12 Link Building Tips for 2013

Time‘ is such an important factor in the Link building process, yet many SEOs fail to take it into account while talking about link building tactics. Build relationships with linking partners, develop kick ass contents, become a thought leader in your field and you shall get links. Yes true but when. There is no definite answer. It may take few months, few years. God knows. Thinking of long term gains is a good strategy but aiming for short term gains is critical to keep your job/client in the first place.

Regardless of how long it takes to show results, your client is still paying you every month, is short of patience and expect you to show results which should at least convince him to continue with you for another few months. You have to be promising from day 1 which means you need to show gradual increase in traffic and rankings each week/month no matter what.

Following are few powerful ways to get quick links and speed up your link building while you work on making your client a thought leader in the background for long term gains. For each tactic I have also estimated the time it will take to implement it and get results. So here we go.


Tactic -1: Start your link building from day 1

Don’t wait till some basic on-page is done on the site. Don’t wait till the site crawling and indexing issues are resolved. Don’t wait for anything. Once you have contracted the client, start your link building. The anchor text you can target is your client’s business/brand name and the page that you can target is the home page.

(Estimated Time: 0 seconds)


Tactic-2: Leverage business relationships of your client

Get contact details of all the vendors, suppliers and dealers with whom your client does business. These are the first people you should outreach for links. Since they already have business relationship with your client they will be most likely to link out to your client’s site. One good way of doing this is through testimonials. Recommend them on your website and ask them to recommend in return with a link back to your site or offer them discount or special offer in lieu of a recommendation. Sometimes a simple request can get you a link. It all depends upon how strong your client’s business relations are with his vendors.

(Estimated Time: 2 to 5 days)


Tactic-3: Leverage partnership opportunities of your client

If your client is a member of a trade body or a association then he is mostly likely to have a profile page on such websites. Often these websites provide an opportunity to link out. Leverage this opportunity. It can be a good way to get quick links from authority sites, sometimes even from .edu, .gov websites.

 (Estimated Time: 1 to 3 days)


Tactic-4: Leverage your client’s assets

If your client owns and operate several websites then here is your chance to leverage his online assets for link building. Get a link from the home page of each domain. However don’t go overboard and do site wide linking.  Also check your client’s inventory. Figure out what your client can give away for free. You can use these items to get reviews from bloggers or as a prize in some competition.

If your client has a strong community that love his brand then you can do three quick things:

1. Develop a community badge (if it is not already there) or polish it to the point that it entice adoption by community members. Once you have a badge ready, announce it to the community. You can get lot of links through badges.

2. Polish user profiles – Ever wondered why site users don’t complete there profiles. Cos you either don’t remind them to complete it or you don’t give them a good reason. If you can give them a good reason to complete their profile they may link out to it. For e.g. lot of people link out to their SEOmoz profiles including me.

3. Give incentives to web masters/bloggers in your community so that they link out to you. Web masters/bloggers in your community or mailing list are the most important people from link building perspective. What are you doing to encourage them to link out to you? For a start you can give them awards or special offers/discount. Use your creativity here.

(Estimated Time: 1 to 15 days)


Tactic-5: Leverage your personal relationships

If you have worked in an industry long enough then most probably you already have developed good relationship with niche bloggers, webmasters of authority sites, media buyers and the traditional PR firms. Now is the time to leverage these relationships. Offer them free product or service of your client in lieu of a review. 
(Estimated Time: 1 to 2 weeks)


Tactic-6: Throw bunch of Press Releases

Press releases are a no brainer. You can get a press release on anything. You can re-launch any product/service of your client. Heck you can even announce via press release that you have partned with your client to help them with their inbound marketing.  To make this tactic work, use paid services like PRWeb.

(Estimated Time: 1 to 5 days)


Tactic-7:  Target niche directories

 Niche directories are quick ways to get relevant links. Any directory which enforce editorial judgement, pass link juice and is relevant to your niche is worth targeting.

(Estimated Time: 2 days to 3 weeks)


Tactic-8:  Target Article directories

Again a no brainer. Write keyword rich contents and submit them to articles sites like ezinearticles, isnare etc. Pro tip here is to get premium accounts on these sites, so that your article is approved fast. If you think articles directories don’t work then please feel free to skip this tactic. I won’t be offended.

(Estimated Time: 2 days to 3 weeks)


Tactic-9: Do competitive back links analysis

Competitive back links analysis can help you a lot in speeding up your link prospecting process and in quickly replicating all the good strategies used by your competitors.  Use tool like open site explorer to quickly determine the type of contents which are acquiring links for your competitors and the websites which are linking out to such contents.

(Estimated Time: 1 to 4 hours)


Tactic-10: Create a strategy for your link building

Once you have applied all the above tactics then now is the time to work on your strategy. Some of you may argue that one should start link building with a well defined strategy. The problem here is that you can’t come up with any good strategy on day 1 of you work or without first getting a good background knowledge of your client business, his target audience and competitive space. It can take 3 to 4 weeks to acquire such knowledge (depending upon you current work load and client niche). Once you work on a client site for a month or so, you get enough information to work on a strategy. Till then i am afraid you have to run like a headless chicken to acquire links and show results.

Determine speed, set targets & deadlines for your link building campaign – You must know the speed you need to acquire links so that you can achieve your ranking and traffic goals in the given time period. If you don’t know the required speed then you are in trouble my friend.  Competitive analysis can give you a good idea of what it will take to rank for targeted keywords. Set link buildings targets. Like i have to acquire these many links from these many sources every week or month. I have to outreach to these many people every week. Without targets and deadlines no goal is unachievable and you can’t measure your success, failure and especially the link building speed.

(Estimated Time: 1 to 4 hours)


Tactic-11: Acquire all those links which don’t require any special relationship

Acquire all those links first which don’t require any special relationship with the linking partners. These links can be acquired quickly than the relationship based links. Link building through broken links, content conversions, content licensing, curated posts, charity, sponsorship and giving stuff away do not require any special relationship with linking partners. All it requires is creativity.

(Estimated Time: 1 to 3 weeks)


Tactic-12: Scale your link building process

Why people use tools like Majestic, open site explorer and buzzstream? They use it to scale their link building process. To speed up tasks which may require several days or weeks otherwise.  Outsource any repeated or dumb tasks like directory or articles submission. Create well defined processes. Improve your ability to scale relationships. All this will help you in scaling and speeding up your link building.

(Estimated Time: 1 to 3 days)

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  • http://www.hyderalishaikh.com hyderali

    Hey Himanshu,

    I was thinking opposite of you. Recently, I got a client & I was waiting for their site to be ready first, their content should be on place & their broken links should be rectified but I was wrong. What you said was correct, no waiting just start your SEO game. Thanks a lot for analyzing me that.

    Also, I think link exchange with your competitors might also speed up your link building which can get a good benefit in long term.

    Thanks again for the post.

    P.S It’s been ages since your post on analytics tip. Eagerly waiting for that.

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      I updated my regular expression guide with new tips for Google Analytics. I can write new post on Analytics. What do you want me to write about?

  • Roshan

    Thanks Himanshu for the Great post. I like your idea of starting link building from day 1.

  • Johnz

    Nice read. Thats a good way to build links in a white hat way. I would still prefer to stay away from article marketing though.

    • seoNerd4Life

      Article marketing is a good and fast way to generate links.

      • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

        Though article marketing works now but i would just like to warn you not to depend on it solely for your link building. Use it as a part of diversifying your link profile.

      • http://www.scentofjerusalem.com/ Rachel

        I agree with Himanshu. IMHO your time is better spend getting quality links from authority sites. Please bear in mind that article links have short life span. They get devalued pretty fast as your articles get buried into deep pages after a month or so.

  • seoNerd4Life

    Good post once again. Have you ever used an article generator to produce contents?

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      No i don’t use or recommend article generator.

  • http://www.africanchildforum.org/site/ Aiden

    I don’t do press release with a focus to get links. But do it to get the attention of journalist. I think scaling link building is expensive if we look at the cost of the SEO tools you have mentioned. Anyways nice post.

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      Look at it the other way. If you use these SEO tools you can save lot of your billable time from doing repetitive and dumb tasks. In this way you can increase your work capacity and handle more projects. More projects means more money flow.

      • Aiden

        I still think such tools are not a good ROI for a one man company. Big seo agencies may benefit from them.

  • http://www.giftstoindia24x7.com/ Adam

    Great article on link building. I will pass these ideas to my team.

  • http://www.penninesystems.co.uk/ Ian young

    Interesting post Himanshu. All your tatics make a lot of sense. I have one question though. Do you think links from directories (including article directories) can penalize a website? My main competitor has around 5000 links from such websites and he is ranking number for 1 for a highly competitive keyword.

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      These links will most likely wont penalize your website. At most they may get devalued. It is also highly unlikely that your competitors is ranking number 1 only because of such links.

  • Shumail

    You have mentioned about article directories, what about blog networks like BMR etc.These private blog networks are more popular than free article directories these days but it seems that such tactics will be under Google’s crackdown soon.What do you say?

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      I will never recommend to be a part of a paid links network. It is just too risky.

  • Shumail

    yeah but it think its better thank those paid links in footer and sidebars..

  • http://www.indiangiftsportal.com/ Jitender

    Himanshu, as always you provide a great value through your wonderful posts. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.rohan.co.uk/ Sandy

    Lot of good information on link building here.

  • Spark2BS

    Great post. But i respectfully disagree on linkbuilding through directories. In my opinion, directories submission is a big waste of both time and money.

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      I respect your opinion. As i said earlier i won’t be offended. I listed directories as a link building tactic because it works. When it will stop working, i will stop recommending it :)

  • http://www.angeltalk.com/ Kieran Piersec

    A very good post i would say. It is always good to hear about streamlining the various SEO tasks like link building. I work for a SEO agency and we deal with hundreds of clients from 4 continents. So one can just imagine the work load. As a result we always look for ways to speed up and scale routine tasks. This post will come handy. Thanks.

  • http://www.pendragonhouse.co.uk/ Charles

    I found this link building post intriguing. What is your opinion about link building through paid link networks? Thank you for posting this article.

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      I don’t recommend link building through such networks as there is always a possibility of leaving your footprints behind.

  • http://www.wrestling101.com/home/ twistedSEO

    Well written article on link building speed. Can you let us know how you search for niche directories in a scalable way.

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      I use search queries like ‘keyword’ + directory. Scrape the first 700 search results into an excel sheet. Then i remove the duplicate domains and put the final list into my Back Link Analysis Tool.

  • http://www.hotelsjaipur.com/ Manoj Aggarwal

    Agree on your point of creating link building strategy after a thorough background knowledge of the client’s business. How do you set up targets for link building?

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      Your question is very generic. It depends upon the type of project, client’s marketing goals and the time frame.

  • http://www.meridiantelephones.net/ Vikas

    Thank you for bringing this up. I never thought of link building speed before reading this post and yes it makes complete sense to be promsing from day one.

  • http://www.accommodationsydney.com.au/ 2JustinwithLove

    Hi Himanshu! That was a really great post. I would love to read a detailed post on link building with curated contents and infographics on your blog.

  • http://www.bizbuyz.net Keith

    Great article, thank you for breaking down the process. SEO is often looked at as the big bad wolf, but you’ve explained how everyone can master the process.

  • http://titanlee.com Titan

    It’s hard to find well-informed people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks