For startups, link building strategies is a task that is at the same time one of the most crucial (because you have to increase visibility rapidly as you most likely do not have the capital to stay afloat with a negative cashflow for a long time) and difficult (because you have to do it from scratch, without anything to build upon).
In modern SEO landscape, links are everything. The authority and ranking of your website is determined mostly by the number and, what is much more important, the quality of links leading to it. In other words, more links is always better, but a single link from a high-authority resource can do you more good than 20-30 links from shady spammy blogs. This is why you should build your strategy accordingly.
1. Create linkable content
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to backlinks, at least not anymore. In the past, it was possible to simply buy backlinks from special directories. You can do so even today, but the results will be miniscule. The only reasonable way to get high-authority backlinks these days is to create content that will be worth linking to. What makes for linkable content? It depends on your industry, but some rules are universal:
- The most valued content is the content one cannot find anywhere else, most notably original research and information. Creating something like this means that if someone finds it useful, he/she has no choice but to refer to you;
- People like visual information. Even if your content is a long-read research, it should be interspersed with visuals (graphs, infographics, etc.);
- Videos are getting ever more popular. Some demographics (mostly younger people) are much more likely to watch than read, and will probably skip content that is purely text-based.
2. Using a guest blogging agency
A guest post is a post you write and persuade another resource to publish with a backlink to your website. It used to be a pretty spammy tactic, with many blogs specializing in posting dozens of low-quality, keyword-heavy posts for the sole purpose of hosting a backlink. However, currently this approach does not work, and you have to be careful with both writing your content and choosing whom to pitch it to. You can find an excellent guide describing it in more detail on www.luckyposting.com. Or, better yet, you candelegate this work to a specialized agency.
3. Build real relationships
If you want to take part in the process personally, you should be prepared to be extremely choosy when picking target resources and spend a lot of time to win over each of them. Generic outreach letters (i.e., when you send basically the same letter to many webmasters, replacing only names and sometimes proposed post topics) almost never work. Unfortunately, personalized letters (i.e., when you get acquainted with the blog and prepare a customized approach) these days rarely work either – most content managers have to deal with way too many offers to give each of them enough time to distinguish between a rote effort and a masterpiece of outreach.
The only solution is to establish real relationships. Follow the person on social media, write a personal letter praising a particular piece of his/her content, mention him/her on your blog or social media and so on. Just do not ask for a backlink directly – instead offer a partnership that would include one by default.
4. Deal directly with decision makers
When link building, most marketers follow the path of least resistance and contact the target organization using a generic email address found on their website. A generic approach usually leads to generic result. However, if you make a little effort, you can dig up the contacts of a person who actually makes decisions: website owner, webmaster, head editor, etc. Pitching to him/her can get you far better results, especially if you represent a high-tech startup that has something innovative to offer that can interest such a person.
As you can see, link building in 2019 mostly revolves around high-quality content and the right approach to networking. Learn how to produce awesome content and find the right people to show it to, and you will not have any problems in this game.