Link building or link earning is the process of getting backlinks from quality and relevant sites to link to your website. This is super important as the more inbound links from quality and relevant websites, the more likely you are to rank higher.
The best way to highlight the importance of links is to look at it as “a good link is a vote of confidence for your website.”
For a website to perform effectively and acquire important traffic, businesses need to build a high-quality backlink profile. Businesses do this through earning links by creating trustworthy, awesome content and promoting it through PR and marketing. If done right, businesses can build brand awareness in key media, increase the authority of their site, and raise the online visibility of their website.
But there are more ways to build links, and in this guide, we will run through some easy to action link earning tactics.
An important piece of advice for us all is to ensure we work ethically and adhere to best practise at all times when it comes to link earning. I once had a client that received the below email from Google!
If a website or link opportunity looks dodgy, or out of place, then please avoid. Always ask yourself, is it a natural place for a link to be and is it relevant to your brand?
The below link earning tactics should not be done in isolation but used as part of a wider PR and marketing strategy.
In short, digital PR specialists come up with content ideas that will engage, advise, entertain and add value to a media’s audience. They then create and promote this content through outreach to editors, webmasters and journalists. Sounds simple, but it’s not, and it requires specialist expertise to do properly. You can read more about our approach and see our results here.
Many trade media websites and blogs offer guest contributions, and this can be a great way of positioning yourself in relevant media, getting traffic and earning links to your site.
When looking for places to guest post, your main goal is to find sites relevant to your niche or industry. Searching through Google is fine, and there will be a selection of sites to target. Then look at their writing guidelines and find an appropriate email address to reach out to. Pitch over your guest post idea, and then depending on the response or feedback, write the article and send it over.
Ahrefs have a great guide on guest blogging that I’d advise flicking through when you have time.
Competitor research and link intersects
You should conduct a Google search for your service or product and see who ranks highly. This will indicate your direct competitors online, and you can then work out why they are ranking so well.
The first step for us is to look through all of the backlinks and referring domains your competitors possess.
There are several competitive analysis tools to choose from that can do this, my favourites are Ahrefs and SEMrush. These tools offer a complete list of all referring domains and allow you to export the data to excel.
Then it’s a case of looking through and identifying websites that you can also target to acquire links and brand mentions. If they have the link and do the same as you, why don’t you have it?
Here at Motive, we use Ahrefs’ link intersect tool to identify opportunities for our clients.
It does all the cross-referencing for us and shows the links that point to competitors and not our client.
Link reclamation is the process of finding a mention of your brand online and asking the publisher to convert it into a link.
Set up alerts for your business through Google Alerts and other social listening tools. Once you find the mention then email over and ask for the brand mention to be turned into a link.
Link reclamation also includes fixing lost or broken links, which you can find through a tool like Ahrefs.
Stick in your URL and Ahrefs will show you the domains you’ve lost each day - see below for screenshot example.
Please note that fluctuation is expected, and there are a few reasons why links get lost or broken. So, I’d perhaps suggest only going after the high authority or important links that have been listed.
Directories & Citation Building
Building citations on local business directories remains an effective tactic for link building and boosting local SEO. Business directories such as Yell, Crunchbase, Clutch, Thompson Local and more will cite your business online. Make sure your submissions are consistent, but this is a great quick win tactic of acquiring links.
It’s worth mentioning that if the directory looks bad, it probably is, so leave it and move on.
Events and trade shows
If a brand is exhibiting at a trade show, then as part of the package the show often offers an exhibitor news section on the website. Here exhibitors can post press releases with links in to highlight and showcase the products they are exhibiting. An often overlooked link building tactic.
An example of this is when I have had agricultural clients in the past that have exhibited at the Lamma Show. This is an exhibitor press release section that we posted on to acquire links - https://www.lammashow.com/exhibitor-press-releases-dfmn
Industry accreditations and memberships
Similar to the above tactic, if a brand or business is a member of an organisation, then look to see if they will link to you. The local chamber of commerce is a great place to start, but many trade specific memberships will include membership pages and offer links. For example, Motive is a member of the PRCA, and in our member area it allows us to guest post and in these posts there are link opportunities.
Hopefully, these tactics have sparked a few ideas on where you should look to acquire links. We would also advise doing further research and there is a wealth of information and more in-depth guides out there.
Brands need to follow a process or strategy and know exactly what it is they want from every backlink they get. But please remember that any links you acquire need to be natural and relevant. These are the two most important factors in any link earning strategy.
We are always happy to do a backlink audit and have an informal discussion around link building and digital PR.
Get in touch and we’d be very happy to help.
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