Link building, easily one of the most elusive and misunderstood aspects of SEO, doesn’t get any simpler when on a large scale. For individual businesses attempting to compete by building up their authority, link building can typically consist of a combination of the following:
- General directory listings
- Industry-specific directory listings
- “Social Signals” (debatable to me)
- Occasional inbound links from excellent content
- Links from community notoriety and events
- Links from industry notoriety and events
But what about large companies or companies that find themselves scrambling for ideas on how to rank against robust competition in their area? I’ve talked extensively to some of these link builders commissioned with these tasks, and here’s what most of them have in common:
A Link Builder is a Job Title, and That’s All They Do
That’s right – there are people that have a job that requires them to build links day in, day out. The success of their position is completely gauged on the quantity of links they bring in, along with (of course) the quality of those links.
What Form of Link Building Do They Do, Then?
Large-scale link building has an emphasis almost entirely on “outreach,” which is the act of reaching out to other websites which have typically been vetted for authority and finding a good reason for which they will provide a legitimate, permanent link to you.
The most common good reason is providing a unique piece of content that the website could use, either as a normal page, a part of their resources, or their blog page. This practice has actually been going on for years, and it isn’t surprising for many SEOs that it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Have you ever received an email that says something along the lines of “I have a blog that I think would be a great fit for your resources page?” This is a prime example of outreach, and apparently, it still works today.
Other Ways of Building Links Through Outreach
Outreach doesn’t have to be only offering content for their website. Another good example (which still follows the trend of providing value) is identifying broken links on someone’s website and hoping to either fill in the inactive/broken link with your own or perhaps asking for a link in exchange for identifying that issue for the website owner. One of the biggest tools used for this is called Screaming Frog, and my SEO contact who does this large-scale link building using this tool is paraphrased below on how that process works:
“The way this works is, you type in a URL and it crawls through your website — like literally every page of your website — and finds all this different data that could be useful for you. Things like outbound links from pages that you have, all the metadata with the page titles, meta descriptions, etc. So, this program allows you to hook up the different APIs, pull those metrics and find broken links on websites.
So if you find a website that is really relevant to the subject that you’re trying to link up, you can reach out and let them know if there is a broken link to one of their pages, offer them some value like a free resource that can complement their site and then you can mention ‘By the way, I talk about (whatever the relevant topic) all the time I’ve blogged about it.’”
Keeping in Touch About Link Building Opportunities
We had a couple more follow-up questions specifically about this topic:
“How do you approach these website owners? Email or call? What is the response rate when we approach website owners like that?”
“I would suggest calling, that’s something we’re starting to do more and more since late 2018. For the most part, when we get a positive response it mainly has to do with the fact that people just want to hear that there is a real person on the other side.”
“How often do you do follow-ups?”
“In general, when we train our team, we train them to do it at weekly intervals only do three follow-ups. We try to do the outreach through a platform so you can see if they opened it. Obviously, if they opened an email you know that is one to follow-up on.”
Are Buying Links a Thing of the Past?
The idea of buying links has evolved. While there aren’t exactly marketplaces where you can just “buy” reliable links, there are experts you can pay to build you quality links by their own means. Donating to charities, setting up scholarships, starting events, and other approaches where your main motive is for link building is just buying links to me – just in a more convoluted fashion.
Let Us Build You an Arsenal of Links
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