2016 was definitely a year of change. Link building has always played an integral part of Google’s algorithms. Some noticed that its value has declined while others argue that its importance has continually risen over the years. Reasons for the doubt were caused by:
- Link spam getting devalued, making efforts for link building campaigns more difficult
- The ambiguous Google Penguin updates, which made people rethink their strategies and avoiding link schemes altogether.
But no matter what stories you may hear – link building still plays an important role in ranking your websites. Any website cannot rank properly without links and there are now two undisputed factors that can improve your rankings – It’s content and the links that point to your site.
Now, we’re in 2017 – gone are the days of spammy link building tactics. Today, creating quality content is not only necessary but is an advantageous strategy to building links to rank. However, creating them alone is not enough. It also requires strategic placement and a more “human” approach in terms of promoting to the right audience. And since links are still seen as ranking factor by Google’s algorithm, failing to do so will only limit your SEO efforts.
We’re still far off from 2018 but one can’t help but wonder what will be the new changes that we can experience moving forward. What’s going to work and what’s not?
Here are some of the future-proof ways to make you keep up with the competitive landscape that will most likely stand the test of time:
Outreach for building links is truly a manual process. Most specialists would go for automating their emails but these days, it’s easy for anyone to catch a form-filled later created by some program. For best results, write your own emails, but of course, that does not mean you’re not allowed to use a general outline.
Here are some tips you can use for a more “human” approach for your outreach:
Webmasters are not usually interested in linking to a topic they previously covered, especially if it doesn’t provide value for their audience. One good way to do this is to browse their website and provide a topic that will serve as a solution to an unanswered concern to their previous article.
Avoid URLS – Practice Hypertexts
Copy pasting URLs directly to your email is pretty much a bad idea. It will make your outreach look automated by simply pulling out information from a database. Instead of doing this, hyperlink your anchor text. Example: click “here” saw your “website”, etc. It will make your email look less spammy. If you’re going to bother to reference their recent article, you can just simply mention it rather than linking to it – writers are most likely going to remember their most recent work.
An Eye-Catching Subject Line
Let’s face it, you’re competing with hundreds of individuals vying for the attention of popular webmasters. Think of your subject line as the lure to catch the favor of your target webmaster. Make it specific enough to provide intent but vague enough to disguise your intentions of placing a link. Generic-sounding emails get rejected, if not unopened.
Add personal contact information when you can – your email, website, social media accounts even a phone number. Spammers won’t usually give out their details so this will differentiate you from the rest.
Content (Still) Rules the Land
Before you can start hunting for links and reaching out to people for guest posts, you need to give people a reason why they should link to you in the first place. Content is ALWAYS a good place to start. Creating high-quality articles and blog posts that offer true value on the topic will get you noticed.
Once you start getting backlinks from a relevant site, it’s a proof of the genuine value of your content. The advancement of Google’s algorithm has become so tight that it can actually inspect the quality of your content. It’s no longer enough just to simply produce 1000+ posts and hope it will do great solely due to the number of words you write.
Your content needs to be of the highest quality in order to be picked up by search engines.
The Skyscraper Technique is a content-driven technique for link building recently used by a number of SEO experts. It’s based on finding a good piece of content in your niche that is already considered as a good resource and looking for ways to create slightly better content with the same message.
Once the new content has been created, you need to reach out to the right people that have already linked to similar content in order to put it out there. The existing content has already been indexed on Google and most like has a high ranking. By creating better content, you can topple the original one, outrank it and gain more traffic.
This approach is a slightly different form of link building but requires very manual efforts. It’s the process of locating and fixing broken links that lead to your website.
One way to do this is to open your backlink analysis tool such as Cognitive or Majestic and export your list of backlinks. Next, filter your list by status to discover your broken backlinks.
Compiling your list of dead backlinks won’t be easy and very time-consuming. The next stage, outreach, is as easy as emailing the link origin’s site owner with the updated URL. Pointing out dead links is going to be in their best interest as well because it improves user experience and SEO.
Link building is ultimately a crucial factor of any SEO campaign. A link’s job, simply put, is to dictate to search engines that actual people think your site is relevant and provides enough value to be endorsed to a larger audience.
However, there will be times wherein even the best idea won’t work out the way you want it to. An initially reliable source might end up as useless and backlinks that look legitimate can end up leading to spam sites. These are just a few problems that, unfortunately, even the best link builders will encounter.
This indicates that Google is just putting a greater focus on greater or more resourceful posts which are able to generate backlinks due to the quality of information they provide.
Manual link building campaigns are still important for your digital marketing. Creating good content is just the start but backing up with data-driven ideas will always push you to greater success – if you produce good content and approach link building in a strategic, organized way, your efforts will pay off with more links and higher search rankings.