Last time, I wrote about the difference between link building and link earning. In that particular article, I pointed out that one of the major things that separates the two is the fact that the first practice revolves around creating links, while the latter is more focused on creating valuable resources that have the power to encourage people to ORGANICALLY link back to your domain or pages.
This means that the second approach looks at links from quite a different perspective. Within this link earning concept, a link to your site comes as nothing other than a reward for your efforts.
In 2017, that’s the way to go.
If we want to remain on top of our game, it’s imperative that we adopt the second principle.
We need to focus on the searchers, and not just the engines.
In the post-Penguin era, it’s important that we develop a far more tactical approach to creating links for our domains. We need to gather tons of relevant links from human-curated websites.
If we want our backlinks to matter, our efforts need to make sense from the user’s perspective.
In this day and age, we cannot just pile up random garbage in our backlink portfolios and expect to get away with it. That’s why we really have to work on our content and outreach strategy. They both need to be top-notch.
In 2017, it’s more about building relationships, than just links.
If you’re just starting a new website or finally thinking about adopting this link earning mentality – it may feel like a lot to take in all at once. But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through the process. In the following segments of this post, I’m going to teach you how and where to start earning links for your website:
1. Create Profiles on All the Major Social Media Sites
This is basically a no-brainer. Creating accounts on all the major social networks should be at the top of your list. Even though Google doesn’t index links from sites like Facebook and Twitter, these domains still have the capacity to rank high for your brand name.
Both of these websites have an insane number of users, which means they are trusted by many different people from all over the globe.
From a user’s perspective, it absolutely makes sense to invest a bit of effort into promoting your site through these channels. These are the links that your visitors, fans and followers are likely to use in order to reach your company or website, so it’s mandatory to put your brand out there.
Be sure to create your profile on all the top-rated social media sites (especially Google+) and include a link to your website in your profile section.
2. Monitor Brand Mentions
Regardless of who you are or what you do – monitoring your brand mentions is something you need to be doing. There’s a lot of value to be gained from tracking your mentions online. If you keep your ear to the ground and actively listen to who’s talking about you, your brand, your products and services and why – you can quickly and efficiently respond to objective insights and honest criticism. Apart from that, you can make the most of the existing buzz and get some actual links out of it.
Tracking mentions online is quite easy. All you have to do is set up a few Google alerts with your name and your company’s name, and wait for the engine to feed you relevant link opportunities. Every time someone mentions you online, Google will send you an email, so you can easily transform your mentions into valuable backlinks.
3. Be Slick, Claim your Local Links
When creating links for your website, you should always start from your own neighborhood. Your street, city, region – these are the first places where you should look to earn some links!
In 2017, local links matter.
They don’t even have to be directly related to your niche or industry in order to bring some value to your domain. Try hosting a local event, sponsoring local group meetings, speaking at local schools and colleges, registering your brand and business at local community development centers and forums, connecting with all the small businesses with whom you talk to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Also, do your best to create guides, lists and tours that mention and showcase your neighborhood’s uniqueness.
As long as you’re doing something useful and related to your physical location – you’re on the right track. The goal is to do something that hasn’t already been done by other local-specific websites.
Make sure to scout your area for terrific individuals, brands and businesses that are doing things you feel people should know about.
4. Chase Industry-Related Linkable Assets
The best links for your business website will most certainly come from local and industry-related sites. That’s why you need to acquire as many of them as possible.
Be sure to keep a close eye on what’s currently trending in your niche and what you need to do to grab your direct and indirect competitor’s attention. Your no.1 goal should always be to separate yourself from the crowd and demonstrate your expertise to your audience. If you want people to talk about you and your work online, you need to provide enough reasons for them to start considering you as a worthy source to mention.
This is where content marketing comes to shine.
As I have already mentioned above – great content and killer outreach will get you far in this game we call SEO. Many of the best links you could earn usually originate from terrific content. And the best thing of all? You don’t even have to be a professional writer to produce something that could earn you a ton of links. All you have to do is learn how to conduct proper research and apply your expertise to your content.
Make sure you come up with all sorts of blog posts, use cases and case studies that are really useful for the people who have a genuine interest in your niche or industry.
If you’re just starting out, be sure to cover the basics first. What are some of the biggest issues your customers are facing and how can they resolve them?
For example, if you run an SEO agency, try to produce articles that cover topics like:
- [Case Study] How We Ranked #1 for a High-Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months,
- 8 Can’t-Miss Off-Page SEO Strategies to Build Your Online Reputation,
- Sweet SEO Tips from a Team of People Who Do It for a Living,
- Link Building for Your Startup, The “I’ll Answer that for You” SEO Strategy”,
- Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide
You get the picture.
Focus on producing relevant “how-to” articles and sharing knowledge from your own angle. Make sure you have something that has the power to impress your potential customers.
Also, don’t be shy to pour your own personal story into your work. Make it stand out. Be sure to give people a chance to meet the person behind the brand and content, and they’ll reward you for your efforts by mentioning you and your brand across the Web.
5. Reach Out to Cool People and Interview Them on Your Blog
One way to get some serious traffic and linkage for your site is to reach out to interesting people and ask them to do an interview for your site. This is a great approach for various reasons:
- Your interviewees will certainly help you promote the article, which will naturally give you a real chance to expose your brand and business to a much larger audience.
- You will receive fresh traffic, which has a genuine potential of becoming your regular traffic in the long run.
- Interviews have the potential of going viral. If you find an interesting subject that has something truly smart, unique and inspirational to share – your post will rule the Web for at least a couple of days.
- Interviews create actual relationships with industry leaders. If doing an interview with you is a pleasant experience, 9 out of 10 interviewees will be interested in repeating the process and helping you promote some of your future endeavors.
These are just some of the benefits of doing interviews on your blog. If nothing else, a solid interview will demonstrate that you’re someone who really cares about producing interesting content, which will naturally have a significant effect on your overall success as a content marketer.
Once you establish yourself as a serious player in your niche or market, your content will start opening doors and providing more opportunities to take your blog to the next level and earn tons and tons of links without almost any effort.
In order for this tactic to work for you, don’t just go chasing every single person you think is an influencer. Do your best to find someone that your audience actually loves and follows online. You can do this in many different ways. Follow hashtags on Twitter, use Google Hangouts – the works. Once you locate your target, be sure to approach it correctly.
Next to that, be sure to come up with interesting questions that will stimulate your interviewee to share something exceptional with you and your readers. It’s important to give your “guest” a roadmap of where you intend to take the interview. Your interviewee needs to know all the questions in advance, so they can come up with sharp and concise replies. Once the interview is done, you should do your best to first properly introduce your “guest”, and promote your article as soon as it goes live. If done right, a great interview can earn you a TON of quality links. Be sure to really think about the process when you prepare a certain topic and reach out to your chosen influencer.
6. Guest Blog, Find People to Interview You and Post Your Quote on their Site
Guest blogging is something you should already be doing. Writing all sorts of compelling articles for various relevant publications across the Web provides people with an amazing opportunity to take their expertise, share it with others, and earn some serious exposure for themselves, their brand and business during the process. This is a great way to build your reputation online and get people to acknowledge you as an authoritative figure within your niche or market. Guest blogging also helps quality writers establish great relationships with other bloggers and experts from their industry, which, as you can probably guess by now – is crucial for their success.
But you shouldn’t stop there.
Let’s go back to interviews:
Apart from reaching out to people and interviewing them for your website, it’s also very important to find relevant sites where you can be interviewed. Being interviewed by various niche-related sites is crucial for your business. It gives you the opportunity to promote your brand and business in front of a whole new audience. This is how you earn quality links and do killer PR for your company, all at the same time.
Luckily for us, HARO is here to help us get cited on many different sites across the Web.
HARO, A.K.A. Help a Reporter Out, is a great community where marketers, bloggers, webmasters and all sorts of different experts can earn loads of high-quality links by providing compelling answers to trending queries. If you’re someone who has a lot of knowledge in a particular field, HARO could be of great use to you. This platform will help you generate a lot of buzz for your business, services, or products.
All you have to do is register, fill in your fields of interest, choose your role in the community (are you a publisher or a contributor) – and wait for HARO to alert you when something relevant comes up. HARO sends two emails per day to all its contributors. Both of these messages are filled with topics under which you can pitch your ideas.
As simple as pie.
The only downside to using HARO is the competition. This community has A LOT of members, and they are all interested in acquiring some free press. If you want to beat your competitors and earn that link, you need to produce something that truly stands out. Quality and effort are the only things that could help you stand out in this community. It’s in your best interest to actually try to share more knowledge than other parties, who are competing for the same link opportunity as you.
The thing that makes HARO great is that you can easily earn yourself some serious press, without doing something actually newsworthy. This is a place where bloggers and journalists are often just looking for expert opinions in specifics fields, to help them write their story. In order to earn tons of links via this platform, all you have to do is cherry pick your queries and respond to them with amazing content.
Everyone wants to see people write an awesome review of their product. I personally love when some of my users take the time to write a piece about Dibz on their own site. Apart from giving me the satisfaction of seeing how different people react to what I’ve created, nothing can help me promote my tool better than an amazing product review, written by an actual user.
The problem is, people don’t really like writing product reviews. In order to get someone to write about their products and services, marketers resorts to all sorts of different tactics. Most of them bluntly pay web admins to post positive articles about their tools on their sites.
Most people don’t really like this approach. That’s why they tend to switch the game around. One of my colleagues from my previous firm had this strategy where he did a bit of extra digging to find industry-related tools, products, and services that he loves, and felt that his audience will love as well. Once he locates his subject, he proceeds to the second phase of his plan and writes about his positive experience using that particular service or software. Then he publishes the review and reaches out to the company behind the product or service, telling them he has written something that could be of interest to them.
Nine out of ten brands get crazy excited seeing such a review pop up on the Web, so they immediately share his content on all their channels, which naturally helps my former colleague promote his article and earn new links. In addition, once they share his article, this guy tends to send another email, telling them that he would be willing to write a testimonial for their website. If they accept, my former colleague asks them to publish his quote with a link to his site in his bio, and – boom! There you have it, a new backlink for his domain.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post from top to bottom. I hope it has helped you understand how and where to start earning those high-quality links for your website. If you have anything to ask or add – be sure to write your thoughts in the comments section below.