Are you still relying on old-school link building strategies to improve your rankings? If so, chances are you’re not seeing much success. This guide will show you 20 strategies to gain more high-quality backlinks and brand mentions from various channels and relevant sites.
Tactics like guest blogging, blog commenting, forum discussions, Quora answers, and promoting content on social media still work to a degree. But they are not enough to hack your way onto Google’s first page. On the other side, strict Google link guidelines are pose the threat of a penalty against older link building strategies.
Google clearly warns against link schemes in their Webmaster Guidelines:
“Any links trying to manipulate PageRank or a website's ranking may count as a part of spam link scheme and a breach of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
Paid links, link exchanges, offering freebies in exchange for links, etc. are spam tactics.
That said, link building is still as crucial as it was before recent Google algorithm updates. Backlinko’s recent list of Google’s 200 ranking factors stated that backlinks and brand signals are key ranking elements.
Considering Google’s guidelines and the need for backlinks, you have to switch to advanced link building strategies for SEO to scale up your ranking chances.
Let’s go over the 20 advanced link building strategies that can keep you safe from penalties and boost your rankings by 2X.
Skyscraper Link Building
1. Skyscraper Tactic
Although original content is still important, quantity and quality are now playing equally important roles.
Marketers focus on creating better content than the content that is already available. This is called the evergreen Skyscraper technique.
This advanced link building strategy involves finding the best content about your keywords and creating a 10X better version. In other words, you will be creating high-quality content that people will want to share and link to.
Let’s say I search in Google for, “how to be resilient.” As you can see in the screenshot below, The APA.org article is ranking first.
All I need to do is analyze it, find out what it lacks, and add missing ingredients to the content. It can be more SEO images, data, videos, better examples, and trending content like, “How to be resilient in the face of adversity.” That’s it. My high-quality content is ready to hit the stage.
You can use tools like BuzzSumo, YouTube, Quora, and of course Google searches to find the best content and then use the skyscraper technique to create a better version.
If you’re creating better content in the same format, look for high-authority sites that will publish it as a guest post. Ideally, you should look for sites that are in the same industry as the site from where you found the original post. There’s a better chance that they will accept the content since it’s relevant to their audience.
In case the content is in a different format, you can also reach out to the website from where you found the original content and ask if they are interested in publishing it on their site.
Another advanced link building strategy is to publish the finished content to your own blog, so other sites can link back to you.
A note about quality links: As you "collect" backlinks, let quality take precedence over quantity. You've probably heard the importance of avoiding bad backlinks, but it can be hard to judge them without set standards in place. What exactly is a good or bad link?
We were blown away by the depth of coverage that Earned Media gives in this backlinks guide. Part 2, especially, offers detailed steps about how to check for quality links. Add it to your practice.
2. Spy on Your Competitors
What are your competitors’ backlink strategies? Follow them closely to discover where their links are coming from and which anchor texts they are using.
The SpyFu competitor keyword research tool helps you study your competitors’ best keywords and advanced link building strategies.
You don’t have to copy them, but you can take inspiration from them.
Once you find out their link building tactics, you can apply the skyscraper technique once again. Whatever your competitors are doing, do an even better job.
For example, you can contact sites or people that are linking to your competitors and approach them with much better content. Give them reasons to link back to you. SpyFu also built in a tool that shows you which sites are linking to your competitors so you can speed up this process.
This way, you are increasing the odds of getting backlinks from sites that are providing link juice to your competitors.
There are many ways to use a simple skyscraper tactic to strengthen your advanced link building strategies. Apart from creating 10X better content, you can create a different version of an existing post so people will want to publish it and link back to you. For example, you can create infographics based on evergreen content..
Let’s say I want to write something about the paleo diet. So I put the keywords into BuzzSumo and find the most shared article.
Using the skyscraper technique, I can create an infographic version of this highly-shared article. Although the content would be similar, it would have its own appeal since it’s a different format.
And the best part is that I can request that the same site (Business Insider in this case) publish my infographic.
It's called guestographics - contributing infographics to guest posting sites. And it’s an extremely effective advanced link building strategy that you should consider adopting.
You can also push your limits on infographics and create instructographics. Start creating infographics that can compensate for an article. For example, you can tell readers what to do and what not to do via infographics - popularly known as instructographics.
Due to the highly informative nature of these instructographics, they tend to get a lot of shares and can help you earn backlinks. So they can be a vital element in your advanced link building strategy.
An author named Jackie Blum created an instructographic about the popular book titled, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. See the results it received on Medium.
Image Source: Medium
Jackie shared the instructions in the book via infographics and got a tremendous response. Similarly, you can take your old content and convert it into instructographics.
Content Creation Link Building
5. Publish Original Research
Now that you have learned how to make the most out of existing content, it’s time to create something original.
One of the best advanced link building strategies is to conduct research. This could be in the form of surveys or even hypothesis-based studies.
Then, publish and promote your findings, and create content around it. This way, you can find many ways to create original content.
For example, a coffee chain can perform a wide array of research about their customers such as:
- How many times do people drink coffee in a day?
- How does coffee intake increase during stressful moments, and what are its effects?
- What’s the most common time to have coffee?
Plus, people want to link to original studies and research that is relevant to their industry. So you will get a ton of backlinks from this advanced link building strategy.
Don’t worry if your findings aren’t popular. Unexpected results and opinions that challenge most people’s assumptions might give you even more links as people counter with their own responses.
Besides this type of research, you can also create a case study of your achievements. This is one of the most effective advanced link building strategies as people want to link to original case studies to prove their claims. You can also publish these case studies on other reputable sites in your niche.
Brian Dean is well-known for his case study content. His blog, Backlinko, attracts tons of traffic via case studies packed with actionable strategies that readers can apply instantly.
Here’s his latest case study:
Image Source: Backlinko
6. Mention Influencers
How many times do you discuss examples, quotes, and case studies from industry influencers? Ever thought about letting them know that you mentioned them?
Maybe they are too big of an influencer so you thought it best to avoid it. But I would suggest you mention them each time you share their examples in your content.
Even if they don't respond, their followers may like to see what you have to say. The influencers are likely to appreciate it as well since they get backlinks from you.
“Tim Ferriss, the author of “The 4-Hour Work Week,” often shares his fans' tweets. A retweet alone can quickly catch the attention of an influencer’s followers.
Image Source: Twitter
This retweeted post, for example, received quite a lot of engagement.
So whenever you use their examples or quotes in a post, just mentioning them when you share it can get you high levels of engagement. If you do it right, it could prove to be a highly effective advanced link building strategy for your brand.
Tip: Don't just focus on big influencers. By mentioning micro-influencers, you have more chances to get noticed and shared.
7. Become a Thought Leader
One surefire way to get the link juice flowing is to become a thought leader yourself. Go social with your thoughts, ideas, and quotes. Share your stories of survival and how you managed to overcome challenges successfully.
Motivation resides in the subconscious minds of people. Even if consumers aren’t familiar with your products or services, motivational stories can pique their interest.
Gary Vee is a perfect example to discuss here. He has a wine business, but admirers know him for his life teachings and motivational quotes.
Image Source: LinkedIn
8. Create an Abundance of Content
Gary Vee is also known for producing huge volumes of content in one day. When people ask him how he does this, he tells the same tale. He creates multiple formats of a single piece of content.
This involves creating one long-form article and then converting it into videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. It saves him the trouble of coming up with new content ideas for multiple channels.
You can follow the same content model for your advanced link building strategy as it will help you generate more content in less time, with less effort
Image Source: LinkedIn
Develop a content schedule that will let you create one piece of long-form content at least once a week. Break it up into multiple formats and promote it on relevant social media channels.
For example, videos for YouTube, images for Instagram, podcasts for iTunes, etc. The better presence you have on multiple channels, the more backlinks you will get.
9. Create Supportive Tools
Don’t limit yourself to content only. Create tools, templates, and widgets that simplify tasks for people. This gives you an excellent opportunity to get legit backlinks from your target audience even without asking for them.
For example, Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the best-selling book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0.” Apart from writing about emotional intelligence, he offers various tools like psychological intelligence testing and daily calendars through his TalentSmart website. These tools help people get to know themselves better, making them extremely popular.
Image Source: TalentSmart
With their popularity, these tools get a ton of mentions and links from reputable sites. Harvard even mentioned and linked to TalentSmart on their emotional intelligence tools list.
Expanded Network Link Building
10. Influencer Link Building
Influencers are people with loyal, pre-established audiences in particular niches. They constantly create content to build and engage their fan base. So they can play a vital role in your advanced link building strategy.
By establishing a partnership with industry-specific influencers, you will get direct access to their followers, who are also your target audience. They will become your brand advocates as they promote your content, products, and services to their audience, allowing you to earn backlinks.
To get started, you need to identify influencers relevant to your niche and discuss promotion opportunities with them.
For example, a travel company should look for influential travelers who share their travel experience with their followers. The influencer’s followers will typically consist of travel enthusiasts and are therefore, a relevant target audience for the company.
Use the tips and tools given below to find relevant influencers:
- Use the BuzzSumo influencer discovery tool. Just put the keyword or topic in the search bar to get a list of top influencers.
- Perform a Google search with “top blogs/experts in (your niche).”
11. Build a Link Pyramid
Generally, to rank a particular page, you would link to it using relevant anchor text to help search engines understand what the page is about.
For example, let’s say you want to rank your homepage, www.yoursite.com. You will create a blog and create blog posts in which you link to the homepage using relevant anchor texts. A link pyramid follows a similar process but at a deeper level.
For instance, let's say you want to rank for www.yoursite.com/SEO
Level 0: www.yoursite.com/SEO - the page you want to rank
Level 1: www.yoursite.com/blog/SEO - it gives a direct backlink to the Level 0 page
Level 2: www.yoursite.com/blog/internetmarketing - it gives a backlink to level 1
Level 3: www.yoursite.com/blog/contentmarketing - it gives a backlink to level 2
Here’s a visual explanation:
Image Source: Web Net 3.0
This is one of the most natural tactics among advanced link building strategies. It gives you zero chances to get penalties from search engines.
You can use link pyramids for guest posting and multiple formats of content like images, infographics, videos, etc.
12. Create Link-Rich Wikis
If you don’t already have content on Wikipedia, it’s time to create some especially for your own brand. Wikipedia definitions quickly reach Google’s snippet area or at least the sidebars.
For example, if you search for Buffer, you’ll get the following results.
With a Wiki presence, you can easily grab the attention of thousands of people searching for new knowledge. So creating Wikipedia descriptions with lots of relevant links to your site can be one of the most effective advanced link building strategies.
13. Get Listed in Round-Up Posts
Another effective advanced link building strategy is to get listed in round-up posts. Look for content curators who put together round-up posts relevant to your industry. You might have come across topics like this:
“15 Best Advanced Link Building Articles of the Week”
“15 Best Advanced Link Building Strategies of 2019 from Marketing Gurus”
Look for these types of lists relevant to your niche. Contact the curators and ask them if they would be willing to mention any of your resources. This could be anything from your content or tool to your templates or brand name with a link attached.
You can also go beyond listicles. Find other resources where you might get a chance to earn backlinks. Podcasts sharing top tools or products, YouTube videos displaying top products in a certain niche, etc. are other forms of round-up posts.
14. Offer Updated Content
How many times have you stumbled across articles sharing tips that don't work anymore?
It’s an opportunity to create updated content and ask the publisher to replace the old, outdated info with new ideas. Not only are you making the publishers aware of outdated content and its disadvantages, you are also giving them a solution.
The best part is that it increases your chances of building legitimate links and is an essential part of your advanced link building strategy.
For example, the following Pew Research article from 2016 still ranks first on Google for the keywords, "Wikipedia pageviews per month."
It’s already been three years so the data could be outdated. You can collect fresh data and publish updated content related to the same topic. Google will surely replace the old piece with the latest information and highlight it as a featured snippet.
15. Leverage Your Networks
By the time you complete the above networking strategies, you will likely have a large list of influencer contacts. This will include the influencers you mentioned in your content and the ones you approached to promote your products or services.
Ask them whether they would like to receive more content in the future. If they agree, add them to your subscriber list. Send them personalized emails each time you publish new content. Make sure to include shareable buttons in your emails so they can easily share your content with a single click.
Claim Your Links
16. Reclaim Your Links
Ever checked all those links you earned in the past? Are they even still there?
If you’re not sure, it’s time to confirm whether those past links still exist. If you don’t find them anymore, maybe they are broken or have been removed. Contact the publishers to get your links back. This is one of the simplest tactics among advanced link building strategies.
17. Find and Fix Broken Backlinks
Broken backlinks are your website’s broken links present on third-party sites, also known as broken inbound links. Broken backlinks occur when you remove the page that has the backlink or the publisher of third party site mistyped it. For example, they might have added unnecessary characters at the end of the URL.
Find all the broken backlinks and fix them to keep the link juice flowing and strengthen your advanced link building strategy.
You can install Google Chrome’s Broken Link Checker extension to detect broken backlinks to your site and fix them.
18. Find Brand Mentions
Maybe somebody has mentioned your brand but didn't link to your site. In such cases, you can reach out to the content owners and request that they add a link.
Running a manual Google search to find linkless brand mentions can be exhausting. But you can use brand listening tools like Mention to find them more easily.
In addition, you can also set up Google Alerts with your brand name to keep tracking brand mentions in the future.
Don't overdo this as Google favors naturally referred brands. If every single brand mention has a link, it may seem overly promotional. For example, don't push linking on product reviews but ask for backlinks where the brand name is used as an example.
Additionally, favor websites with high Domain Authority when executing this advanced link-building strategy.
19. Be a Newsworthy Company
Newsworthy companies are the ones always in progress. They keep launching new products, upgrading existing ones, or experimenting with modern technology. Constant growth gives others the chance to create content about your company.
Strive for non-stop progress and promote all your upcoming products or services. Soon, you will notice the media acknowledging your progress and promotes it on their news channels. Natural backlinks will follow close behind.
20. Content Curation
Becoming a content curator yourself is another highly effective tactic among advanced link building strategies. Put together a “best of” list for the week. This works as a two-way process. When you become a credible source of content curation, people will contact you to ask for links. In exchange, they will share your content and ensure more visibility.
Put These Advanced Link Building Strategies in Action
To help you navigate through this guide better, we sorted out all the advanced link building strategies into groups.
Skyscraper link building has four strategies to implement simultaneously, while content creation accounts for five strategies. Networking includes six tactics, and the rest involve claiming links.
Follow these steps carefully based on your needs and resources, and watch your link profile thrive.Do you know any other advanced link building strategies for SEO?