Backlinks are still the most important factor in determining a website’s SERP ranking, acting as a vote for the linked website’s relevance and quality.
With that being said, link building is obviously one of the most important activities in an SEO strategy, but at the same time, it can be easier said than done.
Here, we will discuss four link building tactics that are still effective in 2020, as well as best practices in SEO link building.
Top 4 Link Building Tactics 2020
1. It’s About Your Content
When it comes to link building, we often put too much emphasis on ‘advanced’ tactics and complex methods, but at the same time neglect the most important thing: our content quality.
Here’s the deal: if your content is (really) good, it will always get linked sooner or later. On the other hand, if your content is bad, no amount of tactics and “secret methods” can sustainably help it.
The purpose of backlinks—or inbound links—is to give a ‘vote of confidence’ to the quality and relevance of a piece of content, so we should always remember that principle.
Also, it’s important to maintain the balance between quantity and quality. Consistently publishing relevant, high-quality content—with the right promotion—, can give your site more exposure to get more backlinks, and your site will be recognized and indexed by Google faster.
On the other hand, you should avoid publishing low-quality content just for the sake of regularity. Google can get your site penalized for this practice.
2. Build Relationships
Build healthy relationships with various business partners, media, loyal customers, and influencers in your industry. They are the most reliable and ‘versatile’ sources of high-quality backlinks.
However, even with all these relationships, we should be careful in practicing link-exchange. Remember that the third-party is still required to post a proper, relevant content with a relevant anchor text to link to your page.
A common practice here is for you to actually develop the content—or be a co-author—and let your ‘partner’ publish it, with the following principles:
- You create content to publish, essentially as a ‘guest post’ on the third-party site.
- The ‘guest post’ must relate well with your main content and the placement of the anchor text—and backlink—must be carefully planned.
- The main idea is so that the third-party site can get high-quality content (yours) while you can get a backlink. So make sure to focus on content quality so you can maintain sustainability
- Timing is important. Wait several weeks after the publication of your content before you publish the ‘guest post’ on the third-party site
This is a practice commonly performed by SEO consultants and agencies since they typically belong to a network/partnership of high-quality sites, capable of this link-exchange practice. This is actually one of the main benefits of hiring an enterprise SEO Expert like Mike that you might want to consider.
3. Give Them Reasons To Link Your Page
Think about it, we tend to give outbound links when:
- We are citing other sites for relevant claims/data
- We are using images or infographics or other media
- We are citing news and/or events
Or similar practices.
With that being said, although we’ve mentioned that all quality content will get linked, some types will get linked more often, such as:
- Unique, original data or information (i.e. original research report or a case study)
- Something aesthetically appealing (well-taken photos, infographics, videos, etc.)
- Emotionally capturing content (great stories, great photos)
- Location-specific news/event and information
- Something communicated from a unique angle (i.e. unique opinion about an event)
- In-depth, really useful content
So, you can include these elements within your content—let’s call them, ‘link hooks—, and can be an effective, evergreen approach to always generate backlinks to your site.
4. Just Ask, At the Right Moment
Sometimes, all it takes is just to send a well-composed email at the right time to ask for your precious backlinks.
However, we can imagine an authoritative, popular website will get a lot of these emails every single day, so it’s important to make sure our requests get noticed among all these noises.
A personalized, genuine, and interesting email is the key, and here are some important best practices to follow:
- Always go to the point and make your emails short. Capture their attention as early as possible
- In the opening section—or in your subject line if possible—, let them know how you can provide specific value. Remember that it should be a win-win relationship. For example, let them know if you can provide high-quality content (in a link exchange partnership), or if this particular site has a broken link (which your content can replace), and so on.
- Mention something unique and personal is possible (i.e., if you are both from the same city, how you can help the person’s current issue, etc.)
- Build a genuine relationship first. Ask genuine questions and build conversations before you ask for a link.
Best Practices of Link Building
In general, you should always maintain these following practices in getting more inbound links:
- ‘Earned’ links always better than self-created and traded links. Avoid paid links at all costs.
- Backlinks quality is significantly more important than quantity
- Aim to get high-quality links at all costs steadily but consistently. Don’t aim to create links in bulk. It’s better to get one link per month than 12 links at once.
- Relevance is also important. The source site must belong to your industry/niche—or at least relevant to your content’s topic—. For example, if you are a sports site, getting a link from a high-quality zoo website won’t provide any value.
- Use proper anchor texts for your outbound links, and aim to get relevant anchor texts from the inbound links’ source sites.
- The original purpose of inbound links is to bring traffic to your website—not as a ranking factor—. So, links shouldn’t be generated solely for ranking purposes.
Even today—and especially today—-, link building should be the core of any SEO strategies with backlinks still acting as one of the most important factors in determining Google SERP.
It’s true, however, that how Google takes account of these backlinks has changed over the years: now, quality is more important than quantity.
Yet, we shouldn’t overcomplicate things: if your content is of good quality, you will always get linked in one way or another. Focus on quality and relevance, and build relationships with as many relevant parties as you can.
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