Growing your backlink profile is an indispensable part of your B2B marketing efforts. But if you’re new to link building, it can seem daunting at first.
Don’t worry, though. In this article, you’ll learn how to build the kind of links that get results.
What is link building?
Link building is actively trying to increase the number of backlinks to your site, that is, links from another website to yours.
Link building is an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO). If many high authority sites link to yours, Google and other search engines will determine that your website is likely authoritative and of high quality. Your site will then rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Link building has the side benefit of driving new traffic directly from the linking site to yours. Anything that introduces your business to new, relevant audiences is good news for your business.
How can B2B marketers build links?
Some unscrupulous marketers have a habit of paying for backlinks from any website that will accept their money. I advise against this strategy. Even if you know what you’re doing, it’s dangerous. If you get caught, you risk incurring a Google penalty, which can seriously impact your SERP ranking.
This article will walk you through other more effective (“white hat”) ways to build links as part of your B2B marketing efforts.
But before you start, you need to understand what your backlink profile currently looks like and what your target number of links should be. You can use a tool like Ahrefs backlink checker to see how many backlinks you have and check their quality.
Two parameters matter in this case. First, the number of relevant quality backlinks from unique domains will help boost your site’s Domain Rating (DR), i.e. the likelihood that a piece of content will rank organically. . Second, look at the number of relevant, high-quality referring domains for your page. The more referring domains it has, the more likely it is to rank in the SERPs.
I have used the word “quality” several times. Google defines quality according to three important criteria:
- Number of visitors to your site: usually linked to the DR or DA of the site
- Relevance of the link: if the site operates in the same niche as yours
- Flow of trust: degree of trust of sites linked to the domain
With this overview of how to assess the quality of established backlinks, let’s look at some of the best link building strategies for B2B marketing.
A guest post is an article you write to post on someone else’s site in exchange for a link to yours. Follow these steps to secure guest posting opportunities:
- Do a Google search for the relevant keywords you want to rank for. Find the top ranked result that is not a paid ad.
- Enter the URL of this site into the Ahrefs backlink checker or other competitor intelligence solution to see the referring domains.
- From the list of referring sites, create a shortlist of those you would like to write guest posts for. Focus on those with a DR of 50+.
- Check which sites on your shortlist accept guest posts. Many websites that offer guest posts will have a “Write for Us” or “Contribute” page explaining the process. Follow all instructions given by the site on how to be considered for a guest post. If the site doesn’t say it accepts guest posts, you can reach out to ask. Use an email search tool like Voila Norbert and Hunter to get the details of a publisher or site owner.
- Send a brief but friendly email to the website owner. Explain who you are and what you do, and offer a guest post. Be sure to offer value, i.e. expertise to share with the site’s audience. You are proposing a collaboration for mutual benefit, you are not asking for a favor.
When a publisher accepts your guest post proposal, it’s your responsibility to deliver the content you promised. While it’s tempting to cram as many links into the article as possible, stick to one or two relevant links to your site.
If someone mentioned your brand in a blog post or forum post but didn’t link back to you, you’re missing out on a potentially valuable link. If you spot such a mention, send a friendly email to the site owner or editor. Thank them for the shoutout and ask them if they’d be willing to add a link.
Also, if someone has used copyrighted material (like an image or infographic), you can usually get a quick back link by emailing the author of the message and requesting allocation. You are also within your rights to request that the material be removed – and in some cases this might be your best strategy if you are dealing with a low authority or questionable site. If the site is of good quality, it is better to ask for a backlink.
Finally, you can recover links by fixing broken links. Here’s how:
- Do a Google search for a relevant keyword.
- Review the top ranked content. Do the messages link to a page that no longer exists? You can use a tool like Broken Link Checker to find broken links on a page.
- Contact the site owner to let them know about the problem and ask them to fix it. Provide an appropriate replacement link (to content on your own site, of course).
Listing in relevant directories
Is there a business directory website for your industry or niche? Take the time to add your ad and make sure it’s up to date. It usually only takes a few minutes and it’s an easy way to add a backlink.
Industry directories are trusted, high-ranking sources, so the backlink is likely to be of high quality. However, the link value is likely to be low, as links of this type are easy to acquire.
Here is an example from Kompass, a respected B2B directory with a DR of 67:
But don’t just list your business anywhere. This can hurt your SEO efforts and undo your good work. Instead, look for relevant directories in your niche that have a high DR.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is an online service that connects bloggers and journalists to expert sources. Create a free account and select topics and sectors relevant to your business. You will receive a daily summary of requests by email and you can choose which ones you want to respond to. If a writer uses the information you provide, you will usually get a link to your site or resource in the published article.
Be aware though that HARO can take a lot of your time if you are not careful and you can never guarantee that your quotes will be used. Respond only when queries are directly relevant to your business niche and when a link from that outlet would benefit you.
Establish yourself as an authority
This strategy takes time, but it is worth it. If you consistently post valuable, high-quality content and establish yourself as a go-to expert in your industry, other writers and site owners will naturally start linking to you.
Imagine your company sells a small business email marketing solution, and as part of your content strategy, you publish free business website marketing tutorials. Well-known marketing bloggers with a high site DR may post about it and link to you, just because they like your content and want to tell their audience about it.
It takes time to start getting backlinks like this, but when you do, they are the strongest backlinks of all.