Growing your backlink profile is an essential part of your B2B marketing efforts. But if you're new to link building, this can seem daunting at first.
Don't worry though. This article will teach you how to create the kind of links that will get results.
What is link building?
Link building refers to actively trying to increase the number of backlinks on your website – links from another website to yours.
Link building is an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO). When a lot of high authority websites link to your sites, Google and other search engines determine that your website is likely authoritative and of high quality. Your website will then rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Link building has the secondary benefit that new traffic is routed directly from the link site to yours. Anything your company introduces to relevant new audiences is good news for your company.
How can B2B marketers build links?
Some unscrupulous marketers have a habit of paying for backlinks from any website that accepts their money. I advise against this strategy. Even if you know what you are doing, it is dangerous. If you get caught, you risk a Google penalty that can have a serious impact on your SERP ranking.
This article will walk you through more general ("white hats") ways to build links as part of your B2B marketing efforts.
Before you begin, however, you need to know what your backlink profile is currently and what your target number of links should be. You can use a tool like the Ahrefs backlink checker to see how many backlinks you have and to check their quality.
In this case two metrics are important. First, the number of relevant quality backlinks from unique domains helps build your site's Domain Rating (DR) – that is, the likelihood that content will receive an organic rank. Second, check the number of relevant high quality referring domains for your page. The more referring domains it has, the higher the chance it will rank in SERPs.
I have used the word "quality" several times. Google defines quality according to three important criteria:
Number of visitors to your website: Usually linked to the DR or DA of the website
Link relevance: Whether the website is in the same niche as yours
Trust Flow: How trustworthy the websites associated with the domain are
With this snapshot of backlink quality assessment, let's take a look at some of the best link building strategies for B2B marketing.
A guest post is an article that you write to get published on someone else's website in exchange for a link to yours. Follow these steps to secure guest posting options:
Do a Google search for relevant keywords that you want to rank for. Find the top result that isn't a paid ad.
Enter the URL of this site into the Ahrefs backlink checker or other competitive intelligence solution to see the referring domains.
From the list of referring sites, make a shortlist of those you want to guest post for. Focus on people with a DR of 50+.
Check which sites from your selection list accept guest posts. Many guest posting websites have a "Write for Us" or "Contribute" page that explains how to do it. Follow all directions on the website on how to be considered for a guest post. If the site doesn't state that it accepts guest posts, it's okay to inquire. Use an email finder like Voila Norbert and Hunter for details on an editor or website owner.
Send a short but friendly email to the owner of the website. Explain who you are and what you do, and offer a guest post. Make sure you are adding value; H. Expertise to share with the site audience. You are suggesting working together for mutual benefit, rather than asking for a favor.
If an editor accepts your guest post suggestion, it is your job to deliver the content you promised. While it may be tempting to put as many links into the article as possible, stick with one or two relevant links to your site.
If someone mentions your brand in a blog or forum post but hasn't linked to you, you're missing a potentially valuable link. If you spot such a mention, send a friendly email to the website owner or editor. Thank them for the call and ask if they would be willing to add a link.
If someone has used copyrighted material (such as a picture or infographic), you can usually get a quick backlink by emailing the author of the post and asking for their credit. You also have the right to request removal of the material – and in some cases it may be your best strategy when dealing with a website with little authority or dubious access. However, if the site is of decent quality, it is better to request a backlink.
Finally, you can reclaim links by fixing broken links. This is how it works:
Do a Google search for a relevant keyword.
Review the highest ranked content. Do the posts 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 website owner to let them know about the problem and ask them to fix it. Offer a suitable replacement link (to content on your own website, of course).
Listing in relevant directories
Is there a business directory website for your industry or niche? Take the time to add your listing and make sure it is up to date. It usually only takes a few minutes and it's an easy way to add a backlink.
Business directories are trustworthy and high-ranking sources, so the backlink is likely to be of high quality. However, the value of the link is likely to be low as links of this type are easy to acquire.
Here is an example from Kompass, a reputable B2B directory with a DR of 67:
But don't just list your company anywhere. This can hurt your SEO efforts and undo your good work. Instead, look for relevant high DR directories in your niche.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is an online service that connects bloggers and journalists with expert sources. Set up a free account and select the topics and industries relevant to your company. You will receive a daily summary of the inquiries by email and you can choose which ones to respond to. If an author uses the information you provide, they will usually receive a link to your site or resource in the published article.
However, be aware that HARO can take a lot of time if you are not careful and you can never guarantee that your quotes will be used. Only respond if inquiries are directly relevant to your business niche and if you benefit from a link from this point of sale.
Establish yourself as an authority
This strategy takes some time, but it is worth the effort. If you consistently publish high quality and valuable content and establish yourself as an expert in your industry, other authors and website owners will of course link to you.
Imagine that your company sells an email marketing solution to small businesses and publishes free tutorials on marketing corporate websites as part of your content strategy. Well-known marketing bloggers with a high DR website may post and link to you just because they love your content and want to tell their audience about it.
It takes time to get such backlinks, but when you do they are the strongest backlinks of all.