One of the most common questions we get from new SEOs is how they could get enough high-quality backlinks without using an excessive amount of resources. This is an important question because, unlike other search engine optimization activities like technical and on-page SEO, link building has unlimited potential for both ranking your website and draining your marketing budget.
If you’ve been publishing quality content regularly and you’ve already maxed out your technical and on-page SEO, the only major SEO area left to optimize will be link building. If you’re actively competing for highly-contested keywords, link building will be a necessary but never-ending process that will use up a lot of your time and manpower.
Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketers give up on link building because of the immense amount of resources it requires for difficult keywords. While you can’t always avoid high resource requirements for all campaigns, there are link building techniques that don’t require vast amounts of time, manpower, and money. Understanding these methods and whether you can apply them to your situation can be key for sustainable link building campaigns that help keep you in the game.
In this article, we’ll share a few resource-saving link building techniques that we’ve found to be effective in the right situations:
1) Linkable Asset Creation (Link Bait)
If you have access to a good content team, this is a no-brainer. The idea behind this strategy is to create content assets that encourage links to your site. Common types of link bait content include white papers, ebooks, infographics, long-form how-to articles, and other things that go above and beyond a regular blog post.
A good content team is necessary to pull this off because webmasters will be much more willing to link to landing pages with original and creatively presented content. Fortunately, linkable asset creation also requires a relatively low budget compared to many other link building strategies you could try.
The one important tip for creating link bait is to choose engaging but rarely-discussed topics. Read Link Bait: Everything You Need to Know to learn more about creating linkable content.
2) Link Solicitation
When appropriate, ask for links from vendors, suppliers, resellers, and other parties that you already have a relationship with. If you have a close relationship with some of your clients, you can also consider hitting them up for a link. Businesses in the manufacturing industry are often a good bet, especially if their website has a “where to buy” section where they could naturally insert a link to your landing page.
Of course, these kinds of activities are always give and take. Be sure to be open to similar requests from them in case they also need a link back to their landing pages. To compensate your contacts, you can also offer perks, freebies, and discounts for your SEO services.
3) Look for Collaborators
Hit up your industry connections to see if they’d be willing to help you get additional backlinks for your link building project. Fellow freelancers, digital marketing agencies, and even competitors are all potential sources of links, which is why you should always be striving to develop good relationships with everyone in your industry. Again, be sure that you’re willing and able to return the favor when the time comes.
4) Media Partners and Sponsors
Event sponsorships and media coverage can give you unique opportunities for building links. If you’re hosting an event or playing a key role in it, it won’t hurt to hit up participating sponsors and media partners for a link.
SearchWorks occasionally hosts large events like PeepCon. For these occasions, we contact potential sponsors to help keep the costs manageable. Large digital marketing industry events like PeepCon will also generally attract a few tech journalists and digital marketing bloggers. We’ve found that so long as you take care of your media partners and sponsors, they’re probably going to be willing to host relevant links to blog posts or news stories related to the event.
5) Link Reclamation
It’s not uncommon for backlinks to eventually disappear, taking a landing page’s link equity with them. Websites update all the time and in-content links can often become broken in the shuffle. Webmasters don’t always have the time to look through their links to make sure that they’re functioning correctly and it’s up to you to give them a nudge and point out broken links to them.
Aside from being very easy, a great thing about link reclamation is that webmasters of sites that enforce good editorial practices are likely to comply with your link reclamation request. To minimize backlink losses moving forward, you should monitor backlinks with automated tools such as those provided by MOZ, Ahrefs, Majestic, and other reputable developers.
6) Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves looking for relevant industry websites that contain broken or expired links then creating new content that outmatches whatever it was the link pointed to. Once the landing page is prepped, you then contact the webmaster to ask if they could link the still-broken link to your updated landing page. Of course, you want to make sure that your new content is substantially better than the one that the external site used to link to.
The great thing about this strategy is that webmasters of legitimate websites are the most likely to respond to your relinking request. Webmasters of PBNs and other sketchy websites probably don’t care about broken links and are far less inclined to help you out, which is a good thing.
A major drawback of this strategy is that the opportunities to do this are quite rare. Even when there are opportunities, there probably aren’t that many, to begin with. Webmasters might also choose to simply ignore your requests, link to a different landing page, or completely remove their broken link altogether, resulting in your new landing page becoming a slight waste of resources. This means that if you have to do broken link building for a client, you will want to set the right expectations for them.
7) Linkless Mention Reclamation
Despite this technique’s weird name, the premise is very simple. Linkless mention reclamation involves looking for mentions related to your client’s business, including product trademarks and names of key leaders. After compiling a list of mentions, you then contact the webmasters of the different websites that mention your business and ask them for a link back to your landing pages using the existing mentions as anchor text.
To quickly find relevant brand mentions, you can use Google’s “intitle” search operator. Make sure to filter out your own website from the search results with a tool like SEOquake or something similar to ensure that all you’re left with is a list of external articles. Always read these articles in depth so that you get a feel of the context of the content and judge if it’s something you want to get a link from.
Bonus: Other Link Building Techniques
Of course, these are not the only beginner-friendly link building techniques we use. The most popular one is, of course, guest posting. While straightforward, guest posting does require some finesse. To up your guest posting game, read Effective Link Outreach Guide for High-DA Websites and Your Link Outreach Email Sucks. Here’s Why.
Link exchanges are another simple link building strategy that beginners can implement quickly. A lot of SEOs might tell you to stay away from link exchanges but we disagree. To learn more about this link building method, read Link Exchange Guide: Damn Right It Still Works.
These are the beginner-friendly methods we use to keep our link building campaigns sustainable. If you have a limited digital marketing budget, these methods can make all the difference in ensuring that you can deliver enough links to your client on schedule and within budget.