Link Building Strategies on Steroids: How to Get Backlinks FAST! (Part 3/3)
In this lesson, we are going to show you how to turn your backlink analysis into actionable link building strategies…fast.
We will be focusing on link building efficiency and cover 5 tactics that you can execute quickly from just a single site analysis.
Some of these strategies that we’ll cover may be very familiar while others may be completely new.
We’ve got some cool link building tactics in here for everyone, no matter what stage you’re at.
First, we need to set some context. Throughout this tutorial, let’s imagine that we have a new and upcoming content marketing blog called Content Marketing Hackers and we are looking to build links to it.
So let’s get started with link building strategy #1.
Piggyback off of your competitors’ homepage links
Here’s the skinny:
When you’re analyzing a home page’s backlinks, you’re going to find that the majority of links will have an anchor text of the company’s brand name, domain name, or founder’s name. And with branded anchors like this, it’s usually a general mention of the company.
So by looking through these ‘general mentions’, your job is two-fold:
- First, find out why your competitor was mentioned and you weren’t.
- Second, find out how to squeeze your way into the post.
Let us show you a few examples:
So we’ll go to Site Explorer and enter in contentmarketinginstitute.com here and we’ll set this setting to the exact URL.
If we scroll down to the bottom of the overview page, you’ll see that over 80% of their backlinks have branded anchor phrases.
Let’s scroll back up and look at the backlinks report for CMI’s homepage to see where these links are coming from.
First, we’ll set one filter for now to just the dofollow links.
Now, if you look at the first batch of links, you’ll notice that some of these sites have linked to CMI’s homepage thousands of times. This to us, looks like sitewide links, so we’ll skip over these.
And as we scroll down, we’ll come down to this post from Social Media Examiner: 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros.
In the referring page column, you can see that it was an expert roundup from the title. Then looking to the anchors and surrounding text column, you can see that the anchor text is on Joe Pulizzi, the founder of CMI.
Just a little bit below that, you’ll see this link that CMI got from Top Rank Blog’s “BIGLIST of Marketing Blogs.”
Now the question boils down to this:
Why did they link to Content Marketing Institute, but not Content Marketing Hackers, which again is our imaginary blog that we need to build links to?
In many cases, it’s because they don’t know that our awesome imaginary blog exists.
So as an example, we could reach out to Top Rank Blog and be like…”Hey! Noticed your big list of marketing sites doesn’t include Content Marketing Hackers, but we seem to fit all of your requirements. Mind vetting our blog and adding us to your list?”
Now, as you continue to filter through this list, you’re going to find all sorts of other opportunities that could be easy and big wins for you.
Check this example out.
You can see from the anchor and surrounding text that they interviewed Joe where he spoke about generating revenue with content.
So we could reach out to this site and ask to be interviewed in a future podcast episode, assuming we have something unique and valuable to offer.
To help narrow your search, you could scroll back to the top and look for specific keywords. So if we wanted to get interviewed more, we could look for keywords like “podcast” or “interview” in the search bar.
A few other common types of links that you might find by analyzing a competitor’s home page are testimonials, quotes, and guest posting opportunities, since the author box almost always has a link pointing to the writer’s home page.
Once you’ve filtered through the list, you could start sending your own pitches to these site owners to have your brand mentioned alongside your competitor’s.
Okay! Onto the second link building strategy.
Build links to your existing pages that need the extra boost
There’s a good chance that both you and your competitor have pages with similar content, products or services. And that’s probably what makes them a competitor in the first place, right?
So here’s the skinny on this tactic.
This is a simple 3-step process.
- Step 1: pick a page on your site that you want to build backlinks to.
- Step 2: Find a competing page and analyze the backlink profile to find relevant link prospects.
- And step 3: send a unique pitch that shows how your content, product, or service is different than the one mentioned.
So let’s say that we have a great post on our blog about link building, but it’s not getting the attention it needs.
First, we would change the URL search to a full domain search.
Next, we’ll click on the “best by links report” in the sidebar to see the most linked to pages across the domain.
Lastly, we’ll use the search bar and look for a relevant keyword. So we’ll type in “link” and then run the search.
Right away, you’ll see some hyper-relevant posts that have a solid number of unique linking domains.
And if we were to add up these referring domains, you could potentially find hundreds of link prospects almost instantaneously from just this single competitor.
Next, we can click on the corresponding number under the “dofollow” column and open up the individual backlink reports.
Now, we would perform a backlink analysis and send our pitch to the various site owners.
It’s important to note that when you’re pitching these sites, you should provide some kind of unique value in your pitch.
So in this case with link building, are you sharing new tactics that no one’s talking about?
Do you have a unique case study with your results or a creative process?
Do you have unique data or insights you can provide that the page that they’re currently linking to doesn’t?
Basically, you need to ask yourself:
Why should they take their time, just to add your link to their post? If your only answer is, “out of the goodness of their hearts,” then you may want to rework your pitch.
One thing to note is that when you’re looking through your competitor’s best by links report, you can look for older outdated posts.
In general, it’s easier to steal your competitor’s backlinks when you have brand new content with information that’s relevant today.
In our example, CMI happens to include the dates in their URL, so it’s really easy to identify outdated posts with a quick scan.
There are a couple other ways that you can find competing pages. The first is to go to Google and type in a keyword phrase that you want to rank for.
So in this case, if it was “link building”, then we could go through the top 10 results, copy and paste each URL into Site Explorer and analyze the individual backlink profiles to create an even bigger list of prospects.
Now, the great thing about this tactic is that it’s not limited to just blog posts. The exact same logic and principles apply for product and service pages.
For example, if we were to create a marketing automation software, then we could simply take one of our competitors’, so let’s say Mailchimp’s feature page and then paste the URL into Site Explorer.
And from here, you can see that this URL has 615 referring domains linking to this page.
We can click on the backlinks profile in the left sidebar, and then look through the list of people who are linking to this product page.
Looking at this result here, the anchor and surrounding text tells us a lot.
It says, “tools such as Mailchimp’s marketing automation software can help with personalization…”
So the question that comes to mind, is why aren’t they mentioning our marketing automation software?
And the most probable answer again, is that they don’t know it exists.
So in our outreach email, I could offer them a free account and show them unique value in how my tool is superior, easier, and better than Mailchimp’s.
Alright, onto one of our favorite tactics and that’s because it is one that is easily scalable.
Broken link building
Here’s the skinny on broken link building.
You find a dead 404 page from a competitor’s website that has backlinks. Next, you recreate that page with your own twist. And then you email everyone who is still linking to the broken page and ask them to replace the dead link with yours.
There are a few ways to find broken pages with backlinks using Site Explorer. The quickest way to do it from a domain level search is again in the “best by links” report.
The only thing we need to change there is this one filter to find only the 404 - not found pages.
We now have a list of over 23,000 broken pages from our competitor’s site that has backlinks.
From here, you can click on the referring domains column to sort the list in descending order.
You can see right here that their .aspx version of the site was never redirected properly. And this broken page here on “what is content marketing” has earned over 400 Dofollow backlinks from 188 unique websites!
The one below, seems to be a list post of the top 42 content marketing blogs which has 91 referring domains!
And the one below that...drumroll please….
Is the same post without a proper redirect, so that 91 referring domains, now turns into 157 unique linking websites, aka. 157 new link prospects!
C'mon Joe ;)
Now, if you already have a solid replacement, then it’s just a matter of pitching the owners, editors, and webmasters with your piece.
And you can use the search filter here again to look for topics that are similar to ones that you’ve already published. So let’s say that we have a great post on content marketing tools. We can search for the keyword “tool”, and you’ll see all of the relevant broken pages with this keyword in the URL.
But if you haven’t created the post yet, then you can do something cool right here within this report.
First, we’ll clear the search filter.
And now, we need to look at one of these pages that seems to lack context. The one that has a URL permalink reads: “repurpose one video” and has 32 unique linking websites.
What you can do is click on the caret and if there are any records inside of Archive.org, which is a free service that lets you see what pages looked like in the past, then you’ll see a shortcut link there.
Click on the link and it will load up the page and show you what the page looked like when it was live.
Now we know that this post is a case study done on their podcast where they repurposed one video and got X results.
So if you have a similar case study on repurposing content, then it might be worth creating.
After your content is pitch-ready, you can click on the number in the dofollow column, which will open up the backlinks report with the dofollow filter set. You will see all of the pages that have linked to this broken page.
Now, it’s just a matter of reaching out to each site owner, editor, or webmaster to let them know about the broken link and to pitch your post as a replacement.
One side note that we want to make is regarding outreach.
When you’re pitching the different site owners, you want to make sure that your replacement article is actually relevant to the context of why they linked to the broken link.
For example, if we look at this broken page’s backlink profile, which is on content marketing spend, then you can see from the anchors/surrounding text column that the context of these links is largely because of stats.
So if you were recreating a similar page to this one, you should be prepared to use your new and up to date data as part of your pitch.
And if you don’t have the data, then don’t recreate this post.
Alright, on to link building strategy #4, which we don’t think many people are using.
Link building from irrelevant 301 redirects
Here’s the skinny:
When a website decides that they want to consolidate content, meaning, they take some of their less popular posts and redirect them to ones they want to rank for.
The result? Completely irrelevant redirects that you can capitalize on.
Within this same report, which is the best by links report, we can change the 404 filter to “301 moved permanently.”
And you will see that they have over 6,700 articles that have been permanently redirected.
The one that stands out to us is the blog post here. It looks like they’ve redirected a post on headline click through rate to their headline tips and tools post.
While it might seem like they’re completely relevant, if we click through to the tips and tools article…
And then search for the word “click”, you’ll see that there are only 3 occurrences.
The first shows "cheesy clickbait headlines". The second reads, “The winner gets the clicks”. And the third says “most clicks.”
Looking at the archive.org page, you can see that the original topic was on tips to “improve” your headline “click through rate”, which the new article clearly doesn’t help with.
From here, you would go to the backlinks report, skim through the anchors and surrounding text column to see the context of the backlink.
And here, we can see that the majority of links are coming from a stat that was mentioned related to clickthrough rate.
And if you look at this one here, it says that the stat came from “the folks at Outbrain” which you could also link to in your post so that your article is relevant when you’re pitching these sites.
Pretty neat twist to 404 link building, right?
Alrighty, link building strategy #5.
Guest blogging on sites where your competitors are posting (with a twist)
The method that we are about to show you is a pretty creative one that we haven’t seen anyone talk about.
But first, the skinny on guest posting.
You find a website you want to write for, pitch them with some topic ideas, and if accepted, write a post that will most likely lead to a link back to your site.
We’ve covered a lot of effective ways of guest blogging in one of our article. So if you’re using or plan to use guest posting as a promotion strategy, then we highly recommend reading Guest Blogging for SEO: How to Build High-quality Links at Scale.
Now, before we teach you this new tactic, let us start with a story told by one of our leading marketers.
“It was a dark and stormy night… And I was just sitting at home reading through some of my favorite blogs, minding my own business. And for whatever reason...
Blog after blog after blog after blog! …
This guy’s name and face kept popping up on my screen.
Ryan Stewart. He seemed to be on some kind of relentless guest posting blitz.
So I followed him on Twitter and literally binge read everything he had written.
Well done Ryan...well done.”
Here’s the thing: if he was noticing him everywhere, so were others.
And when it comes to anything online, there are always footprints.
The main one footprint for guest posts is the author bio. And in it, you’ll normally get a link to your website and some links to your social profiles.
So what you can do to find guest posting opportunities is to open up Site Explorer and throw a popular guest blogger’s Twitter profile in as a prefix search.
We’ll put in Ryan’s twitter URL and click submit. And you’ll see that 128 unique domains have linked to his twitter profile.
Let’s look at the backlink profile.
If you skim through the referring page as well as the “anchor and backlink” column, then you can almost instantly see why they got a backlink.
For example, this one from an amazing blog that we absolutely adore ;) was an expert roundup which you can see from the title.
Then you’ll see this one on local-seo that looks like a naked URL. And if we click through to that article, you’ll see that Ryan was the guest author.
Now where does this link come from?
So you could skim through this column and look for naked urls, empty anchors, or even links from images, which often suggests that it was a guest post.
By using just these 5 link building tactics that we just showed you, you should be able to build a large enough list of prospects and get backlinks to get your pages ranking with the big boys.
And that’s it for this SEO tutorial. Let us know if there’s anything that we haven’t covered that you would like to read about right here.
We’ve got some links that need to be built and we are sure you do too.
So until the next tutorial, SEO friends!