At the end of the day, you want links that drive organic traffic.
Brian Dean shared a case study on how a brand new blog generated 17,548 visitors in one day, by executing one of the link building methods below.
In this in-depth article, you’ll learn the best link building methods, how to execute them, and examples of brands that use them.
It’s no secret that creating compelling content is one of the ways to increase your chances of getting better links. But links are still not guaranteed unless you take the right steps.
The truth is links that improve rankings are hard to get. Yes getting a lot of social shares is much easier because most people share content – even when they don’t read it.
According to a study conducted by Buzzsumo and Moz:
“When we looked at a bigger sample of 757,317 well-shared posts we found over 50% of these posts still had zero external links. Thus (sic) suggests while many posts acquire shares, they find it far harder to acquire links.”
People are unpredictable. Even the people you trust may not link to your best content. You need to be persistent. In fact, the best links will come when you build relationships with fellow bloggers and digital entrepreneurs.
But before I show you how to get these rank-boosting links, let’s start from the basics.
What is Link Building?
Link building is basically the process of gaining fresh inbound links to your own website from external websites. Ideally, these backlinks should come from relevant websites in your field, or trusted authoritative websites.
In search engine optimization (SEO), link building is common practice.
It can be time-consuming, but wouldn’t you be more excited to find your website ranking in Google’s top 10 organic positions? It’s obvious that only the right links can make your web pages rank on Google’s first page.
Also, not all links are created equal.
For example, when you get links from trusted and active websites such as Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and the like, all things being equal, you’ll rank higher in search results with authoritative links compared to links from a new website.
This being said, let’s explore the five best link building methods that have been working the best for us and our clients.
The Most Effective Link Buiding Methods
1. Broken Link Building
Broken links are links that point to pages that return a 404 error page. They can be caused by several factors. The most common are:
- Linking to a URL address that has changed or moved.
- Linking to videos, podcasts, posts, resources that have been deleted or moved.
Fixing broken links is one of the most effective means of obtaining authoritative and relevant links. Why?
Because you’re fixing the web. Users will appreciate it, and search engines also reward web pages that fix their dead links.
Broken or dead links affect search rankings. By fixing these links, you can get better results.
For example, after setting up keyword tracking for a new client and tracking 286 search terms, Trent Blizzard, founder of Blizzard Press spent hours fixing over 1,000 broken images, fixing broken internal links, and setting up proper 301 redirects.
The results were amazing: In just one week, each of the 286 tracked keyword phrases moved up six spots in the search results – resulting in a total of 1713 spots.
Take a look at the screenshot:
When site visitors click on any dead link, they’re redirected to a 404 page, i.e. a page that users don’t want to see, which is bad for the user experience.
Broken link building is the process of finding relevant websites that are linking out to dead pages, notifying them, and offering your content, i.e. link, to replace the dead one.
It’s a lot of work, but you can do it. Through this method, you help website owners (e.g., universities, government organizations, authoritative websites) fix their dead links with your own helpful link.
To get started, you need to find links that are already broken on another website. You can use the Check My Links web browser plugin.
After adding the plugin to your browser (I use Chrome), visit any web page you want to check for dead links and click on the “check my links” icon at the top right side of your browser to activate it.
When I checked for broken links on Neil Patel’s page, take a look at what I found:
Having found this 404 page, I can reach out to Neil Patel and offer a replacement for this broken link.
According to Ryan Stewart, CEO of Webris, broken link building has a 5x success rate.
In other words, if you notify a blogger about their broken links, and suggest your own live link that’s helpful, the chances of getting backlink are high. After all, you’re helping them fix a problem that could hinder their search performance.
When you pitch bloggers about broken links, be brief and honest. Your pitch should aim to replace the broken link for the website owner.
Here’s an email template you can use:
If the website owner finds your link valuable, you’ll get a positive response. Just be patient and ensure you follow up with them.
2. Guest Blogging
I don’t care what anyone says, guest blogging is one of the best ways to secure healthy and helpful links for your website.
A lot of bloggers, digital marketers, and entrepreneurs have embraced guest blogging and continue to contribute guest posts to authoritative websites.
Aside from getting your website or brand in front of a motivated audience, you can also build authority links.
Two years ago, Matt Cutts, Head of WebSpam at Google frowned at guest blogging. In his words, “Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”
I cringed at first when I read that line in 2014.
So we should stop guest blogging, right?
I don’t think so.
Guest blogging is still safe and effective when you focus on using it to increase exposure and reach, build brand, foster community, and increase referral traffic. Backlinks are a natural result of these efforts.
GrooveHQ, a SaaS startup that offers Help Desk solutions used guest blogging to reach their first 1 million people, and grew from $0 to $100,000 monthly revenue in 2 years.
Remember that a lot of factors (including conversion rate optimization, website redesign, and more) contribute to this revenue – not just the guest articles they published.
Quality guest blogging will continue to dominate the web and get you trusted white hat links if you take it seriously.
To get started, Peter Sandeen has graciously compiled a list of 140+ authority blogs that accept guest posts. Study each blog before sending your pitch.
If you’re just starting out and aren’t known in your industry or you don’t have a guest post portfolio yet, initially pitch blogs that are within your reach. For example, pitch blogs that are slightly more authoritative than your website and sites that do not have a strict editorial process.
Once you build a solid reputation, you can pitch more authoritative blogs with an active audience. Keep in mind, with guest blogging, you’re not only looking for white hat links but referral traffic, too.
Before contacting bloggers with your guest post idea, it’s good to read their popular blog posts first. Get acquainted with the type of content their audience loves.
Then you can craft your own headline based on the insights you’ve gained from reading their popular content.
Once you’ve done that, get in touch with the blog owner via social media, contact form, or email. Email contact works best – but keep it short and to the point.
The response time and rate will vary. Most bloggers will reply to your email within 48 hours. There are also bloggers who will take much longer before replying. Most people you contact will not reply at all. Don’t take it personally.
Try to link to your website from within your guest article. If you’re unable to do so (maybe it’s against guest post guidelines), then you can link back to your website from your author bio section (which usually appears at the end of a guest article).
3. Resource Page Link Building
There are two ways to use resource pages for link building.
The first method is to create pillar content that links out to relevant and valuable content that your audience will enjoy.
This method is similar to content curation. However, this is a subtle method of showing how much you appreciate and respect other people’s work.
Is a resource page the same thing as a link round-up post?
In a way, they’re the same. But, link round-up posts include input and comments from other people. A resource page is what you create–a page that references websites that you deem valuable.
A typical example of a resource page is Brian Dean’s Link Building Guide. He does a great job of categorizing each link building method and linking out to helpful content, i.e. resources.
If you spend quality time researching resource page ideas, you’ll increase your chance of getting better links.
Here are some ideas for good resource pages:
- A content marketer can link out to the content promotion tools they use to spread their content.
- A fitness expert might reference before and after photos of all of his clients’ websites or social media profiles.
- A social media marketer might curate some of the best social media tools and link out to them.
The second way to use resource pages for link building involves finding relevant resource pages and pitching to have your content included as a resource.
To find resource pages that link out to similar websites as yours, go to Google and a search operator like:
Inurl:resources “enter your verticle or key phrase(s) here”
If you were looking for resource pages about email marketing, you could use the following search operator:
inurl:resources “email marketing”
Ideally, you should have a resource related to “email marketing” or any other topic that you searched for.
To secure a link on a resource page that you’ve found, you need to contact the website owner or blogger, in a similar manner as though you want to write a guest article. But this time, focus on getting your link added.
Here’s a sample email template that you can use:
Hi [FIRST NAME],
I checked out your resource page [INSERT LINK HERE] and loved it.
I’ve just published a new, updated guide about [INSERT RELEVENAT TOPIC HERE] that your readers might enjoy and find valuable as a resource, too.
If you’ve the time, you can check it out here: [INSERT YOUR RESOURCE LINK]
Thank you so much, [INSERT RECIPIENT’S NAME].
Resource page link opportunities can be difficult. There are many reasons why your link may not be included. One reason is because it’s hard to get people to link to you when you’ve provided nothing to them. Link building is all about an exchange of value.
But, you can increase your chances of getting a link by offering incentives. For example, offer to share their resource page with your email list or social media following.
Better yet, tell them that you’ll reference the resource page within your guest articles at authoritative blogs.
And when you get your links placed on a resource page, do what you promised. If you don’t, your links may be deleted and you’ll hurt your reputation.
4. Link Round-Ups
I’m sure you’ve seen link round-up posts before?
In fact, Richard Marriott, founder of Clambr.com used this strategy to rank #1 in Google for the keyword “link building tools.”
Here’s how a link roundup post looks like:
As you can see, a link round-up is basically a curated page that links out to closely-related content. You could interview experts (a.k.a., expert link round-ups) in your field, and ask them similar questions.
These questions can be close-ended. For example:
Do you run Facebook ads to promote your online course?
Or open-ended questions:
How do you promote your online course?
To start, you’ll want to look for link round-ups in your niche.
The example from Clambr.com above is an expert round-up post. To find similar opportunities, go to Google and use different search operators like:
- Top [your main topic] Posts of the Week
- Experts share their [your main topic] secrets
- Best [your main topic] tips of the month
A quick search using the first operator returned these results:
When you’ve identified a few link round-up post opportunities, you can contact the author or website owner for possible inclusion.
Feel free to tweak and use this email template:
I truly enjoyed going through your round-ups.
I’ve a piece of content that might be a great fit to include in your round-ups.
[INSERT A SHORT SUMMARY OF THE POST]
If you’ve got the time, you can check it out here:
[INSERT YOUR LINK HERE]
I’ll gladly share your round up with thousands of my social media fans.
Thank you so much.
– Myles Vives
If your content is truly helpful, the blogger or website owner will link to it from their round-ups. If you don’t get a response after a few days, make sure to follow-up with them.
5. Pitching Infographics & Outreach
An infographic presents information in a visual format, which you’ve probably seen many. Infographics have been around for a while as a link building tactic, but after going out of fashion for a while, they have experienced somewhat of a resurgence.
If you’ve been involved with link building and outreach for some time now, you already know that you can get better results with outreach emails if the offer or content you’re pitching is highly useful. Great infographics stand out from normal blog posts because they have high perceived and actual value.
Once you have an infographic ready, you can contact industry bloggers and social media influencers. However, rather than informing people about your infographic and begging them to link to it, “bribe” them by offering a mini-guest post to go along with the infographic.
This way, you can obtain a contextually relevant backlink while the host site receives quality written content and an infographic.
Brian Dean calls this “the Guestographic method.”
To expand your reach and increase your chances of getting quality inbound links, you can also submit your high-value infographics to infographic aggregation sites, like submitinfographics.com:
If you’re going to use your infographic as a guest post, rather than in directories, you can easily find websites that have previously or recently published other people’s infographics using search operators.
Make sure that the word “infographic” appears in the title. This way, you can be sure that the is in infographics. You don’t want to waste time pitching blogs that don’t accept infographics in the first place.
Having discovered websites to pitch your infographic as a guest post, here’s a typical email outreach template you can use:
Hi [INSERT NAME],
My name is [INSERT YOUR NAME], and I’m the [INSER YOUR POSITION AND COMPANY].
I came across your infographic [INSERT PROSPECT’S INFOGRAPHIC URL HERE] a while back and really enjoyed it.
We recently had one designed as well, and have yet to publish it anywhere.
I noticed you accept content from guest authors – would you be interested in running it as a guest post?
If you are, I can send over the JPEG file for you to check out, and I would also be willing to write an accompanying post or blurb.
Thanks for your time!
-[INSERT YOUR NAME]
Overall, infographics are natural link bait.
But remember that it’s possible for people to use your infographic in their blog posts and not link back to your website. To be sure, you can use reverse image search to find these pages. You can read more about it here.
When you find these blogs, check them out to ensure that you’re receiving a backlink.
If the site is linking to a wrong web page or not linking to you at all, you can send a friendly outreach email to the blogger or editor and reclaim the links.
With so many different link building services, strategies, and tactics at our disposal, it’s important to focus on what works the best. You can’t go wrong using any of the methods we discussed. To recap, they are:
- Broken Link Building
- Guest Blogging
- Resource Page Link Building
- Link Round-Ups
- Infographics & Outreach
Keep in mind, there are other effective methods to build links that improve search rankings, which we’ll cover later. Currently, these five tactics have been the most effective link building methods for our clients and our own backlink campaigns.
They definitely have been working for us, and we’re confident they’ll work for you, too.