link-building

I don’t intend to bore you with this but as of 2017, links remains a top Google ranking signal.

Chances are you have come across one of those case studies (I have!) sharing amazing results from link building exploits. It usually looks something like this:

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This:

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Or this:

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No doubt those are impressive results...

...But just about when you tried to replicate the same feat for your own blog or a client's website...check below (can you relate?):

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You're wondering: "Why am I not getting similar results from this or that backlink strategy, despite following all the steps outlined in the case study to a tee?"

I get your point. I mean, you're entitled to know why link building for SEO has got to be so shamelessly biased.

So in today's post, I'll be sharing with you those 'unseen forces' behind your SEO campaign problems. Once you know them, you can then get your link building back to winning ways.

Plus I'll be showing you some legitimate reasons why you shouldn't panic when you used the Dead Links, Broken Links, Guest Blogging, Guest-o-graphics or any other link building strategies with little to no SEO impact.

Let's dive in and look at 6 limiting factors for your SEO campaign success (and of course what to do about them!)

Limiting Factor #1: Your Target Audience Languages

This one doesn't matter whether the link building technique you're trying to execute was first written in English or has been translated into other languages.

English content, for the most part, gets more love than content written in other languages since the former category of content appeals to the interest of a broader audience.

English is the most used language on the web with 19.8% more internet penetration than Chinese, its closest competitor:

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clip_image014Image credit:Internet World Stat

Suffice it to say the number of people  interested in the language you're writing in, and maybe their population, explains the discrepancy often experienced in the metrics of two users of the same link building technique.

It then follows that optimizing your content around whatever link building strategy in another language besides English and some other well used languages could mean you're writing for a specific audience of a particular demography.

There's no cause for alarm. There's every possibility your competitors face the same problem (assuming you're in a demography with limited reach).

This often translates into competition being fair enough for you and your competitors.

Limiting Factor #2: Your Niche

When I see people whining about their niche being small, boring and dry I usually just smile. You know why?

They probably don't know they're in luck.

Quick reminder: the not so boring niches are usually very competitive. Some of them are even super competitive.

In some of these niches executing any link building technique might require double efforts (and time) to really see any tangible result. But in a boring niche, anything stands out.

No matter how competitive or boring your niche is, or who your competitors are, you can manage to rank.

So how do you compete? Where other sites lose focus and provide general info that’s obvious, you, on the other hand:

  • Provide in-depth details about the topic or subject matter
  • Get specific with your content and make them actionable
  • Stand out. It could be in the aspect of your writing style
  • Get creative. Might be that you'd have to dig up different keywords where those big shots (your competitors) don’t show up at all or as much

As you go toe-to-toe with your competitors continue to rock your boring niche. "You ain't go no problems."

Limiting Factor #3: Your Keywords

Since it's people you're creating content for you’ve just got to be patient for your audience to find your content, be interested enough to click away and, if you're lucky, have them respond to your CTAs.

Some keywords, some topics, attract huge interest. Others? Not so much.

You can trust keywords like SEO strategies, content marketing, email marketing, weight loss tips, SEO tools will beat other keywords like pest control, employees wellness ideas, wooden packaging boxes, insurance, ventilation systems hands down. Any day, any time.

Here, compare:

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Luckily if you're in the famed boring niches you may not require as many backlinks to rank in comparison to other very competitive keywords. Better yet; it also means you may not have to compete with popular brands and the big guys in search results.

Not in a niche? No worries. Create content in closely related niches (otherwise known as shoulder niches) that appeal to a related audience.

So let’s say you sell lawnmowers. You could create contents about gardening, DIY, lawn care etc. (See thiscase study detailing how Mark increased traffic by 15% by utilizing the shoulder niche approach.)

Limiting Factor #4: Your Keywords' Search Volume

As you know, in Google Keyword Planner there are keywords with hundreds or even millions of monthly searches.

And Google Trends will even let you which searches that hit the roof around June but by December are already rocking the bunkers.

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You have to know and understand the dynamics of each keyword around which you optimize your content. Then channel your performance expectations accordingly.

Mind you, with 64% of web traffic coming from organic search any white hat link building technique will, for the most part, work, but may not necessarily move the magic wand.

Quick action tip: If you're in a small niche with low keyword search volume trying to build quality links, check out Neil Patel's How to Do SEO When You’re in a Low-Volume Niche 

Limiting Factor #5: Your Link Prospecting Tactics

For a huge part, the success of your link building tactics depend on your link prospecting genius.

Am I saying there's a wrong and a right way to go about link prospecting?

You bet.

The Wrong Approach To Link Prospecting

  • Begging for links
  • Sending link request mindlessly
  • Trying to build link to an average post
  • Trying to get links from irrelevant and low-quality link sources
  • Trying to get as many links as possible

Now if the above were the wrong approaches to link prospecting, what then is the right way?

The Right Way To Link Prospecting

Nobody is under any obligation to link to your content. People will probably only link to you if you have truly link worthy content.

So that's the first part: go ahead and create a rock solid, actionable, irresistible, linkable asset.

Doing so will help you attract links naturally. It also cuts down on active link building!

As for the active link building outreach; don't beg for links. Instead, simply request, politely, while giving the impression of someone who's lending a helping hand. Seriously, that's it.

Use a personalized headline. Make the body of your message compelling and clear. Be straight up about the purpose of the email (I recommend sending a feeler email. In fact this study found that sending feeler email increased response rate by up to 40%).

Point out why the  link prospect should care (whether that includes giving them a heads up about their broken links or that you want them to consider your more detailed, actionable guide).

Assuming your prospects replied to your first email, reply with your link offering(s) and move on to the next prospect.

Brian Massey's pro tip:

"When you invite someone to link to your story, give them a trackable link. This can be as easy as using a URL shortener like Bitly or Captix. You can also tag your URLs for tracking in Google Analytics."

Though there's no hard and fast rule about when you should send emails. Somewhere between the hours of 8 a.m and 3 p.m (all things being equal) your prospect's time, work days, with the exception of Friday should be fine. Weekends are a no-no.

Limiting Factor #6: Your Online Reputation

Whether you agree with me on this one or not, well...it's kind of a big deal.  And it applies especially to guest posting.

I bet that in addition to the 'quality of the content', as is often claimed, another reason an authority website would link to you is if they think your content can add to their authority. If you're not bringing a lot to the table, they'll ignore you.

Really, I don't have data to support this claim, but I observe that a lot of the websites that accept guest posts, on their submission page, would request a link to at least two other places that you've been published.

I'd think they want to judge your writing style and your experience with the particular topic(s) you're pitching to them.

And of course some editors are on the lookout for writers with at least some decent following.

The idea is that the editor knows if you have a large following --regardless of whether or not your guest posts are meaty and in fact useful to its readers-- they'll get traffic to their website since you might share your guest posts with your large and loyal followers.

Conclusion

To succeed with SEO, at least one link building technique is going to be required.

But executing any link building strategy is A LOT of work (lots of testing/tweaking/pitching that could run into hours, weeks or even months), it fails too (replies to email outreaches can really be worrisome), and there may be little or no conversions (revenue, product trials, downloads, email sign ups).

These and more are the few but important details that are often left out in many SEO campaign success stories. This post just kind of emphasized them by the way.

Take The Next Step

Have you used any link building tactics with little to no SEO success? Can you identify with any of the above being the reason for your failures? Tell me in the comment box below about the particular link building technique.

Last Step

Now that you have seen the real culprits behind your SEO campaign woes, give your SEO buddies a heads up by sharing this post with them.

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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com