Backlink Strategies That Will Force Your Competitors To Link To You If you want backlinks, particularly from your competitors, you need to create the best content and get the best to link to you.

By Hafiz Muhammad Ali

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If you want to rank a page in the top ten Google search results, you have to have backlinks from other websites. There's no way around it. Google treats a backlink as a popularity vote of sorts. If a lot of people link to your page, Google knows that it's a page that matters to people, and Google's all about giving people what matters.

But here's the challenge: your competitors are fighting for the same backlinks you are. They want to climb the search ladder as much as you do. Trying to acquire enough backlinks to rank can be a really difficult process. But what if there were a way to force your competitors to link to you? Sounds crazy, right? Why would a competing company want to give you a backlink?

It can be done. Here's how.

Step #1: Create Content Based On Original Research
If your content isn't the best, nobody will link to it, let alone your competitors. If you want high quality backlinks, you need to create content that blows everyone else out of the water. It should be so compelling that people want to share it with their audience.

Brian Dean, the king of amazing content, puts it this way:

Keep in mind that linkable asset is not "12 Things Spider Man Taught Me About Social Media Marketing" link bait nonsense. It is content so awesome, so incredible, and so useful that people can't help but login to their WordPress dashboard and add a link to your site.

It's tricky though. How do you create content so compelling and original that even your competitors will link to it? Two words: original research.

If you can create new research that sheds light on important problems, you will get links from your competitors. They'll adopt your solutions and quote you as an expert in your field. Brian Dean has become known as a go-to guy in the world of SEO. Why? Because he produces incredibly in-depth articles based on his own original research. For example, he analyzed 1.3 million videos on YouTube to determine the top factors in where YouTube videos rank. HubSpot is also known for doing compelling, detailed research around particular subjects. For example, their recent report on content trends involved surveying over 3,000 consumers to determine how different people consume content. It's content like this that has established HubSpot as a go-to name in the marketing world.

Both HubSpot's and Brian Dean's organic search traffic is off the charts. Why? Because they've created content so compelling that their competitors rely on it. When selling to clients, they use this research to back up their own claims. They don't have the time or money to do research like that and so they rely on others to do it for them. The result is an avalanche of backlinks to Dean and Hubspot, which pushes them to the top of the Google search rankings.

Step #2: Create A Powerful Influencer Campaign
Creating great content is essential, but it's not enough. You also need to build a hugely powerful influencer campaign that will generate massive exposure for your content. An influencer campaign simply means reaching out to key influencers in your industry and getting them to share your content in one way or another. This may mean sharing it on social media, linking to it on their own site, or including it in an email blast they send to their list. This influencer campaign should contain at least two key elements.

Email outreach: The most effective way to get backlinks is to contact a person via email. With email, you have their attention, even if for a brief moment. This email shouldn't be intrusive, rude request to share your post. Rather, it should be framed in such a way that it's relevant to their life and business. Some things to include:

  • An acknowledgment that they're busy and get hundreds of emails every day
  • An appreciation for something specific they've done or created
  • A mention of your content, why it's relevant to them, and why their audience would care about it
  • A humble request asking if they would be willing to share it in some way
  • A thanks either way

Don't be annoying with your emails. Be humble and grateful. That goes a long way.

Social media outreach: Social media can also be an effective outreach technique, although it usually takes longer. You don't want to simply tweet at them a single time, asking them to share your content. You need to develop a relationship with them. Follow them, respond to their posts, and engage in discussion. Only after you've done this for some time should you share your content with them.

Once your competitors begin to see huge influencers linking to your content, it's a signal to them that they need to pay attention. That people care about what you have to say and that they'll look out of touch if they don't mention you as well. They may not want to link to you, but it will hurt them if they don't.

There Are No Shortcuts
Most people want quick and dirty ways to get backlinks. It doesn't work that way. If you want backlinks, particularly from your competitors, you need to create the best content and get the best to link to you. When you do this, you are suddenly in a superior position to your competitors. They are forced to look up to you, which means acknowledging your insights. The best part is that this acknowledgement usually comes in the form a backlink.

Related: Storytelling For Profit: How These Five Brands Do It Right

Hafiz Muhammad Ali

Entrepreneur, Author, PhD in Entrepreneurship

Hafiz Muhammad Ali is an entrepreneur, founder of Omnicore, author of Digital Passport. With a PhD in entrepreneurship, his is a firm believer in lifelong learning. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge, experience and opinion on digital marketing, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. Ali invests in books and people.

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