I searched far and wide for some input on unusual backlinking techniques from some expert SEOs, so you could hopefully use some of these SEO tactics to get your website some more valuable traffic! So let’s dive in and see what secret backlinking techniques they shared.
Some of the answers may surprise; others may even make you ‘laugh out loud’ – especially if you are as geeky as me.
Why on earth should you worry about backlinks?
Do you know what the number one factor is that affects your search engine rankings?
That is to say, links to your website from other websites.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you should buy spammy links from loads of other websites – search engines have grown wise to these tactics, and they’re only set to grow wiser. And although sharing your links on your social media channels is a good idea, some of these links are ‘no follow’ – which basically means that you won’t get the kudos from Google for having them.
“Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.”
You did read that right – more than any other factor.
So it is bad for your website to get bad backlinks; but it’s incredibly important to get a number of good backlinks from different domains.
But how do you do that?
Well, I’ll give you a number of options, but let’s start with…
The usual backlinking techniques
Sometimes the normal ones are the most effective, so I thought I’d run through a couple of simple ones for you before we get onto the unusual, weird and wonderful stuff.
Backlinking technique 1: Writing excellent content – better than your competitors – and sharing it with people who care
If you’ve never done this, you are missing out. This one should always be part of a good content marketing strategy.
Check out your competitors blog, or search for ‘influencers’ in your industry; see which articles they are writing that are getting the most shares and links. [Tip: you can easily find out a competitors backlinks with OpenLinkProfiler for free] If you can – take their content, and do it better. For example, if they give 5 ways to find the right car for you – you should aim to do at least 10. Or maybe they have a guide that’s good but lacking a bit; write your own but make it much more detailed and more useful for the reader.
Once you’ve done this, reach out to the people who have linked to your competitors content or shared it before; and simply mention you thought they might be interested in the more detailed guide. If your stuff is better, they’re likely to pick up on it and link to you too. [Tip: If you develop a relationship with the influencer/sharer first, they’re much more likely to be open to linking to your content. Start a genuine conversation and don’t talk all about you – find out what interests them and be helpful if you can]
Create amazing content – check. Scratch influencers backs and they’ll scratch yours – check.
Backlinking technique 2: Performing good PR
PR is a great way to get good links to your website; featuring in an article, especially on a high authority website, can be hugely beneficial for your SEO.
And you don’t necessarily need an agency to do it.
Unless you don’t have time. In which case – get an agency on the case. If you do have the time to work on it yourself, you can check out free resources, like using the hashtag ‘HARO’ (help a reporter out) on Twitter, or ‘JournoRequest’ if you’re in the UK like I am. This is a hashtag many journalists use when they’re looking for sources to help them for an article. The thing to focus on if you are trying to do your own PR, is to make sure you’re being helpful to the journalist and actually providing value to their story – not just promoting your business. If you’re purely self promotional, you’re very unlikely to get into any articles.
Opportunities via these twitter feeds might not always seem relevant to your business; but even if you offer an opinion on something else, exposure to who you are and what you do can always benefit your business. For example, if a journalist is asking for mum’s tips on saving time on the school run – it could seem irrelevant to your business. However, you could give lots of tips and a nice story about how you used one to help your child achieve an award for ‘perfect attendance’ – all while running your own business. That way, you could get a small mention of your business, and likely a link to your website if the journalist is listing sources well. Not to mention, if your target market happens to be other mum’s, you’ll be building a genuine rapport with them through your story as you become more relatable.
Only mention your business where it’s relevant; and even if you work on helping a journalists out with no exposure for your business specifically, you can always be asked to be kept on file and work on developing a relationship with that journalist. If you do that, they’re much more likely to think of you when an opportunity for exposure comes up later.
Get onto Twitter for free PR opportunities – check. Help reporters for the sake of their story first and foremost – check.
Backlinking technique 3: Reaching out to influential bloggers in your field
Reaching out to bloggers in your industry who already have your target audience paying attention can be an amazing way to not only get backlinks, but a lot of traffic and exposure for your business.
To find bloggers in your industry, I like to Google a related search term, like ‘content marketing’ for myself, then scroll through the ‘news’ tab. You can search for blogs, or even have a look at some of the latest posts in popular news websites in your industry. Often you can look to the author and check out their own blog.
Reach out to them and ask if they’d like to test out your product or service for free and review it on their website. If they’re happy to, you could end up with a great review piece from someone who’s already got an audience in your industry – and a great quality backlink to boot.
Find influencers – check. Get reviews written about your products and services – check.
Now onto the unusual stuff!
Unusual Backlinking Techniques from some SEO Experts
Now we’ve covered some of the normal stuff, here are some of the more unusual backlinking techniques I thought you might like. I picked out ones that are genuinely actionable; so I hope it’s of some benefit to you all!
Unusual Backlinking Technique 1: Reverse Backlinking
If you have been working on your PR already, are a keen social networker or have been an established business for years – you might already have some genuinely great back link opportunities just waiting for you to tap into them.
The theory goes something like this:
- People are already talking about your business online and some may even be posting articles mentioning you
- You can find those people using Google Alerts – and contact them to ask if they wouldn’t mind adding a link to your site for reference when they mentioned you
- A lot of the time – if you’re nice about it – people will add a backlink where they’ve already mentioned you
If you’d like the full run down on how this works, and even some email template examples you can use, check out his full article “3 Step Reverse Link Building With Mentions.” here.
Check for your business name online for unlinked content – check. Reach out to the writers and ask for a link – check.
Unusual Backlinking Technique 2: Careful Guest Posting
David Vallance from Digital Impact spoke to me about a classic backlinking technique – but with an unusual twist. A lot of people have tried guest posting to get backlinks; however, as usual, Google has says it has grown wise to the technique and doesn’t always give it the credit it deserves these days.
“Google’s ex-head of web spam once said that guest posting is dead. Well, don’t believe him. It’s alive and it’s awesome — if you do it right.
While older guest posting was all about the quantity, modern guest posting is about the quality of placements. To be honest, it’s less about building backlinks and more about tapping into an audience.
Target high-traffic, high-engagement industry-specific websites. Start by cosying up to the editor, sharing their existing work and engaging with it on social media or in the comments. Let them know you aren’t just another guest post spammer.
Once you’ve built up a rapore, pitch them your idea. Include a plan or structure and explain why you think it’d resonate with their audience. Sending generic requests is the perfect way to get ignored so make sure every pitch you send is tailored to them.”
Much like good PR, it’s all about relationships and helping people out. Look for good places to guest post – that hopefully have a good domain authority – and start to build up a relationship using the channels you have available. Spending the time on a quality link rather than spamming out for many low quality links, sounds like a good strategy – and it seems to have worked well for David.
Find genuine websites in your industry that have a high amount of traffic – check. Reach out and spend time developing relationships – check. Tailor guest post pitches to each specific site – check.
Unusual Backlinking Technique 3: The message in a bottle technique
Ben Austin from Ben Austin & Associates LLC, a digital marketing & communications group in New York, told us of this tongue in cheek – but genuinely helpful tip.
It goes something like this:
- Write your link on a piece of paper, along with the keywords you hope to rank for & the message ‘please link back to me’
- Roll up the piece of paper and put it into an empty bottle. Cork it, making sure it’s water tight.
- Set it out to sea, and look out for other bottles that may also contain links you can link to.
- If you find one – notify a big, relevant online news site like TechCrunch with an exclusive pitch about how you managed to get a backlink using a ridiculous method like the message in a bottle technique
- Wait for the backlinks to flow in – and mega traffic from your ridiculous story
The truth is, although this one’s a long shot – it does have genuine merit behind it. An unusual, weird or wonderful story will make your content stand out.
“It’s a cute novelty story and someone would take it. Then, once that story drops, I would get about 100,000 backlinks the old fashioned way — via hype.”
Creating hype around a good story is a completely legitimate way to get good backlinks; people want to read interesting stuff, so if you do something genuinely different or unusual in your business – write a story about it, or pitch it to a relevant news site.
I managed to get over 2 and a half million views on Reddit – and a genuine news site backlink to my website -for a business in Dundee that delivers fresh farm produce via a vending machine. So I know this works!
Find or do something unusual – work on creating hype – and you’ll reap the rewards in backlinks and traffic too.
Create an unusual story – check. Promote it and watch the links flow in – check.
Unusual Backlinking Technique 4: Do things the right way
Charles E. Snyder III from River Valley Hosting & Web Design told us, the most unusual way to get backlinks – seems to be doing things the right way. He references many content marketing style techniques – focusing a lot of effort on creating genuinely quality content and promoting your content through social media.
“EARNING QUALITY BACK-LINKS TAKES TIME, EFFORT & PATIENCE
- Create quality content that people want to consume
- Get social (i.e. leverage social media)
- Guest blogging/guest bloggers
- Blog often (3 – 5 times per week for at least six months)
- Offer premium content (i.e. white papers, infographics, ebooks, etc.)“
Straight to the point – he highlights some excellent tips and hilarious insight – to see his complete and somewhat comedic answer to my question, you can check it out here on Quora.
Create genuinely great content – check. Promote through social media & guest blogging – check.
Unusual Backlinking Technique 5: Writing reviews or testimonials
As a business, we all want to show off good reviews – the longer and more genuine, the better. They attract and convert new customers – but the problem is – not many people can really be bothered to write them.
But if you write them for other people – it’s a genuinely great way to earn backlinks to your website.
Think about the tools, products or services you use as a business on a day to day basis. If you can spend 5 – 10 minutes send a good review to the owner, along with notifying them that you would be happy for them to feature the review on their website, you’re highly likely to get a back link. The more thorough and quotable the review, the better.
Find tools and services you already use and write reviews – check. Email reviews to the business and add permissions to use the review on their website – check.
Backlinking is vital to any online marketing campaign.
Working on genuine links can be a lot of work, but it’s the only way forward for long term success – Google is cracking down on spam, black hat methods, so avoid buying links from dodgy website and work on developing quality content that will not only earn you links but will turn your traffic into real customers.
Using any of the techniques above should up your link building game along as long as you have genuinely great content to share.
I hope you enjoyed those tips and that they’ll help you on your way to gaining some great backlinks – whether you choose to use the usual or unusual backlinking techniques. If you know of any other unusual backlinking techniques, I’d love to add them to the list – just contact me through the contact page.
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As always guys – thanks for reading.