, the article was republished by other digital marketing websites, giving us more links.
While guest posting is discouraged by Google, accepting them is not against the rules. Think of your website as a legitimate publisher that’s always on the lookout for great contributors who can impart valuable information through articles that they will post in your website.
If your site has a decent authority, you probably have received a few guest post pitches. To receive more pitches, create a contributor guidelines page. Aside from making it easier for interested people to find you, it will also shorten the email exchanges and filter those who only want to contribute for the sake of getting links. Remember, that your goal is to provide value to both the contributors and your readers. You can include the topics you want them to cover, the word count, and linking guidelines in the page.
But how can you earn links from accepting guest posts? The answer is through the network of the guest post authors. Since most of these active contributors already have an established audience from writing other credible articles, promoting their guest posts means promoting your website too. And if they write valuable content, they’ll also earn links naturally.
For years, many of us have treated link building as the process of acquiring which led us into this mindset of creating mindless spam campaigns. But truly effective link building is about giving and then getting rewarded for the value you provided. Change your mindset and the links will follow.
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