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How to Build Backlinks in Boring Industries

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 5 min read
How to Build Backlinks in Boring Industries


Building good backlinks and understanding what makes them vital to your site’s organic success is one of the most important parts of a solid and effective SEO strategy. With the right perspective and the right link building strategy in place, a company can gain better rankings and ultimately, more conversions.

But what about businesses in industries that are deemed less glamorous and exciting than others? You may think there’s no way of creating engaging content about these kinds of industries. And even if there was, will anyone even want to link back to such “boring” content?

Absolutely. In fact, when it comes to building backlinks and creating impactful content, there’s no such thing as boring. However, there is such a thing as misunderstanding what matters most in building backlinks, and it’s within these misconceptions that companies can second-guess themselves and make huge errors.

With a little more understanding of what impactful and informative content can do for you and some creative thinking, all businesses can benefit from backlinks.

Regardless of the industries currently tarnished with the “boring” brush, all companies can reap the benefits of good quality backlinks. Yes, it may be a little more challenging to build up effective backlinks in a niche business that outsiders consider dull. However, the opportunity to seize the best possible backlinks is still within your reach.

Boring or unglamorous industries are often cited as harder to get links for because people have less interest in them compared to mass-market industries such as retail, travel, finance or fashion etc. As such the argument follows that publishers are less likely to take an interest in them and cover them in their content. Ostensibly this makes sense, who wants to know about a company that makes rivets, right? However this is where the misunderstanding comes in as the content does not have to be directly about the product itself, in fact when it comes to PR especially, it's a positively bad idea. So, below are some simple ways you can attract links in boring industries.

Create Useful Content

To attract strong backlinks, you will have to create content that deserves to be linked to. It doesn’t matter how many publications you contact, if they don’t see any value in a link back to your content, you’re simply not going to get any response. In terms of content, most brands will have their creative / blog content and then their category or product/service pages to consider. Let's take these two in turn…

  1. Category / Product Pages - as mentioned, these pages for boring industries are not on their own likely to attract many links (this can also be the case in more mainstream industries as well). However, by enriching them with additional content, such as videos (see this page as an example), comprehensive product information, user feedback, etc, you can make the pages more engaging. If you sell, let's say, radiators, you could include an instructional video on how to install them, for example. This will make the page a resource as well as just a place where users can make a purchase. You could even try spoof products such as gold-coated rivets for the discerning millionaire. (Remember the Unicorn meat spoof by ThinkGeek).

The unicorn meat spoof by ThinkGeek (The unicorn meat spoof by ThinkGeek)

  1. Blog / creative content / PR - this is where many marketers become unstuck by primarily thinking about the boring product/service they are trying to promote. Taking rivets again as an example, these are only of interest to the people who need to use or purchase the product, and in fact, the interest level is likely to be ephemeral at best. So when ideating for creative campaigns, marketers should think much more broadly about what they are used for, who uses them, etc. Rivets are used for the construction of buildings and jewellery (amongst other things) which straight away gives you two angles to consider.

Guest post on quality sites

Guest posting almost became a dirty word at one stage, mainly because it was being done en-masse, with sites posting content with very little editorial control, often allowing users to self-publish. However once Google learned to programmatically devalue or ignore these kinds of links, the interest in this kind of tactic fell away (in terms of a mass, free for all approach). However this does not mean that posting quality content on publishers with an existing audience and site authority will not work, in fact, quite the contrary is true, particularly for sites in less glamorous niches. As with creative and PR-style content, you really need to think about making the content useful and engaging so that publishers will want to share it with their audience. Often this means avoiding writing about the “boring” product or service you’re trying to promote. In fact, in most cases, it means writing about topics that are relevant and that will appeal to each individual publication you’re approaching.

A recent guest post (A recent guest post)

Offer discounts

For e-commerce brands, offering a discount is a simple way to build links to your site. Take the example below from Decking Hero - not the most exciting product in the world. However, as you can see they have a link from Exeter University which has an impressive Domain Authority of 79. Their site has been listed on this page as they have agreed on a discount for Exeter University alumni members. This is just one example of how this can be executed, but there are other possible ways as well including offering discounts to suppliers or customers in order to encourage them to link back to you.

An alumni discount page from Exeter University (An alumni discount page from Exeter University)

Become a thought leader

Becoming a thought leader in your industry can also be a good source of backlinks. The most time-efficient way to do this is to look for comment opportunities from journalists - the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter is one place you can start looking. Of course, almost no one is likely to want to know about recent trends in the world of rivet manufacturing, however, those who sell rivets should be in tune with broader trends from their customers e.g those who order from them in (for example) the construction industry. This kind of insight is what journalists will be looking for. Typically, a comment is no more than 150 - 200 words and can be submitted over email. Moreover, the greater amount of times you are featured, the more requests you are likely or get.

Look for trade publications

Everything discussed so far has focused on explicitly NOT mentioning the product or service in the activity itself for the reasons outlined above. However, one activity where you can be product specific is when approaching trade press. Each niche or vertical will have several trade publications where news is published for those who work inside the industry itself. And whilst it's not a prerequisite that you need to be product specific with your outreach, it should be something the publications are happy to cover (so long as the content is interesting to their audience). The kind of items you can submit could be new hires, growth or expansion plans, profit growth or industry insights. Moreover, and purely from a PR point of view, often journalists who work for these publications do not get as many requests as those who work for more mainstream publications.

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A link to Selco from a trade magazine (A link to Selco from a trade magazine)

Final Thoughts

Link building is not easy, even in mainstream niches. However, what drives links in glamorous industries is the same as what drives links in unglamorous industries - good content. The key is not to think about the product or service itself but to think laterally about the audience surrounding the business, who are the stakeholders? Once you get into that mindset you’ll be able to think more broadly about how you can attract links which will in turn help deliver organic success.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

Ranktracker's CEO/CMO & Co-founder

Felix Rose-Collins is the Co-founder and CEO/CMO of Ranktracker. With over 15 years of SEO experience, he has single-handedly scaled the Ranktracker site to over 500,000 monthly visits, with 390,000 of these stemming from organic searches each month.

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