Link Building For SEO: The Definitive Guide For 2018

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Link building is utterly important for SEO optimization of your website as well as your long-term marketing campaigns. In this article, we will discuss its strategies, techniques, and tactics of link building.

But let’s define the term definition before we start.  

The definition is simple as ABC. We call the process of acquiring new inbound links or backlinks to a website from the external sites a link building.  

link building

What is the main link building goal?

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

I don’t think that there is a single site on the Internet that is completely satisfied with its traffic flow. Does your site need a traffic increase? Then read on and you will get 19 bullet-proof link building strategies that really work.

Link Building Strategies

Well, here comes the first and the most popular tactic. It is highly efficient either.

1. Have you heard about the link bait?

Link bait can take many forms, it covers a lot and includes many individual tactics.

In other words, link bait refers to creating content that will draw links naturally. This content is so valuable and surely unique that people are happy to link to it without any pressure from your side, neither in the form of request nor hint or reminder. You can consider those links ‘earned’ rather than ‘built’. But don’t think that link bait can do without promotion at all, it also requires it, similar to any other marketing strategy.

Let me give you some examples of what can make your content valuable:

  • This may be an in-depth research
  • Some unique data
  • A survey
  • Attractive and unique graphics
  • Or, say a free tool

It’s safe to say that link bait is white hat link building in its purest form. It requires a top-class resource as ‘bait’. An absorbing piece of content is likely to be actively shared and rank high in search engines.

2. Ego bait as one of the link building tactics.

Do you know this feeling when influencers seem so unapproachable to you? This is one of the newbie’s nightmares. Don’t be scared away by their authority. Most of the marketing experts are happy when somebody like you is featuring, quoting, or mentioning their works.

Hereinunder I will list some of the effective ego-bait tactics:

  • Posting an interview with an influencer on your site.
  • Including an influencer in an expert roundup.
  • Quoting an influencer in your article or any other type of content and link to their site.
  • Including an influencer or their resource/product in a top 10 list.

Again, most of the influencers will share the content that contributes to their positive image with their greatest pleasure. The tactic expenses its reach and leads to potential links.

3. Broken link building strategy.

You have surely noticed that these days a lot of websites simply stop existing. This happens because of many reasons. For instance, the company behind the site might go out of business or the site might not be maintained so actively anymore.

Such situations can turn out to be favorable for your link building campaign.

What can you do? Create a similar resource on your site and reach out to sites with broken outgoing links. Most of the webmasters will be enthusiastic about fixing the errors on their site, so you can offer them your content as a good alternative. I am sure this will bring you a significant success rate.

4. Link reclamation technique.

There are 3 categories of link reclamation:

  • The first one is fixing broken links that point to your site and fixing the internal broken links.

It’s quite understandable that broken links on your site pointing to 404 pages make you lose valuable link juice. However, you can fix that easily.

Would you like to know how we fix the broken links at Ahrefs? We use Broken Link Checker and a free WordPress Redirection plugin.

link building

  • The next method is finding and monitoring the unlinked brand mentions.

Sometimes, writers do mention your brand but don’t link back to your site for some reason. In such cases, you need to reach out to their site, thank them for the mention, and ask to add a link if possible.

  • Identifying the uncredited use of copyrighted material may also bring you backlinks. What material do we mean? These may be proprietary images or videos, for example.

You can ask to remove your copyrighted photo or video if someone uses it on their site. But don’t push on. Look at it as a link building opportunity. Send an email to that website apprising about the copyright infringement and ask for a credit. That’s all you need to get your deserved link.

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

5. Use Newsjacking.

It would be cool to get into the stream of trending news and weave your brand or ideas into the story somehow.

This is a very efficient way of grabbing top-quality links from the far-famed publications.

But this tactic requires the ultimate speed. Time is a decisive factor in newsjacking. When something new happens, journalists are at pains highlighting the story from its unique angles, they collect experts’ quotes, and add deep insights. But you need to remember that today’s news is already outdated tomorrow.


6. Use guest blogging for link building.

Guest blogging has always been an efficient way to spread the word about your website or brand and build links that enhance its authority.

Needless to say that your guest posts have to be of the highest quality as low-quality guest posts lost their power due to Google. So, nowadays only high-quality guest blogging stays an awesome method of acquiring white hat links.

7. Interviews as a link building strategy.

Current link building is similar to traditional PR in many aspects and building links through interviews is one of such aspects.

You can carry out your interviews in the following or other forms:

  • Blog interviews
  • Participating in ’expert roundup’ posts
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

Anyway, the goal of your interview is to grow your professional niche profile and pick up some quality links during the process.

8. Create infographics.



Infographics are not something new. They are one of the tested and working link building tactics. These nice visuals went out of fashion a few years back, but today they are still here experiencing a kind of resurrection.

The secret of infographic efficiency for maximising the return for your outreach efforts lies in the value of the offer. The outreach is always much more effective when it offers some worthy proposition for the host site. A nice infographic with a customised introduction is a brilliant example of value exchange. The host site obtains your funky content and you get your backlink. Fair enough.

9. Syndication of content.

There is no good in syndicating content everywhere. However, syndicating your content with link attribution to blue-chip sites is most likely to lead to traffic growth and ranking improvement.

Here is a brief recap of quality websites you can include in your ‘syndicate your content to’ list:

  • Medium
  • Linkedin Pulse
  • Business 2 Community
  • Examiner

Write a custom title and introduction for each platform and get more out of your syndication.

10. Repurpose your content.

Would you like to scrounge more value from your content and acquire high-quality links? Repurpose your content and reach both goals.

Here’s what you can do to repurpose your blog post:

  • Shoot a video
  • Create an infographic
  • Write an eBook
  • Make up a slideshare presentation, etc.

The best thing is that you can share each piece of the repurposed content on different relevant channels and these are actually new opportunities for backlinks.

Do I need to remind you that your repurposed content should be of the top quality and capable of standing alone just like any other link building strategy? Sure you understand this.

11. Build links with the help of images.

The possible ways of leveraging custom images and gaining backlinks to your site are listed below.

  • Creating charts to visualize some data.
  • Creating funny memes that are understandable to your niche.
  • Creating images with niche bloggers or celebrities.
  • Creating images for your blog posts that are easy to pin.
  • Providing stock imagery for use with attribution.

Besides, adding ‘swipeable’ images to your blog posts charts and graphs is not the worst strategy as it encourages readers to download and share them on their own sites.  The method will surely bring you links

12. Submissions to directories.

The days of mass directory submissions have come to an end. Still, you can benefit in terms of SEO value from acquiring links from quality or narrow niche directories.

You need to check out pagerank metric to determine a directory strength. But this metric is not updated often enough and it is open to manipulations.

I advise you to consider the following to know the pagerank metric:

  • It’s a good sign when all links added to the directory go through a human review before they go live.
  • Check out the quality of sites the directory includes and see if there are any evident manipulated anchor text links from the directory pages.
  • Mind the directory age. Use for that to make sure that it has been around for a while in its current form.
  • View the directory’s backlink profile. You will need a decent SEO tool to make certain that the site has more or less clean link profile, and has not been building spammy links.
  • Google’s cache is essential. You want to be sure that the page your link would be placed to is cached by Google. I recommend using the command

If you decide to use directory submissions, don’t come it too strong. Directory submissions should be a small part of your overall link building strategy  

13. Distribution of press releases.

Similar to directories, mass press release distribution is a link building tactic that offers little benefit and it also may be a sign of manipulative link building.

However, the color spectrum contains not only black and whites. So does the press release distribution. If it is targeted at drawing honest press, this is quite a sensible PR tactic, which makes it a proper link building tactic either.

If you have something really newsworthy, like a site launch, for instance, choose one of the channels to distribute your press release and make sure that it is:

  • High quality.
  • Written in the third party.

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

You should keep in mind that press releases are not the best places to build your anchor text links, I recommend branded links for them.

14. Involving local citations.

Build citations on local business directories and portals as it is still an effective tactic for pushing forward the local SEO.

The point is that business directories tend to have higher acceptance standards than general web directories, so they will list only sound businesses. Therefore, they are likely to look more trustworthy to Google.

It’s not a problem that not every business directory will include a backlink to your site. Even a simple mention from a trusted resource may be considered as an ‘inferred link’ by Google and aid with rankings.

Be consistent with the contact details of your business: name, address, phone number, etc… This way you will be able to make maximum impact with your citation building.

15. Commenting on blogs.

Leave your comments to blog posts. This is really one of the easiest ways to get backlinks to both a new or old website. Take a look at your backlink graph to check out the efficiency of your blog commenting strategy. You’ll see that it either stays constant or goes up with time.

Become an active community member and Google will love you. Participate in a niche and comment on blogs. This is a good way to show you are an involved community member.

But that’s not all, commenting is a good way to make friends with other bloggers. This is very helpful in future outreach. You can’t but agree that it is always easier to reach out to a site that is already your pal.  

But mass commenting will not work here. Post only authentic, mindful comments on a chosen blogs. Then, they may help your rankings.

Comments that bring value, add insight and demonstrate expertise can also drive traffic back to your website and help to widen your audience. This can be called an indirect ranking factor.

16. Participate in niche forums.

Being an SEO expert you must follow your audience. Most niches have at least one forum with your potential customers hanging out.

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

Such kind of links is good both for traffic and conversions. When you participate in a forum and demonstrate your expertise, this will help you build a trustworthy image among the community members and anyone clicking through to your site will be semi-qualified.

17. Participate in niche community sites.

There is a subreddit for pretty much everything, isn’t it?

Pick out subreddits related to your niche, participate, and share truly interesting and relevant content from your own site from time to time. This is a great way to build links that also drive traffic.

Furthermore, once submissions reach a certain number of upvotes (which varies from subreddit to subreddit) they become dofollow, not bad, isn’t it? This uplifts their SEO value.

A popular Reddit submission may bring additional editorial links as well because many curation sites use Reddit as the source of their content.

Of course, Reddit is not the only one industry-specific community site. There are many more of them, like, for example, oriented on marketers. Sure enough, active participation will give you an opportunity for building both links and relationships.

18. Answering questions on websites like Quora, Yahoo, etc.

How can you benefit from links coming from question and answer style sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers? They proved to be good for driving traffic to your site and building your authority in a niche.

BTW, you can identify what topics are trending in your niche.

I am sure you have noticed that some questions are being asked often. You can’t lose this opportunity. People ask the same questions every now and again because they have probably failed to find an accurate answer in Google. You can create content on your own site and fill in that information gap. You will be able to both bring in search traffic and prepare the background for future link building.

19. Link building by means of sponsorships, charity, events etc.

Almost all charity and non-profit organizations list their sponsors. Sure enough, they insert a link back to the sponsor’s site as a rule. Charities tend to be trusted by visitors and often have high domain authority, which means that your rankings may benefit from them.

Thinking technically these are paid links, though, they are considered relatively safe in terms of the link buying scale.

What else can you try? Offer services in exchange for a highlight on the charity site. Say, you are a videographer or photographer. This means that you could offer to take a video or photos of some event for free and that charity organization will include some of the images with link attribution on their site as a gratitude for your service.


It seems like I told you pretty much of it. Now I would love to hear what do you think on the topic. Which techniques are working well for you, which of them are you going to use, how do you see the future of link building? Your thoughts and questions on this guide are also welcome.

What is left to do now? To wish your best of luck with your link building campaign!

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