Doing SEO is not easy when you’re a startup. To boost your visibility on Google, you need to constantly compete with large brands for your rankings and traffic. Not to mention numerous mistakes every inexperienced digital marketer makes.
One of them is, for example, boosting a backlink profile by building links on loads of sites, irrespective of their quality or relevance.
Yes, backlinks are still one of Google’s key ranking factors, but not all links to your site are equally valuable. To rank high and boost your online authority, you need to pay attention to the quality of the links you build.
Precisely because of that, I decided not to pack this article with a bunch of complex backlink practices that will only confuse you. Instead, I’ve chosen a few tactics that will really work for your startup.
Let’s check them out!
Become a resource on HARO
Many marketers associate public relations with offline forms of marketing. However, PR is crucial for digital marketers, as well. Just like with printed newspapers and magazines, the goal of any digital marketer is to get their brand mentioned in an authoritative online resource.
This is where platforms like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) can help. HARO is a community of journalists that are trying to obtain relevant feedback for their future stories from authoritative industry figures. And, this is a great opportunity to boost your startup’s online exposure.
The rules are simple. Once you sign up as an information source, HARO will start sending you updates three times a day, Monday through Friday. Your goal is to find those requests that are related to your area of expertise. Once you identify such questions, you should reach out to a journalist, providing them with valuable answers, your bio, and contact information. If they consider your answer valuable, they will use it as a source, mention you, and link back to you.
Start writing guest articles
Today, publishing a bunch of guest articles on low-quality sites won’t bring you better rankings. To boost your backlink profile and prove you’re a truly relevant resource, you need to focus on publishing on reputable sites only.
Apart from passing their authority to you, trusted sites in your niche will also help you boost your startup’s visibility and position yourself as a credible source of information. But, where to find them?
You can always start with simple Google searches, such as your keyword”+ guest post/guest blog/write for us, etc. To narrow your search, combine your queries with Google’s advanced search operators, like the “intitle” search or “inurl” searches.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to focus only on those sites that explicitly state they accept guest articles. If you have a killer idea, many authoritative sites in your niche would accept your post even if they don’t focus on guest blogging.
Now, making a list of prospects is only half the job done. The other half is analyzing them before reaching out. Check the overall appeal of the site. Its relevance to your niche, the quality of content, the number of ads, the presence of contact information, and its design will tell you whether to stay or run away. Also, analyze the site from the SEO viewpoint. Pay attention to its meta tags, rankings, domain authority, anchors, and user engagement. Running quick audits using tools like MozBar or SEMrush would be enough.
Sure, instead of searching for and analyzing results manually, you can automate the process of Google scraping and link prospecting. For example, link building tools like Dibz will not only do link prospecting for you, but also use a bunch of spam metrics to separate relevant results from poor-quality ones.
Ask bloggers to replace broken links with your resource
Broken link building is one of the most effective ways to get a link from a reputable site. First, use one of the tactics mentioned above to find a site you want to get a backlink from. Then, you need to use tools like Check My Links or ScreamingFrog to find a broken link, reach out to the website owner to inform them about it and, ultimately, offer your relevant blog post as a relevant replacement. You can even enter the broken link’s URL into backlink checkers like Ahrefs’ Free Backlink Checker or SEMrush Backlinks to see what sites also linked to this non-existing page and contact them.
Turn unlinked brand mentions to your advantage
Sometimes, a blogger will mention your brand or products without linking back to you. No matter how frustrating this may be, you can actually turn unlinked mentions to your advantage. All you need to do is use Google Alerts, Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, or BuzzSumo to track your brand mentions.
The next step is to find those pages on a site that mention you without linking back to you. This is where tools like ScreamingFrog, Buzzstream, or Free Link Checker can help.
Once you make sure that a blogger mentioned you without providing a backlink, you just need to reach out to them and ask them to include a link to your site. As they’re already familiar with your brand and consider you a valuable resource for their audiences, they’ll be glad to do so.
Apart from text-based content, you should also check whether someone used your visual content (infographics, images, graphs, charts, memes, etc.) on their site without mentioning you. This is where Google’s Reverse Image Search steps in.
Repurpose your viral content
The link building tactics mentioned above are all focused on blogger outreach. However, this is far from being the only way to build links.
Let’s say you wrote a killer article that resonated well with your readers. Now, you want even greater audiences to see it. For starters, you can put your content in front of greater audiences by repurposing it. For example, you can turn your viral article into a gorgeous infographic, video, SlideShare, and so on. All you need to do is submit you fresh content to right infographic- or video-sharing sites and get a link from them.
Maybe these are not the greatest links you will ever earn, but they will definitely increase your startup’s visibility and put you in front of the right audiences.
Over to you
Link building is still a fundamental SEO tactic for any startup. Apart from fueling your organic rankings, these practices will also help you put your startup in front of wider audiences, increase their awareness of your brand, and position you a credible online resource.
Finally, I hope I proved that link building is not a rocket science. These tactics are simple, easy to replicate, and effective for any marketer just entering the uncharted SEO waters.