If you want to succeed in search engine optimization, you must always stay up to date with what’s happening in the industry. This means not just keeping tabs on the latest algorithm changes that Google keeps rolling out but also trying out new SEO tricks and strategies that others are implementing,
In this guide to link building we aim to show you what link building strategies are working in 2021, from our own experience!
What is Link Building?
Link building is one of the most important parts of any SEO campaign,a great backlink profile is vital if you want the search engines to show you some love! The problem is it’s frequently misunderstood and often overlooked. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, but no matter your strategy, you should have a solid understanding of what link building is and how it can benefit your business.
Link building is the process of increasing the search engine visibility of a web site or a web page by creating links to that page from other websites. The links that are created are what search engines such as Google count as votes in favor of your site.
Here at Profit Engine, we’re continually testing new link building techniques to ensure our clients are getting the best possible SEO results in their link building campaigns. Recently, we set out to find the best link building tactics that still work in 2021. After a lot of research and testing, we settled for 11 link building methods that we know can improve your site. And that’s not all; we’ll also share a handy tip that we use to boost our guest posting and outreach results.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert SEO, we highly recommend that you read till the end to brush up your SEO knowledge and link building skills. Most importantly, implement what you learn in this detailed link building guide. Building links to your website can be tough and time consuming but if you implement a focused link building plan that you carry out monthly you will go a long way towards increasing your rankings.
Link Building Tools
We recently put together a specific post on link building tools which goes into this in more detail.If you are serious about your link building campaigns then it’s vitally important that you have a system or tool stack that allows you to scale your outreach activity and improve your link building efforts.
Using Pitchbox for link building outreach
We have put a number of outreach tools through their paces over the years before settling on Pitchbox. Our main reason for this is that as we scaled as a purely link building agency we needed a tool that could help us manage all of the link building process along with the ability to run all of the different strategies we mention here (and more). Pitchbox is now at the heart of our Marketing toolset.
We also use:
Using free tools
There are a lot of different SEO and link building tools available, some free and some paid, but here are some of the top free ones that you should know about.
I like Majestic and think it’s a great tool for analysing your link profile and the type of inbound links you have which is all that’s available on the free plan. We use it when we are measuring the value of a link opportunity for our clients. Trust flow and citation flow can help you determine the benefit of pursuing a link opportunity. Starting at around $50 per month it’s not bad value.
Their free online tool allows you to check the top 100 backlinks of a site and it also allows unlimited searches!
Hunter is a really good tool for finding email addresses. The free plan comes with 25 searches and they have a low end plan at $49 with 500 searches per month.
They have also launched a free outreach tool which is pretty cool.
Technique #1: Link roundups
Link roundups are an excellent method, not only for building powerful backlinks but also for starting valuable relationships with other webmasters. If you’ve never used or even heard about this link building strategy, stick around to find out more.
For starters, link roundups are daily, weekly, or monthly blogs or blog pages 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 they can share with their readers. They then write a short description of each of these resources and link back to those pages.
To succeed with link roundups, you’ll need to put out great content consistently and position yourself as an industry thought leader.
How to find link roundup opportunities
There are three methods you can use to prospect for link roundups.
Using search strings on SERPs
These are query types that bring back specific search results from Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Go to Google and use the following search strings in combination with your keyword:
- “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”
This can be a time-consuming process as most link roundups may not appear as so. You can save some time by paying attention to the title and meta descriptions of the search results. This is because a lot of them won’t belink roundups but posts about link roundups. If they pass this test, ensure they are linking to external posts and not internal ones.
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 or Findanyemail for email discovery.
You can also use the BuzzStream’s Buzzmarker plugin to scan the page and look for social profiles, names and contact information.
LinkedIn is another great place when you want to gather more details about your target contacts. If you find them on there, you can accomplish two important things. First, contacting them on LinkedIn helps you to make a personal impression on your prospects, which is a great way to show that you’re not a spammer. Besides, you can send them a personalized message to their inbox which also goes to their email.
If you don’t find them on LinkedIn, they will probably be on Facebook or Twitter.
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:
Subject: Hey (site name), A New Resource for Your Roundup
I just came across your (roundup name) this morning. Loving the link to (mention an interesting link you found on the page).
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.
If you do include it I will share across my social media profiles and generate some traffic to your site!
Either way, keep up the fantastic work,
Essentially, your cover should include the following key points:
- Personalize the email with their name
- Personalize the pitch with the name of their roundup and something specific from the page.
- Tell them why you are emailing them in the subject line
- Keep your email short and direct to the point
- Offer them something of value (social media shout out)
- Provide a link and thank them
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 building method
A lot has been said about the broken link building method, including claims on how it no longer works and is not scalable enough(admittedly,it can be difficult to scale). However, we can assertively say that this technique still works if you have the right system and are ready to put in the work.
As the name suggests, broken link building is the process of finding “dead” links (links that no longer exist) on relevant websites and notifying their webmasters about them. You can then offer to replace the broken links with links to your site.
For starters, you will need to identify sites with links pointing to pages or websites that have since been deleted or shut down. You can then suggest that they point to a resource on your site that offers equally relevant or even better content than that which is already broken.
You get a link. They point to a piece of content that’s useful to their readers. Simple, right?
Here’s how to find relevant broken links
There are several ways you can use to find broken links on any site. But for this guide, we’ll show you two easy methods that we use nearly daily.
We start with a free method where we use a Google Chrome extension known as Check My Links. It’s a free tool that helps you find broken links page by page. Sure, you might need to spend a bit more time to find these links but the method is quite effective if you’re on a tight budget.
Begin by creating a list of websites you’d like to test for broken links. This could even be the current competitors you are aware of. Run the tool on the target sites and let it identify all the broken links on its pages. All the dead links will have a 404 tag, while invalid links will show in red.
You can run the links through the Wayback Machine to see how the original content used to look like. This can help you recreate the exact or similar content that would fit the link.
Another more effective method we use when we want to find broken links in bulk is through the broken link checker by Ahrefs. To do this, go to the Site Explorer tool and enter the domain name of your target website and search.
Under the Pages section, click “Best by Links” to see all the best “dead” links on their pages. This powerful tool enables you to scan and locate every 404 error pages that exist on your target website.
You can then export the data as a csv file, clean up and load to your outreach tool of choice.
Ahrefs also has a link analysis tool that shows you all sites linking to these broken pages. This is the information you want for your link building techniques to work.
Contacting site owners
Once you’ve compiled a list of sites with relevant broken links, it’s time to contact their owners. As we discussed earlier you can use two methods:
- Using a paid email tool like Pitchbox (which we do, it’s awesome)
- Using free email checkers like Hunter.io and FindThatLead
Once you’ve gathered the right information, send them the following pitch:
Jason here over at Profit Engine,
I was doing some research on [related topic] and found your page [title of page].
It’s a great resource and highly useful, I did however notice that one of the links on your page , which should lead to [original anchor text/URL], is broken.
I thought you would be interested in checking out our [content name, infographic] about [related topic]. It would be easy to link to our page instead of the 404 page you are linking to now.
Here’s the link if you would like to check it out [link].
Let me know what you think!
You can speed up the process by saving this template in the “canned responses” tool in Gmail Labs. Be sure to customize it to each person to boost your response rates.
Always send a follow up mail! Two if you can. We have found responses to second and third emails really help you maximise your link building campaign.
Technique #3: Podcasting for link building
Less than a decade ago, podcasts were hardly a topic in the ever-growing digital marketing industry. Today, nearly every expert hosts one on their site or popular aggregator platforms like Stitcher and iTunes. Most hosts love them for their effectiveness in reaching wider audiences and helping to grow brand visibility.
And now, you can leverage the power of podcasts to build quality backlinks and boost SEO, 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. Simply put, you get on shows, discuss your article topic and build links back to it.
Using podcasts is a powerful tool to use when you want to reach large audiences. Some fans are also likely to link to their favorite podcasts on the hosting site. Most podcast episodes run for between 30 and 60 minutes but this is enough to build trust, authority and help you build links. It’s also an excellent way to tweak conversations to meet the level of your audience.
The following are three simple steps to podcast link building ;
Step #1: Find podcasts to guest on
To begin, create a list of potential podcasts you can guest on. Head over to iTunes and search for keywords in your industry and check out the shows. Note down any show that appears interesting and relevant to your niche. New podcasts are easier to pitch so give more priority to them especially if they’re part of authority websites.
Another easy way to search for relevant podcasts is to enter “podcasts + keyword” on Google. Switch keywords ideas to find a variety and find blogs that are linking to the authority podcasts in the industry.
An even sneakier way to find podcasts you’ve never heard of is to go back to Google and search for “podcasts + competitor site” or “influencer name”. Add all the podcasts you find to your list and then start filtering search results to pitch only the right people.
Part of the filtering process is to remove podcasts that are no longer running. To find out about this, visit their page to see when the last episode was posted. If you can’t see the date, head over to iTunes and search the podcast. This will reveal their most recent episode. Remember to also check out their content to see whether or not it’s relevant to your audience.
How to become a successful podcast as a guest
If you’ve podcasted as a guest before, you certainly know that it’s not always a rosy affair particularly if you’re new in the industry and unknown. As such, you want to be very well prepared whenever you get a chance to shine. Give your listeners a reason to listen you to the end which also helps to raise the value of your host’s show.
Another excellent tip for succeeding in podcasting is to identify and stick to a particular niche. Your podcasts should be relevant to your business to help you draw a relevant audience.
Step #2: Pitch
When it comes to pitching, it’s important you’re selective on which podcasts you’d like to appear on. Apart from pitching shows that are in a relevant industry, you want to go for those that are likely to attract a significant audience. Regardless of your expertise, your requests might get rejected.
Here are a few persuasion and conversion tips you should have in mind:
- It’s about them – not you.
- It would help to find a way to benefit your host and the audience. Landing a guest spot to podcast depends on how a brand will benefit from your show.
- Establish connections by indicating why the host should consider having you on their show
- Include a call to action that will compel the brand to grant your request.
- Write a unique pitch – make sure you stand out among the many applicants that contact the host.
Besides, it will be best to find an angle that would connect with the host. Go through their content and ‘About Us’ and ask yourself:
- How can I help them by being a guest?
- Does my knowledge help their users?
- How would it impact their bottom line?
If you’re able to tick these boxes, your chances of getting accepted and consequently acquiring backlinks increases significantly.
A great podcasts pitch should have the following parts:
- A brief but catchy headline.
- Say hey/hello
- Mention the host’s name
- Share the connection angle
- No bragging. No one loves a show off.
- Let them know you’d love to be in the show
Keep in mind that these podcasters get tens of pitches every week which means your message could sometimes get lost. They can also forget to write back to you. This is why you need to automate your follow-up emails using a tool such as Mailshake. If you’re accepted, it’s time to go all in!
Step #3: Record the show
To get more high quality links and traffic to your podcasts, take time to understand the audience you’re speaking to and tailor the conversation in a way that connects with them. You may need to invest time into listening to other episodes of the show before recording. This will make your podcasts better as you know the value to add to the episode.
Step #4: Maximize the opportunity
At this point, it’s important to do a few things to enhance your relationship with the host as well as the listeners:
Show gratitude to your host and share links to any resources and content mentioned in your show.
Make sure that all links leading to your website have a clear call to action to help listeners find more information about you
Request your host for a review that would boost your marketing strategy and authority.
Benefits of using podcasts for link building
No one would be interested in podcasting if it weren’t beneficial. Podcasts help your brand reach audiences you’d have otherwise never reached on your own. They are also incredibly effective in positioning you as an expert in your field.
Among other benefits, podcasting can help to:
- Improve your brand’s popularity and its presence in the industry
- Reach both regular clients and new audiences
- Boost ranking resulting from increased search results and acquired backlinks
Technique #4: Turning unlinked brand mentions into backlinks
If you’re looking for a simple way to build high quality links to your site, we recommend that you prioritize this one. Essentially, it involves finding websites that mention you, your company 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 and this make it very easy to convince them to give you a backlink.
So, how do you find unlinked mentions in a sea of websites?
There are several ways to do this type of link building tactic, but I’ll show you the most reliable and simple methods that have worked for us and our clients.
Step #1: Automate tracking of mentions
For starters, I implement the Ahrefs Alerts tool to track brand mentions on the web. To set up a campaign, all you need is to specify the search terms(s) you want to track, your preferred language, web sources that you’d like to track, and where you want the results to be sent to (email). To avoid unnecessary or false notifications, I always block my domain from getting tracked.
Another simple method 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 with the keyword you want to track (in this case, your business name), the channels you’d like to include, and the keywords you don’t want to be tracked (if any).
Monitoring begins 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.
Step 2: Send your pitch
Once you’ve identified several potential link opportunities, it’s now time to reach out to those sites and try to convert the unlinked mentions into links. I have used the following outreach template with an impressive level of success but feel free to tweak it to suit your campaign:
Jason here, from Profit Engine.
Thank you for mentioning My Profit Engine in your recent post on white hat link building tactics for affiliate websites. (Insert the article’s URL here)
Such an excellent article – I particularly loved your unique insights on the broken link building method.
Anyway, I was wondering if it might be possible to include a link to our site if your readers want to learn more about what we do?
(Insert link to your site here).
Either way, keep up the excellent work,
When requesting the link, be cordial and appreciate them for their time without sounding pushy. Also, genuinely compliment them and thank them for including your brand name in their article. Don’t forget to explain how the link will offer value to their audience.
If you do not get a reply, make sure to follow up a few more times. However, you don’t want to send requests daily as this is likely to appear spammy. Your first follow up could be after 3-4 few days, then another after a week and a final one after 10 days. You could also try using an alternative email in case the one you’re using is going to the spam folder.
Additional tips to improve your results when using this link building tactic
If the above method doesn’t offer the results you’re looking for, here are a few more tips you can implement as well.
Take advantage of competitors’ mistakes
Tracking what your competitors are doing and their progress is an excellent way to strategize. And what’s better than capitalizing on the mistakes and converting them into your wins.
Most companies have an extensive index of pages and rarely check for errors in their links. It means they may not rectify any errors or redirect them as effectively as they should. This is one area you can take advantage of and score big links for your business.
Start by exploring their backlink profile on Ahrefs to discover any broken links. Check if any of the resources match a page on your brand.
Next, find how you can contact the owners of websites that point to these broken resources. Notify them about it and request if they can replace them with something similar (or of higher quality) on your website. Just like that, you win yourself a high quality link to your site!
Find and fix any lost link
Most webpages lose countless links daily for unknown reasons. Fortunately, you can regain some of these links using a very simple method.
Before anything else, try to find out why you’re losing backlinks. We recommend Ahrefs to help with this process. Some of the possible reasons this could have happened include;
Site owner updated their content
This could result in a link being removed because it was irrelevant. You can suggest a new one that better suits the new piece of content.
Publishers stopped linking because of new policies
There’s very little you can do about restoring these kinds of links. However, it doesn’t hurt to request yours is given a special exception especially if the resource being pointed to is remarkable.
Your link was replaced by your competitor’s
In this case, it will be best to learn from the resource that won and try to produce premium quality content going forward.
Claiming unmentioned and lost backlinks is a fairly easier way compared to other link building tactics. If you can implement the above tips, you should have little problems that significantly improve your search engine rankings.
Technique #5: The HARO strategy
We can all agree that acquiring links from sites with high domain authority is one of the hardest things any website owner can deal with (of course, along with creating high quality content consistently). Luckily, there are still a few ways you can use to land these high quality 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 bloggers and business owners get press mentions and consequently quality links.
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’ll 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 increase your chances of getting responses, you need to provide detailed and well-thought-out answers, especially if your target outlet is an authority site. While at it, don’t forget to provide links to your site and your author bio.
HARO might not promise tens of link opportunities, but the few links you acquire here will likely be powerful and worth the hassle. With time and as your pitching experience grows, you should be able to land links to your site from some of the world’s biggest news media houses like the New York Times, Inc., and Forbes.
Writing a HARO pitch
As we already mentioned, it’s important that you are very specific on the requests to go for. The idea is to only pitch publications that need something you’re an expert in and have quality information to back it with.
Once you’ve narrowed down your selected HARO categories, here’s how to go about the pitching process.
For starters, you need to pay attention to the following:
The publication’s expectation on content
Carefully go through the request letter and note all the information they want. If it’s something you can provide, move to the next step.
The appropriate tone and writing style
Are they formal or friendly in their request? Match that in your response.
Length and depth of quote
Some requests require that you write a lengthy and detailed quote while others a short and brief response.
When writing the pitch, make sure that:
- Your quote has the correct journalist’s name, lacks typos, and is written using flawless grammar.
- Your content mentions why you’re qualified to respond.
- The relevant details required from you are clear. Use bullet points or break your sentences as this makes scanning your content easier.
- The quote contains links to your site so you can earn a backlink in case your content is published.
The following is a detailed breakdown of a sample pitch you can use for HARO link building campaigns:
Once you’ve done all of this and sent your pitch, sit back and wait. Ideally, your pitch will be accepted and published but like anything else, you can expect rejections. Most journalists will notify you if you’ve been accepted but it would pay to follow up if you don’t get any response after a few days.
Unlike most link building strategies, HARO is a quite passive way to build links and get quality press mentions. Sure, you will need some patience and also spend a bit of time crafting quality responses. But it’s all worth the effort when it presents a chance to get featured on authority sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Business Insider.
Technique #6: Pre-outreach link building method
Let’s face it; creating great content is costly and time-consuming. Promoting it is an even bigger hassle especially when you have to compete with thousands or even millions of other websites for attention. For this reason, 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 sites 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 producing is super interesting and probably contains data from your research or experiments. Sure, it could be a topic that has been covered by others before, but if you can approach it from a unique angle, then it’s likely to elicit significant interest.
Another way to increase results with the pre-outreach method is to leverage your existing industry connections and brand power. This method hardly works for new or little-known websites with few relationships with industry experts and content promotion partners.
Finally once your post goes live, prioritize those who responded positively to your initial outreach email. Send a simple email requesting them to share it to their social following or email lists or just offer feedback on it.
A word of caution here is to refrain from openly asking for a link. If they think the post deserves a backlink or mention, then chances are that they’ll be happy to give it some love.
How to executing the pre-outreach strategy
The past few years have seen the pre-outreach link building strategy become very popular especially among budding bloggers. What that means is you need to have something special to stand a chance of succeeding with this method.
An effective trick that hardly fails is ego-baiting. This is where you offer your prospects an opportunity to be your “featured expert”. It exploits their ego-driven human psychology by making them feel valued while also giving them a chance to contribute to your article.
Here’s an example template that has worked for us the many times we’ve used the pre-outreach method:
Hi [prospect’s name]
I was exploring some resources online on [mention topic] when I came across your article.
[Article title or link]
Great content! I particularly liked [mention a favorite section].
I’m actually writing a similar post and wanted to feature you as a resource.
If this sounds good, would you mind sending a quote I could include in the article? A sentence or two would work great! I’ll obviously include a link to your website and your name.
If I don’t hear from you, thanks for the amazing post!
Once you’ve published the article, it’s time to reach out to the prospects again. Here’s a sample pitch email you can use:
Thank you for the quote, the article is now live!
If you think this would be valuable to your audience, feel free to share.
Technique #7: .edu resource page link building strategy
A few years ago, Google rolled out a ferocious algorithm change that severely punished websites that were seen to be misusing the powerful .edu backlinks. As has always been the case with all major algorithms, 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. The reason we know this is that we have been running a highly successful outreach campaign based purely on .edu resource page and scholarship web pages. You will however 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.
It’s also hugely important that your content and that your niche is very relevant to the resource page.
Finding .edu link building opportunities
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” + other sites”
Using this method, you should find several relevant web 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 have been looking for (resource they link to) like this for a while.
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 amazing work you’re doing.
Top strategies to score more EDU backlinks
Let’s face it; educational institutes are extremely picky when it comes to linking out to sources. So, how do you convince them to give you a backlink? Below are three powerful tactics you can employ with good levels of success.
Develop high-quality and factual content
Academic sites focus on giving information that’s legitimate and trustworthy. This is why most only accept high-quality, extremely well written content whose data can be verified. It’s no wonder Google places a higher value on EDU backlinks than nearly all others.
When looking to build links using this method therefore, be sure to focus on developing content you can back up with verifiable and authority resources.
Target aged pages
Most EDU websites with high domain authority prefer to list an aged web page as compared to a freshly developed one. With this in mind, try finding one of your longstanding resources and revamp it with super valuable content. This should help to increase your chances of getting accepted.
Create scholarship opportunities
This tactic is some sort of investment on your part but with the potential to give huge returns if executed well. The idea is to ask an institution to allow you to sponsor deserving students or hold a contest where you award the winners. Ideally, you will get mentions on their website and consequently win nice (and oftentimes multiple) links that move the needle for your business. Again, make sure that your scholarship offer is relevant.An offer of a scholarship around data science from a big data SaaS would be an ideal choice whereas a gambling site offering a scholarship may not go down so well!
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 building technique that I explained earlier.
First, you will need to find online businesses and web site pages that are outdated or those that have changed names recently. After that, look for websites that still link to these dated or invalid resources and let them know about it.
Implementing the Moving Man technique
This technique is applicable in two distinct ways:
Link to a specific page
When using this approach, you’ll target to improve rankings by requesting sites link to a particular page on your website.
Link to your root domain
Here, you will be asking website owners to link to your homepage to increase your domain’s overall authority.
A simple two-step strategy for implementing the Moving Man technique
Locate recently closed online businesses
Let’s 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. This is a good candidate for targeting when using this link building strategy.
An easy way to find such websites and everyone who was linking to them, we recommend using a backlink checker. I’m a big fan of Ahrefs but you can use any other including SEMRush, Moz Link Explorer or Majestic SEO.
If you don’t have a budget for tools, here is an alternative method that works well too.
Go to Google and enter the following phrases. We’ll use the example of a closed local restaurant example we gave earlier:
- “Page not found” + restaurants in [mention location]
- “Service unavailable” + restaurants in [mention location]
- “Citation needed” + restaurants in [mention location]
Other useful search strings you can use include:
- ”Your keyword + shut down”
- ”Your keyword + out of business”
- ”Your keyword + rebrand on Google News”
- ”Rebrand” on popular press releases websites
- ”Your keyword + this page no longer exists”
- “Your keyword + service not available”
Once you’ve found a few target businesses, it’s time to find high-quality sites that link to them. For this step, I recommend using Ahrefs by following these steps:
- Type the URL in the tool’s site explorer and select backlinks
- Click ‘do follow’ to view links that pass link equity
- Click ‘English’ to view only pages in English
- Filter out tags, categories and author pages by selecting ‘remove groups with similar links
- Click export to transfer the selected links to Excel
- While inside Excel, filter out low-quality sites based on the number of links, domain rating and URL rating.
Contacting site owners for backlinks
At this point, you’ve identified the sites that are pointing to the dead business and also weeded out low-quality ones. Besides, you’ve also established that your content can serve as a perfect replacement for whatever resource those websites were pointing to. Now go ahead and contact the site owners.
Here’s an email template that has worked well for us before:
Jason here from ProfitEngine.
While visiting your site to research on [mention topic], I came across your post from a few months ago and saw that you mention [target company name].
I’m not sure if you’re aware but [target company name] closed shop and now the link on your site points to a dead page.
Attached is the screenshot for the paragraphs with the links.
Also, I thought you’d love our [product/website] as a fitting replacement for the broken link – [your link here]
Please check it out and maybe we could make a nice addition to your post?
Either way, keep up the nice work!
This link building technique works for a couple of reasons. First, you’ve helped the site owner to know that there’s a problem they were possibly unaware of on their site. What’s more, you’re providing link-worthy content which is key in enhancing their user experience.
Additional tips to boost your results when using the Moving Man method
Only sites linking to relevant resources
Your aim shouldn’t be on finding outdated resources but ones that match your keywords and are suited to your niche. Remember your content about web design cannot substitute a link to a resource on the keto diet.
Prioritize the quality of your content
High-quality backlinks come from domains and pages with high authority. Usually, these pages only link to top content; the reason you should ensure that your content is informative before asking them to link back to it. Skyscraper type of content works very well here.
How you frame your message matters
Convey your request confidently and in a manner that the other party will understand how backlinking will benefit both of you. Avoid sounding too needy or pushy and be as succinct as possible.
Though tedious and time-consuming, the Moving Man link building method can be an incredibly effective way to build links and increase your website’s visibility.
Technique #9: Guestographics
Just as the name suggests, the guestographics method of building links combines both guest posting and infographics. Usually, you will need to write highly informative articles which you then repurpose to create a visual asset. The trick here is to go for 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 colorful infographic from your written content, or you can even do it yourself if you have the skills.
Once it’s ready, start 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 acquire a few links using this method.
How to improve your results when using the guestographics technique
Guestographics is a fairly easy yet effective way to master if you’re looking for quality backlinks. Below are a few simple tips you can use to boost your results.
Target trending topics
You will never go wrong with trending topics when it comes to infographics. You can use them to generate freshly relevant content that has the potential to attract quality backlinks. For example, when Pinterest was launched, websites that quickly generated infographics about it gathered decent numbers of backlinks.
Be strategic about your information
You have to be selective with what you choose to share in your infographic. Too much information makes it hard for readers to digest it. Only include relevant info to make it memorable and likely to get natural shares and backlinks.
Work on the layout
While great infographics sometimes focus too much on design, the layout is equally important. Design controls how information looks but it’s the layout that determines whether or not your infographic is readable.
A proper layout will have the best content at the top and strategically create more blank spaces to accentuate the message.
Once you have your infographic ready, it’s time to promote it to people who might need it. For this step, we like to send two emails. One to all the prospects and another to anyone who responded positively to our campaign.
Here are the sample templates you can implement now:
I came across your guide on [topic] and really liked the content.
Coincidentally, I have created a relevant infographic that I think would supplement your content.
Let me know if this is something you might want to check out.
Email 2 (for prospects who show interest in your infographic)
Here’s the link to the infographic: [link]
Please let me know when you’re ready to publish it and I’ll provide a unique guest post just for you!
Technique #10: Skyscraper Technique
Tested and improved since 2015, the Skyscraper Technique is another powerful link-building strategy that works to date. It was developed by Brian Dean, one of the most respected figures in the SEO circles. After just 14 days of testing the technique, his website’s search traffic nearly doubled.
So, what’s the magic behind it? Read on to discover how the strategy works.
The Skyscraper technique works by improving existing content which in turn attracts high-quality backlinks. For starters, you need to find already popular blog posts published by authoritative websites in your niche. You will then recreate their ideas and topics to add relevant information and remove the outdated. Finally, you will identify and network with websites that link back to your competitors and try to get them to link to your more superior content instead.
What makes this a powerful technique is because you’re targeting sites that are already interested in a given topic. Besides, you boast more updated content which means there’s some incentive on the part of the target website to want to refer their audience to you. Slowly but surely, this drives traffic to your blog while you also gain new backlinks and networks.
A step-by-step link building guide on how to implement the Skyscraper Technique
Step #1: Find an authoritative blog to recreate
Begin by researching websites in your niche with longstanding and well-performing content. This could be How to guides, Case Studies, unique Data findings. Find out if they’ve written on topics your audience is interested in. Pick a few that can be improved or updated with fresh data.
This step requires a bit of patience as your core goal is to find content that’s both interesting and worth spending time and money to improve. To speed up the process, you can use a tool like Buzzsumo. It helps you find authority websites with high-ranking articles that also pull good amounts of traffic on a particular keyword.
Step #2: Pick your distribution partners
Once you’ve identified blogs with content you can recreate, it’s time to pick your distribution partners and pitch your idea. A good place to start is the websites that had linked to the original content.
It’s worth mentioning that not everyone will respond to your invitation. Even Brian Dean, the creator of this Skyscraper Technique, had an 11% success rate.
Another way to find distribution partners is to look for blogs in your niche that serve similar content to what you’re recreating. For this step, we recommend using a backlink checker tool like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO.
Step #3: Improve the original content
It’s now time to put your research and writing skills to work to come up with better content. Improve the original content by rewriting it from scratch, editing out any outdated info and adding relevant data.
You can also improve its visual representation to make it more engaging and easy to understand. Finally, you can draw out sections that require more details but were ignored in the original content.
Step #4: Promote your new blog
A quick but effective way to do this is by announcing it on your social media profiles. You can also share some of your best pieces just to showcase your work. The idea here is to make sure you’re reachable and visible elsewhere besides the email and your website.
Step #5: Communicate with your distribution partners
Remember the distribution partners you shortlisted earlier? This is the time to try and convince them to link back to your new piece of content.
Start by reminding them about the original content they had linked to before from their site. You can then explain how you’ve improved it to create more value for their audience by making it more engaging, practical, or comprehensive.
But wait, that’s not all; it is one thing to communicate with your distribution partners, but getting them to link to you is a whole different ballgame. Below are some actionable tips to help you reach out to more people (and do so without spamming):
Send personalized outreach emails
Brian Dean recommends sending out outreach emails that emulate the following template:
➔ Hey, I found your post: (insert the link)
➔ [extend a generic compliment]
➔ It links to this post (link the original/unimproved content)
➔ I made something more appealing (link your improved post)
➔ Request them to swap out the original link for yours
Here’s the rub, though; most SEOs decided to copy the email template “as is,” and if you try to use it for outreach today, chances are you may not be as successful. For this reason, we recommend you create your personalized email while following these outreach principles.
Step #6: Segment your prospects
People will link to you for diverse reasons; hence it doesn’t make much sense to send everyone the same pitch. A more effective way to achieve greater success with outreach campaigns is by dividing your prospects into segments based on the context of their outbound link. You can use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool to find links that use closely related anchor texts.
For instance, if the anchor text links report reveals that a considerable number of people link using the anchor text, “how to enhance content marketing,” you can use the following pitch:
➔ Hey, I found your post: (insert the link)
➔ It links to this post (link to the original content)
➔ That has some awesome tips on enhancing your content marketing strategy
➔ I just wrote this post (link to your improved content)
➔ It has even more irresistible tips on optimizing content marketing strategy
➔ CTA: You could add the link to the page
Another way is to reach out to prospects who are linking to outdated or poor content.Here, the idea is simple: look for outdated resources, use Ahrefs to see who’s linking to them and then convince the site owners to consider your more relevant skyscraper content.
On Ahrefs Content Explorer, enter the target keyword and set some filters to discover outdated, low-quality resources. Here are the three basic filters you will need:
- A data filter for finding content published at least a year ago
- A content-length filter for finding presumably poor content
- A referring domains filter for finding linked content
You can then send the site owners a pitch like this:
➔ Hey, I found your post (insert link)
➔ It links to this post (insert a link to the original content)
➔ It’s an epic post, but some of the information is outdated, more so, […]
➔ I just wrote this (insert link)
➔ It’s a far more relevant article about [……]
➔ CTA: Do you mind swapping out the link?
If you follow this process properly and do a few follow-ups, there’s no way you won’t acquire a few quality backlinks to boost your SEO.
Technique #11: Guest Blogging
If you read online articles often, chances are you’ve come across posts written by guest bloggers or contributors. Guest blogging remains one of the most popular link building techniques today and rightly so.
Gregory Ciotti is a good example of how effective guest blogging can be when done correctly. In a detailed publication, he explains how he acquired over 36,000 email subscribers in 9 weeks of implementing the technique.
So, what makes it such a powerful strategy for boosting online visibility? Here are a few of its benefits:
- Guest posting helps to build social proof
- It enables you to acquire quality backlinks
- Drives targeted organic traffic to your website
For the purpose of this link building guide, we’ll dwell more on how to leverage the power of guest blogging to acquire relevant and high-quality backlinks. Below are steps you can follow to find achieve success using this link building strategy.
Find blogs that accept guest posts
As you can imagine, not every site on the web accepts content contributions from outsiders. Some prefer doing everything internally.
When looking for guest posting opportunities, you want to target websites that can accept your content in return for a link to your site. You can easily find them by entering some phrases on Google.
For example, if you’re looking to publish your work in business blogs, here are a few keyword combinations to enter on the search engine to find those sites:
- Business blogs + guest post
- Business blogs + write for us
- Business blogs + become a contributor
- Business blogs + guest blogger
What I would say is that these days we tend to steer clear of a lot of the ‘write for us’ type sites, they have been targeted by everyone. You can still do this, you will just need to vet the sites a lot more closely.
It’s better to look for blogs in your target niche and build a small targeted list. You can then pitch content that you know will resonate with these sites. Let’s look at this.
Understand the target website’s audience
Developing good content for someone else’s blog requires a deep understanding of their website goals and purpose. Apart from acquiring a link, it’s important that you also add value to their readers and maybe even positively impact your host’s bottom line.
Research topics and articles with a high audience engagement rate on their website. This is easier if they list their most popular and trending content on the sidebar or somewhere else on their site. You can also use Buzzsumo if you want to know the exact data on those posts.
Pitch the owner
After you’ve identified the websites you’d like to be featured on, it’s time to reach out to their owners. Your best chance of convincing them is to put yourself in the shoes of the potential host. Remember, if they own high authority websites they probably receive tens of such requests every day. This is why you need something special to capture their attention.
One of the golden rules for outreach to remember is ‘What’s in it for me?’ Always put yourself in the shoes of the site owner. Why would he link to you, or why would he publish your post?
Here are a few blog post pitching guidelines that will make website owners want to publish your work.
Start with a strong intro
When emailing a prospective host, you want the intro to be flawless and extremely objective. Start by explaining who you are and what you do. This helps the host understand whether you’re a good fit for them or not.
In the next part, mention where you’ve previously interacted with them – it could be a social platform, their comments section, online community, etc.
Finish the intro by applauding the work of the host without blatantly flattering them.
Here’s a sample outreach pitch intro that I use often:
Jason here from Profit Engine
We think may have exchanged pleasantries in the [insert the name of the group or social network] as well as on your blog comments section. (BTW, I really loved the post on [topic featured on their website].)
Give a candid reason you’re writing to them
Don’t even think of touching on your credentials or pitch immediately after the introduction. You must first explain why you’re writing to set the mood for the busy editor to read your pitch. You also want to let the editor be aware that you know they accept guest posts – this paints the picture you’ve been reading their blogs and you’ve even checked their Contributor Guidelines.
Here, you should write something like this:
“Since you accept guest blogs on your website, I thought it wise to reach out and pitch a topic your audience might resonate with.”
Make the host love your content
I’m assuming you’ve familiarized yourself with the host’s guest posting guidelines and know the kind of information they may be looking for within your pitch. Some prefer a brief pitch whereas others like a detailed outline. For the latter, you want to recommend the title of the potential content piece and explain why their readers will love it.
Something like this:
“I plan to write an article about [insert the suggested title]. Below is a quick outline of the post including the key points I’ll cover inside”
Share samples of your previous projects
Inserting links to your previous projects on your pitch should come naturally, whether or not the host asks for them as part of their guidelines. The samples confirm to the editor that you can write on specific topics which is obviously a huge plus.
This part should sound like this:
“Here are a few links to my previous works in case you want to have a glance at how I write:
- Link 1
- Link 2
- Link 3
Close with a direct ask
Closing with a direct ask increases the chances you’ll get a response. It also directs the editor on how to reply to you. Here are a few sampled questions you can ask here:
“Would you like this piece for your blog?”
“Kindly let me know if the topic would be a perfect fit for your blog.”
“Can I submit this article to you on Tuesday next week?”
A warm sign-off
No email is ever complete without a nice sign-off. Something as simple as this will work just fine:
“Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you!”
Write top content
Got accepted? Congratulations!
At this point, the aim should be to develop highly actionable content that offers a solution to a specific problem that readers could be facing. It’s advisable that you try to mirror the writing guidelines that your host uses to avoid having your content returned for revisions or worse, rejected. Make sure in your initial conversations with the site that you nail down exactly what they want from a content piece. Is there a specific word count they want? Images? Specific links?
Needless to say, don’t forget to include at least one hyperlink to a platform, page, or resource where you want to drive search traffic to. Use keyword-rich anchor texts links depending on your SEO strategy. Finally, promote your published post on social channels and your email list to increase visibility.
Assess the results
After thanking the site owner for publishing your work, it’s time to track results for your guest post. A few things to do here are;
- Find out how readers are responding to your work. Are they sharing or commenting on it?
- Is the post driving organic traffic where you intended?
- Find possible areas of improvement on future link opportunities.
Bonus tip: Using Google Images to find 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 organic 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 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 other similar posts have been published. Easy-peasy, right?
Tying it all together
So, there you have it; some very effective link building tactics that work in 2021 and a sweet bonus tip to scale your guest posting results.
In other posts we will be covering some of these techniques in more detail, as well as exploring other tactics such as Link Reclamation and generating ideas for Linkable content and assets.
These tactics should help improve your search engine rankings and improve your link profile. 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. But that’s a post for another day.
Remember relevance is key, so always strive to build your links from 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? Do you have a link building tactic. that works especially well in your niche?
Leave us some feedback in the comments below.