Getting links is never an easy task when you have to approach someone out of the blue and persuade them to link to your site. But what if they are already linking to you? Reaching out to someone who is already linking to you is so much easier than cold calling.
So how can you improve the links you already have? We had a late night discussion in the LRT Associates Forum and came up with 13 ways to improve the backlinks that you already have. Some strategies might be more obvious than others, but I’m sure you will have at least one ‘light bulb moment’ during this article.
Learn how to:
- Find mentions of your brand that can be converted into links
- Fix troublesome anchor text links
- Make people who already link to you, link again
- Keep your link profile looking natural by changing some links
…and much more!
1. Changing Mentions into Backlinks
A mention is where somebody has mentioned your brand or one of your branded products on their site, but hasn’t linked to you. This could be a raw URL, like http://yourdomain.com as well as the name of your brand. I suppose this isn’t strictly a link you already have, but if someone has mentioned your brand, then why wouldn’t they want to link to you? A simple email like this will usually do the trick:
“Hey I see you mentioned [My Site] on [Your Page] about [The Subject]. Thank you for doing that I really appreciate that. However I was wondering if you would mind adding a hyperlink, so that people can find out more about [The Subject].
2. Changing Anchor Text
There are many reasons why you might want to get the anchor text of a link changed, for example:
Your ratios of Brand/Compound/Money/Other looks very different to your competitors on Google’s first page
You have overdone money anchor text which could lead to Google Penguin hell!
Your brand has changed
But how do you know what you need to change? You could begin by tackling the ones that are causing a problem
3. Changing NoFollow links into DoFollow links
Every site should have a mixture of DoFollow and NoFollow links. You can get a good idea of the ratio that is expected by running the Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA) with your site and your competitors. From the CLA report you can look at the Link Status and see how you could adjust your DoFollow/NoFollow ratio to blend in with the sites that are ranking in the top positions already.
4. Adding the alt attribute to image links
A link from an image is fine, but an image without an Alt-Text tag is not so good for you or the site it is on. Because this a potential improvement to the website the link is on, you should have no problem getting this added. You could point the webmaster to this article if they need reassurance. Ideally the alt text should be a text version of what the image is, which should hopefully be related to your brand or a product that you sell.
These are easy to find using Backlink Profiler or Link Detox reports.
You need to filter for;
Anchor Text = [IMG no alt-text]
LinkType = image
You can now sort by Power*Trust and contact webmasters to try and get a relevant keyword in the alt-text.
5. Finding dropped links and trying to recover them
You can see dropped links in a Backlink Profiler or a Link Detox report if you have disabled the Remove Dropped Links in the Advanced Settings.
My personal preference is to do this in a Link Detox report, so that you can check the potential risk of those links. In many cases I have seen large amounts of dropped links that I never want to see again.
Once you have your Link Detox report you can filter for Anchor Text = [LinkNotFound] and then look at the dropped links with a Low and Medium Link Audit Priority:
6. Finding links that go to non existent pages and recovering the juice
After a site re-launch, re-structure or old pages being deleted it is highly likely that you will have inbound links to pages that no longer exist
7. Undisavowing links that shouldn’t be disavowed
I covered this topic in my post about How to Perform a Disavow File Audit. It is for people who have submitted a disavow file to the Google Disavow Links tool in the past. This works because the web changes all the time and SEOs can make mistakes. Here are some scenarios where you can find the hidden gems:
Previous SEOs have disavowed too many links
You had a link from a site with a Google Penalty, but the penalty has now gone
You had a link from a site that was listed as dangerous with possible malware or virus, but now the webmaster has cleaned it up
Your link was on a site that had no external links and looked dodgy, but now it has great links and great authority
The site had lots of spammy backlinks, which are now cleaned up
The site had a massive number of outgoing links, but it now has a new owner who has got it under control
The site was part of a link network, but has now been purchased by a new owner who has cleaned it up.
You can read more about the Disavow File Audit mode here.
8. Unpicking Redirect Chains
This technique is all about finding redirect chains that eventually link to your site but have lost much of their power on the way. By reducing the amount of redirects you can recover a lot of link juice. Dan Shure from evolvingseo.com wrote an excellent article about this in 2013 called Stop Pulling My (Redirect) Chain which you should definitely read. This has an in depth tutorial with 5 different methods of unpicking redirect chains.
9. Building links to your link sources
The idea of tiered linking with linking pyramids and link wheels was a standard SEO method until 2012. The concept is simple; if you already have a good link, then that link could be made stronger by building links to the link source.
10. Improve the content on the link source to improve relevancy to your site
If you have access to the site where you have a link, you could boost the power and relevance of that link by improving the content quality. You need to treat this post like it was on your own site; great content, great meta description, original images etc. If you can improve the relevance by tweaking the co-occurrence with some semantic keywords then do so.
11. Replacing direct links with social profiles where appropriate
SEO’s are obsessed in gaining links to their website, but sometimes it can hurt their rankings if the link source is risky. If you were to get links to your company profile in any of the social networks, it could increase the audience with no risk at all to your main site. This is a more abstract approach that does not really involve SEO, but focuses more on the community engagement.
12. Linking to the more relevant inner page on your site rather than the homepage
I have an excellent example of this. I have a site which involves camping in all areas of the UK and Europe. One of the strongest links is from a site that is all about walking in Scotland. The link went to my homepage, from where they would have to find the relevant section about Scotland. I asked the site owner to change the link to my page about Scotland and almost immediately my conversion rate on that page more than doubled.
13. Make existing linkers link to you again
Most businesses tend to own at least a few domain names as well as their main one. They also have LinkedIn pages, YouTube Channels, Tumblr blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages etc. If people are already linking to one of your other sites, the chances are that they would be happy to link to one of your sites that they perhaps don’t know yet. If we can find these people we can ask them for a link to our site. This way you are getting them to link to you again.
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