6 Proven Ways to Get High-Quality Links
During the SMX Advanced show last week, SEO guru Danny Sullivan went on to rant about how webmasters nowadays have lost track of the value of quality links. (It’s quite an entertaining rant so be sure to give it a listen here.)
In his spiel, Sullivan noted that some people focus too much on getting as many links to their website as possible that they’ve failed to understand the difference between coveted, high-quality links and easy, low-quality ones. “Yes, you want links, but links that are hard to get, that take effort to obtain, that you’ve somehow earned, not ‘easy links’”, Sullivan said on Search Engine Land.
He advised webmasters to “break the easy link mindset” and stop chasing link building tips and tactics and instead focus on being “linked from places where there’s an actual audience that might see your link and click on it directly to visit.” So quit posting on sites that no one visits anyway, avoid submitting to directories just because they happened to be directories, and don’t comment on blog posts just for the sake of dropping your URL. Getting quality links isn’t easy, and Sullivan didn’t sugarcoat the process either. He said that “getting links shouldn’t be easy, if you want links to count for much.”
So are you ready to start getting the links that actually matter? If so, then the 6 things listed below should be able to effectively get you started.
1. Hone those writing skills – It’s no secret that quality content gets linked to. If you want people to start noticing and sharing your content, then you have to make sure that it’s worth it. Develop your writing skills by reading useful eBooks like Copy Hackers or picking up tips from online resources such as Copy Blogger. Once you’ve fully developed your skills, a myriad of opportunities will open up. Writing will allow you to produce convincing articles, link-worthy guest posts, and effective landing pages.
Don’t have the time or energy to hone your craft? Then consider outsourcing your content to freelancers, instead.
2. Dump the canned pitches – It’s also a good idea to personally reach out to relevant websites and ask them to check out your product or service for review. If they decide to feature you, then not only will you get a link to your site, but your product or service will get in front of a new audience. Unfortunately, “reaching out” to sites for a review is easier said than done. Most high-quality websites probably get dozens or more pitches daily, and a lot of these pitches don’t even get to see the light of day. Thankfully, there is something that you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed, and that is to personalize each and every email that you send. Sure, this is extremely tasking and time-consuming, but (assuming you really have a great product or service) the potential reward is worth it.
When composing your pitch emails to reporters or bloggers, make sure that it’s tailor-fitted for the receiver. Mention how awesome your product or service is, and don’t forget to list the reasons why their readers will benefit from it. Be sure to read that person’s other articles and reference them in your email, as well. Oh, and remember that sucking up can pay off sometimes, so if you think it’s appropriate, consider dropping a compliment or two.
3. Target high-quality websites – Going back to Sullivan’s post, he mentioned the importance of getting links from top publishers. This means that when you’re submitting guest posts or pitches to websites, it’s best to target high-traffic sources. You know, the ones that people actually read. Avoid content farms and go for websites that have “some serious barriers to get published.” Again, it’s not going to be easy, and you’re going to have to come up with superb posts, but once you get published, you’re bound to get more traffic and link love from Google.
Finding these types of sites shouldn’t be that difficult, but it will depend on the industry that you’re in. A good start is by checking out the most linked-to websites in your field. If you’re in tech for instance, then Sullivan suggested checking out the Techmeme leaderboard and pitching to sites listed there.
4. Offer exclusive content – In some cases, less is more. A good and solid feature or blog post in a high-quality website can be better than posts on 10 low-traffic sources. If you’re really determined to get into one particular website, then consider offering exclusive content or sneak peeks about your product or service. This means that you’ll only send your pitch to one particular website in hopes that you’ll get a feature or review. Sources always want to be the first to break news and offer unique content, so providing them with news or information that no other website has can give you a leg up in getting featured (and thus gaining a link in the process). Now if that website isn’t interested, then move on to the next one and send your pitch elsewhere.
5. Keep your friends close – Do you personally know people with (high quality) websites? If so, then consider leveraging these offline relationships to gain online traction. Take out your rolodex, reach out to your relevant connections in the industry, and ask if they’re interested in linking to your website. Return the favor, if you must. The point is you shouldn’t get too immersed in a strictly online mindset. Open your eyes and get into contact with real people. Don’t have a lot of friends with great websites? Then take this as a wake-up call to start being friendlier. Try attending more industry events and conferences to see if there are any business relationships that you can form.
6. Be interesting and newsworthy – This point may be last, but it certainly isn’t least. Like what this blog post indicates, you have to ensure that you’re delivering high-quality content. Doing so has a two-fold benefit to your SEO strategy. For one, you’ll grow the likelihood of getting more links from great websites; and for another, you’ll stay on Google’s good side which means that your website won’t take a hit the next time the search giant releases another algorithmic update. It’s a win-win.