Google places prime importance on links. If your site has several high-quality backlinks, it will be easier to rank at the top of search results. The conventional way to earn links is via guest posts. Sometimes, you need to establish a relationship with the other party. This way, getting links becomes easy. However, the conventional method is actually expensive and time-consuming. The good news is that you need not invest too much time and energy into link building. Below we look at how to build links without creating content:
1. The "Lazy" Man Approach
I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.
- Bill Gates
First of all, let me clarify that "lazy" here has a different connotation. Maybe the word should actually be “smart”. Let’s delve into this approach that will help you build links without creating much content except your very own:
The lazy man approach involves three main steps:
Step 1: Looking for Outdated Resources
This is basically looking for sites in your niche that could have moved to a new URL, stopped updating their site or a section of their site, changed their brand name, stopped offering a particular service or product, or that have completely closed up shop.
But why go to these lengths?
Outdated resources are a gold mine. There is a high likelihood that there are sites that could probably still be linking to the outdated resource without knowing that it is no longer updated, or that it closed up shop. Some of these sites could even be high authority .edu or even .org sites.
What this means is that by using the outdated resources, you are able to access the outdated site or pages.
By now you might be surprised at the opportunities that you have missed in the past. But what if some of these outdated resources are actually broken links? This is a valid concern.
The best way to determine whether a link is broken is to use a tool like Check my Links which you can add as a Google Chrome extension. The tool will check all the links on the web page color coding valid and broken links.
Let’s look at how to look for outdated resources:
A Quick Google Search
A quick Google search using some keywords like "service no longer available" or “page no longer exists” will give results of sites that recently changed moved resources or that completely went out of business. For example, the fifth result for "page no longer exists" is a page on the Inland Revenue site(the Kiwi version of the IRS). There is an announcement on the page with the new link: https://e-services.ird.govt.nz which redirects you to a new services login page.
Step 2: Checking for Any Broken Links
Now that we have identified a page that "no longer exists", we need to add the Check My Links extension to Google Chrome. We then need to open the “page that no longer exists”. When you click on the new Chrome extension, the tool gives a result of 174 links. It also checks the links, highlighting all the valid links in green. In a minute or so, the final result is that all the links on this page are valid.
Step 3: Reaching Out
Remember the link that we had identified on our "non-existing" that pointed to the official New Zealand Government services page?
We need to inform them of the change on the Inland Revenue site so they can link to the new Inland Revenue page with a services login option.
After offering this information, the next thing should be using this opportunity to get a link. If you have a site, blog or web page that offers services or information that is related to the site (in this case, maybe immigration services) there is no reason why you should not suggest a link to your site.
2. Online mentions
When your brand or business, or the products or services you offer, are mentioned online, it becomes easy to get links. There could be many reasons why the brand is being mentioned. It could be as a result of
- Brand building
- Offline marketing
- Word-of-mouth referrals
Brand mentions could also result from
- Popular products
- Prominent employees
- Media coverage
- Company buildings
- Brand representatives
- Catchphrases or slogans
- Company news and updates
The online mention opportunities require a lot of ingenuity and creativity in choosing which mentions you intend to pursue. If you creatively pursue a good opportunity, you can get some high-quality links that you may have never imagined. Niksto.com provides some great link building strategies and tactics that can help you rank.
Finding Your Own Brand Mentions
You can use different tools to identify brand mentions, for instance, Google Alerts. Subscribing to other tools will also go a long way in helping you know when your brand is mentioned. Some of these tools include:
Politely request the site that has mentioned your brand to include a link too. Provide some extra information about your business, product or site to show that you are adding value for the linking sites' users.
When your site is linked from a relevant directory, you can increase traffic to your site with people who are more likely to convert. Since directories will focus on the whole site, you need not create new pages or content in order to be listed. All you need to ensure is that your site is legitimate and relevant.
While directories are good link sources, there is a need for keen scrutiny before listing your site. The last thing you need is having your site listed in a directory whose sole goal is SEO with very little, if any, value to offer actual users. Using these directories could actually backfire, making your site look less legitimate in Google's eyes.
The directory that you end up going for needs to be relevant to your industry or to your business’ community. Other things that you need to look out for include:
- Traffic statistics
- Other sites listed (look out for your competitors)
- Domain or page authority
- Editorial process (does a real human make the final decision?)
- Categories specific and relevant to your niche
Check for trust or citation flow as well.
You can easily get high quality, relevant links from existing relationships. Good relationships to leverage in the real world are business partnerships. For instance, if you are a professional cleaning company and one of your partners is your detergents vendor, maybe you have listed your partners on your site or on an "our partners" page. Reach out to them and request a link back.
Another relationship to leverage is professional or industry associations. If you are a member of an association in your industry, links from those institutions pass a lot of link juice. In fact, you need to already have the list of the members of your professional association on your site, especially if your company is part of the association.
For instance, if you are a law firm, and one of the partners is a member of the state lawyers association, you need to ask for a link from the association to your site. Better still, get the link with the list of members.
Do you remember what mentions do?
Now, every time a member of that list is mentioned your site will show up too.
5. Community Involvement
Working with your community is not only a good way to give back, but also a smart way to get links to your site. When you work in the community, you get brand visibility opportunities to partner with other people in your industry.
The partnerships forged while giving back to the community can be good link sources. Better still, the impact that you are making creates the possibility of more people looking to work with you, thus linking to your site or mentioning you online.
One tricky thing about relationships and community activities is the motive behind them. While these may be great opportunities for link acquisition, never put your own needs above relationship building or making an impact in society.
Some of the ways that you can earn links from being involved in community activities include:
- Sponsorships (events, teams, clubs, etc.)
- Scholarships offered to local students
- Partnerships with other people to offer discounts
- Charity work
- Interviews (conducting or participating)
- Recruiting people from the local community,
- Hosting local events
Charity work will likely get some form of media coverage. Links from media companies would also prove invaluable for your brand.
The good thing about participating in your local community is that it can also be done online, for instance via forums. You need to find where your audience spends most of its time and actively participate.
If your audience, for instance, asks questions on Quora, you need to be present on the platform and respond to their questions. Other platforms you could look out for include:
- Popular blogs
- Social media platforms
- Industry forums.
If you are in the professional cleaning niche, for instance, actively participate on professional cleaning forums or even related topics like equipment and machine blogs.
Most importantly, be genuine on these platforms. Engage with your audiences and provide meaningful, on-topic information. Include a link to your site in your profile, not your comments (unless it absolutely adds to the conversation).
Just like we use testimonials on our sites to increase our own credibility, links generated from testimonials have proved invaluable.
The first place that you should get testimonials from should be from the people who make it easier to run your operations. The internet providers, equipment suppliers, raw material providers, or even the accounting firm that you may be outsourcing to.
You need to find out whether they have any link testimonials on their page. If not, you could request for an opportunity to endorse their product or service via a linked testimonial on their site. If they already have linked testimonials, you could request for an opportunity to be listed as one of the happy customers.
Endorse only those partners that provide high-quality products or services, in your view. Again, writing a testimonial is way easier compared to creating long form content, infographics, video or even an eBook.
As a professional cleaning services company, linked testimonials that you could consider include your detergent suppliers, equipment providers, repair and maintenance providers, your landlord, and the media companies that you advertise with.
It is possible to build links without creating content, or via creating very little content of any. The above techniques are a good place to start.