How to Build Backlinks: The Definitive Guide

Every savvy online marketer understands the importance of backlinks.

Simply put, a backlink is when one website links to another.

Sounds easy, right?

Well, yes and no.

While the concept of backlinks is straightforward, mastering the art of building them correctly isn’t.

With Google’s constant algorithm updates and evolving best practices, what once boosted your site’s ranking might now lead to massive search engine penalties.

All in all…Building backlinks can quickly get tricky and overwhelming, especially for those unfamiliar with SEO tactics.

But fear not! This guide is here to walk you through the step-by-step process of creating effective backlinks.

Curious to learn more? Let’s dive in and explore the right strategies to enhance your website’s link-building efforts.

Table of Contents

A Few Things to Understand Before We Get Started

The 13 Types of Backlink Anchors and Their Categories

Anchor Text and Their Natural Backlink Types

What Pages Should These Links Go To?

Simple Link Building Strategies and Services to 10X Your SEO

Creating “Link Worthy” Content

Finding High Quality Links

Using Email Outreach for Link Building

Simple Tactics to Build Directory and “List Links”

Link Building Services and Software that Will Simplify the Process

Chapter 01

Essential Concepts to Understand Before We Get Started

Before we jump into the hands-on methods and tools for boosting your website’s Google ranking, let’s cover some fundamental terms and ideas related to link building.

1

Anchor Text and Anchor Text Ratios

Whenever you create a backlink, you are using what’s known as an anchor text.

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink.

It can vary from keyword-focused text, brand names, to plain URLs.

Backlinks Anchor Text

Some experts argue that optimizing anchor text is unnecessary and can even backfire by manipulating Google’s algorithm instead of naturally building links.

While this holds true for huge websites with massive traffic, for smaller to medium-sized ones, anchor text ratios carry significant weight.

Anchor text ratios refer to the percentages of different types of anchor texts used within a link building strategy.

Remember this concept as we proceed because optimizing your anchor text ratios stands as a key element in any successful link building strategy.

2

Dofollow vs. Nofollow Links

At its core, Google sees inbound links as ‘points’ on a website’s scoreboard.

But not all links are created equal.

The quality and relevance of these links matter a lot to Google.

This means that one link from a website like Forbes or the New York Times is far more valuable than even 10 links from a low authority niche site. equally.

Here’s the gist:

Dofollow Links

Contribute towards a page's ranking within Google's algorithm.

Earned through guest blogging and high-quality content deserving of ranking.

Signal quality and relevance to Google's algorithm for ranking purposes.

Nofollow Links

Do not count towards a page's ranking, anchor text ratios, and website’s authority.

Typically used for paid links, comments, forums, and "Untrusted Content."

Use a simple HTML tag signaling to Google not to count the link for ranking.

3

Indexed vs. Non-Indexed Pages

You should also be aware of the difference between indexed and non-indexed pages and what it means for your rankings.

Indexed Pages

Google's robots crawl the internet, identifying and indexing web pages for search queries.

Typically indexed through the submission of a sitemap.xml file or via backlinks and internal links on a website.

Backlinks located on indexed pages contribute to a page’s rank in search engines.

Non-Indexed Pages

Certain pages, like blog categories, author pages, 404 error pages, and duplicate content, need not be indexed by Google.

Some errors in a website's sitemap or content can prevent relevant pages from being indexed by Google.

Backlinks located on non-indexed pages do not impact a page’s rank in search engines.

4

Types of Anchor Text

Now that you know about anchor text ratios and what might stop Google from considering your backlinks, let’s look at different anchor types:

- Keyword Related Anchors

These focus on ranking content for specific keywords.

Example: If you wanted to rank on the first page of Google for the search query “How can I build a natural anchor text profile”, here are the different types of anchors you would use:

Title Tag:

"How to Build a Natural Anchor Text Profile and Rank Your Website on the First Page of Google"

Exact Keyword:

"Build a natural anchor text profile"

Keyword + Word:

"How to build a natural anchor text profile"

Only Part of Keyword:

"Natural anchor text"

Brand and Keyword together:

"Outreach Mama’s guide to build a natural anchor text profile"

- Signs of a Strong Brand

The second type of anchor text is branded anchor text.

This is one of the most important categories of anchor text as Google has become very brand centric in recent years. Example:

Just Natural:

"Check out this blog"

Branded:

"OutreachMama’s blog"

No Text:

This is an image link with no alt text

Totally Random:

Any anchor that doesn’t explicitly match the anchor included in this list

- URL Related Anchors

These anchors relate to your website’s URL. Example:

Naked URL:

"https://www.outreachmama [dot]com/guides/anchor-text/"

Websitename.com:

"outreachmama.com"

Homepage URL:

"www.outreachmama.com"

Naked URL Without Http://:

"www.outreachmama.com/ anchor-text/"

To get more insights on anchor text and its best practices, check out our definitive guide on anchor text best practices.

Now with all that out of the way…Let’s get to the good stuff.

Types of Backlinks and Their Categories

We talked about the many types of anchors at your disposal. But how do you know which anchors pair well with your backlinks? Let’s get into our anchor recommendations for each type of link.

Link Type

1

Citations (Nofollow) & Directories (Dofollow)

Directory links offer opportunities for building basic anchor text and generating natural backlinks, though they’re less authoritative than other links.

Citations will help you to build authority within your niche and drive new visitors to your site.

With these types of backlinks, I recommend using the following types of anchors.

Usual Anchor Type Used

Not Used Often

Branded

Naked URL

Websitename.com

Naked URL without Http://

Just Natural

Totally Random

Keyword Plus Word

Only Part of Keyword

Brand and Keyword Together

Exact Keyword

Title Tag

Usual Anchor Type Used

Branded

Naked URL

Websitename.com

Naked URL without Http://

Just Natural

Not Used Often

Totally Random

Keyword Plus Word

Only Part of Keyword

Brand and Keyword Together

Exact Keyword

Title Tag

Link Type

2

Organic Contextual Links (Dofollow)

Organic contextual links are earned naturally through excellent content and marketing strategies.

Basically, another blogger or webmaster in your niche loves your content and then decides to reward all of your hard work with a freely given backlink from their website.

These links are rare these days, but they do happen.

Since you don’t have any direct control over these backlinks, you also have no control over the anchor text used with the link.

Usual Anchor Type Used
Sometimes Used
Not Used Often
Title Tag
Just Natural
Branded
Naked URL
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Websitename.com
Exact Keyword
No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random
Usual Anchor Type Used
Title Tag
Just Natural
Branded
Naked URL
Sometimes Used
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Websitename.com
Not Used Often
Exact Keyword
No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random

Link Type

3

Manually Acquired Contextual Links (Dofollow)

Earned through compelling content and outreach efforts, these links are crucial in your link profile.

Since contextual links (as a whole) will make up the majority of your backlink profile and will be the driving force behind nearly all of your SEO efforts, it’s important that you understand how to effectively anchor earned links.

Here’s a list of the types of anchors you should use when building manually acquired contextual links.

Usual Anchor Type Used
Sometimes Used
Not Used Often
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural
Websitename.com
Branded
Naked URL
No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random
Usual Anchor Type Used
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural
Sometimes Used
Websitename.com
Branded
Naked URL
Not Used Often
No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random

Pro Tip: Create Natural Anchors for Earned Links

When using anchors for earned links, it’s vital that they blend naturally into your content.

Let’s consider this scenario: You’ve put a lot of effort into creating high-quality content on your website. Would you welcome guest posts that are clearly focused on promotion rather than adding value?

Probably not.

However, if a guest blogger integrates a backlink in a way that perfectly aligns with your content, it becomes way more acceptable.

In short, if you want to earn some link juice, prioritize natural anchors instead of chasing anchor ratios and watch the acceptances roll in.

Link Type

4

Blog Comments (Usually Nofollow)

Blog comments, once the most misused (and overused) method of link building, have declined since the introduction of Google’s “nofollow” tag.

Nevertheless, several reputable websites still provide dofollow backlinks for commenters who contribute real value to their audience.

Most blogging platforms do not allow anchors within their comments (with good reason), so whenever you are building these types of links, you will need to use naked URLs in the body or name field of your comments.

Usual Anchor Type Used
Sometimes Used
Not Used Often

Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural

Websitename.com
Branded
Naked URL

No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random

Usual Anchor Type Used

Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural

Sometimes Used

Websitename.com
Branded
Naked URL

Not Used Often

No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random

Link Type

5

Profile Links (Usually Nofollow)

These links won’t skyrocket your ranking but are great for diversifying your link profile and strengthening brand signals. Plus, they’re easy to build.

Here are the natural anchor types you can use when building profile links:

Usual Anchor Type Used

Not Used Often

Branded (When adding your website and name to the comment form fields.)
Naked URL (When adding your website link in the comment body itself.)

No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random
Websitename.com
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural

Usual Anchor Type Used

Branded (When adding your website and name to the comment form fields.)
Naked URL (When adding your website link in the comment body itself.)

Not Used Often

No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random
Websitename.com
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural

Link Type

6

Press releases (Nofollow)

Google has slowly been diminishing the importance of press release backlinks through strategic penalization.

Therefore, it’s important that you tread with caution when building these links.

But here’s the deal: A well-placed press release sent through a top-quality service can give a new website a nice little boost in getting recognized.

There aren’t many services that give dofollow links with press releases. But no matter what service you use, remember to follow these anchor text recommendations:

Usual Anchor Type Used

Not Used Often

Branded
Naked URL
Websitename.com
Naked URL without Http://

No text
Homepage URL
Totally Random
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural

Usual Anchor Type Used

Branded
Naked URL
Websitename.com
Naked URL without Http://

Not Used Often

No text
Homepage URL
Totally Random
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural

Link Type

7

Web 2.0s (Dofollow)

Web 2.0 links come from social platforms like WordPress.com, Weebly.com, and Squarespace.com.

But here’s a heads-up: Using Web 2.0 links can be tricky.

While creating these links isn’t hard, the challenge lies in their history. Black and grey hat SEO practitioners have overused them, leading Google to swiftly penalize sites that overdo it.

Here are the types of anchor texts best suited for Web 2.0 link building:

Usual Anchor Type Used
Sometimes Used
Not Used Often
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural
Websitename.com
Branded
Naked URL
No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random
Usual Anchor Type Used
Keyword Plus Word
Only Part of Keyword
Brand and Keyword Together
Exact Keyword
Title Tag
Just Natural
Sometimes Used
Websitename.com
Branded
Naked URL
Not Used Often
No text
Homepage URL
Naked URL without Http://
Totally Random

Remember, the key to successful link building is to maintain a natural and diverse anchor text profile.

This chapter sets the stage for the next steps in your link building journey.

Let’s keep going!

What Pages Should These Links Go To?

Optimizing your anchor ratios and link type is only half of the battle.

The second half is making sure that your newly built links point users to the right content.

Luckily, there is a simple formula for you to follow that will all but guarantee your SEO success.

Pages each link type should target

Link Type

Profile Links, Directory Links, and Citations

Manually Acquired Links

Blog Comments

Press Release Links

Recommended Page

Home Page

Relevant content or offers tailored to context

Homepage URL (in the website field); Blog Article Content (in comment link)

Home Page (mostly); Exercise caution based on nature of release

Reason

Visitors from these sources are often discovering new sites or brands. Directing them to your homepage is more relevant than specific content.

These links should provide value and engage new audiences with relevant content.

If your comments are engaging and “non-spammy”, linking to your relevant content is usually acceptable to moderators.

Despite most being nofollow, some dofollow links might occur. Be careful as overusing keyword-rich anchor texts for blog articles or service pages can seem spammy and negatively affecting your rank.

Profile Links, Directory Links, and Citations
Recommended Page: Homepage
Reason: Visitors from these sources are often discovering new sites or brands. Directing them to your homepage is more relevant than specific content.

Manually Acquired Links
Recommended Page: Relevant content or offers tailored to context
Reason: These links should provide value and engage new audiences with relevant content.

Blog Comments
Recommended Page: Homepage URL (in the website field); Blog Article Content (in comment link)
Reason: If your comments are engaging and “non-spammy”, linking to your relevant content is usually acceptable to moderators.

Press Release Links
Recommended Page: Home Page (mostly); Exercise caution based on nature of release
Reason: Despite most being nofollow, some dofollow links might occur. Be careful as overusing keyword-rich anchor texts for blog articles or service pages can seem spammy and negatively affecting your rank.

Simple Link Building Strategies and Services to 10X Your SEO

Are you still with me?

Great!

Because this is where things get exciting!

Now that you understand anchor text ratios, types of anchors, and where those anchors should point, you are finally ready to start crafting and executing a badass link building strategy.

Let’s get down to business.

Chapter 04 | STEP 1

Creating “Link Worthy” Content

High-quality content is the cornerstone of any successful link building campaign.
Here are some top content types that consistently attract backlinks:

Content
Type

1

Visual Content

Visual content includes infographics, charts, images and other media.

Benefits:

  • Simplify complex ideas into easily understandable and visually appealing guides.
  • Earn backlinks as bloggers share your content on their website.

Content
Type

2

Video Content

With the surge of digital media, video content is a must. In fact, half of the social media users prefer video over any other format.
So, if you are overlooking video in your content marketing strategy, you may be missing out on potential traffic and valuable backlinks!

Benefits:

  • Ease of consumption and sharing make videos highly accessible.
  • Many publishers lack the resources to create their own videos, increasing the likelihood of linking to or sharing existing videos.

Content
Type

3

User-Generated Content

User-generated content includes a variety of unsponsored content such as images, reviews, Tweets, and more.
This content may be created by users including customers, brand enthusiasts, and employees.

Benefits:

  • Keeps your site updated with authentic experiences, aligning with search engines’ preference for current and engaging content.
  • Search engines recognize and reward websites that encourage user interaction and participation, subsequently boosting your website’s visibility.

Content
Type

4

List Posts

List posts are numbered lists of tips, reasons, or anything your heart desires.
When BuzzSumo analyzed more than 1 million blog posts, they found that list posts generated more backlinks, social shares, and had more viral potential than any other type of content.
That’s because in today’s age of decreasing attention spans, most people prefer content they can consume in a matter of minutes.

Benefits:

  • Easily skimmable and digestible content that appeals to the majority.
  • The structured format and clear headings make it easier for search engines to understand and index the content.
  • Lists are highly shareable across social media platforms.

Content
Type

5

Mega Guides

Long-form content, often referred to as “Mega Guides,” provide the ultimate “Go-To” resource for a specific industry problem.
A 2020 study conducted by Backlinko revealed that long-form content consistently secures more backlinks compared to shorter articles.

Benefits:

  • Ultimate guides compile massive amounts of information into a single source, attracting both readers and potential backlinks.
  • Other bloggers and businesses can rely on your content whenever their readers need answers they can’t find elsewhere.

Content
Type

6

Interactive Content

Interactive content such as mini games or quizzes are a goldmine for marketers.
They serve multiple purposes, from boosting user engagement and gathering email sign-ups to entertaining readers and connecting with users in a fun way.

Benefits:

  • Can help you stand out from the crowd, giving publishers a compelling reason to reference your content directly.
  • Encourages users to share their outcomes on social media, leading to more visibility and potential backlinks.

Content
Type

7

Primary Research

Original research-based content can take different shapes, like surveys to see where everyone stands (benchmarking), checking out your own data, looking at the big picture in your industry, or analyzing info from other sources.

Benefits:

  • Original research positions you as an authority in your field. It sets you apart as a reliable source of fresh, valuable information, attracting attention from industry experts.
  • When others cite your unique findings, it boosts your website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines.
  • Unlike common content, original research has fewer direct competitors, making you stand out.

Content
Type

8

Expert Interviews

Talking directly to industry pros creates exclusive content treasures. It’s like providing VIP access to insights that your audience won’t find elsewhere.

Benefits:

  • When these pros share the interview with their followers, your content gets a boost, attracting more eyes and clicks.
  • Build relationships and network with influential figures in your industry, opening doors for potential collaborations or future opportunities.
  • Create original and exclusive content assets that will be referenced by other websites.

Chapter 04 | STEP 2

Finding High Quality Links

As you embark on your quest for link building domination, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of where you should be building links.

With Google’s crackdown on spammy link-building tactics, generating links from high quality sources is more important than ever before.

But what constitutes a high quality link and how can you find them?

Here are some factors to consider.

Factor

1

Look at the Page and Domain Authority of the Website

One of the most important factors when searching for high quality links is the authority of the linking page.

For example, a link from The Huffington Post will be ten times more valuable than five links from an unknown blogger.

One way to judge the quality of links is through the website’s Domain and Page Authority which can be found using Moz.com’s free Open Site Explorer tool.

Personally, I recommend looking for sites with a DA and PA of at least 40.

Understanding DA, PA, & PageRank:

Domain Authority (DA): Developed by Moz, DA is a score (ranging from 1 to 100) that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s calculated based on multiple factors, including the number of total links and linking root domains. Higher DA means greater potential to rank.

Page Authority (PA): Similar to DA but specific to individual web pages, PA also ranges from 1 to 100. It predicts the likelihood of a single page to rank well, taking into account link counts and other data.

PageRank: This is Google’s system for ranking web pages based on their importance, which is determined largely through backlinks. It was a foundational concept in the early days of Google but is now one of many factors used in ranking.

Remember that DA is an arbitrary number and does not always indicate the quality or trustworthiness of a website. Plenty of great websites have lower DA and PA, and plenty of shadier sites have a Domain Authority of 60 or more.

Factor

2

Is The Linking Domain Relevant to Your Industry?

Equally as important as the domain authority (if not more so) is the relevance of the linking domain.

Google’s algorithm is rapidly evolving and in recent years, they have increased their focus on the relevance of linking sites.

What this means is that whenever you are looking for websites where you can earn a backlink, you want to make sure that the site is relevant to your website in a meaningful way.

For example: Imagine that you are working on a link building campaign for a men’s fitness site and you are debating between trying to earn a link from two different websites.

Which website would you want a link from?

  • A website about Monster Trucks with a DA of 70.
  • A more niche website devoted to hormonal optimization for men with a DA of 35.

 

Hint: The experts at Google suggest that you should always opt for the website that is more relevant to your specific niche.

Bye bye, monstertrucks.com!

Factor

3

Is the Link Editorial or Not?

The next question you should ask yourself is whether the link will be editorially placed or not.

An editorial link is any link that has to be approved by a website moderator or owner (think guest posts, resource pages, or organic contextual links).

A non-editorial link is any link that can be created without the approval of the website owner.

For example, creating a profile on another person’s website and dropping a random link.

According to Google and every real SEO expert out there, you should always seek editorial links.

Explore our in-depth guides on specialized backlink strategies for different sectors

Unique Ways to Find Link Building Opportunities

In this chapter, we’ll delve into innovative strategies that can uncover hidden opportunities for link building.

Broken Link Building

Broken link building, a strategy to combat link rot, involves finding and replacing dead links with your relevant content.

What is Link Rot?

Link rot refers to the phenomenon where web links lead to pages that are no longer available, often resulting in a HTTP 404 error.

Broken Link
Source: Broken Link Building: What It Is & How to Do It Right in 2023

How Does it Work?

It begins by identifying broken links on a website and then contacting webmasters to offer relevant replacements. 

This approach benefits both parties: webmasters get rid of broken links, and you gain valuable backlinks.

Tips for Broken Link Building
  • Target Resource-Rich Pages: Target pages with numerous external links, such as resource pages, as they are more likely to contain broken links.
  • Offer Relevant Replacements: Offer replacements closely related to the original dead link’s content.
  • Add Value: Ensure your outreach offers solutions and benefits to the webmaster.
  • Prioritize Active Sites: Concentrate efforts on sites that actively update their content, ensuring a higher chance of engagement and link placement.

Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is like giving your content a serious upgrade to attract more backlinks. 

Brian Dean coined this strategy, comparing it to creating the tallest building in town and then adding even more floors to it.

Source: How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

How to Implement the Skyscraper Technique?

Step

1

Find Awesome Content with Loads of Backlinks

First things first, let’s hunt down the right kind of content that’s ripe for improvement and ready to gather those links. 

Here are some content types that work wonders for the skyscraper technique:

  • How-tos
  • Comparison guides
  • Buying guides
  • Listicles
  • Review posts
  • Question posts
  • Cheat sheets
  • Templates
  • Infographics

Step

2

Improve Existing Content

Now comes the crucial part: creating content that surpasses your competitor’s offering by a significant margin. Your content must stand out to attract those links. 

Some common tactics include:

  • Expanding comprehensiveness
  • Offering unique insights
  • Enhancing user experience
  • Establishing credibility
  • Incorporating visual content like images and videos for better engagement

Step

3

Reach Out to the Right People

Find people who’ve linked to the original content you are improving. You can use tools like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to help identify these potential linkers.

Craft personalized emails highlighting how your content enhances their existing material, making it a win-win situation.

Resource Page Link Building

Resource pages are great for backlinks, as they’re constantly looking for new, valuable content.

How Does it Work?

These page creators often seek fresh content, making it easy for your suggestion to get noticed and added.

Tips to Secure Links from Resource Pages
  • Respect preferred contact methods of page owners for submissions.
  • Directly communicate with responsible individuals for better results.
  • Guide where your link fits best on the resource page for clarity.
  • Identify broken links on their page to offer added value and facilitate inclusion.
  • Avoid purchasing links to adhere to Google’s guidelines and to steer clear of potentially spammy pages.

HARO Link Building

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is your golden ticket to earning links from top-notch publications, giving your website a boost in search engine rankings.

How Does it Work?

Reporters and bloggers use HARO to find experts on various topics. When you provide a compelling quote or insight, they link back to your website in their articles.

HARO Link Building Tips
  • Swift Responses: Reply promptly to stand out among other pitches.
  • Relevant Topics: Focus on queries related to your expertise.
  • Conciseness is Key: Keep your response under 200 words; avoid excessive links.
  • Actionable Insights: Offer unique, actionable tips rather than generic advice.
  • No Fluff: Be precise and insightful; quality beats quantity every time.

Chapter 06

Simple Tactics to Build Directory and “List Links”

Discover some straightforward link building strategies for creating directory and “list link” connections.

Guest blogging

Guest blogging is a strategy where you contribute articles to other websites. 

It’s a fantastic way to share your expertise while gaining a link and visibility for your brand or business.

Check out our simple 5-step guest posting process now!

5 Tips for Guest Blogging Success
  • Set SMART Goals: Define your objectives for topic selection, writing frequency, and effectiveness measurement.
  • Use Keyword Research Tools: Tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs can help generate topic ideas.
  • Choose the Right Sites: Look for sites with high Domain Authority, low Spam Score, and a strong editorial process.
  • Tailor Your Pitches: Research the site’s content and propose pitches that add value.
  • Measure Impact: Track the performance of your guest posts against your goals.

Blog and Forum comments

Blog and internet forum comments are notorious for being spammy but if done right, they can be a neat trick in your link building arsenal.

How It Works

Improved SEO and Referral Traffic: Engaging in thoughtful blog comments not only creates backlinks but also boosts your SEO by driving referral traffic.

Building Social Proof: Crafting well-written, value-adding comments establishes you as an authority within your niche, contributing to social proof and credibility.

Tips for Blog and Forum Comments
  • Have a balanced moderation standard that allows natural discourse among community members on your blog.
  • Reply to comments on your posts to encourage engagement.
  • When commenting on other blogs, write simple, concise and useful comments that are relevant to the post and avoid spamming.

 

Image linking

Due to the popularity and shareability of visual content, image linking can lead to countless fruitful backlinks over time. 

All you need to do is create engaging visual content, and the links will start rolling in!

How It Works

Visual Content is King: Images such as infographics, charts, and visualizations simplify complex stuff. This makes them a valuable asset for other bloggers in the industry.

Get Organic Links: By sharing striking images, you can bag links from various websites when they credit you as the image source.

Tips for Image Linking that Works
  • Follow the hottest trends and connect it to your brand for more shares and mentions.
  • Use alt text and titles with the right keywords so search engines know what your image is about. 
  • Make your images responsive to all devices.
  • Use embed codes for easy linking and submit visuals to infographic directories. 
  • Reach out to bloggers or sites that might dig your visual content for possible link-ups.
  • Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit are gold mines for spreading your visual content.
  • Keep an eye on where your images show up with reverse image searches and make sure they give you credit.

 

Reciprocal link

Reciprocal links are like a mutual agreement where two or more sites link to each other.

These links can either be powerful allies or a dangerous pitfall in your SEO journey. 

Because if you use reciprocal links solely for SEO purposes without genuine value, Google won’t hesitate to slap your site down in search results or even de-index it.

How to get it Right
  • Relevance is Key: Link only to content that seamlessly fits with yours and adds value to your readers. Quality matters more than just SEO gains.
  • Check SEO Metrics: Ensure that the link is from a high-authority website.
  • Build Authentic Relationships: Start by genuinely linking to others without expecting anything in return. Authenticity pays off.
  • Influencer Outreach: Forge relationships with bloggers and influencers, focusing on providing value, not just securing backlinks.
  • Expand Backlink Potential: Diversify your backlinks through various strategies like guest blogging or content promotion.
  • Steer Clear of Competitors: Avoid linking to direct competitors. You don’t want to boost their SEO instead of yours.
  • Evaluate Link Requests: Be picky. Only agree to reciprocal links if they align with your strategy and genuinely benefit your audience.

How many Backlinks do you need to Rank?

The number of backlinks you need to succeed depends upon a couple of dynamic variables.

You have to figure out how competitive your keyword is, what domain authority you have currently, and how it compares to your competitors. 

Other considerations such as the quality of the links and anchor text profiles can also make a significant impact.

Check out the full guide on how to assess your link building requirements.

Chapter 07

Using Email Outreach for Link Building

At this point, the pieces are starting to come together.

But many of you might still be wondering, “How in the hell do I actually convince these webmasters to give me a link?”

Well, I’m glad you asked because that’s what I am about to show you.

Step

1

Find People Who Already Link to Similar Content

Before drafting an email or pitching a guest post, make sure your target is likely to provide a backlink. 

Sometimes, you can find the answer to this question with a few clicks on their website.

Some blogs restrict guest posts or third-party links, while others have an open-door policy for content contributions.

If you are still not sure whether a specific website allows backlinks, you can still find a list of possible link targets using a simple reverse engineering exercise.

  • Search your target keyword in Google.
  • Once you have your results, copy the URLs of the top 3 results and plug them into a tool like Ahrefs.
  • Hit the “Backlinks” tab on the left hand side and… voila!
  • You now have a huge list of websites that are likely to reward badass content with an equally badass backlink.

 

Step

2

Find Their Email Address

After narrowing down publishers and websites that are likely to give you some links, it’s time to track down their email address.

Under most circumstances, you can easily find this under the “Contact Us” tab of their website.

It’s often available under the ‘Contact Us’ section. If not, tools like Voila Norbert can fetch email addresses associated with a domain, using the person’s name and website.

Step

3

Reach out With a Hyper-Personalized Script

Most authoritative website owners receive hundreds if not thousands of guest post and backlink requests on a monthly basis.

And if you want even a tiny chance at actually connecting with them and earning a backlink, you are going to need to stand out from the masses.

The only way to do this is by creating a highly personalized email script for each prospect.

Brian Dean from Backlinko.com has a great script that you can use for this purpose.

Hi [First Name],

I was looking for content on [Topic] today, when I stumbled on your article: [Article Title].

Good stuff! I especially enjoyed [Something specific from their article].

Also, I just published a new guide on [Your Topic]: [URL].

As someone that writes about [Topic], I thought you’d enjoy it.

My guide may also make a nice addition to your page. Either way, keep up the awesome work with [Website]!

Talk Soon,
[Your Name]

This script is the best resource that I have found for achieving high levels of personalization without too much effort.

Struggling to get noticed by high-profile publishers? 

Let OutreachMama handle your agency’s link building and get access to 400+ Publisher Partnerships now!

Chapter 08

Know the difference between White hat, Grey hat and Black hat link building

As we mentioned before, not all backlinks are created equal. 

In fact, some can be toxic enough to destroy your rankings and result in severe penalties.

So, how do you know which links are worth building?

The best way is to learn the difference between white hat, black hat, and grey hat link building. 

Each type includes different approaches, ranging from ethical and legitimate to manipulative and risky.

Knowing the difference can help you make the right choices for your SEO journey.

Let’s delve into each category!

White Hat SEO

Ethical practices aligning with search engine guidelines to improve rankings and user experience.

White Hat Techniques
  • Quality content creation
  • Prioritizing user experience
  • On-Page optimization
  • User-Oriented social media engagement
  • Comprehensive keyword research
  • Genuine relationship building
  • Active participation in industry forums
Results

Sustainable, long-term success with higher search rankings and increased organic traffic.

Black Hat SEO

Unethical practices aimed at exploiting search engine loopholes for quick gains.

Black Hat Techniques
  • Using Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
  • Low-Quality Directory and Social Bookmarking Submissions
  • Artificially inflating link sharing
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Spam Comments
  • Creating Duplicate Content
  • Engaging in Link Schemes
  • Redirecting via Expired Domains
  • Article Spinning
  • Doorway Pages
Results

May show immediate improvements but creates toxic backlinks that put you at the risk of severe penalties like website delisting or reduced rankings.

Grey Hat SEO

Techniques that fall into a middle ground, not strictly ethical but not entirely unethical either.

Grey Hat Techniques
  • Indirect link buying
  • Purchasing Listings
  • Questionable Affiliate Marketing
  • Fabricated reviews
  • Native advertising
Results

Short-term benefits with potential long-term risks.

Overall, striking a balance between ethical practices and SEO goals is key to escaping Google’s penalties and ensuring long-term success.

CHAPTER 09

Adhering to Compliance and Best Practices

We just talked about the types of link building Google loves, tolerates and hates. 

But the question still stands, how can you make that distinction for yourself? 

Let’s discuss some compliance and best practices to make sure your link building efforts remain on Google’s good side.

Adhere to Google's Webmaster Guidelines

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, now known as Google Search Essentials, are crucial for understanding how to make your website more accessible and favorable to Google’s search algorithm.

Technical Requirements

Highlight the basic necessities for a web page:

  • Ensure GoogleBot can easily find and access your page.
  • Maintain a live status with a 200 (OK) HTTP response.
  • Provide meaningful content that adheres to quality standards.
Quality Guidelines

Lists practices that Google disapproves of, such as:

  • Showing different content to users and internet search engines (Cloaking)
  • Overusing keywords unnaturally (Keyword stuffing)
  • Participating in manipulative link strategies (Link schemes)
  • Steer clear of hosting malware, creating low-quality auto-generated content, and more.

Check out the full version of Google Search Essentials here.

Focus on Ethical Practices

Setting your website up for success is like building a house—you start with a strong foundation. This foundation is built on solid ethical practices that will keep you afloat through rain or shine. (and the most challenging Google updates)


Here are some key aspects to consider:


User-Centric Approach: Focus on delivering value, enhancing user experience, and meeting user needs.
Quality Content Creation: Craft high-quality, original, and informative content that resonates with your target audience. Avoid duplicating content or misleading users with false or deceptive information.
Authentic Link Building: Seek natural backlinks from reputable sources, avoiding grey and black hat methods.
Transparency and Honesty: Be transparent about your practices, products, and services. Avoid deceptive tactics or misleading users with hidden intentions.
Compliance with Legal Standards: Adhere to legal requirements concerning data privacy, copyright, and other applicable laws. 
By focusing on these ethical practices, not only do you align with Google’s guidelines, but you also contribute positively to the web ecosystem while building a trustworthy and sustainable online presence.

Ensure Compliance with a Backlink Audit

A backlink audit is a thorough review of all the backlinks pointing to a website. This process involves analyzing the quantity and quality of these links to understand their impact on the website’s search engine ranking.

Want to make sure your links comply with ethical standards? 

OutreachMama’s backlink audit can help eliminate toxic links and improve your backlink strategy.

Link Building Services and Software that
Will Simplify the Process

Link building can be complex and time-consuming, but the right tools and services can simplify the process.

While I have compiled an exhaustive list of the best link building tools in the industry (which you can check out here), my three favorites are as follows.

Tip

1

SEMRush

Semrush is widely recognized as an “All-in-one” SEO toolkit, offering a vast array of features.

It’s highly praised by industry professionals for its ability to provide detailed analysis that integrates seamlessly into digital marketing strategies.

SEMrush not only helps you perform day-to-day tasks, but also provides in-depth analysis that is very clear and can be easily incorporated into your digital marketing strategy and significantly improve your performance. 

~Umit Yilmaz, SEO Engineer at Ebay.com

 

Tip

2

Ahrefs

Ahrefs allows you to check your competitor’s backlink profiles, top pages, link growth, and countless other statistics.

Many of the top SEOs in the world use and recommend Ahrefs and it has been one of the leading tools on the market (almost) since Al Gore invented the internet.

Ahrefs offers a 30-day free trial and pricing packages that are comparable to Moz Pro making it a great alternative for Moz-averse marketers.

Tip

3

OutreachMama

While I might be a little bit biased by recommending this one, I couldn’t conclude this article without mentioning our high level link building services.

At OutreachMama, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with everything they need to plan, execute, and optimize the perfect link building campaign.

We will help you find the right websites to target, the exact content that you should pitch, and then we do everything for you.

From content creation to backlink analysis, OutreachMama provides you with everything that you need to boost your SEO, increase your traffic, and drastically increase your revenue in record time.

Find out more about our link building services.

Chapter 11

Monitoring and Refinement

Now you know all there is to know about building backlinks.

But wait, we’re not done just yet.

That’s because having backlinks isn’t enough. 

The next crucial step is to monitor and refine your backlinks to ensure they’re effectively boosting your website’s performance.

Let’s take a look at how to continuously improve your backlink strategy through monitoring and adjustment.

Life Cycle

Step

1

Backlink Analysis

Backlink analysis is like checking a website’s health.

It’s about understanding the links that point to your website and making sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Why is it Important?

Checking your backlinks helps:

  • Understand your website’s performance.
  • Fix any problems that might affect your search engine ranking.
  • Find new ways to improve your website.
  • See what other websites are doing to rank better.
How to Do Backlink Analysis

Choose Sites to Analyze: Select websites similar to yours to compare and learn from them.
Select a Tool: Use tools that help analyze backlinks, such as Moz, Google Search Console and Semrush.
Get a Quick View: Put your website into the tool to see basic results, like the total number of links and referring domains.
Analyze Details: Look closely at the types of links and where they come from, like the anchor texts, country codes, and broken links.
Check Competitors: Compare your findings with other sites that rank higher than yours to learn what they’re doing differently.

Step

2

Performance Tracking

Performance tracking is all about selecting the right metrics.

For instance, if you aim to get more visitors, check metrics like referral traffic and organic search. But if you are into increasing brand recognition, focus on social signals and brand mentions.

Let’s take a look at some ways to track the performance of your backlink strategy:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great way to track how well your link-building strategy is performing. It can help you:

  • Find out where your website traffic is coming from, whether it’s from search engines, social media, or referrals.
  • Keep an eye on which backlinks are bringing the most traffic to your site.
  • Check how your different web pages are performing and which need improvement.

Check out our in-depth guide on Google Analytics 4 (GA4) for more insights.

Search Engine Visibility

To see if your links are helping your website show up in search results, use tools like Ahrefs or Semrush. 
When you build quality links, your website becomes more visible in search results, and these tools help you see if that’s happening.

Social Signals and Brand Mentions

Keeping an eye on how often your content is shared or your brand is mentioned online can help you understand audience engagement.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Calculating the ROI of your link-building campaign helps you understand if it was worth the effort. 
It involves comparing the cost of your campaign to the revenue it generated. 

Learn more about the costs involved with our detailed guide on Link Building Pricing.

Step

3

Strategy Adjustment

After analyzing the performance of your link building efforts, it’s time to fine-tune your strategy.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Focus on High-Impact Areas: Consider dedicating more effort to strengthen pages with fewer backlinks or lower performance and scale up tactics that seem to be paying off.
  • Adapt Your Goals: Based on your findings, adjust your goals if needed. 
  • Stay Updated, Test and Experiment: Catch up on the latest trends, algorithm changes, and best practices in SEO and link building. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics or techniques.
  • Iterate and Repeat: Remember, the adjustment process is an ongoing cycle that involves constant evaluation and refinement.

Repeat the steps of analyzing, tracking and adjusting to continuously improve your link building strategy.

Final Words

I hope that you were able to derive tremendous value from this guide and learn some new tips and tactics that informed your link building strategy.

Now, it’s time to apply these insights and climb up the ranks on Google. 

Remember, the world of SEO is dynamic, so keep learning, adapting, and striving for the top!

What did you think of the guide? Were there any questions I didn’t answer?

Let me know in the comments below.

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