Behind the SEO Curtain: 5 Secrets to Turbo-Charge Your Link Building Strategy

Advanced SEO Blueprint

Most people think backlinks when you mention SEO, and there’s a very good reason for that. A lot has changed in the world of SEO and ranking in the search engines over the years, but one of the few things that has remained constant over the last 15+ years has been the importance of gathering quality backlinks.

While methods have changed, and old black hat strategies have gone out the window, good backlinks still matter. Google is better at telling good backlinks from bad ones, and only rewarding the ones that come “naturally” or that they like, but make no mistake: links still matter.

Getting those high-quality new backlinks might be more difficult than it was years ago but the good news is that there are still tons of untapped opportunities out there!

Going Beyond Link Building Basics

There are many strategies that still work. Collecting lists of websites that accept guest posts and sending mass e-mail requests can work to a limited extent. Going the personal touch works better although is hard to scale.

It seems like every single SEO blog of note talks about infographics, guest posting campaigns, building cornerstone content, and serious PR campaigns in the press and there’s a good reason for that: these strategies all work.

That being said, there’s nothing secret about them. In addition to this obvious point, there’s more competition than ever in almost every niche. This means each method is going to become harder to use effectively as more and more webmasters are inundated with requests. That eventually makes all the strategies less useful.

Some of the best backlink strategies now involve finding under-utilized sources of links, others are small tweaks in strategies that make huge differences in results.

Read on for 5 ways to really turbocharge your link building to get the type of links that will shoot your websites up the search engine rankings!

1: Niche-Related Websites Based in Foreign Countries

Focus on Foreign Countries

Google doesn’t necessarily work to the same extent in other countries as it does in the United States, and there’s no question there’s more active SEO work in the U.S. than out of it. What does this mean? It means that webmasters in the U.S. generally get 10x the link requests or guest post requests as webmasters based outside of the United States.

While many people don’t think of international websites because rarely do you get a .ca or result when searching in the United States, Google tracks all backlinks to your website and several studies have shown that while results might not be as direct as a link in the U.S. but they still matter, especially if they are related to your niche or industry!

This means your response rate for link requests or guest post requests is going to likely be much higher in other countries still looking for great content, which means less time on outreach for even better results.

The first step is getting lists of top websites in your niche or industry in other nations. You can do this by running popular search terms in their search engines. This takes a few steps since Google will try to use your IP address to automatically localize search results. Check out the instructions at this blog post to get the step by step process of seeing other nations’ search engine results:

Make those searches, take all the websites into a spreadsheet, and then begin contacting them for link requests or guest posting opportunities. Keep in mind the language gap, and if you’re dealing solely with English speaking countries then your short list is: United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, and New Zealand. There are a surprising number of African, Asian, and Caribbean nations with English as a de facto language but whether or not they are developed enough online to make them worth spending time on is another story.

Once you have this list of nations and website results, hit them up and follow up to get a surprising number of backlinks that Google will still see as niche related, relevant, and therefore quality. This is a massive untapped link resource.

2: The Power of Podcasts

Podcasting is one of those fields that is not only hot right now but is going to continue to keep growing a lot into the future. Podcast marketing, advertising, or even branding via podcasts are powerful tools. Getting on a top-rated podcast can straight out make a business or website, pulling it from obscurity and into massive success overnight.

While that’s great, that’s not the strategy here. Too time-consuming, too much left up to chance. Instead of shooting for really widely known podcasts, you want to shoot for mid-level podcasts and even low level beginning podcasts that have gone on long enough to show they’re in for the long haul.

These are podcasts that are in need of content, they’re in need of guests, and this opens up plenty of opportunities. Right off the bat, when you’re on podcasts that are related to your niche or industry, you’re exposing your website to hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of new listeners with each interview. That’s great marketing.

In addition to this, most podcasts have a basic website as well as a YouTube channel where they post audio “videos” of the show. This means most interviews will not only expose you to thousands of potential new visitors but also give you two links: one from YouTube and one from the podcast’s website.

These won’t be world breaking backlinks, but they are noticed by Google and a lot of them will add up in a powerful way. Add in the fact that really good podcast shows could lead to more invitations or to links from listeners who have their own blogs, and this underrated strategy can really pay off for SEO in a big, big way!

3: Request Links from Companies/Brands You Reviewed

Fancy Product Review Text
Product Review Links = Domain Authority

This is an absolute killer for affiliate based websites or review websites that make a lot of their money from eBay, Amazon Associates, or other affiliate programs. This can even work for most other websites who are going to talk about other companies, products, or someone else at some point.

If you’re going to review items, products, or brands, why not reach out to the companies whose products you gave high grades to? Many of them have a media page where they publish reviews. That’s a very easy trustworthy link that Google is going to love seeing, and many companies are always looking to tout good press.

Not only are these great backlinks that check all the boxes of being relevant, trustworthy backlinks in a related niche – but since they will link to the actual review this means you get those links directly to internal individual pages (even “money pages”), which are very often the hardest links to acquire.

In addition to the backlink, often times the company will be quick to share the news on social media, as well, firing out your website to their often many thousands or tens of thousands of followers, further gaining more attention for your site.

4: Don’t Underestimate Quora & Pinterest

A lot of social media is pretty worthless when it comes to actual SEO value or to generating backlinks of any worth at all. In fact, just getting traffic that reacts in any positive way is a difficult task in many cases. However, there are two major exceptions that every SEO specialist or webmaster should not only keep in mind but make part of their on-going traffic campaign: Quora & Pinterest.

Quora is a remarkable platform for directly pushing traffic to a site. This is due to the question & answer format. Millions go there daily looking for information and resources. A quality account that answers questions in-depth and in a way that really sticks out will get people to follow links. You can link to your sites as long as the links aren’t spam, don’t drown out the text part of your answer, and are relevant to what’s being asked/answered.

These are “no follow” links which makes them far less useful but Quora is crawled by Google all the time and Google’s Search Console is very good at picking up every single link from Quora. In addition to this, Quora counts for social media presence as well as building trust as an authority in your field. Finally, there have been some studies suggesting that one or several no follow links from high quality sites still seem to have some outside positive SEO benefit in rankings, even if not in the same way as a direct no follow link.

In other words: more trust, more authority, more traffic, and quite possibly a little boost in the SEO rankings. Quora is free to sign up for and can become a giant traffic driver in and of itself.

Then there’s Pinterest. While perhaps not as popular as Instagram, Pinterest has shown a remarkable ability to not only drive massive amounts of traffic but traffic that will actually take action like subscribing or buying. This is contrary to the overwhelming majority of social media sites out there and makes Pinterest traffic as valuable as social-based traffic is going to get.

Google’s search console also looks at Pin groups as links and records them, as well, showing that the search engine is paying attention. While in theory these are no-follow links, as with Quora multiple SEOs have reported that gathering multiple links from both sources seems to have a positive overall boost on SEO efforts in addition to opening up two new and potentially potent traffic sources.

5: Customize Your Outreach

Two women holding up two different speech bubbles
Less Automation, More Connection.

Many webmasters don’t like this idea because it flies in the face of automation, mass outreach, of many of the practices that are widely shared among SEO specialists, online marketers, and marketing specialists in general. Everyone wants to find tools or practices that allow maximum results for minimum effort.

The problem is, this will NEVER be as effective as customized outreach that is not mass-produced. Especially now that virtually everyone works with templates, barely changed e-mails, and mass outreach options. Seeing the same template on hundreds of e-mails in a couple of months just makes them all less effective and very annoying.

There’s an opportunity here – and that’s with time investment. No question, customizing each e-mail pitch is going to take a ton more time for fewer pitches but the response rate is going to be far higher. A template mass e-mailing can expect about a 1-2% rate of response with probably no “major victories” or “major coups.” Many webmasters become numb to virtually any pitch.

Working off a basic template is fine – but each pitch should have an eye-catching title, it should be clear immediately that you have dug into the blog you’re pitching (information you only get from actually spending at least 10-20 minutes going over a blog and more than one post), and you need a pitch that gives way more value than other SEO specialists are pitching.

The majority of e-mail pitches come down to this: “I’m going to give you an outsourced guest post article of a minimum 1,000-word length for you to give me way more with exposure and a backlink.”

Most webmasters won’t bother to answer that pitch for obvious reasons. However if you stick out, way out, from other pitches, the chances of getting a response shoot through the roof. Showing you’ve actually gone beyond a surface glance of their blog is crucial. The next step is to offer and deliver, far more than everyone else.

Don’t offer 1,000 or 1,500 word guest posts. They almost never rank and rarely bring anything of value to the website/blog that you are pitching. Ditto with many basic infographs. However, if you offer a 4,000 or 5,000 word guide complete with in-depth keyword research, relevant original and/or public domain photographs, promise to include internal links to other posts of yours, external links to authority sites not competing, and even original graphs or infographics, do you think the webmaster is going to turn that down?

Can this be mass-produced easily? Absolutely not. Will it take much more time and in-depth research or a lot more money to outsource if you don’t want to do it yourself? Absolutely. However, the results are easily 10x better and more effective than the mass-produced shotgun style of cold pitching and this method is far more likely to get a true niche authority site to look at you.

This isn’t easy, but it sets you apart and can massively improve your backlink profile as a result. You don’t need to pitch 1,000 websites for 10 or 20 links when one in every two or three respond, even some of the larger websites that generally don’t respond to guest posts. This is time-consuming and it’s not an easy scale option, but it can return truly stunning results.

Looking for someone else to do the work? Reach out today to get an estimate for Advanced SEO from PERC.

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Xavier Berkness

Xavier Berkness is the President of PERC, a renowned Digital Marketing Company. With an impressive career spanning over two decades since 1996, Xavier has earned a reputation as a leader in the field of digital marketing. He has leveraged his deep understanding and expertise in building websites to author a highly-regarded book, 'Mastering On-Page Optimization - The Secret Sauce of an SEO System.' Xavier's impactful contributions to the industry have been recognized in a Star Tribune feature, where he was hailed as a 'Mover and Shaker.' Outside the professional realm, Xavier is a nature lover who cherishes time spent near the ocean. He continues to fuel his passion for digital marketing, relentlessly seeking new knowledge and strategies every day. His combination of professional prowess and personal charm make Xavier a trusted authority in the digital marketing industry.