A few days ago a subscriber asked me:
“Brian: I know that great content is the key to getting backlinks. But I have clients in some of the most yawn-inducing industries on Earth, like insurance, surgery, and law. How can I possibly get people to link to my clients’ sites?”
If you’re jealous of the social media and weight loss blogs that get to publish fun and engaging content — and have the backlinks to show for it — then you’ll love this guide.
Because today I’m going to show you some killer link building strategies that you can use in ANY niche.
#1: Build a Linkable Asset
Here’s the most common mistake I see SEO agencies make with their clients: trying to build links directly to keyword-optimized, hyped-up pages that provide ZERO value to a user.
Unless you know how to (literally) hypnotize site owners, you’re not going to get anyone to link to a 300-word article titled, “DUI Lawyer Tampa”.
That’s why one of the first things I do when with new clients is help them build a linkable asset.
A linkable asset is simply a mind-blowingly helpful piece of content.
It can come in a variety of forms, but some of the most common include:
- Ultimate Guides
- Visual step-by-step manuals
- Crowdsourced content
Here’s an example for you: a guide to customer acquisition strategies for start ups from Help Scout.
If you take the time to check out this guide you’ll see that it’s a gorgeously designed and value-packed piece of content that’s generated quite a few authority backlinks (including a .edu!):
For example, let’s say you were in the boring legal niche. Why not create a visually-stunning, custom designed guide to choosing the right lawyer?
Imagine the response rate you’d get with email outreach when you had something of value that other law firms and legal sites would actually want to link to?
In fact, you could even leverage this particular piece of content for links using .edu and .gov resource pages.
While you can optimize your linkable asset around a target keyword, it’s not necessary. Because once you start building links to your linkable asset, you can funnel that authority to the pages that you’re trying to rank.
#2: Broken Link Building
Once you have your linkable asset in place (or even if you just have a semi-decent piece of content), you’ll want to start leveraging email outreach for backlinks.
And while it’s possible to get some traction simply by link begging, it’s much more effective to offer the person that you’re emailing something of value. One of the easiest and most scalable ways to do that is to that is broken link building.
1. Find old pages that have lots of links (resource pages area ideal)
2. Identify broken links (404 pages, deleted sites etc.) on the page. A tool like Check My Links for Google Chrome can help speed this process up. You can also use AddMe.com’s Broken Link Checker to find broken links for an entire website (not just a single page).
When you run it, you’ll see something like this (broken links are marked in red and black):
3. Reach out to the site owner and let them know about the broken links.
4. Offer your similarly-themed piece of content as a replacement.
The great thing is that — because the person feels indebted to you — they’re much more likely to link to you: even if it’s a “boring niche” homepage or product page for a life insurance policy.
However, keep in mind that a strong, value-packed linkable asset will increase your conversion rate considerably.
#3: Donation Links
Donation links are a little on the grey hat side of things: while you’re technically paying for a link, it’s not like buying links from a blog network.
I tend to think it fits within the spirit of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Either way, it’s something to at least consider because it’s one of the most scalable ways to get authority links on high PageRank pages.
Because most of these sites that accept donations are hobbyists, they’re usually willing to offer a a link for $50 or less.
And they’re perfect for boring niches that are typically hard to get editorial links in: such as PVC piping, life insurance, and back surgery.
How can you find these link building gold mines?
Here are a few search strings to get you started:
“donations” + “contributors page”
“donate” + inurl:contributors
“list of contributors”
Word of warning: most of these sites will be completely unrelated to yours. So don’t overuse this strategy. After all, it’s important to make sure your link profile stays nice and relevant.
#4: Link Reclamation
If you have a client with any sort of brand presence whatsoever, link reclamation needs to be part of your link building strategy.
What is link reclamation? It simply means finding pages that have mentioned your website or brand…but forgot to include a nice, juicy link.
Here’s an example:
Now you’re goal is to reach out to that person and ask them to add your link.
You can find these link reclamation opportunities pretty easily by using Ahrefs.com.
Just head over there and click on the “Mentions Tracker” button:
And enter your name or brand name:
When you do, you’ll see a ton of easy link building opportunities.
The reason this works so well is that these people already mention you…so they’ll be more than happy to change your plain text mention into a link. If you ask nicely you can expect a 50%+ conversion rate.