Link Building In 2021: How To Secure White-Hat Backlinks?
It’s almost 2022. Link building is still alive and kicking, despite Google’s best efforts. A popular misconception is that building links has become obsolete thanks to the countless algorithm updates that have been made to completely ignore spammy links.
The keyword here is “spammy”. Organic links from high-quality websites still remain one of the strongest ranking factors, and if your competitors are investing the time and resources into link building, you will struggle to overtake them in SERPs until you build up a link profile that is at least similar in size.
In this article, I will guide you through the process of building links that I personally follow (and have been following for the past year). Every week, these four strategies help me get 20+ DR 50+ white-hat backlinks.
But first, we need to establish what makes a link good.
What Makes A Good Backlink?
Not all links have the same kind of value. In fact, some may even hurt your SEO rather than boosting it.
The best links are relevant in-content links to informational resources.
That means you should be trying to secure links to educational guides such as your blog posts or online courses, rather than homepage or product/landing pages.
The link has to make sense for the user – and be useful for them. So, for example, it would make sense for me to link out from this article to another one with some email templates for link building.
The higher the domain rating and traffic of a website that’s linking to you, the more valuable the link becomes. Qualitative content also helps to drive genuine and qualitative audience and hence makes the link better that comes from a well-written article.
DoFollow links help with rankings while NoFollow ones don’t, but that doesn’t mean that NoFollow backlinks are automatically useless since people still click on them and go to your site.
Now, let’s take a look at the 4 most effective strategies for building backlinks in 2021.
1. Anchor Text Strategy
The anchor text strategy is a very good, beginner-friendly strategy for building backlinks.
The premise is very simple: you look at the blog post you’re trying to build links to, take the primary keyword (or its variations) and search for other articles that mention your keyword in the body but aren’t the center topic of the whole article.
To do this, you can use a tool like Respona (which comes with a built-in search engine for prospecting and helps automate all of the other processes associated with link building including finding email addresses, personalizing pitches and sending follow-ups), or simply Google.
Some useful search operators for this would be:
- “Intext:” – allows you to find content that mentions a specific keyword in the body of the article;
- “Intitle:” – lets you find specific keyword mentions in the articles’ titles.
So, for example, a hypothetical search for articles that mention backlinks but aren’t directly about link building would look like this:
Intext: backlinks intitle: SEO
Select blogs that you think will be good link building targets, find their contact information and reach out with your pitch.
In your pitch, it’s important to be transparent. Clearly state:
- Why are you reaching out to them;
- Where you want your link to be added;
- What’s in it for them.
The value proposition is arguably the most important part of it, so you need to provide a good incentive for your prospect to link back to you. Examples of a decent value proposition are:
- An indirect link back (from another resource of yours or to another site of theirs, alternatively from a guest post);
- A social share;
- Access to your tool (if you have one);
Paying for links is very controversial and we would advise you against it. You should also do your best to stay away from direct exchanges. Google is very good at picking those up and while you won’t receive a penalty for them, they will all be completely ignored by the algorithm, making them pointless to build.
The downside to this strategy is that manually searching for prospects can take quite a long time.
2. Competitor Backlinks Strategy
The competitor backlinks strategy is my favorite because all of the prospecting has already been done for you. As you may have guessed by its name, this strategy is all about snagging the referring domains of your competitors.
It takes two forms:
- Reaching out to people linking to specific articles of your competitors (also known as the reverse skyscraper technique);
- Exporting the whole list of your competitors’ referring domains and cleaning it up from any irrelevant opportunities.
For this, you will need Ahrefs (or any other backlink monitoring software). The easier way to do it is just to export all of your competitors’ backlinks and reach out to those blogs offering a link partnership. However, this strategy will have a considerably lower success rate than the anchor text strategy.
A more effective way to do it is the reverse skyscraper technique. It is very similar to the normal skyscraper method – whenever you publish a new piece of content, you will be looking at competing content.
Then, you will be reaching out to all of the blogs linking to your competitors’ articles on the same topic and letting them know how you just released something even better than they’re already linking to.
If you’re in a highly competitive niche, you will almost never run out of prospects.
The upside to this strategy is that you can get literal hundreds of prospects within minutes, but the downside is that the quality of these prospects is usually lower than if you were to look for them manually.
3. Guest Posting
Guest posting is nothing new. It’s one of the oldest and most effective link building strategies.
If you are building your personal brand, guest posting can be one of the best way to build backlinks. It helps you get your name out there along with acquiring some juicy backlinks. The only downside to it is that it can be quite time-consuming to write entire blog posts for a backlink.
But, if the resource you’re writing for is good, it’s well-worth it.
There are two ways of securing guest posting opportunities.
One involves finding websites with a “write for us” page. You can use the “intitle:” search operator for this. So, a hypothetical search for guest posting opportunities within the SEO niche would look like this:
SEO intitle:”write for us”
Swap out “SEO” with the keyword for your own niche and you will find a list of websites that openly accept guest posts.
The other strategy for finding these opportunities involves not actively searching for them at all. Personally, I don’t do any separate outreach for guest posts.
You can simply incorporate a targeted guest post pitch with your other link building strategies.
After a successful link exchange, you don’t need to end the conversation. In fact, you should develop it more to try and land a guest post.
In reality, most websites accept guest posts even if they don’t have a “write for us page”.
So, if your pitch is good, there is a pretty good chance they will accept it. A “content gap” pitch has been working exceptionally well for us.
Using Ahrefs, you can check what your prospect’s competitors are, and then use its content gap feature to reveal the keywords that they are ranking for but they aren’t.
Pick a keyword with a low Keyword Density but decent search volume, think of an article idea about that keyword, send your prospect the screenshot of the Content Gap result and offer to write a guest post for them on that topic.
This approach shows them that you have taken the time to research the weak spots in their keyword strategy, which increases your chances of landing that guest post quite considerably.
One-off link exchanges are good, but sooner or later you will notice that finding new prospects is getting increasingly difficult.
So, it’s a good idea to set up some long-term partnerships where you and your partners will be providing each other links regularly.
After a successful link, guest post exchange, offer them to set up such a partnership. For example, you can include their links in your upcoming guest posts, and they will do the same for you. One great way to build trust with your potential partners would be to ask for an online video meeting, that way you can put a face to an email address and build a personal relationship easily.
Also, most guest posting sites only allow you to add one or two backlinks back to your site in a post. But this rule doesn’t apply to partner links, which you can add a lot more, allowing you to effectively get upwards of 5-8 backlinks per guest post.
For link tracking purposes, you can also set up a sheet and update it whenever you provide links for each other.
Using these 4 simple strategies, I am able to generate 20+ white-hat DR 50+ backlinks every single week, and you can too.
It may seem daunting at first, especially considering that on average, only 1 link building pitch out of every 10 gets a response, but don’t let that discourage you.
One quick note, I recommend that you pair this strategy with rank tracking software to keep track of the pages you’re getting links to so that you can see the progress you’re making over time.
With enough dedication, you will be able to build up a solid link profile for your website in no time! Thanks to the Respona team for the amazing link building information. If you need more information or would like to improve your website’s SEO, get in touch with a skilled SEO Agency and start climbing up the search rankings today!