Let’s face it.
Link building is one of the most crucial parts of a successful SEO endeavor.
Yet, it’s also one of the most reviled tasks any SEO can take on.
Most SEOs would rather go to therapy than do link building.
I’m only kinda joking here.
But at Content Guppy, our team of outreachers build hundreds of links across a variety of B2B industries.
And in this guide we’re going to spill the tea on our link building philosophies, share what makes good links vs. bad links, and how to manage links.
And oh, yeah, give you 10 strategies on how to actually acquire links.
Why is Link Building Important?
I mentioned that link building is important. Now let me show you why.
Take this landing page from one of our clients.
When we first started working on it, this page was ranked in the 9th position. Which isn’t terrible. It’s enough to generate traffic, for sure.
But the client wanted EVEN more traffic since it was a really high converting page for them.
So, we spent about 2 months building links to the page and took it from position 9, where it earned 2-3 leads per month, to position 1 for the keyword.
Now, it’s generating 16 leads per month!
Let’s just say they close 2 of these leads a month, and the LTV of each client is $5,000 (it’s a service gig), that’s $10,000 additional LTV every single month.
Not too shabby for 2 months of work.
Black Hat Link Building Vs White Hat Link Building
Black hat link building is the “shady” link building practice that used to work “back in the day” but no longer works.
In fact, your site can be penalized for practicing black hat link building.
These are links that come from PBNs, link farms, are auto-generated in comment sections, and from sites with high spam scores (meaning the site has high outgoing link to incoming link ratio)
Meanwhile, white hat link building is getting a link that you “earn” from a reputable business - either because the quality of your content is that good, OR, you have contributed to the company’s site in some way.
Content Guppy only offers white hat link building services and never uses black hat strategies.
What Makes a Good Link?
Basically, there are sites that seem like good sites, but really aren’t.
One of the best ways to tell if a site is a link farm or a content farm, is if the amount of sites they link out to exceeds the amount of sites that link to them.
This is what a spammy site would be. If you’ve been in the link building game for any length of time, then you might have even come across a term known as a “spam score”. In other words, is the site spammy or not?
At Content Guppy, we say SCREW THE SPAM SCORE.
That’s because we have 3 non-negotiable criteria for what makes a good link.
Criteria 1: The site has a minimum Domain Rank of 60.
Criteria 2: The site has minimum traffic of 1,000 visitors a month.
Criteria 3: Most importantly, the site is a SaaS company or a service company. We do not get links from pure content sites and go through a six-step process to get high-quality backlinks.
So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get into some link building strategies.
10 Actionable Link Building Strategies
Link insertion is the act of reaching out to other websites in hopes that they will add a link to their already existing content.
This is the exact process we use most often to find acquire some of the best links for our clients.
Here’s how it works.
First, we have to find a list of sites who might want to include our link in their article.
To do that, we use Ahrefs Content Explorer.
Then we apply all of our filters.
- One page per domain
- Exclude Home Page
- Site Traffic 1000
- Domain Rating from 60-90
Then we export the list.
Find Person Closest to the Content
Now we have to find the person to reach out to.
We use LinkedIn to do this.
And that’s because we want to get the person closest to the content. We don’t want to send our pitch to the CEO or Founder or CMO if we don’t have to.
Instead, we want to send our pitch to the SEO manager or the content marketing specialist.
So you can search the companies, and then go to the “people” tab.
And then you want to find people with “Content” or “SEO” in their job title.
Send a Pitch
Now, it’s time to send your pitch.
Make it personal. Use their first name at all times.
Show that you’ve ACTUALLY read the content. This is important. (Actually read the content!)
Ask for the link.
Here’s an email that worked for me.
Subject: Quick Question
was reading your article on the 6 ways your B2B Business Can Establish Trust with Your Prospects.
You mention creating content marketing assets as one of the ways to create trust. Far too often, brands think they can just buy some ads on Facebook or Google or whatever, and see success.
But I can't tell you how many times a customer has said to us "we've been reading your blog for 2 years."
The other idea that you had which is really good is making it easy to contact the brand. If I can't find a way to get in touch with someone, then I'm not buying.
We wrote a post called "how to set up a call center" that can help companies make it easy for their customers and prospects to reach out to them. It will fit perfectly in your article.
Let me know if you’re interested.
In 2008, when I started my first blog, guest posting used to be my primary traffic strategy.
I’d write a guest post on Copyblogger or Problogger and get thousands of visitors and hundreds of email subscribers.
Man, I miss those days.
These days, guest posting is best served as a link building strategy.
Yes, I know that Google has said that guest posting for links is a “no no”, but we have found that writing high quality guest posts still works very well.
For guest posting, I would highly recommend using what you learn in this section and implementing it with a solid Parasite SEO strategy (next section).
Step 1: Find a blog to write your post
So, the easiest way to find a blog to write for is to use Google.
You can simply enter the terms:
- “Name of niche” and “guest blogger”
- “Name of niche” and “write for us”
- “Name of niche” and “guest writer”
And you’ll wind up with dozens, if not hundreds, of blogs who are accepting guest posts.
For instance, if I type in “Marketing” and “write for us”, I get pages and pages of blogs looking for guest posts:
Step 2: Pitch the editor
Now that I’ve found a blog to write for, it’s time to pitch the editor.
The first thing I do is look for blog posts that have been successful and come up with an idea around how to spin a new angle.
For instance, if I notice a blog post called “10 ways to nurture leads” gets a lot of shares and comments, then I might do something like “A Case Study on How I Nurture Leads”. (Totally made up and a bad example, perhaps, but you get the point. I’d write my article around lead nurturing.)
Then, I’d pitch them using this script.
And it works almost all of the time!
Step 3: Write a killer post
Now it’s time to write a killer guest post. It has to be really good! You want to endear yourself to both the readers of the new blog AND the editor of the blog.
You can go the extra mile of adding a couple of images to your post, this is an easy step with mockups.
You may not get tons of traffic from your guest post, however, if you do good work for them, they will be much more inclined to share a future post or partner with you down the road.
Let’s face it. Guest posting at scale can take a LONG time.
Writing blog posts can take hours to write. Then you submit it for a few rounds of edits. Before you know it, you’ll have spent 7-10 hours writing one guest post.
Enter guest podcasting.
It takes 15 minutes to write your pitch. An hour (at most) to be on the podcast. Boom! You got your link. (Not to mention you’ve been in the ear of your target audience for almost an hour. That’s got to be worth something too, right?)
So here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Find a Podcast to Appear On
You can do this a couple of ways.
The first way is by using Google.
Look what happens when I search for “best marketing podcasts”.
I get a ton of “list posts” about marketing podcasts.
Then I can click on each of these lists to see which podcasts work for my business.
The second way to do this is by going through the podcasts that you already listen to.
If you’re listening to these podcasts, then maybe your customers are as well.
Step 2: Identify Gaps
Once you’ve found the podcast that you’re going to pitch, you need to identify the content gaps that you can fill.
With a podcast, you don’t want to pitch the EXACT SAME THING as someone else. The topic has already been covered.
You need to pitch something that is a bit different - an angle that will appeal to the host and the readers.
For instance, I was pitching the “Everything is Marketing” podcast. And they had a few episodes on SEO.
So I knew SEO would be a good topic. But I needed to find a bit of an edge.
I pitched the podcast on an SEO strategy that would take just 30 minutes per day.
Step 3: The Pitch
Now you need to send your email.
Here’s the email I sent to the “Everything is Marketing” podcast.
I was listening to your podcast episode with Benji Hyam where you guys were talking about creating a bottom of funnel content using Alternative Posts.
LIke you said, they convert like gangbusters! This is such a great strategy that I’ve seen make a significant impact for other companies. Thank you for sharing this valuable tactic that more people should be utilizing to get ranked for their competitor’s alternatives.
Because you do such a great job of teaching your audience how to grow their business through practical marketing strategies, I thought they would also love to know how to create a huge boost in visitors through an seo strategy that just takes up just 30 minutes each day.
I’ve also found a really cool keyword strategy that helps me create content “easily” which I could share too!
Are you interested?
What is Parasite SEO?
According to Matthew Barby (where I first learned about this strategy), Parasite SEO is
“The goal of parasite SEO focuses on tapping into the authority of well-established websites to rank for competitive keywords and consequently funnel through the traffic to your own website.”
Let me show you what I mean.
There’s a blog called Codeinwp.com where they published a blog post called “7 Best Time Tracker Software Compared”.
After a very short time, this post actually ranked #1 and did quite well. (We’ve since built a few links to it to help secure it’s number 1 ranking.)
Yes, we helped a blog post on another website rank in Google. And it worked!
According to Ahrefs, this post gets 3100 organic visitors per month.
Now, I’ll show you where the magic happens.
On this article of 7 Best Time Tracker Software, Time Doctor is listed first:
Since this post has started ranking number one in google for best time tracker software, it’s driven between 250-400 visitors per month to our site (about 10% of that traffic converts to leads.)
If you’re just starting a new blog or launching a new product, Parasite SEO is a great way to help drive traffic in a very short amount of time by ranking your blog post on a high authority site and getting a REALLY great link from it.
Resource Page Link Building
At it’s core, resource page link building consists of two steps:
Step 1: Create a great resource.
Step 2: Get a link on a page that lists great resources.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you have an incredibly in depth blog post about SEO. A “resource” if you will.
You can go to Google and type: “SEO Resource Guides” or “Top SEO Resources” or “best SEO Resources”.
And you’ll get a bunch of pages just like this:
In this article, Chris lists out free articles and tools that you can use to level up your SEO game.
Claim Branded Links
A lot of times, people will write about you or your company and not link to you.
It’s not intentional.
In the midst of a story, or a train of thought, the blogger will just simply forget to go back and link to you.
I do it all the time. Sorry!
You can set up a Google Alert to get a mention of every time a blog mentions you.
Here’s a for instance, Neil Patel wrote about me on his blog NeilPatel.com.
He referenced an article, but didn’t link back to me. Bummer!
Now, I need to reach out to him.
Subject: Quick Question
I noticed that you mentioned me in your article (article name), but didn’t link to me.
Would you be able to link that back to me?
Create Linkable Content
One of the “easiest” ways to get links, is to create content that people want to link to.
Unfortunately, this is incredibly subjective, so it’s really hard to tell you step by step how to do this.
But here are some tips on what I’ve seen work.
Use Original Data
People love to link to original data and research.
For instance, every year, the social media company Buffer creates a State of Remote Work Report.
In the 2022 report, they got data from over 2,000 remote workers.
And this post has received over 900 links.
Backlinko created The Definitive Guide to SEO in 2022.
One of the reasons it was so successful is that he spent a lot of time and money on the design of the post. Here’s the first section.
(Note: There’s a lot of reason’s this post is successful, design is one of them)
To date it has 1300 referring domains.
Most list posts are 7, 10, maybe 21 items.
But if you write a list post that is 70, 80, or 101 items, then you’ll blow people out of the water and they’ll want to link to you.
For instance, at Time Doctor, we wrote a post called 70 Top Online Collaboration Tools for Remote Teams
And this post now has 58 referring domains - without doing a whole lot of outreach.
Create Free Tools
Creating free tools is a great way to generate leads because so few companies are doing it.
This is different from freemium because you’re not giving away your app. You’re giving away something that compliments your app.
It’s a great way to bring in search traffic and generate leads. For instance, Ruben Gamez and his team at Docsketch created an online signature tool.
Ruben has told me it accounts for 1500 leads per month to his paid saas product.
Sites love to link to free tools as well. For instance, this signature generator has 313 referring domains at the time of this article.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re already busy building out a product, you don’t need to build yet another tool.
There are sites like CodeCanyon.com that will allow you to buy “simple” tools for a relatively low price for you to offer for free to your audience.
Being a SaaS company, one of the things Time Doctor does is build integrations with other tools.
This allows us to leverage partnerships with those other companies to drive relevant traffic to our site.
For instance, one of the tools we work with is called WorkflowMax and we are listed on their integration page.
In the past 6 months, that integration page has sent over 265 people to the site.
This is just one partnership. Multiply that by 10 or 20 and traffic starts to add up.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves identifying and fixing broken links on other websites that point to your website or content. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do broken link building:
Step 1: Identify potential target websites:
The first step in broken link building is to identify websites that are relevant to your industry or niche and that have a high number of external links.
These websites are likely to have broken links that you can fix.
I use Ahrefs in order to find sites that have at least 1,000 referring domains.
Step 2: Check for Broken Links
Once you have identified potential target websites, the next step is to check for broken links on those websites.
There are several tools you can use to do this, such as Dead Link Checker and Broken Link Checker.
These tools will scan the target website and identify any broken links.
Step 3: Pitch the Person Closest to the Content
You can use the same steps to find the SEO manager or content marketing specialist here as I showd you in the “Link Insert” section.
You don’t want to pitch the founder, or CEO or “owner of the website”, because that person is just too busy to care about a single broken link.
Pitching the person who would actually care about this is the best way to get a high response rate.
Something along the lines of
Subject: Broken Link
Hey First Name
I was checking out your article on (article name) and found a broken link.
If you’re interested in fixing it, I have a great article that you can use as a replacement.
Want to check it out?
I know that link building can suck. But it is vital to the success of your SEO efforts.