Success in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be simplified down to two key factors:
- A great fast loading user friendly site with quality original content
- Quality relevant links pointing to your website
These two vital ingredients are the recipe for long-term SEO success.
This roundup will be discussing the second crucial ingredient – links and link building strategies.
It’s no secret that to rank on Google for any remotely competitive search phrase is going to require quality links. After all Google was engineered as the “algorithm of links” and links are are one to top 3 ranking signals.
The “link building” philosophy I personally follow and subscribe to has been heavily influenced by the late link building pioneer and expert, Eric Ward, who championed a holistic approach and encouraged building links as if Google did not exist.
By following this approach you will receive quality referral traffic from links and you would want them even if Google did not exist. The irony is that these also happen to be the exact links that will move you up the rankings. They are quality links which are vetted by an editorial process – not just anyone can obtain these links.
When commencing any link building campaign I always keep the following three things in mind:
- Relevance: is the site I’m obtaining a link from relevant to the niche? The more relevant the better.
- Referral traffic: is the link likely to provide quality referral traffic? High quality referral traffic is the goal here.
- Referring domains: does the website I’m receiving a link from have quality referring domains?
With this in mind I reached out to 23 link building experts and asked them the following question:
“What’s your #1 ONE link building tip for 2018?”
As you read through the post you will see the themes of relevance and quality are prevalent.
Kim Kosaka from Alexa.com
My #1 link building tip is to build mutually beneficial relationships with anyone in your industry who reaches the same audience. That includes forming collaborative partnerships with non-competitive companies and bloggers who write about topics related to your industry. Then collaborate on content like webinars, guest posts, and more where you can link back to each other and jointly promote the content.
David Farkas from The Upper Ranks
I believe Google will get better and better at identifying what links are relevant from a users stand-point. So I’d say that in 2018 start shifting your focus less on metrics and more on finding opportunities to build relevant links. An irrelevant domain with high metrics can’t hold a candle to a site that’s firing relevancy on all cylinders.
And many times, you’ll find that a niche relevant site may not boast as high metrics as other sites. But It makes sense for users, and that means it also makes sense for search engines. It’s a good, high-quality link, regardless of what magical number is attached to it. And ultimately this is what you’ll need to move the needle.
Matt Diggity from Diggity Marketing
Quality over quantity. This isn’t anything new, of course, but I’m seeing this concept come into play more and more as the algorithm matures.
I always launch multiple sites in the most profitable affiliate niches I move into. Doing so gives me the freedom to play around and test different ranking strategies.
Just today, I had one of my newer sites overcome my former #1 site, with only 1/4th of the links.
I don’t care if you’re getting links from PBNs, outreach, guest posts… whatever. Just make sure you’re getting your links on top-notch, relevant sites, with trusted links going to them as well.
Nathan Gotch from Gotch SEO
Create incredible and super valuable content assets because this will give you the best ROI in the long run. It’s much easier to promote and acquire backlinks to a valuable content asset than it is to promote anything else. Backlinks come to those that add unique value to their industry.
Andrew Shotland from Local SEO Guide
Our #1 linkbuilding tip for 2018 is the same as 2017. Use our Local Link-o-Matic
tool (now with Rich Semantic Relevance Snippets!) to automatically prospect for and pay for backlinks. It automates virtually the entire linkbuilding process so you can focus on lower value SEO activities like “technical” SEO and creating “content”. As we like to say at LSG, “if you’re building links by hand, you’re kind of stupid.”
The key to link building, especially for a new site, is establishing yourself as a trusted brand in Google’s eyes. Although this can seem like a scary proposition, it’s as simple as making sure you focus the first 6 months of your campaign on homepage links using branded anchor text.
Taylor Tomita from Digital Reach Agency
TRY NEW SH*T. I think one of the best things about link building is finding a wild rabbit hole opportunity for a client, and diving head first into it. Having this ability, while still managing to build good links, can really set you apart from other link builders.
Andrew Dennis from Page One Power
My number one link building tip for 2018 would be keep an open mind when pursuing link opportunities and not limit yourself by preconceived notions about specific tactics. ANY tactic can be spammed, or executed effectively within Google’s guidelines – it’s all about application. Treat each link prospect as the unique opportunity it is and keep all options on the table. This will foster creativity and help you secure more, diverse links.
If a site would benefit from linking to your site then a connection should exist, regardless of the tactic that leads to that connection.
Dave Schneider from NinjaOutreach
Guest posting is still the number one link building strategy that I’d recommend. But in this case, I’d add that you shouldn’t limit yourself to article type guest posting. Diversify your guest posting by participating in podcasts, video/text interviews, expert roundups (such as this one), guestographics, course, workshop, or eBook collaborations, and the like.
(Update – Dave no longer runs these websites, but can be found at lesschurn.io and daveschneider.me).
Adam Steele from Loganix
For local clients, once the typically-basic on-page optimization has been completed, move 80% of your budget into off-page efforts. 80% of which, into local and niche-specific link building. I like a 1 to 5 ratio: for every general, high authority link, I want 4 lower-medium authority niche and local links. Right now, this very simple formula is working well for me.
Jayson DeMers from AudienceBloom
Work on becoming a guest author to major media publications. Many, such as Inc.com and TheNextWeb.com, have contributor platforms that you can apply to and be accepted if you’ve got a strong portfolio of work under your belt. Being a guest author allows you to reference your own relevant work published on your site occasionally. Here’s a walkthrough
on exactly how to become a contributor to major media publications.
Nemanja Mirkovic from PBN Fox
My #1 link-building tip for 2018 is branding.
Branding plays a huge role in SEO now. It’s not as simple as throwing some guest posts or PBN links and hoping for the best. Yes, you can still rank this way but we should aim for long-term, safe ranking. Many people still build most of their links to “target pages” (service or money pages) instead of focusing on the homepage and informational articles (videos, infographics). The second big issue I found while auditing sites is the overuse of keyword rich anchors. Again, use branding anchors (domain.com, Site Name etc) to build trust and authority instead. One last tip, co-occurrence is a powerful thing (having your brand anchor near the keyword or in the same sentence).
Jonathan Kiekbusch from SEO Butler
I believe that there are many ways to build a great link, and while this may be the “boring” answer, the reality is that it really depends on the campaign you are working on.
Typically speaking we would say, build good quality guest posts, using outreach methods. In some cases, you can speed this process up by writing a good guide or reference page and then reaching out to influencers to share it for you.
Expert roundups such as this one are usually a good link and traffic source also.
I would suggest; Make sure your subject lines are short, your emails are unique and your email lists are high quality.
Glen Allsopp from Detailed.com
Find and create your own data that others can use to back up points and make reports. It’s the easiest way to pick up in-content, natural links.
Adam Heitzman from HigherVisibility
When doing a competitive analysis, take note of what pages have garnered them numerous links. From there, think about how you can make a similar article or resource significantly better. Once you have that piece, you have a greater starter list for outreach, as you can target nearly every one of those websites that had linked to your competitor.
Sean Si from SEO Hacker
One of the oldest yet most effective link building tip that has stood strong for many years is guest posting. As long as there is a need for fresh, new, and quality content, guest posting will still have its effectiveness. Aside from being the most effective, it’s also one of the easiest ways to have inbound links to your site. In 2018, guest posting will not lose any of its importance, it may even increase in importance since content is more important than ever.
Carl Watney from Unearthed
Bearing in mind how crucial it is for all content to be mobile-responsive, create a unique quality video of 1-2 minutes duration, using original footage and a professional editor and voiceover (NOT a cookie cutter screencast with robotic automated voices) and ending with a strong Call To Action – and distribute this on social media platforms and online properties as widely as you are able. The traffic you receive from a well-done piece of video content and social sharing will make you question the benefits of quality mobile-responsive video content versus ‘traditional’ link-building.
Nathan Thomas from Income Bully
My #1 tip is probably different than a lot of people doing SEO right now. I don’t care about domain authority, nofollow/dofollow, trust authority or any other metric that people typically use.My focus is on backlinking that can provide traffic directly. I don’t care what the link is, what site it is, as long as it can provide targeted traffic. I would suggest others to stop worrying about metrics of their links, just ask yourself, “will this link bring me traffic”?. If yes, then that makes link building a much easier process that delivers both short and long term effects.
Patrick Babakhanian from SERPchampion
My number 1 link building tip is: Reverse engineer the top authority blogs that get backlinks organically. Mimic their anchor text patterns, link velocity and sources of links as much as possible.
No need to reinvent the wheel.
Kyle Duck from Alli AI
My #1 tip is to create a repeatable system that works for your skill set. That could mean PBNs, media and PR, viral content or whatever. Find something that works, get good at it and do it over and over.
Jason Acidre from Avari
Know the people and entities who’ll most likely share and promote your product or piece of content, even before launching a link building campaign. One of the biggest reasons why people share something is if they see a real value in it. It’s very important to determine what sorts of value you can provide to really thrive in link building.
- Knowing the best types of audience to target in every piece of content we create (even before creating them).
- Understanding more about what our target prospects’ like, need and want, before actually reaching out to them.
Eric Covino from Eric Covino
Thanks for reaching out. Sure, so resource-based link building is essentially finding resource pages on authoritative domains where those domains link out to resources they feel are helpful for their readers and/or users. While you tend to share the page with some competitors, or at least some other external websites, I believe these links help establish a position of authority (again, assuming the links are from an authoritative domain) within a site’s backlink profile as they are fully editorial, non-paid, and topically relevant links.
They tend to be easier to acquire the less commercial your or your client’s site is. As many of the prospects are professional organizations, educational institutions, or government institutions they tend to be leery of linking to an overtly commercialized website. You can overcome some of that if you have a really helpful and well-put-together piece of content combined with a solid brand.
Chaz Edward from Web 2.0 Ranker
My number one tip for doing link building is to incorporate a deep linking strategy into your overall link building routine. Deep linking is building links to a secondary page or post (usually a blog post or resource page) that contextually links back to the target page using an exact match or near match anchor. Deep linking does a few things, it helps spread links around to inner pages which appears natural and can help buffer your target page as well as boost the overall authority of the domain. Additionally, just the fact of having supporting posts and/or resource pages that link back to the target page is favorable because Google tells us that part of the on-site ranking score is determined by the internal link structure of a site, and pages with more internal links pointing to them are deemed more important – https://patents.google.com/patent/US8843477
Marcus Svensson from Albacross
Although there are tons of ways to get a link to your site, I would like to share one of the easiest methods of link building – testimonials. Lots of companies provide their users with a possibility to leave the feedback about their experience with the product or service. To tell the truth, the companies strive to get as many positive testimonials as possible from their customers. This can have a significant effect on building business credibility. You, from the other side, have a chance to help a company to stand out with your feedback and at the same time get a backlink and potential traffic to you website.
Marcus Svensson is responsible for the Growth of Albacross with previous experience as a founder and background in Mathematics from Stanford. Albacross is one of the top lead generation tools in Europe today and growing with hundreds of new companies every day.