5 Link Building Tips to Increase Rankings in 2019
The evolution of link building hasn't changed as much as it seems. The root of success has been consistent for a long time and comes down to the need for integrating quality over quantity with the sweet spot being a combination of both.
This year has flown by and it's a good time to start setting objectives for 2019. The tips below have worked well for me and will continue being areas of focus as we crossover into the new year.
It isn't easy, and even now while I am nearing my 20th year in search engine optimization and web development, hitting my stride in acquiring quality links still poses the most challenge.
Acquiring a link, in general, isn't that hard, it's finding the high domain authority links that posses the greatest challenge and the highest reward. It's no secret that search engines place a great deal of value on a link coming into your site from another highly regarded website.
Back in the early to mid-2000's, I placed a lot of my effort in creating quality content and doing it in large quantities. Naturally, as virtually all spaces have become more competitive and saturated, the focus for has shifted to introducing other websites to resources and content and gaining a link from them. I give my best effort to ensure of that the content I create is a valuable resource and warrants receiving that coveted link.
You're interested in building your organic search volume. It's the reason you're here, so without further ado, here are my top 5 Link Building Tactics going into 2019.
1. Outreach works! Be sure to connect with other industry-specific and fringe webmasters.
Guest posting and providing a unique resource is alive and well!
I've found a good degree of success in creating content that looks ahead and addresses the future concerns rather than relying too heavily on the past. Ask yourself questions such as what content will someone need to reference down the road? Perhaps it's a whitepaper with detailed research of where your industry has been and more importantly where it's heading in the near to short-term future. Barring divulging trade secrets, others in your arena may find your commentary useful in understanding what possibilities may lie ahead for them. A degree of speculation is okay and it can open useful commentary between you and your targeted link acquisition. Hint: People tend to appreciate others that can add to the conversation, transparency is okay, especially if you come across as a problem solver.
Case in point: I've recently seen this strategy work beautifully first hand. Links that I perceived to be too difficult to obtain were obtained because the target was made to genuinely feel unique. Relationships matter and so does transparency. You don't have a shot if you aren't willing to ask, but I firmly believe you must be open in your approach and most importantly, offer solutions or dialogue that provides usefulness to the entity your asking for a link from. I see the bad side of link requests first-hand ever increasing. Too many people ask for links without displaying they have any idea what their target needs. If the homework isn't done and the content or resource isn't specific your outreach will likely end up in the trash folder or even worse, you'll be marked as junk.
2. Utilize quality SEO resources such as Moz.com, Ahrefs, Google Analytics and others as you see fit.
There is a lot to consider before you really dive headfirst into the outreach component of a link building campaign. First and foremost you need to know where you stand. I see too many SEO articles that skip over this crucial step. Maybe it's deemed so obvious it doesn't need to be addressed? I'm not sure, but I do know I've seen many examples of organizations that don't have a grasp on where they fit into the SERP side of things.
They may know that their traffic isn't where they want it to be and they typically don't seem to understand where they could be. Quality link building resources will help you understand that potential. You'll learn what your current linked assets are as well as learn what your competitors are doing and finding success in.
Try not to get discouraged if you find that a competitor of yours seemingly owns your space due to the sheer volume of links they've acquired. While it may feel insurmountable, you can typically find opportunity in outlier areas beginning with keyword selections, untapped content opportunities and obtaining high domain authority links.
3. Connect with other like-minded local businesses.
If you want to find short-term success on the journey to long-term dominance you should start on the fringe. While you can go straight for the 800 lb gorilla in the room by targeting a heavily dominated keyword, using tools and resources like Moz and Ahrefs can help you determine areas of opportunity that others haven't focused in on.
For example, let's say you run a local flower shop. You're likely aware that national competitors own the space. Getting positioned organically for the keyword "Delivered Flowers" might prove difficult at the beginning stages of your SEO efforts.
What you may want to consider is contacting other fringe businesses in your market that offer related services. For a flower shop, perhaps you'd find that connecting with a local wedding planner, hospital or high school, would be possible?
You could do a couple of things to earn those links.
First, maybe the local wedding planner wouldn't mind a fresh piece of content that describes how to create a beautiful bridal bouquet?
Second, if it's in your financial interest for customer referrals, perhaps you'd offer a 10% discount for the wedding planners visitors? They might be so happy that you'd consider this that they'd link back to the offer on your site?
Going through with both the guest post and offer could be a powerful combination! Instead of just a link back to your site, you now have an actionable link on their site that may produce traffic, which is exactly what you're looking for with SEO.
4. Write and publish quality posts and articles that aren't all about your business.
It doesn't always have to be about you! In fact, it's to be quite the opposite. Writing about a topic that shares commonality with others but isn't all about you can exponentially increase your ability to earn links.
This seems to be a given but I'm still surprised to see so much self-serving content. If you want to earn quality links, which are still the best for for increasing ranking signals back to search engines, you have to avoid making it all about your business.
Take the floral shop that we discussed above. They may want to address a topic such as 10 Tips to Keep Your Flowers Fresh Longer. A well written post may acquire a reference link back from other writers that discuss flowers on their blog.
When you write with link building in mind you want to accomplish a few things. First, you want to be an authority figure in your particular field. Providing valuable information that isn't self serving will help. Second, you want your content to be utilized instead of sitting on the internet for no one to see. Acquiring links back to your content helps ensure that not only will your content be consumed but that your domain will benefit as well from an increased authority in the eyes of the search engines.
5. Provide testimonials to others that you've had positive experiences with.
Showing support for other businesses and organizations you've had positive experiences with is one way to acquire links. In many cases you can leave a review right through the website and leave a link next to your name.
Take the flower shop example again. Let's say the shops owner really loves the service they receive from their supplier. Why not take a moment to thank them on their website? Even if they don't have a testimonial page set up on their site, it's highly possible that if you send them the testimonial that their marketing manager may utilize that testimonial on their site. You can even subtly suggest that by letting them know ahead of time that you would be more than happy if they wanted to share your comments.
Not only are you spreading goodwill to others you're likely to be rewarded with a link back to your business.
When you write the testimonial be sure to format it so that directly beneath the comments is your name, position with company and link back to company.
Bonus tip: Reclaim old content, sparkle it up and promote through your social media channels.
If you've been around for awhile, chances are you have a lot of old content that hasn't seen the LED light of day on a consumers screen for quite some time. Going back through the archives and resurrecting content that can be updated with modern information and pushed back into social channels can help you on multiple fronts.
In terms of link building specifically, re-purposed content can be picked up and linked to. At the end of the day a link back from a quality domain can improve your domain authority, which is precisely what you're looking for.
These are my top areas of focus going into 2019. That doesn't mean that this is a definitive list. Items such as creating and properly utilizing video and social media content will continue to carry a great deal of weight and provide opportunity in the future. Understanding how to reclaim past link opportunities is important. We'll address further link building intricacies in future articles. For now, working towards mastering the 5 link building tactics as described above will help you strengthen your position and enhance your SEO results in 2019.