Link building is challenging. It’s really difficult. This is why, despite the strategy they employ, the majority of people have trouble generating links that move the needle for their website.
Describes you? You are in the proper location.
There aren’t a ton of link-building tactics listed in this article.
Instead, I’ll demonstrate a few strategies that actually WORK. Simple to reproduce strategies for YOUR website. strategies that attract links that move the needle, resulting in increased traffic and profits for your company.
You don’t trust me? Here are a few Ahrefs links we’ve created utilizing these strategies:
Visit the brand-new Ahrefs SEO Toolbar if you’re curious where the Ahrefs stats in the graphics above come from.
But first, let’s get things straight before I explain what these strategies are and how to apply them.
Link building strategies VS. tactics
Tactics and strategies differ significantly from one another.
Strategy is the broad plan.
A tactic is the actual strategy employed to achieve a goal.
You simply require ONE link-building technique: Create a linkable piece of content. That might sound like advice you’ve heard a million times before, but it’s actually true.
That does not imply, as some would have you believe, that you must create enormous blog entries or interactive manuals. For some companies, the good or service is already “link-able.”
For instance, our tools—rather than the articles we write—are the reason we receive a lot of links.
Just take a look at how many links point to our Keywords Explorer tool:
As a result, picture your strategy as the engine that powers your link-building efforts and your methods as the pistons that keep it going.
Let’s move on to the strategies now. Yes, tactics rather than strategies.
Almost all effective link-building strategies center on outreach.
You do this by contacting individuals in your niche and introducing them to your material.
The crucial point is this, though: You are not required to have any “content” at all. You only need to have something deserving of a link, which could be your character, brand, business, or service.
I’ve already indicated that many people link to ahrefs.com because they like and find value in our tools. Here is an example of a link that resulted from it:
One of the 300 wonderful things for entrepreneurs and businesses is Ahrefs.
This information is AMAZING for developing an outreach plan. It demonstrates to us that our products are beneficial to this group of people (entrepreneurs), as they aid them in solving a particular issue (SEO).
Therefore, why not inform business owners and startups about Ahrefs? If they discover our resources valuable, they might mention us in further stories. If not, they’ll probably let us know, and we can adjust our targeting in the future based on their feedback.
But I’ll be honest with you: linkable assets are almost always the best for outreach.
This is contacting individuals in your niche and informing them about content—substantial blog articles, tools, infographics, etc.—that is likely to be helpful to them.
To whom should you reach out to?
People who’ve mentioned your target keyword in their articles;
People who’ve linked to similar articles on the topic.
Finding people who fit the first requirement is easiest with Content Explorer. Simply enter a word or phrase, and it will scan nearly 1 BILLION web pages for results that match.
Let’s give “guest blogging” a shot.
37,726 outcomes. When you click the box for “one article per domain,” you effectively have a list of distinct websites that you can contact.
All you have to do is look up their email address and send them an email.
Regarding persons who have linked to related articles on a subject, this is also simple to do. Use Content Explorer’s built-in filter to find pages having at least 50 referring domains.
Do you desire links on well-known websites? In order to become a source for journalists, register with HARO and Muck Rack.
The process is straightforward: A few times per day, they give you source requests; you pitch the ones that are pertinent. The journalist will link back to you in their piece if they decide to cite you as a source.
I received the following source request in my inbox earlier today:
This request originates from a very well-known website (DR 92). As you can see, all you have to do is get in touch and offer a creative Halloween gift idea.
These websites efficiently send daily outreach prospects to your mailbox that are both relevant and of high quality.
2. Guest blogging… with a twist
One of the earliest link-building strategies is guest blogging.
How does it function? You produce content for another website in your specialty. They release it. From that piece, you link to your own website. That’s all there is to it.
Here is a guest piece I made for Convince and Convert a few years ago:
The author bio includes a link to my website.
How do you locate potential guest post writers? You can, however, employ the same technique as everyone else and use Google search operators to locate sites that are actively seeking out guest bloggers. One such question that does the trick is this one:
This reveals supposedly “write for us” pages that website owners set up in order to draw guest bloggers.
But that is what EVERYONE is doing. Each day, numerous guest post pitches are sent to those prospects.
And now for the twist:
Avoid visiting websites that promote the fact that they accept guest posts. Simply find relevant websites and pitch them. Despite without specifically stating it, the majority of websites accept guest posts.
Consider this: why on earth would a website reject a quality piece of free material that may potentially draw users to their website? The answer is no.
Need proof? Think about the Ahrefs blog. We don’t make any mention of accepting guest contributions on our website. But if someone approaches us with a clever suggestion, we’ll nearly always take it.
So how do you locate websites that are thematically relevant? Use the Content Explorer in Ahrefs.
Just a reminder: Ahrefs’ Content Explorer resembles a tiny search engine. Any word or phrase can be entered, and we’ll scan our database of nearly 1 BILLION web pages to find instances of it.
Let’s give “link building” a go.
121K+ outcomes Really nice, no?
However, what we currently have is a list of web pages. We don’t want to contact the same sites more than once, thus this is bad. By selecting the “one article per domain” checkbox, we may receive the list of distinct websites we’re looking for.
Finally, use the built-in filters to remove any undesirable websites, then click “export” to get your prospects as a CSV file.
You should now have a list of hundreds of websites where you could possibly submit a guest post. Reach out to them, present your ideas, and you’ll soon have your first guest article online.
Our comprehensive guide to guest posting explains how to do that on a large scale.
3. Broken link building
Broken link building involves three simple steps:
Find a relevant broken link on a website;
Create something similar to the broken resource;
Ask anyone linking to the dead resource to instead link to your working resource.
Let’s look at an illustration of how this procedure might operate.
Here is a dead link I discovered in a Quicksprout post:
It appeared like this just before the page vanished:
Use the Wayback Machine to see how web pages used to look.
If you happened to have a website in the SEO niche, you could take advantage of this by:
Publishing your own guide to avoiding Google penalties
Reaching out to Neil and suggesting that he swap out the dead link with yours.
I know what you’re thinking:
True. Yet here’s a clever trick:
You may see EVERYONE who links to the broken page by pasting its URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer or Broken Link Checker. 39 links are leading to the dead resource in this instance.
There are now 38 additional people who might be prepared to exchange their broken link for a functional one.
The issue is: where do you start looking for possibilities to build useful broken links?
There are a few ways to achieve this, but by far the simplest is to scan the websites of your rivals for any broken pages. Using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer’s Best by links report, you can accomplish this.
This report allows you to quickly and easily locate a goldmine of opportunities because it displays the amount of referring domains that each broken page has. No, you are not seeing things; there are more than 900 referring domains on that damaged page.
For someone in this niche, this chance is INCREDIBLE.
To find out about three additional techniques to locate broken link building chances, see our complete guide to broken link construction.
4. Unlinked mentions
You or your company may occasionally be mentioned by others without any links back to you. As an illustration, despite the fact that this website mentions Ahrefs and does not connect to us, the word “Ahrefs” itself does not contain a clickable link.
More frequently than you might think, this occurs. Here’s one more:
This time, a reference to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is missing a link.
What does this have to do with developing links?
Such mentions put you halfway there in terms of getting a link.
Consider this: The author has already mentioned you, so you know they are familiar with your company. Therefore, you have an excellent reason to get in touch and attempt to persuade them to turn that reference into a link.
However, how do you initially locate pertinent unlinked mentions?
Although there are a few options, using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is the simplest.
Keep in mind that Content Explorer looks for mentions of any word or phrase across nearly ONE BILLION web pages. This is really helpful for locating web sites pertaining to a specific subject, but you can also use it to locate mentions of your brand online, as in the following example:
We have already uncovered approximately 17 KILLION web pages that mention “Ahrefs.”
However, there is a problem: We have no idea if these mentions are connected or unconnected.
We would need to export all of these web sites and somehow verify that they all connect to ahrefs.com in order to determine that. I won’t go into that process here because it can take some time.
Instead, I’ll demonstrate a trick for quickly locating high-priority unlinked mentions.
In Content Explorer, first choose the “one article per domain” criteria.
By doing this, you are only shown one web page from each website in the search results.
Then, make all the websites that have never linked to you stand out by using the “highlight unlinked domains” option, as follows:
Finally, click “export” and select “only highlight unlinked domains” to only export the highlighted web pages.
You now have a tidy list of websites with unlinked mentions that you can explore at your convenience.
To learn about five additional strategies on look for such chances, read our complete guide to locating and chasing unlinked mentions.
Do you wish to create connections to the product or category pages of your online store?
These are notoriously challenging to obtain.
Because it’s simpler for them to do so, the majority of people frequently connect to your homepage.
But what if, for example, Airbnb receives a link to your homepage in a blog post on a trip to London? They should link to your category page for London properties for rent, wouldn’t that make more sense? Definitely.
In light of this, here is an alternative to the unlinked mentions technique for obtaining links to these pages: link changes.
Find current connected mentions of your homepage that would be more appropriate on another page using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Here’s one illustration of this:
This blog entry about moving to London contains a link to the Airbnb website. Additionally, the link’s background is entirely about using Airbnb to find lodging in London.
Reaching out and asking for a link shift would be worthwhile because it would make more sense for this link to lead to the London category page. By that, I mean politely requesting that they replace the homepage link with one leading to the category page.
How come they should do this? Relevance.
The London properties page will very certainly be preferred over the homepage by those who are inclined to click that link.
5. Link reclamation
Building links is challenging. There is no way around it.
However, did you know that you probably continuously lose backlinks? Here are all the lost backlinks to ahrefs.com within the last week (from distinct referring domains):
Wow. We appear to have lost 180 links.
Naturally, you may stop this organic process by creating a steady stream of fresh links. But recovering broken links is frequently considerably simpler than creating new ones from scratch.
However, why do links disappear in the first place?
Here are two common reasons:
The link was removed from the linking page;
The linking page ceased to exist.
Perhaps the author updated or revamped the Links can break for a variety of causes in addition to these two.
If the link was taken down from the linked page, there was undoubtedly a good cause for it. Perhaps the content was updated or revised by the author, and as a result, your link was removed.
How do you tell when links are broken because of this?
Search for links with the “link deleted” tag in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer’s Lost backlinks report.
and a result of that procedure was the removal of your link?
How do you tell when links are broken because of this?
Search for links with the “link deleted” tag in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer’s Lost backlinks report.
Additionally, it is beneficial to include filters for followed links and to order the results by URL Rating (UR).
Because the content was revised, the link in the aforementioned example was removed.
Whether you discover that this is the cause of the link loss, check the new content to determine if there is a suitable location for your link. If so, get in touch and kindly ask them to include the link back. Just don’t be obnoxious.
NOTE. Other factors can also cause links to be removed. It’s critical that you comprehend these causes and act appropriately. Our comprehensive guide to link reclamation has further information about that.
But what about links that are broken because the page they were linked to is no longer online?
Most frequently, this occurs as a result of the author’s decision to delete the page (and your link along with it). You unfortunately can’t really do much about that.
But occasionally, pages are unintentionally erased.
Contact the site’s owner and let them know if you have any reason to believe this is the case. If they become aware of such a problem, they typically restore the page (along with your link).
Additionally, doing this is advantageous and may serve as the beginning of a wonderful friendship that later on may result in other links.
In our complete guide, you may read more about the specifics of link reclamation.
6. Paid promotion for “linkable assets”
Links to tools, calculators, in-depth and instructive blog entries, tutorials, infographics, and other types of material are considered linkable assets.
One of my favorite infographics regarding, er, “infographics” is provided below:
Remember from the outreach section that acquiring links to this kind of material is all about letting the proper people know that it exists. If you do that, they may link to it.
But when you use outreach, you choose your targets carefully. You are an assassin.
However, there’s still another approach to reach your intended audience: Utilize Facebook advertisements or another PPC ad network to pay for its promotion (e.g., Google AdWords, Pinterest Ads, etc.)
You need not spend a lot of money. Frequently, $50 to $100 will do. Some of your target audience will undoubtedly link to your material if it resonates with them. This may have come from their website, a specialized forum, a comment on an additional blog, a message board, or somewhere else.
We’ve done this for a few of our blog pieces on Facebook, as you might have noticed.
Do we only use this for links? No. We simply want as many people as possible to see our blog posts, thus we don’t do it for links at all.
But there’s no denying that this method aids in connection building.
How are we aware? Because we have a TON of links pointing to our site, the majority of which were created by people naturally after they read our content.
Consider our article on keyword cannibalization as an illustration. It has 25 referring websites and 216 backlinks.
ZERO outreach was done for this position. Only our newsletter and Facebook advertising were used to advertise it, therefore all of these backlinks were created as a result of the relevant audience seeing this asset.
7. Steal links from inferior web pages
Ever been astounded by the number of links a piece of subpar material got after checking it out in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer?
Certainly, I have. Take a look at this 200-word, somewhat worthless guide on the paleo diet, for instance:
63 referring domains have provided 309 backlinks. Madness.
Let’s now pretend for a second that your website has a superior, 5000-word paleo diet manual. Why would someone connect to that 200-word article rather than yours, you might wonder.
Why? Probably because they are unaware that there is better information available.
Solution: Tell them about your material and request links from them in its place.
However, how precisely do you do this?
So, first things first, you need to choose one or more subpar pieces of content that you can use to steal links from.
The simplest way to do this is to use Content Explorer to search for a topic and then filter for sites with a lot of links.
Here is one that is appropriate:
The links to this page should then be examined by pasting the URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and viewing the Backlinks report.
Look for links that you might potentially steal. That refers to situations where a connection to your page would really be more beneficial.
Here’s an illustration:
Without a doubt, a reference to a comprehensive paleo diet manual would serve as a useful replacement here.
It seems pretty simple, right? For more subpar pages, you can repeat this technique.
Before I finish explaining this strategy, it’s important to note that you are not restricted to content or so-called “linkable assets” while using it. Additionally, you don’t always need to “steal” links; you can also copy them.
For instance, if you run an online store selling a certain product, your objective is to be listed in relevant locations, such as those where other online retailers selling the same product are also highlighted. So why not examine the backlinks to other comparable e-commerce stores and hunt for links that can be replicated?
To understand how to do this, read our comprehensive guide to identifying and reusing rival backlinks.
8. Content repurposing & syndication
Not all link-building strategies involve outreach.
Simply posting content to relevant locations, such as infographic directories, video-sharing websites, and so forth, will help you build some links.
But in order to do that, your content must be in the right structure.
Repurposing content can help in this situation.
Imagine you have a fantastic interactive infographic. You’ve put your entire being into making it, and you wish it could reach more people. Why not convert that content to another media, like a video or infographic? You can then upload that content to video- or infographic-sharing websites.
The interactive “13 reasons why your brain craves infographics” piece I showed you previously does just this, thanks to the clever people at Neomam.
Here it is in the form of a static infographic and a video:
These extra links included the following: Are these the strongest links ever?
No, but these links are still valuable, especially given how simple it is to reuse content of this type.
Additionally, doing so makes your material accessible to a wider audience. This is advantageous since more eyes equals more links.
But content reuse isn’t the sole method for obtaining some quick and simple links.
Additionally, you can syndicate your material to other outside websites.
Why does this matter? It implies that when you publish content, such as a blog post, other relevant websites will take it up and post it with a link to the original. While some websites reprint the entire piece, others only republish an excerpt with a link to the complete article on your website.
An archived copy of our most recent local SEO guidance can be found here on another website:
To find out how on achieve this precisely, read our comprehensive guide to content syndication.
9. Community site link building
Most people concentrate just on creating links of the greatest caliber.
Overall, this is a positive thing. But let me ask you this: do you believe that a truly natural backlink profile simply consists of editorial connections that are followed by high DR websites?
Obviously not. For this reason, it’s crucial to create linkages from additional sources as well.
In order to broaden your backlink profile, you should promote your website on forums, message boards, Reddit, Quora, and similar websites.
At Ahrefs, we engage in this.
The majority of you are probably asking, “Josh, aren’t such links nofollowed?”
Many of them are, yes, but this isn’t always a terrible thing. All naturally occurring backlink profiles contain both followed and “nofollowed” links. In addition, popular thread links sometimes lose the “nofollow” attribute on websites like Reddit.
Another effective strategy for generating a few more links is to thoughtfully respond to blog comments.
Almost always, links in blog comments are “nofollow” links. However, posting comments on important and well-read blog entries will help more people see your work. This technique can result in extra connections because some viewers will inevitably link to your content.
How do you locate worthwhile blog entries to comment on?
Search for a pertinent phrase in Content Explorer, then use the filters to find pages with a respectable level of traffic.
See if any of the results enable blog comments by looking at them.
If they do, think about posting a thought-provoking comment to grab readers’ interest and possibly persuade them to visit your website.
Additionally, leaving blog comments will unavoidably catch the blog owner’s attention and strengthen your contact with them. This improves the likelihood that they will refer to and link to you in upcoming blog articles.
With websites like Quora, a similar method can be used. Using Site Explorer, locate relevant threads that receive a lot of traffic.
This will display the most popular, relevant pages. Look them up. Join the discussion if they’re still taking new responses.
Wait… can’t I just buy links?
Links are a commodity like anything else in life.
Google has made it abundantly clear that this behavior is prohibited under their policies, nevertheless. An excerpt from these rules is provided below:
Therefore, we do not advise buying links. It’s dangerous, and should Google discover you doing it, you could get penalized.
How much do links actually cost, though?
That’s something we pondered as well, so we contacted 630 blogs and requested a connection from them.
It cost on average $361.44.
Are linkages always that expensive? In no way. Some bloggers gave us quotes of $30 to $50, while others gave us quotes of thousands. All of these quotations were for paid guest articles or links to be added to existing posts, which are both standard ways to purchase links.
Private blog networks, or PBNs, are also well-liked.
These are essentially just collections of websites that are all controlled by the same person and are then utilized to create links to a “money” website. However, it’s crucial to note that PBNs are designed to appear as though the same person does not own them. PBN owners put a lot of effort into making Google believe that these are trustworthy websites that just so happen to link to the same one.
Google disapproves of PBNs. They have previously been known to attack websites that make use of them.
The final word? Well, I’m sure some black-hat SEOs will disagree with us here, but in our opinion, building links legitimately (like through outreach) is more cost-effective than using a PBN or purchasing links.
Building links is not complex science. The strategies I discussed above apply to all websites. Just put them into action.
Will some strategies work on some sites more effectively than others? No doubt. Test each strategy to find which one works best for you; that’s your duty. After that, you can work on growing your efforts to create links more quickly.
Do you know of any other effective link-building strategies we may have overlooked? Please tell us in the comments.