Building quality backlinks remains one of the most effective ways to improve your website’s search engine rankings. Many SEO experts argue that backlink-building is the single most important off-page optimization activity.
Backlinks signal to Google and other search engines that your content is valuable and worth ranking highly. Not all links are created equal – you want to focus your efforts on earning backlinks from reputable, high-authority sites that are relevant to your niche.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the most powerful white hat link building tactics and strategies to employ as part of your overall SEO game plan. Follow these best practices, and you’ll see your site’s authority and rankings steadily improve over time.
Guest blogging involves creating content for publication on another website in your industry. This content then links back to your own site. Guest posting is a favorite link building tactic because it allows you to connect with engaged new audiences and earn a high-quality backlink at the same time.
But be selective about the sites you choose to guest post for. Focus on reputable, established sites with domain authority of 50 or higher. DA is a metric that predicts how well a site will rank on search engines. The higher the DA, the more SEO “juice” the backlink will confer to your site.
Here are some key tips for guest blogging:
Pick sites relevant to your niche
Choose blogs whose audience will be interested in your offerings. This ensures your post gets engagement that converts to traffic.
Research thoroughly before pitching
Understand the site’s mission, voice, past guest posts, and audience before proposing ideas. Customize your pitch accordingly.
Provide true value for readers
Don’t make your guest post solely promotional. Offer actionable tips, useful data or new insights that provide real value.
Include natural, relevant links
Work your main site/product links seamlessly into the body of the post so they don’t appear forced.
Promote your guest posts
Maximize exposure by sharing your guest posts on your own site and social media channels.
Some of the most sought-after sites to guest post for in the SEO industry include the Moz Blog, Ahrefs Blog, Search Engine Journal, Semrush Blog, and Search Engine Land.
But focus first on guest posting for more niche-specific industry blogs and mid-tier websites to build your portfolio before pitching to the big players.
Link reclamation involves reaching out to websites that used to link to you but no longer do. The goal is to restore (“reclaim”) those old backlinks.
Start by searching for your root domain in ahrefs, SEMrush, or Majestic. Filter to show only 404 pages. These are dead pages the site didn’t redirect elsewhere when they were changed or removed.
Identify sites with authority where you had multiple referral links from previously. Outreach politely to explain those links now result in 404s, and offer to help restore the broken links or provide replacement content.
I hope you’re doing well! While auditing my website’s backlinks recently, I noticed your page [URL] contains some broken links pointing to my site. Specifically, the links here [insert URLs] are resulting in 404 errors.
I wanted to bring this to your attention in case repairing those broken links are a priority for your website. I’d be more than happy to help by providing relevant replacement content or new pages from my site that your readers would find useful. Please let me know if I can assist you in updating these links in any way.
I appreciate your time looking into this matter. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any additional details from me. I look forward to hearing from you!
Best, [Your name]
Don’t barrage webmasters with excessive or overly sales outreach. Be helpful, not demanding. If done properly, link reclamation can recover lost high-quality backlinks that still retain their SEO value.
Broken Link Building
While link reclamation focuses on links you’ve lost, broken link building is about pursuing new ones.
The concept is straightforward:
- Find broken links on authoritative, relevant sites using tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.
- Create useful content that provides a viable replacement for those broken pages.
- Reach out to the site owners, recommend your content to replace their dead links, and voila – you’ve earned a backlink!
This is one of the most effective modern link building methods because site owners are highly motivated to fix their broken links. If you provide them with high-quality replacement content that adds value for their users, they’ll likely be eager to update those broken links and credit you.
When doing broken link outreach, point out the specific broken pages you found that your content can fix. Personalized, detailed outreach converts much better than generic templates.
Pro Tip: Prioritize opportunities on sites with high domain authority and traffic. A single repaired link on an authoritative site can surpass dozens of low-quality links from spammy pages.
Skyscraper Link Building
Skyscraper is an advanced link building tactic created by Brian Dean of Backlinko. The concept is brilliant yet simple:
- Find content from reputable sites ranking highly in Google for your target keyword.
- Create something even more useful – a “skyscraper” piece of content that blows the existing results out of the water.
- Reach out to those sites convincing them to link to your superior content.
The experts get dethroned by your amazing new resource, and you earn links leading to the new “king of the hill” content.
Skyscraper link building works because you’re adding massive value while also giving site owners a selfish incentive to update their old links.
For competitive keywords, Brian recommends creating content at least 2X as long and useful as the current top-ranking pages. Then craft personalized emails convincing each site owner of the superiority of your content and why they should link to it.
By researching areas where existing resources are weak or lacking and then creating truly over-the-top useful content those sites have no choice but to link to, Skyscraper is a proven link building blueprint.
Link Roundup Lists
Roundup posts that link out to great resources on a topic have exploded in popularity. And for good reason – they provide readers with an awesome collection of curated tools, content, and assets.
You can leverage this trend to get featured in relevant roundups and earn high-quality backlinks:
Create share-worthy resources
Give people a reason to include your site by publishing in-depth reports, data-rich tools, insightful infographics, and other useful resources.
Monitor link roundups in your space
Set Google Alerts for related roundup terms like “[your keyword] resources”, “[your keyword] tools” etc.
Reach out to roundup authors
Politely request they consider including your content in future roundups, or offer to contribute a mention of their roundup to your posts.
Partner to co-create roundups
Work together with other brands to co-author and cross-link roundup posts centered on your shared topic vertical.
Getting included alongside respected industry resources helps affirm your own credibility and authority in searchers’ eyes. In turn, this boosts click-through rates on your backlinks.
HARO Link Building
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a free service that connects journalists seeking sources for their stories with people who can provide insightful commentary.
Sign up for a HARO account and specify your expertise areas. You’ll receive daily email queries from reporters relevant to your niche. If you can provide thoughtful commentary on their story concepts, there’s a good chance you’ll get included with a backlink to your site.
HARO is an impactful link building tactic because:
- The links come from authoritative mainstream news sites.
- Editorial links influence search ranking algorithms more than advertising ones.
- HARO sources often get high click-through rates due to placement in popular news stories.
To maximize your link building results:
- Respond quickly to reporter queries – stories often have short turnaround times.
- Provide insightful, original commentary that stands out from other sources.
- Include key phrases reporters should quote you on.
- Follow up after publication to thank journalists who included your links.
Overall, leveraging HARO for backlinks takes little effort yet can yield big SEO wins. Sign up for free to start getting reporter requests matching your expertise.
Link Insertion Outreach
With link insertion outreach, you pitch editors of existing articles suggesting they add a link to your content within that post. Why might they do this?
- Their post lacks references/citations. Your link adds value for readers.
- Their article is outdated. Your link provides more current information.
- Their content mentions a statistic, fact or quote your link provides the source for.
- Their post covers one side of a debate. Your link presents an alternative perspective.
- Their article leaves out an important angle that your link covers.
Choose insertion outreach targets strategically:
- Prioritize posts ranking on the first page of Google for your target keywords.
- Identify articles light on hyperlinks and citations. Just a few references signal an opportunity.
- Avoid over-optimized pages with excessive linking. Focus on natural link structures.
- Only pitch authoritative, trustworthy websites. Avoid manipulative practices.
When reaching out, be transparent about your suggestion yet non-demanding. Explain how a link to your content would benefit readers as an additive citation or source rather than trying to manipulate rankings.
Insertion outreach works best when pitched respectfully to reputable, relevant sites. Used judiciously, it can earn high-quality backlinks from pages already ranking well in search.
Link Building Outreach Templates
Each link building tactic requires a tailored outreach approach. But some best practices apply across all strategies:
Avoid copying/pasting the same generic pitch to every site. Customize details to show you researched the specific page and author.
Explain how your content adds value as a resource. Don’t make it all about you wanting links. Focus on user benefits.
Suggest specific pages to link to
Don’t just say “link to my site.” Recommend your best, most relevant pages to link to.
Follow up politely
If you don’t receive a response within a week, follow up once suggesting your content as a potential fit. But avoid pestering people.
If a site owner engages in your initial outreach, respond quickly to move the conversation forward while their interest is fresh.
Use a professional tone
Write all emails professionally. Avoid informal language, over-familiarity, or anything pushy/demanding.
If a site owner agrees to link to you, always send a thank you note showing your appreciation. This encourages future opportunities.
Track your outreach efforts in a spreadsheet so you can follow up efficiently and expand on what works. With persistence and effective communication that emphasizes value for website owners over your own gain, your link building efforts will bear fruit!
Link Building Strategies: Don’t Stop at Launch
SEO is an ongoing process, not a one-time project. The sites ranking highest today invested years of effort into building authority and trust. They continually put out useful content and secure new quality links.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of halting your link building efforts once your site launches. Regularly invest time into the tactics covered in this guide. Here are some key principles to keep in mind when building links:
Diversify link sources
A natural, trustworthy link profile draws from a varied range of sites relevant to your niche, not just a handful of domains.
Balance persistence with patience
Link building takes diligence. But overnight results are unrealistic. Stick with what works without over-optimizing or taking shortcuts.
Monitor new opportunities
Set up alerts for popular link roundups, broken links on competitors’ sites, mentions of your brand, and other changes to land links.
Create share-worthy content
Don’t just build – also give others reasons to link with meaty blog posts, market research, tools and graphics that provide value.
Stay atop trends
As Google’s algorithms evolve, ensure your link building tactics remain thoughtful and additive, not manipulative or spammy.
With a balanced, white hat approach, your backlink profile and search visibility will continue growing over the long-term.
Recap: Link Building Strategies that Deliver Results
Here’s a quick recap of the most effective link building approaches covered in this post:
- Guest blogging – Write posts for niche blogs to gain backlinks and engage new readers.
- Link reclamation – Recover lost backlinks by refreshing broken links from past referrals.
- Broken link building – Reach out to fix others’ dead links with relevant replacement content of your own.
- Skyscraper – Create “king of the hill” content that dominates rankings for high-value keywords.
- Link roundups – Get featured in roundup posts of top resources related to your niche.
- HARO – Respond to reporter queries to earn high-quality news links.
- Link insertion – Suggest adding your links to existing pages to augment their value.
Focus on quality over quantity. Ten backlinks from authoritative industry sites are exponentially more powerful than the 100 low-quality links you bought or begged for.
Work these strategies selectively into your regimen. Over time, you’ll notice your site earning more organic search traffic as you climb rankings.
Want hands-on help accelerating your link-building and SEO results? Our services can take your efforts to the next level. Contact us today for a free consultation!