How to Create Links You Didn’t Ask For
A big part of the link building process is awareness.
This is the stage where you approach other websites and see if they will link to you.
They may link to you for a variety of reasons, such as if you created great content or told them about a broken link and you have a new resource to replace it.
The thing is, when many of us think about link building, our default mindset is usually towards proactive link building using outreach techniques.
We tend to think of link building as something we do, not something that happens.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing and of course many of us spend a lot of time adding value to businesses by proactively building links through techniques such as content marketing, digital PR or creating broken links.
For many businesses, this is a good use of budget and helps improve organic traffic faster than they otherwise could.
The thing is, you shouldn’t need to request every link a website gets.
Awareness and proactive campaigns are important, but for link building to generate the best ROI, focus on how naturally a website can be link-worthy.
A link-worthy website gets links you didn’t ask for and even if you stop doing outreach, you’ll still get links.
Sounds pretty good, right?
For most of us, it takes work to make a website worthy enough to generate links on a good scale and over a long period of time.
For others, it is not so difficult.
For example, when Apple releases a new iPhone, almost every technology publication on the Internet will link to it!
The same can be said for other big brands such as Samsung or Amazon.
Their sheer brand awareness, often combined with truly unique and innovative products, means they don’t have to worry about getting links.
The same cannot be said for the majority of other online websites which in the UK and US are over 90% small businesses.
For many of us, we have to put in a lot more effort to make a website link-worthy.
Let’s look at a few ways to do this.
The Role Branding Plays in Link Building
While branding teams and over-the-line campaigns often sit on teams away from SEO, it’s important to understand the role branding plays in link building.
If you are working with a brand that is reasonably well known, whether in your industry or in general, then you are in a much better position to generate links without asking.
A strong brand awareness and affiliate component can add credibility to your link building campaigns.
Brand awareness can also mean that writers, bloggers, and journalists naturally seek out your content, data, information, and opinions when writing articles which can also lead to links.
Small, lesser-known businesses aren’t as likely to happen, and as a link builder, you probably have to work a lot harder to get links.
This is an important distinction to understand because depending on the type of business you are working with, your link building approach and strategy may be different.
For well-known brands, you may be able to generate links you didn’t ask for simply by adding website-linked material or providing PR teams with content pieces.
These assets can then generate links naturally without any direct reach.
For lesser-known brands, you may need to work harder on content that ranks well for search-driven keywords and try to establish them as an authority in their niche.
How to Create Content That Ranks Well and Links Naturally
One of the main ways a piece of content can generate links naturally over time is by ranking well in search results.
By doing so, more people will find the content, and in some cases, people who find it will access it from their own content.
This works especially well if you’re creating content that can rank for keywords that indicate someone is searching for something.
Some of the people who do this type of research will be writers, bloggers, and journalists who are looking for information for their own articles.
If they find your content and refer to it, they are likely to link to it as well.
For example, if a reporter is writing a story about dogs, they may want to include information about the dogs’ names.
If they Google [dog name statistics], this article from Rover ranks well and is regularly updated with new trends and content.
If this article wasn’t ranked well and regularly updated every year with new trends, it wouldn’t get as many links as it does.
You can also look for opportunities to optimize this type of content for keywords that may indicate someone is looking for data, trends, or statistics.
You can use basic on-page SEO to optimize for keywords, including:
- [topic] data sets.
- [topic] statistics 2022.
- Last [topic] tendencies.
- [topic] quote.
Anyone searching for these types of keywords can not only visit your content but also reference and link to it if they write an article or blog post on the topic.
How to Create Linkable Assets in Link Building Campaigns
One of the classic challenges with link building campaigns is when you get a lot of coverage but no links.
Someone can write about the campaign and mention the brand and the campaign, but for some reason didn’t include a link to your campaign.
Some publications don’t have a linking policy, but putting that aside, you should spend time with each campaign thinking about how you can increase the likelihood of someone linking to you.
One of the best ways is to think about what makes your campaign link-worthy and set aside time during the production process to create things that will encourage someone to link to your campaign.
A strong, relevant story might be enough for a reporter to cover and mention your brand, but to encourage a link you might need something else like:
- Single pictures that adds or illustrates the story, allowing you to request a credit link for the image.
- A larger dataset behind the story that allows someone to click and learn more about the story and data.
- A profile page on your website for someone in your company who was quoted in the story.
Even if someone doesn’t link to you the first time, creating these assets will make it easier for you to reach out to them and request that a mention of your brand or someone be turned into a clickable link.
The importance of building relationships within your industry
Relationship building is an often overlooked part of link building.
We tend to think about building a relationship the moment we need a connection with someone, not before that point and not maintaining it afterwards.
It really pays to use an approach where you genuinely try to build relationships with key industry contacts outside of your campaigns.
For example, sending them random comments, tips, or information they might find useful for their stories that has nothing to do with the brand you’re working on.
It’s not only helpful for them, but it shows you want to help them outside of the times when you’d like something in return – that’s what strong relationships are.
Bringing it back to link building, having strong relationships with key contacts in your industry can mean you get links naturally because they already know your brand and the content you produce.
If they discover your content themselves, they may pay more attention to it and cover it, even if you haven’t been explicitly told about it yet.
Another possibility is that they are looking for content to link to that you may have produced to in the past. If it’s still useful and relevant, they may be more likely to access it because of their existing relationship with you.
To conclude, it is perfectly possible to generate links that you did not ask for.
It takes a bit of thought and planning, especially if you’re not a well-known brand and don’t have the natural credibility it can bring.
But even if you’re not a well-known brand, you should dedicate some of your time and resources to some of the above activities that might start pointing you in the right direction to generate links that you don’t. didn’t ask.
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