Without a doubt, links are the currency of the World Wide Web!
Quality content is the real commodity and as a content marketer, learning and mastering the art of link building can help your business.
Yes, I know how awful relying on Google can be, considering the fact that “G” is constantly tweaking their ranking algorithms every now and then.
But the foundation of a great website/blog has never changed.
In fact, I discovered during the course of my niche site challenge that ranking in Google homepage is quite easier today, than it was in the past.
Trust me, I know I’m going to raise eyebrows for making that bold statement, but that’s what I found out.
Leave a comment if you think otherwise!
No matter the niche you’re in, you can easily use these 17 proven methods to build/earn RELEVANT links to your website pages and rank higher. Let’s do it…
1. Use no-follow linking strategy
Most, if not every content marketer and blogger out there run away from no follow blogs.
And the reason is because Google search engine do not count no-follow links as juicy and so, such links can’t improve your webpage rankings in Google.
But here is the deal: if you dig around the internet, you’ll discover that a large number of top websites use this tag. Because they don’t want bloggers, SEOs and link spammers to take advantage of their networks.
Of course, you and I know that 2 authority links from PR6 – PR8 websites would weigh heavier than 10 links from PR1 – PR2 low-quality sites.
That’s one of the reasons why industry websites like CNN, BBC, Disneyland, Hollywood, Twitter and the rest don’t allow do-follow links.
So how are you going to use this no-follow strategy to build quality links? This secret might be new to you, and I’m glad you’re reading this now.
These no-follow authority sites usually distribute their content to hundreds of websites that allow do-follow links.
If you would consistently publish quality content on no-follow blogs and websites, the content could go viral and hundreds of people will start sharing and linking to it.
They’d link to your blog pages, naturally using different anchor texts. Embrace this linking strategy. It works!
2. Define your niche right now
This type of link building process is straight forward.
If you want to get more quality links as a social media marketer for instance, then your website/blog MUST be in that niche.
Take for instance, Chris Brogan is proudly known as a social media expert.
When other bloggers write blog posts, they usually link to his blog using social media keywords as anchor texts.
Some people would cite his blog by anchoring with “social media expert,” while others would link to the same blog with “social media blog” and the list goes on and on.
Remember, anchor links are powerful signals to Google spiders. That’s why the Penguin update went after over-optimization or what they called “web spam” in 2012.
When you’re doing content marketing, a wise step to take is to define your niche; your area of specialty. Then do all you can to stand out in that niche.
People might not start linking to you immediately, but when they do, it’s not going to STOP. Build quality links by defining your niche.
3. Talk about the results
Yes, don’t be the type of blogger who talks about problems all the time, the mistakes and all the wrong steps that internet marketers are taking. Of course, if someone isn’t making money online with his or her blog, then there is a problem.
But when people visit your blog, they don’t want to see you mentioning the problem again and again.
Sure, you could open their eyes to what they’re passing through, but don’t stop there. Talk about the results they can get when they apply the tips you’re giving them.
If you look around carefully, you’ll learn from successful content marketers.
These people don’t have time to talk about mistakes and failures; they would rather invest adequate time searching for solutions. And when they find the best solution, they’d turn it into a blog post and guess what?
People would start linking to the content from their websites, without you asking them to do so.
Remember, with content marketing, you “earn” the links. With traditional advertising, you “beg” for the links. Which one do you prefer?
4. Use your edge over others
I want to connect this point with the 3rd link building strategy.
Because as a blogger and website owner, you’ve an edge over other people. And the earlier you start to use the ‘edge’ to get results; your business would continue to stagnate.
The truth is that 75% of bloggers and website owners ARE too lazy to research extensively. The remaining 25% actually are successful because they don’t joke with their businesses.
Let me ask you a question: How many books have you read in the past 3 months?
I’m talking about hard copy books (not e-books). These books don’t necessarily have to be about internet marketing.
In fact, the real places to get fantastic blog topics are from non internet-related books, magazines, brochures, company profiles and motivational books.
Hear this: when you subject yourself to indepth research before writing any form of content including info products, you’ll become a master in your field.
Other people would gladly link to your blog at will, because they can’t get such indepth research studies elsewhere.
I know a content marketer who does a lot of market research before writing any piece of content, including guest posts. His name is Gregory Ciotti of sparringmind.
Guess what? He also makes a lot of money and his blog is the magnet when it comes to psychology and branding.
You should do the same. The edge you’ve over fellow bloggers is your ability to research extensively.
And because too many people are too lazy to research, but have all the time to tweet and buy the latest $47 e-book, you’ll gain more authority and natural links in the process.
5. Listen to people more than search engines
Build a site for people, not search engines. I know that this might be too hard for you to do at this point.
But when you listen to your target audience more, you’d be able to provide what they’re asking for. Did you know that your ideal customers are yearning for “informative” content?
That’s the #1 reason why people visit the internet. It’s also the ultimate reason why the internet came to being in the first place.
Life is full of problems and the new rule says that content can solve this problem, because they’re words closely-woven together.
Your website visitors, email subscribers and blog readers are all desperate for one thing – good content that can meet at least “ONE” of the needs.
You need to listen to your potential customers more, and give lesser attention to search engines and their rules.
Google makes all the rules, content marketers are here to obey. But don’t rely on Google to run your online business.
Diversify your traffic generation strategy and focus more on email marketing. It’ll never die no matter what the next Google Panda update will say.
So how does listening more help with link building?
Well, when you listen and address issues that your target audience is facing, they’d easily tell others about it. And this time, they’re going to use your website URL or the page to a particular content to promote you.
6. Tweak your headlines
Did you know that a single tweak on your headline could lead to an increase in links back to your content page?
You need to understand that search engines actually don’t rank websites. What spiders are concerned about are your web pages. And every fresh blog post or article you write is a separate webpage.
Make sure that the headline is catchy and contains the strongest benefit, so that readers can actually click and read.
Here’s the secret: There is something inspirational about a powerful headline that makes people want to link to it.
I think that it has a lot to do with psychology. Fellow bloggers and content marketers can’t just resist a powerful headline.
When they write or recommend interesting posts, 93% of the time, the title are USUALLY attractive. Did you see how many natural links the recent posts at Copyblogger amassed? Hmm, no sweat link building strategy.
7. Change your guest blogging pattern
Has anyone told you that traditional guest blogging no longer produces results as it used to in 2011/2012?
You’ve to trust me on this because in 2012, I personally researched, wrote and published 600+ quality guest articles.
There were days when 10 of my guest posts were published at different blogs, and bloggers began to marvel at this. As a result of this, I grew this blog from 100 daily generic visitors to over 600 loyal readers.
I also built good links and became fairly famous. All right, I made a lot of money in the process as well.
But all that no longer holds true this year. Of course, guest blogging still works but only when you do it with a proper plan. Tell me how, Michael…
Change your guest blogging pattern:
Find authority blogs in your niche that have not been affected by Google updates or that have recovered and pitch your topics.
And there is a reason for this. These authority blogs already have thousands of loyal readers, twitter followers and high pagerank
Imagine your guest post going live at such blogs and within 24 hours, 100 – 500 persons are talking about the same topic you shared on their website.
Of course, they’d credit your post as the source of inspiration and such backlinks are search engine magnets. Google love this type of natural links so much.
Beyond that, your guest post would continue to generate organic traffic if you had targeted a long-tail keyword and optimized properly. Search users would naturally link to a page that has answers to their problems.
Remember, when they link to you from these authority sites, you get Google friendly links back to your website on autopilot.
Use guest blogging to earn authority links, but don’t go about it the traditional way – use my authority pattern.
8. Be the CEO, not the follower
There were times when I felt like a follower and not the CEO of my business. And I understand that you want to learn all you can before shooting the arrows. You still call yourself a newbie, right?
But time has changed and to build a sustainable online business in today’s highly competitive Web, you need to be the CEO.
How do I mean? Did you know that CEOs make decisions even when it’s not convenient to implement them?
When you say to yourself that this week, your goal is to submit 1 quality guest post to B2C.com for instance, and you didn’t act on it, you’re only but a FOLLOWER. Period!
Yes, at the closet, employees make decisions or wish they would lead and manage the firm, but because they’re not the CEO, their decisions are not heard.
But when you take a step, even if it means pitching a high-traffic website and waiting for their go-ahead response, you’re acting as the Chief Executive Officer of your business.
And that’s how blogging and link building should be done. So many bloggers talk about links and how powerful the good ones can affect organic rankings, but at the end they don’t act on their words.
CEOs made decisions and take action because they understand that their success and livelihood depends on them.
Followers make excuses and blame others for their failures. They’ve all the good ideas on how to get links but never act on any. How pathetic? BE THE CEO from henceforth!
9. Build contextual links
As I went about building links to my blog, I made a definite decision to control all the links.
Sure, I can’t control how people link to my content pages, but when I do the link building myself, it’s easier to handle.
Strive to build contextual links. In other words, do all you can to avoid profile links or links on the author bio especially when it’ll not appear within the BODY of the article – this is vital!
You also need to link to other quality blogs and websites in your niche. If peradventure you want to link to a website that’s not related to your niche, use a generic anchor text (e.g. visit site).
When you link to other people’s pages earlier on your post, you’d have earned the right to ask for such a favor. Don’t wait till you hit the last paragraph of your article before adding your link, it may not carry much SEO value.
In fact, build contextual links at “above the fold” area. That area you’ll see in a website before you use the scroll bar.
Profile anchor links from other sites are like forum signatures. Those are still links, but they weigh lesser than real links that appear INSIDE the article.
10. Try solo ads linking
Solo ads simply mean sending your offers; e-books, special reports, affiliate and info products to someone’s email subscribers.
In other words, if you’re new to internet marketing and wants to build a list faster, all you’ve to do is get lead bait and design a squeeze page.
Afterward, contact a friend, fellow blogger or affiliate marketer and ask for their permission to use their email list.
Of course, the common things people do with solo ads is to build a list.
But the truth is that 87% of subscribers you’d ever get from these solo ads will not convert into customers, because they’re just that, leads. They receive hundreds of email letters from others marketers as well.
But if you could put that solo ad to a better use, by sending an epic content, or video to them, you’ll have better chances of converting subscribers into loyal readers.
When you send solo ads, don’t include squeeze pages, use your best content that can truly help subscribers.
Ideally, ask the list owner what kind of subscribers he or she has built and how responsive they are. This way, you can tailor your content to suit their taste.
The caveat: if you send your solo ad to 1000 subscribers and only 15 persons finds the content valuable & interesting, they’d cite it on their blog posts, and even recommend to their friends.
To further extract the juice with the solo ads link building, make sure you add a “send to a friend” link or button on every email letter.
This way, subscribers who find your content helpful can easily send it to another friend. This is priceless link building and Google is in DEEP love with it.
11. Give away your very best
Have you read this phrase before, “Search engines follow people?”
That’s the truth actually. If you want to earn hundreds of links without working so hard for them, you need to give away your best content. Not just blog posts or articles, but e-books, webinars, video, podcasts and tips.
Any blogger who hoards vital information from his or her readers and ideal customers will not succeed.
Even if it seems as though the blogger in question is progressing, a little nudge would push them down, to the floor.
No amount of backlinks is enough, providing that they are from SEO-friendly websites and contains good anchor texts.
Don’t imitate internet marketers who store up so-called “exclusive” ideas only to write an e-book and sell it for $37.
Don’t get me wrong, you still must sell to make money online. But stop thinking that when you give away your best ideas and insights – you’ll become empty.
If that’s your mindset, then you need to change your thinking because the world we live in is RICH in ideas, and even if the world doesn’t have enough to go around, new insights would be manufactured.
That is an abundant mentality and when it dominates you, you’d always be willing to help your target audience. And they would link back to your content pages HAPPILY.
12. Read less, network more
I’m waiting for someone to throw a stone at me. I know that reading is good. Because when you fail to read a lot, you can’t be able to produce or be prolific. But there is a BIG problem with reading and not acting.
Here’s my story: In 2011, I used to read 10 authority blogs that shows young business entrepreneurs how to expand, get better leads and of course, make money cash.
Every day, when I wake up in the morning I’d read 2 new posts and this continued for about 5 months – and some days added to it.
I didn’t realize that I was destroying my business. I had a blog and my readers required my attention. I was starving them BIG time.
At the time if I’m not mistaking, I don’t update my blog more than 3 times per week. Reading took a chunk of my time. And I’m grateful for all the learning and new strategies, but I blamed myself for wasting a lot of time.
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers has said it over and over again, that you SHOULD invest 20% of your time writing and 80% networking and promoting the content.
You can challenge yourself to generate 10 quality links to every new post you write from day onward. If the post is informative and has a catchy headline, just go ahead and promote it.
Visit Blokube.com and bookmark your latest posts. Go to your favorite blogs that have commentluv feature, write valuable comment and automatically, your latest post will be displayed.
Write guest posts and link back to your informative blog posts in the body. It MUST be relevant to the topic you’re writing about – or you’d be seen as a spammer.
If you’ve written up to 20 blog posts, pause for a while to promote the posts. You’d earn more backlinks in the process and drive fresh targeted traffic to your blog.
13. Get active on web 2.0 sites
Another proven way to build authority links to your content pages is to get active on web 2.0 sites.
These are the type of sites that allow you to submit quality articles and approve them instantly.
If you do a search in Google for do-follow web 2.0 sites, you’ll be surprised by the results. Don’t spam these sites in any manner.
That’s why I said, get “active.” I once spammed Hubpages.com with low-quality content in 2010.
But when the first Google Panda update was rolled out, the editors at Hubpages decided to pull all my 15 content down. I lost my money making pages.
What a waste of time and effort? Don’t make that mistake. I’ve since registered with them again and getting a lot of free organic traffic has never been this easy.
But this time, it’s either I write quality content and build rich hubs or GO TO HELL.
You need web 2.0 sites too. You know why? It’s because Google has fallen in love with web 2.0 sites even if they release their weird updates today. They can’t totally wipe out these user-edited sites.
Where you come in: Write quality content of about 700+ words and publish it on web 2.0 sites. Link back to a relevant and valuable articles/posts on your blog.
Link to other hubs, spaces, lenses, wikis and whatever name they’re called and become active.
That is, reply comments. Join their forums and login to participate at least 2 times in a week.
You don’t have to spend up to 20 minutes posting and replying threads. This act is to get your feet soaked as a real content marketer, and not as a spammer.
Build links by giving away good content in the discussion rooms also.
I don’t know if Google likes web 2.0 forum links, but I also know that Google craves for sites and platforms that “ENGAGE” their users.
14. Build yourself a free website
This link building technique is what I enjoy the most. I’ve used it in the past, prior to Google Penguin to generate a lot of quality links. Any website that allows you to build a free website is termed web 2.0 as well.
But the difference between this and the #13 web 2.0 sites is the flexibility (what you can do).
When you visit sites like blogger.com, wordpress.com, webnode.com and so on, you can easily choose your own domain name using your brand or keyword.
SEOs who don’t know how search engines work would advise you to steer away from exact match domain names. And to this, I say bullshit…
Google didn’t say that you should ignore choosing exact match domain names; neither did they penalize all the EMDs sites.
Before the EMDs update went live, I had several exact matching domain sites that weren’t affected. Everything still boils down to quality content – how on and off-page links are patterned.
Please don’t spam blogger.com or wordpress.com with low-quality content or 1 page content – obey their terms by publishing only informative and persuasive content.
Then you’re free to link back to your website pages naturally, while sucking organic and referral traffic.
15. Spy and link from Google top 10 result pages
Have you found out that several sites are ranking higher than your own? You don’t have to cry, groan or give up.
It’s time to become a secret CIA agent and build ONLY high quality links. Spy those high-traffic and high-ranking sites in Google top 10 and start linking to them.
There are proven ways to get featured on those blogs legitimately. The first method is to visit the website and get to know their secrets.
If it’s a blog, look at the popular posts and study what made them so. Look at the patterns and use the same idea the site owner/blogger has delivered to you to pitch them a guest post topic.
Secondly, comment on their blogs. In fact, I suggest you do this every now and then, in order to tape your name in the mind of the blogger.
This way, when you send your guest post idea, it’d be accepted. Or better yet, you’ll receive a published link within 48 hours.
To get more quality links from Google top 10 result pages, spy the exact places where they’ve built their good links from.
If these sites are able to dominate Google top 10, despite the Panda, Penguin and EMDs updates that’s drowned millions of websites, then the website owners are doing something RIGHT.
To find out where they built their links from so that you can go in there and get yours, use backlinkwatch.com
16. Build links with a niche site challenge
You need more people to link to your content pages? Start a niche site challenge.
This is what I did on the 12th of February, this year when I challenged myself to build niche sites and get all of them ranked in Google within 90 days for their primary keywords.
In the course of this challenge, which is still going on by the way, I discovered that people are linking to my posts.
Every post update that I’ve made so far has gained external links. Sure, some of the links are low-quality because of the nature of the blogs linking to me.
Also, most of the anchor texts used is too generic, but I’m still glad nonetheless.
I told you earlier that you can’t control how people link to your content pages, so let them be. When I weighed the effect of good links over the crappy ones, I got a ratio of 66:44.
In case niche site marketing is not your meat, you might try other forms of challenges and carry your readers along.
Start a guest blogging challenge, or a blog series that explains the step by step process of doing a particular thing. E.g. email marketing 101.
For all I know, a challenge could help you earn better links that submitting your blog URL to a blog directory. I don’t do that because it doesn’t work any longer.
17. Repackage your popular posts
Can you put your popular posts into a different format this time and distribute it?
You already know that unless I try something and it worked for me, I don’t share it with others.
A while ago, I wrote a blog post sharing my 100 headlines ideas you can “steal” and use.
My readers loved it. A small business entrepreneur also hired my writing services as a result of that post.
One of my friends suggested that I turn the post into a special report and distribute.
And I did just that and to my utmost surprise, over 200 people downloaded this report and 14 bloggers wrote about it, while giving me Credits (quality links).
A quick note: I’m sure that you’ve written articles and blog posts that were popular. It’s time to put one of these posts to action.
Maybe you got a lot of comments on it, or social shares (twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc). Don’t neglect the potentials of that content, repackage it in a PDF format and distribute.
There are thousands of e-book sharing sites. Ensure that you embed your blog URL inside the pages. You’d definitely get quality backlinks and free traffic. See list of e-book sharing sites here.
I need to eat my lunch
Phew, this post is way beyond 4000 words. I planned to make it 2500, but I ended up here.
But at last, I’ve to conclude by asking you to do something with the knowledge you’ve just gained. I’m so hungry right now. So while I drive to the nearby Restaurant…
Here’s what I want you to do now. Leave a comment below and share your best link building strategy as shown in these top 17. Afterward, pick 1 – 3 from this list and practice them.
Because if you don’t do anything with this, my blog will continue to grow since Google loves this kind of content, but your blog would continue to beg for mercy.
As my loyal reader, I trust you already. Now leave a comment and let’s get cracking. Will ya?
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