Building links is expensive. There’s no two ways about that. Outreach is becoming saturated, editorial costs are going through the roof, bloggers know they have assets so are now looking for money in return for links and it’s all getting tough. In this post I’m going to outline some affordable link building techniques that still work incredibly well and won’t break the bank or be too time intensive either.
These strategies are all based on what we completed for a client earlier in the year in the construction niche, all based on our link building process. If these are to easy for you then check out our core 7 strategies we use on a day to day basis in house.
- 1 1.) Supply Chain Links
- 2 2.) Competition Analysis
- 3 3.) Personal & Professional Contacts With Websites
- 4 4.) Expert Round Ups & Interview Link Strategy
- 5 5.) Broken Link Building
- 6 Conclusion
1.) Supply Chain Links
One of the easiest ways to acquire links is to simply ask those who already do business with you. In our example with the construction company, they had multiple suppliers of materials, all of whom had websites (some old school ones too.) – Simple asking for a link is all it takes if you already have a good relationship with a supplier or a customer. This also works better if you are very clear with what you are looking for (and provide a reason why too.) Using the influence rule of because we can make this possible.
Hey <name>, just wanted to drop you a quick email, how’s XYZ (ideally family members if possible).
We’re trying to highlight who we work with and where we get our supplies. Do you think it would be possible to add a hyperlink to <company name/website> on your website, so we can show this to prospects asyou’re company is highly respected in our industry.
Happy to talk you through how to do this if you’re not sure.
This also works where you are the supplier too. Asking your customers a similar thing. This tends to convert slightly worse because they are the “Buyer” so have the perceived control in the request. But if you still have a good relationship it should be relatively easy to acquire a few quality links.
2.) Competition Analysis
There’s no quicker way to generate a few good links than throwing a few competitors sites into Ahrefs site explorer and working through the results. For example if we took three competitors for our construction company we have over 100 potential links.
We can also see the overall quality of these sites and the competition very quickly. If there’s only industrial and local directory style links live, we know there’s a very high likelihood we can go and build these exact same links within a few weeks, and add a couple of high quality guest posts and supply chain links and suddenly within 1 month we have a better link profile that a site that potentially has been around for a decade.
You can take this a step further and build out a strategy based around national companies. For example BAM is a construction company with close to 21,000 backlinks.
Of course we’re not going to be looking through all these links. So instead if we click referring domains, dofollow links & Sort by DR.
When sorting by DR we can now see there are roughly 400-500 links with a DR over 19, all of which would be great links.
Remember that if a site has multiple links from the same referring domains, they will likely have connections with that site. So I’d recommend ignoring any prospects that link to the competitor over 30 times.
3.) Personal & Professional Contacts With Websites
How many friends & followers do you have on Facebook, Linkedin & Twitter?
The answer is usually very high. Potentially 4 figures. That’s a lot of people who could potentially have a website.
This strategy is a little more time consuming but is 100% free.
Go through your Twitter/Linkedin or Facebook followers and check if anyone mentions if he or she owns a business or runs a blog or website. Chances are that at least 5% of the people you follow will have access to a website. If you have 1,000 contacts across all three platforms, you’ve now got 50 strong white hat link building opportunities.
Remember to give the site a quick look in Ahrefs & a quick once over before you reach out to the individual as if the site is brand new or doesn’t seem to be updated then it’s probably not worth the effort as the link won’t move the organic needle. Also remember relevancy is key, so if the site is a fashion blog and you need a link to a construction company then potentially give it a miss…. Or make a link bridge.
4.) Expert Round Ups & Interview Link Strategy
A strategy that is 100% free but quite time consuming.
This strategy involves contacting experts in your industry and asking for their opinion or answer to a few questions. This can then be built out into a content piece that can then be distributed and used in general link outreach, guest post placements or as a linkable asset in a number of other affordable link building techniques.
This works extremely well in any other niche aside from digital marketing. We’ve used this in the fitness niche to great effect in a saturated market, as well as in the financial industry as well. The key involves using experts who are well known and relatively high volume numbers. If you are doing an “expert round up” – Make sure it’s actually a roundup, and not simply 3 people answering an email.
Also to take this a step further make some custom graphics and infographics out of this information and data. If you see trends with the responses then this data in visual form can be used as future link outreach techniques too. There’s so many long term benefits to this strategy and multiple tradeoffs when implemented correctly.
5.) Broken Link Building
Again another free but time intensive strategy that works very well when personalised.
Broken link building in a nutshell involves finding old links (usually competitor links) that are now linking to 404 pages. There’s a number of ways to find these, but my personal favourite is to look for site’s or businesses that are no longer live.
You can also do this on a smaller level with URL’s that are no longer live and hence are pointing to 404 pages of their own.
We can also use Ahref’s broken link finder and reverse engineer great link targets. Below is our strategy with this.
1. Find a high quality site in your niche
2. Place this site into Ahrefs and look up the “Broken Links Option”
There’s 2 reasons why these first 2 steps are important. The first is we want to find as many opportunities as possible, so by putting a larger site into Ahrefs when it comes to the number of broken link potentials we have, they will be extremely large. Secondly, if a large authoritative site links to a URL that’s now broken, this means that’s it’s EXTREMELY likely this URL has links from other authoritative source who we can also approach.
3. Review The Broken Links
As you can see these are all the example of “404 not found” that Ahrefs has picked up. I recommend checking these manually as a lot of the time the site’s are actually fine. For example in the above screenshot half of these sites were actually working fine.
4. Analyse the remaining opportunities
Once you have your list of actual 404 URL’s that are relevant to your niche, you have 2 options.
- Build out a similar “better” piece of content.
- Find the most relevant piece of content on your site already and tweak this.
Both options work well, obviously element two is far less time consuming.
5. Create A Curated List Of Broken Link Targets
Of course this would start with the website you initially put into Ahrefs (the seed website) but would also include all other sites linking to this specific URL. If we take (https://www.cogecopeer1.com/hosting/how-slow-websites-impact-visitors-and-sales.php) for example, we can see that they have over 50 links from 17 referring domains.
We looked at three other examples which had 12, 16 and 220 referring domains, all pointing to content that is no longer live.
6. Reach Out
Reach out to these linking websites and state they are linking to a dead website. You can talk about how this harms rankings and user experience (if you want) but make sure you make them take a specific action. Usually a statement similar to “Although this content is no longer available, there’s a similar piece that’s actually even better than the one you linked to before at: your link. That I think would make a great fit for your site.”
Above we’ve talked about 5 affordable link building strategies that even beginners or novices can implement effectively. If you’re looking for more advanced techniques and a fully done for you link building service, feel free to get in touch.
Thanks for reading.