How to Scale Your Link Building Without Buying Backlinks
Updated on December 29th, 2020
If you have an online presence, you probably have a blog. There are over 600 million blogs on the web today and 1.7 billion websites. Many of these sites are producing content on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Google processes 5.8 billion searches daily, and the top 3 results on a search engine results page (SERP) take over 75% of all clicks. If you don’t improve your search result ranking, you risk being buried behind hundreds of competitors and missing out on all that traffic.
What is Link Building?
Link building is a proven method of generating more web traffic. Some unscrupulous website owners try to bypass the hard work of building relationships with people by buying backlinks. Buying links to improve your search rankings is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
If you get caught, you will likely face a manual or automated Google penalty. A Google penalty can severely impact your search rankings or even result in your site being delisted.
So what is the alternative?
Organic links from high-quality websites are among the most crucial search ranking criteria. Guest posting, writing a blog post for another website, is one way of acquiring backlinks. There are others.
Read on to learn how to scale your link building without buying backlinks.
How to Scale Your Link Building
Ideally, you will organically acquire backlinks because of the quality of the content you produce. To gain a competitive advantage, you will need to build links to your website actively.
There are many ways to generate fresh backlinks to your site. The most common methods are:
⦁ Link reclamation – getting site owners to insert links where your brand is mentioned.
⦁ Link inserts – try to get a link inserted in relevant resources, such as an article where they mentioned a competitor.
⦁ Citation building – list your business on ⦁ local directories. Local citations are a way to improve search results for local business listings.
⦁ Guest posting – write content for third party websites. You can use guest posting to grow the authority of your business.
Depending on the goals of your business, you will do all of the above.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to undertake a guest posting campaign, a link reclamation campaign, and link inserts. If you want a great resource that discusses how to run a citation building campaign, check out this post on BrightLocal.
Let’s start this guide by discussing link reclamation.
How to Run a Link Reclamation Campaign
A link reclamation campaign offers one of the easiest ways to get new links. The great thing about link reclamation is that somebody has already mentioned your brand. They just overlooked linking to your website.
To start a link reclamation campaign, you need to identify instances where someone mentioned your company. I recommend you start by setting up a system to identify opportunities as they arise. This is pretty straightforward.
Set up a new Gmail account, if you haven’t already got one, or a Gmail business account. Then, create Google alerts that are linked to branded terms.
Google alerts are a free way to monitor mentions. You can use paid tools for brand monitoring. Hootsuite has a list of brand monitoring tools you can refer to for inspiration. In addition to brand monitoring tools, you can also set up notifications on most SEO tools for brand mentions. All these options work in much the same way.
You can use any of the premium tools I shared to find historical branded mentions.
Once you’ve settled on a platform with the functionality you want, build up a list of sites where you have been mentioned and the URL of the articles. You can then reach out to these sites with your link reclamation request. An email template like the one below should work just fine:
Subject Line: Thanks for mentioning us
I was doing some online research, and I came across this great article on your site: HEADLINE OF ARTICLE.
Thanks for mentioning our company. Would it be possible to link to our site where you mentioned the company name?
I look forward to hearing from you.
You might not get a response from your first email. That’s fine. Schedule a follow-up email for four days later. For example, if you sent your first email Monday, send a follow up on Thursday.
Follow up emails improve your response rates.
To maximize the chance of a response, I suggest you offer something in exchange for their help. For example, you could offer to secure them a link for free or provide them with a product you sell or service you offer in exchange for their help.
Here’s a great resource of 80+ email templates.
Once you’ve covered the historical mentions, managing a reclamation campaign is straight forward.
How to Run a Link Insert Campaign
A link insert campaign is similar to a link reclamation campaign. A link insert campaign aims to get links to your content from blog posts where a writer mentions a competitor or in an article that discusses something potential customers would find interesting.
Start by creating alerts for mentions of competitors. You can create Google Alerts or use a premium tool for notifications.
Where a link insert campaign diverges from a reclamation campaign is how you identify opportunities. There are a couple of logical approaches. The first is to review the backlink profile of your competition.
You can do this using a tool like Ahrefs. Simply enter the competitor URL and click on the referring domains tab.
I’ll use the site Sumo for this example.
When you enter the site URL, click on the referring domains tab. Then export the data.
High-authority sites will have thousands of referring domains. Do the following:
⦁ Discount any with a DR rating of lower than 50.
⦁ Weed out domains that are irrelevant to your niche.
⦁ Filter by trust flow and traffic figures.
You should aim to end up with a shortlist of a couple of hundred sites.
You can then review the articles where a competitor was referenced. If you think there’s a suitable opportunity to include a link to a resource on your site or cite your business, send them an email.
Below is an email template you could use for a link insert campaign.
Subject Line: Quick question | ARTICLE URL
I hope you’re having a great day. I was doing some research online and came across the following article: HEADLINE.
You mentioned COMPETITOR NAME in the article. We offer a similar service to them. Would it be possible to make a small adjustment to the piece and reference our company? As a small thanks for taking the time to make those changes, I can offer you:
⦁ WHAT YOU WILL OFFER
⦁ SECOND THING YOU WILL OFFER
I’ll be happy to provide you with a paragraph of updated copy for the article, so all you need to do is copy and paste the changes into the piece and press update. Thanks for taking the time to read my message. Hope to hear from you soon.
Again, you can follow up with a follow-up message to improve your response rate.
In my experience, the response rate for a link insert campaign is less than 5%. That’s a low figure, which is why you generally run these types of campaigns at scale.
A word of warning, don’t get lots of link inserts fast. Google is like a massive betting algorithm. You don’t want to do anything that makes your website stand out. Many links in a short period of time could result in you getting a Google penalty.
How to Run a Guest Post Campaign
The final type of link building campaign I’ll cover in this guide is guest posting.
A guest post campaign is the most time-consuming type of link building campaign you can undertake. The outreach takes time, coming up with guest post ideas takes time, and writing the content takes time. While running a guest post campaign is time-consuming, it’s a great way to establish a presence in your niche.
That’s on top of the increase in website traffic you can expect from writing guest posts.
The best way to identify guest post opportunities in your niche is to review your competitors’ backlink profile. I showed you how to do this in the previous section using a tool like Ahref to review referring domains.
Once you’ve created a list of suitable domains, head over to LinkedIn and find the relevant person to contact, that person will likely be an editor or writer. Send the person a connection request. Then, find their email address using an email finder and shoot them a message.
Below is a template you could use for your guest post-campaign.
Subject Line: Guest post inquiry
Hi NAME, I hope you’re having a great day. Quick question, are you accepting guest posts at the moment? I spent the last hour reviewing your site to identify keyword gaps in your content that competitors have covered, but you haven’t.
I’ve got some ideas I think you’ll want to cover. Just to provide context, I’ve written for sites like WEBSITE 1, WEBSITE 2, and WEBSITE 3. I’m sure I can hit your editorial guidelines. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Don’t pitch ideas in your first email. Only a small portion of people you email will respond to your inquiry. There’s no point investing loads of time coming up with ideas for sites that don’t respond.
If you get a positive response, you’ll need to come up with at least three great article ideas.
I use Keywords Everywhere to come up with keyword ideas for a guest post. You want to find relevant topics that the site you want to write for hasn’t covered. The screenshot below shows you how it works.
Once you have a keyword, go to Google and use this search string:
If anything pops up in the search results, find another keyword. Repeat this process until you have three relevant keywords. Then, come up with a headline for the topic.
Assuming one of the ideas you pitch is accepted, you’ll need to write the content. Writing content is the final stretch of the process. Make sure the content you submit will do you justice.
Building links to your website from new domains is an effective strategy for getting your content in front of your audience. In this guide, I discussed three of the most effective link building campaigns you can run and provided a step-by-step process you can follow to succeed.
I hope you found the information I shared useful — best of luck with your link building campaigns. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments below.
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