As you know, link building is a vital part of Search Engine Optimisation because its the primary way that Google determines the value of your site. ‘Content Based Link Building’ means the links are gained entirely on the merits of the content being linked to which makes it the most ‘white hat‘ strategy for gaining links.
There’s currently four ways to approach content based link building (CBLB), that I know of;
- Broken Link Building
- The Skyscraper Technique
- Link Curator Sniping
- Publish, Promote & Pray
Notice that I haven’t included techniques such as guest posting or infographics. This is because those tactics fall into the ‘attribution link building‘ category. They do utilise content but the reason they are getting a link is more of a value exchange rather than on the merits of the content which makes these techniques less than white hat.
We’re going to focus on the first three techniques because they are all specifically focused on getting links, rather than having another focus, e.g. content marketing, and link building being secondary.
The ‘Publish, Promote & Pray’ method involves creating a piece of content, doing mass promotion and hoping that some of the people who see it will end up linking to it. This can certainly be effective, particularly if the value of the content is high and the extent of the promotion is wide, but its not going to be as efficient for gaining links as other techniques that have link building in mind from the start.
Lets examine each of the other three methods in more detail.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building takes advantage of three things that naturally happen on the web;
- People link to other pages and websites
- Sometimes websites and pages get moved or cease to exist and the people who are linking to them aren’t aware, therefore creating ‘broken links’ on their sites
- Once being made aware of broken links on their site, most webmasters want to fix them
The point of broken link building is to;
- Identify the URLs of pages that used to exist at that URL but no longer do
- Identify those that are linking to the now ‘broken’ pages
- Contact those people to let them know they are linking to a broken page and present your similar/related page as an alternative
I won’t go into detail here as its something we’ve written about before and that’s been covered extensively by others;
- How to approach broken link building in 2015
- Broken link building with Buzzstream [Video]
- The broken link building bible
- The moving man method (variation on broken link building)
More resources here: 53 broken link building resources
This strategy can be highly effective because you’re creating good will with webmasters by alerting them to the broken links on their site, creating content that you know they’re likely to be interested in because they’ve already linked to something similar in the past, triggering action by pointing out something that they’ll probably want to fix and making it easy for them to add your link when they go to update the broken link.
This is a strategy created/popularised by Brian Dean and its received a lot of attention over the last year. It works because it targets people/websites who have already shown a willingness to link to content on a particular topic and convinces them to take action by wowing them with a piece of content which is much better and totally awesome.
The basic process;
- Find an existing piece of content which has a lot of links but isn’t particularly impressive (at all or currently) and which you think you could improve upon
- Create your improved version of the content and make it totally awesome
- Reach out to all the websites that are linking to the original piece and let them know about your new and improved content
The content probably needs to be better than what you create for the broken link building process because, in this case, there’s less of an incentive to take action and give the link than there is when the webmaster realises they have a broken link on their site. This guide by Tim Soulo from Bloggerjet will help you to write awesome content: http://bloggerjet.com/guide-to-strategic-writing/
For a more detailed breakdown of the process, check out these guides;
- The Skyscraper Technique (Brian Dean’s original post on the technique)
- The Skyscraper Technique with Buzzstream [Video]
Link Curator Sniping
This is a technique that’s been around longer the the other two but doesn’t really have a name so I came up with ‘link curator sniping.’ The content you’re creating will be attractive to many different types of websites and will probably attract links from multiple sources, however, you’re specifically targeting link curators, usually those that maintain link lists that serve a particular audience that the curator is interested in serving. Essentially the process is to;
- Identify intersections between your website’s topic/s and topics that link curators are typically interested in
- Research and analyse these intersections to find one for which there are a significant number of links pages that it would be relevant to be included in
- Create some awesome content that serves that topic intersection
- Reach out to the curators who have links pages that are relevant to the content you have created and ask if they would include your link
This process is somewhat more complicated than the other two techniques above, but luckily for us, Citation Labs are experts at this type of link building and have taken it upon themselves to document the process in detail (expected to be completed July 2015);
- Citation Labs calls the topics that link curators are typically interested in ‘areas of greater human concern’ or ‘linkable content topics.’ Here is their guide to finding these ‘linkable content topics’ that intersect with your business’ topic/s (from the starting point of your SEO keywords): http://citationlabs.com/linkable-content-brainstorming-from-seo-keywords-to-proven-content-topics/
- The second half of the article above also touches on analysing each intersection to see if they have enough link opportunities. This article goes to the next level and details how to find ‘linkable audiences’ which are the people that the link curators are serving and therefore the people your content needs to cater to. To follow up on that article, they’ve also produced a list of 601 examples of linkable audiences which you could potentially target with your content
Link Curator Sniping is really a version of the Publish, Promote & Pray method but its so laser targeted and methodical in its process that it should be considered as a separate category.
These are three perfectly white hat methods of building links back to your website. You next steps should be;
- Take stock of what resources you have available to dedicate to content based link building
- Use the links provided to learn more about each technique and determine which would be best suited to your business and the resources you have available
- Start by getting your strategy down pat first and don’t start creating any content until you know exactly who you’re going to contact to build links to it
- Follow the processes laid out in the articles
Alternatively, let us take care of this for you while you focus on running your business. Contact us today to discuss your business and SEO goals.