6 August 2019 Katie Nelson

How to link build in 2019: With a little help from your friends

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Google pays a lot of attention to the incoming links to your website. The more links you can gain from authoritative websites, the higher your search rankings are likely to be.

A tried-and-tested way to get backlinks to your site is to indulge in regular guest blogging. But with search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices changing like the wind, what’s the best way to link build in 2019?

How did it work before?

A few years ago, everyone seemed to be guest blogging. And the reason was simple: as a link building exercise, it was highly effective.

Here’s how it worked

1. It was all about numbers

Back then, the strategy was to contact as many people as possible about guest posting opportunities. This was either done manually by scouring the web for relevant websites with ‘write for us’ links, or automated via an outreach tool.

This led to content marketing companies having an arbitrary link quota for each client every month. It was recognised, genuine KPI.

2. It relied on unique but templated content

In 2015, the best outreach programs relied on content that was unique but easy to repurpose.

This resulted in the same topics being pitched to multiple websites and content that was original and engaging, but not particularly novel or cutting edge.

3. It scaled

Link building used to be all about the ability to scale the process.

Website scraping tools and virtual assistants were used to find guest posting opportunities and submit blogs en masse. And it worked.

Until now.

How outreach works in 2019

While some of the tools from years gone by are still used for outreach programs, link building in 2019 is all about finding - and keeping - friends.

1. Look to your existing friends

Sometimes, the best guest posting opportunities are right on your doorstep.

For instance, a close friend, neighbour or partner business might have a website that publishes topics in your niche. Start with these people!

Look for synergy between their content and what your business does. If there’s a link, you’ve probably got similar audiences.

2. Look for new friends

This used to be left to virtual assistants and automated outreach tools, but, these days, it’s something that’s best undertaken by key stakeholders.

Start looking for similar sites in your sector with whom you could partner. Then, use tools like LinkedIn or Hunter.io to identify the best people to speak to (SEO managers, marketing directors or content managers should be your target).

3. Reach out naturally

Rather than relying on automated outreach tools, make contact with your potential new content friends authentically.

Send a direct message on LinkedIn, pop over an email or pick up the phone. If you can provide content that’s of genuine use for their website, you have nothing to fear.

4. Ask them about their content priorities

Link building isn’t all about you. Just like any form of business networking, you’ll do far better if you place the focus on the site on which you’d like to guest post.

Once you’ve made contact with your potential new friend, ask what their content priorities are.

What type of content do they want their audience to see more of? What are they struggling to create in-house?

How can you help them?

Wrapping up

Get the above process right, and it should be the start of a very productive content relationship. The more you can share content priorities and write pieces that provide links back to your site and fulfil a need of the publishing site, the more benefits there are for everyone involved.

The next step? Nail the process with your current friends and, when you feel confident, start growing that friend list!