Top 45 Link-building Strategies That Actually Work.

Link Building
To take higher positions in SERP, any resource needs links from quality sites. Webmasters spend a lot of time developing link-building strategies to maintain a link profile at an appropriate level.

Top 45 Link-building Strategies That Actually Work. How to Get Backlinks in 2021?

Usually, SEO specialists use several link-building methods depending on the characteristics of the project to be promoted. This helps build natural links and get minimal guarantees of protection from penalties and attention of search engine algorithms. 

Using several link-building strategies allows getting backlinks from different projects. If your competitors are not actively building links, the site has a chance to take a leading position in SERP thanks to quality links. 

1. What Exactly Is Link Building?

Link building is an active process of building links on a website. Webmasters and SEO specialists can buy backlinks from exchanges and directly from website owners or use conditionally free sources to build natural links. 

In 2021, link factors are still important when promoting sites in all niches. In information subjects, it is possible to get to the top of search results even without links. But in the commercial segment, competition is high, and link building can be a key factor in project growth. 

Beginner webmasters want to know how to get backlinks without spending a lot of money. If the budget for website promotion is limited, backlinks can be posted in forums, directories, Q&A platforms, social media, and other sources. 

It is worth keeping in mind that such links have minimal effect on ranking. They are suitable for enhancing a link profile, but to promote a resource successfully, you will need references from credible projects, which are not always free.

A project in any niche should have a «safety cushion» in the form of natural links, but the foundation of successful promotion is using backlinks with anchors in the form of keywords, which are posted on authoritative sites on relevant topics.

1.1. Do backlinks actually matter?

Link factors are the core of search engine ranking algorithms. At the early stages of Google’s development, it was links that were the key indicator of resource quality. If links to the latter were posted on reputable sites, search algorithms understood that the site was trustworthy. 

Over time, ranking algorithms improved, but the impact of links did not diminish. Google simply introduced backlink quality criteria: if a site has enough quality backlinks, it gets an advantage in organic search results.

Every year, the cost of quality backlinks grows because the demand for links from reputable projects increases. But it is not necessary to focus all your efforts on one link-building strategy – you can use three or four approaches and scale them up to rapidly increase your link profile.

2. The Importance of Link-building Techniques for SEO

Google imposes penalties on sites that manipulate ranking algorithms and pays special attention to projects that rely on SEO links. Representatives of the search engine have repeatedly stated that backlinks should appear naturally, and artificial links do not affect rankings.

In practice, the situation with sponsored links is not so straightforward. If you do not use a lot of commercial anchors with many spammy keywords and add natural backlinks to the profile, the risk of penalties from search engines will markedly decrease. 

The following aspects depend on the right choice of link-building methods:

  • speed of link building
  • dynamics of visibility in organic search results
  • promotion rate
  • period of maintaining links

Usually, sites become subject to the attention of search engine algorithms due to excessive link exchange schemes or mismatch of topics. If an online store that sells smartphone cases got a lot of backlinks from an information project about animals, such topic mismatch will be of great importance. Irrelevant links are detrimental to the site under promotion. 

3. What Is Considered a High-quality Link?

Not all links affect search engine rankings, and for some backlinks, you may even get penalties. Therefore, site owners should carefully check each donor site before agreeing on the terms of publication. 

Project credibility is of no value if there is no connection between the donor and the recipient sites. Therefore, the main indicator of a quality link is relevance. Topic relevance makes a link effective, but if Google algorithms get many indications that the link posted is unnatural, it may be rejected. 

One backlink does not have a major impact on ranking. If the link profile of a site has many references from reputable projects, and search engine algorithms are sure that links are natural, project ranking in organic search results may increase. 

3.1. Page authority

Link quality depends highly on the page on which it is posted. If there is proper interlinking and backlinks from authoritative resources on this page, posting a link can be considered effective. 

Many webmasters try to negotiate backlink integration on a new page and do not pay enough attention to content quality. Implementation of a link-building strategy implies getting the most out of posting links, and page trust directly affects payoff.

3.2. Website authority

Donor credibility is based on a large number of factors. It is not worth focusing only on domain link metrics. It is necessary to pay attention to content quality, traffic volume, position in the niche, and other features. 

If a site has high visibility in its niche, traffic has never decreased dramatically over the years of active promotion, and the link profile is growing every month, this can be considered a confirmation of the authority of the project.

3.3. Website relevance

The main indicator of unnatural backlinks is the lack of match between the donor and the recipient in terms of topics. Google invests a lot of resources in the development of algorithms for identifying artificial links, and penalizes sites that overuse them. 

A link-building strategy should be comprehensive, but when trying to get authoritative links, you should remember that a few SEO mistakes can destroy the previous achievements of the resource under promotion. Therefore, you should focus on natural links and not sacrifice search engine rankings to get links from reputable projects on other topics.

3.4. Link position on the page

Google algorithms not only check if the posted link is natural but also analyze its position on the page. For example, sitewide links on all pages increase the risk of penalties. And if a backlink looks harmonious in the article, there is no reason to worry. 

There are different ways to integrate a link into content, but it is necessary to look at the link from the user’s point of view: if it looks natural, it is safe to submit the page for indexing. Over-optimization usually leads to detrimental outcomes in the form of manual restrictions.

3.5. Anchor text

When choosing link-building methods, it is worth paying special attention to the anchor list. It should include not only commercial keywords but also phrases that will look natural to algorithms. 

Anchors are often the most important indicators for search crawlers. Based on a combination of factors, they see that there are too many sponsored links on a site and decide to limit its visibility. Therefore, it is better to spend time on creating a list of secure anchors than recover rankings after penalties have been imposed.

3.6. Co-occurrences

Not all SEO specialists and webmasters realize that it is possible to reduce the suspiciousness of posted links by exchanging them. If a donor and a recipient operate in the same niche, a co-occurrence will help make an ad campaign more natural.

Google opposes any link exchange schemes, but if backlinks are well integrated into content, search algorithms won’t suspect anything. Webmasters buy links and rarely offer to post backlinks in return, although such an approach can be beneficial.

3.7. Nofollow vs. dofollow tags

Many methods of getting backlinks are aimed at acquiring dofollow backlinks, but it is the high proportion of links passing link juice that can attract the attention of Google algorithms. 

The nofollow/dofollow ratio needs to be adjusted individually. Links without nofollow are more valuable, but a few years ago, Google changed its approach to processing the attribute, and treats it as a hint. Webmasters have guessed that such links affect rankings, but there was no official confirmation until 2019.

4. The Best Link-building Strategies in 2021

There are a lot of link-building methods, and you need to use as many options as possible to build a natural link profile. Then, chances are that your website will not only take higher positions in SERP for relevant queries but also be protected from penalties for SEO links.

A strategy for posting backlinks is different in each case, but the best way to get backlinks is to create quality content. If a link to a site is added to a useful article or forum comment, you can get not only link juice but a target audience for the resource you’re promoting.

Automated link-building systems are not the best options because search algorithms only analyze link metrics but do not check the quality of a donor. Before you post a backlink on a resource, you should conduct a comprehensive analysis and reject cooperation if there are doubts about the safety of posting it. 

4.1. Outreach techniques

Outreach techniques imply interaction with site owners or representatives. Each method involves not just posting a link but interaction at the content level. 

The effectiveness of using a link-building strategy depends on the quality of email marketing. To get a lot of links, you have to keep in touch with dozens of potential affiliates and compose personalized offers. 

Outreach refers to complex link-building techniques, but it allows you to get backlinks from resources that you cannot find on exchanges. Successful campaigns will require service for analyzing donors and a platform for sending out emails and tracking the effectiveness of interactions through email.

4.1.1. Guest posts

Guest posts are among the most popular link-building strategies for SEO. The technique involves posting content on authoritative sites. An indexed link to the promoted resource can help attract the target audience. 

Guest posting can be used for projects of different topics, but it is worth bearing in mind that in each case, the approach will be different. For commercial projects, you can use the case method, and for informational projects, you can create visual content. 

4.1.2. Link exchange

Link exchange should be of such a level that search engine algorithms have no reason to doubt the quality and naturalness of links. Webmasters can benefit from content marketing, which allows getting links from trusted projects. 

A link exchange scheme can only be used by sites that exist for a long time, which may be of interest to potential donors. It is possible to grab the attention of reputable projects with useful info products – research, infographics, case studies. Visual templates should be of high quality; otherwise, site representatives will not be interested in cooperation. 

4.1.3. Reciprocal guest blogging

Reciprocal content posting is one of the popular ways to get natural links. If the promoted resource will be interesting to potential partners, there is a chance to get a backlink for free. 

The main tool for effective guest blogging is quality articles. It is worth posting viral and always relevant content if you need to not only get a link from an authoritative resource but also attract an audience. Commercial projects can acquire new clients, while informational projects can attract regular visitors. 

4.1.4. Writing a service/product review and outreaching for a link

Many optimizers consider writing product/service reviews the best way to build links. Not only can brand representatives post a backlink on the homepage but also publish a post on social media.

The method of writing a review can work only if you pay enough attention to content creation. Large projects don’t post links for nothing. If hundreds of similar reviews have already been published online, there is no point in posting backlinks to all of them.

4.1.5. Sponsored posts

Sponsored content is one of the easiest ways to get links from trusted resources. A few years ago, Google added a special attribute for marking up links to such pages. The search engine doesn’t oppose sponsored posts, but they must be high-quality. 

Linkbait can bring a large number of clicks, but the effect will be short-term. And not all projects agree to post content of this format. To promote in organic search, it is important to get as many links as possible from high-quality pages.

4.1.6. Getting featured on Resource Pages

Getting featured on a Resource Page is a classic link-building technique suitable for projects of different levels. The main advantage of the method is that you can get backlinks from any trustworthy site that creates resource pages at the expense of high-quality content. 

This link-building approach is considered the safest because links look natural, and Google algorithms do not identify them as sponsored. But getting on a Resource Page is not always easy, especially when the competition is high. New content should harmoniously complement the current one or present a topic from a new angle.

4.1.7. Regaining Lost Links

Some optimizers pay much attention to building links and forget that it is necessary to constantly monitor the performance of backlinks. Often, there are situations where previously posted links disappear, which damages the link profile. 

If the link disappeared, it is necessary to contact the representative of the resource and ask them to fix the error. You can make a claim only if the backlink was sponsored. And if another referring domain appeared on the initiative of the resource owner, chances for regaining are lower. 

Broken links can also be classified as lost backlinks. In this case, you should contact the representative of the site and prove the usefulness of the content to which he or she is offered to refer. If you succeed, the webmaster will only have to make changes in the source code of the page. 

4.1.8. Claiming unlinked mentions

Claiming unlinked mentions can be considered one of the best link-building strategies. If the homepage of an external resource partially contains content from the project under promotion, the optimizer has reasons to ask for posting a backlink.

In most cases, quotes are done according to the rules, but it is necessary to monitor mentions and send requests if it is possible to find mentions without active links. To use the method, you only need a mail client and time to send letters. 

4.1.9. Claiming links from unauthorized use of images

If the content of the resource you are promoting uses unique media content, over time, it may become part of articles on hundreds of other projects. You should monitor this issue and send queries to each site on the list.

To monitor the use of images on external resources, you can use IMATAG Monitor or services with similar features. If a webmaster does not agree to add an active link, there are grounds for creating a DMCA request to remove content from Google Images.

4.1.10. Landing press links

Media projects add links to sources if they use information from external resources when preparing content. You can take advantage of this and distribute infographics, research, or other info products through media sites. 

Promotional campaigns of this format will cost you next to nothing. You only have to pay the content author for the work and set the right ToR to get the desired result. 

Links from the media are great for diluting the link profile, but you should not focus on them, because the lifetime of content in news publications is roughly 1-3 days. After that, traffic flow will gradually drop to zero.

4.1.11. Content repurposing and syndication

You don’t have to create content from scratch to get links using it. It is possible to use existing ideas, modify them, improve their informational value, and start the syndication process. 

This approach is often used by online media when they have to cover a topic that has been discussed before. Content repurposing is one of the approaches to building backlinks. 

The main advantage of this technique is that you can use it with a minimal budget, and the disadvantage is the risk of choosing an ineffective topic. If the issue has been previously reviewed from all possible angles, the new material will be of little interest to anyone. 

4.2. Crowd marketing

Crowd marketing belongs to strategies that allow getting natural links. Reviews on forums, pages in website directories, comments on Q&A portals and other platforms form a positive image of the site and brand. 

At the core of effective crowd marketing is a list of resources for backlinks and trustworthy accounts. You can hardly get backlinks from a trusted project quickly because moderators closely monitor spam and delete all suspicious posts and comments. 

The link should look natural within content and not cause suspicion in project representatives. Only then can you count on the fact that it will be retained in the topic for a long time, rather than disappearing in a few hours after publication.

Crowd marketing is difficult to automate because of the peculiarities of posting. It is possible to create a tool for registering accounts, but the sequence of posts on each site is different. Therefore, it is better to entrust the task to an experienced link builder.

4.2.1. Forum discussions

There is an opinion that forums have long been converted into link farms with minimal impact on promotion in search engines. In 2021, it is difficult to find active and well-moderated resources, but there are quality sites in different niches even today. 

Do not consider forum posting an easy way to get backlinks. Sometimes, moderators quickly delete posts with external links, regardless of content quality. It takes experience and skill to pass through without raising suspicion.

4.2.2. Blog commenting

Blog comments can still be used for link building, but most links will be marked up with nofollow and ugc attributes. Such backlinks cannot become the core of a link profile, and they are great for creating natural protection from sanctions. 

To automate comment posting, you can use templates for ZennoPoster, but it is better to write the text manually. However, there is no guarantee that the owner of the resource will not remove the link during moderation.

4.2.3. Q&A websites

Q&A services like Reddit are often used for link building, and they are among the most accessible platforms for getting backlinks. With the right approach, you can attract the target audience to your site along with a new backlink in your profile. 

The main advantage of such projects is their versatility. You can publish any kind of content on them, except for banned topics. You can ask about Google algorithm updates or looking after parrots and promote your project at the same time.

4.2.4. Links from account profiles and signatures  

Links from account profiles have long since ceased to be considered of high quality, but they can still be used to improve link mass and achieve an optimal ratio of inbound and outbound links. 

Signatures on forums and other sites usually allow adding links to any projects. If you actively comment on posts, the number of pages referring to the resource under promotion will constantly increase.

4.3. Personal Blog Networks (PBN)

Personal blog networks are often used by experienced SEO specialists because this link-building strategy is quite complicated and requires specific knowledge. To create a PBN, you need a certain number of domains, quality content, and backlinks.

It is difficult to promote dozens of sites simultaneously because financial costs can be very high. Therefore, many optimizers prefer buying drop domains, thus solving the problem of purchasing links for sites belonging to a PBN.

The advantage of projects on drop domains is that they can be linked to the main site with the help of redirects and passing link juice. This strategy is used by many optimizers who do not want to invest in active link building.

The disadvantage of working with PBN is that you have to spend much time on support. And if you make even one mistake, the entire network can be subject to Google penalties. Moreover, there is a risk that the main project will also suffer due to affiliation with resources that violate SEO recommendations.

4.4. Redirect-based links

Optimizers have long discussed the feasibility of using links based on redirects. Some experts believe that they do not pass any juice, and there is nothing better than standard backlinks without any attributes.

Google representative Gary Illyes noted back in 2016 that 30x redirects don’t lose PageRank. And if you remember that every page has a PR value, page equity should pass without a problem when redirecting. 

Links on the basis of redirects should not be avoided because there are hundreds of low-quality resources with copied content on the Internet, and donor rating is not affected. But do not overuse redirects – algorithms may regard this as an alarming signal, especially if a webmaster does not reject links in Search Console.

4.5. Backlinks from social media

Backlinks from social media are another perfect way to build backlinks. The peculiarity of such links is that they have almost no effect on site ranking in organic search results. 

It is worth taking into account that links from social media can bring targeted traffic, and if the target audience likes the content and behavioral factors improve, the project’s visibility may increase. 

Search engines consider links from social media to be natural; so, you can actively promote your site on such platforms without worrying about penalties. And if you offer quality content to the audience, you can even create an active community on social media. 

4.6. Web 2.0 blogs

Web 2.0 sites are created on the basis of blog platforms and are generally used by webmasters to promote satellites referring to the main resource. You can even build PBNs on the basis of sites with the possibility of posting content. 

Optimizers often use link exchange schemes according to the method of web rings. Its essence is to post backlinks to the next and previous projects from the list. This technique significantly increases the risk of being penalized. 

Google representatives have said publicly that links from Web 2.0 sites do not affect ranking, but they can be used to dilute a link’s profile. It is easy to get such mentions, although they will not replace backlinks from guest posts or sponsored posts.

4.7. Press releases

Classic press releases are of no value to users because they are submitted as templates. The strategy was previously actively used to get free links from press release platforms. 

Today, links from press releases definitely cannot be called the best link-building technique because of the high rate of spam on popular platforms. Links from news posts are unlikely to attract traffic; so, the value of such links is minimal. 

4.8. Methods involving content creation

Content marketing is an effective tool for getting high-quality links. If you use it correctly, you can get backlinks from projects that do not post them on a paying basis and do not participate in the sales schemes through exchangers. 

Content creation can take a lot of time and resources, but the end result will be worth all costs. For example, if you create infographics on a relevant topic, it can be used by hundreds of media – and the promoted resource will receive a large number of links. 

Content marketing can be classified as a cutting-edge link-building technique that will never become outdated. If you enlist the support of an experienced author and regularly publish research, create infographics, and conduct surveys, you can get backlinks on a regular basis. 

4.8.1. The skyscraper technique

The skyscraper technique involves creating an improved version of content. It is necessary to take a ready-made information product and increase its value; the disadvantage of the method is that some content will include commonly known information. But there must also be unique content; otherwise, no one will add links to the page. 

This method is not necessarily new, but very few people use it. Optimizers find it easier to buy a few backlinks on an exchange than spent time compiling terms of reference, searching for an author, and monitoring content distribution. 

4.8.2. Roundups

Roundups are mini-conferences where participants discuss one or more topics. A roundup can be turned into a source of valuable information by inviting participants with a relevant background, each of whom will prepare a useful report.

At the end of discussions, you can make text versions of reports, distribute them, and ask speakers to make announcements on their platforms. As a result, you get free mentions and advertising on social media or in blogs. 

4.8.3. Digests

A lot of news articles appear on the Internet every day, and not everyone has time to follow them. That is why digests, i.e., collections of important news presented in brief and containing a link to the source, come in handy. 

You can use digests to not only share the news but also build links. If you use platforms with a target audience to distribute digests, you can get backlinks from social media and other sites.

4.8.4. Video transcription

Not all videos turn into textual content over time. You can make use of this aspect to repackage useful information and use it as an answer to the question of how to build quality backlinks. 

Transcribing an influencer video can bring not only free advertising on his social networks but also targeted traffic. And if the niche of the promoted project is relevant to the topic of the video, some attracted users may periodically visit the site and become the core audience. 

4.8.5. Design-based techniques

You don’t have to write dozens of pages of research to build links with the help of content. You can use a design-based approach. For example, create a nutrition checklist, a list of cheap resorts, or a presentation on social media promotion.

There are many variations of this method, and the effectiveness of using it depends solely on the imagination of the specialist who will work on implementing the strategy. For example, you can take high-quality photos, post them on photo stocks, and get thousands of free mentions in six months or a year. 

4.9. Using submissions for link building

Submissions are a technique of link building, which involves extensive work with sites where users can publish content. Such resources include map services, company listings, PDF directories, freelance job sites, and many other projects. 

Posting submissions is one of the most popular SEO link-building strategies. Optimizers use the technique to get links in large numbers and divert the attention of algorithms from sponsored backlinks.

Links from sites where users can freely share content have little or no effect on a site’s organic ranking. But they create a «safety cushion» that reduces the risk of penalties. 

In rare cases, submissions along with free mentions bring targeted traffic, but in general, when working with this technique, one focuses on quick link building. A webmaster of any experience can get such links, and there is usually no need to pay for them. 

4.9.1. Web directories

There are a huge number of directories of different topics on the Internet. Some platforms collect information about any sites, while others specialize in projects of a specific niche. If you look at the link profile of any major resource, you will definitely find links from directories. 

Posting links in directories is relevant for informational and commercial sites. There are many business directories, but the number of resources for informational projects is also vast. It is easy to automate the task of posting links or delegate it to a freelancer from an exchange. Unlike guest posting or design-based methods, submissions are posted based on a template.

4.9.2. Job search sites

Job search sites provide the opportunity to not only create a company card or upload a resume but also add a link to your project. On company pages, there is almost always a link to the official site. Freelancers also have the option to include a blog or portfolio URL in their profiles. 

Moderators keep a close eye on external links. If they do not like website content, the profile may be subject to restrictions. There will be no ban for mentioning «white» projects, but it is not a good idea to add a link in every text field. 

4.9.3. Freelance exchanges

Freelance job exchanges are in demand, and they generate considerable traffic. They also give the opportunity to add a link to a freelancer’s profile or specify a URL in the job description. Such backlinks are usually hidden by redirects, but they will still be useful. 

Some resources do not have the technical ability to specify a link to the site, but you can add a social media profile. And there, you can indicate the URL of the promoted project. 

There are not many popular freelance exchanges in different regions, but domain link performance is usually very good. Therefore, you should not discard a free link that can be a good supplement to your link profile.

4.9.4. Video postings

The video hosting market is not just YouTube; so, you can get much more than one link. Optimizers rarely post links on sites with video content as a primary method of building backlinks because such backlinks have almost no effect on ranking. 

The main advantage of this link-building strategy is that by creating quality content, you can get targeted visitors to your site or subscribers to your channel. If the task is to build the maximum number of links, you can create videos through video editors and partially automate the process. 

There are special templates for ZennoPoster, which can post backlinks automatically and create videos based on preset parameters. They can be used to build link farms, but spammy profiles can get blocked. 

4.9.5. Podcasts

Interest in video and audio content has grown considerably in recent years. While it was formerly possible to host podcasts on a few global sites, the number of podcast hosting sites has grown considerably. This means that a webmaster can get dozens of links with minimal effort. 

The advantage of this link-building strategy is the quick creation of audio content. Spending hundreds of hours recording and editing is not necessary. You can record a short release for a few minutes, add links, and monitor indexing. 

Typically, backlinks quickly get to the site profile, and if necessary, their number can be easily increased. There are not many platforms for publishing podcasts, but you can upload one file to all available platforms.

4.9.6. PDF directories

Search engines periodically show PDFs, which Google indexes perfectly. Crawlers detect links in documents and add them to the site profile. Therefore, it is possible to create PDFs and distribute them to relevant sites.

There are special file directories where you can upload your info product in PDF format and add any number of backlinks to it. Moderation on such resources is usually not strict, but if the document will consist only of external links, it may not get into the general directory. 

4.9.7. Aggregator sites

Site and blog aggregators are not in demand among link builders, but with the right approach, you can turn working with them into an effective link-building strategy. You can hardly get a lot of traffic from these sites, but backlinks will be useful. 

There are news aggregator sites that can generate a lot of targeted users, but they have high requirements for project quality. To pass moderation, you will need a lot of useful content and regular publications. 

It is best to use aggregator sites that allow adding a site through RSS feeds. A feed can be created with CMS plug-ins or specialized tools like FetchRSS

4.9.8. Bulletin boards

Bulletin boards allow you to not only quickly sell a product or find an employee but also get some backlinks. They will most likely be closed from juice passing, but such mentions will also be useful to support the profile’s «health.» 

On popular sites, all ads are moderated before they appear in the public domain. Therefore, it makes no sense to add a link in every paragraph. They should look harmoniously in content and not arouse suspicion. 

Bulletin boards provide the opportunity to get an unlimited number of backlinks, but they are unlikely to help promote the site for commercial queries. So, do not spend too much time on them.  

4.9.9. Review sites

Sites with reviews of products, services, or companies are in demand among users. The peculiarity of such resources is that, in addition to the name, a link to the subject of review would look reasonable in the text. And this feature can be used for link building. 

The implementation of this link-building strategy in the case of review sites is based on the creation of high-quality content, which easily passes moderation. Representatives of review sites do not post comments with two sentences that look like blatant advertising.

If we are talking about promoting a commercial project, you need to place reviews on all popular platforms and make sure they have an active link. Besides, ensure that over time, backlinks do not disappear from the profile due to the removal of reviews.

4.10. Tool-based methods

To use some link-building strategies, you have to spend a lot of time preparing. For example, you can create a service or program to solve problems of a specific audience and distribute products in exchange for links. 

Methods implying creating tools are highly complex. Sometimes, it is easier to spend time on outreach campaigns than to create a topic for a website or a full-fledged service. 

The optimal solution is to create tools that can help with the objectives of the project being promoted. Then, you will be able to use their capabilities for your own purposes and turn the service or program into a generator of free links.

4.10.1. Plugin creation

Plugins for content management systems are popular with site administrators. Using them, they solve any problems and do not mind posting a backlink to the developer.

Link building through plugin distribution can be used in several variations. The first way is to post the tool in official repositories of content management systems. The second option is to add links to the developer’s site into the source code of resource pages on which the plugin is installed.

Creating a plugin with minimal features can take up to several weeks; therefore, it is worth evaluating the complexity of the task and considering the advisability of using this method. 

4.10.2. Designing templates

Creating themes for sites cannot be called the best link-building strategy in SEO, but it allows getting backlinks from resources that may be unavailable to competitors. 

The approach to implementing the link-building method is almost similar to the previous technique with plugins. The only difference is that an active template is visible to all site users, and a sitewide link in footer can generate thousands of mentions from one domain.

4.11. Advanced link-building methods

There are many approaches to link building, and it is impossible to make a complete list because you can always come up with a new strategy for getting links. And it can be more effective than all existing options.

The peculiarity of building backlinks is that each group of strategies is based on a certain skill. Email marketing is needed for outreach, automation tools – for submissions, and quality information products – for content marketing.

4.11.1. Affiliate programs

Companies develop affiliate programs to benefit financially without investments in marketing. They offer active customers to advertise products or services and make money. 

If a project is suitable for creating an affiliate program, the method can be used for link building. Inviting other users to the service without a link to it is quite difficult; so, the number of backlinks will constantly increase.

4.11.2. Interviews

Interviews are considered a universal link-building method, which also helps you get backlinks from .edu and .gov projects as well as authoritative resources that do not sell backlinks on exchanges. You can interview an opinion leader, who will post a link to the article on social media. 

Working on interviews only to get backlinks is not always profitable, because it takes a long time to create content. Therefore, it is better to use the method as one of the tools for content marketing. Then, along with backlinks, you can get targeted users to your blog. 

4.11.3. Conducting surveys

New studies on various topics are constantly published on the Internet, and users read them with interest. You can create content to not only attract the target audience but also improve your link profile. 

It takes a lot of time to prepare quality research, but expenses will be repaid by a large number of links. And if you build a content distribution strategy, the number of mentions will grow at a high rate.

5. Black-hat vs. White-hat Link-building Methods

Not all webmasters use white-hat link-building techniques. Search engines do not tolerate any manipulation of ranking algorithms and penalize sites that use them.

Optimization of link-building strategies is a time-consuming process, but using black-hat methods in SEO is a big risk. If a project falls under penalties, recovery can take a long time. 

White-hat Black-hat
Unique content Copied content
Links from relevant resources Links from doorways
Links in content in a visible place Hidden links
Links with safe anchors Too many spammy keywords in anchors
Backlinks from reputable projects Link farms

Buying links is considered a black-hat method, but that is not exactly the case. Google opposes exchanging or buying links – if you’re not careful, the site under promotion can be penalized.

But it is impossible to do without paid links at all because reputable resources often interact with webmasters through exchangers. The PRPosting link-building service offers 44,000 sites, among which are many authoritative projects with good link parameters.

If you select relevant donor sites and create quality content to meet the objectives of the target audience, this cannot be considered a black-hat approach. Content is interesting to users, and the link will look natural in the article.

6. Things to Take into Account When Choosing Methods of Promotion

The answer to the question «How to build links?» does not always depend solely on budget. Optimizers are used to the fact that backlinks can be easily bought, and they do not use white-hat link-building techniques. 

The pitfall of this approach is that the site will not have a natural link profile, and it can attract the attention of search algorithms at any moment. If they determine that the project violates search engine optimization recommendations, manual restrictions may follow. 

Link building is balancing on the edge of danger. Just one wrong step – and the site’s ranking will drop to zero. It is better to make a strategy of safe link building than to delete links for months to remove penalties. 

6.1. Type of project

Approaches to building links for informational and commercial projects are much different. In the first case, you need to focus on turning the site into a well-known brand, while commercial companies are interested in attracting new customers.

When an optimizer determines how to get links to the site, he should focus on project goals. With the right approach, the company’s profits will increase steadily along with the growth of the link profile.

6.2. Budget

If the budget for website promotion is minimal, it will not be possible to use many expensive link-building strategies. The most optimal methods in such case are submissions, press releases, or links from social media. 

The budget affects:

  • the number of links you get per month
  • the rate of building backlinks
  • the possibility of delegation
  • the level of projects to cooperate with

A budget for links can range from $500 to $10,000 per month. It all depends on the scope of the project and the company related to it. If you need to quickly promote your site for competitive queries, your budget for posting backlinks should be high. 

6.3. Skills of the team

Many optimizers hire a link builder to systematically post links and keep the pace high on an ongoing basis. This approach can be effective if the specialist has relevant experience. 

When you can’t handle the task in-house, it’s better to delegate it to reputable teams that can provide the right volume. They know how to build links for SEO and offer out-of-the-box options for building backlinks. 

6.4. Implementation deadline

The less time is available for the active promotion of a resource, the sooner you need to get as many links as possible. If there is very limited time for realizing this task, there is a risk of attracting the attention of algorithms. Backlinks should appear gradually – if the rate drops significantly, site ranking may be adversely affected. 

An optimal strategy is a gradual increase in the number of links. You should choose several basic link-building techniques and work with them on an ongoing basis so that the graph is directed upwards all the time.

7. Tips on How to Execute a Link-building Strategy

You can easily answer the question «How to build links to my website,» but it is also necessary to understand that the plan of work with external sites should be outlined step by step. Links for the sake of links are not always beneficial, because Google is constantly improving its algorithms for recognizing artificial backlinks. 

To make link building really effective, you need to keep the situation under control. It is necessary to not just negotiate with webmasters but ensure that over time, links do not disappear from the profile and find additional link-building methods. 

The use of the latest link-building techniques will help you get ahead of your competitors and take higher positions in SERP than those who use traditional link-building strategies like submissions or links on aggregator sites. 

7.1. Boost your on-page SEO

Many SEO specialists focus solely on link building and forget that website ranking in search results increases not only through improving the link profile. Visibility is also greatly affected by the quality of project optimization. 

Sometimes, poorly optimized pages appear on the top positions, but they are exceptions to the rule. There is no point in spending $5,000 on links if the site takes 10 seconds to load or has a lot of duplicates in meta tags. 

The scope of internal optimization is quite wide:

  • publishing high-quality content
  • interlinking of pages
  • creating optimized title and description
  • adapting content for mobile devices
  • speeding up the site
  • incorporating added-value elements
  • working with behavioral factors 

It is advisable to complete optimization before the start of active promotion with links. In this case, you can get a quicker result from SEO than if you gradually complete tasks from the checklist. 

7.2. Get to know your audience

Links to external resources not only boost the authority of the recipient site but also steadily generate traffic. This allows increasing the number of active users and slightly decreasing the dependence on search engines.

You can publish articles on online media or relevant news selections on social networks and attract thousands of interested users every day. But for the scheme to work, it is essential to know the needs of the target audience. 

For example, customers of an online store of pet products solve a global problem with its help, but everyone does it differently. So, it’s important to cover the demands of each segment and know exactly what customers need. 

7.3 Analyze competitors’ backlinks

An effective link-building strategy for new websites is to duplicate competitors’ approaches. Starting link building without analyzing the niche leaders is not a good idea because many useful details can be missed. 

Semrush and Ahrefs are the best tools for analyzing competitors’ link profiles. These tools have a large database of backlinks and constantly updated information. The services help to not only see competitors’ links but also identify key link-building strategies.

Particular attention should be paid to sites that managed to increase their positions in search results within a short period. Very often, positive dynamics are achieved precisely due to backlinks. 

7.4. Find the most relevant link-building opportunities

To build a natural link profile, you need to use different link-building techniques, but it is necessary to take into account the specific features of the site. For informational projects, it makes no sense to use approaches that are only relevant to commercial projects. 

The main objective in building a link profile is to avoid attracting the attention of search engine algorithms. Each backlink should look natural; so, without using relevant approaches, you won’t be able to achieve high quality. 

7.5. Monitor the links of competitors

Analyzing competitors’ links at the start of promotion is not enough. It is necessary to constantly monitor the development of the projects of niche leaders and notice changes. 

If competitors have begun to actively use outreach and press releases, it is not necessary to do the same. But it is worth carefully observing the visibility of projects and finding a correlation between optimization tools and increased ranking.

Visualping and PageCrawl services help automate competitor monitoring. Use these and other tools to track the dynamics of positions, page content, and other changes.

7.6. Gradually build up your link profile 

It’s worth avoiding the artificial posting of too many links at once because this can stop active site promotion. It is better to focus on a gradual increase in the number of links and rely on safe link-building methods. 

You can provoke a rapid increase in the number of links with the help of viral content and its distribution on social media, but such campaigns do not always have the desired effect. The number of new links will decrease over time, and you have to at least minimally maintain the dynamics. 

7.7. Do not over-optimize anchors

The Google Penguin algorithm closely monitors the quality of links. If backlinks of the site look unnatural, they may affect its visibility in search results. You should use keywords in anchors but be careful with their number.

Links from social media, submissions, posts on review sites, and those acquired with the use of other conditionally-free methods partially hide SEO links and create a natural link profile.

A proper anchor list will help to use advanced link-building techniques without the risk of search engine penalties. A combination of different types of anchors will create quality link mass.

7.8. Take into account the referring domain characteristics

Search engine algorithms closely monitor the nature of the correlation between the donor and the recipient site. And if there are links to a company delivering flowers on a car service site, this seems suspicious.

Link metrics of the referring domain are important, but you should definitely pay attention to the quality of the resource. If there is a lot of spam in comments, and content has not been updated for several years, it is worth considering the advisability of posting a link. 

8. Summing up

Links are the most important aspect that affects the effectiveness of promotion in search engines. It is very difficult to take high positions for competitive queries without quality backlinks; so, it is worth focusing on white-hat link building methods.

Before you start actively building backlinks, you should conduct a comprehensive internal optimization of the site, analyze competitors’ link-building strategies, and develop a step-by-step work plan. 

Particular attention should be paid to monitoring backlinks because every lost link affects site reputation. If there are negative profile dynamics, the project’s organic ranking may decrease. 

To get the most out of backlinks, you should not be limited to tier 1 links but use multi-level link building. In this case, you will have to increase your budget and spend more time planning posting links.

FAQ

Can a site rank without backlinks?

It can, but the promotion rate will be slower than with active link building.

Are all backlinks similar?

Each link is unique, and it does not always have a positive impact on the recipient site’s ranking. The quality of a backlink depends on the authority of the site and page, approach to posting, the level of spam on the donor site, and other factors.

What is link building?

The process of actively building links using a variety of approaches. It is an integral part of the promotion strategy for any project.

What link-building strategies to use in 2021?

Any that do not violate Google recommendations for webmasters and are suitable for the resource under promotion.

How to choose an optimal link-building strategy?

The selection of the best approach to link building depends on project characteristics, budget, team level, niche competition, and other factors.

What are the white-hat and black-hat link-building methods?

The difference between the approaches is that the first one focuses on the safe promotion of the resource, and the second one allows reaching high positions quickly but puts the future of the site at risk.

Can I buy backlinks?

You can buy backlinks, but you need to make them look natural.

Kyryk Oleksandr
SEO Consultant

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