Achieving top search rankings is a competitive endeavor, and link building can be the key to unlocking success.
However, it’s crucial to stay informed and adapt your approach, as outdated link building tactics can harm your search rankings and hinder your online dominance. In fact, many website owners and marketers are still using outdated strategies without even realizing it.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the essentials of effective link building, highlight the pitfalls of outdated strategies, and provide insights on how to update your approach for maximum impact.
Get ready to boost your website’s visibility, attract organic traffic, and establish a strong online presence through strategic link building.
Link Building Strategies VS Tactics—How are they different?
Before we discuss the proven strategies and tactics you can implement in your business, let’s first talk about the difference between strategies and tactics.
A link building strategy refers to a systematic plan to acquire external links from other websites to your own website. It involves identifying objectives, defining target audiences, and outlining the tactics and metrics to be used in acquiring high-quality backlinks.
- Goal: The goal of a link building strategy is to improve search engine rankings, increase organic traffic, and enhance the overall authority and credibility of the website.
- Focus and Direction: Link building strategies focus on the overall objectives, target audience, and metrics to be used in the process of acquiring backlinks.
- Examples: Some of the strategies include leveraging partnerships with industry influencers, collaborating with relevant websites, and investing in content marketing initiatives to generate shareable content.
Meanwhile, tactics are the specific actions or techniques employed to execute the link building strategy. Tactics are the individual steps taken to implement the strategy and achieve the desired outcomes.
- Goal: The goal of link building tactics is to execute specific actions or techniques to acquire high-quality backlinks and support the overarching link building strategy.
- Focus and Direction: Link building tactics concentrate on the practical steps and activities employed to implement the strategy and achieve the desired outcomes.
- Example: Tactics include guest blogging on relevant websites, Reaching out to influencers to secure backlinks, creating high-quality content that attracts natural backlinks, and optimizing internal linking structures.
To simplify, just think of strategies as a high-level plan that outlines the overall goals and direction for your efforts. Strategies focus on setting objectives, identifying target audiences, and defining key metrics.
On the other hand, tactics are the specific actions and techniques used to execute the strategy and achieve the desired outcomes. Tactics involve the practical steps, activities, and tools employed throughout the process.
Outdated Link Building Strategies and Tactics that you might still be using
While the world of SEO and link building keeps evolving, it’s vital to recognize outdated strategies that can have detrimental effects on your online presence.
Let’s explore a few outdated strategies and how they can affect your online presence.
- Quantity Over Quality: In the past, the focus was on acquiring as many links as possible, regardless of their quality or relevance. However, search engines have become much smarter in evaluating the quality of links. Excessive link building without considering relevance and authority can now result in penalties, pushing your website down in search rankings and diminishing your website authority.
- Link Directories and Bookmarking Sites: Link directories and bookmarking sites used to be popular for building backlinks. However, many of these sites have become low-quality and spammy over time. Links from such directories or bookmarking sites can now be seen as unnatural or manipulative, potentially harming your search rankings and overall website reputation.
- Link Exchanges and Reciprocal Linking: Website owners would engage in link exchanges or reciprocal linking, trading links with other websites. While this strategy may have provided short-term benefits, search engines now scrutinize reciprocal linking as a scheme to manipulate rankings. Engaging in excessive reciprocal linking can lead to search engine penalties and a loss of website authority.
- Article Directories and Spinning Content: Article directories were once popular platforms for submitting spun or low-quality content to build backlinks. However, search engines now value unique, high-quality content that provides value to users. Submitting spun or low-quality articles to article directories can harm your website’s reputation and lead to a decline in search rankings.
- Paid Link Building: Purchasing links from other websites was once common to boost search rankings. However, search engines have become highly sophisticated in identifying paid links. When search engines detect paid links, they may penalize your website by devaluing or even excluding those links from their ranking algorithms.
Effective Linking Building Strategies and Tactics to Leverage in 2023
Below are some highly effective strategies and tactics to leverage for successful link building in 2023:
1. Guest blogging (tactic) with Focus on Relevance and Authenticity (strategy)
Writing a guest post is the most widely used link building strategy that involves creating content for other websites in your industry. Guest posting not only showcases your expertise but also earns valuable links to your website.
But isn’t guest blogging dead in 2023? The answer is a hard NO, however, there has been a shift in approach.
Previously, the emphasis was on quantity over quality, leading to an influx of irrelevant and low-quality guest posts. Now, relevance and authenticity are prioritized, with search engines valuing links from authoritative sources that are relevant to your website.
So if back in the day you could get away with chumming as many posts as possible and still get results, now you’d have to be strategic, prioritizing not only the quality of your guest posts but also how relevant they are to your website.
Here are the tactics you can follow:
- Identify authoritative and relevant blogs that accept guest posts: Research and compile a list of reputable blogs that align with your niche and have a strong readership.
- You can use this search prompt “[topic + intitle “work with us”]” and find websites that are actively inviting guest posters to write for them.
- Although this might be effective, what we recommend is you find relevant sites that are not explicitly looking for a guest blog post. Here’s where the second tactic comes in handy.
- Pitch unique and valuable content ideas to the blog owners: Craft personalized pitches highlighting the unique insights or expertise you can provide through your guest posts. As long as you can prove your output quality, no site owners would decline a FREE blog post with the potential to attract organic traffic.
- Write high-quality blog posts and include links back to your website: Create well-researched and engaging content that adds value to the blog’s audience. Incorporate contextual links to relevant pages on your website.
- Establish yourself as an authority: Engage with the audience by responding to comments on your guest posts, sharing the posts on social media, and promoting them through your own channels.
2. Value-driven (strategy) Broken Link Building (tactic)
Similar to guest posting, broken link building strategies have shifted their focus from the previous “link all you can” buffet to being carefully selective with whom you reach out.
Instead of solely aiming to replace broken links, the emphasis is on providing genuine value to website owners and users. This involves identifying broken links within relevant and high-quality content and offering a suitable replacement resource that adds value to the linking page.
But how do you find broken links? Here are some tactics that we’d like to share:
- Use tools to find broken links on relevant websites: We recommend tools like Ahref’s broken link checker or Semrush’s Site Audit to look for broken links. We suggest starting first with your competitor’s website.
- If you’re using Ahref’s tool, you can follow this: Site Explorer > enter [competitor’s domain] > Best by links > add a “404 not found” filter.
- This will show how many referring domains are pointing to each broken page. The more links, the better.
- Reach out to the website owners: Send a polite and concise email notifying the website owner about the broken link(s) you discovered.
- Suggest relevant replacement content from your website: Offer to provide alternative content from your website that can replace the broken link and add value to their readers
- Secure valuable backlinks by fixing broken links: This by itself, is very tedious but equally rewarding as, if your prospect decides to replace the broken links with your content, you’ll also be welcoming the referring domains that came with it.
3. Demonstrate Expertise (strategy) through Visual Assets (tactics)
Visual assets are informative content that utilizes visual elements such as images, charts, graphs, or infographics to convey information and engage audiences. They are often more engaging and digestible than lengthy written content, making them ideal for capturing readers’ attention and encouraging backlinks to your content.
However, there’s a twist. You need to create visual assets that showcase your expertise and credibility. This attracts links from other websites seeking to reference reliable content and positions you as an industry leader, attracting a relevant and engaged audience.
Here are the tactics you can use:
- Choose a topic relevant to your website: Select a topic within your niche that aligns with your expertise and would provide value to your target audience.
- Research and share original insights: Collect accurate data and analyze them based on your experience and knowledge. The better your insights are, the higher the quality of your visual asset will be. This can include statistics, research findings, or survey results.
- Design and create: Use design tools or hire a professional graphic designer to create visually appealing and informative visual assets. Infographics are an excellent example of this, as they effectively combine text and visuals to present complex information in a visually appealing and easily understandable manner.
- Optimize for sharing and linking: Ensure your visual asset is optimized for sharing by including social sharing buttons and embedding options. Provide an embed code for others to easily link back to your website when using your visual asset on their own platforms.
4. Resource Page (tactic) with Relevance (strategy) in Mind
Resource pages are web pages that curate and list useful resources, tools, or information related to a specific topic. These pages often provide valuable links to external websites.
Just like most strategies in this list, the focus of resource page link building has shifted towards providing genuine value and relevance to users and website owners. Rather than solely seeking backlinks, the strategy now involves identifying high-quality and authoritative resource pages that align with your website’s niche or content.
Here are some tactics you can use:
- Identify relevant resource pages Use search engines and industry directories to find resource pages that are related to your content.
- Reach out and propose adding your own valuable resource to the list: Craft a personalized email explaining the value your resource can provide and how it complements the existing resources.
- Provide a brief description and a link to your resource: Clearly explain the benefits of your resource and include a direct link to the specific page on your website.
- Attract highly relevant links: If your resource is valuable and relevant, website owners may include it on their resource page, providing you with a high-quality backlink.
5. Leverage Social Media (tactic) by Being Active (strategy)
Social media marketing has been a powerful tool for SEO, and now the magnitude is reaching link building. How strong of a magnitude are we talking about?
Just look at Ahref’s case study where they got high-quality links with little effort in outreach and prospecting—all thanks to their social media effort.
Here are some tactics you can use:
- Share your high-quality content on social media platforms: Regularly post your content, including blog articles, infographics, videos, or other valuable resources, on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
- Engage with influencers and industry leaders: Participate in conversations, respond to comments, and share insights related to your content. Build relationships with influential individuals in your industry.
- Encourage sharing and interaction: Include social sharing buttons on your website to make it easy for readers to share your content. Engage with users who share or comment on your posts, fostering a sense of community.
- Actively participate in groups and communities to establish yourself as an authority: Join relevant industry groups and forums where discussions and knowledge-sharing take place. Contribute valuable insights and link back to your content when appropriate.
Learning from Hubspot: What makes a good link-building strategy?
HubSpot is renowned for its inbound marketing expertise and has effectively implemented a comprehensive link building approach that contributes to their overall online success.
What can we learn from HubSpot?
- HubSpot focuses on creating high-quality and informative content such as blog articles, guides, and industry reports that naturally attract links from other websites, positioning them as an authority in the marketing industry.
- They leverage guest blogging by contributing valuable guest posts to influential industry blogs, allowing them to tap into established audiences, gain exposure, and build authoritative backlinks.
- HubSpot actively engages with their community through social media and online forums, participating in discussions, providing insights, and linking back to their content when relevant, attracting natural links from engaged users.
- Their collaboration efforts with industry influencers, thought leaders, and complementary brands result in joint content creation, interviews, or webinars, leading to backlinks from influential websites and social media profiles, significantly boosting HubSpot’s website authority.
What makes HubSpot’s strategy stand out is their commitment to providing valuable resources, engaging with the community, and forming strategic partnerships. They prioritize quality over quantity and focus on earning authoritative and relevant links naturally.
Quality is Key for a Successful Link Building Strategy
In conclusion, link building is a critical component of any successful SEO strategy. By implementing proven tactics and strategies such as guest blogging, broken link building, resource page link building, and social media link building, you can attract quality sites linking to yours naturally.
This goes without saying that you need to prioritize quality and relevance, build relationships with influencers, and regularly monitor your backlink profile to ensure the effectiveness of your campaign.
With the right approach and consistent effort, you can establish your website as an authoritative source within your industry and drive organic search traffic for long-term success.