Before we start, it’s important to stress how Backlinks (a.k.a. external links), are the backbone of every SEO strategy.
Why are Links Important?
Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, confirmed that Links, Content and RankBrain are the top 3 ranking factors for Google.
And Being RankBrain Google’s machine learning technology to help deliver its search results, marketers and SEO’s are left with only two top ranking factors that they can totally control.
Why does Google put links in such a prominent place in their ranking algorithm?
According to Steve Levy in his book about Google history (which we highly recommend by the way), back in the day when Google was just an academic project, Larry Page suggested to Sergey Brin to use Links as a rating system. Page “understood that web links were like citations in a scholarly article. It was widely recognized that you could identify which papers were really important without reading them—simply tally up how many other papers cited them in notes and bibliographies. Page believed that this principle could also work with web pages.”
Essentially, Google estimates the importance of a web page by the web pages that link to it.
This is the philosophy behind PageRank– a rating system part of Google’s algorithm that analyzes the quantity and quality of external links pointing to a page on a scale of 0-10. PageRank has been continuously evolving into to a more complex algorithm, but still keeping the initial leitmotiv.
Looking for more proof of the importance of external links in organic search? Check out this study from Ahrefs about how links weigh in on Google’s algorithm in 2018.
What do you need to be successful in your Link Building strategy?
Being recognized as an authority in your field and quality content! Both items can be achieved with hard work.
Every link building strategy needs relevant, useful, and original content. As Andy Crestodina puts it, Content marketing is the opposite of advertising. With content marketing, a website does not buy attention, it earns it, increasing brand awareness and authority.
Now that you know why Backlinks are so relevant for Google and what you need to be successful, lets dive into 5 techniques that still work for building backlinks!
1. The Skyscraper Technique
Created by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, the Skyscraper technique is a strategy based on finding topics, articles or research with low competition or content that can be easily improved. The next step is to produce a better, more complete version and heavily promote it.
The main idea is that producing great content is not enough; the content needs to be promoted on several online channels for its visibility be amplified.
The challenge? Producing good content takes time and needs solid knowledge and expertise.
2. Broken Link Building
Every marketeer knows how user experience can influence a website’s conversion rates. Having a website with no broken links and aligned content is important to creating a positive user experience. Links that lead to the right content is a trust signal for the user along the conversion funnel. Attention to detail can and make all the difference.
The Broken Link technique is based on the reciprocity principle. If you do a favor for someone else, they feel obliged to return the favor- in the form of a backlink!
How to find broken links? There´s two frameworks for finding broken links:
- Select the websites from where you want to get external links from and use Screaming frog or another website crawler, like Deepcrawl. Check if your content fit in the broken links. If yes, get in contact with the website owner, let him know about the broken links and suggest new content for the broken links. Your PR Skills will be important here.
- Search on Google for a keyword related to the content you would like to promote and win backlinks for. Add the chrome extension “Check My Links”, and check for broken links in the selected pages. Now you just need to get in contact with the website owner.
3. The Moving Man Method
The Moving Man Method is a technique coined by Brian Dean from Backlinko. Its success depends on the quality of your content and in your capacity to pitch and network. Humans are social animals and love to network and meet people, especially from the same industry. Again, this link building technique shows the reciprocity principle at work.
The first step is to:
- Look and identify outdated websites, resources or business in the industry or niche you would like to increase your organic visibility.
- Identify the websites linking to these outdated pages or resources.
- Let them know that they are pointing out or backing up outdated data or content.
- Promote your updated content that can substitute these old resources.
4. Link Round Ups!
More than 5 million articles and blog posts are written every day. How can you save time choosing and reading relevant content as a user, and standing out from the crowd as a publisher? Knowing good Link roundups from authorities in your industry is one of the best ways to keep informed and also share and promote content from your website or blog.
Link roundups is similar to a newsletter with a selection of the best articles during a given time period, but as a blog article.
The Challenge? The content needs to be really good, otherwise will not be included on the Link roundup. Choose the page you want to promote, take it to next level, and then you just need to pitch your content to the Link round up owner!
5. Using HelpAReporter.com
HARO is an online platform that provides journalists with a database of sources for upcoming content. It’s a win-win situation where journalists find valuable information and sources can get valuable media coverage and do-follow backlinks from high domain authority websites. Signup for the service and you will get a daily email with requests and queries to be answered from the journalists. Then if the question is aligned with your product or service and if can bring qualified traffic, try to respond the best you can and win a backlink or in the worst-case scenario, a citation!
So, while there are lots of outdated link building techniques, you can be sure that these 5 methods to will still work in 2019. Looking for more ways to increase your backlink profile? Contact us!
About the Expert
This week’s Voice of Experts article was written by Filipe Ribeiro. Filipe is Head of SEO at Codedesign and has played a core role in our agency’s story since the very beginning. When Filipe isn’t building links for clients, you can find him drinking home-brewed kombucha or a craft beer.