1. Guest posts
“Guest posting” is the practice of contributing free content to another website or blog in exchange for a link back to your own site.
These connections can either be put in the creator bio area or used to refer to data inside the body of the Guest post.
This has for quite some time been a prominent external link establishment strategy since it's a success win for the two locales: One gets free substance to impart to their group of onlookers, while the different acquires a fantastic connection.
Or if nothing else that is the manner by which it should work. Tragically, some site proprietors have exploited this strategy by utilizing inadequately composed, unhelpful substance to procure connects to their site.
They enlist article authors with practically no involvement in the subjects they're expounding on, at that point pitch these low-quality articles to an assortment of destinations, regardless of whether the substance is applicable to their crowd or not.
Thus, Google has issued alerts about visitor posts.
This weakened packs of site owners from expecting to use this outsider referencing framework — and normally so.
Regardless, high bore, critical guest posts are not equivalent to the mass-made, low-regard posts that were a staple of various SEO techniques two or three years earlier.
At the point when done ideal, with an attention on giving accommodating, excellent substance, visitor posts can at present be a viable third party referencing instrument.
All in all, how might you utilize this strategy accurately?
The initial step is to recognize fitting destinations to which you can contribute.
The apparently evident decisions here are outstanding industry distributions. On the off chance that there are any inside your specialty that acknowledge article entries, that is a decent beginning stage.
In any case, customary article destinations are in no way, shape or form your solitary choice — or even your best alternative.
Furthermore, one of the least demanding approaches to reveal those different alternatives is by investigating your rivals visitor posts.
On the off chance that a site was happy to distribute a post from a business like yours, there's a solid shot they'll be available to tolerating a commitment from you, as well.
Furthermore, revealing those destinations is simpler than it may sound.
To exhibit this procedure, I'll use Neil Patel. Since he's been contributing visitor presents on different locales for a considerable length of time, we'll have a lot of indexed lists to work with. To begin with, you'll need to utilize propelled seek administrators to limit in on the kind of pages you're searching for.
In this precedent, we need to discover the majority of the spots Neil name has been distributed alongside the expression "visitor post," since most destinations utilize this expression to tell their perusers when a post was contributed from an outside source.
We’ll also want to exclude results from his own website and company websites.
To find pages that match this description, we can search for his name and “guest post” in quotation marks, then the domains we want to exclude preceded by a minus sign, like this:
“Neil Patel” + “guest post” -neilpatel.com -quicksprout.com -
In this case, the HubSpot and Forbes results are the only ones that are actually guest posts by Edulogy. The others simply mention him in pieces about guest posting. This is an issue that’s fairly unique to guest contributors within the digital marketing industry.
Still, the solution is another search operator that can be helpful to anyone researching their competitors’ guest posts.
In addition to the operators we used to get this first set of results, we can search specifically for pages that name Neil Patel as the author — so we won’t get anything that’s about or just mentions him.
We can do this by searching for his name in quotation marks and using the search parameter “inurl:author.”
The results of this search are more in line with what we’re looking for, and more helpful for identifying possible guest post opportunities.
If you were a direct competitor of Neil Patel’s, any of the sites in the screenshot above could be valid guest post targets.
You can also use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool to identify content written by a certain author, too.
Just enter the author’s name as a search term using this format: Author:“Author’s Name”
Make sure there’s no space between the colon and the first quotation mark, and click “Explore.”
This is much better than the results we got from Google.
Not only are we seeing more of what we’re looking for, but we have sharing and backlink data right there in the sidebar.
This provides a list of all of the sites that have been willing to publish content from a specific author, along with metrics that let you evaluate those sites at a glance.
Repeat this process for any other competitors you want to research. Then, it’s time to start pitching.
For each site you want to pitch, do a site search for phrases like “write for us” or “contribute.”
This will help you determine the best way to get in touch about contributing a guest post. But before you submit a pitch, make sure to review any guidelines each site has. Every established site owner and editor is familiar with this link building strategy, and many of them get dozens of pitches per day. Take the time to follow their pitch requirements, and you’ll be much more successful in your guest posting efforts.
Then, once an editor accepts your pitch, create content that’s genuinely valuable to their audience.
Spammy, low-quality posts won’t help your link building efforts — and many site owners won’t even publish them in the first place.
That being said, it’s in your best interest to look for opportunities to link to your site within the body of your post.
Most blogs and publications will include a link to your site within your author bio. But beyond that, incorporate a link of two within the main text if you can. Google values contextual links more than those in less prominent places and will reward you accordingly.
The best way to incorporate a natural contextual link is to treat the resource you’re linking to on your site exactly as you would if it were someone else’s.Click to tweet.
Place it where it makes sense, and use anchor text that refers to its content, not to your brand. This way, it’s clear that you’re not attempting to deceive readers — because they’ll know exactly what you’re linking to within your post.
2. Public relations
To some digital marketers, “public relations” might sound more like a traditional marketing strategy.
And in a technical sense, it is.
But in the context of link building, the term simply refers to the practice of using the same methods to get backlinks that you might use to get press
One of the best ways to do this is to get cited as a source in a news article or other online content.
In the past, the only way to do this was to hire a publicist with connections to journalists and prominent publications.
Today, you can eliminate the need for this third-party help by signing up for Help A Reporter, or HARO. This service allows journalists to put out calls for sources within their daily newsletter.
Indicate which areas you have expertise in, and you’ll get a daily list of journalist needs that are related to your skills directly in your inbox on a daily basis. Then, you can reach out to these journalists — and if they’re interested in what you have to say, they’ll cite you as a source.
You might also consider classic PR moves like press releases.
Bloggers and journalists are constantly looking for new information, so whenever your business accomplishes something significant, make the announcement and details easy to find.
Though this doesn’t guarantee press coverage, it means you’re more likely to be linked to in articles related to the subject than companies who don’t make their accomplishments easily accessible online.
Press releases can also be added to directories and databases, making them an even better SEO tool.
But if you choose to use this strategy, remember that where most people get press releases wrong is over-optimization of anchor text.
This is the practice of stuffing keywords into anchor text unnaturally — and it’s one of the factors most likely to trigger a Penguin penalty.
So as you write press releases, only incorporate links where they make sense, and write your anchor text in a way that flows naturally.
It’s also important to note that even when your company gets mentioned as the result of a press release, there’s no guarantee that the people referencing you will give you a link. Sometimes, they’ll simply mention your brand.
When that happens, you’ll want to reach out and ask the author or editor to add a link to your company’s site.
You can stay on top of this by setting alerts for your brand name and any other prominent names within your company.
There are many tools you can use to set these alerts, but one of the easiest is Ahrefs.
Navigate to Alerts > Mentions > Add Alert ,Search Query > Daily > Add.
Add the term you want to monitor, along with your email address. Then, whenever a site publishes a new page mentioning your tracked term, you’ll get a notification — so that if they forgot to cite you as a source, you can get in touch as quickly as possible.
You can also use this to track your competitors.
If you’re looking to expand your link building strategy, this is a great way to stay on top of how others in your industry are earningpublicity and links.
You’ll essentially be notified each time one of your competitors earns a link — giving you the opportunity to dig into their strategy
and possibly replicate their success.
3. Broken link building
Even reputable, well-maintained websites suffer from broken links.
Each link on a site originally links to another page online. But because websites often move their content around, some of those links will eventually “break,” or point to pages that no longer exist.
When a user clicks on a broken link, they’ll arrive on a 404 error page telling them that the content they’re looking for no longer exists.
This not only provides a poor user experience but also makes it difficult for search engines to efficiently crawl and index websites.
Broken link building fixes this — and is a great way to build valuable links.
This strategy involves finding broken links on other websites, identifying the content they originally referred to, then offering the site the chance to replace their broken link with a valid link to relevant content.
That content, of course, will be on your site.
With this strategy, everyone wins. The site owner will have fewer broken links. Their visitors will see more up-to-date, useful content and fewer 404s. And you’ll get a high-quality backlink.
If you approach this strategy correctly, it’s an effective way to get the same results you’d see from a guest post, but with much less effort.
Instead of creating brand new content and giving it away, you use the content you already own to earn a link.
And if you don’t already have content that meets your target site’s needs, it could also be worth your time to create something new.
Unlike a guest post, you’ll have complete ownership over whatever you create. So even after your target site uses it to fix their broken link, other sites can cite it as a resource, too.
So, the worst case scenario?
Even if your target site doesn’t add a link to your new content, you’ll have a new blog post on your site.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, you’ll need to start by identifying a site that you’d like a backlink from.
If you already know which sites you’d like to earn links from, check out those sites in Ahrefs and identify the pages on which they have broken links.
You can use Ahrefs Broken Link Checker tool to identify backlinks that aren’t working.
For example, let’s look at Copyblogger, a popular copywriting blog. If we wanted to locate broken links on their site, we’d simply enter their URL into the tool’s search bar.
As you use this tool, remember to focus on the outgoing links section. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at broken backlinks that lead to Copyblogger, not from it.
You’ll also want to make sure that the links you find are dofollow links , as these pass the most value to their targets. Select “Dofollow” from the drop-down under Broken Links, and you’ll only see links that meet the criteria.
Once you identify a broken link that looks like its subject is relevant to your business, click on it to visit the page. You should see a 404 error page on the target site’s domain.
For example, from the screenshot above, I followed the third broken link under “21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue.”
The anchor text, “why interviews are great for blog content” gives me a pretty good idea of what the subject will be. The URL, “http://clevermarketer.com/interviews-blog-content.html,” tells me the same story. And it’s a 404.
This means that the post on Copyblogger is likely citing a source that explains why interviews make for great blog content.
Or at least a source that used to cover that topic.
But now, if I follow that link, I see an error page.
If I have content on my site about this topic, this could be an easy win.
All I’d have to do is double check the Copyblogger post to make sure that the content on my site is in line with the point they’re making. Then, I could reach out and offer it as an easy fix for their broken link.
And if I didn’t have any content on the subject, but wanted to go after this opportunity anyway, I could start by checking out what the original target was about. Then, I could craft something that replaces it and surpasses it.
Fortunately, just because the content isn’t there now doesn’t mean we can’t see it. The easiest way to access this information is to use Internet Archive, which will let you search for what was located at a given URL in the past.
Simply enter the URL of the broken link target you want to check out, and you’ll see its history.
Using the same page about interviews and blog posts from above, entering this URL will show the following graph:
It looks like the post went up in 2011 and stopped working in 2013.
Next, we’ll navigate back to 2013 and select one of the crawl dates highlighted in blue on the calendar.
This might take a while to load. But once it does, we can see the original article:
Now, we have everything we need to write a better, more comprehensive, more detailed version of the original. And one that doesn’t deliver an error message.
If I decided to write this content, I could post it on my blog, then contact the website and let them know about their broken link — and my solution.
That might look something like this:
“Hey, you have a broken link! I just wrote a piece of content that would fit with the link. Do you want to change the destinationof the link so it links out to my content?”
If they like my content, I earn a new link.
4. Skyscraper content
Skyscraping is the process of finding content in your space that’s
already awesome, and then out-awesoming it.
This concept was originally popularized by Brian Dean of Backlinko
and is still a great way to come up with valuable content ideas that will
earn links to your site.
In fact, after executing this process on an already-popular post about
Google’s ranking factors, Dean dramatically improved the page’s
So, how can you achieve similar results for your site?
A simplistic way to do this might be to think, “Hmmm, 101 Ways to
Improve Your Email Marketing is doing incredibly well. I’ll do 1,001
Ways and clean up!”
It might work. Or you might create something that’s bigger without
More points, more words, and more pictures don’t always mean more
value for the user.
Instead, look at the content you’re skyscraping and ask yourself:
Which questions go unanswered?
Which instructions are hard to follow?
Who isn’t getting served here?
Shoot for quality, even though it’s the toughest thing to quantify, and
you’re more likely to come out ahead.
If you have a specific competitor in mind, you can start skyscraping by
using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to look for pieces in your niche that are
doing particularly well.
We’ll use Copyblogger again to illustrate how this works.
Enter your target domain and select Site Explorer > Pages > Best by
This report will show the most linked-to pages on the entire domain.
The idea here is that if lots of other sites are willing to link to these
pages, they’ll be willing to link to similar pages on your site, too.
But many of the top pages in these reports won’t work.
In the screenshots above, for example, many of the pages directly
reference Copyblogger, or they’re generic, or there’s not much to be
done with them.
But keep scrolling down, and you’ll see some with potential.
One of these could be a skyscraper candidate: #49, How to Write
Interesting Content for a “Boring” Topic.
Next, we can evaluate the page by dropping the URL for that page
into Site Explorer and selecting URL:
Then, check out the search data…
… as well as backlink data (including referring domains)…
… and anchor text clouds.
All of this data will give more insight into how valuable each page is to
its domain, as well as how other sites are linking to it.
Then, once you’ve identified the page you want to skyscrape and have
created content that outdoes the original, go back to Ahrefs and check
out the referring domains for the original piece of content.
Here, you’ll see all of the backlinks that link to the page. In this case,
those links are from Moz.com, Entrepreneur.com, and
These are the sites you’ll want to reach out to in order to let them
know that your content exists and suggest it as a resource for their
5. Compile a resource
Many of the links you build to your site will be to blog posts and other
informational pages. These are typically made up entirely of your own
original content and are an effective way to build credible links.
But the content you create to earn links doesn’t always have to be
Of course, I’m not advocating for plagiarizing or re-publishing other
Instead, you can look for ways to compile research and other
information that’s relevant to your industry in a helpful, user-friendly
Essentially, your goal here is to create something of value, then give it
away for free.
For example, how often do you think people link back to Content
Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2016 report?
We can take a look using Ahrefs.
As you can see in the screenshot, there are 1,516 unique
domains linking to that one piece of content.
And the content essentially a compilation of statistics and survey data.
If you want to replicate this strategy, the key is to create resources
that are useful to people in your space. This way, they’ll want to link
back to you when they use them in blog posts or other content.
And your resources don’t have to be entirely original research, either.
You can start by creating a compendium of information from different
places, gathered together, and presented with one group of people’s
needs in mind.
You can build resources by using the same methods you’d use to
create any other kind of content on your site. Find out what people in
your space want to know by looking at the content they’re consuming,
identify any information gaps, then look for ways to address those
6. Find competitors’ backlinks and “steal” them
I mentioned above that if a site links to a competitor, they’ll probably
link to you, too.
And while we’ve looked at ways to figure out which sites are linking to
specific competitors’ domains, you can also use tools to identify
additional sites that are ranking for your target keywords and
determine how they’ve achieved their level of authority.
Start by identifying the top ten sites for each
keyword you want to rank for. Do a Google
search and pick the top ten domains.
Click to tweet
For example, let’s say we want to rank for “Halloween email
The first thing we’d see after searching for this term is some truly
“Sanity check” these results for relevance, duplication, and, well,
sanity. Make sure you remove any duds.
In this case, GetResponse, Pure360, and Adestra all make sense. But
Tax.ThomsonReuters.com? Probably not.
Then, take those domains over to Ahrefs and drop them into the Link