Not mentioning Penguin, links are one of the main factors needed to position your website on organic results.
Google itself confirms that, by Matt Cutts’ words, even if he anticipates a progressive reduction of the importance of links in organic positioning, he doesn’t deny that they will remain an algorithmic factor.
So, the situation is the following: to position your website, you need quality links, but link building using traditional old school techniques could be really dangerous, even more if you match it with a wrong anchor text profile.
In this post you’ll discover 7 advanced and unconventional, at the same time, techniques to obtain link to your website: the opportunities of creating quality links are often before your eyes, you just need to discover them, let’s see how, starting from the first technique.
Tecnique #1: Gain links from who copies your website contents
Did you know that, according to a Tynt’s research, the 82% of online shared contents are copied and pasted from other websites? 4.5 more times than sharing buttons:
Contents plagiarism is an issue that afflicts many websites and that can lead to legal consequences to who copies or simply to the danger of an algorithmic penalty, in the specific case, as Google says in the duplicated contents dedicated page, “the intent is not misleading or manipulating the results of web search engines”.
What about who is being copied? You can take advantage of this situation, making who is copying your contents without putting any links of attribution to the source, forced to do it.
3 WordPress Plugins + 1 Script to make your copied contents linked automatically
Copy link it’s a plugin invented by DejanSEO, a well-known australian SEO, that puts automatic links on the copied content from your website.
This helps not only who reads the copied content in finding the original source, but also who wrote the original content in gaining natural links and referral traffic.
It also prevents the content from being copied and replaces it with a personalized message.
Technique #2: Search for broken inbound links to your website and fix them (or redirect them)
Everyday an unbelievable number of documents are linked from each other: if you think about it, web itself is originally born as an hypertext, in other words a net of documents connected together from hyper textual links.
But as new hyperlinks are created everyday, so web pages die: websites do not get renewed, urls get changed, all reasons that generate broken links that, once clicked, lead to a 404 page.
What are broken links? And how can you use them to generate new links to your website?
Basically there are two ways, which correspond to the next two advanced and unconventional techniques to obtain links:
- The first method consists in searching for broken inbound links to you website, in other words, in making possible to redirect it to a specific and pertinent page of your website, with the purpose of increase the relevance in terms of link popularity;
- The second method consists in searching for broken links from other websites, pertinent to the website you want to position and ask for the link to be corrected, linking your website instead of the original source.
Let’s see them, starting from the first.
How to find broken inbound links
The broken link building (also called dead link building) is a technique that consists in identifying links that aim to an url of your website that does not exist anymore and replace them with a working link, directed to an existing page.
Generally, 404 errors do not influence the ranking of the website on Google, though, restore broken links can give new life to your website pages, letting their rankings improve.
To take advantage of this link building technique, two phases are necessaries:
- The first step is to find websites that have links that generate a 404 page: maybe because they got the url wrong, or because, in the meantime, you removed or changed the url of your pages, without setting a 301 redirect.
- The second phase consists in replacing it with another destination.
Let’s start from the first.
How to do it? I suggest you two tools, Google Webmaster Tools and Ahref.
Finding broken links using Google Webmaster Tools in 2 steps
Finding inbound links that generate 404 error using Google Webmaster Tools is easy: first you have to enter the Health / Crawl Errors section:
You’re going to find there a list of your website urls: by clicking on one of them and going to the “linked from” tab, you can find some of the websites that link a not found by Google page.
Finding broken inbound links using Ahrefs
Ahrefs too, the well-known inbound links analysis software, lets you identify the broken inbound links.
Once identified the website you want to monitor it, it’s just enough to go on Inbound Links/Broken Backlinks:
And once you found the link that points out to our website and generate a 404 page there are two possibilities:
- You can automatically redirect it to a pertinent page or to the home page;
- You can contact the admin of the website and ask for him to correct the link.
If you go for the first option, you can use some wordpress plugins that let you effectively handle 404 pages: let’s see some of them.
WordPress Ultimate 404 Plugin is a plugin that allows you to effectively manage the 404 error of your website giving you the chance to redirect the users to a page of your choice.
Similarly, WordPress Ultimate Redirect Plugin allows you to effectively manage the 404 error and gives you the chance to direct the link to the most similar inbound url.
Or, if you want to redirect your 404 link to the home page, you can use one of these two plugins:
Here you can find a complete list of all the wordpress plugins to manage 404 error .
Technique #3: Look for broken links on other websites and making your website linked
Let’s recap the previous steps:
- We saw how to take advantage of the copy of our contents, automatically adding an assignment link to our articles, thanks to some simple wordpress plugins or to a script that can be used or created by yourself;
- We started seeing how to take advantage of broken inbound links to direct them towards a specific page that we want to be linked, whether it’s the home page or an internal one, instead of scattering them in a 404 error.
At this point let’s examine the #2 technique changing the addressee: we’re not going to go searching for broken inbound links to our website, but of other website ones.
How does this technique work?
Let’s imagine to build a link profile for a travels website and of search on theme pages that spread a list of link.
We could use a logic operator as
“travels” inurl: useful links
to generate a SERP of results similar to this one:
At this point we could insert the url that we found in a tool that allows us to identify broken links as Dead Link Checker:
To automize this step you can also use a tool as BrokenLinkBuilder.
Once we found them, we could contact the website admin asking to:
- correct the broken link, putting there a link to our website: the premise is that the topic is related;
- directly putting the link to an analogue source on your website, because of the fact that the website itself already has a page dedicated to this.
Here’s an example of how you can express the message:
Subject: problem on your website
I was surfing on your website today, and I noticed that there are some links that don’t work: …………………..
If you need a replacement page, I can suggest you this post: …………………………
I hope I’ve been useful to you!
Have a nice day,
You will obviously ask for the broken links to be replaced with the resource you want to be linked.
Technique #4: Searching for mentions and transform them in links
Ok, we already saw how searching for broken links on pages that are related to the topic of our website could be an effective method to gain inbound links to our website from pages on the same area of interest and potentially on TRUST (if you choose them so).
We also saw how it’s just enough to redirect the inbound links that generate a 404 error to our website, to give new inbound links to specific pages of our website.
The technique we’re about to see, merge the previous 2: it’s about searching for mentions about our website, not broken inbound links.
What are mentions?
Mentions are all the quotes of our brand, scattered on the web: mentions can have a relevance on positioning your website, but simply, sometimes, a link can be more effective than a mention.
Ok, so we have to find out two things:
- How to find mentions to our website;
- How to turn them into links.
Let’s start from the first one.
2 Methods to find mentions
You can find mentions to your online brand thanks to 2 methods:
- Using a tool as Social Mention;
- Using logic operators on Google.
Finding mentions using Social Mention
Social Mention is a tool that allows you to find mentions of your brand on blogosphere: once you got into the home page, type the brand’s name and select “blog”:
Social Mention will show you all the blogs that mentioned the word that you typed in:
If you select one of those, as the one indicated by the arrow, you can notice how, inside the text, there’s a mention of the brand, but without a link:
At this point you could contact the website and reclaim the link on that mention, that will turn itself in an anchor text of your new link.
Finding mentions using logic operators
You can also find the mentions manually, using logic operators as “name of the brand” -www.websiteofthebrand.com”, for example:
This way you’ll find all the websites that quote your brand, except yours.
Technique #5: Create an infographic and make it embed using a inbound link
Do you remember the first technique? It consisted of automatically creating a inbound link to our website on pages that copied and pasted our content.
The technique we’re about to see, lets us create a inbound link, not with a copied content, but proposing an embed image on our website, an infographic in particular.
But what are infographics? Infographics are images that gives, in visual form, a concept, in other words, a post.
To use this technique, you need 2 things:
- You need to create an infographic;
- You need to spread it on other websites.
Let’s start from the first step.
How to create an infographic
To create an infographic you have 2 possibilities:
- You can assign the job to a graphic, who can be found on websites like Twago or Freelancer; if you search for a good price/quality ratio you could find him on Fiverr.com, on the infographics dedicated section;
- Or you can create it yourself using Canva, Piktochart, Inform: you can find a good list of these websites with a simple Google search.
The important thing is to create a good, useful and captivating image, so that it can be easily shared and embed: According to BuzzSumo and OkDork, on 100 million contents, infographic is one of the methods that creates the most sharing:
But you’d say that sharing does not implies link (maybe social signals): ok, to prove that the infographic could be a good method of link earning, here you are some studied cases:
- Wordstream obtained a link from a Trust website, precisely as CNN, using an infographic;
- Ann Smarty obtained 10 links in 2 days, from the diffusion of an infographic;
Once you created it, your infographic needs to be shared and:
- needs of an embed link;
- needs a little promotional help;
To embed you can use a code like this (via QuickSprout):
<textarea rows="5" cols="70" onClick=select() > <a href="(image url"> <img alt="" src="image url" /> </a> Image by <a href="(destination url #1">Anchor Text #1</a> </textarea>
As for the promotional help, I suggest you to directly contact the websites that may be interested in publishing it, with a message like this (via AdvancedWebRanking):
Summarily: I created an infographic that can be interesting for the users of your website, would you embed it?
Technique #6: Create a video and embed it using a inbound link
We end with a technique similar to the previous one, but that uses a video instead of an infographic.
The technique consists in creating a video (even for other purpose, not just to take advantage of this technique!) and ask for it to be embed on websites that may be interested in it.
How? First we have to create the embed code: you can do it hosting your video on a service as Wistia, that have a video backlinks function.
Thanks to this function it is possible to create a code that allows you to include a link towards a website to who embed your video on their website.
Here’s how does a screenshot taken from Distilled.net:
Technique #7: Backlinko.com’s Skyscraper technique
This last advanced and unconventional link building technique is a mixture of some of the strategies we’ve already seen.
The credits for its name (Skyscraper indeed) are to Brian Dean, a well-known american blogger and SEO, author of the website Backlinko.com.
If using infographics and video, we created a visual content and we spread it to obtain embed links, here we spread a textual content.
Not a simple post, but a major textual content.
How? Isn’t link earning, content marketing, strategies as “now I’ll write a super cool post and I’ll obtain a lot of links” usually heard?
Maybe reality is different: not only your content won’t be shared enough, if you don’t promote it, but won’t be easily linked either.
You need, as for the infographic, an help. This help comes from a PR work, PR that we already saw working before.
But let’s go with order:
- Firstly we have to identify a content that deserves to be linked;
- Then we have to share it with the right people, that would have interest in linking it;
Step 1: Create a content
We’ve said a lot about creating something that deserves to be linked and this is not the most suitable place, however you can follow these three steps:
- Identify a topic;
- Aim to write the best about that topic, something very analyzed, new and juicy, that can be sold;
- •Create a long, readable and graphically neat content.
Step 2: Identify potential links
Once you’ve done that, identify inbound links to the same topic of you competitors: you can do it using Ahrefs, as Brian Dean suggests, or with any other supervision link tool (I use Backlink Tool from Webmeup.com).
Step 3: Contact the potential links
At this point you just have to contact them, in the same way we’ve already seen with infographics.
This could be a draft of the message, as Brian Dean suggests:
Ok, but does it work?
Here’s what Brian Dean says:
Out of 160 sent emails, he obtained 17 links: a conversion rate of 11%.
Even more significant is the fact that the request went to high quality links, leaving directory and news release behind.
Another application of the Skyscraper technique comes from Tom McLoughlin in Moz, who obtained 100 links from the promotion of a travels themed blog.
2 Software you can use to automize the contact and link addition process
We saw how in the production of a quality content, infographic or video, is essential to contact and search for websites that could be interested in share it and embed it.
As you can imagine, this is a long and tiring process: but 2 softwares can come in help: BuzzStream and ContentMarketer.io.
Buzz stream has the goal of making you save your time in finding contact information and sending multiple emails. Once put the domains of all the people you want to contact, Buzzstream finds for you the useful contact datas, also giving you an update of the relationship status (for instance if the link has been accepted):
In the same way, ContentMarketer.io allows you:
- To search for the relevant content to what you wrote;
- To search for the contact datas of who wrote it;
- Contact him.
Recapping the itinerary: we saw 7 techniques to obtain links to your website, raising the popularity and authority of your pages in front of Google, improving that organic positioning for the keyword you have an interest on, raising the qualified traffic to your website.
Basically the 7 techniques may be summarized to 2 operations:
- • Create a quality content and share it: whether it is an image, a video, a text content, creating a high quality content and pro-actively sharing it can be an effective link earning strategy;
- • Take advantage of the situations: does someone copy your content? You get a new link. Do you have broken links? You can turn them into new links to a page your positioning. Do you find a website with broken links? Ask for them to be replaced with yours.
How will link building, or link earning or link baiting evolve?
We don’t know yet: It’s sure that, comparing to what the situation was like in the past, the role of a quality content is really important, but, like in the past, seems to be just not enough: you have to promote it and pro-actively try to obtain links.
And you? Have you ever used these link building techniques? Let’s talk about it in the comment section!