High quality links can only come from a finite number of places and finding those places is one of the primary responsibilities of any good link builder. In our offices, we have our link builders separated into a content team and a research team. The content team spends their time developing compelling content and outreaching that content to relevant sites. The research team is combing the web for great, relevant places to get links for their clients. We work in nearly every niche, so we can’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to link building. We need a lot of options, so our researchers have developed a list of various types of research links that can be adapted to any project.
While developing a research plan for your own site, search for sites that are relevant. A link between two sites needs to make sense. We call this the “in a world without Google” approach.
1. Relevant Bloggers
This is nearly self-explanatory, but go find bloggers that work in and around your niche. Also look for blog directories like this list here. Be judicious when finding bloggers and blog directories. Many bloggers are hesitant to work with a brand that is purely self-interested. You care about your brand, but that doesn’t mean bloggers do. Unless your brand has some cache, you need to approach bloggers with something other than “hey we are here, you should work with us.” Getting a great blogger to link or talk about you takes time and persistence; you’ll have to get to know their work, get to know their tone and participate on their site. Find what they might want and prepare a way to offer those things to them instead of just asking for a link. A good blogger usually links to people, places or things that they like. If you play your cards right, a good blogger will decide they like you and give you a link.
Search queries idea:
- kitten bed “blogger”
2. Resource Links
Resource links come from sites that list brands, products and services that match up with what you do. If you are not on the list then simply reach out to the site and tell them who you are and why you fit in with their resources. Quite often they’ll happily add you to the list.
Search query idea:
- “kitten” AND “Beds” AND “resources”
3. Supplier Links
Supplier links can be a great strategy for services and industries that occupy smaller niches. If you are providing a product or service then you can bet that there’s a list of suppliers that will add you.
Search query idea:
-Kitten bed “suppliers”
4. Alert Links
Alert links are instant notifications that will notify you when a certain word or phrase is mentioned on the web. Google Alerts is an easy-to-use system that will email you whenever a specified phrase or keyword is used online. For Page One Power, I have an alert set up for the phrase “Page One Power,” so whenever our brand name is used online we get an alert. If I find a mention of Page One Power and the person or site hasn’t linked back to pageonepower.com then I reach out to them asking if they would mind linking out to pageonepower.com.
5. Niche Directories
The niche directory links are often the last line of defense for a seasoned research link builder. When all else fails and your link opportunities are drying up, you can usually rely on directories. You’ll either get a link through creating an account or in a directory list. Most successful link builders will tell you that a directory link isn’t going to be a game changer, but it will certainly keep the needle moving. A good niche directory should have above 30 DA on the Mozbar and list other high quality companies. The Yahoo directory and Best of the Web are examples of some solid authority directories. They can be good but they aren’t necessary; if you want to spend the money then go ahead, but I’d rather focus on staying as close to my niche as possible.
These strategies are effective, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Each niche presents its own unique problems, but if you build links with the “world without Google” approach and keep relevancy in mind then you’ll find the opportunities that make sense for your site. Research link building can be overwhelming, but these guideposts can supercharge your link building efforts. A little knowledge goes a long way.