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Well thought out link building strategies for gaining influence from other websites are very important to your visibility! If you are in a competitive situation, then it’s especially important to attract links that are set up editorially from within an article, blog post or video without being asked 🙂 It’s still a massively influential factor in making your website more visible. For businesses operating without much competition, simple low power self created backlinks can be sufficient to edge your website into plainer view than the competition. This might be true of local retail businesses in Carlisle and Penrith. However, once you’ve exhausted the simple easy wins in the link building universe and it’s still not earning the visibility and extra cashflow your business needs; or you are in an inherently more competitive marketplace such as the Lake District accommodation arena – then it’s time to knuckle down and put in the effort to get the links that really move the needle! With their background in link data, the Ahrefs team have put together some fantastic advice some of which I’ve reblogged here because of the neat little rating chart each one comes with. Get ready to learn the most effective link building strategies that are working well today!

Link Bait – Content Marketing.

Link baiting is a much more user friendly link building strategy than the awful clickbait that pollutes social media platforms” It is a wide-ranging strategy with the actual ‘link bait content’ coming in many forms. In essence it is Content Marketing pure and simple. Generating superb content that will be useful to a visitor and sufficiently in tune to the target of your interest for them to willingly send a link and their visitors your way!

As your ability to provide great content that serves people well improves, your ability to attract links organically will also increase exponentially. A classic example of high quality content from Carlisle is exemplified by Burnetts solicitors. Here their staff generate approximately 1 new blog post a week which gives great details about different aspects of their legal services and general legal advice that would be as helpful to random visitors needing that information as it is to their clients. This is content which has just attracted a link perfectly naturally due to its intrinsic value after they surfaced in an enquiry about the repercussions of amputation. This followed a climbing incident where a friend looked set to lose his thumb. (fortunately the NHS saved it!). These kind of backlinks are considered to be earned and are far more valuable than those that are ‘built’. However – creating great content  doesn’t mean ‘they’ will come:  digital marketing isn’t The Field of Dreams! You still need to target the content and promote it, to likely businesses, bloggers and webmasters who might find value in what you’ve produced.

Your content’s value could be generated through:

  • In depth research on an industry or niche topic. For me this could be an interpretation of how the annual reports on local ranking factors seem to affect the north of England!
  • Unique data that your business has collected that you are prepared to put out in the public domain to boost your authority. A mobility enterprise like Well Done Solutions in Carlisle that supplies the needs of people living with disabilities may acquire some data on the way changes to the social safety net is affecting people’s ability to access wheelchairs and mobility aids in Carlisle.
  • Results of a survey that you’ve conducted, in much the same way that Cumbria Chamber of Commerce often use Survey Monkey to gather data from the Cumbria business community.
  • Attractive or unique graphics, often infographics which tell a valuable or instructive story.
  • Free tools: I offer free use of a local digital visibility tool which is particularly aimed at smaller local businesses looking for a steer on how to get their website in front of the limited number of online eyeballs available in Cumbria.
  • In depth “How to” pieces such as my run down on the different priorities for local digital marketing at different levels of competition.

Link bait is the best form white hat link building and plays to Google’s original concept of a link being a ‘vote’ for the best content to rank.

I’ve shamelessly re-used Ahrefs’ excellent little ratings chart for each of the tactics I’ve highlighted as part of your back linking strategy. Although this can be a difficult tactic to pull off, it’s value and its low risk factor make it the most powerful of the methods that we’d consider mid level! A collaborator of mine from the North East has used this with astonishing results in the national tile sales market place. For real heavy duty national and international campaigns, the team at GNT media include half a dozen bright young journalistically qualified graduates who also understand the peculiar balance that needs to be achieved between scintillating copy, keyword and topical relevance and the big one… valuable research based content!

link building strategies - link bait; pinnacle of content m,arketing!

2. Ego Bait

There are many influential people online in almost every field of human endeavour… and nastiness. The latest influencer I came across was a 13 year old girl from Carlisle who is doing book reviews and making heads turn. She makes me feel like a total inadequate 😉

Most ‘influencers’ are sick of being tapped up for links, so they don’t just seem unapproachable; they are! It takes something more than a mention to get a few second’s attention from them! However striking up a relationship through some of the simpler tactics can give you a way in. I have made contact with a couple of big American players on the local seo / marketing scene and I am hoping to entice them across to help set up a digital marketing conference based in Carlisle  – hopefully next year. It’s slow patient work – which has been interrupted by care needs of the older generation of my family! (yep there are still older Cassidy’s than me!).

When played right, these can still be effective ego-bait tactics:

  • Interviewing an influencer on your site. This doesn’t have to be the international big names. Cumbria is a little odd, in that for many niches the actual search volume and activity is incredibly low. So the influencers may be the guys who are able to just push the numbers up enough to make a small difference. Chris Sutherland at H&H Reeds Printers has had some success in using blogging to boost traffic so that it’s starting to catch up with paid search traffic and feed in to his sales process. He’s ‘just’ a part time SEO who’s a full time graphics designer. I think he may have a few tips that would benefit lots of Cumbrian businesses.
  • Including an influencer in an expert roundup (although this tactic has become a little over-used in the marketing niche)
  • Quoting influencers in your content, or linking to their site: I tend not to use quotes as such but directly use what people have shared and then link back to the original source. Because I am using their experience to boost my own knowledge and authority, then I am more than happy to leave the link as a followed link.
  • Top 10 lists can still be effective and often catch eyeballs of the people quoted when tweeted!

As effective as ego baiting is it needs to be used carefully and respectfully so that you don’t actually p*** your influencer off! The links generated can be amazingly useful and are very safe.

ego bait

3. Broken Link Building

Broken link building has had a bit of an image problem!. People think it’s a narrow, straightforward strategy, when in reality it’s not. You can get more creative with this back linking strategy than any other link building technique out there.
Jon Cooper
Jon Cooper pointblankseo.com

The internet is probably the human race’s most dynamic artefact! Little stays the same for long and useful resources  are appearing and disappearing all the time. Companies evolve or die and websites disappear as companies go out of business, or a change of management means a site is forgotten about.

These situations really are a golden opportunity for link builders, marketing managers and website owners. Often the links discovered can be the golden goose of digital marketing.

Golden goose or no; this is never usually an easy tactic in your strategy. The process involves:

  1. Finding websites that link to your competitor; selecting the best of them.
  2. Obtaining data about the websites that they link to.
  3. Identifying links that lead to 404 error pages where the linked resource has disappeared.
  4. Creating a similar but superior or more up to date resource on your own site.
  5. Outreach to the owner of the site with broken link that leads to the dead resource and suggesting your new content as an alternative destination for their visitors that will stop them getting frustrated with useless links!

If your negotiation and persuasive skills plus the quality of your content is good you can get some great results. Most webmasters are keen to fix linking errors on their site as the follow on interactions will reflect on their quality score.

This tactic can be particularly effective for securing what you might see as “trophy”, game changing links — for example from University, or government resource pages. This is where the Ahrefs tool and Monitor Backlinks come into their own! Even these tools don’t make the task easy!

broken link building

6. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging continues to be an effective part of many webmaster’s link building strategies; both to get your website/brand in front of new audiences and build authority boosting links.

While low quality guest blogging has been squeezed by Google and is certainly not as effective as it once was, high quality guest blogging remains a preferred method of gaining white hat links.

In most niches there will be high quality, tier 1 blogs, accepting guest posts. The challenge is identifying the angle that will warm up the blog owner to letting you loose on their site! Even though many of these types of links have the no follow attribute set so as not to actively passauthority; Google does seem to take note of even these “no-followed” links!


When guest blogging don’t forget to link back from the bio section if you can’t link to your own site for editorial reasons.

11. Link Building With Images

As far as linkable content goes, images are up there with the best. For blog owners in particular, images can be an SEO goldmine with most of the hard work being done for you already.
Matthew Barby
Matthew Barby matthewbarby.com

There are several ways you can leverage custom images to gain backlinks to your site. For example:

  • Creating charts to visualise data
  • Creating memes specific to your niche
  • Creating images with quotes from famous bloggers in your niche (or celebrities)
  • Creating pinnable images for your blog posts
  • Providing stock images for use with attribution

Adding ‘swipeable’ images to your blog posts (charts and graphs are particularly effective) and actively encouraging readers to download and share them on their own sites can be a particularly effective way to pick up links.


16. Contributing In Niche Forums

A forum link has potential to send decent, qualified referral traffic your way. But more importantly, building a forum link still leads to exposure to a niche audience. It’s relationship building. And the power of relationship building is that a good relationship can build your next link.
Jesse Stoler
Jesse Stoler upspringseo.com

There is a saying in marketing ‘go where your audience is’ and most niches will have at least one forum where your potential customers or clients hang out.

If you are an active participant in a forum, you should have no problem dropping an occasional link back to your site — where that link adds value or answers a question.

These are good links for both traffic and conversions. Participating in a forum and showing your expertise will help to build your trust in the community and anyone clicking through to your site will be semi-qualified. Of the link building strategies outlined so far this is the one that people have “blown up” most frequently by descending to spammy unimaginative comments that don’t ad value to a discussion… don’t do it!


I hope this brief run down of good white hat link building strategies gives you plenty of food for thought. Link s between websites are often depicted as  the shackles of a chain. This isn’t really a good analogy because it smacks of enslavement. I see backlinks being more like a network of connections – pipes-  between balloons of different size. Most of us are “little bubbles of air” that haven’t even stretched the outside of the balloon yet! (You know that point when blowing a balloon up, where your face is about to split – before the sudden give as the balloon expands). Most websites are stuck at that pre-inflation pressure point! Most links from other small sites haven’t got the oomph to push your balloon past it’s stretching point to become noticed. BUT, when you get a link from a big site with a real high pressure bubble of good stuff brewing away inside it… as soon as that sucker blugs into you – you know about it! That extra pressure that takes you past the point and pumps you full of a tiny bit of its extra pressure “blows you up” and makes you much more noticeable!

Whichever mixture of backlinking strategies and techniques you choose for your website just remember no spam and great quality content only!