Actionable Guide to Link Building for Home Improvement Websites

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Anyone coming from the exciting world of SEO probably knows that link building is among the most crucial aspects of digital marketing, specifically of off-site Search Engine Optimization. In order to improve your client’s online visibility, your online marketing campaign should include some kind of a link building strategy. If this is not the case, your SEO strategy simply won’t reach its full potential, resulting in you missing out on numerous business opportunities.

The problem is that link building is often a lengthy process that requires a lot of effort and patience, with little initial payoff. However, if you delve a bit deeper into the process and invest in at least one SEO tool, you will quickly start reaping all the fruits this effective off-site SEO method has to offer.

But let’s start from the beginning.

The Holy Trinity of SEO: client, competitors and audience research

Before the process of link building can start, you need to do some sleuthing. The research you will have to perform involves finding out as much as you can about:

  • Your client
  • Their competitors
  • Their audience

Though some of these research tasks may overlap, this investigating process is an ongoing event that technically never ends and should be revisited every once in a while in order to glean new information and update your strategy.

Pro Tip:

Make template spreadsheets with allocated columns for relevant data to make your research process easier and your link building strategy more organized and effective.

Step 1: really get to know your client

To improve your client’s online visibility through link building, you must first get to know their:

  • Tone of voice
  • their current linkable assets
  • Their values, goals and standards

Just by doing this very first step in the research phase, you will be able to gather valuable data that will give you a nudge in the right direction in terms of link building tactics (we will cover this in more detail later in this post).

Some of the main aspects of the client-oriented analysis include:

  • Thorough content audit to identify which content pieces need to be completely removed, updated, expanded, promoted more aggressively or completely repurposed.
  • Determining your client’s goals in terms of keywords and competitors’ campaigns they look up to.
  • Determining link building tactics your client is willing to invest in and discussing which websites they perceive as their quality standard. This is where you shouldn’t only act as a passive link prospecting mediator, but as an active SEO advisor.
  • Determining your client’s additional SEO assets other than website and content: - Potentially valuable industry connections - Prominent partners who can boast large audiences - Something unique to offer that their target audience and market need (for example an access to valuable data no other company can offer)

Step 2: thoroughly research your client’s competitors

Performing a detailed competitor analysis will give you even more insight into which link building tactics work best within the home improvement niche, and simultaneously provide you with numerous prospects during the process.

What to keep track of:

Keywords and anchors

Taking a closer look at competitors’ anchors for incoming links, internal linking, and other linking assets, alongside closely examining the keywords they are focusing on, will help you determine which keywords you are more likely to rank for, but also which ones are not worth including.

Pro Tip:

Focusing on the keywords you want to rank for is paramount, but make sure you take into account those that will come in handy later in the prospecting phase: names of the influencers from the home improvement niche, relevant companies from the industry, specific events...

Backlinks

Research the websites linking to your competitors and figure out how to contact them. Allocate one column in your spreadsheet to the bare domain, but also have one for the very page on which the link was found, and at least one column for the pages specific to that kind of website.

Pro Tip:

If the site in question is a home improvement related blog, save the following data:
  • the page with the competitor's link
  • blogger’s contact email
  • blog’s "write for us" page (if they have one)

Important note: Don’t forget to take into account the broken links you come across. (We will explain why this is crucial in the link building tactic section of this article).

Content

Find out what type of content has attracted most attention in terms of organic links, likes, shares; and figure out what exactly makes that content so successful (content quality and marketing strategy) and then try to replicate it with your client’s personal touch.

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Pro Tip:

While researching their content, make sure to track down the gaps in their content i.e. topics that they haven’t covered but your client has the potential to tackle.

Step 3: do a thorough target audience research

Figuring out what portion of the audience to target is pivotal, and digging deeper into their behavior can really make a difference. Try finding out:

  • what type of content works best for them
  • what triggers them to share a piece of content
  • which tone of voice do they prefer
  • which social media platforms can be utilized to reach them
  • how do they formulate the queries when searching for data/product/services your client is offering
  • Which brands and influencers they look up to and trust the most, and what made them so influential

Pro Tip:

Use Google Analytics to record the audience’s behavior. Read the comments they post on social platforms/forums/blogs and use that info to your advantage.

Link building tactics for home improvement websites

Once you are done with planning and research stage, it’s time to move on to actually implementing all the information you’ve gathered.

Here are some of the most effective home improvement link building tactics, along with tips on prospecting and assessing linking opportunities most likely to help you improve your rankings.

Guest blogging

As effective and popular tactic in home improvement niche as it is in any other, writing guest posts for relevant, well-known and authoritative blogs is a great way to improve your client’s rankings, traffic and online exposure in general.

You can look for adequate blogs in a number of ways:

  • Competitor research, that you have hopefully already completed by now
  • Following the social networks profiles of prolific authors in the niche
  • Reverse image search for profile pictures of those authors, or for images often used in posts similar to the one you’re writing
  • Examining the comments section of relevant blogs you’ve found

Of course, if you know what you are doing, you don’t need anything more than a carefully composed Google search - or dozens of them performed simultaneously by Dibz.

When composing a query, you need to define that you are looking for a home improvement blog, and if possible, for one that has already been demonstrated to publish guest posts. If you want to do this in Dibz, or if you are working with clients in different niches, it is very useful to divide the queries into two segments - in Dibz called keywords and advanced parameters.

The keywords part is used to define the niche, and the advanced parameters section to explain what kind of a website or a page you are looking for. This means that you can use the same parameters to look for certain types of websites in different niches - you only have to change the keywords.

Since you have to make sure that the keywords you are using are those likely to be found on the page you’ve specified in the parameter, to make it equally easy for you to use these searches in Dibz as it would be in Google, we won’t give you full queries, but simply provide a list of parameters of a specific type, followed by a list of keywords that you could combine with each of those parameters. So, when it comes to guest blogging in the home improvement niche, there are three basic types of keyword/parameter, combinations:

  1. Targeting the 'write for us' page - leading you straight to relevant blogs known to accept guest posts. Keywords you need to use are the ones often found on these pages, like broader topical categories related to the niche, title examples, or the audience that the blog is intended for.
  2. Parameters

    • intitle:"Submit an Article"
    • inurl:/write-for-us/
    • intext:"Your article will be published"
    • intext:"Your post must be original"
    • inurl:/guest-blogging-guidelines
    • inurl:/contribute/
    • intitle:"Guest Post Guidelines"
    • inurl:/submit-article/
    • intitle:"Contribute to our site"

    Keywords

    • interior design
    • home decor
    • kitchen design
    • tips bathroom remodel
    • decorative concrete
    • home staging tips
    • luxury home decor
    • top interior trends
    • home improvement tips
    • home renovations
    • DIY and interior design enthusiasts
    • gardening
    • arts and crafts
    • vintage furniture
    • tips for new homeowners
    • retrofitting
    • landscaping

    Pro Tip:

    You don't have to use just one keyword or parameter in a query. You can combine more of them with OR operator, and thus cover all the popular versions of one footprint or keyword in just one search. Example: "home improvement tips" OR "home renovations" OR "DIY and interior design enthusiasts" inurl:/write-for-us/ OR inurl:/write-us/ OR inurl:/submit-article/
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  3. Targeting the page with the published guest post - again the same advantage of knowing that the blogs you’ll get in the results are collaborating with guest bloggers. You can use most of the keywords you’d use in the previous example, so we won’t be repeating them, but you can also use the names of popular authors in the niche, popular brands, or anything else likely to be found in these posts. Since most of what you are looking for will be in the body of the page, you mostly won’t need to use advanced operators, just phrases in quotation marks.
  4. Parameters

    • "contributing writer"
    • "guest blogger"
    • "guest column"
    • "guest contributor"
    • "guest post courtesy of"
    • "guest post was written by"
    • "community post, written by one of our"
    • "the following guest post"
    • "this guest post is from"
    • "his guest post was written"
    • "this is a guest article"
  5. Targeting all the relevant blogs - you can’t be sure they will be interested in a guest post, but that’s also true for websites that have been publishing them previously, or that do have a ‘write for us’ page. Again, the keywords are the same as what you would use in the examples above, while parameters contain footprints found all over typical blogs. Of course, since home improvement niche is characterised by ample use of images, you’ll often find relevant blogs by simply doing a reverse image search with an infographic you are constantly coming across, a prolific author’s profile headshot, or one of the stock photos that you’ve seen on just about every home improvement blog you’ve ever visited.
  6. Parameters

    • inurl:/blog/
    • inurl:/2019/
    • intext:"this blog is mean"
    • intext:blogroll

Pro Tip:

The more specific the keywords and footprints you use, the more precise your search. For example, 'blogroll' is a term that is by far most likely to show up on blogs, making it great for these searches.

Resource pages

Well-researched, actionable and reliable guides are highly sought-after by people interested in home improvement. From DIY enthusiasts to those who have to invest in serious renovations, a large part of the interested audience is not there just for the pretty images, but actually in search of information they can trust. If you don’t have something like this already it’s time to create it, and if you do, it’s time to start promoting it.

During the competitor backlink analysis, you are bound to find pages listing home improvement related resources, like helpful posts, instructional videos, transparent and informative case studies, etc. If you’ve been taking note of those pages, you can go through them and find the recurring phrases and footprints.

Aside from those listed in the guest posting section, your keywords choices will include reputable authors in the field; names of companies which probably conducted research likely to be mentioned on these pages and phrases usually found in the titles of these resources. As for the parameters, some of the most common ones include:

  • intext:“suggest a link” OR intext:“suggest a resource”
  • intitle:resources OR intitle:links OR intitle:”further reading” OR intitle:”more resources” OR intitle:”other resources” OR intitle:”favorite resources” OR intitle:”favorite tools”
  • inurl:resources OR inurl:"favourite resources" OR inurl:links OR inurl:"favourite links"

Pro Tip:

Once you have a list of decent representatives of what you are looking for, you can always try finding more with the help of related: operator. Simply place it right before the URL of a site you like in Dibz or in Google search - related:www.example.com, and if the site you've provided is indexed and 'popular' enough, you'll get Google's recommendation for other, similar websites.
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Broken link building

Depending on the quality and variety of content already on your client’s website (or on yours if you are doing SEO for your own home improvement website), doing the research for resource page link building makes it very convenient to move right on to broken link building.
While looking for resources that you could emulate or that you already have something similar to, you had to have been constantly coming across broken links. You can find a number of browser extensions that are scanning the pages you visit for broken links, simply installing one and having it active while prospecting for resource pages brings a nice list of pages that are no longer there, and that were once considered link-worthy.
While contacting the sites where those links are found and suggesting they replace it with one to a similar resource you have (or intend to create) doesn’t have the greatest response rates it requires minimal additional investment form you, in time or money, and can bring in amazing backlinks.

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Local citations

If the client you are promoting is not someone running a personal blog, but a retailer or a provider of home improvement related services, getting them into local or niche-specific directories is an important part of helping them verify their identity with Google as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Naturally, this is only true if you take the time to provide detailed and accurate NAP (Name, Address, Phone) info and remember that quality is far more important than quality - in link building in general, but with local citations especially.
Competitor research is, again, all that you need to find the best keywords, but you can use anything from your location or the names of categories commonly found in these directories to the names of your competitors in the broadest sense, i.e. basically anyone in your industry.
Once you have the common variations of these groups of keywords, simply combine them with some of these parameters:

  • "free business directory" OR "free local directory" OR "add free listing"
  • intitle:"business directory" OR inurl:"business directory"
  • inurl:submit intitle:directory intext:listing
  • intext:"review your listing" AND directory
  • inurl:/business-categories/ OR inurl:directory-listing OR inurl:submit-directory
  • inurl:submit AND inurl:free AND inurl:listing OR inurl:business OR inurl:link

Outreach for home improvement link building

A lot of the people you might want to outreach for a link are in home improvement because they have an actual passion for the subject and sophisticated aesthetic sensitivity, which means the more you actually share their interest for the subject, the better you’ll get along.
Since you can theorize about outreach as much as you want and still not get any closer to the truth until you actually give it a shot, we asked our link builders with years of experience in promoting home improvement websites, what is it that seems to be working the best for them.
While we’ll cover outreach for guest posting, the same principles apply for other home improvement link building tactics as well.

Subject line

Keep the subject line short, and at least hint at the possibility of cooperation. While you might want to refrain from directly mentioning guest posting, you need to at least allude to a collaboration, potentially even a long-term one. Mentioning the blog or the name of the blogger you are contacting can also improve open rates, as can phrasing the subject as a question, thereby prompting action.

If you are contacting a blogger and not a major company or an institution, there’s no reason to be afraid of a bit of humor in the subject line, as long as your research of the blogger supports that approach.

Body of the email

People you are contacting have an eye for detail, and your email is a direct representation of how skilled you are at making text and links look presentable. Your email should be short and pretty.
Feel free to offer several topics you could cover for them, and make sure that they are in tone with what the blog already offers. Of course, always leave the room for bloggers to tell you if they already have a topic in mind.
Listing you previous references is invaluable, as they need to see that you can actually deliver what you’re promising, however, if you have quite a few of them, you’re probably better off creating an online portfolio page, listing them there, and simply linking to the portfolio in the email.

Personalization

home improvement niche. Like we mentioned, a lot of people you will be contacting will be passionate about what they do.
They will have strong preferences or animosities, so ensuring that you understand what their taste and convictions are, can make a world of difference.

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Example template email

Hello [bloggers name],

My name is [name], and I’m an interior design enthusiast from [location]. I love spicing up my living space and finding new ways to keep up with the latest trends and your blog has been a great source of inspiration in this regard.

I’d love a chance to become a guest writer for you and share some of my experiences with your readers, as I think my articles could fit right into the message you’re trying to convey. I’ve been covering a wide range of topics so far and you can see my writing style here:

[link to online portfolio]

As you can see, I’ve been exploring various home improvement subjects in the past couple of years. I really hope that we can come up with a topic your readers will find interesting and innovative.

If you’d like to give this a go, I’m open to all suggestions.

Kindest regards,

[name]

Final word

While we couldn’t go into too much detail, we hope we have at least outlined the entire process of link building for home improvement websites, and given you an idea how to find and outreach relevant prospects.
If you want to find out more about which sites to avoid or what else are you getting from a backlink apart from the famed link juice, our blog and Learn SEO sections will answer these and any other questions you may have about link building.