Despite numerous algorithm updates, link building still remains one of the strongest ranking signals used by search engines. Yet our link building efforts mostly extend to commenting on blogs in the same niche (“nofollow” backlinks with no link juice) or contributing guest posts to simply brag about where we’ve got our content published (under strict scrutiny by Google).
But if you’d like to increase your site’s authority and rank higher than your competitors in search engine result pages (SERPs), you need to build high quality links on a consistent basis. In other words, you need to have a link building strategy that delivers results.
In this article, we’ll reveal 18 proven techniques to get high quality backlinks that will help you stay ahead of the competition and rank higher in SERPs.
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Here’s what this link building guide will cover. Feel free to jump to any section of your preference:
Table of Contents
Infographics are not just engaging on social media but they are also great for SEO. Yet most people ignore infographics because they wrongly assume that it’s expensive and time-consuming.
Using tools such as Canva, Venngage, and Piktochart, you can create fancy infographics in a matter of minutes. Another way to create beautiful infographics is to outsource it using sites such as Fiverr or Upwork.
Once your infographic is ready, it’s time to promote it. Follow these steps:
1. Submit your infographic to infographic submission sites
Here’s a list of sites that allow you to submit your infographics (both free and paid). I’ve also mentioned the domain authority of each of these sites to signify the value of each backlink that you’ll get, so that you can prioritize your efforts accordingly:
Bonus resource: Top 40 Infographic Submission Sites to Promote Your Infographic and Get Contextual Backlinks
2. Reach out to bloggers in your niche and offer them the infographic for free as a guest post
The next step is to identify bloggers and influencers in your niche. You can do this by using a tool like Buzzsumo. Once you’ve identified the bloggers, send them an email informing them about your new infographic and how it can add value to the content they have created on the same topic. If need be, offer to write a unique summary for the infographic.
Everyone loves well-designed, informative infographics and half of the sites you reach out to will gladly accept to include your infographic in one of their articles.
3. Use Siege Media’s Embed Code Generator to generate an embed code for your infographic
Siege Media’s Embed Code Generator allows you to generate embed codes for your infographic. Once the code is generated, all you need to do is copy and paste the code below your infographic.
By generating an embed code for your infographic, you make it easier for others to share and embed your infographic onto their own site. Here’s the best part: every time someone includes your infographic in their content, you get an attribution. Yet another easy way to fetch a contextual backlink.
Bonus Resource: For a more detailed description of link building with infographics, check out this article or download this free eBook.
If you have a decent amount of visual content on your blog (infographics, screenshots, charts, etc.), there is a high possibility that someone on the internet is using your images without giving proper link attribution.
Luckily, there is an easy way to resolve this issue. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Open a new Google Sheet and list down the URLs of all the important visual assets on your site.
Step 2: Use Google Image Search to find websites that are using your images without attribution. Enter the Image URL in the Google search box and then click on ‘Search by Image’ to find all the websites which are using your image in the “Pages that include matching images” section of the search.
Find out which of these sites are not giving you credit for the image.
Step 3: Send an email to the webmaster requesting a link attribution for using your image on their site. You can use the email template below:
I’m [Your Name] from [Your Blog].
I noticed that you’ve used one of my images in your post: [insert link to the article].
However, you haven’t included a link back to my website.
I’d really appreciate if you could add a link to my website below the image.
Here’s the link where the image is taken from: [insert your post URL]
In most cases, you’ll get a quick positive response from the site owners. And just like that, you’ve earned yourself a high-quality backlink.
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3. Get Active on Product Hunt
Image Courtesy: Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a place to discover the latest technology creations, websites, mobile apps, and tools that everyone is geeking about. I love spending time on Product Hunt not just to discover cool new products, but also because it’s a great place to have thoughtful discussions with product-loving enthusiasts.
To get a backlink from Product Hunt, you need to create an account on Product Hunt, link to your website, and then be active on the site. You can do this by writing reviews for products you’ve used, leaving your comments on newly launched products, and of course, by upvoting and downvoting products on a regular basis.
Product Hunt has a domain authority of 75, so it’s worth having an active account.
Click here to create your Product Hunt account
4. Find Backlinks from “Best of” Blog Posts
This particular method of getting backlinks is borrowed from Brian Dean at Backlinko and it’s insanely effective.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Use these following search strings on Google
- “Best (TOPIC) Blog Year”
- “(TOPIC) blogs to read”
- “My Favorite (TOPIC) blogs”
Any of these above searches will show you a list of “best of” blogs in your selected topic.
Step 2: Create a new Google Doc and add links to any quality blog that you’d like to get a backlink from. Also note down the email addresses of the bloggers you’d be reaching out to. In most cases, you can find them in the contact section. If not, use Ninja Outreach Chrome Extension to find their contact details.
Step 3: Reach out to these blogs via email and present them with a link to your article and ask them if they can include it in one of their weekly/monthly roundup posts.
You can use the below email template to reach out to the bloggers:
I’m a digital marketer and regular reader of your blog posts.
I also run the blog at [Your Blog] and today, we published a pretty massive guide on [Subject of Your Blog Post]. I think it might be a good fit for your roundup posts and thought I’d reach out.
Here’s the link to the guide: [Your Post URL]
No worries if it’s not a good fit – I’ll be a regular reader regardless!
Many of these blogs will also allow you to post a comment along with a link to your website.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to get a backlink is to post thoughtful comments on any of the articles on these blogs that you deem worthy to get a link from. Make sure your comment is THOUGHTFUL. Instead of posting “Great article”, think of creative ways to appreciate the kind of information the author has provided in the article. You may even ask a question.
But you may be thinking that there are blogs which simply don’t allow you to provide a link to your website. They may be using Facebook comment system or Disqus to manage and moderate their comments. And even if they do, you’ll probably get “nofollow” backlinks which will do nothing to improve your search rankings.
In such cases, the best way to get backlinks would to be use the email outreach method. Though it involves some work, the backlink you’ll eventually generate for your site would be worth the time and effort.
5. Create a Crunchbase Account
Crunchbase is a community of millions of users who like to stay on top of the latest industry trends, investments, and news about global companies – from startups to the Fortune 1000 companies.
While Crunchbase is a great place to connect with users with whom you share similar interests, it’s also a great resource to fetch a high-quality backlink for your website.
Just by creating a Crunchbase account and linking to your website, you’ll get a ‘dofollow’ backlink from a website with a domain authority score of 91. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, create a profile for your company as well.
It’s a simple way to generate a backlink from a high DA site and all it takes is two minutes of your time.
Click here to create your Crunchbase profile
6. Submit Your Site to Blog Aggregators
Blog Aggregators are sites which list blogs from different industries. Examples include AllTop, Blogarama, and BlogEngage.
Though they don’t have the same amount of link juice they once had, you can still get a decent amount of referral traffic from these blogs.
You can get high-quality ‘dofollow’ links from most blog aggregators for free in three easy steps:
- Submit your site (in most cases, the RSS feed of your blog)
- Add a special HTML code to your site to confirm your ownership of the site
- Wait for the blog aggregator to review your site
When it’s approved, you will get your own page on the blog aggregator listing all your articles.
Here’s a complete list of blog directories/aggregators you can submit your site to.
Yes, the links on Medium and LinkedIn are “nofollow”, but that doesn’t mean they are completely useless. Nofollow links can drive awareness, traffic, and can even lead to dofollow links eventually. If you have a new website, the awareness and traffic boost can be really important.
This article by Nicole Kohler on Moz makes a fantastic case for using and attaching importance to nofollow backlinks. In her article titled “The Hidden Power of Nofollow Links”, Nicole explains the importance of nofollow backlinks as follows:
“At its very core, a link is designed to create awareness of something on a different page. Nofollow links still build awareness, as long as they are seen. They don’t have to be followed. They probably don’t even have to be clicked! They just have to be visible.”
With this in mind, start syndicating your content on Medium and LinkedIn (via LinkedIn Publishing) and expand the reach of your content to a whole new audience. If you can create native content on these platforms, that’s even more wonderful. But the very least you could do is replicate some of your top posts on to these two platforms and gain a wider reach and awareness for your content.
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8. Link Roundups
There are lots of high quality blogs that do link roundups. Link roundups are weekly or monthly blog posts that link out to great content in their respective niche.
At my agency blog, we used to publish a weekly roundup of social media news and call the segment ‘This Week in Social Media’. These articles used to include headlines of all the top social media news stories in a given week with a link to the source below each headline to corroborate the news story.
You will find blogs that do similar roundups in your niche as well.
Here’s how it works:
1. Your first task is to find link roundups in your niche. Use the following search strings:
- “your keyword” + “link roundup”
- “your keyword” + roundup
- “best of” + “your keyword”
- “your keyword” + “this week”
2. Once you find a blog that you’d like to target for backlinks, pitch your content to the person who runs the blog. You can use the below script:
I’m [Your Name] from [Your Blog URL].
I know you like to make compilation articles about everything [TOPIC] – so I just wanted to send a few of my recent ones your way. I’d really appreciate it if you could include these articles in your monthly roundup.
[Link to Article 1]
[Link to Article 2]
Just sit back and wait for the person to respond. If your content is the right fit for the blog’s roundup, then you’ll get a quality backlink for your site.
9. Create and Optimize Your About.me Page
About.me allows you to create your free, one-page website in just a few minutes. An easy way to fetch a dofollow backlink for your site is to create an About.me profile, enter a link to your blog in the ‘Spotlight Button’ section, and also include additional links in your bio. Something like this:
With an About.me profile, you can get an authoritative backlink (About.me’s DA is 92) in under five minutes.
Click here to create your About.me profile
10. Use Brian Dean’s Moving Man Method
This is yet another technique which I learned from one of Brian Dean’s articles and I’ve found it extremely useful.
Here’s how the Moving Man Method works:
Step 1: Find sites in your niche which have either shut down or changed their names and URLs.
Step 2: Find sites linking to the old URL.
Step 3: Reach out to these sites and let them know about their outdated link.
To explain this technique in a better way, let’s take the example of Moz, a popular SEO tool run by SEO Guru, Rand Fishkin. A while back though, Moz was operating as an SEO agency named SEOMoz. As a result, they had to change the URL from seomoz.org to Moz.com.
Sure, if you visit seomoz.org, it redirects to moz.com. So the links used by sites linking to seomoz.org aren’t broken, but they are outdated. This is because the link points to the old URL and the anchor text has the old brand name.
As you may realize, this is a huge opportunity for people running SEO/Marketing blogs to reach out to sites that are still using the seomoz.org link in their content. And there are plenty of sites doing just that.
In order to make this technique work for you, you need to keep an eye out for sites that are either rebranding or changing names. Use PRWeb to see whether there are any brands in your niche that have recently rebranded. Use this search string – “your keyword” + rebrands”. Do a similar check on Google News as well.
Once you’ve found a site which has rebranded or changed its URL, it’s time to reach out to sites which are still using the old URL in their content. Just copy the URL and paste into your backlink checking tool of choice (I recommend Ahrefs). You’ll find dozens of sites which are still linking to the old resource.
The last step in the Moving Man Method to reach out to these sites and give them a heads up about the outdated link they are using in their content. And then give a subtle suggestion to add your link to their site.
To learn more about the Moving Man Method, click here.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a sourcing service which connects journalists and bloggers with relevant expert sources to meet journalists’ demanding deadlines and enables brands to tell their stories. Subscribing to HARO provides you with an opportunity to fetch high quality backlinks from authority news sites.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for HARO as a source here.
- You’ll receive three emails per day on weekdays from reporters looking for sources. Look out for source requests relevant to you and your niche
- Respond with some helpful content and your credentials
With HARO, you can build backlinks from authority news sites such as WSJ, Mashable, Inc, FastCompany, Reuters, etc.
Recommended reading: How to Build Backlinks Using HARO [Case Study by Ahrefs]
Scoop.it is a site where people aggregate their favorite content around the web into a magazine format.
It’s also an excellent place to get high-quality “nofollow” backlinks and boost your referral traffic. So how do you go about fetching backlinks on Scoop.it? It’s quite simple really.
An active Scoop.it user usually has curated magazines which have hundreds of followers. This means that your content can be get in front of hundreds of people. Follow these two simple steps to get people to share your content on their Scoop.it magazine:
Step 1: Give a search on the topic of your content. Ex: Social Media Marketing. Find users who have magazines with lots of followers and views.
Step 2: Pitch your content to these people by using Scoop.it’s ‘suggest’ feature. You can share the same content with 5 people in a day and chances are that about 50% of them will share it with their network.
You may have mixed feelings about Google+ as a social network, but it still shows up prominently on Google, mainly because it’s owned by the search engine giant.
But did you know Google+ allows you to get ‘dofollow’ backlinks right from your Google+ profile page? Here’s a glimpse of my Google+ profile. As you can see, I’ve given links to my marketing as well as wellness blogs by updating the “Story” section.
Furthermore, you can add links to any number of articles and your social profiles in the “Links” and “Profiles” section as you can see below:
In order to add more link juice to these backlinks, make sure that you are active on Google+. Share content and interact with other people on Google+ regularly.
14. Provide Testimonials
Consider giving a testimonial for a product that you really love using. All companies love showing off customer testimonials on their home page or have a dedicated page for them.
Once you’ve written the testimonial, make sure you let them know that they can include your testimonials on their home page or testimonials page.
Here’s my testimonial for Serpstat published on their testimonials page:
Here’s another example of a testimonial I wrote for AppSumo’s affiliate program on iDevAffiliate:
It’s been featured on the iDevAffiliate website as well as AppSumo’s website and used in several of their promos.
Link reclamation is simple and works like magic.
Here’s how it works:
- First, you find mentions of your brand that don’t link back to your site
- Then you send an email to the person with a friendly reminder to add the link
Here’s an email I received from Canva a few weeks ago which serves as a fine example of link reclamation tactic:
It’s that simple and it works in most cases (like it did here in the example above 🙂 ).
Here’s how you can go about reclaiming your link:
1. Find unlinked mentions using Buzzsumo
A tool like Buzzsumo can help you find unlinked mentions of your brand. Setup a content alert for your brand or domain on Buzzsumo, so that whenever someone mentions your brand, you get an email alert.
2. Check whether the site has linked back to your site
If they have linked back to your site, awesome! If not, then move on to step 3.
3. Reach out and get your link
Send them an email with a friendly reminder. You can use the script below (same that was used by Canva):
I just wanted to reach out and say “thanks” for mentioning (your brand) in your article: [link to the article]
We really, really appreciate it.
I’m reaching out today to ask if you could add a link back to our site. That way, people can easily find us while reading your article.
Either way, thanks for the shout out and keep up the great work!
Link reclamation is an easy, yet effective way to get quality backlinks for your site.
Link building with Pen.io is a web 2.0 strategy, but it’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to get a quality backlink (pen.io has a DA of 67). Having said that, I’d urge you to proceed with caution. Web 2.0 link building is not exactly black hat, but it’s certainly a gray hat technique which may land you a Google penalty. Use this link building technique only if the other techniques listed here are not feasible.
With most web 2.0 properties like Blogger, Tumblr, etc. it’s often recommended that you spend time writing 300-500 word quality articles from time to time to make the backlinks seem genuine. Though a few bloggers just post a link and picture on pen.io, I suggest you spend some time on your article so that the link looks authentic.
A broken link is one that points to a page on a site that has since been moved or deleted. In other words, these are pages that return a 404 error.
Broken link building involves some bit of work, but it’s a safe way to generate fresh, high quality backlinks for your site.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Use tools such as Check My Links or Broken Link Checker to find broken links from a site you want to fetch a backlink from.
- Once you’ve found the broken links, reach out to the site owner and let him know about them.
- Share relevant links from your site that the site owner could use to replace the broken links with.
Voila! You’ve earned yourself a high quality backlink.
18. Submit Your Site to Startup Directories
If you’ve just launched your startup, there are tons of startup directories you could submit your site to. Perhaps the most popular startup directory is BetaList, a directory which is focused specifically on early-stage internet startups. The submission is free, but if you’d like to expedite the process and ensure that your startup is listed, then you’ll need to pay a small fee. You can check out their submission criteria here to see how they review the startups.
Even if your startup is not eligible for submission at BetaList, there are lots of other startup directories with high DA which will accept your submission. Here’s a list of 100 startup directories compiled by Ninja Outreach.
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Now that you’ve learned these powerful link building techniques, it’s time to get started and test these techniques out.
Remember: The links you build should be natural, so they don’t hurt your online rankings. To make sure you don’t make a lot of common backlink building mistakes, check out this step-by-step process on how to build backlinks the right way in 2019.
Which link building strategy gets you the best backlinks? Let me know in the comments section.
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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