Link building isn’t the only way to get your site to the first page of search engines or increase traffic to your site for that matter. But it’s an important part of SEO.
Some link building techniques have been done to death, leading to meh results for SEOs and marketers trying them in recent times. However, I’ve found some underused link building techniques that work or are still working.
1. Guest podcasting
Depending on who you’re willing to believe, there are between 19 million and 500 million active blogs worldwide.
No, it doesn’t matter what you’ll believe, because that’s not the point. The point is that compared to the just over 250,000 active podcasts worldwide, the blogging space is overcrowded. But you probably knew that already.
The benefits of guest podcasting are eerily similar to the benefits of guest blogging, including but not limited to:
- Brand awareness
- Building relationships
- Building links
And you know the best part?
Preparing for being a guest on podcasts is easier than writing guest posts. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Taylor Pearsons says about it:
“A good article usually takes at least five hours to write and edit, and a great long-form article like the kind featured on Sumo takes at least ten and sometimes twenty hours. An hour long podcast on the other hand only takes an hour. If you add on two more hours (one for research and one for prep), it’s still only three hours vs ten.”
So how does this work?
Start by researching and finding podcasts in your niche accepting guests. Check to see whether the hosts link to the sites, posts, books, products or services of guests in the “show notes” or “resources.”
This is relative. Because most hosts allow at least a link to the guest’s website and no links to any books or posts and resources like Andrew Warner’s Mixergy does.
Others allow links to posts and resources you mention during the show. It’s left for you to decide which will be a more valuable use of your time.
For example, these are links Esther Perel got on Tim Ferris’ podcast.
Four links for Esther Perel
Choose which type of link will work best for your link-building goals. Get on as many (20 or more) podcasts as possible, because just like with guest posting, being a guest on just one podcast will hardly be revolutionary.
2. Using forums
Forum marketing has been around for ages. And there’s no shortage of marketers who recommend sharing our posts on forums as a content promotion and link-building technique. They’re right.
Problem is, for some forums you’re not already active on, just signing up and promoting your content is seen as spammy. In fact, I’ve been on a forum where introducing yourself is so important that if you don’t, whatever seemingly promotional content you post is flagged as spam, and eventually you’ll be banned. Another banned me when my first post after signing up was a promotional one.
They’re probably extreme cases, I know, but you’ll hardly go wrong if you engage with a forum in a helpful, non-promotional manner more often than you share your content. And even with that, like Jacob McMillen commented on a question about why he found success with content promotion on Reddit, it’s not a guarantee of success.
After engaging with the forum, the easiest way to get multiple links to your content is via an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session.
Introduce yourself. It doesn’t matter that if you’re active on the forum then you’re probably already well-known there. Tell them who you are, what you do, and why you’re in the best position to answer their questions.
Chances are, you’ve already written content on some questions they’re asking, so link to them to support your answers.
Go through the thread of Larry Kim’s AMA on Inbound.org and see how he does it beautifully.
Linking to content on forums may be considered low value by Google, but it doesn’t mean it’s worthless.
3. Case studies
The 2015 Content Marketing Benchmarking Report lists case studies as the most effective B2B content format.
So apart from trying to build links with case studies, there’s clearly some value in having well-written ones on your site. Only that this time, you’re trying to be the subject of a case study on another site.
Think of a product or service you’ve purchased. If you’ve gotten exceptionally positive results from using it, then you’ll make a good subject for a case study.
If the product creator or service provider isn’t reaching out for this purpose, reach out yourself.
I’ve tweaked emails I’ve sent out on clients’ behalf for this purpose using this template from Smart Blogger:
I wanted to thank you again for your fantastic course: “Designing Irresistible Content.” I really learned about mesmerizing my readers with some of the tricks you revealed in the class.
I’d be happy to share my positive experiences in a testimonial or be the subject of a case study if that would be helpful. Just say the word.
Still in the spirit of proactivity, if they accept guest posts you can pitch them (your product or service provider) one on how using their product or service has changed your life or business.
This is what an employee of ParcelHero did on BuzzStream. Though of course, if you check the “Case Studies” category on their blog, you’ll discover that most are written as guest posts similar to this one below.
Most businesses will appreciate such gesture and will gladly let you have a link or two back to your site in the guest post. Try it.
4. Product reviews
This isn’t anything like generic product reviews littering the internet solely for a sale via an affiliate link. And I’m not referring to stand-alone reviews either. You know, like one with the headline: “Why We Use Awesome Tool and Why You Should Too.”
Don’t get it twisted, such content still works for link-building outreach. But like most tactics in the digital marketing world, it is somewhat less effective with mass adoption.
Here’s how Rand Fishkin describes what works for a great review:
“If you are inherently saying, ‘Hey, here’s a piece of content. We did a truly substantive analysis of 5 or 10 players in the field. Your product, your service, you, your company, your content stands out in this way, and we’ve quantified that, and we’ve produced this piece.’ Yeah, I’m going to be much more likely to link to that than just a, ‘Here’s a badge that says we like you.’”
It sounds simple, but it isn’t. You’re looking at spending lots of time and/or money to produce such content.
The post “Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – 1 Million Reasons Why Ahrefs Is Better” by Matthew Woodward is a good example of what Rand meant in the quote above.
You want to know how I know it worked? I checked backlinks to the post on Open Site Explorer.
As you see, Ahrefs linked to it.
When you make your “target” look good by producing such content, you could earn a link back to your site.
Link building is constantly evolving. You can add these four methods to your SEO repertoire if you haven’t done so already.
Of course, as with any other tactic, keep testing and tweaking to see what works better in building links to your site.