I've been talking a bit more about backlinks and some of the more advanced link building strategies recently, and today I'm proud to publish my first ever “ask the experts” post on the subject. There are just so many different ways to generate excellent quality, safe backlinks out there, I wanted to narrow it down to a few of the best.
Backlinks are the backbone of most SEO campaigns, and solid off-page SEO is made by high-quality backlinks. So what are we talking about here?
I'm not talking about blackhat stuff here, but ways to generate excellent links to your excellent content.
At the end of the day, if you're putting out that excellent content and being proactive about promoting it, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Going out and getting a bunch of links from article submission directories isn't going to get you a lot of benefit, so what can you do that is worth your while, not going to make Google angry, and is something everyone can do?
Well this is where the experts come in.
There is a great guide over at PointBlankSeo which has about a million and one different things to try, but some people just don't have the time for going through that. What do the pros do? Let's find out.
Advanced Link Building Strategies – Asking The Experts
To really get to grips with answering this question, I reached out to the experts in backlinking. I contacted everyone I could think of. Some of them had spoken with me before, others had never heard of me. 7 people got back to me, including some really big names in SEO. This is great!
Here was my question:
If you could generate quality backlinks for your site using only 3 methods, what would they be?
Let's look at today's panel:
James Schramko, Neil Patel, Stuart Walker, Tung Tran, Steve Razinski
Jon Haver, Doug Cunnington
First up is James Schramko. I first heard of him at the beginning of this year and really got into his video blogging style. He's got a massive site and offers great tips and very high quality service for growing your online business at SuperFastBusiness.com. I particularly liked his tip about using Wistia instead of YouTube.
Here's his answer:
1.) Guest Podcast Interviews because of real customers on tribal sites.
2.) Forum and Group referrals word of mouth (Give to these communities and the members constantly link to you when you are not there).
3.) Publish guides and meaty posts because people will link to them automatically.
It's pretty clear that James focuses on putting out great content that people will link to and helping them with that content and general community interaction. This is a great example of building relationships, helping others, and getting links the right way.
Next is Neil Patel. Does he need an introduction? He is after all, “kind of a big deal”. Neil is one of those SEO guys that helps out the big guys. Amazon, TechCrunch, those sorts of big guys.
What's great is that he also responded to my email incredibly quickly, which goes to show he is also prepared to help out the little guys (or my email came in just as he finished clearing his inbox!).
You can find Neil at a few places, Neilpatel.com being a good place to start.
Here's the word from the big deal himself:
1.) The first would be infographics, as it produces links for an affordable amount. http://www.
quicksprout.com/2012/10/22/ why-content-marketing-is-the- new-seo/
2.) The second would be by creating tools, as it drives consistent traffic and can also generate backlinks. http://www.
quicksprout.com/2013/10/14/ move-over-content-marketing- why-creating-tools-can-be-a- better-investment-than- creating-content/
3.) My third approach would be by writing high quality guest posts, as you already know people are willing to share and link to great content.
Number 2 is particularly insightful. You might think creating a tool is a lot of work and beyond you, but think of the ROI in terms of links and repeat visitors! This is definitely something I will consider in the future.
Coming in at number 3 is Stuart Walker of Nichehacks.com. I have to say I've only known Stuart for a short while, but very much like the way he approaches niches. He's also a down to earth guy and I found we were bouncing emails back and forth quite quickly after I reached out to him.
If you want to see a great example of how to “hack a niche” you've got to view this post.
1. Top quality content that goes above and beyond any other topic on the subject to naturally pick up links.
2. Then take it one step further and find out who's linked to similar content on the subject and contact them telling them I've made something bigger and better and try and score a link.
3. Expert round ups / ego baits / link round up posts that reference a lot of experts and then obviously let them know I've included them.
Number 3 looks kind of familiar! haha…and number 1+2 are fantastic ideas. You can check out Brian Dean's post about it here.
Another guy who I've had a great time emailing recently (I hope it's mutual) is Tung Tran of CloudLiving. Tung is a young guy who is wise beyond his years, and very helpful to boot. He's got some great posts about getting started with niche marketing, this one is a particularly good read.
Tung got back to me with this:
There are many ways to get backlinks that work but I think it really depends on your willingness to take risks and how much time and money you want to invest. Here are my favorite:
That's all I did even for Cloud Living. I didn't do any link baiting or round-up posts but I plan to try these methods in the future. One key thing is you have to publish quality content that attracts links naturally or using a social locker to “force” the visitors to share your page.
Well that's the first mention of PBN's (Private Blog Networks), a slightly more risky method for building links, although in its defence it DOES still focus around good quality content.
What can I say about the man who got me started making money online? Other than being a great mentor and friend to me over the last couple of years, he also really knows his stuff. His overall strategy summed up would be: “Just do what makes sense”.
Steve reviews online scams over at Ivetriedthat.com and then shows people the correct way to make money online instead. He's probably saved thousands of people from giving their money over to the would-be “guru” scam artists.
Here are his thoughts on getting links:
I’d say guest posting, offering value and building a relationship with other, established bloggers would be my top priority.
A lot of people view competition as something that needs to be destroyed, but in my experience, a budding relationship can be more positive than a feud.
Even if it’s a one-time article, you’re now on their radar. They may start following your site and updates and the potential for unasked, relevant backlinks grows. It can't hurt to show them some love in your own blog posts as well.
I'm noticing a repeating theme here, quality, value, getting noticed.
Jon is another person I've become a recent fan of. His slogan “I share everything but my passwords” is one that makes his content great for reading. Like many guys in the niche site space (including me), Jon shares his successes, failures, lessons learned, and targets for the future at his site AuthorityWebsiteIncome.
What really stands out is that he can earn $15,000 a month online, while still keeping his day job.
1. The first strategy I would use is to launch a niche dominating round up post that would also include outreach to influencers in your niche. Doing a round up post and promoting the heck out of it can lay the foundation for many future opportunities. Here is a step by step guide on how I go about outsourcing the entire process: http://
authoritywebsiteincome.com/ guide-outsourcing-creation- roundup-post/
2. The second strategy I would use is to leverage expired domains by either building a niche relevant private blog network, 301 redirecting a couple very clean very relevant expired domains or purchasing some high quality PBN posts on a premium PBN
3. Finally I would build off of the outreach in step 1 and use blog commenting to generate opportunities for value-added Guest Posts..this can be time consuming but there are ways to systematize the guest posting process.
Another vote for the expert roundup post, great stuff! I hope everyone wants to help my own bid out by sharing and linking to this post like crazy. Hint. Hint.
Doug is another of the great guys out there blogging about success with niche sites. He also works in the PBN space like Jon Haver above and offers people instructions and services for setting up a PBN at his site nichesiteproject.com.
He probably wins the award for “most thorough answer” too:
1.) Blog Commenting: This is the first thing that I do for link building on a new site. Blog commenting allows you to get backlinks from diverse referring domains and typically you can find opportunities for blogs that are relevant for your niche.
In addition, it's FREE, so it is a great way for people just starting out. One thing to note is that I do not attempt to add backlinks in the actual comment. I count on the backlink that is typically included with the “Name” as the anchor text.
2.) Free Web 2.0 Blogs: You can create these blogs for free on high authority platforms like WordPress, Blogspot, or Tumblr. Again this is a free opportunity for link building. The best thing about this method is that you control the content on the site… So, that means you can make the content totally relevant to your niche and topic.
The added benefit is that you control the anchor text as well. When changes to the Google Algorithm happen, and they will, you can make changes as needed to adjust. The downside is that a brand new web 2.0 blog does not have any authority. To address that, I will head over to fiverr and get a few backlink packages to link to the Web 2.0 blogs. (Do not get backlinks from fiverr that point to your money sites.)
3.) Private Blog Network (PBN) Backlinks: These links come from high authority domains that I own and maintain. Building a PBN is no small task. It takes careful planning, a budget, plenty of time, and patience to learn the process. It is definitely worth the effort. (I wrote about the concepts in greater detail here, Private Blog Networks: PBN 101.)
In general, a PBN is created from expired domains that are available to the public to buy. The expired domain has a history and many corresponding backlinks that give the domain a high Page Authority, Domain Authority, and sometimes PageRank. New content is published on the PBN domain.
Now, the benefits are similar to the ones mentioned above: You control the content and backlinks. So you can be agile when things change in the world of SEO. Do you need to change up your anchor text? No problem – you own the domain so just log in and make the changes. The awesome thing is that with your OWN PBN the risk of having the network discovered is low. Another huge benefit is that you can get very high authority backlinks that would generally be impossible to get in a natural promotion strategy.
Doug really helped me out here because he explained PBN's better than I ever could, which saves me risking giving out the wrong information.
The Final Tally
Do we have a winner? I may have limited everyone to just three answers, but I still got quite a few different ones back. Let's tally them up as best we can, and see how the votes came in.
Guest Posts/Podcasts: 5
Blog Commenting: 3
Building Relationships: 3
Big Guides/Niche Dominating Posts: 3
PBN Building: 3
Expert Roundup Posts: 2
Creating A Tool: 1
Forum/Group Referrals: 1
Some people mentioned blog commenting not only for backlinks, but as a way of building relationships and getting guest post gigs, so there is a bit of overlap there, but I think it is clear what the winners were.
I'd also like to point out that some methods, such as creating a tool, producing meaty guides, or roundup posts have the chance to score dozens of links, whereas a guest post might only score the one (though you would assume it to be of high quality).
There's definitely a recurring theme of working on quality content and reaching out to others.
This post is already clocking in at over 2,100 words, so I'm going to end things here. I hope it's given you a few ideas and some inspiration for your own backlink/outreach campaigns. Feel free to ask any questions below.
Also a massive thanks to everyone who contributed to this post – couldn't have done it without you!