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The beginner’s Guide to
Manual Link Building

By: Michael Johnson

Links have long been one of the most important factors in the reputation of a website. High-quality links to your website act as a “vote” or validation from other sites. The more websites link back to yours, the more Google trusts you as an authoritative source of information. Building backlinks to your website gives you the opportunity to help drive traffic and sales to your business online.

Google loves a website that answers search queries and provides useful information that provides the best answer to a searcher’s query. The more links you establish to useful content, the more Google will be willing to crawl your page and determine your place in their search engine result pages (SERPs).

But link building as a practice has evolved. Long gone are the days when posting a link to your page on other people’s comment sections bumped you up to the top of the SERPs. Instead, link building has become a methodical labor of love. And trust us, that labor of love takes time and effort.

Only those websites willing to put in the effort and work will see the real benefits of manual link building. Effective link building strategies are what drive a website’s growth on Google – but what is an effective link building strategy? How can you build out a healthy backlink profile through manual efforts in a way that will get your site noticed for the right reasons?

What is Manual Link Building and Why Does it Matter?

Link building is the practice of securing links to your site on other domains by intentionally contacting websites to get them to link to you. When other sites link to your website, Google’s crawlers then know that you’re an authoritative and trusted source of information. These links are called backlinks.

Backlinks earned through link building can be extremely valuable in Google’s eyes. The more backlinks a website earns from other authoritative sources, the more authority they receive.

Earning these backlinks can be done through manual link building campaigns.

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What Are the Best Practices for Manual Outreach Link Building?

Before you can secure backlinks from other websites or hire a manual link building service to help you, you must first ensure your own content is worth linking to. After all, it’s only appropriate that you tidy up the home before inviting guests over.

To establish a backlink, there are two audiences you need to impress with your website: the editors of the website you’re targeting and the site’s target readership. The article that you’re trying to create a backlink for needs to be both linkable, broadly applicable, and aimed at answering a user’s query.

In order to do that, we’ve highlighted a few opportunities that you should check off your list before beginning the manual link building process.

Build Content that Is Genuinely Beneficial to a Large Audience

Aim to Answer User Questions

Start off by scanning your site for content that is useful to a large number of people. When an audience finds value in your content, they’re likely to stick around longer. This adds value to your page and the backlinks you’ve secured.

By building content that people actually need and want to read, you’re establishing yourself as an authoritative source. Sites need this kind of quality content so that other websites will trust and will be willing to link to.

Before starting your link building campaign, see if your content answers questions and solves problems. Content that doesn’t answer any questions or is too mid or bottom funnel will be nearly impossible to build a successful link building campaign off of.

One of the best ways to ensure your content is beneficial is to answer questions and inquiries. How does your content solve a reader’s problems and provide useful answers?

By having a section focused on asking and answering questions, you’re providing direct value to your page for the reader. This also tells Google that you know what people are searching for and can provide the answers.

Answering the questions can also help play into your keyword ranking and site SEO. You can improve your SEO by featuring the exact phrases and questions that people are searching for.

By doing the work and aiming for a human-centric approach to search, Google is more likely to reward your hard work.

Build Content that Is Genuinely Beneficial to a Large Audience

Start off by scanning your site for content that is useful to a large number of people. When an audience finds value in your content, they’re likely to stick around longer. This adds value to your page and the backlinks you’ve secured.

By building content that people actually need and want to read, you’re establishing yourself as an authoritative source. Sites need this kind of quality content so that other websites will trust and will be willing to link to.

Before starting your link building campaign, see if your content answers questions and solves problems. Content that doesn’t answer any questions or is too mid or bottom funnel will be nearly impossible to build a successful link building campaign off of.

Aim to Answer User Questions

One of the best ways to ensure your content is beneficial is to answer questions and inquiries. How does your content solve a reader’s problems and provide useful answers?

By having a section focused on asking and answering questions, you’re providing direct value to your page for the reader. This also tells Google that you know what people are searching for and can provide the answers.

Answering the questions can also help play into your keyword ranking and site SEO. You can improve your SEO by featuring the exact phrases and questions that people are searching for.

By doing the work and aiming for a human-centric approach to search, Google is more likely to reward your hard work.

Links Should Be Mutually Beneficial

There are three different parties involved in the link building process: your site, your target site, and the site’s target audience. Every party involved should benefit from your link building. If the editor doesn’t benefit from the content in your backlinks, they won’t post them on their blog. If the audience doesn’t benefit, they won’t click through to find out more about you.

If you don’t benefit from the links, then why are you using them to build backlinks to begin with?

The ultimate goal of link building and backlinks is to build authority in google’s SERPs and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. The more valuable your content is, the more likely readers will continue through your sales funnel.

Understand the Difference Between Effective and Ineffective Outreach

Trial and error is a big part of manual link building. Understanding what outreach works and what doesn’t can help boost the effectiveness of a campaign. If you find that the outreach you’ve been sending to editors isn’t converting, it’s time to switch up your approach.

If one outreach approach isn’t yielding any backlinks, try out a different process. You may find that your company is better suited for Digital PR and news release outreach rather than guest posting and link exchanges.

 

If visual content is what’s driving traffic to your site, focus on that instead of putting all time and effort into cold emailing editors.

Ineffective outreach can be a waste of time and money so it’s important to find out what works best for you.

Utilize Internal Links to Pass Authority to Converting Pages

As mentioned, manual link building relies on the content within your own website. When you write and publish your own content, it’s smart to insert links to other pages on your website.

Google places value on all backlinks, even the ones you’ve given to yourself. So, to build authority to your own pages, it’s beneficial to insert some internal links in your articles.

This can also help drive traffic and authority to your sales and product pages. Internally linking to your “money pages” will ultimately drive authority and sales to these pages. An SEO audit of your converting pages will help make them more linkable and authoritative in Google’s view.

Ways to Gain Links Manually

The best practices for manual link building are constantly changing. As the future of SEO evolves, so too do the link building strategies we use.

Despite this change and Google’s constant adjusting of the SEO algorithm, some tried and true methods of manual link building remain. These are some of the best ways to secure a backlink manually for your website.

Utilize Guest Blogging for Natural Opportunities

One of the most common manual link building practices is to outreach blog owners by asking for guest posting opportunities.

Guest posting is the practice of submitting articles you’ve written to be published on someone else’s blog. These articles contain links to your own website, so when the piece is published, your site gains backlinks.

Link building through guest posts can be one of the most lucrative sources of backlinks. Start by finding websites and blogs in a similar niche to your own, get in contact with the editor, submit your work to be published, and secure a link back to your linkable content.

The trick to effective guest posting is to find websites that are high-quality and authoritative. The best backlinks come from websites that Google trusts and already favors. So it only makes sense that you would reach out to the best of the best within your niche.

There are many blogs that will accept anything that comes their way, but these sites might not be the best use of time for your link building campaign.

Find authoritative blogs that will place your guest posts in front of relevant audiences. That way, not only do your backlinks grant clout to your website, they’re within view of an audience that will value your business and your content.

Seek Out Local Citations

One of Google’s goals is to place relevant information in front of audiences that will benefit most from it. Often, location is a major factor in this relevancy.

It makes sense then that by securing local citations from websites, you’re telling Google where your business is located so they can match you with the perfect audience.

There is a digital value when Google knows which audiences to target, especially when it comes to local search. It can be just as valuable for your physical presence as well! By securing local citations, you’re boosting local awareness which can drive in-person traffic to your store.

The more local citations you have, the more confident Google is about where you’re relevant. Securing local citations helps boost your website’s SEO and drive appropriate traffic.

 

Use Visual Content to Gain Links

Another great way to drive links to your website is to create visual content that people will want to link to. Eye-catching infographics and informational charts grab a reader’s attention.

Visual content is a much more effective way to spread information to a larger audience. It’s more likely to be shared naturally on social media and other blogs as it helps editors break up their own writing with a catchy infographic or chart.

These are some popular visual examples that help websites garner links:

  • Infographics
  • Company or employee photos
  • Graphs and charts
  • Gifs
  • Stock photos
  • Infographics
  • Company or employee photos
  • Graphs and charts
  • Gifs
  • Stock photos

Getting organic links to your site can be a much easier process than link building via the typical blog post. After all, all editors want attention-grabbing information that draws readers in. If you can provide those visuals for them, they’ll be much more willing to link back to your site.

Do Something Newsworthy

One way that websites build a reputation online is through Digital PR. Writing and distributing press releases about newsworthy events related to your business helps build awareness of your brand.

Newsworthy events can include many different things:

  • Company milestones
  • Hosting events or public webinars
  • Inventing products or solving problems
  • Political lobbying or nonprofit support
  • Company milestones
  • Hosting events or public webinars
  • Inventing products or solving problems
  • Political lobbying or nonprofit support

By doing something newsworthy, you’re giving people a reason to look more into your business and see what else you’ve achieved. This helps build authority, natural traffic, recognition, and backlink acquisition.

However, no one will know about these newsworthy events unless you start the conversation around them. Doing something newsworthy and talking about it can be lucrative for link building.

Don’t Ignore Link Reclamation

When undergoing a website revamp, a lot of your pages will likely change address or be removed. This is especially true if you’re working on link building at an enterprise level. This is good! An SEO audit is all about optimizing your website to offer only the best, most linkable information.

However, these new domains mean that any previous link building you’ve done now leads to a missing page.

Link reclamation is the process of finding these now broken backlinks and providing updated ones for the editors to use. It might not be as exciting as securing new backlinks, but reclaiming old links is just as important for building authority.

Diligent link reclamation means keeping track of your backlinks and ensuring each one is linking to an active page. When you discover a broken backlink, you find a new opportunity for some updated link building.

Utilize Long Form Resource Pages for High Authority Placements

We all know that content is king, but what is the best kind of content to publish? How many words should you be aiming for? Why is word count important?

The exact word count is debated, but many agree that 1,000 words or more constitute a long-form resource page. This article, for example, would technically be a long-form resource page.

However, you can’t just write 1,001 words, send out the article, and hope for a boost in your domain authority. Quality long-form resource pages go in depth about a specific topic and include thorough explanations to help readers understand the content.

Google loves long, high-quality content. Long-form resource pages rank higher with Google when compared to brief, shallow content about the same topic. Ultimately word count doesn’t matter, you just need to aim to cover the specific topic thoroughly and better than your competitors. Ultimately, google is going to reward the site that answers the question the best, and the most in-depth.

Conclusion

Manual link building is one of the best ways for websites to gain footing and expand online. More links mean more authority for your site. More authority leads to ranking higher on search pages.

Effective link building campaigns start by looking at your own website and content. Give readers something worth reading and editors will see it as something worth linking. Once you’ve revitalized and renovated your website, building links becomes much easier.

By following these manual link building practices, you’re embarking on a tried and tested journey toward success. But, like any great adventure, you’re not alone. SEO auditors and link building services are ready to help you on your path to the top of Google results pages.

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