The Definitive Link Building Strategy for SEO Agencies and Freelancers

The Definitive Link Building Strategy for SEO Agencies and Freelancers

Have you heard that earning quality backlinks to your clients' sites is all about luck?

The problem with that advice is that it’s completely wrong.

Why?

No link building strategy will ever work if you have a zero-sum game mentality.

Here's what I mean.

If you’re pitching to prospects asking for a link without offering anything in return…

…you’re losing to guys like me in the SERPS.

Instead, link building can be beneficial for prospects and clients both.

So, if your approach doesn’t involve offering value to your link prospect, it’s time to devise a new plan.

The solution is straightforward:

Create potent content and help your link prospects before you ask them for anything.

Keep reading to learn how to pull it off.

Table of Contents

Why Most Link Building Campaigns Fail

If your client’s website isn’t generating the kind of income that they expect, there are likely two main reasons:
1. The content you are producing for them is generic and offers zero benefits to link prospects.
But what does that mean?
It means that competition on the web is fiercer than ever before. As a result, your content needs to WOW your audience.
2. Your link prospects offer no real value.​

Every agency and freelancer with SEO clients scrambles to get high-quality links.

But guess what?

Every agency and freelancer with SEO clients scrambles to get high-quality links.

These links are more challenging to get and are, for this reason, more time-consuming.

As a result, many SEO agencies use the alternative route: they go for quantity over quality links.

This risks generating links from a spammy site, which in turn DECIMATES SEO RANKINGS.

You see my point, right? Going after the wrong prospects can harm your SEO efforts.

It gets worse.

While you’re focusing on quantity instead of quality, all those links lose their value over time.

The secret to beating this cycle is to be selective about the link prospects you target. So, you should only approach prospects whose value is higher than the effort it takes to score the link.

Here Are Four Reasons Why Your Link Building Campaign Is Not Working

1. Your content is underwhelming.
I often hear things like:
But the hard truth is:
Link building hasn't become harder. Readers have become more competent.

Your audience doesn’t want to read the same tedious, repurposed content. Plus they can spot clickbait headlines from a mile away now.

The challenge that SEO agencies face these days is not what content to produce. Instead, we need to figure out how to make it stand out from the rest of the blogs out there covering the same topic.

Good content follows these core principles:
Value
Any content that increases your reader’s understanding of the topic in a way they haven’t read before is good.

And it makes sense.

When you’re learning about a new topic, you read countless articles about the same subject. Once all the content regurgitates the same info, you’ve reached the end of the free fountain of knowledge.

Or have you?

As an SEO provider, you should strive to produce content that web admins will value linking to from their site.

Your agency should care about what your audience cares about, not what you think about a topic.

You must get out of your own way and help your audience by giving them the answers they need.

“High quality” is the combination of information that is the:

This fact means reaching out to experts to get their secret tactics about your blog’s topic.

Sound time consuming?

To run a good link building campaign, you must be willing to do ANYTHING that can add value to your content.

Most agencies and freelancers are NOT willing to put in that kind of effort.

I know reaching out to professionals can be daunting, but bear with me.

Many experts welcome any opportunity to share the knowledge they’ve accumulated.

So, don’t be afraid to reach out to them on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Over-Deliver
Transparency

Quality content is honest, straightforward, and serves no hidden agendas. Your audience is savvy. They will see right through content that pretends to be one thing but is a masked attempt at making sales.

Remember, readers now have a strong intuition about these things.

And no blog wants to link to an article that reads more like a sales page than an educational text.

Why?

If all blogs were to link to hidden sales pages, they’d lose all their credibility among their readers.

Then they would lose the readers.

Think short-term and long-term

Quality content delivers value today as well as serves its readers for many years to come.

Pro tip: Most blogs try to create content around topics that are too broad. This shortcoming leads to high-level, bland, and generic posts. The trick is to use a specific angle to tackle a general issue. Doing so will turn your blogs into outstanding pieces.

2. You are posting your client's content on all their social media platforms.

You might have read somewhere that posting your content on all social media leads to links.

Guess what? I’ve also read the articles claiming the same thing.

And that’s not all. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars implementing that same tactic for my clients.

Do you know what I discovered?

It NEVER leads to links.

Most people who share your content on social media sites never actually read it, let alone link to it.

Many people who share your content on social media don’t even have an actual website.

So, skip this tactic and, instead, focus on your content.
3. You are begging for links which is an SEO sin.

Link begging is annoying.​

I understand that your client wants to show up on the front page of Google; every business does.

To make that happen for your client, you may even be willing to annoy a blog owner to get a backlink from them.

But before you drop to your knees to beg for a backlink, I want you to reconsider throwing away your dignity.

You can spend your entire day begging your prospect for a link. But the truth is, no one will link to your site unless you give them a reason to do it.

The only reason a prospect will consider giving you a link is if it benefits them somehow.​

If you forget to tell your prospects what they can expect to receive by linking you, then you’re begging.

Moral of the story?
Don’t ask for a link without a plan to give something away.
4. You are building meaningless backlinks.

Most of the links you build yourself are useless and will never produce results for your clients.

Building them might feel productive, but you’re only wasting your time.

What SEO Success Looks Like Today

To succeed in link building today, you need to create high-value content. You also need to become great at conducting link outreaches. Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts around these two strategies.

Go after the influencers in your clients' industries instead of inconsequential link prospects.

Here’s why.

It takes a lot of time and effort to win over a prospect. Don’t waste your energy on poor link targets. Instead, focus on getting links guaranteed to deliver traffic.

Your time is too valuable to waste it on links that may or may not pay off for your client.

I know this strategy seems counterintuitive based on all the SEO posts out there. A lot of marketers caution against targeting your best link prospects first.

But I like to challenge the common assumption.

Targeting influential link targets in your clients' industries will result in higher rewards.

How so?

It will force you to create the type of content you need to produce to turn that into reality.

Plus when you earn their link it often generates a river of extra referral traffic. Not to mention Google loves seeing links from influencers sites.

Stay with me now as I explain why link building is still relevant today.
Is Link Building Dead?
Link building is far from being irrelevant. It remains a vital part of any profitable SEO strategy.

But when links first became a ranking factor, many spammers ruined it by:

These practices damaged many people’s perception of the value of link building.  Thanks to these SEO cheaters, earning a valuable link has never been more challenging.

Today, to get backlinks, you ALMOST need to offer your newborn to your prospect. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Please don’t send me hate mail over it.

But you get my point.

Your prospects get link requests left and right from shady link builders. It’s no wonder you come across as a pest and not a guest.

Asking a cold prospect for a backlink is like asking someone to marry you while you’re on your first date with them.

Talk about crazy.

If your link outreach campaigns have been failing until now, I would assume...

…it’s because you asked for too much too soon without establishing value with your prospects.

Chances are, as soon as a blogger sees a link request, they filter them into their junk pile.

4 Steps to Conduct an Effective Outreach Strategy

Step 1:
Research
Identify the prospects who are able to help your client rank the fastest.

From my experience, this should take you no longer than 60 minutes every month.

I can almost hear you questioning how that’s possible in such a limited amount of time.

The secret?
Avoid spending most of your time looking for prospects. Instead target a few key influencers at a time. Trust me, this step alone will change the way your company builds links forever.
Research your prospects’ content to find out how you can help them.

This part is crucial because it gives you the leverage you need to ask for a favor—a backlink.

You can do this by:

After all, the person with the most leverage always wins, so let that person be you.

Stick around to find out more about what you can leverage to convince your prospect to give you a link.

Step 2:
Find the Gap
Step 3:
Pay Up
Now, it’s time for you to hold up your end of the bargain.

Once you’ve determined how you can provide value to a link prospect, you must give it to them in exchange for the link.

Your leverage piece needs to blow them away.

Helping others who can help you first— before asking for help— will help you rank your client’s website in no time.

Ask your prospects to link back to your content.

At this stage, the expert should be more than happy to help you out with a backlink.

If they refuse to give you a backlink, you might want to double-check the content you’re peddling out.

Unfortunately, your piece may not be up to their standards.

Don't give up though.

You can always rework your content until it’s perfect and resubmit it to the prospect.

Step 4:
Ask
What to offer your prospect for a backlink

By now, you already know that quality content is king when it comes to link building.

Luckily, you can offer a few other things up your sleeve that’ll make your prospect more inclined to say yes.

Send Traffic

It’s no secret that every website owner wants more traffic. So, if you’re able to send people to your prospect’s website for free, then you’re almost guaranteed a backlink.

Provide Services at a Heavy Discount

As an SEO agency, you’re able to offer your services at a discounted price to premium link prospects.

Be careful with this technique. The goal is not to bribe the blogger. But to incentivize them.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that the future of link building is in highly-valuable content.

The prospects you’re targeting must be premium if you ever want Google to reward you.

The more influential sites your target, the better links you’ll have pointing to your client’s web pages. This in turn, will generate traffic to your client’s site.

After all, only the content that’s valuable and engaging merits good links.

Reach out to authority and industry blogs. Get natural links from trustworthy sites.

Be consistent and patient. Soon you’ll climb your clients to the top of Google search engine ranking pages.