Everything you need to know when creating content and attracting backlinks.
Creating content is hard – no doubt about it. And getting links to it is even harder. As a matter of fact, link building poses the most difficult and time-consuming task you face as a marketer or website owner. Not only that, but it's certainly not as simple as sending out a bunch of emails and hoping for the best.
That's why you need advanced link-building strategies if you want a competitive edge in your industry.
Whether you're an SEO, public relations (PR) professional, content marketer, or simply have related aspirations for one of those jobs; this guide will provide you with everything you need to know when creating content and attracting backlinks.
30 Advanced link-building strategies
1. Relationship-based link building
There's more to link building than simply publishing articles that contain links back to your site. In fact, this type of “spray and pray” approach is less effective as sometimes, it doesn't take into account the quality or relevancy of those links.
Instead, focus on creating relationships with other sites in your industry or niche by offering them valuable information or tools. That way, if they like what you have to offer, they'll be more likely to share it with their audience — which includes Google!
For example, Link rotations are a great way to build relationships with other bloggers and publishers in your niche. You can do this by reaching out to them via email or social media and asking them if they would be willing to exchange links with you (they post about your content and vice versa).
This is a great way for both parties because it gives each other traffic from their respective audiences while also creating valuable backlinks. Bear in mind that you shouldn’t ask for reciprocity too early — wait until you have built trust with that person first!
Here are some more relationship-based link-building strategies you should focus on:
- Guest posting
- Creating unique and original data
- Inviting experts to write on your website
- Following the ABC link-building model where you share backlinks equitably between network partners
2. Broken link building
This is, without a doubt, one of the most effective link-building strategies. In a nutshell, you find high-quality sites having broken links and replace them with your own.
A case study performed by Webology showed that the SEO team was able to get six quality blogs linking to an article in one month by implementing the broken link-building strategy.
Below are the metrics on the websites that are currently linking to Webology after they implemented the advanced link building strategy:
Here are some tips to make better use of broken link building:
- Use a tool like Broken Link Checker to find broken links on a website.
- Once you find a good list of broken links, start contacting webmasters about fixing them by emailing them a friendly note. You can also use other tools like BuzzStream to find contact details for web admins.
- You can also use tools like Majestic SEO or Ahrefs to find out who’s linking to the site where you found broken links and reach out to them as well.
3. Write guest posts
Guest blogging is a powerful link-building strategy that can help you achieve your business goals by building natural links. By writing guest posts on other blogs, you can increase your brand awareness, attract new leads and drive targeted traffic to your site.
As reported by the State of Link Building Survey in 2021, 11.7% of respondents said that writing guest posts is their top method for generating links.
Here are some advanced guest posting strategies that you can use:
- Make a list of blogs in your niche and contact them directly. This can be done by Google or using BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, or Majestic SEO tools.
- Look at other established sites and see who they're linking out to. Then find people in those niches with a similar audience and offer them a guest post on their blog.
- Use forums as an opportunity for link building. If a forum you're active in has a section dedicated just to link building, then this could be an easy way to get your link on a relevant site without doing any work yourself!
4. Reclaim your links
Reclaiming your link essentially means reclaiming your lost link, an old link that no longer points to your website due to changes in the content, structure, or URL of the page on which it was hosted.
To begin with, use tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, and Moz to find your broken links. Next, ask site owners to fix links.
But before that, build a contact list and prepare your cold email outreach strategy.
Here’s an example of a link reclamation email template by the PORTENT team:
Make sure to follow up after you send your pitch.
5. Resource link building
Resource page link building refers to the practice of getting your site/page URLs inserted into a page/website as one of the resources. This strategy works well because it's not spammy, and it also helps people find information that they need.
As per Matthew Woodward, SEO consultant, using resource pages for link building has 4.94 win rates. Most resource pages even have a submission form for resource suggestions:
As long as your link adds value to their page, they will happily add it.
6. Spot “Brand Mentions”
Brand mentions happen when people talk about a brand on their site without any monetary incentive. They may be talking about a product they love, an app they tried out and loved, or just anything related to the brand.
For example: let’s say you have a mobile app that helps people learn how to cook different types of food. You can look around for people talking about your app without any monetary incentive — “Oh wow this is an amazing app!” — and contact them directly with a request for a link exchange or other type of publicity.
You can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer or even Google Search to spot brand mentions. You can also find images people have stolen from you using Google’s Reverse Image Search and request a link.
7. Get “Best X” list mentions
A best X list mention is when someone lists your website as the best example for the topic in their post. For example, if I write a blog post about the best bookshelf speakers and include your website as one of my suggestions, then that's a “best X” list mention for you.
Best X list mentions are great since they're usually fact-based recommendations from experts in their field. It also gives you an opportunity to promote yourself as an authority on that topic — which can help boost your rankings over time.
According to Moz, listicle content brings the highest amount of unique backlinks compared to other blog post content types.
What’s more, when you get mentioned in articles that list the best products similar to what you are offering, it can increase brand awareness, get more clients to use your product, and, fetch valuable backlinks.
8. Influencer link building
Earning links via influencer-generated content such as product reviews, YouTube videos, social media posts, and blog posts is one of the popular backlink-building techniques.
Let's look at how David Sharpe, a digital marketing expert Legendary Marketer luxury mattress manufacturer, gets bloggers like Adam Enfroy to review his training course, Legendary Marketer.
9. Skyscraper and modified skyscraper link building
Skyscraper link building is a strategy that involves finding the top 10-30 results for any given search query and getting backlinks from those sites. You can find these results by using various tools, including Moz's Search Analytics Toolbar or Ahrefs' Site Explorer.
In a survey conducted by GoodFirms, 23% of different online marketing experts named the skyscraper strategy as the top link-building tactic.
You could also implement the modified skyscraper link building, which involves choosing high-quality content already on your website, finding comparable lower-quality pages with several backlinks, and then asking people linking to those pages to link to you.
10. Spy on your competitors
If you're looking for some advanced link-building strategies, then spying on your competitors is an excellent way to get started. You'll be able to see what they're doing and how they're doing it, which will help you improve your own strategy.
To spy on your competitors, you can use Google Alerts. This free tool monitors the web and sends you emails when new content appears with your target keywords. It's a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening in your industry and see how other companies are marketing themselves online.
You can also use Backlink Analysis tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE) to spy on your competitors.
Most of the tools have a feature that lets you export all the backlink lists. Ensure that your focus is on the backlinks with the highest Domain Authority and Page Authority ranks.
11. 10x content
You’ve probably heard about Rand Fishkin’s concept of “10x content,” which is content that is 10 times better than any pieces out there on the same topic.
Your content can be considered a 10x Content if it is designed well; is of high-quality, helpful, trustworthy, interesting, and outstanding. Plus, it’s different in scope compared to the existing content it is competing against; evokes an emotional response, and is 100% unique.
Guestographics is a relatively new link-building strategy that's becoming more popular, but it's one that you want to make sure you're doing correctly.
Guestographics, also known as a guest infographic, is an infographic you create for another site in exchange for a link.
The idea behind this strategy is simple: Create an infographic and then get the host site to publish it on their own blog. In return, you'll get a backlink for your site from their content.
As per Nadya, the Chief Growth Officer at Venngage, after their team created 200 guestographics, they saw 200,000 organic sessions monthly. They could also boost SEO and rank #1 on their highest converting pages.
If you've ever been on a website and seen a diagram that looks like this, then you've seen an instructographic.
They're basically infographics that explain how to do something.
As you can imagine, they're extremely useful for link-building purposes because they can rank in search engines, and they act as useful content for your target audience.
14. Write testimonials
Testimonial link building can fetch you authoritative links from the homepages of the products and services you like.
For instance, Matthew Woodward, an SEO consultant, wrote a testimonial as part of his Surfer SEO review:
In return, he received a DR61 homepage do-follow link:
15. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a free service that connects journalists with expert sources. While HARO isn’t necessarily geared toward SEO professionals, it can be used as a tool for link-building.
The best way to use HARO is by signing up as an expert on their website (if you’re not already). When someone requests information on your area of expertise, you’ll receive an email alerting you to the inquiry. Then, simply respond with the information requested and include your link back to your website or blog post if applicable.
You know what? Haro is widely used by veteran media outlets like The New York Times, Reuters, and Mashable.
16. Wikipedia link building
To build backlinks from Wikipedia, first, you need to spot dead links on Wikipedia within your niche. Use the Google search query and replace the existing broken link with a relevant article from your site.
You can also find missing Wikipedia citations using search operators or WikiGrabber and replace them with a fitting existing content. Another option is to create new content altogether.
17. Tap into thought leadership
A crucial component of a successful link-building strategy is thought leadership. Thought leadership is essentially the art of convincing others that you're an expert in your industry. This can be done through blog posts, speaking engagements, and even social media.
Here are four ways to create thought leadership content to help you get links and build your brand.
- Create a blog series
- Write guest posts on other blogs
- Conduct interviews with influencers in your industry
- Host webinars or podcasts
Take CXL as a great example. CXL managed to get backlinks from powerhouses like Neil Patel, Yoast, Shopify, Hubspot, and even Forbes, by publishing thought leadership content.
Your content has to be inspiring and educational to the viewers and followers of your industry. Backlinks will follow as people will want to strengthen their content.
18. Publish ultimate guides and original research
The best link-builders are experts at creating valuable content and then publishing it on sites where they can get natural links back to their sites.
Here's how it works:
You create a piece of content that's awesome in its own right (like a guide, an article, or an original research report) and then publish it on your own site, as well as other sites such as Medium, LinkedIn Pulse and Quora.
Then, you promote the piece of content by sending out emails to people who could potentially share it with their followers or readership. You also reach out to influencers with large followings on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The more people who come across your content and find it helpful, the more backlinks you’ll get.
For example, a complete guide by Search Engine Journal with 18 chapters explaining SEO generated 15,922 backlinks.
The chances of Google noticing it will increase drastically too.
19. Create free tools and widgets
Creating tools or widgets that solve pain points will earn you backlinks. People will be curious about the result and will want to share the outcome with friends.
If your tool is popular, it will be mentioned on reputable sites or get links to vital lists that get published.
20. Get a backlink with Youtube
YouTube can be an excellent resource for building backlinks and strengthening your online presence. Here's how:
Start with making How-to Video Tutorials, Customer Reviews and Testimonials, Explainer Videos, Service Demonstrations, and more. The more helpful your content is, the more backlinks you’ll get.
Upload them to YouTube and add relevant keywords in the description and tags sections of the video.
Share the link on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn so that people can find it easily by searching for those keywords on YouTube or Google.
21. Update old content
If you have a blog or any other form of regular publishing on your site, then there are probably some older posts that need updating. This will keep them relevant and up-to-date with current information. Also, it's a good chance to add new ideas/tactics and give the content a more comprehensive look.
If you look at Single Grain’s case study, updating blog posts increased their traffic by 96%. You can also follow the same strategy to build links.
After the content is live, reach out to bloggers who have linked to the old content letting them know about your new version.
22. Do PR outreach
If you're building links, it's important to do outreach to get them.
There are many ways to do PR outreach, but the most effective way is to have a story that you can pitch to the media.
The best type of story is one that is relevant, timely, and newsworthy.
As an example, let's say that you have launched a new product and customers have very well received it. You can pitch this as article ideas for blogs or newspapers with a feature on your company and the new product.
Look at this PR case study of Shane Barker, a Top Digital Marketing Consultant.
He used PR techniques like content syndication and managed to increase his popularity, build brand awareness, and get good quality backlinks. He also got featured on popular sites like Forbes, mentioned by some highly regarded industry sources, and earned high-quality backlinks.
Have a look at the backlinks metrics:
23. Get listed in round-up posts
Round-up posts are a great way to increase your authority and visibility online. They're easy to create and make other websites more likely to link to you.
Take a look at this example of a post link roundup from WordStream:
Here's how to get listed in round-ups:
- Be useful. Make sure your content has value for the reader, whether it's a free tool, an educational resource, etc. Try to have at least one piece of content per week that offers value to your audience.
- Reach out to sites that might want to include you in their round-up posts. Find these sites by looking at similar posts on Google and seeing which sites have linked back with the rel=”nofollow” tag (those links won't pass PageRank).
- Send an email telling them about your work, offering something valuable in exchange for a mention in their next post (this is called an “exchange”). Don't be pushy or spammy – just be polite, friendly, and helpful!
24. Steal rich snippet image links
As a marketer, you should know that Google uses rich snippets for images in search results. This means that if your website has an image with a link in it, and if the image is relevant to your page's content, Google may show that link as part of its rich snippet results.
Diggity Marketing had great success with their snippet experiment, which included stealing rich snippet images.
To steal snippet image links, you need to:
- Optimize Alt Text and have a full or partial keyword match for the keyword you are looking to rank for.
- Target snippets wherever you are equally or more authoritative.
- And focus on topical content relevance.
25. Use directories
The directory refers to where you can submit your site and get links from other websites. However, not all directories are created equal. Some are spammy and others are completely useless.
It's important to research when choosing which directories to use for link building.
The following tips will help you find the best directories:
- Look at their rules and make sure they're not too strict or restrictive. If they only allow a certain type of website, such as educational websites, then they won't be useful to you if your site isn't educational.
- Check out how many links they have on their site and see how many external links they have on other sites. A lot of good quality links coming into a site show that it has popularity among its readership or that it's just a popular website overall (and thus worth linking to).
- See if there are any restrictions on what types of websites you can submit or how often you can submit new domains (some sites will only allow one submission per day).
One way to find out the quality of a directory is to search the directory’s homepage URL and ascertain if they have indexed the site’s internal pages into Google’s database.
An inferior quality directory never shows up well and perhaps will not be indexed by Google. You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to run its URL.
26. Brainstorm a new term
Your goal should be to create a new linkable asset that you can use to generate links.
A couple of years ago, Backlinko’s Brian Dean introduced the term “Skyscraper Technique,” which has since been discussed on countless blogs, including by big names like Ahrefs.
This is the key part of the process because if you don’t have something unique, new, and valuable, then it won’t be worth creating content for it.
Let's say we could come up with a new word that means something like “free guide” but it was a little more specific? What if we came up with the word “freesheet”?
We might be able to create some content around free semicolon guides and use this term as part of our title tag, description, and URL slug. If we were successful at using this term in several places throughout our content, then it would give us some added authority and relevance over other pages that don't use this term at all.
27. Curate awesome content
If you curate awesome content, you can link to it and get a link back from the original source of the content.
For instance, let’s say you write an article on how to use Pinterest for marketing and want to include some quotes from other related articles. Instead of just linking to those articles, you can go through some of your favorite sites that talk about Pinterest marketing (like Buffer) and curate their best pieces into a single blog post that includes quotes from each site.
It’s also great to share information about your industry with your audience in an interesting way that they will appreciate and read. This can help you build up trust and authority in your niche because people will see you as an expert on the topic when reading your curated list or article.
28. Create microsites and apply external links
Since microsites come with their own domain addresses, you can develop the sites by implementing specific keywords all through the site and also in-page URLs. It boosts SEO and allows clients to find you organically.
Also, since a microsite is rich in content, it allows you to earn some backlinks without much effort.
29. Reach out to journalists
The first thing you need to do is find the journalist and their email address. How?
A simple Google search for “name of journalist” + “company name” will usually give you a list of recent articles they've written. In some cases, you can even find their email address on the article itself.
You can also try searching for their name on LinkedIn or Twitter, as journalists are more likely to use social media than average people.
Here are some tips for reaching out to journalists:
- Know your audience. If you're going to reach out to a journalist, make sure they write about the topic you want to be covered.
- Find their email address (or phone number). Look at their website – usually on the “Contact” page—and find someone who covers what you're trying to promote or sell.
- Be personal and professional at the same time. Don't just send off an email saying “I want links from you!”—that seems pushy and unprofessional, no matter how much money your company has spent on its SEO campaign so far this month (and even if it does have money for SEO).
30. Promote content you want to be linked!
Lastly, don’t forget to promote your content. When you share your content on social media and other platforms (such as forums), you are creating an opportunity for others to link back to your site.
The Secret to Building Links You Can Be Proud Of!
Now that you have a sense of what link-building strategies are available to you, it's time to pick and choose the ones that will work best for your industry. Never link just for the sake of it – if you do it wrong, everything will fall apart.
By being thoughtful about your link-building strategies, though, you'll have a leg up on your competition and more time to focus on other important things.