Rank Your Brand: Strategic SEO Link Building for 2016

Match the right link building method to the right site to maximise link potential and minimise wastage. Here are the best link building strategies that actually work, tried and tested by successful SEOs building links right now.

We will cover a wide range of SEO techniques in this guide, both white hat and black hat, so be warned! Use our expert suggestions to find out what link building tactic best matches your site, client, skill-set and budget.

What links should you be building in 2016?

Which Link Building Methods to Prioritize?

Link building has been a mainstay of SEO for a very long time, and though techniques change, the principle remains the same: link to your site = trust signal for your site. Building links is all about building your site’s authority in Google’s eyes, and a well-placed anchor text can help you increase relevancy too.

Consider the following when choosing which link building method to go for:

  • Budget: How much can you dedicate to SEO right now? Some methods are pricier than others. Though it’s actually still possible to do some local SEO for completely free (if you know what you’re doing of course)
  • SEO Skills: Some strategies need writers or content creators; all need solid digital skills.
  • Backlink Portfolio: What sort of links have you already got?

The tactics covered will help you get a range of backlinks, using a broad range of SEO techniques; we’ve even matched the link building method with the kind of sites and clients it works best for.

Skyscraper Technique

If you can create unique, quality and useful content in your niche for a reasonable price then this technique can work like a dream. The key to the Skyscraper technique is to create an informative bit of content on your site like a resource or a guide, and then ask people to link to it. Examples of content resources that work:

  • A comprehensive “how to” guide with links and images, like “how to photograph the perfect wedding”
  • A history of a certain topic, niche or industry
  • A guide to a place, event or product, like “ultimate California beach guide”
  • A comparison content piece, like “which SUV car offers the best value for big families”
  • An interesting data roundup of a survey

Once the content is created and indexed, use the skyscraper technique to outreach to sites who’d have an interest in linking to your content. Use a range of keywords and footprints to find your sites and then send out relevant, friendly and concise outreach emails.

the skyscraper technique

You can also reach out to bloggers doing roundup posts in your niche, or contact social media influencers. Just make sure your content is unique and has genuine user value.

Depending on your budget, it might be worth investing some time into the design and imagery too, as they can have a big impact on how many links you get. Everybody likes pictures!

Benefits of this link building technique:

  • Evergreen content that is genuinely good and optimised for search keywords can capture backlinks over a long period of time
  • A piece of content like this can be a good “brand building” piece and is often popular with SEO clients
  • Once you’ve done it successfully, you can replicate this method across other sites/niches, getting better at content creation and outreach as you progress

Use this strategy for:

  • big clients who have the budget for high-authority content
  • ecommerce clients as products can easily be integrated into lifestyle guides
  • travel sites as local guides perform well
  • clients with an active on-site blog or resource page

Private Blog Networks

This can be risky, and it’s definitely a black hat tactic, but it’s a technique that still gets SEO results in 2016.

A private blog network is a group of domains from where you can go buy a group of backlinks, varying in quality and price. PBNs have been heavily penalized in the past, but the links gained still have some positive ranking effect.

Wikipedia Links

Very highly regarded, these links can be hard to sustain (and they are also nofollow). Signing up as a Wikipedia contributor won’t take much time, but you’ll have to spend time learning the community standards. Once lost, a Wikipedia link can be very hard to regain.

Wikipedia

Use this strategy for:

  • intellectually challenging clients who are operating as thought-leaders in a specific niche
  • clients who have a unique proposition/product in the tech/science niche
  • resource and information heavy sites
  • clients in non-competitive industries

Blog Commenting

For this to work, the blog comments have to be of a high quality and manual, not just spam. This is a technique that works really well, and though many blogs only offer no follow links, they still help contribute to a backlink profile.

Sometimes you will need to build up your authority on a blogging site before getting much engagement, so it’s worth spending time writing lengthy comments and responding to others.

Use this strategy for:

  • works well for a range of clients and sites, but the best comment links link back to a useful/similar bit of content on your site
  • especially good for personal brand and persona building

Guest Blogging/Posting

Probably the most popular SEO technique out there right now, sometimes it feels like guest posting has been done to death.

The biggest factor for guest posting success is your skills at outreach and your ability to spot a good opportunity, write a good email and persuade people to publish your content. Sometimes a lengthy editorial wrangle is worth the great link you score, other times it’s wasted time and effort.

Use this strategy for:

  • works well for a range of clients and sites, but works BEST when your client is operating in a niche where a lot of content is being produced- often newer industries
  • visual content works well so any visual niche is a bonus
  • clients with a unique voice/flair for writing
  • for a bigger client, guest blogging will probably morph into more of a Digital PR exercise, going after higher DA news sites, rather than article submission or guest post sites

Infographic Submissions

Designing a good data-rich infographic can be a great way to get links, and infographic submission sites are still giving out easy links. Just make sure the design and data are attractive and always favour longer infographics. Write a catchy title and compelling lead-in paragraph for your infographic to maximize outreach results. This probably isn’t a tactic for the very small budget clients.

infographic-layout

Another way to get submission links is to target submission sites by sending in images, designs and bits of code for a backlink. Not relevant to everyone, this is definitely a good tactic if you can find the right sites for your niche.

Use this strategy for:

  • works well for a range of clients and sites, but works BEST when your client is operating in a niche where a lot of content is being produced- often newer, techy industries are your best bet
  • clients with interesting data that hasn’t been published elsewhere
  • infographics work well with a humorous, funny tone as well as a serious one
  • good for B2B clients

Local Citations/Directories

Directories and local citations aren’t just good for local SEO; they are a great link building tactic in themselves. Some niche directories require a minimum of details for a link, whereas other more high-authority directories will require a bit more work. Use tools like LastPass to cut down on time when filling in directory forms.

lastpass tool

Review sites are also a great place to get citations, so get yourself signed up to the major ones and start getting reviews for your business. If you get a negative one, best practice is to openly address it as soon as you can.

Use this strategy for:

  • works well for a range of clients and sites- should really be at the core of your basic link building for any site
  • find niche directories full of relevant keywords to up the relevancy ante

Didn’t cover your favourite link building method? Share the below and tell us what you are doing to score links right now.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Gareth Simpson

Gareth Simpson is a Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant from Bristol, UK. Gareth particularly focusses on content creation, blogger outreach and user experience optimisation. You can learn more about him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

CTA image

Afraid that your links are no good?

Check out this guide for tips on how to maximize the impact your link profile has over rankings. It's free!

Grab this ebook

11 thoughts on “Rank Your Brand: Strategic SEO Link Building for 2016”

  1. Hello Gareth, I found this article very informative. However, I want to add some more techniques to get quality backlinks. Those are Question Answer Sites, Forum Discussion and Video Submission & Sharing. We all know that video is a wonderful way to engage people. It can be very useful to get quality backlinks and traffic too.

  2. Really great strategies to improve google ranking in 2016 and all the tactics I personally follow and have seen great result and I think I like to mention here is that blog comments, newbie bloggers tend to ignore this but I personally found this method very useful.

  3. Hallo Gareth, I think that you have written an excellent article about link building strategies. I just want to add that, in my opinion, many people or let say beginners in the SEO-area think that link building is something simple and everyone can do this. In fact it turns out that there are a lot of things which should be considered in advance, like selecting trustworthy blogs, forums; then prioritizing them; writing really relevant and sensible comments; participating in discussions, which are about substantial topics; etc.
    I think that your article will be helpful for many people.
    Thanks once again!

  4. Hi Gareth,

    Private blog networks have been gaining praises from SEO guys and they’re often used in black hat SEO as well. Don’t you think it’s high time that they get penalized by the big search engines?

    Ron

    1. Hi Ron,

      Yes it’s not a technique I advise really. It can be risky and potentially unethical. That said, managing a portfolio of branded websites (without any sneaky tactics) is a much safer endeavour.

      Thanks for the contribution.

      1. In link building process info graphics attracts users while presenting the data in visually to analyze easily. Guest blog posting as helps in link building with valuable content.

  5. Great Post! Being a successful business owner is great, you are correct however, in saying “Broken link building, ego bait, content marketing, and email outreach is not exactly what most of us want to take on when we’re running our own business or managing client expectations on a day-to-day basis—or ever”. I just try to do my best and learn as I go, your post will help tremendously with my ongoing efforts. Thanks very much!

  6. I have tried too much on hitting Wikipedia links and failed. I wanted to get some authority links so I tried editing alot and finally I understood that Content is most important if you want wiki links.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *