I’ve had a chance to attend a lot of conferences; on some of them I was delivering a speech and on some simply attending, but at each event I saw at least 2 or more sessions about link building.

So, its makes me think that generating links and finding ways to get them are still one of the hottest topics in SEO. Certainly, not all the old tricks and hints have the some power and effectiveness they used to, and on top of that some of old methods are absolutely forbidden and penalized today.

Establishing a healthy backlink profile today can hardly can be managed with a purely technical SEO mindset – you need to master the art of building relationships.  Even so, we still have a few ways generating relevant, sustainable links available to us.

1. Creating Infographics

What can I say about this type of content? Only that it simply works. I know that it has a lot of haters and enough lovers, but numbers and statistic are the best judges here.

I selected a couple of well-delivered examples of this type of content to prove that it works like a charm:

Search Engine Land created a really good infographic based on Google’s recent mobile update, where they collated the best tips to help you prepare upcoming Mobilegeddon.

Majestic reports that this piece has generated more than 800 backlinks and the number of referring domains – 163.

majestic-SEL-infographic Another interesting example of infographic use was delivered by the team at KissMetrics. In Majestic I see 39 backlinks and 14 referring domains which is a fairly good result for some content promotion and outreach.

majestic-kissmetrics-infographic

Hopefully this data and insight is enough to persuade you that infographics are still among link building strategies you should be considering in 2015. Personally, I feel that infographics have been trending for a quite long time because they work from a user’s perspective, making it easy to understand content. You don’t need special skills or even knowledge to quickly understand the message, and that’s why they can make users so happy.

However, the trickiest part is to select a topic which will be trending or at least enough popular to engage readers & encourage them to share. Normally to select the right topic you can monitor informational portals, or simply go to Buzzsumo to investigate the trending content in different industries. This can lead you to on-trend conversations within your industry.

buzzsumo-trending-content

2. Working with broken links

Honestly, this is one of my favourite tactics, simply as it can be applied to any industry. On top of that you don’t need to find those links manually and can use tools (such as Citation Labs’ Broken Link Finder) to detect such issues, so it doesn’t take a lot of time.

However, sometimes it’s not so easy to figure out whether a particular website owner is interested in, and thus willing to fix, those broken urls. The best option here from my personal experience is to carefully check the traffic the domain receives for the pages where you found the opportunity. The higher the traffic, the more important it may be to the site owner. For this you can use SEMrush URL reports:

semrush-url-report-example

3. Using competitors brand mentions to spot new opportunities

Your competitors often know how to build a quality backlink, so why not to use their achievements to enlarge your backlink profile?

The cheapest way to track your competitor’s brand mentions is using Google Alerts or Talkwalker.com. Both solutions are free and provide you with a daily email update for your selected search terms. By using a competitor brand name, you can quickly discover how they are generating links or brand mentions, and apply those to your campaign. If you are not on a shoe-string budget, then I recommend you take a look at Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer or a tool purely dedicated to discovering mentions, Mention.com, both of which can give you even more data to work with.

4. Responding proactively to community questions

If you feel that you have expert knowledge, or at least you have something interesting to share, then you should definitely try to build links around Quora, or on any other relevant community hub in your industry such as a popular forum, or Google+ or LinkedIn group.

First, investigate properly what others have already answered and discussed, then try to make your answer extremely useful and comprehensive, so adding value to the conversation. In most cases, directly advertising doesn’t work well. Instead, I highly recommend that your answer not only mentions your tool but also includes some others in order to make your submission look more natural.

An example will show the difference more thoroughly:

  1. For example, let’s search by key phrase seo tools on Quora (https://www.quora.com/search?q=seo+tool&type=question) and click on the question about the best SEO tools (https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-of-the-best-free-SEO-tools-available), one of my areas of speciality:Quora-link-building-question
  2. The first answer has a straightforward pitch about a particular tool – in this case, it is clear that the writer responded with a single tool’s screenshot and link to that tool, which is helpful, but just a starting point in answering the questionQuora-link-building1
  3. The second answer includes information for many toolsQuora-link-building2

From the reader’s side, I’m certain that the second answer was more greatly appreciated. At the end of the day, only you can decide how to proceed on Quora and community sites for best effect. Remember that the most valuable piece has to be informational, educational, or interactive.

5. Building Round-up posts

This type of content can be implemented in various ways. On one site, you can have a strong range of industry experts whom you reach out to in order to receive a couple of lines from them, then make a helpful round-up on the topic. Or, you can curate experts’ old articles where they clearly express their opinion about particular aspects, and create something new that brings all this knowledge together.

Optionally, any industry event can be a great way to generate a good piece of content where you collect lessons from the speakers. For example, White.net did it for BrightonSEO’s April’s conference, and according to Majestic the content performed amazingly:

majestic-white

In the end

I believe link-building has changed dramatically in the last few years. Now, the main focus is on developing a trustworthy relationship with other users or companies and only then generating links. Also, a good portion of our time is now spent using our analytics skills to understand how different strategies work for other brands in your niche, and what you can adapt from them.

My main advice is to deliver quality and useful content, but with only with carefully processed preparation to ensure effectiveness, plus milestones to measure the scale of your impact. What link building strategies are you still working with? I’d love to hear from you!