60+ link building techniques checklist [2018 update]

Category: SEO

Get the best of link building! We decided to put together all link building techniques we could think of. We currently have more than 60!

Your feedback and ideas will be highly appreciated. Let’s work together and make this ultimate checklist useful for as many people as possible.

Content

1. Skyscraper technique

Skyscraper is almost a legendary link building technique. It’s time-consuming, but if it’s done properly, you’ll get quality backlinks, targeted traffic and possible business connections.

It’s a combination of perfect content, research, competitor backlink analysis and email outreach. The process is covered in this link building guide.

These are the main 4 steps:

  1. Find good content with quality backlinks
  2. Find the contact details of the people behind these websites
  3. Write better content
  4. Outreach the prospects

We used this email in our recent skyscraper campaign:

skyscraper email template

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


2. Content-based link building

The hardest, yet the most efficient technique. Create content that will naturally attract readers, social shares, and referral traffic. Get inspired in our Learn SEO guide.

When you write, pay attention to readability. Content has to be well-structured and without grammar errors. There are many tools to help out. ShoutMeLoud made a nice list.

Watch out for flow, adverbs usage, passive voice index, unique words, or estimated reading time. Of course, this depends on your target audience.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


3. Top lists

There are many, but if you have unique and relevant data it should be a success. When we published the Top keywords list, it was our most visited blog post in 2016.

When writing top lists, think about timing and prepare to dig deep into data.

These are the most important tasks:

  1. Analyze search results for your main keywords
  2. Write something more comprehensive, unique
  3. If you have your own data, the job will be easier
  4. If your topic is time-sensitive, make sure you choose the right time

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


4. Produce educational content

Google SERP is full of “How to” articles. Publishers think it’s easy to educate. Well, it can be, but the amount of recycled content out there won’t attract readers just like that.

On the other hand, you can always target a specific group of people with your own opinions and unique insights.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


5. Case studies

Case studies can be a backlinks gold mine! That’s why I’ve dedicated a special point to them. Case studies are always unique and bring new information. Make sure to have proven data, do your research, try to experiment and test industry myths.

When writing a case study it’s good to list:

  1. Challenge
  2. Data background
  3. Selected time frame
  4. Results
  5. Key takeaways

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


6. So-called “Green content”

Yes, it’s a content, but very specific and beneficial when it comes to gaining high-quality links. If it’s good enough and deals with the most up-to-date issues, not only environmentally-friendly organizations will share it.

Environmental threats such as climate change, water pollution or species extinction have been discussed widely for years. Who knows, maybe you will become an influencer who will help to save the Earth.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


7. Thought-provoking, irritating, annoying content

This can be tricky. It can ruin your reputation when done wrong. Don’t try to abuse people, their struggles, and opinions. Help them to solve their issues. Be careful on what you plan to profit. I recommend reading this article by Sean Hodge.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


8. White-papers

They’re widely used in the B2B world but you don’t need to be a corporation to conduct a deep research in the industry, add your thoughts, charts, and knowledge others can benefit from. White-papers are a great source of sharing opportunities and gaining valuable links.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


9. Reviews and comparisons

These two rank very high when done right. Your deep analysis, pros, cons and recommendations will solve decision paralysis of many readers. What’s more, if you’re good enough, businesses will be willing to pay for reviewing their products. And suddenly, you can be a thought leader.

kwfnider review search results

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


10. Create a dedicated blog section

There are many companies with useful content despite not having a blog. It’s time to use that potential! A dedicated blog is an engagement magnet.

Make sure to go through this very detailed guide on how to learn blogging if you aren’t sure how to start. This infographic on how to start a business blog is extremely useful as well.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


11. Make an interview

Try to partner with well-known authorities in the industry. It doesn’t need to a superstar. The person will share the interview with their audience and might link to it on their website too.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


12. Guest posts

Guest posts represent a good way to earn backlinks. Do website research, write outstanding content and try to publish it on an authoritative website. They usually have strict guest blogging guidelines and it sometimes takes a lot of time to accept your submission.

It’s a bit more time consuming, but it definitely works. You will find lists of websites accepting guest posts but if you plan to target relevant ones, use Google search operators. Start with the focus keyword and add “write for us”.

link building technique guest blogging search operator

You can specify your query with the operators: allintitle, intitle, inurl to find even more opportunities.

And now from the opposite point of view: If you publish a guest content on your site and the same blogger publish another content on a different site linking to the original article on your site, you’ll have a backlink.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


Social

13. Social media outreach

Share your content on social media, promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, comment relevant posts and create connections. I love these 4 powerful social media outreach tactics.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


14. On-site social sharing actions

Sharing buttons and widgets. You can’t skip them on your website. Besides sharing your content via social networks, people can place your widgets on their sites and link back to you.

AddThis is a useful plugin in which you can track the results of social engagement of your website.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


15. Share to download buttons

Give your users an opportunity to access exclusive materials, bonuses or discounts by asking them to share your website. Motivate them to share your stuff. We use Social Locker.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


16. Specialized discussion forums

Join Quora, Reddit, StackExchange, and others to ask and answer related questions. Be careful, these forums usually have strict spam rules and are full of professionals, so you can suddenly get banned. It happened to me as well. I should have read this guide before.

The most important things to keep in mind:

  1. Prepare your submission, don’t just copy the text from your blog post
  2. Personalize it according to readers’ preferences
  3. Make sure the link is relevant so it’s not obvious you’re doing a self-promotion
  4. Reply to comments

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


17. Links from forums

Forums, Q&A sites, content aggregators, etc. You can add the link there, but keep in mind that majority of them are low-quality links, usually no-follow, so their benefits are questionable.

Benefit

1 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


18. Quizzes, surveys, tests

Yet another interactive way to gain not only social exposure. We did it some time ago and the response was fantastic. We added a certificate of completion to motivate people to share their success via their social profiles.

Though we made it on our own, you can use many tools such as SurveyMonkey.

Mangools SEO test

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


19. Link to others

… and tag them in your social posts. It might not work for the first couple of times, but sooner or later they will notice you. If your content is good enough and relevant, they may link back or at least give you a shoutout on their social profiles.

social outreach link building

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


Marketing and branding

20. Contests and giveaways

Besides gaining a relevant link you have a promo for free. We were a part of a couple of giveaways and they generated subscriptions, as well. Research on-going contests and giveaways and contact the organizers. Sometimes, these offers land in your inbox so you won’t spend any time.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


21. Discounts and coupons

Everyone loves discounts and discount codes! And it’s a great motivation to share your product, too! Moreover, discount coupons are great for additional affiliate program promotion.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


22. Traditional (off-line) marketing activities

Leaflets, stickers or even guerilla marketing. Don’t forget where it all began. Creative marketing attracts people. They will talk about you and might link to your site.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


23. PR articles

PR articles written by professionals and published on sites with high authority will give you high-quality links too. But prepare some budget for this.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


24. Testimonials sections

Think about products you use, get in touch with people behind them and write testimonials to be published on their websites in exchange for a link. You’ll need to write a couple of emails and reminders but it can be very beneficial.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


25. Set up Google Alerts

Google Alerts is one of those tools we all heard about. However, not many of us use it to find brand mentions. Setting up the alerts is super easy. Select the term(s), choose from the listed options and add a valid email address to receive the alerts.

In our case the terms could be “kwfinder”, “kw finder”, “kwfinder.com”, etc.

Google Alerts for brand mentions

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


26. Ask the ones you know

Yes, why not? Reach out your family, friends or people you know for a link. They might be willing to link to your site if it’s relevant and fits the context. Don’t try to link to a marketing blog from a clothes e-shop.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


27. Buy backlinks via paid blog posts

It’s similar as the previous technique, but this time you will have to pay for it. On the other hand, it won’t cost you almost any time. If you plan to be a writer and get paid, don’t forget to check these blogs that will pay you.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


28. Reciprocal links

It’s one of the techniques that do not work anymore and have a bad reputation.

Benefit

0 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


29. Launch an affiliate program

You’ll gain both links and revenue. Our affiliate program is one of the strongest sources of revenue, exposure and high-quality backlinks. There are many affiliates searching for a new source of income. Don’t forget to prepare attractive commission system.

how to launch affiliate program

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


30. Join an affiliate program

We mentioned our affiliate program is beneficial for us, but that’s because it’s attractive for our partners. As an affiliate marketer, you can earn a lot of money on commissions and your product reviews or comparisons can generate many backlinks.

Tung from cloudliving.com trains people to become successful in this field.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


31. Research and find out what works for others

Spy on and analyze competitors’ backlinks. You can focus on those you can replicate easily to save some time.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


32. Brand mentions

Using search operator “brand name” -site:brandname.com will help you to find mentions of your brand. You need to check whether each mention is linked to your site. If not, contact these people to do so or to adjust the anchor correctly.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


33. Name mentions

I noticed that many websites mentioned founders or CEOs without linking to the company. Use this as an opportunity to thank them for mentioning you and for acquiring another link from a relevant source.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


34. Stolen images link reclamation

Technically, the link reclamation is when you try to locate broken backlinks, opportunities mentioned in #30 and #31, or if there is an improper backlink, misspelled domain or anchor text for any reason.

When it comes to images, it may happen some websites use your images without providing a source. It usually applies to infographics, charts and quality images. Last but not least, this technique makes sense for authoritative websites or if your images are true inspiration for the others.

Here’s a quick guide how to find these images:

  1. Create a list of the URLS of your images
  2. Use Google image search by pasting the URL
  3. Check the websites from search results whether they gave you a credit by looking for your domain in the HTML code.
  4. If there’s no credit, reach out the authors.

Image link reclamation

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


35. Get interviewed

No, you don’t need to be Britney Spears. Things happen really fast in the digital world. Take the advantage of it. You can become successful in a short time so getting interviewed with a link is definitely a good idea.

However, nothing comes for free so don’t wait to be interviewed. Research publishers and get in touch with them. This is a detailed guide by Ann Smarty you should go through.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


36. Gifts

How about sending gifts to your most valuable customers and partners? Use special occasions such as Christmas or birthdays and include a call-to-action to share it and link to you.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


37. Exchange

Exchange your products for a review or other promo activities leading to a link. Bloggers writing a review will usually include a link so you don’t need to ask them.

When it comes to affiliate partners, they tend to provide no-follow links.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


38. Build a campaign microsite

Do you have a special discount, an event or a product launch? Build a microsite! Keep in mind that content should be 100% non-duplicate and you should also build a good link profile for the microsite.

Creating microsites from the SEO point of view isn’t as profitable as it was in the past but you should consider it when you are planning to build a long term authority website.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


39. Create a sitewide announcement link

Yeah, a sitewide link isn’t that good when it comes to the link strength but it’s perfect for a short term link placement to gain high traffic, i.e. you can do this with a short term special offer. Keep in mind that the linked sites should be related.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


40. Comment blog posts

In general, I think that comments with links don’t positively influence your SEO because they are deleted almost immediately. But if you select blog posts with high traffic, then you write a comment which is super relevant and boosts the discussion, it may end up with providing a link that will add a value to the discussion.

In this case, the moderator shouldn’t delete the comment. No one wants to stop a productive discussion under their blog post.

Benefit

1 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


41. Cooperate with courses, schools and teachers

What’s better than to be recommended to many students by well-known courses, universities or respected teachers? Not to mention that a backlink from “.edu” domain can be a great signal for Google. The quality of website users referred this way is unquestionable.

What’s more, you can prepare a special offer for the students. One last thing I would like to mention is that well-known teachers tend to speak on various events or conferences on which they can promote your website.

The amount of time you will need to invest into this depends on whether you are the outreached person or you plan to outreach them.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


Submissions

42. Content syndication

Content syndication is a great backlink source and you will get some additional traffic boost.

The most popular platforms are:

  • GrowthHackers
  • Medium
  • LinkedIn
  • Growthub
  • Business2community

You can submit an excerpt of your original article or create a unique description, it’s up to you. In case of the duplicate content, make sure to check whether the platform has implemented a “rel=canonical tag”, which links back to your original content.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


43. Beta lists and startup submissions

Links from these sites are usually no-follow but their overall influence helps a lot. There are highly focused people willing to test or support new products. Check Betalist, ProductHunt, or Erlibird.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


44. Business listings and catalogues

They used to work in the past. It’s really time-consuming and benefits are usually minimal. However, it’s ok to be there, at least on the most relevant ones.

Benefit

1 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


45. Submit creatives

Infographics, ebooks or leaflets can be submitted on Slideshare, Issuu, Pinterest, Scribd and other alternatives. Reserve some time as you would need various digital formats, descriptions, and links.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


46. Submit videos

Compared to the time neeedd for a video production, the submission is nearly nothing. And it’s not only about YouTube. There are many sites where you can attract views such as Vimeo.

Here are some best practices when uploading a video:

  1. Create a custom thumbnail
  2. The title should be both appealing and well-optimized
  3. Add at least a short description, not only the link
  4. Consider adding an end screen and annotations

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


47. Develop and share

Have you developed something that works and looks like a charm? Share it on highly-focused forums such as GitHub, Bitbucket, or CodePen. It doesn’t directly make a link but helps build your personal brand and that means audience, clicks, and links.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


48. Wikipedia link building

Link building on Wikipedia isn’t complicated but you should think tactical. The biggest con is that linking from Wikipedia will automatically generate new links because your site will be used as a reference. Jon Cooper wrote a Wikipedia for SEO guide you simply have to read.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


Email

49. Email outreach

Email outreach is a time-consuming task. You need to do it as a part of many link building techniques mentioned in this article. It’s all about finding the right prospects, listing the potential link placement, researching email addresses and sending personalized emails. Get ready for sending reminders and don’t forget to track the results.

You’ll find many guides on this. Last time, we reached a 16% response rate. Therefore, I’ve formulated 9 actionable email outreach tips.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


50. Resource pages

There are thousands of pages listing guides or tools and linking to them. Use Google search operators such as exact match, allintitle, intitle, inurl with your keyword and you will find many pages on which you would like to have a backlink. Example: inurl:”seo resources”

How to use Google search operators for link building

Once you create a list of the pages, prepare personalized messages and outreach the authors.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


51. Top lists, how-tos, guides

Creating this kind of content attracts links so why not to have a backlink there? This technique is similar to #44 and it requires using the exact match, allintitle, intitle, inurl search operators. When creating the list of prospects, think about your website’s authority too. You should provide a value for the outreached person.

Besides using the search operators, you can try tools such as BuzzSumo.

Benefit

5 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


52. Email signatures

How many emails do you send per month? Imagine only a few of the recipients click on the link under your name. You get a couple of clicks and it costs you nothing. Keep in mind that email signatures don’t positively affect SEO.

Benefit

1 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


Technical

53. Internal linking

It’s a must! Internal linking means you rule anchors and add links where you want to. If you do it regularly, it’s a matter of seconds. In case your website is full of content without internal links, you’ll spend a couple of days fixing it. Before doing so, I recommend reading the Essential guide to internal content link building by Julia McCoy.

My advice: Don’t add more than 2-3 links per article. Avoid using a plugin which automatically links particular words. It’s annoying and ruins UX.

One more tip: Identify your most-viewed pages so you know where to put specific links.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


54. Breadcrumbs

Another internal link building tip is to use breadcrumbs. The site navigation is transparent thanks to them and you can optimize the anchor text distribution as well.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


55. RSS feed

You probably have it but in case you don’t, create one. Sooner or later, somebody will scrape your content. But if you place internal links in the content, you’ll earn a link.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


56. Create a sitemap

This is one of the internal linking methods and it’s extremely useful. Search engines like sitemaps. Moreover, it’s a good navigation for visitors. You can use one of the many WordPress plugins.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○○5 / 5


57. Broken link building

Identifying links leading to non-existing sites and linking them to your content can be a time-consuming but effective method. You can use search operators or various tools for this. This Ahrefs guide will help you with broken link building.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○2 / 5StarStarStar


58. 404 errors

Check the Google Search Console if there are any. No one likes to land on 404 – Page not found.

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


59. Do you have robots.txt?

Review it whether there are any linked pages. Either contact webmasters of sites linking to them or consider allowing crawlers to index these pages.

robots.txt syntax:

User-agent: * (e.g. Googlebot)

Disallow: /  (e.g. /images/pizza.png)

Benefit

3 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○○4 / 5Star


60. PBNs (Private Blog Network)

PBNs are a way as well but you have to be very careful. These links should look as natural as possible. PBNs are websites to implement links to other websites (ones that generate money). It’s an expensive technique. You need to pay for a domain, hosting and set of blog posts.

It can be risky because Google bans PBNs from time to time. Think wisely. The costs of PBNs can be higher than the income. That’s why I’d recommend reading the guide by Lion Zeal.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


61. Expired domains

Look for expired domains with working links. All you had to do in the past was to find them and redirect them via 301. Nowadays, it’s more complicated. Watch out for relevancy.

Benefit

2 / 5

Time efficiency

○○○3 / 5StarStar


62. Create a free tool

Everyone loves free tools: free = buzz. That means it’s shared and likely to build a solid number of backlinks. So why not to create a free tool to use this potential of high website traffic and many backlinks for your own needs? You can link your other websites from it.

We did the same thing with RockingPage where we included links to our SEO tools.

Benefit

4 / 5

Time efficiency

○1 / 5StarStarStarStar


 

Contribute to this link building checklist

What other link building techniques come to your mind? Share them in the comments below and we’ll update the post.

Just in case you are absolutely new to link building, you can check this beginner’s guide.

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