Link building isn’t for the weak-minded. Regardless of service or product niche, successfully arranging for your link to be included on an industry-authoritative website is highly competitive. For this reason, achieving measurable results from any link building campaign requires diligence, patience, and striking the delicate balance of personalization and automated efficiency. Like many things, link building is a skill that can be improved over time with practice, and with experience, it is possible to determine which strategies and tactics are the most effective.
Link building expert, Jon Cooper, presents what he’s learned from his years building links and explains what companies can do to achieve better results. With a smile, Jon remembers an article featuring over 200 link building strategies.
“The ironic part about that,” Jon explains, “is that you can get so caught up in all these new things that you sort of forget to figure out what you can do best, what can scale for you.”
He’s right. As companies strive to learn and implement the most cutting-edge link building strategies or diversify their efforts too broadly, they often fail to learn the nuances and intricacies of the process that would allow them to master it. Rather than focusing on keeping up with the latest and greatest link building strategies, companies ought to stick with the tactics that already work for them.
Finding Your Best Link Building Strategy
For link builders like Jon, nothing is more exciting than stumbling on a source looking to add links to their site. So, how do you convince the webmaster to include a backlink to your company’s site? Today, authoritative sites in every niche post the links they receive in guest posts and email outreach. These two traditional link building tactics may not be flashy or even new, but by now they have been proven effective.
Jon admits his disappointment in learning that link building strategies and tactics haven’t changed significantly over the years, but also recognizes the importance of adopting and refining the strategies that are already known to work.
Guest Posting Tips
Guest posting is a link building tactic in which you incorporate the link you wish to have referenced within a piece of content, such as a blog post or an infographic, and request to have the content featured on an authoritative website. Jon and his team try to avoid doing too much guest posting because it can be time-consuming and difficult to execute effectively.
Websites are unlikely to feature your content if it is not in alignment with their brand message, and so creating an acceptable piece of content and gaining a backlink requires extensive research and careful consideration. It can be difficult to produce enough content to achieve a meaningful number of backlinks. In fact, according to Jon, there are even entire agencies that specialize in creating and stacking up content to be pitched on different authoritative sites.
Jon shares his personal experience with a client who had worked as an author. Because his writing was already an integral part of his brand, the client could easily create blog posts and written content as guest posts. Still, guest posting is more time intensive than writing outreach emails and may not be scalable.
Email Outreach Tips
If creating an endless supply of guest posting content sounds challenging to you, you may consider using another link building tactic, email outreach. Email outreach is the process of contacting a list of authoritative sites with personalized emails requesting that a link is referenced somewhere within the authoritative site. (Related: Learn more about how to get .EDU backlinks here.)
Email outreach needs to be concise and to the point, according to Jon. Over the years, Jon has learned that the most effective outreach emails are personalized and quick to read. Nobody wants to open an email that looks like it was written by a robot or read a novel-sized message in their inbox. One of Jon’s link building tips is to see which websites were recently redesigned or updated and compliment their new look.
When you are conducting email outreach for your link building campaign, it is important to remember that the reader wants to know how you can help their company. Always try to provide value and show that you align with brand values when you pitch for a backlink.
Are Phone Calls Best?
Jon has mixed feelings about requesting backlinks through a phone call. On the one hand, Jon has seen a good proportion of phone conversations end with his client’s links being posted. On the other hand, there aren’t many link builders who are willing to make these calls. He believes guest posting and email outreach may be slightly less effective than phone calls, but probably more scalable and better in the long-run.
Instead, Jon suggests reserving phone calls for specific circumstances. While email is a great way to tell people they could post his link, Jon is likely to pick up the phone when it’s a site that should rightly post his link. Jon explains the distinction between could- and should-post situations by saying a site could post if there is a good fit, but a site should post if they have already cited the client or their work. If a site has referenced a client without backlinking, Jon suggests grabbing the phone and calling.
Most companies have a brand website and would benefit from link building. Entrepreneurs can learn from Jon’s experiences by finding link building strategies that work for them, refining their tactics, and scaling over time.
- There are hundreds of link building strategies and it is important to find and refine a few that work for a company
- Guest posting, email outreach, and phone calls are all effective methods for link building if you know how and when to use them
- Link building can help your website gain authority and rank higher on Google
- Educate yourself as a link builder by using the many free tools on the web
- Learn from the successes and failures of other companies in your niche
- Good link building requires time and effort, but you can minimize your cost by learning in depth about link building