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Link structure with entries in forums: How does it work?

Link structure with entries in forums: How does it work?

Whether you run a business website or a personal blog, one of the main reasons to build a website is to reach other people. If you want your website to become a place people regularly want to visit, then your goal should be to build a community around it.

That’s a big goal, and you can help achieve it and even go a step further by creating a forum for your website.

By enabling communication that goes more than two ways, a forum can create an active online community that not only engages with your content – but also allows users to interact with each other. In essence, a forum can become a valuable part of achieving your website goals.

HostGator Website Builder

5 Benefits of Creating a Forum For Your Website

A forum does require extra work, so you want to be confident it’s a good choice for your particular type of website before diving in. If done well, creating a forum for your website can yield some significant benefits.

 

1. It provides a place for a community to grow.

Having a website that gets visitors is nice, but if most of what you learn about your visitors is what you see in Google Analytics, then there’s a lot you still don’t know.

Getting visitors isn’t the same thing as having a community. A community is active and engages with your website on a regular basis. The members of a community feel like they’re a part of something when they come to your website. They have a higher level of investment than someone just passing through.

That makes them valuable partners in the overall success of your site.

 

2. It gives readers a reason to keep coming back.

Many websites struggle with turning one-time visitors into regular traffic.

Anyone who participates in your website’s forum cares about what others in the community have to say. They’ll want to see responses to the posts they make and follow conversations on topics they’re interested in.

To stay a part of the conversation, they’ll keep coming back.

 

3. Your readers can learn from each other, as well as from you.

You work hard to provide valuable content to your visitors. As your community grows, you’ll have a difficult time answering every single question they have. And sometimes, other people in the community will have better answers anyway.

Giving community members direct access to each other can be especially useful for any business that sells complicated products. Your customers can help each other do general troubleshooting, offloading some of your customer service burden while still resulting in satisfied customers.

We see this at work in the HostGator forums. When one web hosting customer asks a question, another often chimes in with the answer.

hostgator support forum

Newer members get the help of more experienced members, and long-term participants are able to distinguish themselves as helpful and knowledgeable in the community.

 

4. You can see what your followers are talking about.

If you do content marketing, then you know that coming up with relevant topics your audience cares about is an ongoing challenge. But even if you don’t, any glimpse into the questions and issues your audience has can translate into useful feedback on your website and products.

Businesses frequently spend money and time on market research to try and figure out what their audience is thinking. When you have an active forum, all you have to do is follow the conversations your members have there to gain the same information.

The forum in Carol Tice’s subscription community for professional writers helps fuel her blog posts. She can reference forum conversations and answer common questions she sees members ask.

create a community with website forum

Because of the discussions in the forum, she knows the topics her audience cares about and can make sure her website provides the answers they’re looking for.

 

5. An open forum can improve SEO.

Private forums can make sense for businesses that want to create a subscription community or membership website, but if you go that route you do lose out on this benefit. If you create a forum for your website that’s accessible on the open web, then every new conversation your community members have creates a new page to be indexed by search engines.

Not only is regular fresh content good for SEO, but as your forum begins to cover more and more topics (using the language of your audience, no less), those forum pages and user-generated content could begin to show up for search terms you haven’t covered yet on your main website.

 

How to Create a Forum on Your Website

Ready to set up your website forum? Here are three steps to get started.

 

1. Choose the right web hosting plan.

If you’re ready to get started and create a forum on your website, then one of your first steps is to evaluate if your web hosting provider is up for the job. If your forum accomplishes the goal of bringing a community of regular visitors to your website, then you can expect an uptick in traffic.

Make sure the web hosting plan you have now can support the forum software you choose to use and the increase in traffic likely to occur. If your current plan isn’t going to cut it, take time to figure out a better option before you start building your forum.

 

2. Choose the right web forum software.

Next, you’ll need software to create your forum with. Many of the most popular options are free and offer open-source software. A few of the top solutions to look into are:

Spend some time researching the different software options to get a feel for which will work best for you.

 

3. Create your forum.

The right forum software should make this part relatively easy. The software you choose should offer resources to help you get started. Use them to get up to speed and start getting the basic structure of your forum in place.

 

How to Make Your Forum Successful

For your forum to achieve your goals, you need to approach it with a strategy. These seven steps can help your forum go from a promising idea to a successful community-building tool.

 

1. Clarify your forum’s themes.

What is your forum going to be about? People need to know what they’ll be joining before they can decide if it’s right for them or not. Before you launch your forum, clarify the primary themes and topics that people will be discussing there.

When you launched your website, you (hopefully) took some time to figure out your unique positioning statement – what makes your website different from similar ones and why your visitors should care. Now you’ll need to do the same thing for your forum.

Think about why it’s valuable from your audience’s point of view. What topics and issues will they want to discuss? Why should they do it on your website’s forum? Obviously, your forum’s themes should relate to what you cover on your website. Beyond that, get more specific in working out what the forum’s purpose and focus will be.

 

2. Create a structure.

Now turn the themes you settled on into a clear structure. Decide on the main categories and subcategories to divide your forum into.

Your URL structure should be intuitive. Organizing discussions into a few main topics will make it easier for your members to find the information they need. So again here, have your target audience top of mind. What categories will make the most sense to them in helping them find what they’re looking for?

The structure you create in the beginning doesn’t have to be set in stone. As you see how people interact in the forum over time, you may find that adding new categories or re-arranging how they’re organized works better. Know that your forum structure can evolve as needed, but do your best to make it intuitive and clear to begin with.

 

3. Develop clear rules.

You may hope your target audience consists of nothing but the most pleasant and respectful people on the internet – but it is still the internet we’re talking about. When people can interact with others anonymously behind their screens, some inevitably show their worst sides.

You can’t just launch your forum and hope for the best. You need to start out planning for the worst. Think about what you want your forum conversations to look like, and explicitly what you don’t want them to include. For that latter question, a look at active comment sections around the web will show examples of what you want your members to avoid.

Spend some time reviewing the rules of other forums around the web as well. Their rules can serve as a jumping off point for you to develop yours. As an example, some rules you may want to include could be:

  •      Be respectful to other community members, even when there’s a disagreement
  •      No slurs or other discriminatory behavior
  •      No name calling
  •      No links to or recommendations of illegal items or activities in the forum
  •      No NSFW (not safe for work) material
  •      No spamming

Make sure you post the rules at the top of the forum where everyone will see them. Add a note that everyone who participates in the forum is agreeing to abide by the rules.

And develop a process for what you’ll do when someone breaks the rules. How many warnings will you provide before banning a user? Are there steps a banned user can take to be reinstated?

Your rules won’t be worth much if you don’t have a system in place to enact consequences when people break them. Write out what that system will be and make it accessible to your users in advance to avoid issues later.

 

4. Promote your forum.

For discussions to happen, people have to show up. Create a strategy for letting people in your audience know about your forum. Many of the same online marketing tactics you use for your website will be valuable for promoting your forum as well.

Announce the new forum to your email list. Create content promoting it on your website and other sites around the web. Promote it on your social media accounts. Consider investing in PPC or social media advertising to get the word out.

Once you have a decent number of members, this step will become less important. But it should make up the brunt of your efforts in the first days and weeks your forum is available.

 

5. Create some good discussion topics to get the conversation started.

You know when you’re at a party and everyone’s hesitant to get out on the dance floor until the first brave few souls start dancing? New members of your forum who are still getting a feel for the place are unlikely to jump right into starting discussions.

It will be your job to get the ball rolling on the first few conversations while people get comfortable. Have a few discussion topics in mind and start posting them with encouragement for others to chime in.

Some forums also have consistent weekly discussion threads that can bring people together at an expected time to get talking. Consider basing a weekly thread around industry news, new member introductions, or other topics you know your audience cares about.

 

6. Moderate the discussions.

Moderation is a big part of the job of running a forum. Without moderation, your forum can fall prey to spammers and trolls. If the forum messages are dominated by people trying to promote scams or a toxic culture of insults – no one’s going to stick around.

In the early days of your forum, you may be able to do all the moderating yourself. Keep an eye on all the active threads and react quickly to any that break the rules. Don’t be afraid to delete inappropriate comments and issue warnings and bans to users when needed.

Over time, if the job becomes too big, you may need to hire someone or recruit active members of the forum to help with moderation. Be warned that moderation can be tricky. If people feel like they’re being deleted or banned unfairly, you may face dissension within the community. That’s what makes having clear rules so important. As needed, you can point back to the guidelines everyone in the community agreed to by choosing to participate.

 

7. Solicit feedback and improve as you go.

Running a forum can get complicated and you’re not going to be able to plan for everything in advance. You can’t predict what your members will do or want, or what issues will arise as the community grows.

So be willing to actively ask your community for their input and listen when they give it. Conduct surveys or start threads in the forum soliciting people’s suggestions and complaints.

Even if your forum starts off strong, there will always be ways to improve it. Do your best to find out how you can make it better and improve the forum experience over time.

Link building with entries in communities: How does it work?

Link building with entries in communities: How does it work?

Link building isn’t easy. It’s freakin’ hard. Which is why most people struggle to build needle-moving links to their site, regardless of the tactic they use.

Sound like you? You’re in the right place.

This article DOESN’T list out a bazillion link building strategies.

What I’ll show you instead is a handful of tactics that WORK. Tactics that are EASY to replicate for YOUR website. Tactics that bring needle-moving links, which, in turn, drive traffic to and increase revenue for your business.

Don’t believe me? Here are some of the links we’ve built to Ahrefs using these tactics:

But before I share what these tactics are and how to use them, let’s clear something up.

Link building strategies VS. tactics

There’s a BIG difference between tactics and strategies.

Strategy = overall plan.

Tactic = the actual means used to gain an objective.

You need only ONE link building strategy: Create something “link-worthy.” I know that sounds like the same advice you’ve heard a million times, but it’s true.

That doesn’t mean you need to publish monstrous blog posts or interactive guides as others would have you believe. For some businesses, the product or service is “link-able” in itself.

For example, we get lots of links because of the tools we create, not the articles we publish.

Just look at the number of links we have to our Keywords Explorer tool:

keywords explorer links

So think of your strategy as the engine driving your link building endeavors, and the tactics as the pistons that keep it running.

Now, let’s get to the tactics. (Yes, TACTICs, not STRATEGIES.)

Most every good link building tactic revolves around outreach.

What is outreach?

It’s where you reach out to people in your niche and introduce them to your content.

But here’s the critical thing: You don’t necessarily need any “content” at all. You just need to have something worthy of a link—it might be your product, service, business, brand, or even personality.

I already mentioned that many folks link to ahrefs.com because they’re fans of our tools and find them useful. Here’s one such link that came about because of that:

Screen Shot 2018 09 13 at 13.11.18

Ahrefs is listed as one of 300 awesome things for entrepreneurs and startups.

This is AMAZING information for forming an outreach strategy. It tells us that our tools are useful to this demographic of people (entrepreneurs) because they help them with a specific problem (SEO).

So why not reach out to entrepreneurs and startups to let them know about Ahrefs? If they find our tools useful, they may reference us in their future articles. If not, they’ll most likely tell us, and we can refine our future targeting based on that feedback.

But I’ll level with you: outreach almost always works best with linkable assets.

That means reaching out and telling people in your niche about content that is likely to be useful to them—big blog posts, tools, infographics, etc.

To whom should you reach out to?

  1. People who’ve mentioned your target keyword in their articles;
  2. People who’ve linked to similar articles on the topic.

Content Explorer is the best way to find folks who meet the first criterion. Just type in a word or phrase, and it’ll search almost 1 BILLION web pages for matching results.

Let’s try it for “guest blogging.”

 

37,726 results. Tick the “one article per domain” checkbox, and you effectively have a list of unique sites that you can reach out to.

You just need to find their contact information and shoot them an email.

As for people who’ve linked to similar articles on a topic, this is easy to do too. Use the inbuilt filter in Content Explorer to filter for pages with at least say, 50 referring domains.

guest blogging content explorer ref domains

Find a relevant page, then hit the caret and select the Referring domains report to see all the sites linking to that page.

caret content explorer

These are your prospects.

PRO TIP

Do you want to land links on high-profile sites? Sign up for HARO and Muck Rack to become a source for journalists.

How it works is simple: They send you source requests a few times a day, then you pitch the relevant ones. Should the journalist choose to use you as a source, they’ll link back to you in their article.

Here’s one source request I received in my inbox earlier today:

haro query

This request comes from a very high-profile site (DR 92). As you can see, all you need to do is reach out and suggest a cool gift idea for Halloween.

These sites effectively deliver relevant, high-quality outreach prospects to your inbox daily.

 

Guest blogging is one of the oldest link building tactics in the book.

How does it work? You write an article for another website in your niche. They publish it. You link to yourself from that article. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s a guest post I wrote a couple years ago for Convince and Convert:

convince and convert guest post

You can see the link to my website in the author bio.

How do you find good guest post prospects? Well, you can use the same method everyone else uses, which is to find sites actively appealing for guest bloggers using Google search operators. Here’s one such query that fits the bill:

topic + intitle:"write for us"

This uncovers so-called “write for us” pages, which site owners create to attract guest bloggers.

write for us result

But EVERYONE is doing that. Those prospects gets tons of guest post pitches daily.

So here’s the twist:

Don’t look for sites advertising the fact that they accept guest posts. Just look for relevant sites, then pitch them anyway. Most sites are open to taking guest posts even if they don’t explicitly state it.

Think about it like this: why on earth would a site turn down a well-written, free piece of content that has the potential to attract visitors to their site? They wouldn’t.

Want proof? Take the Ahrefs blog. We don’t advertise the fact that we accept guest posts anywhere on our site. However, should someone reach out to us with a cool idea, we’ll almost always accept it.

guest blogger

So how do you find topically-relevant sites? Use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Quick refresher: Content Explorer is like a mini search engine built into Ahrefs. Enter anything, and we’ll search our database of almost 1 BILLION web pages to find mentions of that word or phrase.

Let’s try it for “link building.”

link building content explorer

121K+ results. Pretty cool, right?

But what we have right now is a list of web pages. This isn’t good, because we don’t want to contact the same sites multiple times. What we want is a list of unique websites, which we can get by hitting the “one article per domain” checkbox.

Lastly, filter out any unwanted sites with the inbuilt filters, then hit “export” to download your prospects to a CSV.

one article per domain filters

You should now have a list of hundreds of sites to potentially guest post for. All that’s left to do is to reach out to them, pitch your topics, and get your first guest post published.

 

Broken link building involves three simple steps:

  1. Find a relevant broken link on a website;
  2. Create something similar to the broken resource;
  3. Ask anyone linking to the dead resource to instead link to your working resource.

Let’s take a look at an example of how this process may work.

Here’s a dead link I found in a post on Quicksprout:

dead link quicksprout

Before the page died, it looked like this:

backlinko broken link 2016 wayback machine

SIDENOTE.

Use the Wayback Machine to see how web pages used to look.

If you happened to have a website in the SEO niche, you could take advantage of this by:

  • Publishing your own guide to avoiding Google penalties
  • Reaching out to Neil and suggesting that he swap out the dead link with yours.

I know what you’re thinking:

That seems like a LOT of work for ONE backlink”

True. But here’s a neat hack:

If you paste the URL of the broken page into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer (or Ahrefs’ Broken Link Checker), you’ll see EVERYONE that links to that page. In this case, there are 39 links pointing to the dead resource.

backlinks to broken page

That’s 38 more people who might be willing to swap out their dead link in favor of a working one.

The question is: how do you find relevant broken link building opportunities in the first place?

 

Site Explorer > enter a competing domain > Best by links > add a “404 not found” filter

404 not found best by links

Because this report shows the number of referring domains pointing to each broken page, you can quickly and easily find a goldmine of opportunities.

Here’s a CRAZY example I found a while back in the travel niche:

broken link opportunity

No, your eyes don’t deceive you; that broken page has 900+ referring domains.

This is an INSANE opportunity for someone in this niche.

Read our full guide to broken link building to learn about three other ways to find broken link building opportunities.

Sometimes people will mention you or your business without linking to you. Case in point:

ahrefs unlinked

You can see that this website mentions Ahrefs, but they don’t link to us (i.e., the word “Ahrefs” isn’t a clickable link.)

This happens more often than you might imagine. Here’s another one:

ahrefs content explorer unlinked

 

What has this got to do with link building?

With such mentions, you’re already halfway towards earning a link.

Think about it: You know that the author is familiar with your business because they’ve already mentioned you. So you have the perfect excuse to reach out and, hopefully, convince them to convert that mention into a link.

But how do you find relevant unlinked mentions in the first place?

 

Remember that Content Explorer searches almost ONE BILLION web pages for mentions of any word or phrase. This is super-useful for finding web pages related to a particular topic, but you can also use it to find mentions of your brand across the web, like so:

 

Right off the bat, we’ve found over 17 THOUSAND web pages mentioning “Ahrefs.”

But there’s a problem: We have no clue whether these are linked or unlinked mentions.

To find that out, we’d have to export all these web pages and somehow check that each of them link to ahrefs.com. That can be a time-consuming process, so I’m not going to go into that here.

Instead, I’m going to show you a hack for finding high-priority unlinked mentions in seconds.

First, select the “one article per domain” filter in Content Explorer.

one article per domain

That restricts the search results so that you only see one web page from each website.

Next, use the “highlight unlinked domains” feature to highlight all websites that have never linked to you, like so:

highlight unlinked domains

Finally, export ONLY the highlighted web pages by hitting “export” and checking the “only highlight unlinked domains” box.

only highlight unlinked domains

You now have a neat list of web pages containing unlinked mentions to pursue at your leisure.

 

PRO TIP

Do you want to build links to your ecommerce product or category pages?

These are notoriously difficult to get.

Most people tend to link to your homepage because it’s easier for them to do so.

But what if, say, you’re Airbnb, and someone links to your homepage in a blog post where they talk about their trip to London. Well, it’d make much more sense for them to link to your category page for London-based homes to rent, right? Definitely.

With that in mind, here’s a twist on the unlinked mentions strategy for getting links to these pages: link moves.

 

airbnb link

This link to the Airbnb homepage comes from a blog post about moving to London. Furthermore, the context of the link is all about finding accommodation in London via Airbnb.

Because it would make more sense for this link to point to the London category page, it may be worth reaching out and requesting a link move. By that, I mean asking very kindly if they’d be willing to swap out that homepage link in favor of a link to the category page.

Why should they do this? Relevance.

Those who are likely to click that link will almost certainly prefer to go to the London properties page over the homepage.

Links are difficult to build. There are no two ways about it.

But did you know that you’re probably losing backlinks all the time? Here are all the lost backlinks to ahrefs.com (from unique referring domains) over the past seven days alone:

lost referring domains

Wow. It looks like we’re down by 180 links.

Of course, you can counteract this natural process by building a consistent stream of new links. However, reclaiming lost links is often much easier than building new ones from scratch.

But why are links lost in the first place?

Here are two common reasons:

  1. The link was removed from the linking page;
  2. The linking page ceased to exist.
SIDENOTE.

These are not the only two reasons that links can be lost.

If the link got removed from the linking page, it probably happened for a reason. Perhaps the author updated or revamped the content and your link got removed as a byproduct of that process?

How can you find out when links are lost for this reason?

 

Site Explorer > enter your domain > Backlinks > Lost > look for instances of “link removed” 

thehoth link removed

SIDENOTE.

It’s also worth adding filters for followed links, and sorting the results by URL Rating (UR).

The link in the example above was removed because the content was rewritten.

Should you find this to be the reason for the link loss, see if there’s an appropriate place for your link in the new content. If so, reach out and kindly suggest that they add the link back. Just don’t be pushy.

NOTE. Links can get removed for other reasons. It’s vital that you understand those reasons and handle things accordingly. Learn more about that in our full guide to link reclamation.

But what about links that are lost because the linking page no longer exists?

gotch seo 404

Most of the time, this happens because the author chose to delete the page (and your link along with it). Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about that.

Sometimes, however, pages get deleted by mistake.

If you suspect this to be the case, reach out to the site owner and let them know. They will usually reinstate the page (and your link) should they learn about such an issue.

Furthermore, this is a helpful thing to do and can be the catalyst to a great relationship—a relationship that may lead to more links further down the line.

 

Linkable assets are pieces of content that deserve links: tools, calculators, in-depth and informative blog posts, tutorials, infographics, etc.

Here’s one of my favorite infographics about, well, “infographics”:

If you recall what I said during the outreach section, getting links to this type of content is all about letting the right people know that it exists. Do that, and they might link to it.

With outreach, however, you’re cherry-picking your targets. You’re a sniper.

But there’s another way to get your content in front of your target audience: Pay to promote it using Facebook ads or a similar PPC ad network (e.g., Google AdWords, Pinterest Ads, etc.)

You don’t have to spend a lot. $50-$100 will often suffice. If your content resonates with your chosen audience, a small percentage of them will surely link to it. This might be from their website, a niche forum, a comment on another blog, a discussion board, or elsewhere.

You may have seen us doing this for some of our blog posts on Facebook.

 

Do we do this just for links? No. We don’t do it for links at all—we simply like to get our blog posts in front of as many people as possible.

But there’s no doubt that this practice helps with our link building efforts.

How do we know? Because we have TONS of links to our blog, most of which came about naturally as a result of people seeing our content.

Take our post about keyword cannibalization, for example. It has 216 backlinks from 25 referring domains.

 

We did ZERO outreach for this post. We only promoted it via our newsletter and with Facebook ads, meaning that all these backlinks came about because the right audience saw this asset.

Have you ever come across a piece of mediocre content, checked it out in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, and been blown away by the amount of links it had?

I know I have. Check out this rather pointless, 200-word guide to the paleo diet, for example:

paleo diet page

309 backlinks from 63 referring domains. Madness.

Now let’s imagine for a moment that you have a superior, 5000-word beast of a guide to the paleo diet on your site. Ask yourself: why would someone link to that 200-word guide over yours?

Answer: Because they probably don’t know that a better piece of content exists.

Solution: Introduce them to your content and ask them to link to you instead.

But how exactly do you do this?

Well, first, you need to find one or more inferior pieces of content from which you can steal links.

The easiest way to do this is to search for a topic in Content Explorer and filter for pages that have a good number of links.

Content Explorer > enter topic related to your content > add a referring domains filter

content explorer paleo

Here’s one that fits the bill:

paleo diet page content explorer

You’d then need to check the links to this page by pasting it into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and checking the Backlinks report.

Look for links that might make sense to steal. By that, I mean those where a link to your page would genuinely be more valuable.

Here’s an example:

paleo diet link

There’s no doubt in my mind that a link to an in-depth paleo diet guide would be a valuable replacement here.

Pretty straightforward, right? You can also rinse and repeat this process for more inferior pages.

But before I wrap this tactic up, it’s worth mentioning that you’re not limited to content or so-called “linkable assets” when doing this. Nor do you always have to “steal” links—you can replicate them.

For example, if you have an ecommerce store that sells a specific thing, your goal is to get featured in relevant places, including places where similar ecommerce stores are featured. So why not look at the backlinks to other similar ecommerce stores and find replicable links?

 

Not all link building tactics are outreach-based.

It’s possible to build some links by merely submitting content to appropriate places such as infographic directories, video-sharing sites, and so forth.

But your content needs to be in an appropriate format to be able to do that.

This is where content repurposing comes in.

Let’s say that you have an AMAZING interactive infographic. You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating it, and you wish it had a wider audience. Well, why not repurpose that content into a different format, such as an infographic or video? Then can submit that content to infographic or video-sharing websites.

This is exactly what the smart folks at Neomam did with the interactive “13 reasons why your brain craves infographics” piece that I showed you earlier.

Here it is in static infographic format…

… and in video format:

 

This resulted in some additional links, like so:

youtube link 13 reasons

Are these the most powerful links ever?

No, but such links are still worth having, especially as repurposing content like this is often quite easy to do.

Furthermore, doing so results in the exposure of your content to a broader audience. This is good because more eyeballs = more links.

But content repurposing isn’t the only way to get some quick and easy links.

You can also syndicate your content to other third-party websites.

What does this mean? It means that when you publish a blog post, for example, other relevant sites will pick it up and post it alongside a link back to the source. Some sites republish the full thing, whereas others publish an excerpt and link to the full post on your site.

Here’s a syndicated version of our recent local SEO guide on another site:

syndication ahrefs example

Read our full guide to content syndication to learn precisely how to do this.

Most people focus on building ONLY the highest quality links.

This is a good thing, on the whole. But let me ask you a question: do you think that a genuinely natural backlink profile consists of only followed, editorial links from high DR websites?

Of course not. That’s why it’s important to build links from other sources too.

Forums, message boards, Reddit, Quora, etc—these are all good places to market your website and, in the process, build some relevant links to diversify your backlink profile.

This is something we do at Ahrefs.

ahrefs quora

Now, I know what most of you are thinking: “Josh, aren’t such links nofollowed?”

Yes, a lot of them are, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All natural backlink profiles have a mixture of followed and “nofollowed” links. Furthermore, sites like Reddit sometimes remove the “nofollow” attribute on links within popular threads.

Leaving thoughtful blog comments is another good way to build a few extra links.

Blog comments are almost always “nofollow” links. However, leaving comments on relevant and popular blog posts will help get your content in front of more people. This process can lead to more links, as a percentage of people who view your content will inevitably link to it.

How do you find good blog posts on which to comment?

Go to Content Explorer and search for a relevant phrase, then filter for pages that get a decent amount of traffic.

link building content explorer traffic

Check out some of the results and see if they allow blog comments.

If they do, consider leaving an insightful comment that will attract the attention of readers and hopefully, prompt them to check out your website.

Leaving blog comments will also inevitably attract the attention of the blog owner and further your relationship with them. This increases the chance of them mentioning and linking to you in their future blog posts.

You can use a similar trick with sites like Quora. Identify relevant threads that get lots of traffic using Site Explorer.

Site Explorer > enter quora.com > Top pages > enter a relevant keyword.

quora top pages

This will show you relevant pages with the most traffic. Check them out. If they’re still allowing new answers, get involved in the conversation.

Wait… can’t I just buy links?

Like everything in life, links can be bought.

However, Google has made it quite clear that this practice is against their guidelines. Here’s an excerpt from said guidelines:

Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

So we do not recommend buying links. It’s risky, and you may receive a penalty should Google catch you.

But how much do links cost anyway?

That’s something we wondered ourselves, which is why we reached out to 630 blogs and asked them to sell us a link.

$361.44 was the average price.

Do all links cost that much? Not at all. Some bloggers quoted us around $30-$50, whereas others quoted THOUSANDS. These were all quotes for links to be added to existing posts, or for paid guest posts—both of which are common ways to buy links.

PBNs (Private Blog Networks) are also popular.

These are essentially nothing more than networks of sites owned by the same person, which are then used to build links to a “money” site. Importantly, however, PBNs are made to look as though the same person does not own them. PBN owners work hard to fool Google into thinking that these are legitimate sites that just so happened to link to the same site.

Google doesn’t like PBNs. They have been known to target sites using them in the past.

pbn penalty

The bottom line? Well, I’m sure some black-hat SEOs will disagree with us here, but we believe it’s more cost effective to build links in legitimate ways (e.g., outreach) than to build a PBN or buy links.

That’s what we recommend you do. 🙂

9 Link Building Resources That’ll Increase Your Search Rankings

9 Link Building Resources That’ll Increase Your Search Rankings

Question: Which would you rather have — more organic traffic or better rankings?

It’s a trick question for most of us — we’d actually rather have both. That’s because we know that both search engine metrics can make a huge difference in our businesses.

As you probably already know, Google tends to rank pages higher in search results based on the authority of that page. In modern SEO, links build up the page’s authority and improve its SEO value. In the same arena, duplicate content gets penalized.

The right key word search term can mean the difference in traffic and rankings.

Recent data estimates that the link popularity of a specific page accounts for 22.33% of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm.

What if you could access the most updated resources that would help you build the right links? What difference would that make in your investment, considering that about 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on link building?

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that a link building campaign with useful content and quality anchor text phrases is easier than most people think.

If you can develop and document your strategy, you’ll ultimately generate more authority links for your pages. Both content marketing and link building are like those interconnected steel rings magicians use — the ones that can’t be separated.

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In this in-depth post, I’ll show you 9 link building software resources that you can tap into any time that you want to.

These resources provide scalable link-earning techniques, tips and best practices that are proven to work. When you implement them, your search engine rankings and site traffic will both improve.

1. Broken Link Building Bible (source)

All links are created equal, right? Actually, no.

Link building used to be easy. You could set up a few PBN (private blog network) sites and get a bunch of links that’d push your organic rankings to the top. But does it still work?

The honest guys says you shouldn’t do it. Ditch the idea of a PBNSooner or later, Google will catch up with you and push your rankings to page 107 or de-index your pages altogether regardless of how popular your search term is.

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Instead, to get links that’ll actually improve your search listings, increase your search term traffic and get you a higher click-through rate (CTR), you need to study the Broken Link Building Bible.

Broken link building is a white-hat and scalable tactic for getting the right kind of links.

At its core, it’s a content-focused strategy for any link building campaign. You simply find dead (or broken) links, analyze the page for relevance and create more valuable content to replace the broken content. This helps site owners, editors and webmasters improve their site user experience by replacing broken links with a link to your page based on a search term.

With the right approach, you can create an link building campaign and automate broken link building, which will continually build momentum for your site with this simple link building software.

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As you go through the Broken Link Building Bible, you’ll discover why broken link building is perhaps the most effective white-hat link building strategy to come along in years.

However, understand this: Your success at getting the right links will entirely depend on how willing you are to research and analyze or audit different websites.

Broken link building is all about making an impact. It’s about helping webmasters and making the web a better place.

Webmasters are always happy to fix broken links – if they find them. They know there’s a relationship between Google rankings and links but, on big sites, finding broken links isn’t easy.

You’ll also want to make sure you aren’t linking duplicate content.

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A dead link — that is, a link that no longer works — doesn’t do the user or the site any good. In fact, too many broken links can have a negative effect on a site. Webmasters hate doing all the keyword search term work and link building to have this happen.

Having too many broken links on a page is a sign of a neglected or abandoned site. The Google Search Quality Raters General Guidelines view broken links as one of the ways to measure a homepage’s quality. It’s one SEO tool.

According to Moz, broken link building is a strategy that constructively addresses many of the competing interests in our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs. link building and inbound vs. outbound.

2. Advanced Guide to Link Building (source)

I’ve had my fair share of SEO struggles. I struggled to get other sites to link to my posts. I struggled to keep up with Google updates. I struggled to reach the expected quantity and quality of links necessary to rank highly in Google.

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Those struggles taught me that achieving success online takes time. You have to be patient and you’ve also got to create content that’ll help people get closer to achieving their goals.

One of the best steps I’ve taken since I started blogging is the creation of The Advanced Guide to Link Building, which I shared with the digital marketing world for free. This isn’t link building software but helps you understand the steps necessary for success regardless of what building software you choose..

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If you’ve struggled to build the kind of links that Google loves, the way I did in the beginning, you should study this guide. It’ll show you:

  • How to go about finding and getting those “perfect links”
  • The right way to create epic search term content that’ll help you build relationships with the leaders in your industry
  • How to identify and approach the authority sites you can get links from in just a few minutes
  • The hidden secrets to getting hard-to-come-by .edu and .gov backlinks
  • The step-by-step method of link-building outreach that walks you through the process of initiating and building a relationship with influencers and pro bloggers

3. Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .Edu Links (source)

This resource was written way back in 2011, but it’s been consistently updated to match modern SEO best practices. It’s not your typical long-form post — it’s pretty short, actually — but it’ll show you:

  • Why educational links matter
  • How to create content that attracts .edu links
  • How to build relationships that help you get these links

Link building has evolved significantly since 2011. Lots of tactics that used to work have since fizzled out — e.g., article directories, duplicate or barely-rewritten content, etc.

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But educational sites have remained a viable source of high-quality links for any site.

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Incoming links from educational websites are often perceived as the most powerful links you can get and getting a bunch of these links can skyrocket your search rankings.

It’s true that .edu links aren’t the only kind of powerful incoming links. There’s no proof that Google rates them universally higher than all other kinds of links. John Mu, a webmaster trends analyst at Google Zürich, clarified the issue:

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However, educational backlinks are powerful — just like links from any other high-authority domain would be.

Educational backlinks are hard to get. Your link building software can only help if you have high quality, respected content. According to Felix Tarcomnicu,

The harder it is to get a backlink, the more value it will have.

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Sites with .edu domains typically have high authority as they’ve been around for a long time and have many trusted quality sites linking to them.

That’s why many of these sites are viewed as authoritative by Google. Therefore, getting links from these authority top-level domains improves search performance.

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Wordstream’s guide on using editorial linkbait to get .edu links is a must-read. It uses anecdotes to explain the relevance of educational links and to show how you can create .edu link bait.

Link bait is simply content on your site that other sites link to willingly because the content solves a problem. This is the type of content people will tag with a social bookmark.

When people link to your content page on their own initiative, it means you’ve created a linkable asset. The intersection between link bait and linkable asset is your sweet spot for converting your prospects into customers.

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It can be a blog post, a viral podcast, an infographic or a helpful ebook. Ultimately, you want people to view your site with the same authority and want to tag it with a social bookmark as well.

How to get educational backlinks: High quality links make the difference.  After Google launched Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates, quality became the defining factor of a link, as opposed to quantity.

It’s no longer a question of how many links you need to rank. The challenge that most SEOs and site owners face is actually getting these quality links (e.g., .edu links). This is where high quality, easy to use, link building software makes life just a bit easier.

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The vast majority of educational sites from top universities and colleges don’t accept guest posts. The ones that do accept guest articles are stricter than you can imagine. You can’t just write any post you want and get them to publish it.

Also keep in mind that guest blogger or contributor content may be available through various domain names as it could by syndicated. Check links to make sure it isn’t duplicate content you are using and making a social bookmark with.

So, guest blogging is perhaps not the best or most effective way to get .edu links. But there are other ways that are proven to work.

You can use advanced search modifiers to find education sites in Google. Your goal is to narrow your results down to educational results pages. Some of the search strings you can use are:

a).  site:.edu – shows you search results containing educational result sites only

b).  site:.edu “blog” – returns search results for educational blogs only

c).  site:.edu “forums” – if you want to participate in an educational discussion board

d).  site:.edu “comments” – for educational blogs with comments sections

e).   site:.edu “log in / create account” – returns .edu blog extensions that allow you to sign up as a user for the purpose of commenting or other kinds of participation

f).   site:.edu inurl:blog “seo” – for educational blogs that understand SEO and would be interested in learning more about search engines

Let’s try one of the search strings:

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As you can see, the search result contains only educational sites. But, it’d be difficult to get links from those sites. It’s much easier to get a link from a blog than a static web page. This is the nature of almost any link building campaign.

So let’s drill down our search to focus on blogs:

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These results are more specific to educational blogs related to marketing. If your site is related to sales or marketing, those educational blogs are your targets. 

Broken link building is the easiest way to get your links from educational portals. All you’ve got to do is find dead links on these blogs and suggest better content — your own — to replace it.

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Broken link building works. For example, Michael Chibuzor, founder of contentmarketingup.com, generated 27 links from .edu domains in 90 days.

Brian Dean has taught broken link building and his students are seeing great results. Recently, one of his students, Emil Shour, set out to rank for his most profitable search engine keyword.

He leveraged the skyscraper technique and created an in-depth, long-form article in the employee wellness niche, entitled “121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas for Your Office.”

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Richard researched industry blogs that are relevant to employee management, found broken links and sent outreach emails to all of them.

By doing this, Richard was able to push his post into a number #1 ranking and generated $100,000 in revenue. Richard also boosted his organic traffic by 348% in just 7 days.

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So how do you find dead links on educational blogs that you can capitalize on to get incoming links?

It’s easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

i).   First step: Go to Google and search for educational resource pages. These pages contain lists of links to external sites and contents.

This time, let’s find educational resources for small businesses.

The search string I used is “site:edu “resources” + blogs + small business

And here’s the results screenshot:

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You can see that the search results are relevant to small businesses only. This makes them viable.

ii).   Second step: Choose one of the resources and click on it. Here’s the page, with all of the resources:

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Some of the outgoing links on this page may be dead, but you can’t tell just by looking and clicking on all of them one-by-one will take lots of time.

Instead, use a tool designed for checking dead links …

iii).  Third step: Go to deadlinkchecker.com. Copy the resource page address as it appears on the browser.

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Then paste the site address into the search bar and click the “check” button:

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Out of the 142 out-going links analyzed by the dead link checker tool, 8 of them are dead. Those are the links that return any of these error messages: 404 not found, 400 bad request, -1 not found, etc.

Next, prepare your content. Remember that since you’re concerned about small business, your content needs to be relevant to that topic. Otherwise, it might be difficult to convince the blog editor or administrator to swap out the dead link for your page. Search term research helps here to ensure it is relevant in today’s search engine realm.

iv).   Step four: Send a personalized outreach email. I’ve received several outreach emails that are obviously form letters. Sometimes, the exact same email I receive went out to 10 or more other bloggers.

Don’t do that. Instead, personalize your email subject lines when reaching out to educational blogs. This is key to better email open rates.

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Often,these people are academics and any slight error or hint of deception will result in your email being deleted without being read.

To “personalize” means that you give it a personal touch. If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, address them by their first name.

Not everyone understands how to write persuasive emails to site owners and bloggers. If that’s you, don’t worry. Just use the email templates below and add the person’s name, if you know it.

When using any email template, keep these things in mind:

  • Write lowercase subject lines – I do this all the time because I want the email to seem casual as if it’s from a friend, not a robot.
  • Be creative – emails that are boring and lack emotional appeal won’t get opened or responded to.
  • Personalize – you have to include the person’s name and the website name in the email so it doesn’t come off as spammy.

Here’s a broken link email template you can model:

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If you didn’t find any dead links on your targeted educational resource page, don’t give up. Instead of sending a broken link email, you can simply send a basic link request email.

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If broken link building seems like a lot of work, or too difficult to tackle, there are other tactics that I’ve personally used to get .edu authority links:

  • Blog comments
  • Create a case study that’s relevant to the subject matter
  • Blogger recognition
  • Leveraging alumni news
  • Local resource pages
  • University discounts
  • Improve a section of a site

As you can see, link building software may help but isn’t necessary.

You can learn how to apply all these link earning tactics in Chapter 5 of the Advanced Guide To Link Building.

4. Linking Out Instead of Link Building to Rank in Google (source)

This helpful resource shows you why linking out is a strategy, not a tactic — because when you build quality anchor text phrases to outsiie sites, you also get these benefits:

  • Enhanced awareness for your site and brand
  • Opportunities for other sites to link back to your page
  • Search engine awareness that you have a timely and useful resource
  • More helpful information for your readers

And so on…

Developing a link building strategy isn’t a cakewalk. Heck, even SEO experts sometimes fail at a link building campaign.

Link building software and tools help, but you still need to split test everything.

Outbound links or links that point to external web pages from your own site can actually impact your blog authority. Make sure the pages your links point to are relevant, useful and have good standing with Google.

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At the heart of effective an link building campaign is the concept of giving.

In other words, you link to other sites, pages and case studies willingly.

Linking out instead of link building to rank in Google” is a helpful resource that doesn’t follow traditional advice. Rather, it capitalizes on the principle of reciprocity.

According to Wikipedia, “reciprocity is a social rule that says we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. That is, people give back the kind of treatment they have received from you.”

For example, if you’re writing a guide to SEO, you should link out to authority sites that have addressed the topic before. As much as you can, link out to pages with high page authority – it’ll have a dramatic impact on your search performance and online visibility. Use simple search term phrases for anchor text when possible.

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Reciprocity is one of the most vital of Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. We humans are basically hard-wired to pay back our debts, help those who offered us a helping hand and generally treat others as they’ve treated us.

I’ve applied the principle of reciprocity to grow QuickSprout to over 700,000 monthly visitors and generated tens of thousands of quality backlinks. I give away tremendous value in my content.

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When I write a post, I link out to anywhere from 5 to 20 external web pages that contain helpful and relevant content.

I don’t claim to know it all – that’s why I include the views of other expert’s in my posts. It’s also helped me earn more links and increase revenue since 2007.

Here’s one of my recent posts on neilpatel.com. I linked out to more than 20 external web pages that offer additional information to my readers.

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Linking out to relevant pages not only earns you editorial links, but it also improves your search rankings. A survey of major newspapers on the web found that those who link out tend to outperform others who don’t on several performance metrics.

Check popular sites like Digg, Reddit, Twitter & Tumblr – they all link out excessively, and yet they still have millions of visitors coming back again and again.

If you’re worried that linking out will harm your rankings, do you have any proof of that?

I’ll keep looking, but so far I haven’t seen any proof that linking out to relevant and informative sites/pages that users will benefit from actually hurts my long-term rankings and revenue.

5. Low Hanging Fruit: Linkbuilding with Screaming Frog (source)

To a large extent, valuable content makes it a lot easier to convince webmasters to link to you. According to MarketingSherpa, “53% of businesses view content creation as the single most effective SEO technique.”

There are lots of opportunities to grow your site, if you just study your Google Webmasters Tools data and pinpoint the links coming in to your site.

Go to Traffic > Links to Your Site:

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Next, go to “More”:

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Finally, download latest links (limit is 100,000):

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Getting the right links may seem difficult, especially when you’re not producing enough content.

But if you consider the impact those links will have on your search rankings, you’ll invest in content creation and promotion.

The old way of creating content and expecting customers to just show up is no longer feasible. You need to spend about 70% of your time and resources on promotion – that’s the new and better way.

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Low Hanging Fruit: Link Building with Screaming Frog” is an in-depth post that reveals opportunities for getting the right links using Screaming Frog, a premium SEO tool for link reclamation and link analysis.

Screaming Frog is invaluable as link building software for architecture research. You can also use it to initiate relationships with bloggers and reporters, among other things.

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The tool can analyze your links and show you ways to pass more SEO search term value to your web pages.

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Knowing when to increase your link building efforts or slow down with that mission is critical. This is the whole essence of link velocity, which measures the rate at which other sites link to you.

There’s no single rule on how fast you should get links to your site. SEOs have differing opinions, but Google hasn’t commented one way or the other.

The best approach is to create more content and increase your site authority. Content growth can solve your link velocity problems.

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For example, it doesn’t matter how many links Moz.com or HubSpot.com generate this week; Google won’t view those links as manipulative, because both sites have good authority and thousands of pages already.

6. Your Link Reclamation Sucks Like Irene’s Dyson (source)

Link reclamation is the easiest way to earn editorial links to your pages from referring sites that mentioned your brand but didn’t link to you.

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Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, there are three sources of links you need to reclaim:

i).  Brand mentions: This means aspects of your brand such as your site, events, courses, etc. Other sites could be mentioning your site, without linking to it. Brand mentions are the future of link building. Through link reclamation, you can request actual links be added to mentions that already exist.

 

ii).   Product mentions: Several sites, media portals and discussion boards could be mentioning your product without linking to your sales page or homepage.

If you’ve got a great product, I can almost guarantee that you can reclaim 10 or more unclaimed links today. You don’t need link building software for this. You can use the Rank Tank’s brand unlinked mentions finder tool to find these product mentions across the web.

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iii).   Personnel mentions: What about your team, your name, your nickname or your professional title?

All of these provide another opportunity to reclaim unlinked personal mentions and boost your search rankings based on your company or you being the search term. You want people to view your site with the authority to use you as the social bookmark.

If you want to dominate social media and claim brand mentions easily by building relationships with social media power users, site owners and bloggers, this guide — “Your Link Reclamation Sucks Like Irene’s Dyson” — will help you.

In an earlier Whiteboard Friday video, Ross Hudgens showed that that you can reclaim links from brand misspellings, brand monitoring and moving links to primary domain, etc.

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7.  Ultimate Guide to Link Building (source)

Without a doubt, links connect the web together. Links exist because there are websites, pages and portals that need to share information with users, rank pertinent content, push the drivel aside and prevent plagiarism or duplicate content where possible. That is the job of search engines and every SEO tool must play in their realm.

Who links to your site and how they link to it are more important to Google than virtually any other Google ranking factor. Data from Searchmetrics suggests that the number of backlinks is the third most important factor in the UK Google ranking factors.

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In this book, Ultimate Guide To Link Building, Eric Ward shows you:

  • How to build links
  • How to gain authority and credibility for your website
  • How to increase your site traffic and rankings

Ward teaches with a deep understanding of link profiles, what makes them good and how to maximize the quality of links that point to your site. Understanding this means you won’t need expensive link building software but you may still take advantage of tools to make you more efficient.

Ward uses illustrated case studies, expert interviews and helpful resources in this book to drive his message home. You’ll find that getting backlinks can actually be fun, once you master the art of networking with bloggers.

Using some of the outlined whitehat backlink techniques, Dom Wells, founder of Human Proof Designs, built 59 quality links to his new site in 10 weeks.

And Inflow used email outreach (a tactic for connecting with site owners and getting them to reference and link to your page) to gain 96 links from 43 domains.

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8.  Link Building for Startups – Find Unlinked Brand Mentions at Scale (source)

Most startups waste time trying to get the right links when there’s a far more accessible opportunity right under their noses.

More links will improve your search performance, increase leads to your business and increase your revenue. If you don’t get links to your site, your search rankings, traffic and leads will suffer. Your startup will fail.

If you’re a startup entrepreneur, you’ll agree with me that you need to contend with a lot of competition.

According to Club Z, about 80% of startups fail to see projected return on investment, frequently due to a lack of planning and experience.

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Before you can drive targeted visitors from Google and benefit from your site, you need to build quality links to your pages.

Guest blogging is a viable and free way to do just that. As you contribute to industry blogs, you can speed up your rate of getting links by simultaneously reclaiming your brand mentions.

For example, I could cite your domain name (e.g., dodocase.com) without linking to it. Before someone can visit that site, they’d have to copy and paste it into their browser or look for it via a search engine.

But if the domain name was hyperlinked, when someone clicks on it, they’ll visit the startup site.

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If you’ve been consistently creating fresh and useful content and promoting your site through social media, there’s no doubt that other sites are mentioning your brand name. Don’t let these mentions be a waste; reclaim them and be your own best search term.

And that’s exactly what you can learn from “Link Building for Startups – Find Unlinked Brand Mentions at Scale.”

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9.  How to Get Links on Resources Pages (source)

One of the most effective methods I use for getting links is through resources pages. With this tactic, Startup Company Lawyer got a link on the resources page of Johnson Cornell University.

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Although contextual links are desirable and powerful, you still need to diversify anchor text,  If all your links appear within the content, this may not seem natural.

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I am a firm believer that there’s no single one-size-fits-all approach to link diversity ratios.

Depending on the domain authority and page authority of referring pages and their IP diversities, Google can use these factors to gauge and pass value to your links.

Different niches require different approaches to getting links. For example, building links to a niche site (e.g., a site focused on a specific topic or product) is a delicate process, because you’ve got to be mindful of the linking site – making sure they’re relevant even if they’re not too popular.

But for an authority site, it doesn’t matter where you get your links from. It could be from an entirely unrelated web page, but provided your site has some authority Google will likely not view this as spammy.

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How to Get Links on Resources Pages” is a helpful guide that gives you vital information on how to get the right links by capitalizing on resource pages – pages with plenty of linked-to resources (e.g., blogs, books, papers, resource works, images).

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Matthew Barby used the resource linking tactic to find link building opportunities for the travel blog he created with a group of friends, MeltedStories.com.

He got 15 new links from the sites he contacted, generated a decent amount of traffic and grew his blog.

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Conclusion

At the heart of every link building campaign is email outreachWhether you’re involved in guest blogging, broken link building, social media networking or blog sponsorship, you need to connect with people.

However, you can’t simply blast scripted emails to hundreds of people and wonder why only a handful of them read it and replied to you. You also need to learn how to write high-converting emails.

Get personal. Your target audience wants to connect with you on a personal level. They should want to make you a social bookmark.

That’s the quickest way you can build a loyal audience, get referral traffic, improve your search traffic, increase your email subscribers and grow your sales.

As usual, your comments are appreciated. Which of these resources have read, and what lessons can you take home and implement on your blog?

How can I build links for my website?

How can I build links for my website?

In their book Ultimate Guide to Link Building, link-building experts Eric Ward and Garrett French offer straightforward advice to help you earn a higher search engine ranking and increase the authority and popularity of your site. In this edited excerpt, the authors describe the 10 most essential link-building strategies you can use on your site.

The web today is comprised of trillions of links. Who links to your site and how they link to it is the fundamental factor driving your search engine rank and your website traffic.

If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to building links with other sites, here are 10 easy ways to get started:

1. Create a blog.
Creating content on a consistent basis not only builds links internally (by linking out from your posts), but it also gives you the ability to build links naturally, because content is your greatest asset when attracting links. A blog is essential to many strategies outlined here, such as linking out. You absolutely need a blog in today’s online environment to survive.

2. Internal linking.
You have pages and posts on your website, so make the most of them. Internal links are huge for link building because you can control everything about them, from the location on the page to the anchor text. This is something that most people overlook–please do not! Make sure to steer your content in the direction of other posts or pages so you can link to them.

Warning: Do not use exact-match anchor text in your site’s navigation (sitewide links). This will most likely be another spam filter from Google.

3. Resources/links pages.
Other webmasters have created links, or resource, pages, and these are legitimate opportunities to get links. If the links on that page are relevant, you’ve got a chance.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just asking for a link. The following two suggestions are specific strategies to help you get webmasters liking you before you ask and greatly increase your chance of getting the link.

4. Ask people you know for a link.
Whether it’s your friends, relatives, employees, colleagues, business partners, clients, or anyone else, ask them for a link. Someone you know has a website or blog, so take advantage.

 

 

 

5. Make it easy to link to you.
If you want people to link to you, make it easy for them. Create HTML-ready snippets that people can plug right into their content to link to you, because some linkers in your community might not be too web-savvy. Either create a “Link to Us” page or use a little JavaScript to generate the HTML at the end of each article or post.

Note: This might not be the best option for every community. Are you in the cement niche? Then this is perfect. Are you talking about internet-related business? Then this might not be your best bet, because the majority of your audience probably already knows how to link.

6. Research your competitors.
When it comes to finding new link opportunities, competitor research is one of the first things you should do. Essentially, you’re piggy-backing off their success. While some links are unobtainable (that is, a random mention in a news post), others can be diamonds in the rough (a high-quality niche directory).

Try using SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer for this. Plug in your competitors and export their backlinks to a CSV file. Do this for all your competitors so you can get all their links in one place in a spreadsheet workbook. Then you can sort them by various link metrics to find the best opportunities.

 

7. Link out.
Linking out is huge. Don’t be a link hoarder; you’re going to create content, so use it to gain favor with other people.

8. Build relationships.
This is the No. 1 link-building strategy in the world. Get to know people because this is how to promote a website! Build relationships with them, because it’ll come back to you in the form of links (that is, if they’re the right people).

The best part about this is that it’s just like real life. Remember how people say, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”? The same goes for link building.

9. Niche-specific directories.
As opposed to general web directories, niche-specific directories only accept sites that meet a certain topic criteria. For example, one directory might only accept sites about arts and crafts. Some of these directories are free, while others are paid. One example is Business.com, a directory for business websites. The cost is $299 per year.

10. Paid directories. 
Some directories ask for money before accepting your link(s) in their listings. Dir.Yahoo.com, for example, is a paid directory. Once again, while some of these can pass on legitimate value, others offer little and aren’t worth your time or money.

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