Why Every Website Needs a Link Building Plan

How to make the most of your link building efforts
Published on 
May 2, 2024
Updated on 
May 2, 2024

Whether you’re building a new website from the ground up or trying to inject new life into your SEO, you need a link building plan–a clearcut path to building out your content and getting other websites to link back to it. 

This includes carefully planning out everything from the kinds of backlinks you want to get–do you want or need homepage links, links to deeper pages, or links to your service pages?--as well as the types of link building strategies that you are going to use. 

The bottom line is that you need to build high authority backlinks if you want your website and its content to rank well. 

The below article will provide a comprehensive breakdown of a good link building plan and lay out some of the most common strategies for establishing page and domain-level authority with diversified backlinks. 

What, exactly, is a link building plan?

A plan, with respect to anything you’re doing, link building or otherwise, means a formalized and organized approach to achieving a result. 

This is really the only way to approach SEO of any kind, but especially backlinks.

In the case of building backlinks, this means a methodology for acquiring more links to your website in a way that is going to boost your ranking and traffic while keeping Google happy

You need a link building plan because, at the end of the day, links, out of Google’s alleged 200+ ranking factors, are extremely important. 

They are essential for: 

  1. Referral traffic when people see and click on your backlinks. 
  2. Giving you more visibility in web searches which means better brand awareness and traffic. 
  3. Building trust with Google, which in turn means you rank higher in the SERP

It doesn’t matter whether you are starting your SEO journey as a new business or are just getting around to link building as a company with a well-established website, you need backlinks, plain and simple. 

Of course, putting all of the link building strategies we will discuss below into practice is a lot easier said than done. It takes time, effort, knowhow and money to build needle-moving backlinks. 

These are just some of the websites we’ve built our clients links on. If you’re interested in handing the reins over to experienced link builders, and have the budget for it, dofollow’s link building service gets results

What does it cost to execute a comprehensive link building plan?

The short answer is: it depends. You can spend many thousands of dollars when you build links, or you can spend much less. 

Cost varies by link building strategy, with experience, relationships and process efficiency being the main mediating factors. 

Relationship building is especially important. 

There are costs associated with the tools that you need to prospect for and build links at scale and There are opportunity costs associated with your time.

Link building can easily turn into a full-time job, and if you’re a business owner, that is likely out of the question. 

In that case, you will need to consider whether you have the in-house marketing capacity to undertake dedicated link building efforts or whether you need to outsource the work elsewhere. 

Additional costs of a link building strategy

In addition to the software, opportunity and potentially labor costs, you will probably, at some point, have to pay some sort of processing fee in order to have your links placed. 

A lot of sites will charge you an administration fee when submitting a guest post or a niche edit. Inserting a new link into an article does take some time and effort at the end of the day. 

The different kinds of links you should be building

There are four main types of links that you should structure a link building plan around: 

  • Homepage links
  • Deep page links
  • Branded links
  • Keyword-optimized links

Combined, these four categories of links will work to boost your SEO and provide you with more exposure in the search engine results and increased organic traffic. 

If you have done the rest of your SEO and sales funnel creation right, it should result in increased conversions and revenue for you. 

Homepage links

Homepage links are inbound links that point directly to your home page.

These are very powerful for SEO because not only are homepage links usually the result of organically acquired links–someone has seen fit to link to your website because they like it. 

But, also, because they help you distribute link juice throughout the rest of your site. You can use your internal linking to then direct traffic to your most important pages from your home page. 

One of the best ways to build homepage links is using HARO

Cision (and HARO)’s objective is quite simple: 

In this case, you are the expert source. 

If you’re an online business owner, whatever the industry you’re in, you undoubtedly have something quotable to say to a journalist or blogger covering your niche. 

HARO link building is pretty straightforward. 

Complete the quick sign-up form. 

Open your verification email, click the link and you are set up to start receiving HARO’s thrice daily emails. 

They look like this. 

They’re organized into different niches and sectors of the economy. Above is the general business and finance queries. 

The emails come in at 5:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. EST. 

You simply select the queries you have the authority to answer, make sure the site in question (if it lists the site, sometimes the journalists using HARO obscure the site for various reasons), and respond to the specific questions or prompts. 

If the writer or webmaster on the other end likes your contribution enough to include it in their story or blog post, you could find yourself with a fantastic (usually branded) dofollow backlink from a reputable and highly authoritative publication. 

HARO is one of the most effective link building strategies for new site owners looking for powerful, relevant links to their homepage.

Directory homepage links 

Another common link building strategy for building powerful homepage links is to submit your site information to one or more of your industries online directories. 

These are websites that exist to inventory businesses and websites in a particular niche so that people searching for these businesses can easily sort through their options. 

There are both location-specific and international directories. 

The key when it comes to director link building is to ensure that you are optimizing for relevance and authority

These are not the most powerful links to begin with–although they are a legitimate part of a diversified backlink profile and–and there are a lot of shabby directories out there, so choose wisely. 

Ask yourself “would a potential customer be using this resource and, if so, how would my inclusion in it reflect upon by brand?”

Deep page links

Deep page links are those that go to, you guessed it, pages “deeper” within your site structure. 

Your homepage, for example, is not a “deep” URL on your website. Typically, your deeper pages are those in your blog or specialized service landing pages. 

Take this article on link building for SaaS companies that we have published in our blog. 

The URL is

There are two degrees of separation between this URL and our home page–our blog and then the individual blog page. 

Building links to these kinds of pages is important because this is how your build the page authority of the specific pages on your website that you most want to receive traffic. 

It is also, very importantly, how you transfer link juice from a thought leadership or resource page to a commercial page. 

Other websites are typically not going to be willing to send traffic to an explicitly commercial page. 

They don’t want to spam their visitors and users with advertising, and, as far as good outbound linking practices go, Google isn’t a big faneither. 

Google wants to see that you (or anyone else) is including links in content that actually improves user experience for readers (i.e., offsite pages that help contextualize and buttress information hosted on reputable, high authority sites). 

There are several link building tactics to help you land great deep page links: 

  • Broken link building
  • Guest blogging (or guest posting)
  • Niche edits 

Broken link building 

Broken link building is a link building strategy that involves letting other sites know about links they are hosting that no longer point to an active webpage. 

When you click on one of these links, you are taken to an error, or “404” page. 

A broken link is bad for user experience and detracts from the overall quality of an article or blog post, so most good websites and webmasters will want to get rid of it and replace it with something functional. 

That’s where you come in. 

You find these broken links, let the sites know about them, and then offer up one of the resource pages from your own site (something similar or identical) as a fill-in. 

Ahrefs has a broken link checker that you can use (with certain functionalities only available on paid plans) for free. 

Or you can install plugins like Check My Links that show you which links on any page lead to broken URLs:

Put together your prospecting list of sites with broken links, reach out to site owners and suggest your page(s) as a replacement. 

Guest posts

Guest posts are pieces of content you write that will be hosted on someone else’s website. 

They are one of the most popular and, when done right, successful forms of link building and they are used across industries as part of thorough link building strategies. 

The way a guest post works is quite simple. 

Simply build a prospecting list of websites that accept guest posts and which would offer you high quality links and then reach out and offer them a selection of post ideas. 

You can use search engines like Google to quickly develop a list of prospects using search strings. 

Popular search strings include things like “write for us” and “become a contributor.”

If you were in the personal finance niche you might consider something like the below. 

Include the theme/topic and the search string and Google will provide you with a list of websites that have explicit guest posting guidelines/pages. 

Bear in mind that guest blog posts need to be approached cautiously. There are plenty of unscrupulous websites out to make a quick buck off guest posts (typically there is a placement and administrative fee associated with guest posts). 

Some of these websites are low quality and spammy. Beware of websites that:

  • Have high domain authority but low monthly traffic (a sign that a site may have been built on an expired domain for the express purposes of selling links). These are called “link farms” and Google doens’t like them or the links that come from the. 
  • Sites that are not thematically consistent and appear to accept guestposts from any and everyone.
  • Site’s hosting links to websites that cover topics Google doesn’t like or is hard on–gambling, cannabis, cryptocurrency, pornography, etc. 

In addition to this, you should also make sure that your guest posts are yielding you relevant links from websites in your own niche. 

Relevance plus authority are what make a good guest post and a good link in general. More links from irrelevant referring domains are never as good as fewer links from highly relevant sites. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your prospecting list, put together an outreach email template that you can personalize for each site. This is what you will send, along with topic suggestions for the guest posts. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is another of the popular link building strategies when it comes to deep links. 

Typically, a site owner will put together high quality web pages–resource pages, tools and the like–to earn links. These are what’s referred to as “linkable assets” because they help earn links. 

A good linkable asset can generate a lot of great backlinks from a bunch of different referring domains if you get your content marketing right. 

Content marketing is essentially the process of letting people know about new content you have written. 

Two of the most popular ways to get new content in front of your audience is: 

  • Cultivate your social media followings so you always have an audience for new content
  • Email outreach
  • Start an SEO optimized blog

Having a sizeable number of people following you on various social media platforms is a good way to spread the word about new content. If you have an active, engaged community, these are people you don’t have to do much work to get clicking and reading. 

Email outreach is another common way people get sites linking to their new content.

Typically, you would build a list of websites that you think would be interested in linking to one of your linkable assets and then propose that they include it in one of their existing pieces of content. 

One of the best ways to do this is to use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool to see which sites are already linking to competitors in your niche using the filter by backlinks option. 

If a website is linking to a highly similar website, there is a good chance it could provide a link to yours as well. This method is known as the “skyscraper” method.

The catch is, people aren’t just going to do you a favour for no reason. Your content really has to stand out and provide a lot of value. 

Branded and keyword optimized links

Building branded and keyword-optimized links require a bit more finesse because Google can view these kinds of links with suspicion. 

Branded anchor text link building

Branded anchors are those that use your business name in the anchor text. 

For dofollow, it might look something like: 

Presumably, in the above example, another website has seen fit to mention our name and link to our site using the name of our business as the anchor text. 

These can be really powerful links, especially if they are received organically–someone liked your business enough to recommend/include it in their content. 

HARO (discussed above) is one of the common link building strategies use to build these kinds of backlinks. 

Keyword optimized anchor text

You always need to be mindful of the anchor text when link building, but especially so when you are using the exact keywords that a page is trying to rank for. 

For instance, let’s say a real estate marketing agency based out of Houston, Texas had a commercial page on their website where they were selling a home staging service.

They have keyword optimized the page to target the local Houston area with the keywords “home staging houston” so that when someone searched “home staging Houston” or “home staging in Houston,” their service page appears. 

If they went out and started building backlinks or hired a link building service to do it for them, they would need to be extra judicious about inserting that keyword into content. 

First of all, “home staging houston” is not really grammatically correct. Home staging in Houston is how you would say or write that concept naturally, so to try and insert those exact three words into a blog article would make it look unnatural. 

It would also take you to a purely commercial page targeting that exact combination of words, which Google could frown upon if you do it enough. 

In summation

You don’t only want a steady stream of new links, you want a diversified backlink profile that imparts both domain and page authority. That’s what your link building plan should lay out. 

Google wants to see that other websites are linking to yous in a way that is natural. This means a healthy combination of different links types pointing to different parts of your website. 

This is how a backlink profile would develop organically over time. 

The idea is to ake sure that you are using a combination of link building strategies to direct link juice and traffic to different parts of your website, with the ultimate goal being conversions on your site’s most important commercial pages. 

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. We don’t mind giving you the knowledge, but putting it into practice for yourself takes time, effort and usually a lot of trial and error to iron out processes, build relationships and make it all work seamlessly. 

If you are interested in working with a link building service that builds user-centric, Google-friendly links at scale, using a performance-based, no-contract pricing model, get in touch with dofollow today and let’s chat. 

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.

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