Backlinks are the golden tickets of the internet.
But if you’ve worked in the SEO industry for any length of time, you also know that linkbuilding can be incredibly difficult.
Where to start?
Successful linkbuilding requires some knowledge, a little creativity, and a toolbag of tips and tactics to pull from.
This post contains 50 linkbuilding tips and strategies to add to your repertoire.
Bookmark this resource and revisit whenever you need some good ideas to help you move the needle and climb the ranks!
I’ve organized them into a few categories to help you know where to start:
- Low Hanging Fruit
- Some Effort Required
- Content-related Linkbuilding Tips
- Outreach-related Linkbuilding Tips
50 Linkbuilding Tips You Can’t Afford Not to Know About
Low Hanging Fruit
Most of these tips won’t take you from the tenth page to the first page, but they don’t require a ton of effort, and should help you establish a solid linkbuilding foundation and get your content in front of people.
1. Submit to High-quality Directories
No, I’m not encouraging you to create a listing for your site on just any directory website. But there are plenty of directories that are legitimate and should help a site establish some credibility.
For example, if you’re in the design field, Dexigner might be a great option.
Yes, submissions are free, which raises the brow of some SEOs—but this is a legitimate organization that posts quality content and has created a great online community of designers.
2. Don’t Overlook Blog Comments
Another tactic scoffed at by many in the SEO field, blog comments don’t typically allow followed links. However, there’s opportunity within blog comment sections to promote relevant content.
It may not result in a followed link, but a well-placed link within a thoughtful comment on a blog post with lots of traffic can lead to traffic and awareness of your own.
3. Find Industry Niche Forums
Along the same lines as blog commenting, posting links within niche forums can also lead to quality traffic and awareness. Most industries will have online communities that contain free forums.
If someone is really into your field—enough so that they’ve joined a forum—they may also be interested in checking out and sharing your content.
4. Submit to Local Directories
Local businesses have great opportunities in local directories.
Of course you should be listed on Google My Business, Yelp and YP, but it’s likely your city or area has other local directories too. For example, Raleigh, NC has this directory dedicated to local small businesses.
It’s also possible some of these smaller, local directories will use followed profile links. These kinds of links won’t give you top-of-page rankings overnight, but they’re very helpful for local rankings.
5. Find Industry Niche Directories
Similar to niche forums, there are probably niche directories for your field out there as well. For instance, Enjuris is a directory specifically for personal injury lawyers.
Again, these may not be followed links, and might not boost your Domain Authority by much, but being mentioned within niche industry directories can help Google identify and verify what industry your website should be associated with.
6. Include Links in Profiles
Do you have profiles for different online communities you’re a part of? These are great opportunities to link to your website!
Most sites won’t offer followed links within profiles, but some will. One example is Moz, where your profile is a no-follow link when you first join their online community. But once you’ve contributed in their forums and commented on their blogs enough, you can earn a followed link.
Again, these are just profile links, so don’t get too excited—but any followed link from a high-profile website is a good thing.
7. Answer Questions with Links
As you probably know, they don’t offer followed links within answers. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use these avenues to promote your content and gain awareness—maybe even get a link or a share if you play your cards right.
In the same way you’d approach a forum topic or blog comment: Add some commentary of real value and link to a helpful, relevant piece of content.
Who knows what kind of ripple effects could come from it.
8. Post Presentations on SlideShare
SlideShare is a great place to share presentations and slide decks. People love slide decks.
SlideShare’s links are no-follow, but if you get an awesome slide deck in front of the right person, there could be long-term benefits to follow.
9. Submit Testimonials
Every website needs testimonials these days. If you’re ever asked to give a testimonial for a website—do it and request a link.
Or, if you have a testimonial currently featured on a website, reach out and ask them to add a link.
10. Sponsor Events
You may have seen this linkbuilding tip before and thought, “I can’t go around sponsoring events just to earn a link!”
That’s valid. But there are plenty of opportunities to be a part of events that align with your company vision, while earning a link from the event website in the process.
Alternatively, if you’re already involved with an event, make sure they link to you!
11. Offer Discounts
For small and local businesses, student discounts are a great way to earn links on .edu sites. Most universities are well-trusted by search engines, and most universities have a page dedicated to local businesses who offer discounts.
Giving students 10% off shouldn’t break the bank.
12. Ask Customers
This wouldn’t be appropriate for many industries, but if you sell a product and know of some really happy customers, ask them to write a blog reviewing your product.
It’s a big ask, but if they’re willing, you get a link and some great promotion.
13. Ask Vendors and Partners
Many businesses are proud to feature vendors and partners on their websites.
If you work with a photographer who does great work and has a website where he shows off the brands he’s worked with, and you feel comfortable, ask to be added.
14. Submit Your Site to Web Design Galleries
When people think web design galleries, they often think only of design agencies. But if you have a great website, you’re more than welcome to submit it yourself—no matter what industry you’re in.
SiteSee is a nice gallery that allows submissions from all.
15. Host Events and Meetups
Unlike sponsoring events, hosting events has a lower financial barrier to entry. But like sponsoring events, the benefits go far beyond the potential for a backlink.
Head to Meetup, see if your industry has meetups in your area, and if not, start one!
16. Attend Conferences
Many conferences, like WordCamp, love to list all of their attendees along with Twitter handles and websites.
So if you’ve been to a recent conference, check to see if they have a page for attendees and make sure you have a link there.
Some Effort Required
Most of these strategies require a little more effort, and should yield a little more in the way of results.
17. Submit Press Releases
Many overlook the linkbuilding potential of press releases. You can submit press releases on new hires, new projects, moving office locations and winning awards.
Writing a great press release that gets picked up is an art, but definitely doable. Just make sure you include your website link.
18. Link to Existing Links (White Hat Tiered Linkbuilding)
At its root, tiered linkbuilding is the practice of linking to pages that house links to your own site. You’re making an effort to boost the authority of the second tier, ultimately helping yourself out.
The practice has a bad connotation due to many in our industry gaming the system, using software to automatically insert links at scale and building fake authority. But you can find out how to perform tiered linkbuilding ethically with our guide.
19. Guest Post
Guest posting is another practice that’s gotten a bad rap. It’s probably not the tactic that’s going to get you sustained rankings for a long time to come, but it can most certainly still be beneficial.
Many publications still accept guest posts. You can find them by using a Google command like: inurl:“write for us” [your industry].
Look for websites that vet their writers well, publish quality content, and are okay with you linking to a relevant piece of content of your own (should there be an opportunity—don’t force it!).
20. Perform Competitor Analyses
Nothing unearths backlink opportunities quite like running a competitor analysis to find out what backlinks your competitors have earned. In fact, you can find out exactly who links to your competition using the Monitor Backlinks SEO tool! (Start today with a free trial.)
Simply add your domain to get started, navigate to the “Competitor Links” tab, and insert a few competitors’ sites to monitor.
21. Ask for Links on Brand Mentions
If you have a decent sized brand, this strategy is crucial and can’t afford to be overlooked.
Well-known brands get mentioned all the time across the web (which alone will send Google some signals), and often all it takes is a well-typed email to the site owner to turn the mention into a link.
22. Monitor HARO Queries
This is a personal favorite linkbuilding strategy of mine.
If you’re not familiar, HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. Their service allows publishers to submit questions and ask for advice on topics they’re covering.
You can sign up for free and receive daily newsletters allowing you to respond to queries. Publishers will pick out a handful of responses to use in their piece, and often link back to the source’s site.
23. Build Relationships with Other Sites and Brands
Building relationships with publishers, brands and other sites in your field can have tremendous long-term value.
I work for an agency, and over the years we’ve gotten to know others in our field at conferences, in online communities and simply through linking to each others’ content over time. We find these peers link to and share our content semi-regularly—hopefully because it’s great content, but also because they’re familiar with us and trust us.
So be friendly and look for opportunities to build relationships.
24. Win Awards
A little easier said than done, right? But believe it or not, you may be surprised at how many organizations award accomplishments in different fields. There are awards for:
25. Collaborate with an Expert
Know someone who has a lot of notoriety on the web? Ask if they’ll collaborate with you on a post or piece of content. It’s typically not too big of an ask if you really have a relationship.
Once the post is live, it’ll be much more likely to pick up links due to their clout.
26. Run a Creative Marketing Campaign
Try something out of the ordinary, and appeal to the emotions. There’s enough general informational content on the web—stand out with something different.
Make it humorous, touching, inspirational or thrilling. As more and more sites publish average content, anything that appeals to the emotions will have a good chance of seeing success.
Content-related Linkbuilding Tips
Sometimes, a great piece of content can go a long way in earning links—without much effort on your end once the content is published.
27. Make List Posts
People love list posts. And what people love, they share.
Find a topic for which you could generate a long list of items, explore the SERPs to see if it’s already been done well, and if not, make that list.
28. Curate Statistics Posts
Statistics posts are a great linkbuilding tool. Publishers and content writers always need sources and stats to back up their points, and they (should) always link to their source.
So if you can rank for [your industry] statistics or [your industry] stats, you could be on your way to loads of backlinks.
29. Create Expert Roundups / Ego Bait Posts
Expert roundups are very valuable because multiple experts’ opinions in one place makes great content. Most people are suckers for expert opinion, which makes sense—there’s a reason they’re experts, after all.
Rounding up expert opinions on a topic can also lead to backlinks if the experts themselves link to the post. Just be careful how you round up the opinions—some don’t appreciate unsolicited asks.
30. Build a Great Tool
Building free online tools is a great way to earn links. Calculators, code generators and simple site auditors are all great candidates.
Bonus points if the tool ranks well for relevant keywords! Get ready to be bombarded with links.
31. Design Helpful Infographics
There’s tons of content on the internet. There are blog posts on everything. One great way to stand out and earn links is to explain a difficult concept visually.
I’m apt to share any asset that covers a hard subject in an easy-to-understand way, and infographics are perfect for this.
32. Perform Industry Surveys
Industry surveys attract lots of links. Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors survey has been linked to over 10,000 times.
If you can tackle a topic people are willing to comment on, and you can automate the asks using an email outreach tool, industry surveys aren’t as daunting as they seem.
33. Compare Tools or Products
When it comes to making a purchase decision about a new product or tool, the possibilities are endless.
Not only are there plenty of options available, but there are usually 3-4 really good options, and consumers want to know what will work best for them.
This is why comparison posts get linked to so often—they’re extremely valuable! So find a few industry tools or products you’re familiar with and perform an in-depth comparison.
34. Create a Conversational Piece
Anything that’ll generate conversation has a great chance to be shared and linked. Note this isn’t a “controversial piece” approach, just something that should generate some responses.
Getting responses in the form of blog comments is nice, but if you hit the right topic, you can often find yourself with entire blogs written in response to your piece.
For example, Brian Dean from Backlinko coined a technique a few years ago called the Skyscraper Technique. It’s generated a lot of conversation, including full-length-blog-post commentary from Search Engine Journal, Ahrefs, Growth Hub and even us!
35. Cover Tangential Topics
Perhaps you’re in a field where an awesome piece of content may not lead to hundreds of backlinks—just because there aren’t that many people interested. Covering tangential topics is a great way to gain exposure.
For instance, if your company manufactured a niche plastic material that was good for the environment, you probably aren’t going to hit backlink gold with a post about the manufacturing process.
But a post on what plastics big water bottle companies currently use and their effect on the environment? That could be huge.
36. Take a Deep Dive into Industry Subjects
If you’re already in a deep niche, this might not work for you. But take, for example, Bill Slawski. He writes regularly on the ins and outs of Google patents, to the benefit of SEO practitioners like me.
I’m probably not going to sit down with a Google patent and scour through it myself—but he has! So I find his commentary extremely valuable and always link-worthy.
37. Be the First to Cover Something
Know of an up-and-coming trend that hasn’t already been written about 1,000 times? Did an event or announcement happen in your industry that hasn’t been broken down yet?
Being the first to write a quality piece on something relatively new can yield big time benefits.
38. Create a Microsite
Creating microsites around marketing campaigns will really get people talking. A few years ago, Mailchimp rolled out some quirky sites around a campaign essentially poking fun at people getting their name wrong.
Of course, if the campaign catches, people will link directly to the microsite, so make sure you link to your main site from there.
Outreach-related Linkbuilding Tips
Sometimes the low hanging fruit and great content can move the needle. But in competitive industries, aggressive link outreach may be required. Here are some tips to help.
39. Use Search Operators to Find Opportunities
When looking for link opportunities, Google has many built-in search operators to help you track down targets.
- Guest post opportunities: inurl:”guest post” [your industry]
- Sites in similar niches: related:[your domain]
- Existing roundups: intitle:roundup [keyword]
40. Ask to Be Added to Resource Pages
Resource pages are often low hanging fruit because the page is already dedicated to pointing users to helpful resources.
Many university sites will house a resource page for each of their majors, and we all know how valuable .edu links are. Try search operator: site:.edu inurl:resources [industry].
41. Ask to Be Added to Roundups
I mentioned expert roundups in the previous section. Often, publishers will be open to taking on one more piece of input to their roundups.
Try search operator: intitle:roundup [industry], find some good candidates, track down emails and add your pitch!
42. Keep Track of Past Linkers
A great indicator of future linking is past linking. And sure, you want to diversify your link profile—but a handful of links from a solid site can still be really helpful.
So start a database or spreadsheet of sites who have linked to you in the past (or automatically keep track with Monitor Backlinks), and promote fresh content to them.
43. Reach Out to Blog Commenters
Similarly, maybe someone has never linked to you, but they live in your blog comments. It’s highly likely they’d be willing to share or link to some content of yours.
If you didn’t capture their email from the blog comments, head to their site and do some digging.
45. Find Broken Links
Broken link building is an age old tactic that’ll always work. The idea is simple: You locate broken links on sites you’d like to earn a link from, and pitch your own piece of content to replace the broken link.
From there, you just need to find an email address and have a good pitch!
46. Find Content That’s Outdated
This is similar to finding broken links, but instead you’re looking for outdated content.
Here’s the process: Choose a post you have that contains fresh and updated information. Then, you’ve just got to find an outdated post on the same topic and use Monitor Backlinks’ Free Backlink Checker to find out who’s linked to this older post. There’s your list of outreach opportunities!
47. Automate Link Outreach
Many people don’t realize that outreach can be automated. If you’ve found 50 great link opportunities, you shouldn’t have to manually send 50 emails.
48. Actually Inspect the Target Page or Post
This is a step that gets overlooked often. Impersonal asks have very low response rates.
People are way more likely to respond if you actually mention the topic they covered, comment on the quality of their post, and explain why a link to your content would help readers.
49. Avoid Standard, Over-used Outreach Email Templates
Most people with decent websites—even those not in the SEO field—are becoming immune to generic link asks (including myself).
The “Hey, Saw your post on X, I wrote on Y, will you link? Thanks” approach isn’t going to work in competitive industries anymore.
Stray away from generic templates and get creative. A little touch of humor and self-awareness can go a long way.
50. Offer a “First Preview”
If you have any notoriety in your industry, this can be an awesome tactic. Before you post your content, reach out to some of your link targets and offer a sneak peek before it goes live.
Let them know you’ve hand-chosen them and want to hear their thoughts. If you get good responses, ask if they’d be willing to link when it does go live.
And there you have it—50 linkbuilding tips to spark new life in your SEO campaigns!