Link building is by far the most difficult part of SEO because a significant part of it lies outside of your control.
Yes, you increase the odds of getting links from other websites if you by great content and do good on site SEO, but a lot of whether or not you get a link comcreate es down to the needs and actions of other people.
Link building strategies and ideas fall in and out of favour based on what Google does and doesn’t like and what everyone else is using (and eventually overusing).
In this article, we’re going to break down some of the link building strategies that continue to produce results for us and other successful link builders.
These are tactics that allow you to build valuable backlinks from authoritative, relevant sites that increase your ranking in search engines and, subsequently, your organic traffic.
These are the kinds of links we build for our clients:
Link Building Ideas and Strategies
Just to be clear, link building ideas are different than link building strategies.
A strategy might be the culmination of several different link building ideas, whereas the idea itself is usually focused on a single tactic.
Your link building strategy will vary depending a few things, including:
- The stage and maturity of your website
- Quality links to your website depend a lot on the quality of your content
- Your link building and general SEO knowledge
- Your budget
- Your time constraints
For those with time and opportunity cost constraints and/or SEO and link building knowledge limitations, a professional link building service can be a good option, provided you do your due diligence and get to know who you’re working with.
At dofollow.io, we’ve built thousands of links for a wide range of clients using transparent tactics that Google approves of, building backlink profiles that boost traffic and stand the test of time.
For those for whom budget and content are the major variables, the below sections will break down some proven link building ideas that you can put into practice yourself.
Link building idea 1: perfect your outreach
Outreach is the cornerstone of pretty much all successful link building.
Of course, you should build great content and SEO optimize it for the best chance of having people find your pages organically.
But if you want to do link building at scale, then you need to be reaching out to relevant, high authority websites for link opportunities.
There are essentially two elements to outreach:
- Knowing how to find the correct person to direct your outreach at
- Knowing how to appeal to this person
Finding contacts at websites
Finding the right person to send your outreach email to will make or break your outreach success.
A lot of new link builders unfortunately don’t spend enough time doing targeted outreach and so many of their emails end up in trash or spam folders.
If you’re reaching out to small websites that are clearly just a mom-and-pop operation, with one or two people responsible for every aspect of the site/business, then using the general contact form is probably a safe bet.
If, on the other hand, you are reaching out to a site that belongs to a business with dozens of employees (or more), just firing off an email to a “[email protected]” address is not the best idea.
You’ll want to find the person in charge of making SEO decisions.
You can do this in a couple of ways.
Search the employee directory
Again, if you are not trying to build quality links at scale (i.e., sending out potentially hundreds of outreach emails per month), you can take a more manual approach.
Instead of trying your luck with a generic info@ or contact@ email address that will end up being seen by some overworked admin employee who might not even know what to do with your request, look for the marketing team.
Find the person most likely to be in charge of making linking and SEO editorial decisions (a “Head of Content” or “Chief SEO Strategist,” etc.) and get in touch with them.
Use an outreach tool
Sometimes it’s just not possible to find contact information the manual way and you need to recruit the help of a seach engine.
Anyone who is serious about doing outreach at scale (agency or individual) uses at least one email finding and outreach tool to quickly create a list of sites for contact info.
Snov.io is one such tool
Hunter is another
These tools are not foolproof.
They sometimes find email address that are not usable or that they are not entirely confident in, but there is no faster way to come up with large lists of usable contact information in a short amount of time.
Knowing how to write a good outreach email
Knowing who to contact is one thing, knowing how to get their attention and convince them to give you a backlink is another.
It all comes down to your ability to your ability to personalize your outreach and communicate your value proposition.
Personalization largely has to do with how well you avoid coming off like your average, low effort link builder doing mass outreach.
Anyone who owns and runs a website knows that part of the daily grind is dealing with the non-stop emails from marketers vying for your attention.
We at dofollow get these all the time and most of them aren’t even opened because we can immediately notice the lack of personalization.
If the email isn’t personalized, then it very likely doesn’t include value that would be unique to us, so it gets trashed.
A good subject line is how you avoid this.
There are plenty of ways to structure a subject line to increase your open rate, and it depends on the kind of outreach you’re doing (HARO outreach, for example, usually works best when you use the exact text from the journalist’s query because that’s how their filtering their deluge of replies).
If you were going to reply to the above underlined query, your best bet would usually be to just use that query title ver batim.
For cold outreach, however, we like subject lines that use a person’s name and ask a question regarding something specific (a project, an article they’ve written, a problem you’ve noticed with a page).
Being specific to the site and showing the person they’re not just a number in a highly impersonal outreach campaign are two of the best link building ideas when it comes to outreach.
The other component of breaking through to the person on the other end of your outreach email is communicating value.
Too often, link builders will simply contact a website owner or site master, propose an article and ask for the link to be included.
Or they will propose a guest post idea without even looking to see whether the site already has a similar article published or how the potential new piece of content would augment what they already have.
You’re basically asking someone to take time out of their day to do a favour for someone they don’t know.
You’re busy, would you do that favour? Probably under very few circumstances.
The better approach is to do some (or all) of the leg work for the person.
This is the kind of outreach that is likely going to build more links. It takes more time to send this kind of email, but the end result might be fewer emails sent, and a higher response rate and links to your website in absolute terms–which is the objective of your link building strategy to begin with.
Tell them a story about your how your link insertion request or your guest post idea will improve their content, fill a gap in their existing content, create good internal linking opportunities for them, etc.
Link Building Idea 2: Guest Blogging
Guest blog posts is one of the most widely-used link building ideas out there and people continue to have great success with it.
The basic premise is you find relevant websites in your niche and pitch them ideas for blog articles. In turn you get relevant links.
The idea is you write the article, they host it on their site, and provide a link back to a specified page on your website.
There are basically two ways to arrange a guestpost: the paid and unpaid
Paid Guest Posts
Because guest posting is so popular and such an effective way to build links that, if done right, Google shouldn’t have a problem with, a ton of people do it.
What this means is that websites and site owners know that charging people “administration” or “publication” fees to host the article and provide a link is a viable way to monetize a website.
Websites have to build links and high DR, authoritative sites know this.
Often you can tell when a site will charge you for a guest post because they have a page that says something along the lines of “become a contributor” or “write for us.”
The way this works is you reach out, pitch them ideas, they tell you how much it will cost, you write the article, place your link and then send the webmaster money.
While Google is explicitly against purchasing links, if you are purchasing guest posts from websites with good site metrics (good DA/DR, traffic, history) and in a relevant niche/industry, it’s not something that will draw Google’s attention.
Write low effort guest posts on spammy sites like Link Farms or ones that are irrelevant to your niche.
Google will probably neutralize any SEO value coming from sites like that and, do it enough, and you could find yourself penalized by Google.
Structuring your guest posting opportunities
When you’re paying for guest blogging, you want to pay attention to a few things.
Keeping to a site’s editorial policy
You want to make sure that the link to your website doesn’t violate any of the site’s editorial rules. Often you will be asked not to link to your “commerical” pages, but rather to one or more (depending on how many link you are allowed to insert) of your site’s resource pages.
If you want high quality links for high quality websites, these are the sorts of conditions you likely have to agree to.
Be strategic about the your anchor text in your blog post
Getting links from high authority sites is important, but the way in which a piece of content links to pages on your site is also extremely important.
Effective link building when pursuing a guest posting link building strategy means making sure any links pointing to your website do so in a way that is natural and contextually relevant to both referring and target page content.
Take the below example
This is from an article we published on our blog. The hypertext “penalities fo fight spam” takes the reader to an authoritative blog post from Ahrefs on everything Google penalty related.
It’s contextually appropriate, descriptive anchor text that encapsulates the piece of content being linked to.
To maximize the SEO value of your guest blogging opportunity, you need to make sure that you’re providing quality content to the website’s target audience, which means avoiding spammy, awkward anchor text that uses exact match keywords.
Unpaid Guest Posts
These are the holy grail of guest posts and they are becoming harder and harder to find because of how much money there is to be made for sites that sell guest posting opportunities.
That isn’t to say, however, that they aren’t out there.
Often, these opportunities are to be found on websites that aren’t explicitly advertising guest posting opportunities.
They don’t have a “write for us” page, but if you were to reach out with great content ideas, you might just find yourself with an opportunity to publish something on and get a backlink from a great site in your niche.
One way to find such sites is to use Ahrefs’ “Content Explorer.”
Content explorer is a premium feature of Ahrefs, but it allows you to enter search terms and see a huge list of corresponding sites in the search results that you can reach out to.
Link building idea 3: Broken Link building
This is another of those link building ideas that can work wonders, provided you approach people the right way.
Broken link building is a great tactic because it has an inherent value proposition built in: you are letting someone know where there is a user experience issue on their website.
A broken link is one for which the target URL either no longer exists or there is some issue that is giving visitors a 404 error message.
Webmasters and site owners that are concerned with user don’t want to send their visitors to broken pages and will often be eager to fix them.
The idea is that they replace the broken link with one of your pages, thus earning you a backlink for your efforts.
There are plenty of ways to find broken links.
The most straightforward way would be to use the Ahrefs “Broken Links” tool
This is another premium paid feature of Ahrefs, but it’s a good way to quickly audit a URL for broken links.
Find a broken link, enter it in the search bar and get a list of all the sites that are linking to the URL.
Once you have that list, you can start crafting analyzing your own content for replacement options and determining how many of the sites in question are viable backlink opportunities to you (in terms of authority and trust) and crafting your outreach emails accordingly.
If you don’t want to pay for the “Broken Backlinks” feature, you can also search a domain’s best page by link and add a “404 not found” filter.
This will give you a list of a site’s pages sorted by most referring domains and if you add the “404 not found” filter you can easily separate out the error pages.
You might end up finding a broken page that is being linked to by dozens, if not hundreds of domains (depending on the site).
All of those sites represent broken link outreach potential.
Link building strategy 4: Follow up on unlinked mentions
Often times people mention your or your business in an article without providing a dofollow link back to your website, or they give you nofollow links.
Mentions are nice brand exposure and they might encourage readers to look your company up and visit your site, but they don’t pass on SEO value like dofollow link does.
Here is a mention we got on csoonline.com, a leading cybersecurity publication.
Unfortunately, they used a quote from our CTO Sebastian Schaeffer but didn’t give us a backlink.
Now in this case, when we followed up to try and turn the unlinked mention into a dofollow backlink, we were informed that the site has a strict editorial policy when it comes to dofollow links.
This is quite common with the biggest sites in a niche, and you have to accept that sometimes an unlinked mention is all you’re going to get.
Other times, taking one minute to craft a follow up email is all it takes to turn an unlinked mention into a phenomenal backlink.
We’ve had instances where the person in charge of writing and/or publishing the article simply forgot to include the link, and sometimes people just don’t realize what a big deal a dofollow backlink is.
Not everyone is well-versed in search engine optimization and if you graciously accept the mention while asking for a link, people are often happy to help.
You can easily set up Google alerts
Each time Google indexes a new page with the specified search terms, you get an alert (or you can set it up so that you get a list of alerts at set intervals so that you don’t get them one at a time).
Going after unlinked mentions is one of the best converting link building ideas out there because the site that mentioned your business or its content clearly found it valuable enough to include in their content.
Link building idea 5: Link Reclamation
To get links takes time and effort–especially relevant, high quality links to deep resource and information pages. These are the kinds of links search engines want to see and they require a real investment of time (and often money).
It seems a bit cruel, therefore, how easily pages can just get rid of them on you.
The truth is, however, that backlinks are lost all the time.
Ahrefs will tell you precisely how many links you lost and where over time.
The idea is to keep building links so that you always have a steady flow of new ones coming in to counteract what you’ve lost and keep building your backlink profile.
But it’s often easier to just reclaim a link you’ve lost rather than building a whole new one from scratch.
Before we get into the process, it’s important to know why you might have lost a link to begin with. There are, generally speaking, two reasons.
The first is that the webmaster removed your link from the referring page.
The second is that the referring page no longer exists.
In the first scenario, the link was probably removed for a reason.
Maybe the author made big changes to the content–updated or made a major thematic change and your link was no longer relevant to the new content.
The way to discover if this is the case is to you Ahref’s Site Explorer and filter links that have the “link removed” tag.
Go to Site Explorer, enter in your domain, click on “Backlinks,” then “Lost,” and then scan for instances of “link removed.”
If you determine that your link was removed because the content was rewritten and you think there is room in the new content for your link, you can reach out and suggest they readd it (without being pushy).
Page no longer exists
If you lost a backlink because the referring page no longer exists, it is usually because the site chose to get rid of the page.
In most cases, this was a calculated decision, and there’s not much to be done about it.
Sometimes, however, people delete pages by accident. It can be hard to tell when this has happened, but one way to know is if a really high performing page (lots of traffic) all of a sudden disappears.
Hasty fingers sometimes accidentally trash a page in WordPress without meaning to and you’re doing something helpful by letting a site owner know about it.
Putting link building strategies into practice
There are a ton of link building strategies out there that people use–some to much better effect than others.
It all depends on the resources you have on hand (manpower and monetary) and the amount of time you have to dedicate to building links.
Time, some capital and opportunity cost are the main considerations when it comes to creating and executing a link building strategy.
If you’ve got the space in your budget, but not the time or the opportunity cost to spare, consider entrusting the heavy lifting to a creative and experienced link building agency.
Get in touch with dofollow.io today and find out more about our transparent, performance-based, completely contract-free pricing and let us show you how we build links with serious SEO value that increase traffic and conversions.
Why Trust Us On SEO
Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.
Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.
While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.