One of the biggest struggles bloggers and content marketers have is figuring out how to earn backlinks. There are a lot of techniques out there like outreach, broken link building and even link begging. But there’s one technique I like to use that I don’t see anyone talking about. But it’s super simple, doesn’t require begging, and after you set it up, you can continuously earn links organically without any additional work.
Basically what we’re going to do is target long tail keywords that will be easy to rank for without needing a bunch of backlinks. Then, we’ll get bloggers and writers to link to these articles without having to do anything else.
To better understand this technique, let’s look at part of the process a blogger goes through while writing an article:
- Come up with a topic
- Do research on the topic
- Write the article
- Link to resources within the article to support their points
This technique takes advantage of the research portion of the process. You see, when bloggers are writing articles, they look for supporting content that they can link to or get more information from in order to beef up their own content. That usually involves searching for various long tail keywords instead of broad keywords since they’re looking for resources for a specific part of their article.
For example, say a blogger is writing an article about Q&A sites. While doing research, they may Google things like “Quora and Yahoo Answers for SEO” or other long tail terms that are more specific than just “Q&A sites” or “SEO”. Well, one of my articles ranks highly for a lot of searches related to Q&A sites for SEO. So if they stumble across my post during their research, there’s a good chance they’ll link to it.
And this is exactly what happened recently.
A lot of the backlinks I’ve earned have been through this process. I’ll show you how you can do the exact same thing.
Step 1: Topic Selection
If you look at most of the content on my site, you’ll notice that I don’t write about too many broad topics. My articles are generally on narrower topics. For instance, instead of writing a guide on how to use Google Analytics, I wrote one on how bloggers can use Google Analytics. Instead of a guide on how to use Mailchimp, I wrote about how to setup Mailchimp with WordPress.
By selecting narrower topics, I’m facing less competition from the get-go. This is important for a site like mine, because I’m competing with sites like Moz, Hubspot or Quicksprout for a lot of the topics I write about. By niching down my topics a bit and targeting subsets of broader categories, I’m able to rank highly for keywords and topics that larger sites aren’t going after.
When you think of topics you want to write about, don’t go too broad. I talked about it a bit in my Planet Fitness Case Study, but you want to cater to a very specific audience with your content. Think about the specific problems they face, and create content around that.
To give another example, one of my most popular posts on this site is my guide on embedding Pinterest pins and boards on your website. Notice how I didn’t write about “How to Use Pinterest” or any other broad topic. I created an entire post on a very specific question that bloggers have, and therefore it’s easier to rank for those long tail keywords than it would be for a more broad and competitive phrase. I think you get the point now.
Generally, any type of “how to” guide works well for this because there are so many different long tail keywords you can rank for that your competitors aren’t going to be targeting.
My go-to place to go to look for topics is Quora. It’s filled with common questions that people have about a wide range of topics. You can search for a broad term, and get an endless supply of narrow blog topics to write about that are based on the problems and struggles your audience has. I guarantee you that if one person asks a question, there are thousands of others who have the same exact question too. You could also use Yahoo Answers, but I prefer Quora. Although with Yahoo Answers, you do get the pleasure of seeing deep questions like “Why do crocodiles walk so gayly?”
Back to Quora. As an example, I did a search for “content marketing”. I noticed there were a good amount of questions around content marketing tools.
Seems like a good topic! It’s more specific than just “what is content marketing” and the blog post we create would give our audience an answer to a common question.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Okay, so you’ve decided on a topic. The next step is to do some research to find long tail keywords that you can incorporate into your article to:
- Make it more relevant to your audience
- Rank for a variety of keywords that aren’t too competitive
My tool of choice for this is Long Tail Pro. With LTP, you just enter a seed keyword, adjust a few settings and you’ll get a list of long tail keyword suggestions that you can use within your content.
Sticking with our example, let’s try to find some long tail phrases based on the keyword “content marketing tools”. I like to set the number of words to four. This will show results that contain at least four words in them. I’d suggest a minimum of three though. Any less than that and your results are going to be broad.
And here are the results.
We have over 100 different long tail keywords we can incorporate in the article to make it more relevant and rank for. You’ll have to go through your results to pick the keywords that make the most sense, because not all of them will be directly related.
Pay attention to the local searches column. That number is the average monthly searches the keywords get. You’ll notice that a lot of them are very low. I’m talking about less than 100 searches a month! Most marketers would look at those and say who cares about ranking for those? That’s where you have the advantage!
Most marketers are trained to focus on keywords that have a higher search volume so they don’t even bother with these lower searched ones. By taking the time to optimize your content for these phrases, you’ll be able to rank for a lot of them. 50 searches a month might not seem like much, but when you have one article ranking for a bunch of terms that get searched 20-100 times a month, it adds up!
Step 3: Create Your Content
You have some ideas of the related keywords you can include in your content to make it more relevant and capitalize on some long tail keywords that are easier to rank for. Now, it’s time to buckle down and write. This is hands down the most important part of the process. Your content has to be strong.
Aside from following my guide on how to write sexy content, this part will be up to you. There isn’t a specific word count you should strive for. The important thing is making sure you include all of the necessary information your reader would need on the topic. You want your article to be thorough so that the blogger researching the topic HAS to use your content as a resource.
If your article is lacking or missing important info, the blogger is going to go elsewhere to get more details. You don’t want that!
Step 4: Share Your Content
It’s always a good idea to promote your content if you want to get more exposure. For this particular technique, you don’t have to share it, but it helps. If a blog or two links to your content, it’ll help it rank faster. But with most of my blog posts targeting long tail keywords, they’ve ranked on the first page without a single backlink. I didn’t even share some of them on social media.
This goes back to step three. If you produce amazing content that targets long tail keywords with little competition, it’s a lot easier to rank highly.
My site is a perfect example of this. The sites I’m competing with have been around much longer, have a lot more content, publish more frequently, have more domain authority, yet I’m still able to outrank them for certain searches. It’s because I’m creating strong content about topics that they briefly mention within a larger post about a related topic.
Now you just have to wait and let the content do it’s thing. Of course, you can do some content promotion for these articles to get better results. But the point of this technique is to earn some backlinks with less work.
There you have it. A simple and straightforward link building technique that anyone can do. No excuses! Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.