How to Build Backlinks

You can’t have high rankings without high-quality backlinks. But in the past few decades, the rules of the game have changed. Read on to find out how to legitimately build good backlinks to your website in 2022!

Ground Rules for Backlink Building

  • Forum and comment link-building no longer works. It’s an outdated tactic that results in no-follow links (and often, spam reports).
  • Don’t pay for backlinks. A website that promotes backlink services is rarely a reputable website whose links have value.
  • Don’t link to pages with thin content. Ensure your guest posts and pitches provide valuable resources for the website’s visitors.
  • Build connections with bloggers and influencers before you pitch. For really authoritative websites, get in touch with the relevant people on social media and establish a relationship to increase your chances. Warm emails beat cold emails every single time.

10 Proven Ways to Build Backlinks to Your Website

#1 Create Studies with Original Research and Your Experience

There’s nothing like creating content and coming across original research. Even when you create content, you look for statistics, metrics, and studies. Then, you link to the source.

Reverse-engineer the backlinks you see online by creating content with original research yourself:

  • Survey your customers
  • Identify a lacking area in your industry and perform research
  • Turn the findings into an informative article or a whitepaper

Similarly, leverage your experience. The majority of content online uses the same information, statistics, and experiences from prominent websites. Get more backlinks by discussing your experience, numbers, and case studies.

The golden rule is to track metrics and use numbers wherever possible.

Then, you’ll have a fantastic piece to pitch for backlink-building opportunities. 

#2 Build Backlinks by Producing High-Quality Content

Why is Hubspot such a content marketing powerhouse with millions of high-quality backlinks? It all started with their content:

Hubspot content

They produce and update comprehensive, evergreen content. You'll find everything you need in their ultimate guides. You have no reason to return to SERPs (which gives them a UX SEO boost). 

Apply Hubspot’s evergreen content strategy to build backlinks faster:

  • Identify evergreen topics in your niche
  • Perform keyword research
  • Map all the questions and sub-topics
  • Produce an excellent content piece

Create a Hub Section
You may have noticed that I have a dedicated section for my SEO Academy: a collection of resources on all things SEO, from structured data to the best podcasts for marketers.

SiteGuru's SEO Academy

This is similar to writing an ultimate guide, but the link juice flows through each section naturally (versus just one content piece). 

Create Better Content than the Competition
If your competitors already produced ultimate guides, find gaps in their content. Supplement the guides with your research and experiences using the Skyscraper Technique 2.0.

Ensure you understand the search intent and optimize your content to increase dwell time.
Soon enough, you’ll attract backlinks organically. After all, Google’s primary goal is to provide comprehensive resources to its searchers. Why would they bounce back to the SERPs if they can find everything in your content?

#3 Don’t Forget about Visuals (and Get Creative)

You can’t engineer virality, but creative content increases your traffic and attracts attention from prominent websites.

How Infographics Help You Build Backlinks
Infographics are fantastic for summarizing a lot of information in an easily-digestible format. Summarize your research, industry findings, or provide pointers on a topic.

For example, created a fantastic infographic for coding beginners:

Learning to code

Since Google indexes images, make sure your infographics are optimized. Your content won’t only be discovered as articles in the main search engine results. People will also be able to find your infographics with Google Image Search.

ELI5 with Your Videos
Break down a complex subject in a short video. Then, publish it along with your blog post. If it hits the spot for other marketers in your industry, they’ll be happy to link to it to avoid having to reinvent the wheel. 

Creative Content Attracts Backlinks
Depending on your content marketing budget, you may be able to create more ambitious content types such as interactive whitepapers - Dun & Bradstreet.

But even if you only provide a twist with your infographic, like the B2B Sandwich infographic below, or find creative ways to express how IT companies like Toggl work, the spark of creativity will be an instant link magnet.

B2B sandwich

What if program languages were games

#4 Guest Posting Still Works

Guest posting never goes out of style. However, make sure you guest post for reputable sites. For a while, everyone was a HuffPo contributor. You want to contribute to websites that have authority in your niche.

For example, if you’re in the SEO industry, you’d want to write a guest post for SearchEngineJournal. 

  • Check if your target website accepts guest posts by searching for:
  • your keyword + become a contributor
  • your keyword + guest-posts
  • your keyword + want to write for
  • your keyword + become an author
  • your keyword + inurl:guest-post-guidelines
  • your keyword + inurl:write-for-us
  • your keyword + now accepting guest posts
  • your keyword + bloggers wanted
  • your keyword + submit an article
  • your keyword + contribute
  • your keyword + guest post by

From there, ensure your article idea is original and exciting to the target audience. Make it memorable by using your unique brand tone of voice, humor (where appropriate), and anecdotes.

#5 Reach Out to Influential Bloggers in Your Industry to Get Backlinks

Every industry has thought leaders and bloggers. If you find the right person, get in touch with them to offer them to try (or use) your product for free. A standard sponsorship opportunity pitch won’t work with genuinely influential people, but a promise of value will.

You can also contact industry bloggers to review your product or service. Make sure you’re not paying for a false positive review. Most searchers have copped on to spammy bloggers. 

Look for websites with enough organic traction and bloggers with an engaged following.

Finally, search for websites running monthly or weekly roundups. Search for queries such as: 

keyword + roundup

#6 Get Interviewed

Do you have an exciting story to share? Get in touch with websites that interview people in your niche. Make sure you have some wisdom to share with the audience and present the value in your pitch.

Podcasts are perfect for directly reaching your audience while building backlinks. If you also have relevant content pieces to share (that the host can link to in their posts or descriptions), that’ll further strengthen your backlink profile.

#7 Get Listed on Directories as the First Step to Backlink Building

Directories are a tricky one. Some directories won’t do much for you as they offer no-follow links. However, others like the startup directory list or the US business directory list are great resources for putting yourself on the map while generating backlinks.

Similarly, look for niche-specific directories. 

For example, if you were a SaaS founder, you might get in touch with Indie Hackers, which has a directory of founder interviews. 

Note: Avoid social bookmarking websites, generic directories with no-follow links, and article directories. The backlink quality won't be as high if they’re linking to millions of sites simultaneously. 

#8 Monitor Your (and Competition’s) Backlinks

If you do manual outreach for backlink opportunities, don’t reinvent the wheel.

Firstly, monitor your own backlinks

Do you see websites who organically linked to you? Thank them and establish a relationship. If you have better resources (e.g., an in-depth post or an infographic), reference them in your email.

Similarly, if someone only referenced your brand name in their content, get in touch with them and ask for a backlink. You can use the following template:

Hello [Name],

I have just come across your most recent article [Article Title]. Amazing work!

I wanted to reach out and say "Thanks" for mentioning [Your Brand Name] in your post. I genuinely appreciate that.

If you've got a minute, it would be awesome if you could link to our website. That way, your readers can conveniently find the article you mentioned on our blog.

Once again, thank you for mentioning us in your article. And have a wonderful day.

[First Name]

Secondly, monitor your competitors’ backlinks

A tool like SEMrush will show you where your competition’s backlinks are coming from, so you can reach out to those websites with more comprehensive resources or topics you covered.

#8 Check and Offer Replacements for Broken Links

If you want to appear on an authoritative website, check it for broken links. Then, offer a replacement resource they could link to. 

As websites change URLs and create redirects, there’s a plethora of broken links to be found.

#9 Help a Reporter Out

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) connects journalists and bloggers who need sources with specific expertise to people who want links and coverage. While time-consuming, you can subscribe to get their updates and pitch when relevant. 

Be mindful of the “reporter’s” website authority. Sometimes you’ll get requests from people whose websites are new and growing. Try to focus on websites with a Domain Authority of 30 and higher. 

Are You Ready to Build More Backlinks?

Remember the ground rules. Then, choose the right tactic:

  • Create original studies
  • Produce high-quality content
  • Increase your discoverability with infographics, videos, and creative content
  • Find guest posting opportunities
  • Reach out to influential bloggers
  • Get interviewed for an article or podcast
  • List your website on legitimate directories
  • Monitor your backlinks
  • Learn from your competitors' backlinks
  • Find broken links and offer replacements
  • Become a HARO source

Let’s get to work!