“Link building is dead.”
If I had a dime for every time I’ve head a search engine expert say this, I’d be able to quit my day job. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), the above statement couldn’t be further from the truth!
In today’s post-Penguin 4.0 world, links are every bit as powerful as they used to be. But just like how search engines are far smarter today than they were a few years ago, your marketing strategy has to be just as smart. Gone are the days of cheap and fast link building methods, today’s link building in 2016, 2017 and beyond is all about finding creative sources for links from reputable websites.
So what works in today’s post-Panda and post-Penguin SEO world? Below I’ve compiled what I see as the 20 most effective and future-proof methods of building links, culled from the most respected search engine experts in the industry.
Do an expert roundup blog post
This method involves appealing to people’s desire to be seen as experts in their field. By including their quote in your post, and having them appear alongside other well-respected experts in the same niche, you can, first, make them feel good, and second, encourage them to link to your post.
This expert roundup on Ninja Outreach:
Received 144 backlinks from 30 domains!
Here are the steps to creating a great expert roundup:
- Come up with a creative topic that answers a common question in your niche, or a topic that invites controversy or debate.
- Send a quick email to 30 or 40 (or more!) experts in your niche — nothing fancy just a quick hello and let them know the topic of your post and ask them if they could provide a 1 or 2 line answer or tip for inclusion in your article.
- Once you collect 10 or 20 responses, you can develop your blog post, and include the tips you received.
- Once the post is completed and published, send them a link letting them know their tip is live in your post, and ask if they wouldn’t mind mentioning the post. Many times you’ll receive a link back, or at least a social mention.
Here’s another great example of a blogger roundup done by Brian Lang (you might want to read it as its just great advice as well): How to promote your blog content: 40 experts share marketing tips.
Find “Page no longer available” opportunities
This is similar to the broken backlinks linkbuilding method that has become popular recently, however this is better because it is much quicker. This method involves:
- Finding pages on the web that have moved and return an error
- Develop a page or resource that replaces the content that has moved
- Finding websites that link to those pages
- Contact the webmasters of the sites linking to the moved page and suggest your resource as an alternative
How to find these opportunities? It’s easy using Google, you just need to know the right search terms. Basically, you just want to search for commonly used phrases on these types of error pages. Here are some ideas, courtesy of Brian Dean:
- “service not available”
- “page no longer exists”
- “this website is no longer updated”
- “this page is no longer updated”
- “no longer available”
- “website closed”
- “service no longer available”
Using the search “service no longer available” I found a few good opportunities:
Following one of these links, I found this page:
Which, after a quick Ahrefs search, looks like it has a TON of backlinks and opportunities for outreach:
You can then use Tools like Buzzsumo and Buzzstream to find and reach out to these webmasters. Here’s a really great in-depth resource for doing outreach and outreach tools.
Make donations to charities that provide dofollow links back
I like this method because you can support good causes while getting valuable backlinks. Many charities will provide a link back to sites that donate or provide sponsorships, and many of these are dofollow links. Furthermore, some charities have excellent link profiles and great authority, especially if they’ve been around for a long time.
The first step is to find charity websites that link back to donors. Depending on your niche, or the type of charity you’d prefer to support, you can find lists that others have compiled of charity sites that provide backlinks, or you can use Google. Here are some Google searches you can use to find these types of charities:
- ‘donation list’ + ‘contributors’
- ‘contributors page’ + ‘donate’
Once you find the linking sites, these links are relatively easy to obtain since it usually involves a straightforward donation to the site, providing them your information, and receiving the link back. You want to be sure to take advantage of customized anchor text, since many of these sites will allow you to choose whatever anchor text you’d like.
There is some debate as to whether this method of building links is risky, since some webmasters might be abusing it, but I think that, in moderation, this is a safe and effective way to build links. If you do go this route, Quicksprout has a great guide to donation link building.
Get links from .edu resource pages in your niche
Getting schools and universities to link back to your site is a challenge, but one which can really boost your SEO. Luckily, many schools publish resource pages where they list helpful resources for students and faculty. You just need to find these pages, and then reach out to ask them to add your link.
Here are some good Google searches to find these types of opportunities:
- site:.edu “your keyword”
- site:.edu “your keyword” + “resources”
- site:.edu: “your keyword” + inurl:links
- site:.edu: “your keyword” + “other sites”
For example, if you run a graphic design website, you could use the following search:
And you’d find this great page of graphic design resources at UPenn:
And you could ask them to list your website. Simple and effective method for building links.
To learn more about .edu resource page link building, Snappa Blog has a great guide.
Look for link roundups
Also called “Friday Roundups” or “Blog Roundups” — many news sites and bloggers put together regular lists of interesting and helpful links they discovered during the week. As you can imagine, the busy authors who are putting these lists together might appreciate some help in finding some good links to include. The idea with link roundup link building is to 1) find these link roundup opportunities, 2) send over your article as a suggestion to include in the roundup.
Finding link roundups is the harder part (once you find them, it is relatively easy to be included in these). The best way to find link roundups is simply through a Google search, here are some suggested searches:
- intitle: roundup “YOUR KEYWORD”
- Link love
- Linky love
- Friday’s best (or another day of the week)
- Friday finds
- Tuesday tips
- Best of
- Top 10
- May edition
- Post awards
Once you locate a roundup that relates to your topic area, simply reach out with a useful post, and many times you’ll land a great link. For more examples of link roundups, check out Growth Everywhere’s guide to doing link roundups.
Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful. Link building in 2016, 2017 and beyond is very different than it used to be, and creative strategies will work if applied consistently over time. Let me know if you have any ideas I should add to this list, I’d love to hear from you.