Today’s digital era is frequently witnessing the periodic fluctuations in Search Ranking Algorithms. Such situations have put the digital marketing specialists in a position where they have to constantly pump in white-hat tactics for earning backlinks.
Since a decade, earning backlinks from high authority sites is the only thumb-rule for maintaining the overall growth of any website in terms of its rankings, domain authority, and traffic.
SEO fraternity strongly believes that although search engines consider a multitude of factors for ranking a website; a large percentage is held by the quality backlinks pointing to the website. One of the best ways to achieve this is to craft rich content that works like a magnet in earning backlinks.
About the Survey
To help entrepreneurs know about highly effective link building tactics, GoodFirms conducted an online survey. In this research, 150+ top Digital Marketing Professionals, SEO Heads, Content Marketing Managers, and the CEOs shared their valuable insights.
Research participants bestowed their favorite white-hat link building tactic which has brought phenomenal results. The top link building strategies in the chronological order are-
The Detailed Findings
GoodFirms carried out an exclusive survey wherein the researchers interviewed various online marketing experts asking the ongoing vogue of link building techniques. The productive information received from the marketers unveiled that they proactively work on earning fresh quality links pointing back to their website as these links vouch for sound SERP ranking signals. Refer to the below chart which represents the top link building tactics favored by digital marketing maestros for magnifying their website backlink scores and to gain other link building benefits.
Hereinafter is an outline of the top link building tactics described by the global experts of digital marketing in the index of its popularity.
Skyscraper Technique Favored by 23% Research Participants
Skyscraper technique is one of the most heard and highly practiced strategies applied by digital marketers, content heads, and SEO experts.
During the GoodFirms research, 23% of the digital marketing experts acknowledged that when they strategize a modern link building plan, the Skyscraper Technique is their preeminent choice.
Skyscraper is the strategy which is seldom tricky to execute though transcendent in retrieving backlinks and growing ROIs.
Mr. Dan Foland, SEO Director at Postali and a participant in GoodFirms research, shared how to implement the strategy effectively. He responded, “Basically, the strategy is to Google industry related queries that are important to your website, find the top ranking pages then create something that is undoubtedly much better.
He further added, “Creating great content is only half the battle. People can't link to your content unless they know it exists. You need to market the content and solve a problem or add value to sites you're trying to get a backlink from. Pushing out 100 cookie cutter emails likely isn't going to work.”
Another expert, Mr. Alex Ratynski, SEO Specialist at Make Bank Blogging accorded his encounters of implementing the strategy; “It is one of the most successful tactics. Why? Simply because it requires you to be better than your competition and put forth more effort. Because it's not easy, many won't do it. So those that do can win big.”
Additionally, as per Alex, once the more extensive and thoroughgoing content is ready, then it's time to run a ‘heads up mini-campaign’ to share the idea of the content with the expert bloggers.
Apart from these, several other respondents have used Skyscraper strategy and found that the approach does wonder in gaining backlinks from various high domain websites. Also, most of the marketers suggested that to succeed in the Skyscraper technique favorably, they make use of tools like Ahref, Majestic SEO, and Moz Pro.
Actionable Steps for Skyscraper Technique:
Guest Blogging is Popular Amid 21% of Total Respondents
Guest Blogging is a well-known and profoundly favored high-quality link building strategy as stated cumulatively by 21% of the inbound marketing experts in the study.
The reasons why content marketers and SEO heads prefer guest blogging are evident. It is a treasure trove for almost every troop that is complying for link building results. The tact successfully leverages the missions of digital marketing experts including elevating the engaging content on the site, pulling qualified traffic, generating noticeable ROI, and transforming the website rankings.
In the survey, Alex Membrillo, the CEO at Cardinal Digital Marketing defines Guest Blogging as the most effective link building SEO strategy which is promising for every set of industries.
He summarized “I work to identify relevant industry sites, blogs, and online publications that accept guest contributor content. I’ll then pitch topics or unique articles to be featured as guest content. This is a great way to generate backlinks, but it can also be a good marketing tool. The published content is excellent for sharing on social media and can also help generate leads and site traffic.”
Bernard May, the CEO of National Positions, also affirmed the benefits by asserting that guest blogging strategy has unleashed great returns for his company. Further, he mentioned “There are no real shortcuts to build an effective portfolio of links that will provide long-term impact. Going this route can also help you build better relationships with content publishers and help you align as an industry leader, which can open the door for future opportunities.”
Other participants also vouched for using guest posting as it is one of the reliable sources of earning authority links from high DA websites. Guest blogging is entirely dependent on good, engaging, interesting, meaningful content, and gives profound results when it entails inherent keywords.
Additionally, experts from the top content marketing agencies in the survey suggested that they were able to fetch higher rewards via Guest Posting when they used tools like SEMrush, Alexa, BuzzSumo.
Actionable Steps for Guest Blogging:
Press Release 18% of Respondents Spot PR as the Key for Earning Backlink
PR activities are popular in the digital world from long ago, and even digital marketers and SEO heads take it very seriously. Moreover, in the research, 18% of the total participants agreed to the fact that they earnestly work on rolling PR activities because it helps them in multiple ways. These marketers also appended the fact that when they actively work on executing planned PR campaigns, they not only elevate their brand name, but they also earn authoritative backlinks.
Generally, the PR websites have high domain authority, and thus, the experts consider it among the topmost link building tactics. Therefore, to generate and grab endless opportunities, the PR agents intensify their marketing skills and work on building relationships with writers, industry journalists, and influencers.
Zygimantas from Wise Team, a participant in the research, suggested his way of using PR for building backlink. He said “A great way to build links is to proactively react to important news in your industry, create a press release, and distribute it to all reputable & relevant news sources. If you are quick enough and your press release is of good quality, there is a good chance that your press release will be published, you will get a back-link and advertise yourself as an expert in your field.”
Another participant, Alex Belanger, Digital PR Coordinator at seoplus+ shared an intriguing fact about the PR industry “A lot of blogs and news outlets have syndication agreements. Meaning that some articles can be republished in other news sites and blogs, resulting in multiple links for the same article.”
To effectively execute PR activities, Top PR agencies recommend using tools like:
- Mention for online monitoring
- Buffer for social media engagement monitoring
- BuzzSumo for researching content, finding journalist/influencers, and tracking competition
Actionable Steps for Executing PR Campaigns:
After skyscraper technique, guest posting, and PR activities, link reclamation or fixing the broken links shafts on the fourth position among the most trusted allies for strengthening authority via executing white-hat link tactics.
17% of the total SEO practitioners justified the above fact by advising well-defined approaches which tends to be helpful in their link building journey.
As confirmed by the respondents, link reclamation requires constant eyes on new opportunities. Most of them mentioned that finding 404 pages and 301 redirects are challenging yet the results are extremely productive. They also implied some of the smart tools like SEO Spider Tool, Hunter.io, Mention, and Yext helps them in tackling the issues like discovering broken links, dragging unbranded mentions, and fetching email addresses for outreaching the target businesses.
John Tucker, an SEO Specialist at John Tucker SEO, revealed the most effective link building strategy for his business. He replied “With broken link building tactics you are finding broken links on someone's site, highlighting them and offering a replacement piece of content in return. It offers much more value, and as a result, it brings a higher rate of success in terms of links acquired."
Izaak Crook, content marketing manager at AppInstitute, shared an outreaching specimen that his company finds useful to communicate with webmasters having any 404 pages.
“Hi, I noticed you're linking to [blank]. Unfortunately, it looks like their site is no longer available. I wanted to let you know so your users aren't faced with a dead end! If you're looking to replace that link, we offer a similar product/service."
This form of email communication most likely returns positive responses from the webmasters, in turn helping you gain a valuable backlink.
Actionable Steps for Link Reclamation:
A gazillion of SEO marketers agrees to the fact that changing algorithms needs new ideas for building white-hat links. Therefore the marketers bend for earning backlinks via different authority outlets. Moreover, in the research, 12% of the industry-experts also asserted that building organic links from reputed outlets have boosted the credibility of their websites.
Well Reputed Domains for Building BackLinks
During the survey, digital marketing experts shared different approaches for generating high-quality backlinks.
1) .edu and .gov Sites
Getting backlink from government and educational sites have slightly morphed the present way of generating authentic backlink. SEO experts are well-versed with the evidence that .edu and .gov sites have remarkably high domain authority and therefore it holds good weight on search engines.
How Experts Earn Backlink From Education Sites
- Blog Commenting
- Developing functional tools
- Scholarship Programs
- Interviews and expert roundups
- Offering internship programs
Sarah Hancock, the content marketing manager at Best Company recently executed a scholarship event and instituted fabulous results with cumulative high DA backlinks. Sarah - “Last year, we ran a scholarship link building campaign wherein we created a company scholarship and published a page on our site. Hundreds of these universities agreed to promote our scholarship to their students through the scholarship resource pages on their websites, resulting in hundreds of high-quality .edu links pointing back to our site.”
Another way suggested by the marketers during the survey were attempting HARO because it boosts the opportunity of earning backlinks from various leading portals.
HARO (Help A Researcher Out) is a free service platform that helps out the journalists and bloggers in finding valuable sources for their upcoming articles. These reporters tend to pick the most relevant answers and in turn credit the source.
HARO, a profound source of earning backlinks, demands a sure-shot strategy so that your HARO answer gets selected/published. Thus, Eagan Heath, Founder of Get Found Madison, suggested the way his company uses HARO and defines a strategy which ensures that his answer grabs the attention of the reporters.
He said “We've had great success by setting email rules, so HARO digest emails containing strategic keywords go to our primary inbox. From there, we write detailed custom responses, answer all the questions the reporter is asking, and follow their exact directions, such as linking to our social media profiles and so forth.”
Actionable Steps for HARO:
Influencer Marketing- Preferred by 6% Digital Marketers
Influencers are the brand ambassadors of your brand. They play a major role in giving voice to your brand and recognition to your products/services. In the research, 6% of the total marketers stated that they use influencer marketing as a comprehensive source for link building.
Additionally, these marketers shared their views on establishing the relationship between Influencers and Businesses and their benefits. Besides, they also mentioned that by nurturing the connections with the industry leaders, their brand found a route for reaching various untapped markets (followers of influencers).
One of the respondents Sumit Bansal, The Founder of Craft of Blogging, said "As more websites are coming up every single day and SEO is getting tougher, one link building strategy that still works really well is building relationships with influencers in your niche. Spending some quality time in networking with the influencers always has a compounding effect in the future.”
Mike D. O'Brien, the founder of JML Digital Marketing, explained the strategy for targeting influencers and informed how his company goes forward with building backlink using influencer marketing. “For effective results, target a few key influencers, companies, and organizations and build a relationship. Share the existing content published by your target influencers, like and share their social media posts, and then reach out with an email that starts with a specific compliment about their content. Now, they'll recognize you and be more likely to respond positively.”
Once the elastic relationship with the influencer is established, marketers endeavor additional opportunities like guest blogging, product marketing, and collecting honest product reviews.
In the survey, marketers clearly conveyed that though influencer marketing tactics require great efforts; however, it results in glamouring high-quality backlinks and brand promotion. Some of the most popular influencer marketing tools which ease the job of finding the right influencers and managing influencer marketing campaigns are Upfluence, BuzzSumo, and Fambit.
Actionable Steps for Building Links Via Influencer Marketing:
Additional Link Building Technique Proposed by 3% of Digital Marketing Maestros in the Survey
1) List Building
Listing on leading directories like GoodFirms not only gives credibility to the brands but also helps them in gaining backlinks. A research participant,
Brenton Marcum, Digital Marketing Specialist at Blue Compass also believes that capitalizing on list building platforms helps in obtaining more links.
He suggested few tactics - “Submit your business information to relevant directories - There are numerous online directories for cities, metro areas, and states which allow you to submit information on your products, services, events and more. This type of backlink strategy is especially important for local SEO. Later, nominate your business for awards because Award nominations produce high-quality links from reputable sources. To be named the best in the city/state/metropolitan area by a source with authority will not only grab the attention of your audience but by Google as well.”
2) Competitors Backlink Analysis
Ranking on SERPs without quality links is almost next to impossible. Every page that shines on the first page of Google with a specific keyword definitely has an appealing backlink profile. Similarly, digital marketing managers target to outrank others and arrive on the first page of Google and other search engine platforms. But in this race, the marketers also face challenges for outranking their own competitors which are dealing in the same product or service line.
Thus, for winning in this strategy, one sure shot way that the marketing specialists suggest during the research is analyzing the competitors’ site and taking note of all the links which are redirecting on their portals.
One of the research participants, Nedelina Payaneva, working as a Digital Marketing Specialist at Asian Absolute said “Competitor backlink analysis is one of the easiest and effective link building strategies that almost every company can implement.
- The first thing you need to do is to think about 5 to 10 competitors in your industry
- Use any of the premium SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs. In the tool, you need to simply enter their website URLs and open the competitors' analysis report
- All of their backlink sources will come up
- Pick some backlink in common which your website doesn’t have yet
- Once you have the list, you can use any of the link building strategies to get links from them
If you can find a way to grab links, not only your website’s backlink profile increases but your overall search traffic also increases.”
3) Topic Cluster
During the research, a few marketers also suggested that to gear up the results from link building tactics; one must also concentrate upon establishing a clear internal website linking structure. For this, the experts rely on the content strategy called Topic Cluster. This strategy helps the webmasters to organize and streamline the website content systematically. Thus, helping out the Search Engines to quickly and easily crawl the site so as to earn the greatest authority.
The strategy sets content marketing experts on the task of creating several loop content which is attached with a Pillar Content. For the effective results, marketers must identify a topic related to their product/service along with picking up the specific longtail keywords.
For example, they can craft a pillar page on topic Social Media Marketing. Further, it will involve a bunch of cluster page content:
- What is Social Media Marketing
- 5 ways social media marketing helps small businesses
- 8 Must-Use Social Media marketing tactics in 2019
- Social Media Trends to Follow in 2019
- How to successfully run a social media campaign
Nate, CMO at Maple Holistics, gives the holistic inside of Topic Cluster Link Building Strategy. “This content strategy is great for providing Google with the necessary information to rank your content high among other search results due to all the related content. Topic clusters are built by having one broad overview connected to several subcategories of that same topic. What's more, is when one article performs well it brings up the cluster, thereby giving you the most SEO for your content.”
4) Data-Driven Content
Content, no matter in which form, is the most important aspect of the current digital marketing era. During the survey, content strategists agreed to the fact that a research-based article with detailed information grabs the readers’ attention and institutes better link building opportunities as well. Thus, the data-driven content strategy open ups the room for composing your content into a linkbait content.
Andrew Becks, the Chief Consultant at Social Chimp, unveiled the experience of using the strategy - “While every business and industry will find different link building tactics and strategies helpful, one that we've found quite helpful in securing organic backlink naturally and without any black hat tricks that hurts more than it helps. To do this, you can simply create shareable, informative, and data-driven content in the form of surveys and researches that is referenced as an authority from other sources. We've found that this approach also winds up resulting in shares from user forums, discussion boards and industry publications which help grow the overall inbound link profile naturally and with consistent cadence overtime, resulting in a compounding/snowball effect.”
Successful link building results are the rewards of picking the right tactics depending upon the nature of every industry.
Search Engines care for quality links coming from reputed sources. Therefore the right practice is to work on enhancing the quality of your website, content, and social platforms, so that it passes the value to the website visitor, and in turn, help your site earn better visibility.
Smart decisions are required when you strategize for constructing backlinks. Besides, it also demands flawless attention of the entire team including digital marketing managers, SEO experts, content marketers, and the web developers as well as the designers.
GoodFirms comprehends the challenge, and thus, it accommodates a list of best SEO companies who have the right potential to enhance your results by effectively instrumenting link building strategies.
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