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Link Building Strategies for DIY SEOs

Link-building plays a vital role in the success of a business. But it’s a time-consuming process that requires:

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Patience

Here’s the thing:

By using the right strategies, it doesn’t have to be complicated:

Keep reading to find out more:

The Role Backlinks Play In SEO

Backlinks have been an important part of SEO since 1998. The best way to look at backlinks is to think of them as votes for the site.

The more votes a page has pointing to it, the more Google deems the content worthy of taking the number one spot.

When the backlink algorithm was first introduced, it used to be a case of the number of links a page had. But this resulted in people spamming links wherever they could. Luckily times have changed now, and it’s about the quality of the links instead of the quantity.

Diagram of Google's Backlink Trends

Link placements need to be well planned. Without relevance, the link could cause damage that outweighs the benefit.

3x High Converting Link Building Strategies

As mentioned earlier, link building strategies have stood the test of time; this means there’s plenty of actionable strategies to be used.

Three strategies stand out above the rest. These techniques are super easy to complete but also have a considerable win rate:

Replicate Your Competitors Backlinks

This has to be on the list for the top link building strategies for a few reasons.

To start with, the top-ranking competitors in the same niche will be spending thousands of dollars trying to create the perfect backlink profile. And this means it’s super hard for the small fish to compete against them without a lot of hard work and a ton of cash.

Unless the business replicates its competitor’s backlink profile.

In essence, it’s all about working smarter, not harder.

When comparing the win-rate with the overall time spent on it, it’s easy to see why this strategy is so effective.

Here’s how it works:

Identify The Competitors

The first step is to identify the top sites for the chosen keyword. Doing this is super easy and only requires a quick Google search.

Just enter the chosen keyword into Google and make a list of the competitors on the first page. Don’t worry about how big their site is, all that’s needed is their backlink profile.

Find Their Backlinks

Once the list of competitors has been identified, it’s time to find their backlinks, which can be done using tools such as Majestic, Moz, or Ahrefs. In this article, we’ll be using Ahrefs for our examples.

In Ahrefs, enter the first URL into the Ahrefs site explorer and hit the search button.

Once the page has loaded, go to the left-hand side menu and click on ‘Backlinks’. You’ll then see a full list of sites linking to that page. Export the list of backlinks on to an excel sheet and do the same for the other targets.

Analyze Their Backlinks

This part can take some time; the idea is to get rid of all the spammy looking links, so all that’s left is high quality and relevant linking opportunities.

Once that’s complete, it’s about finding out how they got the link and how it can be replicated.

Once a solid understanding of the link has been found, it’s time to reach out to the site owner to score the link.

Provide Testimonials

This has to be one of the easiest and least time-consuming link-building strategies. With just a few hours of work, it’s possible to score high-quality links pointing directly to the businesses homepage.

Gael Breton quote and example of link placement

This strategy aims to offer a positive testimonial for a product/service the business uses in return for a link.

Here’s a step by step guide for finding testimonial links:

Identify The Targets

This stage is about thinking of services/products that are relevant to the site, or that it’s used before.

The chosen products and services all need one thing in common for this strategy to work, and that’s an existing testimonials page or evidence that they publish testimonials on their homepage.

Create a list of possible opportunities in an excel sheet ready for the next step.

Pitch To The Right People

Finding the right people to pitch to can seem like a challenge at the best of times. Luckily there are a few tools that can be used to find their emails quickly:

  • Hunter.io
  • FindThatLead

These tools will provide a list of emails connected to the site. Making it really easy to find the right person to pitch to.

FindThatLead Screen capture

Once the emails have been found, it’s time to pitch to the sites and see if they’re interested.

Write Their Testimonial

Once they’ve got back to you and accepted the offer, it’s time to write the testimonials. Writing the perfect testimonial is super easy, especially if you’ve tried the product or service and can write from first-hand experience. Just make sure it includes things like:

  • Description of how the tool/product/service helped
  • The best part of the service
  • A personal recommendation
  • Results

If the testimonial contains these four things, it’s ready to go.

Guest Posting (It Really Does Work!)

Guest posting is the most popular way of building links to a page, and for a good reason, it’s super simple and very effective.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard SEOs debating whether a guest post is a white hat or black hat technique.

In the end, does it really matter?

Google only wants to see the right metrics for the site, and smart guest posting does just that.

The idea behind guest posting is to create a high-quality piece of content with a link pointing to the page that needs ranking.

Here’s how that works:

Find Target Sites

The first thing is to find sites that will accept a guest article. The ideal website would have a high domain authority and traffic.

For this, head to Google and try searching for terms like those listed here:

list of keywords to publish guest posts with

These will show thousands of potential targets to outreach too. Don’t focus too much on the authority or traffic just yet.

The purpose of this step is to find targets for a guest post.

Choosing The Right Blogs

Once a list of targets has been created, it’s time to see if they’re worth the time linking too. To do this, tools like Ahrefs come in very handy.

Enter the site in question into the Ahrefs site explorers search bar. It will then take you to a page which shows the Domain Rating (DR) of the sites.

If the DR is high for that niche keep it on the list, if low with little to no traffic, delete it, along with any spammy looking sites that are just obvious link farms.

Pitching The Sites

Once the site has been qualified, it’s time to pitch out to the site owner. Again finding the emails with the tools mentioned in the previous section, it takes seconds.

Make sure pitches are unique to the site, it’s the best way of getting a response. Don’t get disheartened if they don’t message back the first time.

Chances are they are super busy and receive A LOT of emails. Send a couple of follow-ups before moving to the next email.

Create Stunning Content

Once the site owner has accepted the terms, it’s time to start writing the content. The most important thing to include is the link back to the page.

But that’s not all, they should also include:

  • Links pointing to their site (internal links)
  • Quotes with backup links (other external links)
  • Images/videos

Make sure the content contains as much value as possible and more importantly keeps their audience in mind.

BONUS: Mention Monitoring

There were only supposed to be three link building strategies in this article, but this was too good to leave out.

This strategy works best for people that already have a respected brand in their niche.

If the brand is already well known, there’s a good chance someone has mentioned it in an article.

But here’s the thing:

Sometimes people forget to link to the site they’ve mentioned, which is something that can be fixed quickly. Just follow these simple steps:

Find Blogs That Mention Your Brand

Use Google’s search command to find sites that mention the brand. This can be done by searching variations of:

“horizonwebmarketing.com”-inurl:horizonwebmarketing.com/

This will return a list of URLs mentioning the domain of this site, but not the page from the blog.

example of inurl: search engine results

Here’s a pro tip:

Make sure to play around with the site name in your searches, it’s incredible how many people can misspell the site’s name.

The sites to look for are ones:

  • With broken links
  • Which lead to a 404
  • Or which mention the blog with no link

If any sites in the search engine results have any of these problems add them to an excel sheet.

Reach Out

Again this all about reaching out to the right people. Once the email address has been found, it’s time to pitch the idea to them.

For maximum effect, make sure the outreach is unique to the site, if it isn’t, chances are it will get ignored.

But most importantly, don’t forget to send follow up emails if they don’t reply.

Can You Trust Link Building Services?

Link building campaigns take a lot of time and cause a lot of stress. So it’s understandable why people are turning to link building services.

But can they be trusted?

In all honesty, this industry can be real shady at times. The amount of sites that get penalized due to shoddy link building services is scary.

The thing is:

Spammy and low DR links can kill a site… quickly.

And with so many link building services out there, it’s easy to get burnt.

On the other hand, they can be a godsend. Think about it.

The amount of time it takes to launch a full link building campaign is huge. But link building services make it easy.

They already have an extensive database of sites that accept links. And if they’re good the sites will be risk-free of penalization.

To find a link building service that’s trustworthy, a lot of research needs to be done thoroughly. One such service we’ve found that does the hard work is matthewwoodward.co.uk.

Rounding Up

It’s almost certain that link building will play a vital role in SEO for years to come, which is why it’s beneficial to jump on the train now.

There are tons of link building strategies out there that work. But the ones covered here far outperform them all.

And if time is lacking, it might be time to call in the experts. Link building services can provide quick, quality, natural links to a page.

Happy link building!

(Do you have a favorite link building technique we haven’t covered? Or…have you had an experience with a link builder that’s hurt your domain with shady links? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.)

 

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“Google My Business A to Z” – The Complete Course Is Now Live

Ross BarefootRoss Barefoot got his start in small business managing an importing company in the bicycle industry.  While there, he tried his hand at programming to find more effective ways to track, market and sell his company’s range of bicycle parts. He loved the web marketing side of things so much he became a professional […]

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How to Add a User to Your Google Ads Account

Don’t Share Credentials! Add a User to Google Ads the Right Way

This video how-to tutorial will walk you through the procedure for securely adding a user to your Google Ads account without having to hand out your Google sign-in credentials.

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Ross with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. As an agency, we often will start serving clients who have a Google ads account. One of the things that we’ll do is manage their account or do an assessment of their Google ads account. If you’re watching this video, it might be that you’ve been asked by your agency to grant them access to your account. Now, often what merchants will be tempted to do is pass around their own login information. Often people who are becoming clients of Horizon will offer to give us their account information.

screen capture of tools in Google ads
You find Access in tools within your Google Ads account dashboard

Typically, we encourage clients not to pass around their own Gmail login information, so I’m going to show you the better way to be able to allow someone into your Google ads campaign, so that they can help manage that campaign. There’s two basic levels of use or access to your campaign. We’re going to run through them now real quickly. I’m at the introductory screen of a Google ads campaign, this is a demo account and I’m going to go up here to tools and settings. Notice that under tools and settings, I have a choice that’s called account access, so I’ll go ahead and click on that.

Once it comes up, we’ve got a number of choices up here. We have users, managers, and security settings. Now, the type of access that you would initiate from your ads account is to grant another user, for example, an employee, maybe a freelancer who’s working with you, another manager, to grant them access to your ads account. So we’ll start with that tab, it’s the default users. And you can add a user by clicking on the plus button up here at the top, and then it will give you a choice as to what level of access you’re going to be granting this user. It’s also going to ask you for an email address.

Now in this case, I’ve got another demo account I’m going to add access to using a Gmail address, it’s hwmadsdemo2@gmail.com. Now typically this has to be an email address that is able to log into Google. It doesn’t have to be a Gmail address, but it has to be an email address that’s tied to a Gmail address with Google. And then we’ve got email only, which is basically, that’s often for someone who just needs to see reports. Read only is for someone who needs to see everything that’s going on, but you don’t want them to change anything.

Standard allows the user to be able to make changes, and the only difference between standard and admin is an administrative user then has the rights to be able to add or delete users, managers and so forth. We’ll go ahead and select standard access for this, and then down at the lower left we’ll click send invitation. Now at this point, the person that you’ve invited, does not have access to your account until they accept the invitation. At any time, you can go up here to this actions button, if you feel like it’s been a mistake, or you’ve changed your mind, go ahead and click on revoke, and then they won’t be able to get into your account.

Let’s switch over to another screen here, and I am in the inbox for that email address. So this, if you look up here at the top right, I’m logged into hwmadsdemo2@gmail.com, and here is the email we’ve received. So the user you’re inviting, we’ll get one that looks like this and you click on it, and then it will give them a more complete message, and they can go ahead and click, accept invitation. And notice how they do want to confirm the email with one more step. So we’ll go ahead and click continue. And then it takes them over and logs them into the Google ads account with those rights that you’ve defined for them.

On your side of things, going back here to this screen we were at before, this is the account that has granted the access, now let’s go ahead and do a refresh on the screen. And notice, now we have hwmadsdemo@gmail.com, or adsdemo2@gmail.com has been added, there’s the access level, you can change that from within this interface, you can also remove access to the account. The one other category of user is managers. Now managers is a different animal. You notice when we click on managers, there is no blue plus button. There’s no way to simply add a manager. The way this is going to work is, a manager needs to request access to your account.

And in order to do that, they will need to have you provide them with this account number that I’m pointing to in the upper right hand corner. This number here 786-806-4225, just like a US phone number. And that number you provide to the agency. And now an agency has a special, what’s called a manager account, for example, at Horizon Web Marketing, we have a manager account that we use to manage different accounts for our clients. And then the agency who has requested access will use this number, and will submit it through their manager account, and then you will show in here, you will show that a specific manager account has requested access to your account, and you’ll be able to approve it from this screen.

Those are basically the two levels of access that you need to know about, if you’re collaborating with others in your Google ads account. I hope this has been useful for you. If you’ve got other questions about things I haven’t covered in this particular account, please do leave them in the comments below. We try to respond to all comments, maybe not within a day, but we get around to it. So, leave us a comment, tell us what you’d like to learn, and give us a subscribe and a thumbs up if this was useful. Again, my name is Ross Barefoot and I’m with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy, and we’ll see you next time.

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How to Add a Manager to Your YouTube Channel

Empowering Your YouTube SEO: Make it a Team Effort

It’s essential that you have YouTube marketing as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Like everything else, the list of “best practices” is steadily getting longer. It’s almost impossible to put forth a full effort unless you have team members collaborating on your YouTube channel, whether it’s videographers to make the video, content creators to write and optimize descriptions and titles, or SEO assistants to take care of details like tags, captions, end screens, cards, and so forth. Don’t fall into the trap of handing out your credentials to team members. Not when there’s a much better alternative: add members of your team to your YouTube channel as managers. In this video we should you how you need to be set up, and then how to do it.

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Ross Barefoot with Horizon Web Marketing and the Horizon Web Marketing Academy. Are you trying to manage and promote your own YouTube channel? If you are, especially if you’re doing it for a business or an organization, you probably need some help. It might be another member of your team, an employee, maybe an agency partner. Whoever it is, how can you grant access without sharing your own personal YouTube login information? There is a way, and I’m going to show you how to do it, coming right up.

So the first step in this process is going to be to log into YouTube. Now the most difficult part of figuring out how to add someone to YouTube is going to be figuring out whether or not you have something called a brand channel. And typically when you set up a YouTube channel, especially if it’s an older YouTube channel, YouTube might’ve set it up under your own personal identity or you may have set it up and tied it into your organization’s brand. And that’s going to govern whether or not you can add somebody as a manager on your YouTube account. If you have a YouTube account where the channel is just under your own personal name, you’re not going to be able to add somebody else as a manager unless you tie it into a brand channel. Now, the point of this video is not to show you how to tie your channel to a brand channel.

Identifying Whether You Have a YouTube Brand Channel

For right now, we’re just going to show you how to identify whether you have a brand associated with your YouTube channel. So here I am, I’m at the YouTube login screen. The first thing that I’m going to do is I’m going to log in just with my personal identity to YouTube. All right. Now as I log in, because under my login I do manage a number of different YouTube channels, YouTube recognizes this and it’s going to ask me whether I want to log in with one of the other identities, with one of the other brand identities that I have associated with my account. In this case, I want to just illustrate to you what it looks like if you don’t have a brand channel. So I’m going to just use my own personal identity, and I don’t really use this, I don’t promote my own personal YouTube channel.

screen capture, show YouTube Studio Beta access

So basically it’ll just come up and it’ll look like this. And the first step that I want to do is go up to the top right, click on the little round circle, and then notice how it’ll give me a number of choices here. And one of those choices is YouTube Studio beta. Depending on how you’ve been using YouTube, it might say Creator Studio. Right now as of summer of 2019, YouTube is in this long-drawn, multi year process of switching over from their original management suite called Creator Studio over to their new management tool, which is called YouTube Studio. Let’s go ahead and select YouTube Studio, and I’ll show you basically, and you can’t still do everything on YouTube Studio that you could in Creator studio. And so Google gives you down here at the lower left an option, Creator Studio classic. And then you can go into Creator Studio Classic.

Right now you can’t do what I’m about to show you in YouTube Studio. So you’re going to have to switch back to Creator Studio Classic. If you’re viewing this a year from now, like in 2020 or 2021, might’ve switched a little bit, but bare with me on this. Who knows how long it’ll be that Google is going to force you to go to their older suite, Creator Studio Classic. And I’ve done that right now. I’ve gone to Creator Studio Classic. Once I’ve done that, when I click on my icon up here in the top right, notice how it switches to Creator Studio, and next to creator studio is this little gear called YouTube Settings, and I’m going to click on that.

You can get to settings from YouTube Studio Beta, but it doesn’t offer you the same choices. Once I’m in settings, I’m going to drop down here and I’m going to look at advanced settings and click on that. Now it’ll say at the top, “Set up YouTube exactly how you want it,” and then notice down here as I go under account information. Do you see where it says move channel to brand account? All right. This is the way I identify that, with my under my login, Ross barefoot, I don’t have my channel associated with a brand account. And so I’m not going to be able to add a separate manager to my YouTube channel.

Screen capture of YouTube Creator Studio Classic advanced settings
If YouTube offers to move your channel to a Brand Account, you don’t have a brand channel.

This is also the beginning of the process if you want to associate your YouTube account, your YouTube channel, with a brand account. And again as I mentioned before, that’s a different process so we’re not going to get sidetracked with that. I’m going to jump over here to another browser window, and here again at the YouTube log in screen. Now in this case I’ve logged in, and I’ve logged in under a brand account, Horizon Web Marketing. Now I’ve got the same choice, YouTube Studio beta. I’m going to do the same process. Click on that.

And then I’ll drop down the lower left and click on Creator Studio Classic. And now I’m going to go back up to the top right, go to Creator Studio and click on the gear icon. I’m back at the same screen here, which is my general account settings. I’m going to drop down again to advanced settings. Now here it’s going to look a little different. Notice what it tells me. You’re a manager of this channel and the connected brand account. If this is what you’re seeing, then you do have your YouTube channel associated with a brand account and you can add a manager.

So let’s go ahead and add a manager to this account. Somebody who can help out, managing posting videos and so forth. So I’ll click back up here on account. And because I’ve got a brand account, I have an additional choice here called managers. Let me go back to the personal account just to contrast that. I’ll click on account and notice how it does not have anything about managers here. It just gives me a choice to fool with my account settings.

To Add Other Managers to Your Brand (YouTube) Account, You Need to be the Owner

So at this point I’m going to click on add, remove managers, and now it will come up with this brand account details page. Once I’m at this page, you’ll see this choice up here that says users and it says change roles, invite, and remove users. Now I’m about to show you another gotcha that YouTube has built into their platform which makes it so much fun. And I’m saying that sarcastically. And that is you go over here and click on manage permissions, and I’m supposed to invite, add users, so forth. And I look and I have a list of users and I can’t do anything with any of these users.

Sorry managers, you only get to mess with permissions if you are the primary owner on the account.

What’s going on here? Google told me I could add or remove users. It turns out the only user I can do anything with is myself. I’m logged in as Horizon Web Marketing. I can remove myself as a manager. Well, why is it that it’s not giving me those choices? Here’s where YouTube is really cryptic. They don’t tell you the reason you don’t have the choices they promised you is because I’m not logged in as the primary owner, Carolyn Renaud of Horizon Web Marketing is the primary owner.

Let’s, if you reach this point, you’re going to have to then talk to the primary owner of the brand channel in order to get it done. Let’s go and take a look at what this looks like if I’m logged in as the primary owner. Here, I’m logged into one of the many accounts that I maintain in order to do my job. In this case, it’s my account, but I’m also in a channel called Rocky Mountain S.E.A. That’s a channel I don’t use any more. Rocky Mountain Search Engine Academy. Notice in this case, I am listed as the primary owner. Now what I see up here at the top right is a little button to invite new users. I can click on that and I add an email address and I select a role.

So for example, if I add test@gmail.com, then I can say, okay, what’s the role? Is it going to be owner, manager, communications manager? Now each of these has a different set of privileges from the most privileged, owner can do just about anything, manager can do almost anything, communications manager has a very limited set of options of what they can do. Things like post new videos and so forth. And you can invite more than one person at one time.

And once you’ve assigned a role, we’re going to say communications manager for the purpose of this illustration, I’m going to go ahead and click invite. That invitation is going to go out to whoever has that Gmail account. I’d hate to have that Gmail account, I bed I’d get a lot of this type of stuff. Now if you’ve invited somebody and you choose, and you have second thoughts, or you don’t need them on the account anymore, you can click remove. And here I’m going to go ahead and revoke the invitation. So those are two different situations. Someone who’s already on the account and just an invitation that’s gone out there. And once I’ve done that, then I’m done adding somebody as a user.

So that’s basically the process. As you can see from the demo, the primary thing here is it’s not that hard to add somebody as a manager user to your account. The primary challenge is just navigating your way through the options. You’ve got to make sure, one, that you have a brand account that you’re working with that is associated with your YouTube channel. So if your YouTube channel is associated with a brand account, you can manage, you can invite users, and so forth. And if it’s just your own personal YouTube channel, you’re not going to be able to do that.

Second thing is you have to be the primary owner on that brand account in order to be able to invite users. So as long as you got those two ducks in a row, you should be good with this and I hope it’s been helpful to you. I’m Ross Barefoot, thanks for watching, and please give us a subscribe if you found this useful.

Again, if you liked this video and found it useful, give it a thumbs up and subscribe. That lets YouTube know that it’s valuable content for other users as well. If you’re looking for some tips on using YouTube to promote your business, check out our video optimization course on YouTube. Now we discuss everything from keyword research for YouTube all the way through to special tools like cards and the end screens. We’ll tell you about YouTube ranking factors and how to figure out whether your videos are hitting the mark with your audience. I’ll drop a link to that course in the description below. That’s it, so bye for now.

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Video: How to Add a User to Google Analytics

If you have a marketing team, or are working with an SEO agency, you’ll likely need to know how to add users to your Google Analytics account.