Backlinks, despite what the social media fan boys will have you believe, you can’t rank #1 in Google without them.
When it comes to building links that catapult you to the top of Google – Brian Dean is without a doubt the industry’s go to guy.
What’s The Key To High Search Rankings?
I invited Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko.com, to share some of his top link building techniques that marketing agencies pay him big money to for and that he uses in his own business to rank #1 for some of the most competitive keywords on the planet.
“It’s all about links. It’s always been about links. And at least in the next 5, 6, 10 years it will be about links. Whoever has the best links will rank above those who don’t. The whole SEO game is getting those links.”
Marketing agencies pay Brian several hundred dollars per hour to
consult on link building. Thank Brian with a tweet here.
(Video Value = $600+)
In Brian’s first 2-years in the search engine optimization game he got “slapped” and lost rankings more times then he could count. Here are some highlights from the interview and 3 techniques he uses to build powerful links.
Forget Microsites – Build Authority Sites
Forget micro-sites (1-10 page website). Focus all your time, money and resources on building 1 authority site at a time.
Sure, life is good when you have 10 microsites ranking on top of Google but when when your rankings drop your problems are amplified 10X.
LESSON : It’s no more risky to have 1 big site than dozens of little sites. Plus, when your site gets authority status, ranking for your keywords becomes easier.
Ignore 95% of SEO Techniques on Forums
Online forums are full of free advice. But beware, because you get what you pay for.
In Brian’s experience you should ignore 95% of search engine optimization techniques your read on marketing forums (no matter how many people applaud it in the comment thread) for this one simple reason…it doesn’t work.
By the time someone has tested the tactic, gotten rankings, shared it with the world and then you read it…it’s dead.
This truism reminds me of a quote from a wise Wall Street executive in 1929 right before the stock market crash, “You know it’s time to sell when shoeshine boys give you stock tips. This bull market is over.”
LESSON : If you read an SEO technique on a public forum…the bull market is over.
The One Thing That Makes Link Building Easier?
How is your content going to stand out from billions of pages found online? It’s not creating good content. It’s creating awe inspiring content that’s dripping with value.
In our interview Brian reveals the successful online entrepreneur who goes so far as to routinely spends $50,000 to create a single web post so definitive, so undeniably impressive and awe inspiring that it sends shock waves of envy through his niche and attracts links like a tractor beam and shower him with web traffic.
LESSON : Go beyond good content – aim for breathtaking. (Check out the next tip – The Skyscraper Backlink Technique That Guarantees You’ll Get Quality Links)]
The Skyscraper Technique To Attract Quality Links
This technique virtually guarantees that you’ll attract the kind of backlinks you need to rank for any keyword you want.
Step 1: Find link-worthy content
Step 2: Create content that’s even better
Step 3: Contact the right sites in your niche.
Brian claims the success of this technique is basic human psychology.
Have you ever walked by a really tall building and said to yourself, “Wow, that’s amazing! I wonder how big the 8th tallest building in the world is.”
What you’re going to do is finding the tallest “skyscraper” in your space…and slapping 20 stories to the top of it. It’s human nature to be attracted to the best.
Watch the interview for more detail on the Skyscraper Technique.
LESSON : Find out what works and make it better – then hustle.
Social Signals – The Shocking Truth
Google has invested billions of dollars developing a search ranking algorithm based on the number of quality, relevant links going to a page.
Yes, Google is starting to factor social signals like Tweets, Facebook likes, pins, Google Plus into consideration. But if think they’re going to scrap billions in research and development to build a new algo based on data they don’t have 100% access to … well… that’s naive.
LESSON : Stick with building links for now and the near future.
Linkerati – Who Are They & How Do They Help You Rank?
In every niche there is a group of people who’re most likely to put a link to your page on their site – they’re link happy – aka the linkerati.
Brian’s approach is to always start your link building campaign by finding your niche’s linkerati, figure out what they like to link to and go above and beyond to create content they can’t help but link to.
LESSON : Focus on the link power-brokers.
Build It And They Will Come is a Myth.
Many pseudo-experts mistakenly preach that if you create great content the traffic will come. It’s a fairytale.
Creating killer content is not even half the battle in the SEO game. Smart marketers like Derek Halpern of Social Triggers spend 20% of their time creating content and 80% hustling for links, guest posts and tapping into other people’s subscriber lists.
“Here’s the deal: When you run a blog that has a few readers, adding more content doesn’t help you get more readers. The math just doesn’t work. Let’s say you have 100 readers. What are the chances that one of those people will love your content so much that they tell ALL of their friends about it? 1%? 2%? If that?” – Derek Halpern
LESSON : Blog less – promote more. You don’t have to be a content creation maniac to rank well.
“If you had a gun to your head and needed to rank fast, what link tactic would you use?”
Brian’s response without hesitation was – Infographics. Here’s his approach:
1. Research the kind of content the linkerati or linking to by going to Google and searching your target keyword.
2. Ignore results from authority sites like CNN, WebMD, Huffington, etc.. because they have an unfair ranking advantage.
You want to focus on pages created by Joe Average bloggers because it’s the content the linkerati are linking to.
3. Look for the opportunity.
Is the page outdated, missing critical information, an incomplete list, could it use more detailed instructions, attractive graphic design?
LESSON : Infographics are powerful link magnets.
In our video interview Brian reveals the 1 sneaky trick he uses in his link attracking infographics that dramatically increases the odds of authority sites giving him a backlink.
Broken Link Building Technique
Broken links on other people’s sites can be a backlink goldmine.
1. Identify a site you want a link from.
2. Find broken links on the site
3. Email the site informing them of the broken link and forward a page on your site that would be a suitable replacement for the broken link.
LESSON : Sites that are already linking will link again.
The Most Underutilized Link Building Tool – Email
I get at least 1 email every day with someone asking me for a link and I ignore them unless they’re looking to sponsor the site.
So I thought I’d seen every email approach in the book until Brian shared his 3-step email formula that increases his odds of getting an authority site to link to him by 200%.
Remember, the previous lesson – spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% hustling links and promoting your content. Email is the tool you use in the hustle.
Watch the video to learn the exact 3-step email formula Brian uses to get authority sites linking to him.
LESSON : Emailing people and begging for a link has a low success ratio and is annoying. If you’re going to do it, do it right.
Anchor Text Optimization
When I’m in the trenches, grinding out an SEO campaign and find a relevant, authority site that I can get a link on I stress about the keywords I should include in the link – aka, the anchor text.
It was a weight off my mind when Brian told me that he no longer worries about anchor text because over optimization is a signal to Google that you’re gaming the system – which they countered with the 2012 Penguin update.
LESSON : Brian advises that no more than 5% of your anchor should be keyword targeted to what you want to rank for.
BAX : What link building technique have you seen results with? Or, do you think SEO is dead?