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Five killer off-page SEO tricks for enterprise sites

off page tricks

When you’re working on an SEO strategy for an enterprise-sized website, you often find yourself having to justify the perceived ROI for any suggestions with internal stakeholders.  

One such area SEOs can often struggle to justify spending time & budget on is off-page SEO (link building). 

To maximise the proposed value of your link-building strategy, we’ve outlined our top five killer off-page SEO tricks that are guaranteed to impress. 

In a nutshell, these are: 

  1. Reclaim your broken backlinks 
  2. Turn media mentions into working links 
  3. Use images to gain backlinks 
  4. Steal broken links from competitors 
  5. Find your cliques 

Let’s dig into the details.

1. Reclaim your broken backlinks 

The background: 

Due to the size and complexity of enterprise level sites, it’s not uncommon for large groups of pages to move to new URLs. For instance, a site migration may have been performed, or a product range could have been retired.  

Over time, old URLs from past iterations of the website can be forgotten completely. However, many of these could have gathered significant amounts of link equity that could benefit your site now.   

The goal:  

We want to get that link juice flowing back into your site.  

The strategy:  

We need to find the links which point to pages which can’t be indexed. These non-indexed pages currently aren’t filtering link juice into the rest of the site.  

The method: 

  • Generate a backlink report 
  • Filter the results so you can see destination URLs from your site which currently return a status code indicating the URL can’t be indexed. 
    • Typically, this will be 404 errors, but other 4XX errors and some 3XX status codes may be included here. 
    • If your link database doesn’t show status codes alongside destination URLs, you might need to use a desktop or cloud-based crawler to retrieve these. 

Now you have a list of broken pages that have link equity.  

  • Group the pages into clusters of URLs that make sense together (by theme, type, product category or similar).
  • Redirect each cluster to a single URL on the live site. 

The result: 

Now the combined power of that link equity will be put to good use by promoting active pages on the live site. 

2. Turn media mentions into working backlinks 

The background: 

Large businesses often engage in mass outbound communications such as traditional and digital PR.  

Traditional PR may not incorporate SEO as a consideration, so the opportunity to gain hundreds or thousands of backlinks from high-DR websites might have been missed.  

The goal: 

We want to turn ‘unlinked’ mentions of your brand name and website into clickable links that will pass SEO value.  

The strategy: 

We will gather all unlinked mentions from previous outreach, set up alerts for future mentions and outreach the relevant people to get working links added to high-quality websites. 

The method: 

  • Find all of your unlinked mentions. There are a few ways to approach this, so try them all of the methods outlined below: 
    • Ask your outbound comms or PR team. They’ll either have reports or a clippings folder they can share with you that will list all their hits 
    • Use a link building tool like Ahrefs Content Explorer which will find them for you 
  • Use Google search operators to build custom queries with filtered results, then scrape the top 100 results and cross-reference against an export of your linking domains 
    • An example of a custom query is the following: site: [yoursite.example] “brand name” 
    • Any Google results that come up, which are missing from the linking domains report, are most likely to have unlinked mentions! 
  • Set up Google alerts for your brand name, strap line and any key sales messaging typically found alongside your brand name 
    • Go through these alerts regularly and pull out any which have unlinked mentions. Add these to your list. 
  • Once you have a list of unlinked mentions, begin reaching out to the relevant people to get working links added.  
  • You may want to delegate this task to a person or team with an existing relationship (for example, your comms or PR team), especially if you are short on time. 

The result: 

Now you will be proactively working to leverage brand mentions by turning them into working backlinks which will provide a consistent high-value boost to your off-page SEO strategy. 

3. Use images to gain backlinks 

The background: 

Enterprise level sites will typically host many images related to their products or services.  

These will often be custom designs or original photography created specifically for the company. 

Did you know that you can leverage these visual assets to obtain backlinks at scale? 

The goal: 

We want other sites (editorial in nature) using your existing company imagery within their content, in exchange for a working backlink to your site. 

The strategy: 

We will upload images to image sharing platforms and allow them to be used as stock images if a working link credit is provided in exchange. 

The method: 

  • Set up an account with an image sharing platform, such as Flickr, Pixabay or Unsplash. 
  • Upload a selection of your images and optimise the various search options and tags for the image sharing platform. 
    • You want the tags to reflect the types of searches that someone looking for stock imagery related to your product or services might use 
  • Set the licencing options to free commercial licence with appropriate image credits (or similar) 
  • Ensure that each image has a link back to a relevant page or section of your site in its description or caption 

As an extension of this strategy, you can always use reverse image search to find those sites using your images without permission, and then approach these for the link they should be using to credit you. 

The result: 

Other websites will gain access to stock imagery through image sharing platforms and begin linking back to your site at scale, from relevant pieces of content. 

4. Steal broken backlinks from competitors 

The background: 

Sometimes competitors retire content that has gathered significant link equity too. 

When this happens, links to that content will break, and this provides us with a prime opportunity to create replacement content that can be offered to linking sites instead. 

The goal: 

Position your (new) content as a fix for a broken link to a competitor website when they no longer serve that content.  

The strategy: 

Uncover broken inbound links to competitor sites. Review the content those links pointed to using an internet archive, cached result, or make an inference based on page title and anchor text.  

Next, create a new version of that content to fill the gap. Send it to the site and offer it as a solution to fix their broken link. Gain a backlink to your website by ‘stealing’ the broken link from your competition. 

The method: 

  • Run a backlink report in the same way as we outlined above, but use a competitor site as the basis. 
  • Identify the links that point to pages which return a non-200 status code on the competitor site. 
    • This is most often 4XX errors like 404s, but sometimes it might be a 301 or 302 redirect.  
  • Once you have a list of links filtered by non-200 status codes, look through the list for pages which have accumulated lots of backlinks. 
  • If the competitor site previously offered content that was well linked, but they have since stopped offering that content, recreate that missing content. 
  • Go directly to the sites that were linking to it, offering yours as a replacement.  
    • You can leverage the fact that Google doesn’t like to see sites linking out with broken links, so by updating their link to point to your content, you are benefiting their site too.  

5. Find your cliques 

The background: 

The sites that link to two or more of your competitors are generally the sites most likely to also link to you. Google also looks at common links as a way of grouping sites by relevancy to certain search terms, so getting the same links as your competitors can help you rank that much better. 

The goal: 

We want to find commonly shared links as we may have a higher success rate, with lower effort versus other link building strategies. 

The strategy: 

Generating a backlink report for each competitor and cross-referencing them shows us the common links. Not every competitor will share links with every other competitor, which means our finished target list could be substantially better / larger than any individual competitor by the end. 

The method: 

  • Most link databases offer a report where you can cross reference common links automatically. These are often known by a few names, for example: link gap analysis, clique hunting, common links. 
  • Add each competitor to the tool, and then add your own site. 
  • Filter to show those sites linking to two or more of the competitors, but filter out any that already link to you.  
  • Now you have a link prospect list to work through for link building 
  • Strategies for link building might vary, but many will be resources pages, specialist or niche directories that can be submitted to either via a web form or by email. You might also find industry publications that you could be writing for, or blogs comparing products/services that you weren’t aware of.

The result:

Every link you get using the clique method closes the gap on all the competition much faster.

You’re effectively devaluing the uniqueness of their individual link profiles whilst you build yours. Plus, there’s the added bonus that Google will see you as being in a similar search market to your competition more quickly.

Discover your bespoke link building plan

 At Skittle Digital, we know that generating links at scale for enterprise sites can be challenging. We look at link building opportunities as part of our Free Acquisitions Workshop.

Book your free workshop today if you’d like to receive expert advice from our experienced marketers and see where your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lie – but hurry, as we only have a limited number of spaces each month.

AUTHOR

James Newhouse

Agency Lead

James has worked in digital marketing since 2009. He has led successful technical, link building, digital PR and content teams, and shared SEO advice in national outlets like The Telegraph. There’s not a lot he doesn’t know about SEO strategy, having worked across most enterprise verticals including household name ecommerce giants and international law firms. In his spare time, you’ll find him fixing rusty old Land Rovers or playing tabletop board games with friends.

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