The realm of SEO has always revered link building as one of its crowning jewels. For many, the process of obtaining these links has been deeply rooted in content creation. But a question lingers: can we truly build links without churning out content? Today, we’ll explore alternative avenues of link building, establishing how to build links without content.
Why content is usually king when link building
Traditionally, content has been the cornerstone of link building campaigns. Rich, informative, and engaging content naturally draws in organic links, acting like a magnet. Furthermore, crafted content serves as an invaluable tool for outreach, paving the way for guest posting opportunities and collaborations.
💡 Google’s E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a crucial aspect of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which human reviewers use to evaluate the quality of web pages. Here’s what each element means:
- Expertise: The content creator’s level of knowledge on the topic.
- Authoritativeness: The reputation of the content creator and the website publishing it.
- Trustworthiness: The reliability and credibility of the website and the content it hosts.
1. Natural link magnet
Content, especially when it is original, informative, and relevant, attracts organic backlinks.
Think of the numerous times you’ve come across a brilliantly written article or an insightful infographic, and you’ve either shared it or even linked it from your own content. A valuable piece of content can go viral, drawing attention from all corners of the web. This virality translates into an organic spread of backlinks from websites, blogs, and social platforms.
2. Enabler of outreach
High-quality content facilitates outreach efforts. When SEO professionals or business owners reach out to other websites for guest posting opportunities, they often present their best pieces as samples or for sharing. This process not only showcases expertise but also increases the likelihood of obtaining a backlink.
3. Anchor for expertise
Consistent content showcases a brand or individual as an authority in a particular niche. Over time, this builds trust. Websites, influencers, or professionals in the industry will naturally link back to content that has established its authority, as it adds credibility to their own content.
4. Fuel for social shares
Content drives social media engagement. Every share on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook expands the reach of content. While social shares aren’t direct backlinks, they increase visibility, which, in turn, can lead to more backlinks from blogs, forums, and websites that notice the content.
Why some links should be built without content creation
We stand true that content is King; without it, both Google and your readers won’t understand what you’re all about. But, in some instances, heavy reliance on content might lead to missing out on valuable link building opportunities.
1. Over-reliance on content
A singular focus on content might lead brands to overlook other valuable link building strategies. It could also lead to a saturation point where the content becomes redundant or loses its novelty, diminishing its effectiveness in drawing links.
2. Quantity over quality?
Some brands fall into the trap of churning out content endlessly, hoping that the sheer volume will attract backlinks. However, the digital audience today is discerning. They seek quality over quantity, relevance, and value. Massive amounts of mediocre content won’t necessarily generate the desired backlinks, and might even dilute a brand’s reputation.
3. Neglecting relationships
Building relationships is central to effective link building. While content can initiate and foster these relationships, relying only on content might mean missing out on building long-term partnerships through networking, collaborations, and mutual promotions.
4. Changes in consumption patterns
The way audiences consume content is constantly evolving. With the rise of voice search, augmented reality, and other technologies, content consumption isn’t limited to reading blog posts or articles. A content-centric link building strategy might not fully leverage these emerging platforms and trends.
How to build links without content creation
1. Utilising Existing Assets
Repurposing older content: Sometimes, it’s not about creating something new, but about giving a fresh spin to what you already have. Transform blog posts into slideshows, infographics, podcasts, or even webinars. Each format has its own audience, and each transformation is an opportunity for a new set of backlinks.
Updating outdated web pages: The digital world evolves rapidly. An article written two years ago may have outdated statistics or references. By updating these pages with current data and refreshing the content, you can make it relevant again, prompting shares and links.
Promoting evergreen content: There are likely pieces in your archive that remain relevant over time. Identify this evergreen content and promote it through various channels periodically.
2. Leveraging Directories & Listings
Niche or industry-specific directories: Every industry has directories that compile a list of relevant businesses or websites. Ensure your site is listed in reputable directories relevant to your niche. Remember, quality over quantity applies here; being listed in a few high-quality directories is better than multiple low-quality ones.
Local listings: For local businesses, platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing Places are invaluable. Ensure your profiles are complete, optimised, and regularly updated to stay relevant.
3. Partnerships & Sponsorships
Collaborations with non-competing businesses: Identify businesses that complement yours and collaborate on initiatives that can warrant linking back to each other’s websites. For instance, a digital marketing firm might collaborate with a web design agency on a webinar about modern online branding.
Event sponsorships: Sponsoring local or industry-specific events often comes with the perk of a backlink from the event’s website or partners. Even small contributions, like providing freebies for attendees, can get your business a mention.
Badge-based recognition: Some websites offer badges to their sponsors or partners. These badges, when embedded on your site, can serve as a backlink.
4. Testimonials & reviews
Offering genuine testimonials: Did a software solution significantly enhance your business operations? Offer a testimonial. Businesses often display testimonials prominently and link back to the reviewer’s site as a mark of authenticity.
Being featured in case studies: Many businesses love showcasing their success stories. If you’ve had a particularly successful partnership with a vendor or service provider, offer to be part of a detailed case study. This not only positions your business positively but also comes with backlink opportunities.
5. Unlinked brand mentions
Monitor the digital space for mentions of your brand, products, or services. Whenever someone mentions you but doesn’t link back, it’s an opportunity. Reach out, thank them for the mention, and politely request a backlink. Tools like Google Alerts can help you keep track of these mentions.
6. Build a tool or free resource
While this might seem like content creation, building a one-time tool or resource differs from continuously producing content. For instance, if you’re in the finance sector, a simple loan calculator or budget tracker can draw links. These tools provide consistent value, prompting users and other websites to link back to them.
7. Engage in communities
Be an active participant in online forums, Q&A sites like Quora, and industry-specific communities. While the primary goal isn’t to drop links (and many forums might even have no-follow policies), being genuinely helpful can establish your authority. This often leads to others referencing your answers or posts, sometimes on external platforms, providing link opportunities.
Advantages of diversifying your link building strategies
By diversifying strategies, your brand has a better chance of cementing its presence across varied platforms.
1. Enhanced resilience
Google’s algorithms and best practices for SEO are constantly evolving. By diversifying your link-building tactics, you ensure that your backlink profile remains robust and effective, even if one method falls out of favour or gets penalised.
2. Access to broader audiences
Different link-building tactics can target various segments of your audience. For instance, local listings might cater to local clients, while a mention on a renowned industry blog might appeal to a global or more specialised demographic. Diversity helps in capturing a wider audience spectrum.
3. Strengthened brand authority
Being visible on multiple reputable platforms – from directories and review sites to forums and partner websites – solidifies your brand’s authority in your niche. It’s not just about quantity but the quality and variety of platforms linking back to you.
4. Reduced dependency
Sole reliance on one method, like guest blogging, might be detrimental if that method hits a roadblock (e.g., a significant blog stops accepting guest posts). Diversification reduces this over-dependency, ensuring a steady flow of backlinks.
5. Enhanced creativity and innovation
Exploring various strategies allows your team to think outside the box. It promotes creativity, pushing you to develop unique campaigns, tools, partnerships, or engagement methods, which can set you apart from competitors.
Pitfalls to avoid
1. Chasing quantity over quality
In the race to diversify, one might fall into the trap of accumulating links from every possible source. Not all backlinks are valuable. Links from spammy or irrelevant sites can harm your SEO rankings. Always prioritise quality over sheer numbers.
2. Neglecting maintenance
Some strategies, like updating directories or profiles, require periodic maintenance. A neglected profile or an outdated listing can mislead potential clients or degrade your brand image.
3. Overlooking relevance
Always ensure that the platform or method aligns with your brand and audience. Acquiring a backlink from an irrelevant source might not add any value and, in some cases, might even be detrimental.
4. Engaging in black hat techniques
In the quest to diversify and increase backlinks, never resort to black hat SEO practices like buying links, participating in link farms, or spamming comments. Such tactics can lead to severe penalties from search engines.
💡 You might like this guide: How to avoid being the victim of negative SEO.
5. Forgetting relationship building
Diversifying shouldn’t mean making superficial connections everywhere. At the heart of every link-building strategy should be genuine relationships, whether it’s with partners, customers, or platforms. Cultivate these relationships, as they often lead to the most valuable and sustainable links.
6. Ignoring metrics and feedback
Diversification is not a set-it-and-forget-it game. Monitor the performance of your various link-building strategies. Are certain backlinks driving more traffic than others? Are some methods not yielding results? Regularly reviewing and adjusting based on metrics ensures your efforts are always optimised.
Will you give alternative link building methods a go?
By embracing both content-centric and alternative strategies, your brand stands resilient in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Feeling inspired to explore diverse link building avenues? Contact our digital marketing agency for a tailored roadmap.