As you know, I am putting considerable effort into building dofollow links for my blog. However, most link building strategies are risky and can end up destroying the authority of one’s site, and therefore our chances to rank. Thus, after many weeks of intense researching, I decided I had to write a post on legitimate link building strategies because I learned a great deal about this topic.
Before you proceed, be advised that the list below is time-consuming and will not grant you backlinks in a few seconds. I decided to collect strategies that require hard work but deliver the best results because that is what I am interested in. I will progressively update this list with more strategies – each update will have at least 10 ideas (last update: May 31st, 2017).
Without further due, here’s what I came up with…
Legitimate link building strategies
1 – Create (awesome) “101 lists”
…just like this one! I found this to be one of the best way to collect backlinks if you do it right. SEO today is all about user experience. And people want to have insanable actionable content, that fully satisfies their need for information. You want to kill any search that may lead to your site. What you absolutely do not want is people to find your site on Google and return to the same search, because you could not satisfy them.
“101 lists” are awesome because they provide the readers with so much information that it is not likely that they return to the same search. Yes, they do require a lot of work, but I advised in the beginning of the post that these strategies do require work. At the same time, it is easier to reach a high word count this way, which will probably make you look good before search engines.
2 – Create articles with actionable tips to do something
Although “101 lists” can be pretty actionable, articles that are written to be extremely actionable are another great way to earn backlinks. Have a look at posts that are called “[X] you can do right now” and see how much they get shared – this will provide you with an idea for how much they are linked to.
3 – Guest post a lot
My favorite way to build some very valuable, very relevant links.
My suggestion is to guest post on blogs in the same niche. I am in the Early Retirement topic, and I feel that I know the most important blogs in the niche, so I can pitch a guest post directly. If you don’t know them, look around and build a list of your own. I have done this.
If you want to do this faster, you can access platforms like Blogger Link Up and My Blog Guest, where you can find bloggers to pitch guest posts. If you are interested in writing a guest post for me, check out my guidelines before you e-mail me. Note that many bloggers are tired of being pitched guest posts, as this tactic has been pounded, so you must make your pitch stand out. What I appreciate in my own case is that the prospective guest poster knows my blog and what it is all about, and offers a topic based on that.
I always advise aiming blogs that are selective when it comes to accepting guest posts and have some domain and page authority. You can also check the trust flow, but you should keep your expectations realistic.
Some sources have reported that Google will take action on “large scale guest blogging” eventually, so make sure you don’t fall into the bad patterns: write good and unique content, have other outbound links in the article and two to your own site, have at least one internal link and change your bio often. If you plan to use guest posting as one long-term strategy to build backlinks, make good pitches, don’t create predictable patterns, and show that you know which blog you are writing to.
As for the guidelines to write guest posts, I came up with a few, after researching this subject for a looonnnng time:
- Your bio should change pretty much every time you write a new guest post, and contain 1 or 2 links – to your blog and Twitter handle
- Minimum of 4 links – to high authority sites. No spammy sites whatsoever. Remember the practices to write your own articles? Same here.
- Internal links – the guest poster should link to other posts on your blog (or let they know you’ll add them yourself).
- 1/2 links to your own blog – in the middle of the text, as natural as it can be.
- No spelling or grammar errors – otherwise it tells you that the author didn’t spend much time on the post.
- Must fit your blog theme entirely. Pretty much self-explanatory and obvious, yet people keep making this mistake.
- You must like the article. I’ve used a lot of sweat and tears to build From Cents To Retirement. I am not publishing something I won’t believe in.
- Include images – not a must, but I personally like this (both when I guest post or host posts). Make sure you own the rights.
This quarter, I’ve set the goal to write 50 guest posts. I will also write a comprehensive article on the results of this.
There are various recipes out there to find places to guest post, including this one suggested by Neil Patel. I personally suggest contacting the bloggers in your niche you know offhand, provided that their DA is above your own. I do agree with Neil Patel on some other aspects, including good practices on guest posting.
4 – Create extensive resource lists
Did you have a look at my books list? With such an extensive list of books, I am sure that there are not many awesome books on personal finance that are not covered there. This makes this page highly susceptible to be linked to. Bloggers looking to provide their users with the best information will likely link to these extensive resource lists because they want to link to as much information as possible.
People tend to prefer a source that contains everything that there is to know about that topic, other than a group of them. Also, just like I am doing with this post, keep it to date and refine it as time goes by. If a few things become deprecated, this will lower your chances to be linked to.
5 – Create a list of the top 10 myths of a specific topic within your niche
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions in virtually every industry out there. Chances are there are some in your own. Make sure everyone knows about it. This type of posts tends to get very viral, especially if you promote them correctly.
6 – Create lists of the experts in your fields
Create your own directory about the blogs in your niche. For instance, on personal finance and early retirement, J Money put together this ultra extensive list, with almost 1000 blogs. Not sure how many links it has, but I am sure it has been linked a lot!
If you create your own, make sure you list your own site. From what I’ve been able to see, the longer the list, the higher the chances to be linked!
7 – Spend some time on the story of your site
A site with an identity is something that people tend to trust in. And trust is absolutely needed if you want people to link to your site. Have a look at the biggest blogs out there and how they have their story so clear and so upfront.
8 – Publish reports on your site
I post reports on my online income. Some reports were shared and linked to. However, the majority of links I’ve obtained came from extensive lists (remember tip #4) of online reports.
It doesn’t have to be about money… just report something that can easily grip some attention and be linked to from large resource lists.
9 – Do roundups
Have you read the roundup I’ve made with top bloggers in the Early Retirement niche? This has granted me a few backlinks (and a lot of traffic), as many other bloggers linked to it. It is just a monumental piece of information. I brought the best of the best to talk about a topic that is the essence of my blog. Other bloggers interested in Early Retirement may obviously link to this article, as it provides a lot of information!
Do the same. Go out there and invite the top bloggers in your niche for a roundup. It takes a lot of work, but it can be highly beneficial! Here’s a simple recipe that I’ve used successfully:
- Think about a topic – something that connects well to your blog (and not necessarily the core topic of your blog).
- Write the questions – ideally something that your readers asked before and you’re sure they are interested in.
- Pick the most qualified bloggers to answer those questions – not necessary the top bloggers in the niche though.
- Convince them to join – from my experience, everyone is really open to joining unless they are swamped with work.
- Grab the answers and publish them – this may a huge post, so this will also account for some work!
- Promote the post and ask the participants to promote it to – hopefully, it will be viral!
10 – Create infographics and reach out influencers
Another tough task, but a very profitable one! Infographics are among the most shareable and linkable posts out there. They are also well seen by search engines with the latest algorithms, thus providing some additional exposure.