From day one, backlinks have been the foundation of search engine rankings.
In this post, we’ll bring you 18 actionable strategies to secure new backlinks for yourself and your clients.
We’ve been in the backlinks business for over ten years now, and in our experience, these are the 18 most effective, scalable, and creative ways to acquire backlinks.
Skyscraper Content Technique
The skyscraper content technique is a simple yet proven tactic. It doesn’t just set you up to acquire new links but also establishes you as an authority in your industry.
It’s called skyscraper content as you outcompete other articles building yours up higher than anyone else.
The first step is to identify an article in your industry that is already performing well. Performing well doesn’t mean ranking well necessarily.
Select the top performer for links. This piece of content you know the ‘linkerati’ favours will form the basis for your skyscraper content.
Now for the slightly trickier bit. You need to make your own version of this content but better.
“Better” can be hard to define, but you’ll likely want to make it longer, more engaging, and more comprehensive.
Is the average word count for the top 5 results 2500 words? Aim for 3000. Does it include generic royalty-free images and boring screenshots? Create custom graphics and dynamic GIFs. If the top result lists 10 suggestions, then aim for 15.
By creating a more exhaustive piece of content, you establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
Need a hand creating skyscraper content? Why not take a look at our Content Writing Services.
Pitching Skyscraper Content
It’s not enough just to make an awesome piece of content, though. You need to let people know about it.
This part can be a bit more technical as you analyse your competitor’s backlink profile. You want to find high authority, highly relevant sites that link to the competing article you based yours on.
You can then pitch your article to those sites as an even better version of that resource. The site will naturally want to link to the most helpful resources available for their readers and, hopefully, they’ll be happy to switch to linking to you instead.
With this method only have you secured a shiny new link, but you’ve sniped one away from a competitor – win-win!
Listicles and How-Tos
Everyone loves a listicle. They’re snacky, shareable and can provide an easy win for engaging content (which is exactly why we’re producing this)!
Like the skyscraper content above, industry-relevant listicles allow you to flex your industry knowledge, wowing your readers and positioning you as an expert in your space.
Take our SEO Tips article, for example. This is one of our best-performing pieces as it provides a range of actionable tips in an easy-to-follow manner.
An ideal listicle is focused enough to rank well for specific industry terms, while the broader nature of the piece means readers are likely to find something relevant to them, even if they can’t action every tip.
Similarly, a How To article is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while providing your reader with genuinely helpful content.
Providing a How To of a service you provide might seem counter-intuitive but don’t despair. The reader will appreciate the opportunity to understand the process better, They may well give it a go themselves and, once they realise what a hassle it is, turn to you instead.
Listicles and How Tos/Guides drive 38% more traffic than other article types.
The more traffic you get, the more likely you are to receive new backlinks from people sharing and reposting that excellent new content you’re publishing.
It could also rank very well for related terms, which naturally attracts backlinks too.
Get Featured In Best X in Y Articles
As we established above, everyone loves a listicle, so why not work to appear in one?
“Best X in Y” posts are lists that summarise the best products/services/businesses in a given location or industry.
They might, for example, be “The Best Bike Shop in Birmingham” or “Best Payment Gateway for Small Businesses”.
Getting featured in these lists is a fantastic win for multiple reasons.
- Firstly, you’ve got a shiny new backlink, possibly from a high-authority or niche-specific site.
- Secondly, you’ve unlocked the potential for more traffic people see you come highly recommended from within the article.
- Finally, you’re boosting your credibility as a powerhouse in your sector or location. It’s all wins!
To get featured in such articles, you’ll need to shortlist some targets. Use some search terms where these articles may appear. Contact the site owner and ask to be included. Also, make it easy for them. Give them the exact text and images formatted correctly so they can just add it in. It’s a win win situation!
Get Featured In Resource Roundups
Resource pages are posts that collate many links that are all related to a certain topic.
One example would be this SEO Resource page but there are many, many examples for every sector and industry you can think of.
The super simple concept of this strategy is that you contact any resource sites that are relevant to your industry and ask to be included in their pages.
Don’t worry, these sites often have submission forms so you won’t need to come up with pitch emails most of the time!
These pages are specifically designed to be relevant to your industry (and we all know relevance is key).
Infographic Creation & Outreach
Infographics are an incredible resource for winning backlinks.
Easily shareable, visually engaging, and informative – a good infographic has it all.
Just look at the number of impressions this article on NASA’s clean air infographic had – 740k views plus!
The difficult part is creating the infographic, but plenty of services exist to help you with that!
Once you’ve created the infographic you can start pitching it to bloggers and other outlets with a solid outreach process.
Social media can also be a great home for infographics where they can be shared and reshared generating buzz and links as they go.
Give Out Testimonials
We all know it’s great to get a good testimonial that you can display proudly on your site.
Rave reviews can help reassure potential clients and Google, promoting the trustworthiness of your business.
But did you know they can also help you secure backlinks when you give out testimonials?
Sites will often have a dedicated reviews and testimonials page. They want to brag about the credentials of those giving them reviews and will include a link to your company so that customers can see you know what you’re talking about.
This approach is so beneficial as it;
- Gets you new backlinks
- Expands your network within your industry
- Makes you look like an authority in your industry
You can pair this strategy with our earlier listicle suggestion to help pull the backlinks in.
First, you can produce a well-researched listicle that is relevant to your industry. It could even be a ‘Best X in Y’ style post.
Include outbound links to each company/product that you mention.
Once you have published the post, contact the businesses you mention to highlight your positive coverage.
If the site owner is suitably impressed, they might include a snippet as part of their testimonials page.
Alternatively, they may reshare the article, again generating potential clicks and new links as it gets shared again and again.
Okay, so you’re generating links by reviewing other businesses, but why not get them reviewing you?
Reviews will naturally include links to the sites and products they cover, making them an excellent resource for new backlinks.
They won’t just come to you, however. You need to put the work in.
Search for industry-relevant terms and reviews to find publications and sites covering your niche.
You can then draft a pitch email suggesting one of your products for them to review and why you feel it’d be worth their while to cover you. Remember, they get 10s, if not 100s, of these pitches every day, so you’ll need to stand out.
Of course, you run the risk of negative coverage here, but if you back yourself, and your product, this strategy is an absolute winner.
If Google sees you’re well-reviewed by industry leaders, you’re well on your way to some major SERP rewards.
A quick but underrated win for eCommerce sites here.
If you stock a certain brand, why not contact them to get included on their stockist/supplier pages?
If a company you stock has a “where to buy” page, and you’re listed on it, you’re perfectly set to acquire new traffic with specific purchase-oriented search intent. How good is that?!
A similar approach can be taken even if you don’t sell physical goods.
Perhaps you use certain software as a fundamental part of your services? Contact them to let them know. Perhaps you can get included in a “trusted by” carousel on their homepage?
Okay, this one is possibly a little morally ambiguous if you only donate to a cause to secure a backlink. But you wouldn’t do that, right? Of course you wouldn’t, so this suggestion is all upside!
Find a great cause, ideally one in some way related to your niche, and donate away!
If you build a great rapport with a non-profit or charity, they might be happy to list you on their site as a proud supporter.
Remember, you’re not buying a backlink here. Make sure it’s a cause you want to be associated with anyway and, if you’re lucky, a backlink or two may come your way. Isn’t karma great?
An oldie, but a goodie.
For as long as there have been bloggers, there has been guest blogging.
Bloggers love to keep their sites ticking over with relevant content and webmasters love to get links – it’s a match made in heaven.
The basic process is that you pitch an industry-relevant blogger a brand new article that just happens to include a link back to your site, among all the other great content.
As simple as this sounds, it’s sadly a very manual process.
First, you need to source relevant bloggers and their contact details.
You next need to establish friendly contact. We’d advise checking their open to pitches before just blasting away!
Once you’ve ascertained they’re happy to entertain the idea of a guest post, you need to get pitching.
For best success, you’ll want to create a unique piece of content that leverages your position as an expert in your area. They need to want to post this article.
Once this is done, you just need to sit back and wait for the new post to go live, hopefully with a lovely little follow link back to you.
Of course, it’s sadly not always plain sailing. Bloggers can say no, timelines and promises can fall through, and so on.
Need some inspiration for outreach tactics? Check out our post on Blogger Outreach Hacks here!
Think this sounds like a lot of manual hassle? Why not take a look at our Blogger Outreach service to get it done for you.
Podcasts are booming right now.
As well as presenting a great opportunity to promote your brand story podcasts can be a great way of quickly securing new links.
Podcasters will include show notes with any new episode, typically including a link to the credentials/website of any guests they have – including you.
These notes will be published and republished any time the content is syndicated to another platform securing you more and more links!
As well as getting you links, these provide a great opportunity, once again, to emphasise your expertise.
Podcasts can tap into hyper-relevant niche audiences that commercial radio could never sustain, meaning you’ll appear to your exact target audience without any wasted exposure.
Don’t forget, you can also sponsor a podcast for some easy links too!
Outreach To Journalists
Journalist quote sourcing is an invaluable resource for SEOs.
It wasn’t meant to be, but it’s now used to secure high-impact, relevant links.
To get started with a typical journalist source platform, you need to sign up as an expert resource.
Once you have done so, you’ll receive daily updates with queries from writers covering your industry.
You can review the questions and submit your responses to any you feel you can answer. Don’t just reply to any old query; make sure you really know your onions. These reporters will get tens or even hundreds of responses.
If the journalist chooses to include your quote/answer you’ll receive an email to let you know.
This is another great way to establish your voice as an expert in your field while securing relevant backlinks for your site.
Don’t fancy pouncing on every request that comes into your inbox? Have a look at our expert links service where we’ll handle it all for you.
Old hat? Yes. Still effective? Yes.
Press Releases are a classic means of securing new backlinks while generating some buzz about your business.
Newsworthy developments tend to go hand-in-hand with brand new pages on your site just crying out for some links.
For example, if you’ve just launched a new service, you can schedule a press release to help promote the new launch.
Another avenue is to publish authoritative new research and studies. With the correct expertise, these posts can generate real press interest and buzz that you can capitalise on.
One word of caution – don’t overdo them! For most businesses, a press release should come with some real fanfare. They shouldn’t be a bi-weekly occurrence.
Check out our blog post on writing a winning press release if you want some tips on preparing your own release for distribution.
Along with the methods recommended above, these link building tactics form the basis of Digital PR, the newset trend in link building and digital marketing.
Want it handled for you? Our Press Distribution service has you covered.
Directories haven’t died!
Working with the right directories can help solidify your local SEO.
You can also work with niche-specific directories to ensure you appear in front of the right people.
These directories will typically include a link back to your site.
This means you’re securing contextually relevant links that also help your prospective customers find you.
They also provide good trust signals to Google, as long as you’re in reputable directories!
Create Free Tools
Our free tools are an absolute goldmine, and not just because of how useful they are.
Free tools are a great way to get your brand out there and to start populating email lists, but they can also be leveraged for links.
It’s easy enough to find potential tool opportunities in your niche.
Start with some basic research for “industry terms” + “tools” and see what dominates the SERPs.
Once you’ve figured out which tool is most relevant to your business, you need to look at making your own version. This is the tricky bit.
If you don’t have an in-house development team, you’ll need to look to sites like Fiverr to find someone to help. Be sure to work alongside them to make it clear what will make your tool better than your competitors.
Broken Link Building
Another classic strategy, albeit a bit of a time-consuming one.
Put simply, this is the process of finding existing broken links and contacting webmasters to suggest they replace those broken links with shiny new ones to a relevant page from your site.
There are two directions you might go in for this process.
Tactic One is to research industry-relevant blogs.
Once you’ve found a blog that posts relevant content you can trawl through their blog posts to find articles that contain broken links.
Next you can find the closest match to that original link on your site. Perhaps you have a post that covers a similar topic, or a competing product/service?
After you’ve determined which link you want to suggest you’ll need to contact the webmaster. Alert them to the broken link (it might be worth mentioning the SEO damage they can cause) and suggest your link as a replacement.
Alternatively, you could go for a competitor-first approach.
Start this method by selecting a competitor in your niche.
Next, analyse their domain for any broken pages.
Find a page that is broken that you have a close competitor to.
Find out which external sites are linking to that page.
Contact the most relevant opportunities to let them know that they currently have a broken link but not to worry, you’ve got an excellent replacement right here!
These strategies not only secure you new links but they help rid the world of the scourge of broken links. Aren’t you just wonderful?
Bonus Strategy: Rebuilding Broken Links
So you’ve seen how to nab yourself some new links from competitors that have dropped the ball but remember – the same can happen to you!
Use external SEO tools to monitor your own backlink profile and site performance, and be sure to keep on top of any potential downed pages.
If a page is dead on your site, consider fixing it or implementing a redirect.
You might also want to contact any website that is using a broken link and gently suggest they update it to a new, working one.
You’ve put in all this work to get links, don’t let that go to waste by neglecting them once they’ve gone live!
Target Unlinked Brand Mentions
You’ve seen how to fix links, but how about creating them where none existed before?
Sourcing unlinked brand mentions is the process of finding pages that mention you by name but don’t currently link to you.
Much like broken link building, you’ll want to track down the site owner and suggest that what would make their post even better is including a link to you.
You can sweeten the deal by mentioning the improved experience this will give their reader, or maybe even suggest an affiliate code, so they get a little kickback.
They’ve already proven they’re happy to mention you (ideally in a positive light) so they may well be happy to chuck in a link to you too.
Okay, so these aren’t quite new backlinks but neglect them at your peril!
Internal links are a vital part of your overall sitemap and can help funnel authority and ‘link juice’ precisely where you need it.
Luckily smart plugins like Link Whisper exist to handle this for you.
A proper internal link structure will help ensure you’re best-placed to get full value from all those brand new links you’ve secured using the methods above.
Got Any Other Ideas?
We’ve covered 18 of our favourite link-building techniques here, but are there any you think we’ve missed?
Pop us an email and we may even add a link to your creative ways to get backlinks to this article!
Head of Content
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