What links should you be building to your site in 2023?
That’s what we’re discussing today with a former pharmacist who’s been building links for every industry imaginable for the past eight years. He’s the founder of The Links Guy, a truly global remote team that prides itself on being a link-building agency that’s constantly learning, evolving, and truly improving quality as it scales. A warm welcome to the In Search SEO podcast, Amit Raj.
In this episode, Amit shares five types of backlinks SEOs should work on building in 2023, including:
- Guest post outreach
- Government websites
- HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
- Resource Pages
- Resource Links
5 TYPES OF BACKLINKS SEOS SHOULD BE BUILDING IN 2023
1. Guest post outreach
David: Great to have you on. You can find Amit over at thelinksguy.com. Today, you’re sharing five types of backlinks that you should be building in 2023. Starting off with number one guest post outreach.
Amit: Yeah. With guest post outreach, it sometimes has this negative connotation because when people think of guest posts they think of spammy guest posts, and you’ve seen the whole guest posting is dead type articles. But guest posting still has its place when you’re building links on quality sites that are relevant. This is where content ideation is important because when you’re doing guest posting you won’t necessarily always be able to get sites that are exactly in your industry. It’s about researching and finding what sites would cross over with your industry. Where your audience might be or audiences that don’t immediately come to mind, but they are relevant. That’s where you can build relationships with the right websites and cross over industries. And the value exchange to them will become the crossover. It’s what’s relevant to them, but also still relevant to you and your business.
D: Okay, understood. You covered a lot there. I’d like to dig into a couple of bits because you talked about finding an opportunity where you’ve got a chance to get a link but you also talked about not necessarily directly within your own industry as well. So first thought is, how do you actually determine the highest quality best opportunity website that’s likely to give you a link versus a website that is also a good opportunity, but you haven’t got any hope of getting a link from?
A: That’s quite tricky. This is why when we talk to clients, and it’s important for anybody that’s building links, their preference is always going to be that they want links from their own industry. The reality is you can’t guarantee every single link is going to be from your exact industry. For example, when we worked with a telecom client, we had to explain to them that not every single link would come from a telecom news website, which was their understanding of what an ideal link would be. We did get some links in that industry, of course, but we did have to explain to them that we might have to reach out to editorial sites and the cybersecurity sector or general technology news sites.
You can also gain insights from analyzing competitors and that might give you an idea of where they’ve got links from. But it’s especially about knowing your audience, as your audience might notice not necessarily be reading a telecoms news website, they can be in other places. There’s also a comparative analysis, analyzing other non-direct competitors can give you further insights.
D: Yeah, I love that. Get lead by your audience when considering link building opportunities. It’s very easy to get lost in a list of websites that you think are as close as much as possible to what you do as a business. But of course, people have different interests through their lives. And you’re also a guest building links for traffic as well as SEO.
A: Yeah, and that’s the key thing. It also expands the pool of targets that you’ve got. Like you said, how do you know if they’re going to link to or not. The reality is that sometimes you won’t know until you reach out and propose that content idea. And they may not like your first content idea, but the idea can suggest another one, or perhaps you have to research a little bit more as to what they would find valuable.
And that also comes down to the type of website, because you might find, for instance, with an editorial or news site might want something that is trending or newsworthy within the industry. Whereas a small business within the industry, which is relevant, may not be looking for that. They don’t have time to write a lot of their own content so they need you to suggest something that is going to free up some of your time. And they’re not quite looking at it to the level of the larger editorial site. They might just need something that they feel is relevant for the audience. And you could comment on how they feel as that could add some value. It’s also about the type of website as that will determine what approach you take and what ideas you give them.
2. Build links on government, university, and school websites
D: And talking about types of websites, the second type of link you should be building is links on government, university, and school websites. How do you persuade them to link to you?
A: Yeah, and this is an interesting one. It’s really nice when you can get a link from a government, a university, and things like that. It’s something that’s not always higher domain authority, but it’s just something about that domain that is considered higher authority, and I believe those domains on .gov, .edu, or .ac.uk, will have some pool when it comes to when Google attributes links.
Ultimately, it comes down to your value exchange. It’s not suitable for every business. Some businesses will find it easier to get those links than others. However, for instance, I find with government domains there are nuances dealing with these types of sectors. For instance, the government, when it comes to local government, or with councils, doesn’t understand link building per se, and what they really want to know is they want to kind of know what your business or website is about. Why is it you’re reaching out? Why should they link to this? And why is it relevant? And why would their residents find it useful? That’s the approach you have to take. It’s all about the local area, what the residents in that local area are interested in, and what is it.
For instance, I find in the US, you’ve got a lot of these senior resource pages on a lot of the local government sites. So you might have some kind of content piece that’s useful to the senior community that they would be interested in. That’s how you would deal with governments. It’s not suitable for everybody, but if you’ve got the right content piece, or if it’s the right type of business you can often you can get some good links there.
D: I like that senior resources example. To me, it emphasizes what you can do. Obviously, you can go to the website and see what kind of resources they have linked out to in the past, and thus, more likely to link out to in the future. And if they’re linking it to certain resources, and you can open a form of communication with them, then you can reach out to them to say that I’m actually in the process of building this kind of resource. What do you think would you and your community want me to incorporate into this resource? And if you get them involved in the building of that piece of content, then they’re much more likely to link to it.
A: Exactly. And you sometimes find with the local government. You may have to pick up the phone and have a call with them and we’ve done that as well. And they are genuinely quite interested in knowing what it is you’re doing and they’ll help you promote the content. The good thing is that generally you won’t have to buy any links because they’ll do it for free. That’s another advantage.
3. HARO and PR Platforms
D: The third type of link is HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and PR platforms.
A: I find this is really good if you’re trying to build authority. In terms of getting what you might call the big-name publications, which is a lot of these larger media sites, especially in the US. It’s also the domain authority. So it’s good for building your own domain authority, because you’re getting links from higher authority sites. One disadvantage is that the links will go to the home page. However, aside from that, you can get some pretty good high-tier links from there. I would say it’s good as an additional tactic to use along with what you may call the conventional melding.
Aside from HARO, there are platforms like Terkel and Qwoted. There’s one called Source Portal, which I think is in Australia. So there are a few like that.
4. Resource pages
D: Yeah, I’ve used HARO and Source Portal before, and it’s certainly a great starting point that gets you going in the link situation. That brings us up to number four, resource pages. Is it something that you’ve covered to some degree already?
A: Yeah, to some extent, this would come under that local government, universities, even schools, will have a resource page section. So that that does come under that. But if you’re dealing with what you might call a linkable audience, meaning, an audience, which is a fairly large sector, in terms of there’s enough websites and they are fairly hungry for content. That would probably fall under the resource page where you might find those titles which say Useful links, Useful resources, things like that. We’ve done quite a few of this as a tactic and it’s useful when you’ve got a content piece that is relevant to that linkable audience. Whether it’s the senior community, the disabled community, ir perhaps it’s aimed at kids or parents, things like that. Or it could even be an industry like woodworking where you’ll find a lot of resource pages in that sector.
We’re dealing with the client in the rehab sector. What we believe is we’ll be able to reach out to a lot of GP surgeries. In the US, you could call them clinics and doctors. And we believe they’ve got a lot of Useful links sections so we can approach them because we have something that is related to alcohol addiction. There are a lot of opportunities like that and for resource page outreach, if the sector is big enough, you can scale it up to quite a large extent.
D: How do you find those resource links? Do you simply just search Google for ‘resources’ or using your last example something like ‘alcohol treatment resources’?
A: Yeah, what you often have to do is use a keyword and use an event advanced operator. For instance, you will put something like ‘useful links’ in speech marks. You can look for phrases like ‘resources’ or ‘links’ and then the URL. So you could use something like end URL: resources. That will help you pull out some resource pages, but with the keywords you kind of have to play with it about because if you go too specific, you won’t find enough opportunities that you may have to go a bit broader to pull out a large enough list. And there are some tools you can use. There’s one called Link Prospector, which I believe is made by Citation Labs, which specifically has a feature where they will help you extract resource pages in bulk from Google. So that’s a pretty decent tool for that kind of thing.
5. Resource links – Modified Skyscraper technique
D: Taking us up to number five resource links, i.e., modified skyscraper technique. How do resource links differ from resource pages?
A: This is more of an internal thing that we named. And we segregated that because we believe that with resource pages we’ve put them under the banner of useful links or useful resources, I would consider that a different type of page. Resource links I would just say this is getting a link within an existing article. For instance, you’ve got a blog post that’s about ‘best bicep exercises’ and what you’re trying to do is find articles that are related to that topic that you believe your article can provide more value on that specific aspect of it. And one of the ways that people have been doing this is the skyscraper technique, which I believe came from Authority Hacker. They created something called Shotgun Skyscraper. This was a technique where they did scaled-up outreach.
D: Yeah, it was about three or four years ago. What they did was they found other resources online and then they created something that they thought was an even better-augmented type of resource. And then they reached out to the people that were linking to the other pages to try and get them to link to them.
A: That’s great. Something like this, however, I find when you scale that up too much, it becomes a bit spammy because what ends up happening if you’re not careful, is you reach out to a lot of sites with the same outreach email, and I’ve seen people make that mistake. The problem is it doesn’t factor in the context. What I would recommend if someone’s doing this skyscraper approach is to segment the batches. For instance, the reasons that those sites will link to your biceps exercise article will differ according to the topic they talk about. So I’d always recommend as people segment those batches together, and then reach out to them, keeping in mind the context of what they are talking about and where your article comes in. Because that’s important when you scale up link building. At the end of the day, we need to connect with these people one-on-one, and it’s hard when you blast out a template. So skyscraper techniques are really good but it’s really important to make sure that you personalize, that people feel like you’re speaking to them one-on-one, even if it’s not really but you have to give that impression.
D: Absolutely. I used to get away with sending out the same batch message 15 years ago, but get with the times, folks.
THE PARETO PICKLE – CONTENT GAP ANALYSIS
Pareto says you can get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts. What’s one SEO activity that you would recommend that provides incredible results for modest levels of effort?
A: I would say doing a content gap analysis would be really good. Not specifically to do with link building. However, I would say it’s really good because you can analyze competitors, see where they are ranking for, and what content they’ve written that you’ve perhaps not done yet. And that’s good because it gives you a lot of ideas for content. And the idea is that the more content you’ve got the more pieces that you can build links to.
D: I’ve been your host, David Bain. You can find Amit Raj over at thelinksguy.com. Amit, thanks so much for being on the In Search SEO podcast.
A: No problem. Thanks a lot for having me, David.
D: And thank you for listening. Check out all the previous episodes and sign up for a free trial of the Rank Ranger platform over at rankranger.com.