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seo link building

Link Building for SEO: 10 Ways To Build Valuable Links

25 minute read
In this article:

Have you ever wondered why some websites soar in search engine rankings while others remain unnoticed? The secret often lies not just in what’s on the site, but in who’s linking to it. 

This guide unveils strategies that will help connect your website to the rest of the world, enhancing your visibility, credibility, and, ultimately, your success in digital spaces.

Ready to transform your site into a link magnet?


The fundamentals of link building

Link building involves the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink (usually just called a link) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet.

For website owners and marketers, link building is one of the foundational tactics used to increase search engine visibility and drive more site traffic. It involves various strategies and techniques to create a robust link profile.

Why is link building so important for SEO?

Link building is crucial for search engine optimisation (SEO) because links are a major factor in how Google and other search engines determine the quality and relevance of a site.

Each link to a website can be seen as a vote of confidence from one site to another, indicating the content is valuable and trustworthy. The more high-quality links a website accumulates, the more likely it is to rank well in search results. This can lead to increased traffic, improved visibility, and higher authority in your industry.

📈 Improves rankings: Search engines, like Google, use links as a major ranking factor. High-quality links from reputable sites signal to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy, which can improve your site’s search rankings.

🚦 Increases website traffic: Links from high-traffic websites can direct visitors to your site, increasing your overall site traffic. This is particularly valuable if the links come from relevant sources that align with your audience.

⭐️ Boosts site credibility: Earning links from authoritative websites in your industry enhances your own site’s credibility. Search engines view these links as endorsements, improving your site’s authority and trustworthiness.

👀 Enhances visibility: Building links can increase your visibility within your industry and among potential customers. Being featured on well-known sites can help you reach a wider audience.

🌱 Supports long-term growth: Effective link building can yield sustainable growth in site traffic and search rankings over time, unlike other SEO tactics that might provide quick but short-lived results.

Understanding the difference between high and low-quality links

The quality of links pointing to your website significantly affects your SEO rankings. 

High-quality: High-quality links come from reputable, relevant sites within your industry and have authority in their respective fields. These links are valuable because they are more likely to bring in relevant traffic and boost your site’s credibility and authority.

Low-quality: On the other hand, low-quality links come from suspicious or irrelevant sites, often in schemes designed to manipulate search rankings rather than provide value. These can include paid links, links from spammy directories, or harvested sites that offer little to no content quality. Such links can harm your SEO efforts, as search engines like Google penalise sites that engage in these poor link-building practices.

By focusing on building high-quality links, you not only enhance your site’s SEO but also its reputation and effectiveness in reaching the right audience.


How to build high-quality links

1. Guest posts

Guest posting involves submitting articles to other websites along with a backlink to your own website.

Why are guest posts effective for SEO?

Guest posting is a fast-track way to get your content on good quality, niche-relevant sites, which can be particularly beneficial for new websites needing to build credibility and authority quickly. Additionally, it can:

  • Target specific audiences by choosing relevant and influential platforms.
  • Ensure more predictable and measurable results compared to organic guest posting.
  • Save time in negotiating placements, as financial compensation often streamlines the acceptance process.

How to participate in guest posting

Step 1: Identify target sites

The first step in guest posting is identifying relevant websites that accept guest posts in your niche. Use tools like Respona, Ahrefs or Google search operators to find blogs that publish content related to your business. Look for sites with high domain authority to ensure quality backlinks.

One method of doing so is to use the following search operator, site:[domain] “[Keyword you want to target]”. See example below:

Using Google search operators can be time-consuming. To speed things up, consider using Respona. This is an all-in-one outreach software. You just need to add your keyword and any relevant search operators.

Using this tool, you can choose specific metrics to filter by from other SEO tools, including MOZ, Semrush and Ahrefs. Once you have set these parameters, Respona will also find the contact information and populate all the findings into a ready-to-launch campaign.

Step 2: Create quality content

Once you’ve identified potential sites, the next step is creating high-quality content tailored to each site’s audience. Focus on relevant topics and provide value, ensuring the content aligns with the host site’s existing content themes.

For example, the image below is an example of a piece of content that would be well-positioned for Healthy Life Essex, a blog covering various areas of health.

Step 3: Negotiate terms and submission

Reach out to the owners or editors of your targeted sites with a well-crafted pitch. Your message should include a brief introduction, your guest post idea, and how it benefits their audience. Negotiate the terms of your guest post, including what kind of backlinks you’ll receive.

Step 4: Monitoring

After your guest post is published, it’s important to monitor its impact. Use tools like Ahrefs to monitor organic visibility. The more quality backlinks you can acquire, the better.

Example for a health and wellness brand

  1. Identifying Target Sites: A health and wellness brand wants to increase its visibility among fitness enthusiasts. They identified a popular fitness magazine’s website with a high Domain Rating and an audience interested in wellness tips and health supplements.
  2. Creating quality content: The brand decided to write an article titled “5 Natural Supplements to Enhance Your Workout Recovery”. The content includes scientific research, user testimonials, and direct links to their product pages. The article is informative and subtly promotes their supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Negotiating terms and submission: They reach out to the magazine’s content manager with a well-crafted pitch, emphasising how their article fits the magazine’s audience.
  4. Monitoring: Once your guest post is published, you track its performance through analytics tools to see how much traffic it drives to your site and how it impacts your site’s SEO. You also keep in touch with the blog editor for future posting opportunities, building a relationship that benefits both parties.


2. Expert comments

Providing expert commentary is a great way to help secure high-quality links. You’ll find hundreds of opportunities every day (if you use the right channels!). You just need to be willing to position yourself or a member of your team as an industry expert. 

JournoRequests

Journalists will often need expert insight, advice, or even data from relevant sources, so will put out a ‘journalist request’ (also known as a ‘journo request’ or media request) to try and get the information they need.

Journo requests can be found in a number of different ways, including free options such as the #journorequests hashtag on X, which can be a perfect way to get started if you have a limited budget. Other options include:

  • HERO (Help Every Reporter Out – a free daily newsletter sharing requests)
  • ResponseSource and PressPlugs (subscription services that email you as and when requests in your niche pop up)
  • Qwoted (a pitching and media relations platform)
  • Featured and Connectively (the new home of HARO)

💡 Your pre-existing CRM software could also provide you with journo requests, with services such as Roxhill having a dedicated media enquiries section that collates and organises requests from X. 

How to provide expert comments

While there is no guarantee your comments will be picked up, this is a great way to build up some credibility and strong links fast, especially if you form a good relationship with a journalist or publication and become a go-to source. 

The first step is to sign up for your chosen request service. In this case, we have chosen ResponseSource.

Often, these services will allow you to subscribe to which requests you want, allowing you to hone in on your niche or expertise. We decided to focus on opportunities in the Health, Home & Garden, Personal Finance and Travel sectors.

ResponseSource, like many of the options mentioned, allows you to filter what requests you get, including focusing on keywords, eliminating blogs, and types of requests, allowing you to ensure you are getting the most relevant emails for your expertise.

With these filters in place, we received the following request: 

This was a perfect opportunity for one of our clients who specialised in heating and cooling systems, so we helped them put together a relevant, insightful comment to send to the journalist in response.

The key to link building with this method is to ensure that you are monitoring queries daily and responding to them as soon as you can with relevant, informative and concise commentary.

You want to be quote-worthy, so while it can be tempting to respond to any and all queries, it’s better to spend the time crafting a couple of high-quality responses that are relevant to your expertise. Journalists want to quote legitimate experts, so take time to ensure that you know what you’re on about and not waste the journalist’s time as this can make it harder to get opportunities in the future.

Additional tips

  • Make sure that each response is tailored specifically to the journalist’s query. If they want figures, provide them, if they want a short, 200-word response, try to keep within 10% of this target. Doing exactly what the journalist asks will help increase the chance of being selected and getting that all-important backlink.
  • Journalists often work to short deadlines, so where possible, try to be timely in your responses. It’s usually recommended you respond within the hour but if this isn’t possible, within 12-24 hours will usually suffice. However, keep an eye out for if the request is closed. Often journalists will work on a first-come, first-served basis and will find who they need within minutes, so it pays to be quick. 
  • When responding, try to save time by giving the journalist as much information as possible. If a journalist doesn’t have to chase you up for a name, title, bio or photo it can make you a far more appealing source, so have a ‘blurb’ ready with your expert’s information to go with every request. 
  • Unless asked, don’t send attachments alongside requests. If you want to provide a photo, document, or other resource, provide a link or embed a low-quality photo in the response email. The journalist can always follow up if they need higher-quality images or want to hear more.

3. Link insertions

Link insertions, or niche edits, are a strategic method to build backlinks by incorporating your link into existing content on another site. This approach does not require new content creation, making it less labour-intensive than methods like guest posting. It involves adding your link naturally within the content, ideally enhancing the article’s value to readers.

Why are link insertions effective for SEO?

Link insertions offer a quicker path to gaining backlinks since they skip the time-consuming content creation process. By inserting links into articles that are already indexed and ranked, you can:

  • Tap into the article’s existing traffic and authority.
  • Achieve faster improvements in your SEO rankings.
  • Save resources on content production while still expanding your backlink profile.

How to perform link insertions

Step 1: Identifying target sites

Focus on finding articles that are closely related to your content and have a strong SEO performance. Use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to assess potential sites for authority and relevance.

Step 2: Choosing the placement

Choose insertion points that naturally complement the content. The link should add value, fitting seamlessly into the context of the article and enhancing the reader’s experience.

How to ensure link insertions appear natural and beneficial…

  1. Ensure Relevance: Match the topic and theme of both the host content and your linked content closely.
  2. Contextual Integration: Insert links where they add value to the narrative or information already present.
  3. Use Varied Anchor Text: Employ natural language for anchor text that fits organically into the surrounding content, avoiding repetitive exact-match keywords.
  4. Avoid Over-Optimisation: Limit the number of links inserted into any single piece of content to maintain a focus on quality over quantity.

Step 3: Negotiating terms and submission

Reach out to the content owners or webmasters with a personalised proposal. Highlight the mutual benefits of link insertions, such as increased content value and enhanced user engagement.

Step 4: Monitoring

Once the link is live, monitor its impact on traffic and SEO. Use analytics to track performance and refine your strategy for future insertions.

Example for a travel agency

  1. Identifying target sites: A travel agency looking to promote exclusive tour packages to Europe identifies travel blogs with articles focused on European travel tips and destination guides.
  2. Creating quality content: They pinpoint a well-performing article titled “Budget Travel Tips for Europe” on the blog. The agency suggests adding a link to a section of the article that talks about planning travel itineraries, directing readers to their page offering affordable tour packages.
  3. Negotiating terms and submission: The travel agency reaches out to the blog owner with a compelling pitch, highlighting how the link would provide readers with additional resources for planning their trips. They agree on a one-time fee for the link insertion.
  4. Monitoring: After the link insertion, the travel agency continues to build more, tracking improvements in organic visibility. Upon seeing a positive ROI in the form of increased bookings, they explore additional opportunities for link insertions in other relevant articles within the travel niche.

Additional tips

⭐️ Target high-quality content: Focus on articles that are well-written, have high engagement, and align closely with your content to ensure the link adds value.

🚑 Monitor backlink health: Regularly check the status of your backlinks to ensure they remain active and the linking pages continue to perform well in SERPs.

⛓️ Diversify your link profile: While link insertions are valuable, they should be part of a broader link-building strategy that includes various types of links to avoid patterns that might appear manipulative to search engines.


4. Link exchanges

A link exchange involves two or more websites linking to each other to enhance their visibility in search engines, boost organic traffic, and increase Domain Rating (DR). This practice allows participants to gain cost-effective backlinks and distribute link equity among all parties involved, enhancing their search engine rankings and overall web presence.

Types of link exchange

  1. Reciprocal link exchanges: The simplest and most common form, reciprocal linking occurs when two websites agree to link back to each other. This straightforward exchange can be beneficial when both sites are relevant to each other’s content and audience, providing mutual SEO benefits.
  2. Guest post exchange: This involves writing articles for other websites where the content naturally includes a backlink to your own site. Guest post exchanges not only increase backlinks but also expand your content’s reach and engagement across different audiences.
  3. Three-way link exchange (ABC linking): In this more complex arrangement, three different domains participate in a circular linking pattern (Domain A links to B, B links to C, and C links back to A). This method can help disguise direct reciprocal links and reduce the risk of being flagged as manipulative by search engines.
  4. Private influencer link exchange: These exchanges occur within Private Influencer Networks (PINs), where a group of high-authority sites and influencers collaborate to share and exchange links among themselves. This network aims to lower the risk of triggering spam filters and provides a robust platform for sharing high-quality backlinks.

Value of an exchange

Link exchanges offer a range of benefits that make them a staple in SEO strategies:

📈 Enhanced site authority: By linking with reputable and relevant sites, you can boost your site’s authority and credibility.

🌱 Increased organic traffic: Link exchanges can drive more visitors to your site by tapping into the audiences of partner sites.

⛓️ Diversified link profile: Exchanges help diversify your backlink profile, making your site’s link building appear more natural and less reliant on single tactics, which enhances long-term SEO viability.

🌍 Access to new audiences: These partnerships open doors to new demographic groups, expanding your reach and potential customer base.

💰 Cost-effectiveness: Link exchanges are a cost-effective way of gaining backlinks, especially when compared to other paid link-building activities.

How to exchange links

Step 1: Identify potential link exchange partners

Use tools like Ahrefs or Respona to analyse and identify potential sites for relevance and authority.

Other methods to find partners include Slack groups, LinkedIn and Reddit.

Step 2: Assess the quality and relevance of potential partners

Review the content and backlink profile of the potential partner sites to ensure they align with your SEO standards and audience interests.

Step 3: Initiate contact

Reach out to potential partners with a personalised proposal that outlines the mutual benefits of a link exchange.

Step 4: Negotiate the terms of the exchange

Discuss and agree on how the links will be placed to ensure they appear natural and provide value to readers.

Step 5: Implement the link exchange

Add the agreed-upon links to your or your partners site (Depending on the type of exchange) and confirm when your partner has added yours.

Step 6: Monitor and evaluate the link exchange

Use analytics tools to monitor the traffic and SEO impact of the exchange and adjust the strategy as needed.

Additional tips

To maximise the benefits while minimising risks, consider these best practices:

  • Choose Relevant Partners: Engage with sites that offer content relevant to your audience to ensure the backlinks provide niche-relevant value.
  • Prioritise Quality Over Quantity: Focus on building links with high-quality sites rather than accumulating a large number of lesser-value links.
  • Monitor and Maintain: Regularly review your link exchange arrangements to ensure they continue to provide value and do not fall afoul of SEO best practices.
  • Use Varied Strategies: Alongside link exchanges, integrate other link-building strategies to maintain a balanced and robust SEO approach.

5. Broken link building

Broken link building is an advanced SEO tactic involving the identification of broken links on other websites that lead to content similar to what you or a client might offer. 

Why is broken link building effective for SEO?

You can effectively acquire high-quality backlinks by creating relevant replacement content and convincing site owners to redirect these broken links to your new content. This strategy leverages the pre-existing authority and relevance of the websites involved, enhancing your search engine visibility and strengthening your online authority.

How to find broken links

Step 1: Identify broken links

Utilise SEO tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, or SEMrush to discover broken links that previously pointed to content similar to your or your client’s offerings. Focus particularly on high-authority sites within your industry for maximum SEO impact.

Assess and prioritise these opportunities based on factors such as Domain Rating, relevance to your client’s content, and the traffic of each site.

Step 2: Content creation

Analyse the content that was originally linked to understand its appeal and context. Plan content that matches or exceeds the quality and relevance of the original material.

You can view the cached version of the broken link’s original content using the Wayback Machine. This will allow you to create compelling and authoritative content that serves as a suitable replacement for the broken link. This could be a detailed article, a guide, an infographic, or any other format that best suits the topic.

Step 3: Outreach to website owners

Use tools like Respona or Hunter.io to find accurate contact details for the webmasters or editors of the sites with broken links.

Send personalised outreach emails that inform the site owner of the broken link and suggest your new content as a replacement, emphasising the value it adds to their readers.

Step 4: Monitoring and reporting

Track the responses to your outreach efforts and make adjustments as needed. Persistent follow-up can increase your success rate significantly.

Use SEO tools to monitor the improvements in your site’s backlink profile and the overall SEO performance as a result of the new links.

Example for a sustainable company

Imagine you run a website that sells sustainable living products. You discover a broken link on a popular environmental blog that used to link to an article about eco-friendly home products which no longer exists.

You reach out to the blog’s owner, informing them of the broken link and offering a replacement link to a new, comprehensive guide on eco-friendly home products that resides on your client’s website. You explain how replacing the broken link with a link to your client’s informative guide will benefit their readers by providing them with valuable and current information.

Upon agreement, they replace the broken link with your client’s, which leads to improved user experience on their blog and a valuable backlink for your client, boosting their SEO efforts by enhancing their site’s authority and relevance.


6. Unlinked mentions

Unlinked mentions, also known as brand mentions, are references to your brand, website, or any directly related entity, found on external sites without a hyperlink pointing back to your site. These mentions are valuable because they indicate growing brand recognition or notable actions by your company that have caught public attention.

Why are unlinked mentions important?

Unlinked mentions are crucial because they represent untapped potential for enhancing your SEO through backlinks. Google’s algorithm heavily weighs such links when determining SERP rankings. Quality links from reputable domains contribute significantly to a website’s authority, expertise, and trustworthiness – core components of Google’s E-E-A-T criteria.

How to find and convert unlinked mentions

  1. Tracking mentions: Utilise tools like Google Alerts or Talkwalker to monitor mentions of your brand across the web. You can also use tools such as Respona.
  2. Evaluating opportunities: Assess each mention for context and the credibility of the mentioning site. Focus on converting mentions from sites that adhere to the E-A-T principles.
  3. Outreach: Reach out to the website owners or editors with a polite request to convert the mention into a link. Highlight the mutual benefits, such as enhanced credibility and improved user experience for their audience.

Tips and best practices for outreach

  • Personalisation: Customise your outreach emails to reflect familiarity with the site’s content and audience.
  • Value proposition: Clearly articulate the value of linking back to your site, such as offering exclusive content or a special discount to the site’s readers.
  • Follow-up: Politely follow up if you don’t receive a response. Persistence, without being pushy, often leads to success.

By transforming unlinked mentions into valuable backlinks, you not only enhance your SEO but also build meaningful relationships within your industry.


7. Gaining links through content

Gaining links through content involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and engaging material that naturally attracts backlinks from other websites. This strategy not only enhances your SEO efforts but also establishes your website as an authority in your field, drawing in both users and influencers within your industry. 

How to create linkable content

Content-driven link building is foundational because it’s organic and sustainable, relying on the quality of what you produce rather than mere transactions.

  1. Identify your audience: Understand who you are creating content for. This includes knowing their interests, problems, and the type of content they consume. Use this information to tailor your content specifically to their needs.
  2. Create high-quality content: The content should be informative, engaging, and, above all, useful. This could be blog posts, infographics, research reports, or videos. Ensure that the content is well-researched, clearly written, and visually appealing.
  3. Optimise for SEO: Use relevant keywords, compelling meta titles, descriptions, and organise your content so it’s easy for both readers and search engines to understand. However, remember that the primary goal is to serve your audience, not just the search engines.
  4. Promote your content: Share your content across your social media platforms, email newsletters, and other channels. The more eyes you get on your content, the higher the chance of earning natural links.
  5. Reach out to influencers and industry leaders: Identify influencers, bloggers, and other website owners who might find your content valuable. Send them a personalised email explaining why your content might be beneficial for their audience.
  6. Regularly update your content: Keep your content fresh and up-to-date to maintain its relevancy and usefulness, which encourages ongoing sharing and linking.
  7. Monitor and analyse performance: Use tools like Google Analytics and backlink checkers to monitor how your content performs and who is linking to it. This data can help you refine your strategies and create more targeted content in the future.

Looking for some inspiration?

Through each of these content marketing examples, the core principle remains the same: provide value through your content, and links will follow.

  • Blog posts that solve common problems: A tech company could write an in-depth tutorial on how to increase smartphone battery life. Tech forums, gadget blogs, and consumer advice sites might link to this content because it answers a common question with expert knowledge.
  • Infographics: A health and wellness site creates an infographic detailing statistics about mental health. Mental health advocacy groups, educational institutions, and counselling services find this valuable and share links on their resources pages.
  • Research reports: A market research company publishes a comprehensive report on consumer trends during the holiday season. This content is then cited by news outlets, bloggers, and businesses in the retail industry, leading to high-quality links.
  • Interviews with industry experts: Hosting interviews with well-known figures in your industry can attract attention and prompt those figures and their affiliations to link back to the interview, broadening your content’s reach.
  • Interactive tools and resources: A financial advisory site develops a free budgeting tool. Financial blogs and consumer advice sites link to the tool as it helps their audience manage their finances better.

8. Original research and data

Original research and data are invaluable tools in SEO and content marketing. By conducting unique research or presenting original data, you can create compelling content that naturally attracts high-quality backlinks. This type of content positions your website as an authoritative source in your industry and significantly boosts your visibility and credibility among peers and potential customers.

How to find original data

Step 1: Choosing a research topic

Analyse existing content in your industry to identify gaps or questions that have not been thoroughly addressed. Tools Google Trends can help pinpoint trending topics or unanswered queries.

Step 2: Conducting the research

Decide on a methodology that suits your research. This could be surveys, data aggregation, case studies, or scientific experiments.

Collect data using tools appropriate for your chosen methodology. For surveys, tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms can be effective.

Step 3: Analysing and compiling data

Analyse the data using statistical tools. Tools like Excel, Google Sheets, or even AI services such as Chat GPT from open AI can assist.

Compile the findings into an easily digestible format. Create comprehensive reports, infographics, and summaries to illustrate your findings clearly.

Step 4: Publishing and promoting your research

Develop content based on your findings. This could be a detailed blog post or an interactive webpage.

Promote your research through various channels. Use social media, newsletters, and outreach to relevant influencers and industry leaders.

Step 5: Outreach for link building

Use SEO tools to identify websites that have linked to similar content.

Craft personalised outreach emails to these potential linkers, highlighting your research’s unique insights and why it would be valuable to their audience.


9. Analyse competitor backlinks

Competitor backlink analysis is a technique used in SEO to examine the backlinks of your competitors to understand which websites link to them, how they achieve their backlink profiles, and to identify potential opportunities for your own link building efforts. This method provides valuable insights into effective strategies in your industry, helping you catch up with and potentially surpass your competitors in search engine rankings.

How to perform competitor analysis

Step 1: Identifying your competitors

Choose competitors that directly compete with your business in the same industry and rank well in search engines for your target keywords. Use Ahrefs’ link intersect feature to get a list of backlinks each of your competitors have.

Prioritise competitors, achieving the best search engine performance and having a strong online presence.

Step 2: Gathering competitor backlinks

Utilise SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Majestic to extract and analyse the backlink profiles of your chosen competitors. These tools provide comprehensive data on who links to your competitors, the strength of these links, and the context in which these links are placed.

Step 3: Analysing backlink profiles

Evaluate the quality of the backlinks. Look for links from high-authority sites and note how relevant these sites are to the competitor’s business context.

Note the types of backlinks (e.g., editorial, from blogs, forums, news sites) and the diversity of the link distribution. This will help you understand the most effective types of content and link strategies in your niche.

Step 4: Identifying link building opportunities

Compare your backlink profile with that of your competitors to identify gaps. Look for high-value sites that link to multiple competitors but not to you.

Develop a targeted link building strategy based on your findings. Focus on acquiring backlinks from high-value sites identified in your analysis and consider replicating successful link types and strategies used by your competitors.

Step 5: Outreach and link acquisition

Craft personalised outreach campaigns for site owners and content creators linking to your competitors. Offer them valuable content that could serve as a compelling reason to link to your site instead. Additionally, you could consider submitting a guest post to the website as well.

Monitor the success of your outreach efforts and refine your strategies based on the responses and backlink acquisition success.


10. Citations and directory links

Citations and directory links are references to a business or website that appear on other websites, such as local business directories, social platforms, and industry-specific listings. A citation typically includes the business name, address, and phone number (NAP), and may also include a link to the website. 

Directory links are similar but are specifically found in business directories where businesses are categorised and listed for easy discovery. These elements are crucial for local SEO as they help to improve search engine rankings, particularly in local search queries, by validating the existence and relevance of the business.

How to land these links

Step 1: Identifying relevant directories and platforms

Start by identifying high-quality, relevant directories and platforms that align with your business’s industry and location. This could include local business directories, professional guilds, and industry-specific listing sites.

Focus on directories that have high domain authority and are well-regarded in your industry. This ensures that the links and citations you acquire will be valuable for your SEO efforts.

Step 2: Preparing your business information

Prepare a standard format for your business’s NAP information. Consistency across all listings is crucial for SEO, as it prevents any confusion about your business’s legitimacy and location.

Include additional information like business hours, photos, and a brief description to make your listings more informative and engaging.

Step 3: Submission to directories

Begin submitting your business’s information to the chosen directories. Ensure that each entry is accurate and complete.

Step 4: Monitoring and maintenance

Regularly check your listings to update any changes in your business information, such as a new address or hours of operation.

Engage with customer reviews on these platforms to enhance your reputation and SEO. Positive customer interactions can influence potential customers and improve local search rankings.


Our favourite link building tools

Here’s a roundup of our favourite link building tools, each serving distinct purposes from tracking link quality and performance to managing your outreach campaigns efficiently.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is widely recognised as one of the most powerful tools in the SEO world, particularly known for its robust features that monitor traffic and Domain Rating (DR). Its extensive database provides insights into the health and performance of your own and competitors’ websites.

🛠️ How it can be used for link building: Ahrefs helps in tracking the traffic and the quality of backlinks pointing to your site. By monitoring DR, you can gauge the strength of your website’s link profile.

Additionally, Ahrefs’ ‘Site Explorer’ feature allows you to discover potential link opportunities by analysing where competitors are getting their links from and identifying high-authority sites in your niche.

Majestic

Majestic SEO is a specialised tool that focuses on two main metrics: Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF). These metrics provide insights into the quality and quantity of links pointing to a website.

🛠️ How it can be used for link building: Majestic’s TF and CF metrics help evaluate the trustworthiness and influence of incoming links. By understanding these metrics, you can prioritise building links from sites with high TF, which are likely to convey more link equity.

Majestic also allows you to perform a competitor analysis to see where their strongest links are coming from, guiding your own link acquisition strategy.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a versatile tool that serves as an excellent resource for managing data. While not specifically designed for SEO, its adaptability makes it ideal for tracking link building campaigns.

🛠️ How it can be used for link building: You can use Google Sheets to organise and monitor your link building efforts systematically. Track potential and active backlinks, document outreach efforts, deadlines, contact information, and the status of each link. 

Customising your tracking sheets allows for a clear overview of your link building progress and effectiveness over time.

Respona

Respona is an all-in-one software that automates and streamlines the process of running outreach campaigns. It combines campaign management, email finding, and opportunity discovery into one platform.

🛠️ How it can be used for link building: Respona can be utilised to manage the entire lifecycle of a link building campaign. From identifying link opportunities by finding relevant articles and influencers, to automatically fetching contact details, and sending personalised outreach emails at scale, Respona makes each step more efficient. Its analytics help measure the success rate of campaigns and optimise strategies for better results.

No Follow Chrome Plugin

The No Follow Chrome Plugin is a simple yet effective tool for instantly checking the nature of links on web pages. It highlights whether links are ‘do follow’ or ‘no follow’, providing immediate insights into a page’s link structure.

🛠️ How it can be used for link building: This plugin helps in assessing the value of potential link placements. Since ‘do follow’ links transmit SEO value, whereas ‘no follow’ links do not, knowing the type of link beforehand allows you to prioritise your link building efforts on sites that offer ‘do follow’ links.

This tool is especially handy during backlink audits and when assessing the quality of external links on potential partner websites.

➡️ Learn more about our favourite link building tools here.


The importance of email outreach

Effective email outreach is a pivotal component of any link building campaign. The success of acquiring valuable backlinks often hinges on your ability to craft compelling, personalised emails that persuade site owners, bloggers, or journalists to consider linking to your content. Mastering email outreach can significantly influence the success rate of your link-building efforts.

How to effectively outreach for link building

Finding the right contacts

🛠️ Use tools: Leverage tools like Hunter.io, Respona, or LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify contact details of website owners, editors, or content managers. These tools can help pinpoint the right people by filtering based on role, industry, or company.

📩 Verify emails: Verify email addresses using Hunter.io or Respona.

Crafting your email

👋 Personalisation: Tailor each email to the recipient. Use their name, reference specific content they have published, and mention any mutual connections or interests. This approach helps in making your email stand out and not appear as spam.

👍 Clear and concise: Keep your email brief and to the point. Clearly state the purpose of your email, why you are reaching out, and what you are requesting. Be transparent about your intentions.

⭐️ Value proposition: Highlight the recipient’s benefit. Explain how linking to your content will add value to their website, such as by enhancing the quality of their content or offering their readers more comprehensive information.

Reaching out

🤝 Initial contact: Send your personalised outreach email. Ensure it includes a friendly greeting, a brief introduction of yourself and your purpose, and a clear call to action.

🚦 A/B testing: Try different subject lines and email formats to see which ones yield higher response rates. Keep track of which strategies are most effective in engaging recipients.

Follow-up

⏰️ Timing: Send a follow-up email if you haven’t received a response within a week. Follow-ups are crucial as they often yield higher response rates than initial emails.

🎯 Persistence vs. pestering: Be persistent but not overly aggressive. Limit your follow-up emails to one or two per recipient to maintain professionalism.

Managing responses

🗂 Organisation: Use tools like Google Sheets or CRM software to keep track of your outreach efforts, responses received, and secured links. This helps maintain an organised approach and enables you to monitor your campaign’s progress.

📈 Engagement: Engage with positive responses by answering any questions and providing additional information as needed. For negative responses, courteously acknowledge them and thank the individual for considering your request.

➡️ Learn more about outreach tactics for link building here.


Blackhat link building

Blackhat links are hyperlinks acquired through unethical SEO practices that violate search engine guidelines. These practices are designed to manipulate search engine rankings and can include tactics like link farms, paid links that don’t use the “nofollow” attribute, and hidden links. These methods are generally frowned upon within the SEO community and can lead to severe penalties from search engines.

How blackhat links can affect your website

Utilising blackhat links can have detrimental effects on your website. Initially, such practices might boost your rankings, but search engines like Google have sophisticated algorithms designed to detect and penalise sites using these tactics. 

🚨 Penalties can range from a significant drop in rankings to a complete de-indexing of your site, severely impacting your online visibility and credibility.

3 blackhat link building techniques to avoid

  1. Link farms: Participating in link farms involves creating networks of websites that exist solely to link to each other, which can artificially inflate link profiles and deceive search engine algorithms.
  2. Comment spam: Automatically posting irrelevant links in blog comments across various websites not only detracts from your brand’s credibility but also risks penalisation from search engines.
  3. Hidden links: Inserting links that are invisible to visitors, either by using tiny text or matching the colour of the link text to the background colour of the website, is deceptive and strictly against search engine policies.

How to find & remove black hat links

To safeguard your site from the negative impacts of blackhat links, you should regularly audit your link profile.

  1. Use tools like Ahrefs or Google’s Search Console to identify suspicious or unnatural links.
  2. Once identified, you can either request the website owner to remove the link or disavow them using Google’s Disavow Tool.
  3. Regular monitoring and cleanup of your link profile are crucial in maintaining a healthy and effective SEO strategy.

➡️ Learn more about blackhat link building here.


Ready to build some links? 👋

While the strategies outlined in this blog offer a robust starting point, perfecting them takes time, expertise, and continuous effort. If you’re looking to elevate your link building efforts without the stress, our team at Bulldog Digital Media is here to help. Specialising in crafting high-quality, valuable links, we can tailor a strategy that aligns perfectly with your business goals.

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