This article gives you 6 link building strategies that work even for websites in difficult industries.
When it comes to link building, some industries have all the luck.
Write a fitness blog? Enjoy a dedicated audience and hundreds of high-powered influencers.
Write travel content? It’s a backlink smorgasbord.
But what if your niche is jewelry sales? Or website hosting? Or HVAC for office buildings?
Let’s face it: of some bloggers, much is asked, and to others, much is given.
In niches like travel, wellness, marketing, and finance, the SEO strategies practically write themselves. For less popular niches, though, trying to get high-quality backlinks can drive you to despair.
But it’s not impossible. It can even be fun (yes, you read that right).
In this article, we’ll teach you some link building strategies that work no matter what your industry.
What are Link Building Strategies?
Content should be the heart of your blog strategy, but alone, it’s not enough.
Backlinks are vitally important for bringing traffic to your site.
On average, the first result of any Google search has 3.8x as many backlinks as the sites ranking 2 through 10.
“What?” you might scoff. “How could backlinks be more important than content?”
One word: authority.
If you stand on your front porch and give an awesome speech, you won’t accomplish much except annoying your neighbors.
If a U.S. senator gives the exact same speech, millions of people will listen.
Google uses backlinks to measure the authority of a source. If nobody links to your blog posts, Google decides you’re like the person shouting off their front porch.
The more people link to your content, the more Google assumes it deserves to be read. Each backlink is a vote of confidence.
Link building is the act of boosting your authority by getting people to link to your content. Strategies often involve piggybacking off popular influencers or social media sites.
In some industries, those strategies don’t work. Either they’ve got small potential audiences (luxury goods, niche goods, specialized medicine), or their audiences don’t consume much online content (gambling, restaurant chains, construction).
Those difficult industries require creative link building strategies to get the same result.
How Do You Improve Link Building in a Difficult Industry?
These 6 strategies are built on the same base as the link building strategies for more popular niches.
They’re focused on organic link building: boosting your content with backlinks without any dirty tricks.
Why not play dirty? First, because Google is watching. They see your blog when it’s sleeping, they know when it’s awake, and they can punish your site for manipulating the rankings.
But there’s another reason. It doesn’t work.
Digitally native audiences can spot SEO inflation a mile away. That’s why none of these steps are manipulations at all. Every one of them will make your blog better, no matter where it goes in the rankings.
#1: Help People Who Have Websites
First, become aware of the other websites that do exist in your niche. You’ll almost definitely find some.
If there really aren’t any, widen the definition of your niche. If you can’t find any other fan blogs for the US National Cricket Team, look for popular cricket blogs or blogs about US national sports.
You can also try looking for blogs that mention your niche without being 100% dedicated to it. Maybe someone’s personal blog has a post about their cricket fandom. You never know until you look.
Next, read them. Seriously. Too many people skip this step. Pick a handful that you really like.
These other bloggers -- in your niche, adjacent to it, or interested in it -- are your tribe. You’ll rely on each other to boost your authority, and through that, your traffic.
Once you’ve found a blog you like, mention it in one of your posts, and give the author a reason to link to that post.
Some authors will trade backlinks for backlinks. Others will take a little more persuasion.
One of the best strategies is to include somebody else’s content in a roundup or listicle.
Not only do you provide the product with some free exposure, but giving honest reviews makes you look like a trusted authority. Check out this post from Aura for an example.
It’s easy to get backlinks if the other person thinks they’re marketing themselves when they share your content.
#2: Offer an Awesome Tool for Free
Being one of the only bloggers in your specific niche isn’t all bad.
Every travel blogger is fighting a million others for attention. But who else is curating the best spots to read old comic strips online?
Or cataloging primary sources for historical romance authors?
Or test-driving backyard meat smokers?
With any of those three examples, you’ve got an opportunity to show off your expertise by creating a tool for readers in your niche. If you make it good enough, they’ll come to rely on your site without even thinking about it.
Let’s take this life insurance calculator from True Blue as an example.
By filling in some simple fields, users can learn exactly how much life insurance they should seek out. Every site interested in finance or insurance is a potential backlink.
This is called a linkable asset. It’s an extraordinary secret weapon.
As another example, check out this free invoice template from FreshBooks, a site that offers cloud-based accounting.
FreshBooks offers a wide range of invoice templates for free. They give freelancers and entrepreneurs plenty of reasons to backlink FreshBooks. Every link boosts their search ranking.
Alternatively, consider building a job board. Do you write a blog about funny stories from your life as a security guard? Build a section of your site where employers can share job ads in the security space. It’s guaranteed traffic — someone always needs a job.
Forums are another awesome tool for backlinks...but we’ll save that for #4.
#3: Write Fantastic Content
Yeah, I know. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
It’s like that meme: “draw a circle, then draw the rest of the damn owl.”
But writing amazing content doesn’t need to be a mystery, especially if you know your niche.
All you need is something to say.
Think about your difficult industry. What can you talk for three hours about that nobody else can? How could you help people understand it better?
Craft your first blog post around that topic. Don’t worry about perfection for now. Just tap into your passion and let the words flow.
Add new posts after the first one. Center each one on something fundamental to your industry. These posts are your pillar content — the articles that explain and justify your niche.
For example, if you run an SEO blog, one of your pillar posts might be an accessible explanation of Google analytics.
To make your pillar articles successful, you’ve got to go above and beyond what’s already there. It’s called the Skyscraper Method: find out what the current definitive guide is saying, and say a bit more. More depth. More detail.
Joy Organics made their ultimate guide to CBD oil a pillar article on their site. As you can see, it’s pretty extensive.
To write that content, they took everything people were already saying about CBD oil, and built it one story higher.
The guide snagged them over 1,000 backlinks.
Great content comes from passion and imagination. If you’ve got both (and we know you do!) you’ll find a way.
#4: Build a Social Network
This one sounds a bit daunting. Don’t worry — you don’t need to build an app that dethrones Facebook. Instead, you’re building a network for your industry alone.
Examples are great, so let’s do another one. Suppose your blog is all about running and fitness.
You write about where to find the best deals on fitness gear. But you’ve read tip #2, so you’ve also built a forum where your readers can post deals they find in their area.
Soon, it’s getting a bit of traffic. People like your UI, which makes it easy to narrow down running trails in their city.
Start encouraging your customers to share content on social media and tag you, building social connections and sharing user generated content. This is something that Runners Athletics does:
Not only does this increase social signaling, it increases chances at acquiring more backlinks by exposing your brand.
#5: Close Your Backlink Gaps
No matter how popular or obscure your niche, you can’t afford to ignore backlink gaps.
A backlink gap is when a website has linked to another blog in your industry, but not yours.
Lots of solopreneurs think that if a website is already giving backlinks to a competitor, that they won’t be interested in giving any more.
Not true. Interest begets more interest.
According to the SEO team at Loganix, “if the websites linking to your competitors have already shown they are interested in the topic, then the chances of them linking to you have increased.”
If you assume you have no shot at getting a backlink, you’re leaving opportunity on the table.
Using a tool like Loganix’s backlink gap analysis can help you figure out where you’re falling behind.
#6: Create Infographics
One of the quickest ways to get your content shared is to build a great infographic.
A well-designed visual packs more information per pixel than even the pithiest paragraph. And infographics are far easier to share.
High-quality images are rarer than good writing. If you can sum up a pillar of your niche with an appealing graphic, expect to see it go far.
You can easily use Canva to create a professional-looking infographic, even if you don’t have any graphic design training.
To make it as easy as possible to share, use a mouse-over sharing service like WordPress Image Hover Lite.
The other best thing about building infographics? It teaches you design cues you can use to make your whole site more attractive.
A beautiful landing page doesn’t directly influence your Google rankings.
But it does make people want to spend more time on your site. That means more chances for them to find content they love, and more backlinks.inFlow has one of our favorite examples of landing page design. Like a good infographic, it’s colorful, eye-catching, and invites you to read more.
The sad fact is that great content alone will never be enough to bring in traffic.
Don’t read that wrong — you’ll never retain readers without great content, either. But if it’s the same great content they’ll find everywhere else, you won’t get beyond a tiny following.
When you look at it like that, having a difficult niche is actually a strength.
Would you rather write the internet’s 4,000th keto diet recipe blog, or its first blog about medicine for African Grey Parrots?
If you know what you’re talking about, there’s no reason you can’t use these link building strategies to turn your blog into an empire.