Not all links are created equal.
That means that you can’t just focus on getting the most links possible.
Instead, you need the best links possible.
A link from Entrepreneur.com is going to dominate a link from JohnsLinkBuildingFarm.com any day of the week.
A site with 100 high-quality backlinks can outperform other sites with more if they’ve only been scraping the bottom of the link-building barrel.
The best links also have another hidden benefit.
Many times, they won’t just give you a little SEO boost. You’ll also get increased brand awareness and credibility. You’ll get referral traffic back to your site. And you might even get some new customers or clients, too.
So the ROI on an awesome link is definitely worth the extra effort.
Do you want to know how to find those links?
Here are six of my favorite tactics that you can start replicating this week.
1. Start by finding pre-curated lists of blogs
What if I told you that someone, somewhere has already curated and developed a list of the top industry sites and blogs for your niche?
That way, all you had to do was find those ‘lists of lists’ to instantly get hundreds of high-quality backlink opportunities.
Would you believe it?
You should, because it’s actually a common practice.
Just do a simple Google search for “best XYZ blogs,” and you’ll see what I mean.
Here, I’ll show you how to tap into this potential gold mine of backlink opportunities to skyrocket your rankings.
Let’s pick “best nutrition blogs 2017” to find the most recent possibilities in the health field.
Let me explain why this is important.
If you’re a health or nutrition blogger (or even if your product or service remotely touches on the nutrition sector), you can simply pull up ‘lists of lists’ like this to find that people have already done the hard work for you.
Other bloggers have already curated the results. So all you have to do now is go through them, pull out the ones with the best potential, and instantly gain access to hundreds of targets for potential outreach.
That’s hundreds of new relationships waiting to be kindled and countless links waiting for you to snag.
Next up, let’s click on one of the articles to see how you’d filter through all of these results.
Immediately, you’ll see a treasure chest of data.
Here are 50 of the best blogs in your space with links to their sites and short descriptions.
Now you can assess whether they’d be a good fit (or not) for partnering in some way to get a backlink.
It doesn’t even have to be formal or complex. You could simply offer the blogger a free version of your product in exchange for a review. That way, it doesn’t even cost you anything out of pocket!
Here’s how to analyze the website’s potential.
Pull up an SEO tool like website authority checker and plug in the domain to pull up the site’s domain and page authority.
These two metrics are simple quality scores that tell you how ‘strong’ a website’s link profile looks.
Ahrefs will even tell you how many backlinks the site has and how long it’s been around.
Now, create a spreadsheet with this data so that you can prioritize which ones to start reaching out to. You’ll also use the spreadsheet to track your results.
Keep something in mind: Not all bloggers will respond back. That’s okay.
Don’t make the mistake of asking for a link during your first email outreach campaign. The key to success lies in building a worthwhile, mutually-beneficial relationship with these bloggers.
To avoid sounding needy or greedy, send a ‘warm-up’ email to encourage the blogger to respond. You can then follow up over time with emails two, three, four, and so on to eventually get what you want.
Don’t look at it as a one-way street, either. A blogger can help you gain access to a new audience, but you can also help the blogger by promoting his or her site. Make it a give-and-take relationship.
2. Give more testimonials to companies you like
This one is so easy it almost shouldn’t count.
Think about it for a second.
Almost every single person on the internet (92% of consumers) reads online reviews before purchasing items they want or need.
Almost the same number (88% of consumers) will then trust those online reviews as much as they would a referral from a relative or friend.
And testimonials from customers can help “generate 62% more revenue from every customer, every visit,” according to BigCommerce.
Can you believe those numbers?!
Basically, every company with a website now has to have customer reviews and testimonials.
That’s good news for you!
Because you can help companies whose products and services you already use and love by leaving testimonials. In return, you gain access to one of the easiest ways to skyrocket your high-quality backlinks.
For example, HubSpot’s known for having a huge case-study section on its website. HubSpot’s always on the lookout for new customer testimonials to show off, like this one:
That’s not a bad backlink for about five minutes of your time!
Are you not a HubSpot customer? No problem, because as I said, almost every single company is on the constant lookout for more reviews.
Just look at HubSpot’s marketing automation competitor, Marketo, which has published dozens of in-depth case studies:
Each of these case studies also features information about the company. So it’s like a built-in sales pitch, too!
You get to include a video and details about how you help other people.
The backlink opportunity is awesome, but these case studies can even help you drive leads.
Here’s one more example for the road on Slack’s website.
Go to the “Customer Stories” section of its site and scroll down to read the individual case study for one of its customers. We’ll use “Ticketmaster” for the purposes of demonstration.
This case study page gives Ticketmaster its own in-depth page on Slack’s site.
So sure, the company gets a backlink. But it’s also getting so much more (for free!) when you think about it.
Let’s check out what it looks like now.
All three examples here (HubSpot, Marketo, and Slack) have extremely high domain authority because they’re huge brands with millions of customers between them.
And we’ve barely scratched the surface on this tactic. You can leave testimonials on almost any industry imaginable to get high-quality (and free!) backlinks.
3. Scholarship campaigns for .edu links
Some industries are notoriously difficult for generating meaningful backlinks.
For example, let’s say you’re an accountant.
(You’re not, but go with me here for a second.)
As an accountant, there are probably not thousands of big blogs out there for outreach (like there was for the “nutrition blog” example).
You can probably give a few other companies a testimonial. But eventually, you’ll run out of steam after five or ten good ones.
How, then, are you supposed to build strong links in a ‘boring’ niche like this?
That’s the same exact problem one of SharpRocket’s clients was dealing with. So it turned to one of the tried-and-true backlinks methods for ‘boring’ companies: Scholarships!
Here’s how the plan works.
First, create a scholarship page on your website that lists some of the details (like how much you’re giving away, how someone can enter the contest or giveaway, and how the winners will be picked and notified).
But before you push the page live, make sure to create some official Terms and Conditions.
There need to be some clear instructions for who’s eligible and who’s not so there are no potential misunderstandings when the campaign goes live and there’s a lot of money at stake.
Now you can look for potential colleges, schools, or universities that might express interest in this new scholarship.
Although that sounds like it would be incredibly time consuming, there are a few tricks you can use to drastically speed up the process.
For example, you can use search operators like “inurl” so that Google becomes your best friend and instantly gives you what you need.
Let’s say we’re giving away a legal scholarship, so you want to get a list of colleges in the state of California that already give away scholarships just like this (that way, it should be a slam dunk to get the school on board).
Using a few clever search operators can give you a list of countless colleges with .edu domains in California.
Now let’s compile all of those results we’re getting in a simple spreadsheet so you can start tracking results when you do outreach.
In this example, SharpRocket gave away a $500 scholarship and received 14 high-quality .edu links in return.
That’s only $35 bucks each!
4. Monitor people using your brand name without linking
Has your company been around for awhile?
If so, chances are people out there are already talking about you.
That’s obviously great! Strangers are singing your praises without you having to initiate the conversation or conduct any outreach.
There is one problem, however.
Many times, they’ll forget to link to you!
If they’re already writing a positive review about you or something you said, chances are they’ll be more than willing to link to you, too.
You just need to spot it when it happens and follow up ASAP.
To make sure you don’t miss out on potential backlinks, head on over to Google Alerts.
Now you can type in your name or brand terms to get a list of everyone who’s recently used the same.
Of course, not everyone will be you.
For example, the first two results have nothing to do with me. But the last one does!
Now you can click on all of these results to pull them up and see if they liked out to you or not.
Mention is an even more powerful tool. You can create feeds to monitor your brand terms over time so it will pull from all different sources across the Internet (including social channels).
That way, you can get a daily update about who’s mentioning your brand and whether they’ve linked out to you (or not).
For example, here’s another one that I found recently.
This person was kind enough to mention some of my content from a video but forgot to link out to me.
So now you can go track them down and send a nice, friendly reminder that while you appreciate them mentioning you, a link would really make you love them forever.
If you can’t find their email address, do the next best thing: Reach out to them through a social channel like Twitter.
5. Give bloggers your product for free to get a review
I alluded to this one earlier, but it’s so powerful that it deserves its own space.
You can (and should) give away your product for free in exchange for a review.
The best part about this strategy (besides the awesome links) is there’s almost no limit or cap on how many times you can do it.
And many times, these product reviews provide additional benefits.
These reviews can also help explain how your product works, too, so people can see what it looks like without actually signing up themselves.
For example, we can take a software product like Kissmetrics…
… and pitch it to a few bloggers or websites that already review similar products like it.
You can even create a link on your website that tells people that you’re more than willing to trade a free copy of your product for an honest review.
That’s what proposal software company BidSketch does on its pricing page. Scroll down under the pricing plans and look for the simple text link:
Once again, you can do this in almost any niche.
For example, Primally Pure makes organic skincare products. So it looks for organic bloggers who want natural products as opposed to the ‘mainstream’ ones that are full of harmful chemicals.
So they reached out to Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind to get a review:
You can also think of other similar sites that might include your product like this.
For example, subscription sites are popping up in fashion and retail that deliver free samples of products to try (and later buy the full version if they like it).
They even have these for dogs now, too, with sites like BarkBox that will send your pooch free treats and toys.
Once again, here’s Primally Pure featured by an organic box company.
So the company got a nice link back to its site, but it’s also gained exposure to tons of new potential customers at the same exact time.
Definitely worth a few free products.
6. Featured influencer strategy
Let’s go back to the B2B space to provide one more foolproof tactic to acquiring high-DA backlinks.
Thought leadership is one of the best B2B strategies because it can provide several benefits other than simply demonstrating your command over a subject.
You get increased brand awareness. You get referral traffic back to your site and some potential sales. And of course, you also get the backlink.
Best of all, bloggers and journalists are always looking for quality content.
So you’re actually taking work off their plate if you can get in touch with them and provide an actionable soundbite.
For example, Ahrefs recently wrote an article about 90 SEO experts on its site.
Obviously, that’s a ton of people! So they’re going to need all the help they can get.
Now, I’ve been doing SEO for years. So I obviously want to be featured in here and get the added exposure (in addition to a sweet link).
Check out the lower right-hand corner of this list:
They saved the best for last, right? 😉
Anyway, click on my name or face, and it takes you directly to my contribution:
Notice that I get three things here:
- A Twitter link
- My domain link
- And a related content link
Not bad for about five minutes worth of work on my part!
The ROI on that five minutes can be massive now with all the new people who are going to find my related content.
There’s one trick with these roundups, though.
Take a look at this example — it involves over 90 other people!
That means you need to do whatever you can to stand out.
My favorite technique is to offer something unexpected or even contrarian. That gets people’s attention by interrupting the normal pattern they’re expecting to see after reading the responses from everyone else.
High-quality backlinks don’t grow on trees.
You can’t just swap links in some spammy forum with a bunch of random strangers.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Instead, it takes a little effort, creativity, and persistency to finally get what you’re after.
But the hard work is worth it because of the additional benefits it uncovers.
Good links from high-quality websites will get you traffic back to your site. Many of these people will then learn about you for the first time, sign up for your email list, or even purchase a basic product.
If you do it right, these backlinks can be scalable, too. That means you can run similar campaigns again and again and again to drive more attention to your business.
So good backlinks give you an SEO lift, sure. But more importantly, good backlinks grow your business to push you over the edge of the competition.
What’s your favorite strategy for building high-quality backlinks?