*A previous version of this blog originally appeared on inseev.com. It has been altered and updated by 3Q/DEPT.*

A backlink is a clickable hyperlink between two websites. Why do backlinks matter?Google and other search engines use backlinks to navigate the web and determine how trustworthy and reputable other users find a specific website. Essentially, the more backlinks you have, the more trust you establish with the search engines.

Numerous industry changes have occurred throughout the years, and earning high-quality backlinks has become increasingly difficult as search engines crack down on spammy link practices. To secure value-adding links in today’s digital landscape, link builders need to:

Follow best practices.

Focus on how your links can add value.

Incorporate traditional PR strategies.

Strategies for backlinks.

Link builders utilize various strategies to secure new backlinks, and they need to be increasingly creative as inboxes become inundated with hundreds of backlink requests. From fixing broken links to pitching resource-style content, to guest posting, there’s a lot that’s considered tried, true, and tested. Here’s a quick overview of the proven strategies we recommend you utilize:

Broken Link Building: Identifies webpages linking to broken pages, on your website, or competitors’ websites.

Thought Leadership: Focuses on sharing industry expertise with publications.

Image Reclamation: Identifies proprietary images used on third-party websites and requests proper attribution.

Link Jacking: Identifies webpages linking to competitors and retailers and recommends linking to your web assets instead.

Pitching as a Resource: Connects relevant audiences with your website by offering web assets to a specific webpage or blog post.

Strategies on How to Get Backlinks for Your Site

Your best bet for building valuable links is focusing on strategies under the thought leadership umbrella. Thought leadership strategies have the best potential to drive value to the page you are contributing and can result in links to reputable sites. We’ll break down our most effective thought leadership link building campaigns:

Expert Quotes

This method is tried and true, and numerous industry tools can assist with placing these expert quotes. The most popular and well-known platform is HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which can help build links and brand awareness. The HARO platform is a hub for journalists with relevant sources willing to provide information. It has become extremely oversaturated and increasingly difficult to secure placements.

To negate this market saturation, you’ll want to ensure that the tips you provide are well-written, concise, straightforward, and, most importantly, unique. Journalists generally seek sources for one of two reasons: to legitimize their article or source new and creative ideas. Make a point of providing an original position on the topic and watch your placements grow.

PRO TIP: Work to establish relationships with reporters who may end up using your quote. There’s a good chance they contribute content across multiple publications.

Educational Opportunities

This is a relatively labor-intensive strategy, but it has the potential to make a significant impact on both your backlink profile and brand presence. Conduct outreach to parties who host relevant conferences, webinars, and other types of events, and express your interest in participating as a speaker, panelist, or host. Find any non-profit organizations in your industry that you can partner with – they may have connections with collegiate organizations and local publishers who can help increase the exposure these opportunities present. While this approach requires some heavy lifting, it could result in multiple backlinks if the initiatives generate attention with the press.

Start a Mentor Program

Helping budding career professionals get started on their professional development is a worthwhile cause, link building or not. Efforts that speak to an individual’s pathos make for great linkable content, and you can even build a landing page on your website, attracting applications for your program. You can find pages that provide resources for new professionals in your target industry and position your program as a helpful addition to their page. There are various ways you can leverage a campaign of this nature to generate links (don’t be afraid to get creative!). A mentorship program could generate more traditional press and is another excellent way to connect with colleges and other educational programs.

Find Ways to Give Back to the Community

Think of ways that you can give back to your community. If you already have a cause marketing team, have them join your outreach department. If you don’t, now is a great time to start one. Businesses with a cause have grown increasingly important to consumers. Based on data from Engaged for Good, 80% of consumers feel that companies should play a role in addressing societal issues.

An example of this in action is the moving company, Bellhops. In 2018, their CEO gave a car to an employee who walked 20 miles to work and back daily. The story garnered attention from publications like People, Washington Post, News Week, and ABC News. Looking at their backlink profile in Ahrefs, we can see a strong correlation between their referring domain growth and when the story broke. While they were experiencing growth before this public recognition, this story helped significantly scale that growth.

Now, we aren’t suggesting you do good deeds simply for the prospect of potential backlinks, BUT it’s an added benefit of running a cause-focused campaign.

Final Thoughts

The creative approaches you can take with thought leadership outreach are nearly endless. Act from a place of sincerity, be committed to providing real value and build partnerships, and the backlinks will accrue naturally. As the nature of earning backlinks becomes more regulated, nuanced, and riddled with additional challenges, outreach teams need to be at the forefront of these link building approaches to stay relevant.

While this will change the inherent nature of linking as it requires involvement from leadership teams and additional overhead expenses, trust us, the juice is worth the squeeze! Looking for help with your backlink strategy? Reach out to 3Q/DEPT to connect with our team of skilled SEO professionals.
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