Organic link building is one of the top SEO strategies for ranking high on Google. The more natural links you have, the more likely you are to rank in search engines.
Yet 74.3% of SEO professionals reported spending $2500 or less on link building. Link building is not only underused, it's also one of the most misused SEO strategies.
That’s why Google created a set of guidelines that site owners should follow if they want to avoid being flagged by Google for link manipulation.
We all know how difficult it is to create organic links. We have all tried a few strategies here and there, but the fact is, it’s painstaking work and slow to see results.
This article shows you 10 strategies for building organic links that produce the results you need.
Tip 1. Create high-quality content
Most SEO professionals know that content is king. But having content on your site is not enough. It has to be great. Great content will drive links to your site.
We all know that it’s not easy to create content that websites will link to. There is a lot of competition in the SEO world for great content.
So, how do you make your content stand out from the crowd?
I’ve listed below three different content types that work well for link building:
These are posts that provide a comprehensive list on a topic.
- 11 Steps to Create a Content Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Business
- 21 Content Marketing Tactics That’ll Skyrocket Your Search Traffic
- 5 Obvious Content Marketing Strategies Most Companies Overlook
People love to link to this kind of content because it’s scannable; readers can see at a glance how much time they’ll have to spend on the article.
According to a study by backlinko.com, list posts receive an average of 218% more shares than “how-to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.
Original research and statistics
Bloggers love to add research and statistics because it provides credibility for their content.
If you enjoy doing research and gathering stats, this is an excellent way to earn backlinks to your site.
But research is not enough. Your work has to be original if you want it to stand out. Gather information about topics people haven’t covered.
If you see an outdated statistic, conduct new and improved research that will update the previous statistic.
For example, when Ahrefs conducted research on which types of content weren't getting traffic from Google, they got 2,000 shares and 1.89k backlinks.
This is because their content was based on new research that no one had seen before.
Ultimate guides provide an in-depth analysis of a topic. So many bloggers don’t have the time and resources to create an ultimate guide and prefer to cite an already completed guide.
If you have the time to conduct in-depth research into a topic or niche and produce an ultimate guide, you’ll likely earn a lot of backlinks.
Tip 2. Guest Posting
Guest blogging is another way to earn organic backlinks. While there's some debate about whether Google discounts links in guest posts, this continues to be a popular way of building organic links.
If you already have great content on your website, try guest posting for other sites. The first step in guest posting is to find websites that accept guest posts, and it’s quite easy.
Go to Google and type “submit guest post” + “your niche.”
There are many sites that accept guest posts.
Start by researching the websites you would like to write for. Look for topics that they haven't already covered. Use keyword research tools to come up with topics that have reasonable search volume. It’s generally accepted that guest posters will be given a ‘do-follow’ link back to their website, but make sure before you start writing.
Write for high domain authority websites as well as low domain websites.
Guest posting is the old school technique for building organic links and it has proven to work for many. It might take time to get the results you are looking for, but it’s worth the effort.
Tip 3. Creating Quality Visuals
Another way to build organic links is by creating high-quality visuals.
According to research, 65% of the population are visual learners. That means eye-catching and colorful visuals will both capture reader’s attention as well as help readers retain information more than a standard text-filled blog.
Examples of visuals include
- Slideshare presentations
When creating visuals, your goal is to have your blog cited on websites.
Research is a crucial factor for creating visuals that site owners will link to.
An infographic about a keto diet for beginners, for instance, should contain basic information that readers new to the topic would need to know.
This sort of helpful visual tool will increase your chance of getting a link from other sites.
Use appealing color palettes when creating visual content for your website. It might sound obvious, but a color combination can make or break your infographic. Use light colors over white text, and readers will scroll down.
Also, when creating Slideshare presentations, don’t stick to the default theme. There are many free online themes you can use to make your presentations more engaging.
After you’ve researched your topic, organize your information coherently, as shown in the above infographic. If you fail to do this, your visual images might look confusing. Fewer people will link to something that is hard to understand.
Google indexes visuals in image search, so make sure that your visual stands out from the crowd.
Your visual content should be hosted on a professional-looking website with good design. For website owners who don’t have experience with coding, there are various web design tools you can use. If you’re more knowledgeable with CSS and HTML frameworks, you can use Bootstrap templates - they will save you time on designing.
Tip 4. Email Outreach
You can also build organic links by finding ‘likely linkers’- these are websites whose pages already contain many links. You can find these websites by doing some “reverse engineering.”
Step 1. Go to Google and search for the target keyword you are aiming for.
Step 2. Take the URL of the first web page you find and insert it into a link analysis tool. Then take note of the backlinks pointing to that URL. In this instance, I’ve used Ahrefs Site Explorer:
These websites are likely linkers.
Step 3. Now that you’ve found some link building prospects, it’s time to find their email address. Enter their URL into hunter.io and hit 'find email addresses’:
Step 4. Hunter will give you a list of emails. Choose the one you think belongs to the site owner and send them an email asking if they can link/add one of your articles to their site.
Tip 5. Build High Quality Links
When it comes to link building, it’s quality, not quantity, that matters.
Years ago you could get by with low-quality backlinks, but not anymore. That’s why Google launched the Penguin algorithm (in 2012) - to deal with websites that were manipulating their ranking with spammy backlinks. So avoid backlinks from low-quality sites or sites whose content is not related to the content on your site. Those kinds of links won’t help your SEO strategy and will actually harm your website.
Getting quality links sounds like a tall order, but it’s not impossible.
Here are some do-and-don'ts for building high-quality links.
Get backlinks from authoritative websites - these will add authority to your own site.
Make sure that your backlinks are from sites in your niche or related to your niche. If your blog is all about health, backlinks from a technology blog will not help with your SEO.
Look at a site’s domain authority (DA) - the higher the site’s DA, the more that link will benefit your website.
Check the position of your link - links that are in the body of the article and surrounded by relevant text will be given more weight by search engines than links in a footer or in the ‘Author Bio’. Also, the higher the link is in the article, the more likely it is that readers will click on it.
Tip 6. Broken Link Building
Another way to build organic links is through broken link building. This involves finding links that are not working or ‘broken’ and offering to replace the broken link with a link to your own content. This is a tried and tested link-building method and one that we at Link Doctor have used with great success.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Open Ahrefs 'Site Explorer' and insert the URL of a website. Select ‘Backlinks’ and then ‘Broken’ from the left side column:
Step 2. Once you find a broken link, email the site owner about the broken link and offer to replace the link. Most site owners will thank you for this and will be happy to replace the broken link with a link to your article.
Tip 7. Skyscraper Technique
Brian Dean revealed a link building strategy he used that delivered an 11% success rate, (which is quite high for link building). This tactic doubled his organic traffic in 14 days. He called it ‘the skyscraper’ technique.
The skyscraper technique is about finding popular content and creating better content on the same topic. The idea behind this technique is that if that topic already attracts links, you can get links to your own site by producing superior content on that same topic.
Here’s how to apply the Skyscraper technique:
Step 1. Find content that already ranks for your target keyword and has lots of backlinks. Here our target keyword is ‘keto diet for beginners’.
We see from this screenshot that ‘Diet Doctor’ has the first ranking page for this keyword. Next, we take the URL of the article and paste it into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to check its backlinks:
This article has over 44.2K backlinks from 2.81K domains.
Step 2. Next, produce a superior version of that content. You can do this by:
- Checking the accuracy of the information
- Creating a longer post - if the original contains 10 points, make sure yours has 20.
- Create stunning visual content around the topic of the article
Step 3. Reach out to the websites that linked to the original article and suggest that they link to yours instead.
Tip 8. Podcast Guesting
We all know how time-consuming a guest post can be. If you want to get links but don’t want to go through the process of producing content, you can use podcasts. 22% of Americans listen to podcasts weekly.
Podcasts are known to reach an entirely new engaged audience and drive people to search for a person's name or a website. This sends positive signals to Google and drives up your ranking in the search results.
When a website interviews a guest for a podcast, they usually provide a link to the guest’s website or article.
Most podcast hosts are looking for someone who is knowledgeable about a topic. If you have an interesting opinion or unique knowledge to share, you can offer your skills and gain quality links to your site.
Tip 9. Engage with Communities in Your Niche
You can get organic links by engaging in communities in your niche. Look for blogs, forums, and Q&A platforms in your niche and provide value to these communities. Show expertise in your field and gain a link.
Here are some examples:
Blog commenting - This is where you comment on someone’s blog by providing valuable information and referring to your blog. Don’t just simply add a link. Create relationships with other commenters.
Participating in forums - Forum platforms such as Reddit are great places to demonstrate your expertise on a subject. Join discussions that are related to your niche. Provide value first, and people will naturally want to check your website.
Question and Answer platforms - Quora and Yahoo Answers are good examples of Q&A platforms. People visit these platforms to get solutions to their problems.
The links from these Q&A platforms are usually ‘no follow’ but the exposure you get from these sites may result in other websites linking back to your website with ‘do follow’ links.
Tip 10. Leverage Social Media
Another way to get organic backlinks is through social media. This can be a particularly effective link building technique if you have a big social audience.
According to link building statistics, social sharing can boost your website links by 245% over the course of a year.
While social media may not directly affect your Google rankings, it helps with link prospecting. The idea behind this tactic is to get links from outside social media through the people you reach on those social media platforms.
Here are three ways you can use social media for organic link building.
Share your content on social media. This is a way of reaching a diverse audience in a short period of time. Don’t post all your content and make sure what you do post matches your audience’s interest. If your article gets a lot of likes and shares, that will be noticed by Google and will help that article rank higher. In general, the more exposure you get, the more backlinks you’re likely to get.
Add your website URL to all your social media platforms. The first thing that people look at when they visit your social media is your profile. Make sure you add your site’s URL in your bio in case you get potential linkers and offers of collaboration from other websites.
Listen and build relationships - the most important thing you can do to build links is by listening to what people are saying on social media. Follow your competitors and customers. Keep up to date with whatever they’re talking about. Later on, you need to build relationships with these people. You never know; these relationships can turn into links.
We all know that building relationships in social media is not easy. It has to seem natural and genuine. This is the only way that you can earn people’s trust. Avoid automated interactions. Although this may save you time, it won’t bring you the results you desire.
Social media fosters relationships and those relationships can result in links and thus improve rankings.
Organic link building has been used by many SEO professionals over the years to rank on Google. It’s a technique that includes creating high-quality posts, guest posting, email outreach, and the skyscraper technique, to name just a few.
These techniques will help you gain not only organic backlinks, but also build the authority of your site.
This post was most recently updated on September 5th, 2020