Underrated Link Building Tactics: Relationships Over Backlinks





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Underrated Link Building Tactics: Relationships Over Backlinks

Underrated Link Building Tactics: Relationships Over Backlinks

As an SEO enthusiast, I’ll admit – link building has always been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. On one hand, I know it’s an essential part of boosting my website’s visibility and search rankings. But on the other, the constant hunt for new backlinks can sometimes feel like a never-ending slog.

That is, until I started exploring some of the more unconventional link building tactics out there. You see, I realized that the true power of link building doesn’t lie in just accumulating as many backlinks as possible. Rather, it’s about building genuine, meaningful relationships with the right people and communities.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Relationships? That sounds like a lot of work.” And you’re not wrong. Relationship-based link building does require a bit more effort upfront. But trust me, the payoff is well worth it.

Let me explain.

The Limitations of Conventional Link Building

Don’t get me wrong, tactics like guest posting, broken link building, and the skyscraper technique are all incredibly effective. I’ve used them with great success in the past. But the problem is, they’ve become so ubiquitous that many website owners and influencers are starting to tune them out.

Think about it – how many times have you received an email from a stranger asking to guest post on your site or “fix” your broken links? Chances are, it’s a lot. And after a while, those types of outreach messages start to feel a bit impersonal and, well, spammy.

As one Redditor put it, “Link building seems to have merely moved from paying for backlinks on poor quality spam sites in the 2010s to paying for backlinks on reputable sites at a higher price.”

Ouch. That’s a pretty harsh assessment, but I have to admit, there’s some truth to it.

The Power of Relationship-Based Link Building

So, if the conventional link building tactics are starting to lose their luster, what’s an SEO enthusiast to do? Well, that’s where relationship-based link building comes into play.

The key here is to shift your focus from simply acquiring backlinks to building genuine, mutually beneficial connections with influencers, thought leaders, and relevant communities in your industry.

As Brian Dean from Backlinko puts it, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” And when it comes to link building, that couldn’t be more true.

Think about it – when you have a personal relationship with someone, they’re much more likely to be receptive to your outreach and willing to link to your content. After all, it’s not just a random stranger asking for a favor; it’s someone they know and (hopefully) trust.

Putting Relationship-Based Link Building into Practice

Okay, so how do you actually put this relationship-based approach into practice? Here are a few tactics I’ve found to be particularly effective:

1. Become a Valuable Resource

One of the best ways to build relationships in your industry is to position yourself as an expert and trusted resource. This could mean creating high-quality, in-depth content, participating in online communities, or offering valuable insights and advice to your peers.

For example, I recently started a Q&A session on my blog, where I invite my readers to submit their burning SEO questions. Not only does this help me better understand the challenges my audience is facing, but it also allows me to showcase my expertise and provide genuinely helpful information.

2. Leverage HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

HARO is a free service that connects journalists with industry experts. By becoming a source and responding to media requests, you can not only build relationships with reporters but also secure valuable backlinks from high-authority news sites.

The key here is to provide well-researched, insightful responses that are tailored to the specific request. Generic, keyword-stuffed pitches are likely to get ignored, so make sure to put in the time and effort to craft a compelling response.

3. Collaborate with Complementary Businesses

Reaching out to companies and industry partners that offer complementary products or services can be a fantastic way to build mutually beneficial relationships.

For example, if you run an ecommerce site that sells camping gear, you could collaborate with a local outdoor adventure company to cross-promote each other’s offerings. Not only will this help you tap into a new audience, but it may also lead to some valuable backlinks.

4. Embrace Ego Bait

Ah, the art of “ego baiting” – a technique that involves making someone feel important or recognized in exchange for a link or social share. This could involve something as simple as featuring an industry influencer in a blog post or interview, or even just giving them a shoutout on social media.

The key here is to make the interaction genuine and authentic. Don’t just do it for the sake of a link; do it because you genuinely admire and respect the person’s work. That way, they’re much more likely to reciprocate the gesture.

Beyond Backlinks: The Bigger Picture

At the end of the day, effective link building is about so much more than just acquiring backlinks. It’s about building genuine, long-lasting relationships with the people and communities that matter most in your industry.

Sure, those backlinks are still important for boosting your search rankings and driving referral traffic. But when you focus on relationship-based tactics, you’re not just building links – you’re building a network of influencers, thought leaders, and advocates who can help amplify your message and propel your business forward.

So, if you’re tired of the same old link building grind, why not give some of these unconventional tactics a try? You might be surprised at just how powerful relationship-building can be.

And who knows, you might even have a little fun along the way.


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