Link building in 2018 (and beyond): 6 techniques that work

Ever since the onset of SEO, the factors that search engines use to determine which site to rank over another keep changing. Techniques have gone and go, but one thing remains constant: links are still as valuable and relevant as they have ever been.

In fact, I will make bold to say that link building is the most important factor in determining which website to rank over another. Now, Google won’t exactly say link building is the “most important” factor, but they’ve gone on record to tell us that it is one of the most important three.

The problem with link building is that, in an attempt to combat spam and abuse of their search results, search engines constantly evolve what kind of links they pay attention to. So a link building technique that worked in 2015 might no longer work in 2018.

Below are six link building techniques that are still working in 2018 and that will be just as effective in the foreseeable future:

Technique #1: content repurposing and distribution

An evergreen method of building links that works in 2018 and that will be effective for the foreseeable future is repurposing your content. A single piece of content can be repurposed into a dozen or more different pieces of content.

For example, a blog post can be turned into a slide presentation, a video, a podcast, a social image, an infographic, etc. The different pieces of content created from the original blog post are then distributed to different channels (such as infographic directories, slide sharing sites, video sites, social networks, etc) and all with links pointing back to the original content piece.

Technique #2: broken link building

Broken links are bad because they disrupt the user experience. Users don’t like them. Search engines don’t like them either. They present an opportunity for you, though, and will still be as effective many years from now.

There is smart broken link building and there is dumb broken link building. When you use the smart approach to broken link building, you realize that each broken link you find on a website presents more than one link opportunity.

Say you discover a website linking to a broken link. Not only can you reach out to the website to inform the owner and suggest replacing it with your link, you can also take things to the next level by using tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer to find other websites linking to the page that was broken. You can then reach out to all of these websites, thereby increasing your prospects of getting a link.

Technique #3: creating research content, assets, and outreach combo

Search engines emphasize usability of content for their users and make it clear that this is one of the factors they use to determine which websites to rank. So how do you create usable content that serves as a linkable asset? By creating a research piece/asset.

Your research content could be in the form of a listicle or an infographic, but you will get even better results if you combine both.

Here are some tips for creating research assets that people want to link to:

  • Identify a topic of interest that is relevant to what your audience wants from you.
  • Ensure a single research piece is focused on a single topic—don’t try to create research content that focuses on everything under the sun.
  • Ensure that each study and data you cite is properly backed.
  • Since you are creating a linkable asset, usability is a must—organize your data and facts in a way that is easy to cite, copy, and reference.

Once you’ve created your research piece, you can kickstart the link building process by doing outreach to relevant publications and blogs in your niche. Once you’ve gotten the first few links, over time, people will start linking to your research content naturally. To keep up the momentum, make sure you regularly update your research piece to keep it fresh.

Technique #4: infographics link building

One of the most effective ways to put your link building on steroids is by leveraging the power of infographics. And guess what? Link building through infographics is still as effective in 2018 as it has ever been.

Here are steps you should take when trying to build links with infographics:

  • Determine a core topic.
  • Gather your facts and data.
  • Design the infographic in such a way that the most important and key facts are highlighted prominently.
  • Once your infographic is published, submit it to as many infographics directory as you can. Here’s a list of infographics directory still active in 2018.
  • Take things up a notch and do manual outreach to publications that publish content related to a fact or stat included in your infographic — and ask them to use it and link to you.
  • Once the above has been done, organic links will naturally start to come in.

Technique #5: images link building

If you’ve created a number of original images that you are using on your website, or that you have put on the web, then there’s a huge probability you have a lot of links that you are yet to claim. Many people are probably using these images without crediting you, violating image copyright laws. You can take advantage of this fact by locating the people using this images.

How? Simple. Visit google, opt to search by image, and upload the image you want to search for. Google will show a list of all the different sites using the image or a version of it. You just have to confirm that you are being properly credited and ask those who did not credit you to link back to you.

Technique #6: guest blogging

It’s been a few years now since Matt Cutts famously declared the “death” of guest blogging. “Stick a fork in it,” he said. But guess what? Since Cutts famously stuck a fork in guest blogging, two things have happened:

  • Cutts no longer works at Google
  • Guest blogging is just as effective as it used to be

Jokes apart, the kind of guest blogging Cutts said was dead is still dead. And that’s not the kind I am advocating. The kind of guest blogging that works is the one that involves the following steps:

  • Only focus on guest blogging on websites that are topically relevant to yours.
  • Make sure these websites are highly authoritative websites—the higher the Domain Authority and Trust Flow of the websites you are targeting, the better.
  • Ensure your pieces for these websites are comprehensive, detailed, and high quality.
  • Aim to get relevant, contextual links from your guest posts on these publications. Bio link is good, but in-content link is better.

Link building will keep getting complicated, but most of the above techniques are evergreen and will keep working for years to come. Take advantage of them and watch your search results soar.

Chris Porteous, CEO of Framestr / My SEO Sucks, builds high performing sales funnels and marketing workflow solutions for businesses across North America.

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