Google is quite reluctant when it comes to disclosing any information concerning its search engine ranking factors. For the time being, we know that there are at least 200 of them and valuable external links to the page are one of them. Not so long ago, it was enough to have a lot of these links. However, these times are over!
A few links to your page from a website categorized by Google as a quality one impacts the SEO process more positively than hundreds of external links from less renowned sites. Keep reading to find out the most effective link building strategies.
How to effectively obtain external links?
Our today’s entry comprises 42 effective methods of obtaining valuable external links. All the information is based on current trends and knowledge of international SEO specialists.
1. Quality (“linkable”) blog content
If you don’t run a company blog yet, start doing it. As unanimously stated by SEO specialists, top quality content plays a significant role in building an external link database. Therefore, content marketing supports the SEO process. Your blog should aim at providing valuable content, meaning texts the users want to share. There are several, proven types of entries that effectively attract attention:
- Listicles such as “10 best products for X” or “12 things you don’t know about Y”.
- “Myth-busting”, namely dispelling false information and stereotypes related to your industry.
- Explanations of industry-related phrases, that are frequently searched for by people who aren’t familiar with given terms.
Remember that your blog content should be characterized by top-notch quality. Pay particular attention to the form and style of your entries, post regularly. Obviously, your blog should link to your company website, however, be careful and don’t change the content into a direct advertisement. Publishing valuable texts is a guarantee that links to your blog will appear also in other places on the net.
2. Guest posting on other blogs
Setting up a company blog made you a part of the system. Due to the popularity of certain Internet authors and thematically related entries, this system may become your valuable source of links. So how to benefit from it? One of the most effective and interesting ways of obtaining external links is guest posting. It gives you an opportunity to share your expertise with others. You only need to remember to insert links to your page in the blog posts you write. It’s worth cooperating with bigger blogs that are renowned in the online community and are ranked high on Google – this makes external links to your website more valuable.
3. The Skyscraper Technique
Unfortunately, the blog content itself, even the most impressive one, doesn’t guarantee obtaining a wide database of external links or high traffic. However, this is a moment when the Skyscraper Technique described by Brian Dean comes in handy. Although this method requires a lot of work, it can effectively promote your website. So how to use it?
- The first step consists of determining what content to post to obtain a few quality links. To do it, it’s necessary to check what text types boast many external links. Ahrefs and BuzzSumo are irreplaceable tools for this purpose. With their use, you can analyze domains with a lot of external links (for example, most popular industry blogs). The tools will show you subpages with frequently linked content. From all this information, select subpages and topics you want to improve on your website.
- The second step is the actual improvement and creation of more valuable content. How? Make sure that your articles are more comprehensive, more up-to-date, and more impeccably written than the texts of your market rivals. All of the abovementioned aspects are important, take your time to prepare the perfect content. Quality is the key to success.
- The last step is about letting the pages that linked to your market rivals know that you’ve created much better content. You can do it, by sending emails to the administrators of pages that in the past linked to thematically related entries. Write a message saying that you saw an external link on their website and that you’re familiar with a given topic which allowed you to create a text that elaborates on the subject even more. This will allow you to obtain links, even if it seems to you that there are very few of them at first. Maybe only 10% of the texted administrators link to your page. However, it doesn’t matter as Google focuses mainly on the quality of the links.
4. Blog aggregators and search engines
Taking advantage of these solutions is unbelievably simple, you just need to fill in an appropriate form to submit your blog and then you’ll usually be asked to paste in a piece of HTML code confirming that you own the site. After successful verification, just let users notice your website and observe how your traffic increases. To start with, use these proven free blog aggregators:
You probably benefit from a wide range of products, services, or offers on a daily basis. Make use of it and write reviews concerning these goods. But wait, are you wondering how it can help you obtain external links? Well, there are a few options – first of all, you can publish the reviews on dedicated websites. Such pages usually allow you to sign in and provide a link to your site, however, these links usually have the nofollow tag. You can also review goods on your blog. Send a well-written, reliable, and thorough review to the manufacturer of the selected product. There is a huge probability that they’ll place a link to your review on their website.
Recording your own video clips and publishing them on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo is a great, yet time-consuming way of obtaining quality external links. Moreover, it also requires a creative approach. Optimizing these videos can also support your SEO process. The video content is usually determined by the industry, budget, and target audience you want to reach. Unique, eye-catching DIY videos or captivating slideshows are very popular in the online world. Don’t forget to provide a link to your website in the description box. Moreover, you can also advertise your video content on various social media platforms to reach even more recipients.
7. Share specialized knowledge
You can do it in many different ways, not only with the help of the previously mentioned regular blogging. Below you can find some exemplary solutions:
- With the use of Slideshare, you can publish slideshows that thoroughly explain complicated or emerging terms. While preparing your Slideshare content, provide links to your website, Google algorithms will take them into account.
- Find conferences, meetings, and industry events taking place in your area. TED talks are an extremely good example of events that enjoy great popularity. The description box on the page usually includes a link to the speaker’s website.
- Write an elaborate article (or even an ebook if you’re able to do it) that discusses industry terms and share it on conventional or specialized media platforms. Links in PDF files available online also affect Google rankings.
Or to be more precise infographics. Create them yourself (for example with the use of Infogram) or commission it to specialists who can make visually appealing and transparent data sheets and more. Before designing any infographics, check which topics are currently popular in your industry. Do your best to use up-to-date data and always provide sources of information. This way, people operating in your industry will share your graphics on their feeds, obviously, together with a link to your website.
9. Create useful online tools
It’s not only about content. You can also take advantage of toolbars, plug-ins, and extensions to lead web browsers or widgets and place there a link to your page (in this case it’s necessary to use the no-follow attribute). It’s also a good idea to design aesthetic website elements like icons or templates that can be deployed in CMSes. Obviously, you don’t have to be a Jack-of-all-trades and do everything on your own. Hire professionals and treat it as a marketing investment that will bring many valuable external links to your website.
Music can also support your SEO process, although it might seem a bit weird. This method of obtaining external links is based on popular music file-sharing services. However, for this purpose, you’ll need your own song. Benefit from e.g. Vocaroo, record a few seconds of your singing (you can also melorecite), and use your company slogan as lyrics. Then, save the file in the mp3 format. Set up an “artist” account on one of the music-sharing platforms, fill in the necessary data (otherwise your account may be deleted by a moderator), and upload your art piece. Don’t forget to provide links to your website and social media profiles. Below you can find some exemplary services you can use:
The 140 characters offered by this platform provide great possibilities for obtaining links. Google algorithms are regularly scanning the content of Twitter posts (as far as Facebook is concerned, the testing of this functionality has begun only recently). However, remember that direct ads aren’t the best idea. The main principle of TT is the possibility to communicate with others and react quickly. On Twitter, you can report industry events or important speeches of experts by selecting key quotes and publishing them in real-time. It’s also possible to communicate with other experts operating in the same industry or take part in TT online meetings called tweetups. So keep in mind: #possibilities.
12. Promotional campaigns
If you run a company, you can offer your customers or clients special discounts for sharing your content and website link on their blogs or social media profiles. It’s also advisable to post information about organized contests on specially designated platforms. Focus on websites that allow inserting dofollow links but don’t disregard those with the nofollow attribute.
Most of us eagerly take part in different contests, especially if they don’t require a lot of work and commitment. Organizing a contest doesn’t need to equal high expenditures and apart from increasing traffic to your website or profile, it can help you obtain a few external links. Post information about your contest on a website specializing in promoting such online activities. Apart from the rules, you can also provide a link to your website. Benefit from the opportunities offered by blogging and oblige the winner of the contest to place a link to your website in the contest post.
14. Online forums
Many Internet forums enable creating a footer in which you can freely place a link to your website. But, external links obtained this way are valuable proportionally to the authenticity of your profile there. Besides, totally inactive accounts or accounts with ads can be deleted or banned by the moderator. So, if you’re a private or business forum user, complement your profile with a link to your page.
15. Links from opinion leaders
It’s a method of obtaining quality external links while building your online relationships. Running a company blog allows you to provide users with precious content that incorporates professional knowledge of representatives of organizations, companies, opinion leaders, and all experts that have their own websites valued by Google. Once you publish such an entry, text its authors and ask them to share links to the article on their domains.
16. Social media profiles
Facebook, Google+, Goldenline, Instagram, and Pinterest – all of them are one of the simplest methods of acquiring external links. Setting an account on such a platform means creating a profile. The information provided there usually includes links to your website.
The only issue is that certain platforms like Twitter attribute website links with the nofollow tag which means that Google doesn’t take these links into account when determining a given website position in the search results. However, other users are still able to see the link and click on it. Search for specialized platforms and set up accounts there. Moreover, note that Tumblr assigns the dofollow attribute to the links published on the platform.
17. University networks
They’re also based on creating profiles, however, only students or employees of a given scientific institution can access these profiles. If you or your coworkers teach or do scientific work apart from running a business, place a link to your website on such a platform. External links obtained this way are unbelievably valuable as university networks are highly appreciated by Google.
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18. Company directories
If you haven’t set up your profile in a company directory yet, do it as quickly as possible. Choose moderated or even paid solutions if your budget allows. Using such platforms is much more effective than placing plenty of links on low-quality websites or forums.
Not sure which directory to choose? Browse the net and search for lists of directories. This way you’ll be able to check their PageRank and basic information that will help you select a solution meeting your expectations. When creating your own ranking of company directors, start from the ones that make it possible to provide links with the dofollow tag as this will affect your website position.
19. Lists of specialized websites that aren’t directories
These are websites of associations and organizations dealing with the social activities of different characters. Finding such sites corresponding to the profile of your company may require some creativity. However, quality external links are worth it.
For example, if you manufacture equipment facilitating the lives of the disabled, you can find websites of associations that support such people on a daily basis. Very often, these specialized platforms contain subpages like “useful websites” or “useful links”. However, you may need to contact the administrator of such a page personally to get your website link placed there. But if these domains are frequently visited by your target group, meaning potential customers or clients, the game is worth the candle!
It’s a great idea not only because of the links but also because of the potential success and popularity. For this purpose, you can select any organization you want, it may be a charity, an NGO, a museum, or a football club. Such websites usually enjoy the great trust of the visitors, therefore, links placed there are particularly valuable. Some organizations provide links to all their sponsors, you can also ask others if such “cooperation” is possible.
21. Satisfied customers
If you deal with manufacturing, selling, or providing services, then maintaining positive customer relationships will help you build a quality external link database. Depending on the industry, some of your recipients may run their personal blogs and companies. Get to know your customers and when finalizing any transaction, ask them to provide a link to your website on their platforms.
It’d be perfect if they could write a few words about your products or services. Moreover, your customers may also be struggling to build a link base, so in some cases, you’ll be able to close the “link for link” deal.
22. Press releases
You can prepare a press release yourself or commission the task to professional PR agencies (which usually involves quite high costs). It’s possible to discuss a variety of subjects (research results or expert reviews) and everything depends mainly on the industry you operate in. Although this promotional form doesn’t primarily aim at obtaining external links, it’s still worth making sure that the text includes a few links to other articles or products mentioned there.
Provide a full address in the summary. It’s also a useful idea to benefit from pages where journalists ask questions to experts and in return for help provide links to the interviewee’s page in their articles. This is how HARO works. Although this solution isn’t available in all countries yet, it’s still worth keeping it in mind if you run an international business. Besides, a link placed on a quality international website will also improve your Google position.
23. Social news
Popularize your articles, videos, or infographics on social bookmarking portals like Reddit or Digg. This method requires a special approach as posting random or mundane content probably won’t interest anyone. In order to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by bookmarking services, share industry news, unknown facts, and current topics. Advertise only selected entries that in your opinion deserve special users’ attention. Check out the Sociable plugin available on the Internet.
24. Broken Link Building
The broken link building technique is a relatively simple yet effective method of obtaining quality external links. Start from searching for websites where you could potentially place links to your site. Then, scan their content for broken links (e.g. those that redirect to pages with a 404 error). To find these faulty links, you can benefit from tools like MOZ or Check My Links. Report the exact location of the broken links to the site administrators and, most importantly, offer them your links instead of the broken ones. The more quality content you offer, the bigger the chances that the administrator agrees to link to your page.
25. Inactive external links
When building your link database, it’s worth making sure that all links redirecting to your page work properly and are up to date. Focus on this point especially if your website location has changed, the site was redesigned or moved to another domain. Moreover, webmasters’ errors may also lead to a situation when, theoretically speaking, the Internet is full of external links redirecting to your page but in real life, all of them are incorrect or inactive. Link Juice Recover is a useful tool that helps to find and manage broken links.
26. Making use of outdated links
For the time being, this method isn’t particularly popular, however, using it enables reaching many potential links that haven’t been sought for by your market rivals. How can you do it? Look for websites that have recently stopped working but it’s still possible to access them. For this purpose, you can use tools like Expired Domains. Then, use Ahrefs to see which other websites link to the subpages that aren’t working right now.
Next, you should check what type of content was published on these subpages. To do it, use the Internet Archive available at Archive.org. The final step actually includes taking advantage of the empty online space and creating equally quality or even better texts. Then, inform website administrators that were linking to wrong domains that the links actually don’t lead anywhere and your website offers even finer content.
27. Linking made easier
It may happen that some web administrators will want to link to your page, however, due to insufficient IT knowledge, they won’t be able to do it properly. It’s worth facilitating this task by preparing ready-to-paste code fragments together with a preview of the linking button design. Such information can be placed on a separate subpage called “link to us”.
28. Get reviewed
If you want to obtain valuable links, give your products to bloggers and professional platforms that will review them. In this case, it’s not about sponsored content but about reliable feedback from persons whose brand is renowned online. At the beginning, you should conduct thorough research to identify the opinion leaders with trusted pages. Remember that this time, the quality of the written reviews also come into play. Short, incorrectly formulated posts can do more harm than good.
Obviously, you can never be sure if someone publishes a review, however, the right choice of the recipients of your products and friendly communication certainly increases your chances. Once a review concerning your product range is posted, make sure that the author included a backlink there.
29. Keep an eye on your market rivals
SEO specialists use professional tools that allow them to monitor what links are used by selected market rivals. Ahrefs or Common Backlinks Tool are certainly worth recommending. Why don’t you try out these tools and experiment with them a bit to analyze your market situation?
If your company manufactures something from semi-finished products, check how your suppliers or product distributors obtain links. On the other hand, if you aim at being more successful on the local market, just analyze what links are frequently used by other local enterprises. In this case, the industry isn’t so important. Once you know the sources of your competitors’ links, you can implement broken link building or skyscraper techniques.
30. Make your competitors link to your website
Maybe they’ll do it in an indirect way but it’s still fine. With the use of Ahrefs or CBLT you can check where the links on your rivals’ pages lead. Probably some of them will link to certain popular and big portals like Facebook.
However, there’s also a possibility that some of your market rivals will link to one specific domain where you can also place a link. Although it might not be the easiest or simplest solution, the effort can totally pay off. Determining the websites your market competition links to is also helpful when planning a PPC paid link campaign.
31. Brand mentions
Regardless of whether you’ve been on the market for a good few years or just recently started your business, someone has certainly written something about your company. Users love to share reviews and industry news, therefore, search the net for some brand mentions. After finding such entries, check if the authors provided links to your website.
If you find posts without links, ask the site administrator to add them. How to efficiently find all brand mentions? Use the Backlink Profiler report which allows you to filter the results and check if individual mentions provide links to your website. Freshweb and Brand24 online tools serve basically the same purpose.
Wikipedia links are precious in terms of their trust flow (a factor calculated by Majestic.com that determines the reliability of a site and consequently translates into the quality of the external links to your page). Obtaining these links is possible. How?
First of all, use Google and keywords to browse Wiki for subpages thematically related to your content. In the search engine type in: site:wikipedia.org [keyword] + “broken link”. Once you find these broken links, benefit from Wayback Machine to check what was the content of pages that currently aren’t working.
Then fill in the gap in Wikipedia’s bibliography by publishing a high-quality text with information that is currently not available on the previously linked page (of course you can later update the entry to ensure that the post provides reliable and up-to-date data which is actually desirable given that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia). Finally, you log in to Wikipedia as an editor and replace the broken link with an external link to your page. Brilliant, isn’t it?
33. Websites of industry associations
This point concerns other unobvious Internet places that are a great source of quality external links. It’s about associations where the membership is awarded only to people working in a given profession. Although being a member of such an organization may involve some additional costs, providing links to your website on these platforms brings two main benefits.
First of all, it’s a high-quality link placed on a thematically related website. Second of all, any user interest on these platforms equals an opportunity for new business contacts. Try to search the net for different associations related to your industry and areas of operation.
34. Links from .gov domains
Providing a link to your website on a .gov domain dedicated to government institutions is quite a success! Find websites where entrepreneurs can register, provide real data, and link to their sites.
35. Job offers
If you’re just looking for reliable employees, complement your job offer with a link to your company website. Obviously, not all portals accept such solutions, however, it’s simply enough to take a few minutes to find websites allowing users to insert links. Although this method can be used only in certain circumstances, it’s extremely simple and effective, therefore, it’s worth remembering about it during the upcoming recruitment processes.
36. Auction listing services
If apart from running an online store, you sell products on platforms like eBay or Zalando, you can use them to obtain additional external links. This method isn’t as simple as it might seem, mainly due to the fact that most of such platforms don’t accept links to online stores. However, if you’ve followed the previously mentioned methods, you can easily handle this restriction.
First of all, if you’ve decided to run a company blog (e.g. where you discuss current trends related to products on your offer), provide a link to it in the description on the auction listing service. This also applies to videos or graphics, obviously, it means a bit of extra work, however, if you’ve appropriate resources, it’s worth making use of them.
If you run an online store that offers third-party products, contact the manufacturer, and request providing a link to your website and store. As the producer also benefits from it, there shouldn’t be any problems. Usually, one short message is enough to obtain a few quality external links.
Check whether your content isn’t illegally reposted by other website users without mentioning you as the author. For this purpose, use Google or a more advanced program for detecting plagiarism of online content. If you actually find such entries, contact the site administrator and request him/her to provide a link to the source text. Of course the same applies to graphics or videos.
39. Presell pages
These are simply special websites where you can post short articles with a few links. It’s like killing two birds with one stone – the website owner expands its content range and you obtain a few quality external links. Check out the offer of such portals and get familiar with their regulations. The number of links allowed in one text is determined by the portal.
40. Pages for asking questions
They may also be a quality source of links. However, analyze what happens with the links published on such pages. So, for example, both Quora and a similar Yahoo platform enable inserting links in the messages. To obtain some external links, find related posts where users ask questions concerning given products/services. While answering their questions, provide links to your page.
41. How to find your private “cash cow”?
This is going to be another method of taking advantage of existing gaps in the content provided by your market rivals. However, there’s one major modification. Make use of your industry expertise and benefit from the help of valued professionals.
Start from finding such people, make sure that they’re recognizable and that their opinions are appreciated and quoted online. Then, check which subjects have already been discussed by these people and try to define fields or topics that haven’t been scrutinized yet. The best way to check it is to use the SearchMetrics tool, which shows the keywords for which the website is ranked high and thematically related words for which this particular website isn’t ranked yet.
Then, as usual, create quality content and publish it, contact the experts and inform them about it. Encourage them to link to your website. This way, you benefit from the experts’ database of recipients who probably link to their content. However, in this particular case, they’ll link to your website.
42. Create engaging quizzes about your products
Use WP Suggester, which is available in both free and paid versions, to create quizzes. When doing it, it’s worth showing creativity and understanding of the target group you try to reach. The exemplary quiz “What kind of drink are you” asks you a few surprising questions and at the end provides you with an answer that you certainly want to know. As Yaro Park‘s description of this technique assures, such quizzes go viral very quickly, increase website traffic, and help to obtain new quality external links.
If you want to improve your website authority and Google rankings, then valuable external links may be the perfect way to achieve the goal. However, it should be pointed out that since the Penguin algorithm has been analyzing the link quality, the principle “the more the better” doesn’t apply anymore. Thus, it’s worth remembering that the quality of external links will always be more important than their quantity./i>
That’s all for today. If you decide to implement some of the abovementioned solutions and methods, please share your experiences in the comments. Google algorithms are updated quite frequently which has an impact on the work of SEO specialists. This means that some of the discussed techniques may come in handy today only to become totally out-of-date and ineffective next month.
And what about you? Do you know any other methods of building quality external link databases?