A Newbie-Friendly Guide to Link Building 2018

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This article will cover the best strategies, techniques, and tactics of link building, which is an integral part of SEO, as you know.

But let’s put first things first and start with the definition.

What is link building?

The definition is not complicated. Link building is the process of gaining new inbound links or backlinks to a website from the external sites.

What is the goal of link building?

The principal goal of most link building campaigns is to increase the search traffic from Google.

Are you ready to start studying the proven and efficient strategies?

Link Building Strategies

Well, this is the first, the most popular and effective tactic.

  1. Link bait.

Link bait takes many forms because it covers a lot. This includes many individual tactics.

In plain English, the term of link building refers to the creation of content drawing links naturally. Here drawing links “naturally” means unique valuable content that people are ready to link to without any request. These links are considered ‘earned’. BTW, link bait requires promotion just like any other marketing strategy.

Do you know what makes a piece of content valuable?

  • In-depth research.
  • Unique data.
  • A survey.
  • Attractive/unique graphics.
  • A free tool.

Link bait is a white hat link building strategy in its purest form. It needs a high-value resource as ‘bait’. An awesome piece of content is likely to be actively shared and rank high in search.

2. Ego bait.

Do you know this feeling when the influencers seem hard to approach? This is very common for newbies. Don’t be scared away by the person’s status. However, most of them are marketers just like you and I. They like when you feature, quote, or mention their works.

You can see the brief list of effective ego-bait tactics below:

  • Publish an interview with an influencer on your site.
  • Include an influencer in an expert roundup.
  • Quote an influencer in your article or any other piece of content and link to their site.
  • Include an influencer or their resource/product in a top 10 list.

Most of the influencers will surely share the content that helps to build their positive online image. By tending their egos you will increase your content reach, which will lead to potential links.

3. Broken link building.

Have you noticed that today plenty of resources that were previously useful just disappear from the web? Why does this happen? There are many reasons. For instance, the company behind the site might go out of business or the site might not be maintained anymore.

These situations may be used for link building. Here is how you can use them to your benefit.

Create a similar resource on your site and reach out to sites with broken outgoing links. Offer them your content as a substitute. This can bring you a great success rate as most of the webmasters are eager to fix the errors on their sites.

4. Link Reclamation.

Link reclamation can be broken into 3 sub-strategies:

  • The first one is fixing broken links pointing your site and fixing the internal broken links.

It’s obvious that if there are broken links pointing to 404 pages on your site, you are losing valuable link juice. But this is easy to fix.

Here, at Ahrefs we use Broken Link Checker and a free WordPress Redirection plugin for the purpose.

  • The second one is finding and monitoring for unlinked brand mentions.

Sometimes, writers mention your brand but don’t link back to your site. Reach out to their site, say “thanks” for the mention, and ask to add a link.

  • The third one is identifying the uncredited use of copyrighted material. For example, images or videos.
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You could ask to remove your copyrighted material from the site using it, but don’t make haste. Look at it as a link building opportunity. Send a polite email to that website, tell them about the infringement and ask for accreditation. Actually, that’s all you need to pick up a link.

You can find sites using your copyrighted images with the help of Google’s reverse image search.

5. Newsjacking.

It will be great if you manage to get into the hot trending news stream and weave your own brand or ideas into the story.

This can become an effective way to obtain high-quality links from popular publications.

But time means a lot in this strategy. Journalists highlight the unique angles, cite experts’ quotes, and add insight when a new story breaks. But you have to be prompt as today’s news become outdated tomorrow.  

6. Guest blogging.

Guest blogging keeps on being an effective way to present your website or brand and build links strengthening the authority.

At present low-quality guest blogging has lost its power thanks to Google, while high-quality guest blogging stays a decent method of acquiring white hat links.

7. Interviews.

Many modern link building aspects are similar to traditional PR and building links through interviews is one of them.

How can you carry out an interview?

  • It may be a blog interview.
  • It may be participation in ’expert roundup’ posts.
  • You can record podcasts.
  • You can carry out webinars.

Anyway, the goal of your interview is to grow your professional niche profile gathering quality links along the way.

8. Infographics.

Creating infographics is one of the tried out link building tactics. Infographics are on the rise today, so you can forget about the time a few years back when they were out of fashion.

Would you like to know the reason why do they remain a particularly effective way of maximising return for your outreach efforts?

Because outreach is always more effective when it offers some valuable proposition for the host site. Providing a nice, quality infographic coming with a customised introduction is a brilliant example of such value exchange. The host site gets your awesome content, you get a backlink. The exchange is beneficial for both parties, isn’t it?

Source: http://infographiclist.com/tag/link-building/

9. Content syndication.

I don’t want to say that you need to syndicate content everywhere. However, syndicating your content with link attribution to high-quality sites can lead to increase in traffic and improvement in ranking.

Here are the examples of quality websites to syndicate your content to:

  • Medium
  • Linkedin Pulse
  • Business 2 Community
  • Examiner

It is recommended to write a custom title and introduction for each platform if you want to get the most out of your syndication.

10. Content repurposing.

Would you like to fetch more value from your content and obtain high-quality links? Try out repurposing. This may turn out to be a great way to reach these goals.

Here are a few ways to repurpose your blog post. For instance, you can make:

  • A video
  • An infographic
  • An eBook
  • A slideshare presentation, etc. from the available content.

It goes without saying that you can share each piece of the repurposed content on various relevant channels. Actually, they are offering the opportunity for a backlink.

Remember that your repurposed content should be of the top quality and capable of standing alone, just like any other link building strategy.

11. Link building with images.

Source: https://unsplash.com/@pineapple

Do you wonder how to leverage custom images and draw backlinks to your site?

  • You can create charts to visualize data.
  • Memes understandable in your niche also fit.
  • Creating images with quotes of bloggers or celebrities famous in your niche is also a good idea.
  • May the images for your blog posts be easy to pin.
  • Make your stock images available for use with attribution.
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You can also add ‘swipeable’ images to your blog posts charts and graphs. This is a proper strategy that encourages readers to download and share them on their own resources. This method will surely bring you links.

12. Directory submissions.

I know that the days of mass directory submissions have come to an end. Still, you can get some SEO value from winning links from quality or niche specific directories.

Use a pagerank metric to check out directory strength. But keep in mind that this metric is not too accurate as it is not updated too often and assailable to manipulations.

Check out if all links that are added to the directory go through a human review before they go live.Of course, there is always some other way to know the pagerank metric. Take into consideration the following points to determine the quality of a directory:

  • Quality of sites in the directory is essential. Make sure that it is decent and see if there are any signs of the manipulated anchor text links coming from the directory pages.
  • Note the directory age either. You can use archive.org to make certain it has been around for some time in its current form.
  • View out the directory’s backlink profile. Use a good SEO tool to see that the site has a clean link profile and that it has not been building spammy links.
  • Google’s cache should also be considered. You need to know that the page where your link would be placed is cached by Google. You may use the command cache for that:thedirectory.com/theurl

If you decide to use directory submissions, be careful in order not to overuse them. The tactic should be a small part of your overall link building strategy.

13. Press release distribution.

To tell you the truth, mass press release distribution is a link building tactic that offers little benefit. It also may give away the manipulative link building.

Though, press release distribution that is aimed at attracting genuine press is a pretty legitimate PR tactic, which makes it a legitimate link building tactic either.

Let’s imagine that you have something newsworthy. It may be a site launch, for instance. What are your next steps? Choose one channel to distribute your press release and don’t forget to make sure that it is high quality and written in the third party.

This will boost the chances of your press release to be picked up and lead to more links.

One more thing about press releases: they are not the best places to build your anchor text links. Place branded links there.

14. Local citations.

Building citations on local business directories and portals can be called an effective tactic for advancing local SEO.

Very often, business directories have higher acceptance standards than general web directories and will list only legitimate businesses. Therefore, they are likely to look well trusted to Google.

Don’t get upset if some business directory didn’t include a link back to your site. Many SEO professionals will tell you that a mention from a trusted resource may be considered as an ‘inferred link’ by Google and help you with rankings.

By the way, consistency in your business’s contact details (name, address, phone number, etc.) is critical to maximising the impact of your citation building.

15. Blog commenting.

This is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks both to new and old websites. Leave comments to blog posts and check out your blog commenting strategy efficiency looking at your backlink graph. You may expect it either stay constant or go up with time.

Be an active community member to make Google love you. Participating in a niche and commenting on blogs is a great way to demonstrate that you are engaged in the community.

But that’s not all, commenting is also a good way to build relationships with other bloggers. This kind of friendship will help you with future outreach. It is always easier to reach out to somebody already knowing you.

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Nevertheless, mass commenting won’t work out. Only genuine, smart comments on a selected number of blogs may help you rank higher.

Comments that bring value, add insight and show expertise, can also drive traffic back to your website and help to grow your audience. This could be classified as an indirect ranking factor.

16. Contributing in niche forums.

A wise SEO expert follows their audience. The most niches have at least one forum where your potential customers like to spend their time.

When you are an active forum participant, it’s not a problem to drop an occasional link back to your site if that link adds value to the discussion or answers a question, of course.

Such kinds of links are good both for traffic and conversions. Participation in a forum and positioning yourself as an expert will help to build a reputable image among the community members and anyone clicking through to your site will be semi-qualified.

17. Participating in niche community sites.

There are subreddits for pretty much everything, from sewing to coding & web development.

Find subreddits related to your niche, participate, and share really interesting and relevant content from your own site from time to time. This is an absolutely legitimate way to build links that also drive traffic.

Once submissions reach a certain number of upvotes, which varies from subreddit to subreddit, they become ‘dofollow’ and this increases their SEO value.

What’s more, many curation sites use Reddit to source their content, so a popular Reddit submission may also bring additional editorial links.

There are many industry-specific community sites beside Reddit (like inbound.org that is oriented on marketers). The takeaway is that active participation will give an opportunity for building both links and relationships.

18. Answering questions on Quora, Yahoo, etc.

The direct SEO value is indisputable, but links from question and answer style sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers are also a good way to drive traffic to your site and build your authority in a niche.

They can also be very helpful in identification of the trending topics in your niche.

Never miss your chance if you notice that one and the same question is asked often. Such things happen because people asking it can’t find the answer in Google that satisfies them. Create your own content on your site and fill in that information gap. This will give you opportunities for bringing in search traffic and future link building.

19. Sponsorships (charity, events etc).

It’s not a secret that many charity and non-profit organizations list their sponsors. They also include a link back to the sponsor’s site. Charities are trusted by people and often have high domain authority, therefore, your rankings may benefit from them.

You may say that technically these are paid links. And you will be right, but they are considered relatively safe on the link buying scale.

Here is another idea. You can try to offer services in exchange for a write up on the charity site. Say, if you are a videographer/photographer, you could offer to take a video/photos of some event for free if that charity organization includes some of the images with link attribution on their site.


It seems like that is pretty much of it. It would be cool to hear your thoughts on what works out for you at the moment and how do you see the future of link building. Maybe you just have general thoughts/questions on our guide. Please feel free to post them in the comments

P.S. We are sure you will be lucky with your link building campaign!

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Helga Moreno

Helga Moreno is a passionate content creator and marketer at Ahrefs bold enough to believe that if there's a book that she wants to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then she must write it herself.

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