One of the most effective ways of succeeding in SEO is to stay up to date with what’s happening in the industry. This means keeping tabs on the latest algorithm changes that Google keeps rolling out and also consulting other industry experts to find out about new tricks and strategies that are working for them. In this Link Building Guide we aim to show you what is working in 2020, from our own experience!
Here at Profit Engine, we’re continually testing new techniques to ensure our clients are getting the best possible results in their SEO campaigns. Recently, we set out to find the best link building tactics that still work in 2020. After a lot of research and testing, we settled for nine methods that we’re about to unleash for the first time. And that’s not all; we’ll also share a handy tip that we use to boost our guest posting and outreach results. So, read till the end to brush up your SEO skills and stay ahead of the pack. Most importantly, implement what you learn in this detailed guide as that’s the only way you can boost your traffic and ultimately your business revenue.
Ready? Let’s dive straight in!
Technique #1: Link roundups
Link roundups offer an excellent method, not only for building powerful backlinks to your website but also for starting valuable relationships with other webmasters. If you’ve never used or even heard about this link building strategy, here’s what it entails.
For starters, link roundups are daily, weekly, or monthly blogs where a site owner curates exceptional content that has been published recently by others in their niche. Essentially, the publisher surfs the web looking for high-value content that they can share with their readers. They then write a short description of each of these resources and link back to those pages.
How to find link roundup opportunities
When using this method to build backlinks, you first need to find websites that run roundups in your niche. For this step, go to Google or Twitter and pop the following search strings:
- “keyword” + “best blog posts”
- “keyword” + “best posts of the week”
- “keyword” + “best posts of the month”
- “keyword” + “best pieces of content”
- “keyword” + “link roundup”
- “keyword” + “roundup”
Contacting site owners
Once you’ve found several relevant sites, it’s now time to reach out to the owners requesting them to consider your content in their future roundup chains. Start by finding their contact information, preferably email addresses or social media handles. A few tools you can use here include Hunter.io for finding emails and LinkedIn when you need to gather more details about your target contacts.
Armed with the right contact information, you can now go ahead to contact the website owners. The following is a simple email/social media message template that has worked magic for us:
Hey (site owner’s name), A New Resource for Your Roundup
Hey (site owner’s name),
I just came across your (roundup name) this morning. You’re doing such an excellent job!
I’m reaching out because I recently created (content description) that might be a good fit. If interested, you can check it out here: URL here.
Either way, keep up the fantastic work J
The reason why this pitch works is that it’s simple, straightforward, and not spammy or pushy. Your aim should be to let the webmaster know that your content exists while avoiding being seen as begging for a link. If they think your post is stellar and deserves to be seen by their audience, then you’ll be lucky to score a free link.
Technique #2: Broken link method
A lot has been said about the broken link method, including claims on how it no longer works and not scalable enough. However, we can assertively say that this technique still works if you have the right system and are ready to put in the work.
So, shall we get started!
Just as the name suggests, this popular link building strategy entails finding opportunities in broken links to build new links to your site. You will need to identify sites that are pointing to pages or websites that have since been deleted or shut down and inform their owners about it. In the process, you can suggest that they point to a resource on your site that offers equally relevant or even better content than that which is already broken. Simple, right?
Here’s how to find relevant broken links
There are several ways you can use to find broken links on any website. But for this guide, we’ll show you two easy methods that offer effective results.
For starters, we recommend a tool we’ve used with a lot of success named Check My Links. It’s a free Google Chrome extension that helps you find broken links page by page. All you need is to visit your target website, run the tool, and let it identify all the broken links on its pages.
Another method we use when we want to find broken links in bulk is through the broken link checker by Ahrefs. This powerful tool enables you to scan and locate every 404 error pages that exist on your target website. Ahrefs also shows you all sites linking to these broken pages, which is the information you want for your link building work.
Contacting site owners
If you have already compiled a list of sites with relevant broken links, you can now go ahead and contact their owners. Use the same process we explained earlier to find their best contact details and send them the following email:
Hey (site owner’s name),
My name is Jason and I’m an avid reader of the awesome content you publish here regularly.
However, as I was searching for some information on SEO this morning, I stumbled upon a link that didn’t seem to be working. The link in question is in this post (insert URL here) and goes to this page (enter URL here).
It looks like it used to be a post on SEO techniques, but the (site owner’s name) removed it.
We just created a similar guide last week and wanted to ask if it might make a suitable replacement for you? Here’s the link (URL here).
Either way, keep up with the great work.
Technique #3: Podcasting for link building
Less than a decade ago, podcasts were hardly a topic in the ever-growing marketing industry. Today, nearly every expert is hosting one either on their site or on popular aggregator platforms like Stitcher and iTunes.
Apart from using podcasts to reach and grow your audiences, you can also use them to acquire valuable links, whether as the host or the guest. How this happens is that the website hosting the podcast will usually link to their guest’s website. In return, the guest will link back to the podcast to direct their readers or subscribers to check out the resource. Some fans are also likely to link to their favourite podcasts on the hosting site.
But that’s not all as these links tend to drive highly targeted referral traffic that you can tap to grow your email list, boost your social following, and increase sales. When leveraged correctly, podcasting also offers an excellent way to build brand authority and trust.
Technique #4: Turning unlinked brand mentions into links
If you’re looking for a simple way to build links to your website, we highly recommend you prioritise this one. Essentially, the technique involves finding websites that mention you, your brand, or anything that is directly related to your business but do not link back to your site. When someone does this, it means they’re already familiar with your business, which makes it very easy to convince them to give you a link.
So, how do you find unlinked mentions in a sea of websites?
There are several ways to do this, but I’ll show you two simple methods that I use and which have worked for me.
For starters, I implement the Ahrefs Alerts tool to track brand mentions on the web. To set up a campaign, all I need is to specify the search terms(s) I want to track, my preferred language, web sources that I’d like to track, and where I want the results to be sent to (email). To avoid needless or false notifications, I always block my domain from the tracking process.
Another simple method that I use is through a handy tool known as Brand24. This is a social monitoring and listening tool that helps you track keywords and brand mentions across multiple online channels. To set it up, you need to create a new project that consists of the keyword you want to track (in this case your brand name), the channels you’d like to include, and finally the keywords you don’t want tracked (if any). Monitoring begins immediately after you set up your campaign while results are returned after every hour. You can choose to receive your notifications via email or by visiting the tool’s user dashboard area.
Once you’ve identified several potential link building opportunities, it’s now time to reach out to those websites to try and convert the unlinked mentions into links. You’re free to ‘steal’ the following outreach template that I have used with impressive level of success:
Hi (site user’s name),
Jason here, from My Profit Engine.
First off, thank you for mentioning My Profit Engine in your recent post on link building for affiliate websites. (Insert the article’s URL here)
Such an excellent article. I particularly loved your unique insights on the broken link method.
Anyway, I was wondering if it might be possible to include a link to our site, in case your readers want to learn more about what we do?
(Insert link to your site here).
Either way, keep up the nice work,
Technique #5: The HARO strategy
We all can agree that getting backlinks from authority websites is one of the hardest things any website owner can deal with (of course, along with creating valuable content consistently). Fortunately for you, there are still a few ways you can use to land these enviable links even if your website is still a ‘nobody’ in your industry.
HARO, which is an abbreviation of Help A Reporter Out, is a free service meant to provide journalists and reporters with sources of information for media coverage. In return, the sources which mostly comprise of bloggers and business owners get press mentions and backlinks.
How to use HARO to acquire high-quality backlinks
To begin with, you’ll need to sign up as a source on the HARO website. This service sends out three emails from Monday through Friday at 5.35 am, 12.35 pm, and 5.35 pm ET time. What you will be looking for in these emails are requests you think are relevant to your niche and whose answers you can provide expertly. You will then submit a pitch to the news outlet that sent that particular request.
To stand a chance of getting responses, you will have to provide detailed and well-thought-out answers, especially if your target outlet is a popular name. While at it, do not forget to provide a link to your website and your author bio.
HARO might not promise tens of backlinks, but the few you acquire using here will likely be powerful and worth the hassle. With time and as your pitching experience grows, you should be able to land links from some of the world’s biggest news media houses like the New York Times, Inc., and Forbes.
Technique #6: Pre-outreach link building method
Let’s face it; creating quality content is difficult and time-consuming. Promoting it is even more difficult, especially when you have to compete with thousands or even millions of other websites for reader attention. As such, the one thing you want to avoid is to create content that no one is interested in reading, watching, or linking back to.
Pre-outreaching is a strategy that involves contacting other websites to promote content even before you can publish it. The idea is to inform people you collaborate with or industry leaders about a piece of content you are creating and which you think they could love.
For the best results, only use this strategy when you’re sure that the content you’re creating is super interesting and probably contains data from your research or experiments. Sure, it could be a topic that has been written before by others, but if you can approach it from a unique angle, then it’s likely to elicit some interest.
Another way to increase results with the pre-outreach method is to leverage your existing industry connections and brand power. Indeed, this method hardly works optimally for new or little-known websites with few or no relationships with industry experts and content promotion partners.
Finally, once your post is live, give priority to those who responded positively to your initial outreach email. Send a simple email requesting these webmasters to share it with their social following or email lists or offer feedback on it. A word of caution here is that you should refrain from openly asking for a link. If they think the post deserves a backlink or mention, then you be sure they will be happy to give it some love.
Technique #7: .edu resource page link building
A few years ago, Google rolled out a ferocious algorithm that severely punished websites that were seen to be misusing the powerful .edu backlinks. As has always been the case with all major algorithm changes, thousands of sites were significantly affected, losing massive amounts of traffic in the process. Since then, the SEO industry toned down on building .edu links with some experts even discouraging webmasters from using them altogether.
However, I’d like to confirm that .edu links still work and are as powerful as ever, only that you’ll need to be extra careful to avoid crossing Google’s red line on them. For starters, do not overuse this strategy or make it your primary link building method. Having .edu links from fifty different sites is obviously going to look shady in the eyes of Google, especially if yours is not an authority site.
Finding opportunities for .edu link building
Say you have a website on debt management, and you’re looking for relevant resource pages on popular University websites. To do that, pop the following search strings on Google:
- Site:edu “your keyword”
- Site:edu “your keyword” + inurl:links
- Site:edu “your keyword” + “resources”
- Site:edu “your keyword” + öther sites”
Using this method, you should find several relevant resource pages that could accept some of your detailed and professionally done content pieces. Email the people who run those pages using the following simple script:
I was searching for content about (topic) on Google this morning when I stumbled upon your excellent resource page: (URL here).
I just wanted to thank you for creating this page. I would never have found the (resource they link to) were it for this resource.
Coincidentally, I recently published a detailed post on (topic) where I share (brief description). It’s full of actionable tips and is backed by verifiable facts and data.
You can check it out here: (URL)
The guide might make a great addition to your page.
Either way, thank you for the lovely work you’re doing.
Have a nice day!
Technique #8: Moving man method
The name ‘Moving Man Method’ was coined by Brian Dean of the famous Skyscraper technique. The concept behind this method is quite similar to the broken link strategy that I explained earlier on.
To begin with, you will need to find online businesses and webpages that are outdated or those that have changed names recently. After that, look for sites that still link to these dated or invalid resources and let them know about it.
Take a look at this example; a local restaurant just closed shop after many years of operating. As a result, they leave behind a shell website that no longer serves its purpose. To find everyone who was linking to them, check the site using a backlink checker of your choice. I’m a big fan of Ahrefs but you can use many others, including SEMRush, Moz Link Explorer, or Majestic SEO.
Note down all websites that are still linking to their pages. If they are many, you can choose to go for only those you deem to be the best fit based on factors like niche and authority. From here, try contacting their owners to inform them about the closed business while also suggesting your site as a great replacement.
Technique #9: Guestographics
Just as the name suggests, the guestographics method of building links is a combination of guest posting and infographics. It entails creating infographics and publishing them on both your website and other sites. Usually, you will need to write highly informative articles that you then repurpose to create a visual asset for building links.
Suppose you run an e-commerce site which, as you probably know, can prove quite tricky to attract backlinks naturally. For this reason, you might decide to create a well-thought-out infographic and start promoting it to other website owners in your industry. The trick for succeeding here is to target a topic that hasn’t been covered exhaustively by others, but which still garners a lot of interest in the industry.
Create an epic piece of content on nearly everything you think can be included in the post. You can then hire someone to create a colourful infographic from your written content, or you can even do it yourself if you have the skills.
Once it’s ready, begin contacting site owners to inform them about the visual piece and show them how it could benefit their audience. If your infographic is well done and you’re lucky enough, you should be able to score a few links from your outreach work.
Bonus tip: Using Google Images to finding guest posting opportunities
You’ve probably heard some SEOs claiming that guest posting is dead; however, nothing could be further from the truth. When done correctly, guest posting remains to be one of the most powerful techniques for building links and boosting site traffic. Here at Profit Engine, we offer bespoke outreach services, with the majority of them being guest posts on niche relevant and quality sites.
Over the years, we’ve streamlined our process for finding sites to guest post on. A simple tactic that has worked exceptionally well for us is through the use of Google images. Here’s the exact procedure we follow:
- First, we identify a few webmasters that write a lot of guest posts in a particular niche.
- We then capture the URL of the headshot that they include in their author bio.
- Finally, we reverse search this image on Google to find everywhere it’s featured, which in most cases are websites where their guest posts have been published. Easy-peasy, right?
Tying it all together
So, there you have it; our top nine most effective link building tactics that work in 2020 and a sweet bonus tip to scale your guest posting results. Each of these methods has worked superbly both for us as well as our clients’ websites. If you’re just starting out, we advise you to choose one technique at a time and perfect it, before moving on to the next.
Of course, do not overdo any of them as this could land your website into trouble with Google for over-optimization. Other than that, you need to take a lot of caution with your choice of anchor texts. Ideally, you want to mix things up and avoid overusing the exact match text. Finally, always strive to build your links from relevant websites that are either in your industry or related fields.
So, what did we leave out? Have a secret method that has been bringing fantastic results? Leave us some feedback in the comments below.