1. Research Competitors

One of the most important ways to acquire links is to monitor what our competitors are doing. There are many free tools allowing us to easily scan backlink profiles. Some of these tools include:

  • OpenSiteExplorer
  • SEO Book Competitive Research Tool
  • SEO Site Tools extension for Chrome
  • MozBar
  • SEMRush
  • Alexa

The most popular method is to pay for a Moz account and browse through competitor link profiles. Visit the sites with high Page and Domain authority, determining how competitors got a link (paid, unpaid, feature, submission, etc…). Decide if it’s worth the time investment – is the ROI going to suffice? Do this for links with lots of equity and try to replicate or improve upon our competitor’s outreach strategy.

Also, competitor research usually gets our creative juices flowing. Maybe we notice a charitable donation feature that a competitor landed on a DA:75 site. Can we take this a step further and launch a philanthropy campaign, with multiple charity events? If that’s a possibility, we can surely land on that DA: 75 and even consider DA:80-85.

2. Tap into Reddit

Reddit remains an unknown and/or scary place to marketers. This is primarily because Redditors are notorious for blatant and brutal comments, and a keen sense for sniffing out marketing content. Fortunately, we can tap into the social power of Reddit if we abide reddiquette and provide quality content. Here is a checklist:

  1. Identify the subreddit (category) most relevant to your business
  2. Learn the rules and social norms
  3. Browse through the most successful content – is  this something we can replicate?
  4. Submit your content, preferably when the most users are online (this is unique to every subreddit)
  5. Engage in healthy discussion with redditors who comment or ask questions

If we follow these steps and create a great piece of content, redditors are likely to share it on their respective social media accounts, gaining us natural links. Monitor these results by keep Google Analytics strictly monitored during the Reddit campaign.

3. Create an Infographic

Infographics are super-shareable, as we are well aware. However, creating them can be costly on a tight budget. One of the best free resources for doing this is Infogram.

One of the industry standards for creating successful infographics is committing to authentic research. There are three important principles to keep in mind when deciding on topical research:

  1. Relevance/Timeliness
  2. Uniqueness
  3. Quality

Timely and creative topics, with nicely visualized data, make for shareable infographics. If viewers can tell we worked hard to pull great information, they have every reason to press social buttons and link to us.

4. Create a Free Tool

We have to have a decent programmer on board for this strategy – or some funds to outsource for a contract gig. Tools such as this one can be easily created. As this example proves, we don’t have to overthink – just focus on something people in our industry would useful, something that makes our jobs a little bit easier. I decided to brainstorm a couple, take them if you’d like:

  • Social Capital Calculator (estimates Facebook likes and tweets as $USD)
  • Blogger Beeper (sends text message reminders to your phone when you have to blog)


5. Publish a Research Report – White Papers

This step can be accomplished by anyone. The key ingredients here are diligence and time. Identify your industry and do a keyword search for pre-existing white papers and reports. Scroll through results until you have a strong sense of what’s already been covered.

Next, determine an area that hasn’t received attention and outline your white papers. Here are some basic criteria:

  • Introduction (describe your purpose and motivation)
  • Brief background of your industry
  • Highlight the major problem or need and why this is important to your industry
  • Provide research results that work into your solution
  • Provide your solution or Outlook for the future health of the industry
  • Conclude with final thoughts, a recap, and thank any contributors

Best of all, white papers are unique to every organization. Create yours as you see best fit. Once all is said and done, get a nice graphic logo for your report and do one of the following things:

  • Offer it for free to industry bloggers and they will link to you in their reviews
  • Charge social capital (a tweet or Facebook like) to download for free
  • Request a link and reward linkers


6. Incentivize Shared Content

Basically, whenever we post content on social channels, we have the opportunity to incentivize. That means doing any of the following things:

  • Rewarding those who retweet with bonus content
  • Let your readers pick the next topic for sharing a link
  • Hold a contest where the winner gets an exclusive feature post

We should be as creative as possible with incentives. Always remember the end goal is to reward our audience, which in turn, encourages them to link.

7. Re-create Broken Links

A tried and common strategy, broken link-building is still a viable strategy. We will need Open Site Explorer or a similar tool, WayBackMachine, and our own content publishing site. The strategy is simple:

  1. Comb target sites with OSE to find broken links
  2. Use WBM to see what the content used to look like
  3. Re-create the content on our own site but make it current
  4. Contact target site owner with the re-created content link, notifying them of their broken one and suggesting they redirect to yours. 

Do you have any link building strategies to add? Have a question or comment? Post them below!


Author: Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. He writes on a variety of topics for Vista College and 12 Palms Recovery Centers, and on his blog, Mashbout. Follow Jesse on Google Plus.

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2 Responses to 7 Powerful Link Building Strategies

  1. Alvin Brown says:

    Great post. I would also recommend using badges as a way to create a scalable link building strategy.

  2. Jesse Aaron says:

    Thanks Alvin! Agreed, badges are definitely an effective link building strategy. If executed properly, they can be incorporated into social media contests and become a viral piece of content.

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