link building strategies - flow seo
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Boban Ilik
Outreach Manager - Flow SEO

Creating high-quality links on niche websites has become a standard practice for SEOs, marketers, and even company owners hoping to rank a little better on search queries. Many may plug away at the same old link-building strategies, happy that they’re seeing “some” results.

But, as with everything else on the planet, even link-building needs a little revolution from time to time. Is it possible that you could be missing out on new techniques, or perhaps there are better ways to execute those older strategies, with proven results?

To keep up with the competition means that, even though your schedule is far beyond busy, it’s crucial to stay tapped into unique ideas and creative processes. Let’s take a look at a few that you can even implement right away!

1. Expert Quote Outreach

What could be better than a good backlink, except for the opportunity to be quoted along with it? This link-building practice screams of Digital PR at its finest, as it’s actually a blend of several strategies with a unique, opportunistic outcome.

At its heart, expert quotes not only help with your search engine rankings, but can be a strategic tool used to promote you or your brand as an expert in the industry. In fact, building this level of relevance and visibility could very well be the most important end result.

So, how do you get started? Let’s take a look at several platforms where you can kick off one of the best link-building strategies around.

HARO

Chances are that you’ve already heard of HARO, a quick and memorable name for Help a Reporter Out. This is a very simple, straightforward platform that offers a huge Win-Win. Journalists can sign up to post queries to help boost the reliability of their articles, while professionals with expert knowledge they’re hoping to share can register to answer questions that will appear as a quote in the finished article.

HARO emails arrive in your email inbox three times each day, five days per week. As a respondent, you can select your areas of expertise and receive all of the pertaining queries. However, I would suggest signing up for the Master Email, as queries may be categorized incorrectly, or something a bit out of your wheelhouse might catch your eye in a specific situation. You can always cater your answer to tie in your brand, even if the query isn’t spot on for your target audience.

Once you select a query that’s right for you, then you’ll email the address listed with your best response. If your quote is used, most journalists typically send you a message to let you know. However, it’s always a great idea to check Ahrefs for new links.

HARO is FREE.

Always respond with 4-6 sentences (unless otherwise directed), which can be easily inserted into their article. Also, be sure to include:

  • Your name and title
  • Your company name
  • Your home page URL
  • A short bio (50 words)
  • A link to a photo (not attached to the email)
  • Your LinkedIn profile

Featured

For a long time, HARO was really the name of the game, but as mentioned earlier, we live in an inspiring, creative world — and the ideas never stop coming! Originally called Terkel, the platform now known as Featured has taken the idea of expert quote outreach and built an intuitive, easy-to-use platform to make responding to queries an entirely new experience.

The super-cool feature is that you can actually reply from the Featured platform itself, so there’s no need to respond from an email or set up a template. Plus, you can easily see the query, the publication, the Domain Rating, the type of link, and the deadline.

Bite-sized bits of knowledge are a must on Featured. Only reply with one tip, bringing a unique take that will increase your odds of selection.

And speaking of being selected, when this joyous occasion occurs, you’ll ALWAYS receive an email from Featured. Additionally, you can even track your answers right on the platform to see if they’ve been marked for publication.

Featured’s free plan allows for three responses per month. You can purchase an unlimited monthly plan for $99 for one respondent. If you find yourself wanting to respond on behalf of several clients or people within your organization, they also have a plan for three respondents for $199 per month, with $30 for each additional “seat,” when needed.

Qwoted

Qwoted is unique in that it actually fosters relationships between the contributor and the journalists. You quickly stop being an almost anonymous respondent at the other end of an email or platform, and you become a real person with valuable insights. And why is there such a huge difference? Journalists are busy people on deadlines, so if they can build a list of professionals whom they can rely on in a pinch, you can bet they’ll be reaching out.
Qwoted also offers filters that make the process a breeze, such as “frequently contacted,” “quick to respond,” and a host of others.

“As an outreach and link-building specialist, I find that acquiring as many partnerships as possible is the easiest and most sustainable way of building backlinks for your brand. 

The days when we all paid for links and then forgot about each other are gone. 

It’s all about collaboration and building lasting relationships because we depend on each other. 

Why not join forces and create win-win outcomes? The focus should be on establishing a network of allies around you that will support your growth. The bigger your network, the less effort you have to put into obtaining links. 

I recently came across a quote that said: ‘Competition happens at the bottom, people at the top are collaborating,’  and I couldn’t agree more.”

Sharan Kaur Phillora, Content Writer for Flow SEO

PRO TIP FOR BEING QUOTED: Never respond to a query simply letting the journalist know that you can provide some insight or answer their questions. As you can guess, most reporters are very busy and on a deadline. These responses will go straight into the trash bin.

2. Guest Posting

Now, when it comes to link-building ideas, you may think that everyone on the planet knows about guest posting, and you’re probably correct. But, are you really getting the most out of your guest-posting efforts?

Guest posting is not about quickly throwing together an article (or writing it with AI… oh my!), and popping it on the first site that is an easy “yes.” If you take a little care, the rewards will be far greater.

Once you’ve ascertained that a site in the right niche is accepting guest posts, be sure to check both the Domain Rating and the Site Traffic. As you may know, people can do some shifty things to get their DR up, but a deeper dive can reveal even more about the site, including where its traffic actually comes from, if you’re hoping for a particular geographic location.

Keep in mind that publishing can take some time, or you may luck into a site that posts your article overnight. But, either way, keep an eye on your email (including spam), and don’t be afraid to follow up after you’ve reached the suggested wait time in the guest post guidelines.

Just always remember, don’t come straight out of the gate with high-key pressure, or at any time during the process.

Speaking of making an impact with your guest posts, we’ve got a little extra for you. This is our sprint masterclass on how to make your guest posts not just seen – but truly impactful. It’s packed with actionable insights not just to get your foot in the door but to make sure your guest posts are the ones that stand out in the crowd. 👇

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“Don’t make it look like a link-building strategy! Offer value first. Be a genuine human. Think long-term and have patience. You need to establish a relationship before pitching your interest.”

Ioan Gerosanu, SEO Analyst at Uscreen.

PRO TIP FOR GUEST POSTING: When including a link, never make your guest post too similar to the article to which the link directs. Be sure that your link can both appear AND be used as a resource to support your own actual content. This can be an honest way to add a link on a site that doesn’t welcome spammy, self-promotional content.

3. Networking and Partnerships

If you’ve ever heard the old saying, “It’s all about who you know,” it’s definitely within the realm of possibility that they were referring to super-effective link-building strategies. It’s much more important than you may realize to build a networking web filled with partnerships and collaborations.

“As an outreach and link-building specialist, I find that acquiring as many partnerships as possible is the easiest and most sustainable way of building backlinks for your brand.

The days when we all paid for links and then forgot about each other are gone. It’s all about collaboration and building lasting relationships because we depend on each other. Why not join forces and create win-win outcomes?

The focus should be on establishing a network of allies around you that will support your growth. The bigger your network, the less effort you have to put into obtaining links.

I recently came across a quote that said: ‘Competition happens at the bottom, people at the top are collaborating,’ and I couldn’t agree more.”

Sonja Trpeska, an SEO Outreach Specialist at Uscreen.

Link Exchange Opportunities

Chances are that if you are a digital marketer or anything similar, you receive those emails every day from other marketers wanting to write a guest post for your site, or perhaps even exchange links. While a good portion of these emails aren’t from reputable sources, that doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually find a diamond in a pile of glass.

When approached with the idea of a link exchange, immediately check the site’s DR and Site Traffic. Does the niche tie in well for your own brand or perhaps for a client? If you can check off these boxes, it may be worth your time to learn more about this potential collaboration. Just remember that A-B-C exchanges are always preferred.

Guest Post Exchange Opportunities

While link exchanges may be more commonly found, exchanging guest posts can be another way to partner up with another company. And the concept is very simple, as it is exactly what it says it is. You will prepare a guest post to appear on a website that you approve, and in return, you will add a guest post on your own site or another site to which you have access. You’ll also agree on guidelines regarding backlinks and the content itself.

“It all breaks down to ‘EMPATHY’ — putting yourself in the shoes of the person you’re reaching out to. When reaching out, ask yourself:


1. What’s in it for them, and how beneficial is it?
This could include providing a link from another high Domain Rating (DR) website where you’re contributing (possibly through a guest post), a link from your own website, or giving free access to your software. Embrace creativity and believe in the power of reciprocity.


2. How easy is it for them to add the link?
Make the process as effortless as possible. Don’t just ask for a link; show them where and how to integrate it into their content. Aim to make it a simple COPY & PASTE task for the editors.


Executing this on a large scale can be challenging. Segment your targets and develop personalized strategies based on that.”

Konstantine Gegshidz, SEO and Growth Consultant.

PRO TIP FOR NETWORKING: Remember that other link builders aren’t “the competition.” Once you understand this philosophy, you may just find a mutually beneficial collaboration right around the corner.

In our latest sprint masterclass, our Outreach Specialist, Boban Ilik, goes deep into how to develop impactful and meaningful partnerships for strategic link-building. It’s filled with practical tips and insights.

Check out the full masterclass here.👇

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4. Keeping Connected in Groups and Communities

In this post, you may see that name recognition and visibility are mentioned a few times, and that is definitely by intent. There are numerous marketing, PR, and even link-building communities that you can apply to join. Not only can you learn valuable tips, but you may also be exposed to all sorts of link-building opportunities.

Build Relationships

Most importantly, communities are an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals. Consider each connection you make to be quite valuable. You never know when you may have the opportunity to collaborate, so once you do connect, it’s crucial to keep in touch. Before you realize it, you’ll have quite a nice network.

Look for Calls for Submissions

Additionally, many communities and social media groups can be catalysts for posting on contributor accounts. Occasionally, when a company is trying to build up its blog or the content on another site, it may post a call for submissions, or some may even share a WordPress login when contributors can directly upload a guest post for approval. As always, just be sure to check the DR and Site Traffic of the site.

PRO TIP FOR COMMUNITIES: If you hope to benefit from topics and tips that others share, then you’ll want to share your own in return. Post your latest tip or a new site that is accepting submissions. One more time: positive name recognition is a priceless commodity.

5. Building a Personal Brand Identity

There will come a time when you can’t always rely on your company’s accomplishments alone. In a digital world where we can quickly search a person’s name and discover dozens of facts in mere seconds, it’s quite crucial to build your own brand identity. But, where do you get started?

LinkedIn

For any naysayers, LinkedIn is not dead. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There’s no better, straightforward way to establish a professional online presence than on LinkedIn.

Begin by:

  • Optimizing your profile:
    • Select a professional, friendly image.
    • Create an engaging title that describes you best.
    • Add your professional history with complete descriptions.
    • Include hobbies and activities that support your passions.
    • Add the services that you provide.
    • In Featured, include some of your most prized articles or other types of media.
  • Contribute to collaborative articles in hopes of earning a badge.
  • Post regularly with content that showcases your expert skills and opinions.
  • Engage with other posts to be part of important conversations.

Posts and Quotes

Just as you can reply to expert quote queries for your company or clients, you can repeat the same processes to aid your personal branding as well. Keep an eye out for queries that interest you, and use these opportunities to establish your own professional voice.

PRO TIP FOR IDENTITY BRANDING: Always share the love! When a colleague or connection likes, shares, or engages with your posts, do the same in return. You’ll find it’s an excellent way to develop a strong base of mutual support.

6. Unlinked Brand Mentions Outreach

Chances are that if you have an exciting product or service, someone out there has mentioned it on their blog. While any brand mention is something to celebrate, a “linked” brand mention means that you’ll not only be gaining name recognition, but also scoring a pretty powerful backlink.

But, how do you turn that mention into the anchor text of a link? Well, to put it as simply as possible, you just ask for it.

“In our study of journalists and pitching, we found that 77% of brand mentions go unlinked. That is a lot of traffic being left on the table.

Requesting links back to your brand from existing mentions is a crucial link building technique that shouldn’t be overlooked in any outreach strategy.

When you’re outreaching to the author to request a link, make sure you thank them for the mention, and move on to stress the reader benefits of accessing this link (ie. up-to-date prices, new product information, downloadable assets, targeted discounts etc.).”

Louise Linehan, Senior Content Manager at BuzzSumo.

If there aren’t many authors on your list, you can send individual emails. If there’s quite a number, you may want to consider starting an Outreach campaign on Mailshake or other similar platforms. Just be sure to personalize your emails when you identify the proper recipient. And be certain your email is free of any grammatical or spelling errors.

PRO TIP FOR BRAND MENTIONS: Avoid trying to sound overly polished, and just be honest about your intent. You saw your brand mentioned, and you’re hoping they can provide a link back to your site to better inform their readers. It CAN be THAT easy.

7. Review and Listicle Audit and Outreach

Another great link-building idea is to locate reviews and listicles where your brand could (and probably should!) be mentioned. If executed correctly, you could find your brand on some very influential sites that truly appeal to your target audience.

Here are some proven tips from Flow SEO’s resident Outreach Genius, Boban Ilik.

“To get started, you’ll want to do an audit to find and identify the most trafficked review websites that are within the right industries.

You need to identify the transactional intent keywords for your website, specifically those with review sites. For example: “best HR software,” “HR onboarding software,” etc.

This is because it is in your best interest to have the website (product/service) mentioned or listed on those listicles to make sure that whenever someone looks for the targeted keyword, you are listed for the right category and therefore shown in the top searches.

The next step is to find the contact emails and create a great targeted email to find the best possibilities to be featured on those listicles or review websites.”

Boban Ilik, Outreach Manager at Flow SEO.

PRO TIP FOR REVIEW & LISTICLE FEATURES: When you prepare your email, be sure to explain how listing your brand can bring value to its content. Include any pertinent information or statistics, and paint a picture of how you can increase its visibility and interest. They won’t just take your word for it!

8. Offer to Update Existing Articles

Sometimes you not only have to think outside of the box when it comes to link-building ideas, but you just need to completely forget there’s even such a shape as a box. No matter how well-written your article or pitch may be, some sites just may not be interested in your content. Or, some sites don’t even accept guest posts of any kind — well, almost any kind.

As you peruse a blog getting an idea of their voice and the topics they generally post (even if it’s from in-house writers), take note of any articles that may just be crying out for an update. For example, if you’re on a high-quality site, and you spy a post that’s two years old and features no updated actionable tips or strategies, it’s basically crying out for help. And my link-building friend, you can be that hero.

Build a Relationship With the Editor

First, you’ll want to contact the editor — if you haven’t already — and introduce yourself. Let them know who you are, where you’ve been published and, most importantly, how much you love their content.
Then, it’s time to mention the post that you’ve identified for an update. Let the editor know that it caught your attention because it’s a wonderful topic, but that you have several ideas in mind on how you could update it. If all goes according to plan, the editor may accept your offer.

Submit New Content Ideas for Review

Now, is it possible that an editor may suggest you “submit something,” when they don’t really have a solid plan of using it? Absolutely! And that’s why you have to wow them. Remember, this could be your foot in the door at a major publication.

How do I know it can work? Because I’ve done it myself!

“Building strong relationships with editors of leading industry blogs in your niche is one of the easiest and most effective ways to acquire links.

This approach not only helps you gain coverage for your new content but also enhances your overall link velocity.

When prominent industry publications consistently mention your brand, it significantly increases the likelihood of receiving links from other corporate blogs.

The best way to initiate such connections is by providing real value to them. You can do this by suggesting free content updates, connecting them with prominent industry experts you’re in touch with, or even considering options like purchasing sponsored content or newsletter space.

Additionally, it’s worth trying to invite them as guests to your podcast or asking them to contribute a quote to your upcoming content piece.”

Alexandra Tachalova, CEO and Founder of Digital Olympus.

PRO TIP FOR ARTICLE UPDATES: When discussing an article update with an editor, stress how this is a big win for both of you, as they won’t have to use their own team’s writing power to initiate this update. Just don’t give away your best idea initially. Save it for the full article for the biggest impact.

9. Connect Through Roundups

You’ve surely seen hundreds if not thousands of roundups circulating online. You may just not know that it’s a “roundup.” This type of content is similar to a listicle in that it will have an introduction and a conclusion, with a list of tips or ideas wedged in between. However, a listicle and a roundup differ in that for a roundup, each numbered point will be the brainchild of a different person.

Readers absolutely love these pieces because they include different viewpoints from very diverse people, who may be on completely different journeys and possess entirely different skill sets.

Now, how can you use roundups as an effective link-building strategy? Let’s forge on!

Post Your Call for Quotes

We discussed HARO earlier in this post, including the advantages for both journalists and those hoping to be quoted. This is where you can catch a glimpse of the other side. Simply sign up as a journalist and post a topic for your roundup, which should be something close to your niche, but also allow room for you to cast a wider net.
Before long, you’ll have responses flooding in. Take your time reviewing them and look for the following credentials:

  • The quote should be unique.
  • The companies should be diverse.
  • The content should be engaging.

LinkedIn is also another great option for making connections and gathering expert insights.

Write Your Roundup

Once you’ve selected your quotes, then you’ll need to start writing your roundup. Be sure that not only the introduction and conclusion are compelling, but also the tips in between. Many roundups fail to engage because each point only contains a header and the quote. You’ll want to provide some additional context to the tip or idea, especially how it works into the topic of your article.

Once your post is finished, begin “shopping” it to websites that seem to stick to this type of content. There are numerous sites of this nature. Also, some sites may more readily accept links that are attached to a quote as a type of PR, rather than a backlink to another blog page with optimized anchor text.

And how can this help you build backlinks? As the author of the post, you may also add clients, your own brand, or even a company with whom you’re hoping to score some goodwill. You know what they say about what goes around, comes around.

Build Relationships With Those Involved

As you create a few roundups, you’ll also begin to find that you start seeing the same companies responding. You may even see some of these companies creating their own roundups. Do you see where this is going?

As we’ve already mentioned, maintaining relationships may be THE most important facet of link-building. Plus, name recognition can do wonders. When you’re name is associated with creating a roundup, you may just become a more likely candidate to be included in one.

PRO TIP FOR ROUNDUPS: Never engage in any type of “pay for play.” In other words, don’t hold the promise of a backlink over a company’s head IF they’ll return the favor. Platforms like HARO have strict rules against this, and it’s just bad business.

In the End

There are numerous link-building strategies that digital marketers utilize every day. However, it’s not always about the strategy you use, but how you can “make it your own,” and allow it to evolve as you learn more and have increased data to support your ideas.

But, in the end, link-building is still a creative pursuit. There can be no successful backlink without engaging, exciting content to support it. Otherwise, you’re merely stuffing links and anchor text into a batch of words that the reader doesn’t enjoy and will have no intention of liking or sharing. Instead, build links responsibly, actually bringing value to the content in which they reside. You’ll quickly find that not only will you be more successful, but it’ll be way more fun!

Author

Angela Ash
Managing content and publicity even when she sleeps, Angela also writes poetry, plays the piano, travels, loves on her two feline fur balls and can even beat Mickey Mouse at Disney trivia
Flow SEO Blog

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