In 2019, backlinks are still the most important ranking factor. Today, there are many different flavors of "links", however. The biggest difference to consider is the quality of the backlinks. Google algorithm changes have made link acquisition more difficult with every update. At one point in time, article directories, directories, web 2.0, and even paid links were link building tactics that actually worked; however those days are long gone now.

With social metrics and Google even cracking down on guest posting, link acquisition  has become more about the quality of the content and relationship building. The first step to building a relationship is understanding how to find the right people to build a relationship with. With that in mind, here are 8 ways to use search operators for link building building relationships.

  1. 'keyword' + inurl:write for us While guest posting seems to be a dying breed, there are still effective ways to go about it. One way is by leaving out your author byline and submitting it as an article. Many publishers are more than happy to do this for you in exchange for quality content.
  2. 'keyword' + intitle:write for us This will serve the same purpose as tactic #1, however, sometimes the url doesn't always have the exact keywords in it, so sometimes you can find more relationship opportunities by using the title as well.
  3. 'keyword' + intitle:Google+ Many people under-utilize Google+ in their link building strategies. This can be one of the most effective ways to find authoritative writers in your industry. Use Google+ to build a strong social following. When you share content, others will share it as well which will not only send your content social signals, but also encourage others to link to it as well.
  4. 'keyword' + site: #3 will pull up Google+ profiles and articles written with Google+ in the title, but this method will literally only pull up Google+ profiles (businesses and personal).
  5. 'keyword' + inanchor:"submit site" This is a method for finding niche directories. While you have to be careful with directory submission tactics, niche directories are still valuable to your link building campaign. Just whatever you do, carefully review the site to make sure it is moderated before submitting the link.
  6. "write for us" The oh-so coveted .edu backlink is possible to acquire. Many schools allow students and professors to host their own blogs on the school's servers. They are looking for people to supply them with content just like any other blogger. Try using different combinations of keywords and search operators to for your .edu link building campaign. You can find tons of opportunities.
  7. If you already know of a competitor or authoritative blog in your industry, why not try piggybacking on their strategy? Using the 'link:' search operator will should all of the indexed backlinks of the site you follow it with.
  8. After finding a few sites that you are already targeting, you can find related sites by using the 'related:' search operator. This may give you a broader view, but you can still find some great link acquisition opportunities this way.

Half the battle of link building is learning how to do the research correctly. Connect with other authors through social media, and share their content. People appreciate that and will return the favor. Organic link building, especially post hummingbird can be tricky and time consuming. However, if you connect with the right people and build those relationships, overtime it will become much easier.