Linkbuilding Strategies Every Entrepreneur Should Know
As an entrepreneur, you might start on social media, building a loyal following, but what happens when you move off to your own website? Your own site should be a powerful driver for inquiries and sales, but what do you do when you have 0% visibility?
A website simply won’t rank without credible backlinks and mentions. But link building as a new business can be hard — you haven’t got any built-in credibility or digital history. Entrepreneurs often struggle to know where to start when it comes to building links, so this article will give you four ways to develop a strong online presence for your personal brand. Let’s get you ranking!
“Linkbuilding without great content is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. You will earn links based on the merit of your content, how it’s presented to the user, and your ability to get it in front of the right people. Today’s entrepreneurs must master the art of persuasion, user experience and content promotion to get more traffic, leads and customers” – Brian Dean (@Backlinko)
1. Assess your competition
Before embarking on a linkbuilding strategy of your own, it’s wise to check out your competitors and the existing search landscape. You are not going to be operating in a vacuum — organic search is a marketplace of products, services, and ideas.
The first step is to understand which links are working for your main competitors. What link building strategies have they adopted? Where are their strongest backlinks coming from? How many referring domains do they have? You need to thoroughly research their inbound links using a third-party tool like Majestic SEO to see how they all stack up.
You should especially look at what strategies they are using to gain backlinks:
- Directory links
- Editorial links
- Sponsored links
- Infographics and images
- Blog comments
- Social media
- Digital PR/influencers
Your competitors are a good starting point for your own strategy, but don’t be afraid to come up with your own ideas too.
Nailing creative content link building is a great way to add value, especially if your competition have focused on easier, less powerful links.
2. Get published with relevant content
Guest posting is one of the most popular ways to gain links back to a site, and it’s a strategy that’s ideal for entrepreneurs. Being a guest author means writing a high quality article for another blog or website, with a link to your website included within the article, or then placed in the author byline. Try to think about how your content, services, or products fit into a wider industry narrative — don’t just pitch generic story ideas that have been done to death.
Goal: sharing knowledge (or your story) — not indiscriminately hitting up sites with low quality content.
Ideally, you should aim for sites with high domain authority and trust flow ratings, or sites that are very relevant to your niche. Not all sites accept external contributors and pitches, so you have to make sure that websites are receptive first. You should never go in with a heavy-handed advertorial pitch, as this will definitely annoy editors and webmasters.
Where to start? Start small, and build up your credibility as a commentator. Get freelance writers to help with your content efforts, and make sure you make the most of published features by sharing and promoting them on social. As a link building tactic guest posting can really help strengthen your personal brand — many successful entrepreneurs dabble as writers and content creators.
Tip: Make a list of sites relevant to your industry that may be interested in your thoughts and content. Contacting them directly will open up a line of communication with them — try reaching out to people on social media instead of always defaulting to email.
3. Build your own community
Links aren’t only attained through PR and outreach, you can also leverage your customer base in order to get social shares, mentions, and backlinks. Competitions, surveys, meetups, events — being involved in your industry will naturally bring your more link building opportunities.
Rather than a generic business persona, creating an open community and encouraging your users to participate by submitting their own content and discussions is a sure-fire way to develop a buzz around you and your site. Updating your community with your latest content will come across as less salesy when mixed with other people’s discussions, and you can learn a lot from collaboration.
Don’t forget to explore collaborative opportunities in your locality too — being a homegrown brand can really help you nail digital PR — it’s all about listening to your customers, and leveraging the things that make your different.
Tip: Register on as many social profiles and free content platforms as possible. If nothing else, you will get some good backlinks to your site!
4. Create epic linkable assets
Some content is just begging to be linked to — whereas other posts fall flat. You need to tune into your audience and create something with wide appeal for an epic SEO asset. A great bit of content will act as a media cornerstone, enabling you to have better conversations and relationships with big sites and journalists.
It’s advisable to have a real think about your target audience’s pain points, aspirations and desires, to see what content would add value to their lives. Go deep, and you will find loads of valuable resource ideas.
Still stuck for ideas? There are literally thousands of different content formats to explore, and you shouldn’t be constrained by conventions or precedents. Use keyword research as a way to get into people’s heads, and then deliver the goods with awesome long-form content, infographics, videos, how-to’s etc. Even just a few hours of concentrated keyword research can yield at least 25+ good linkable asset ideas...
My number one piece of link building advice? Be brave. Don’t get disheartened, and just get out there and start sharing your website. Don’t wait for perfection or huge budgets (they might never come). Work with what you do have instead!
Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO & Startup Founder
Gareth is veteran SEO, with over a decade of experience in the digital industry. He has seen the search industry go through many exciting changes, and enjoys nothing more than learning about the latest and greatest in search.