In fact, the 7 strategies I’m going to share with you have helped my site rack up 452k total backlinks:
Let’s get right into the techniques.
1. Become a Source For Reporters and Bloggers
Here’s the deal:
If you want to rank on the first page of Google, you need to build backlinks from authority news sites and blogs.
(I’m talking about white hat links from authority news sites and blogs.)
Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it sounds.
All you need to do is use a free service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
HARO is like Tinder for public relations.
It connects people that need sources (bloggers and journalists) to people that want links and exposure (you).
And I’ve personally used HARO to build white hat backlinks from authoritative news sites:
And I’m not alone. In fact, I get emails like this from Backlinko readers all the time:
To be clear: this strategy takes work. And it’s not always easy.
But in my experience, it’s one of the best ways to build high-quality backlinks at scale.
With that, let’s dive into the step-by-step process.
First, register as a source.
Next, choose a free or paid plan.
Then, keep an eye out for requests that you can contribute to.
Finally, send the journalist a VERY brief and valuable pitch.
A while back I saw a request from someone asking: “What’s the difference between graphic design and web design?”.
So I submitted this pitch:
And I got this sweet link from a DR76 university site.
Not too shabby.
2. Publish “Skyscraper” Content
I’ve used “Skyscraper” content to build backlinks from authority sites like Entrepreneur.com:
And I even got an editorial link from the GoDaddy blog:
Yup, you’ve probably noticed that they’re all linking to the same piece of content: SEO Tools: The Complete List.
Well, my list of SEO tools is a piece of “Skyscraper” content.
And that page has generated 7.76K total backlinks.
But more important than that, as you just saw, many of those links are quality backlinks from authority sites.
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The question is:
How can you do the same thing?
Here’s the step-by-step process:
First, find a piece of content in your industry that’s already performed well (in terms of backlinks).
The easiest way to do that?
A simple Google search.
Just search for your keyword…
…and check out the first page results:
As you know, backlinks are a super important Google ranking signal.
So if a page is ranking on the first page, lots of people have probably linked to it.
That’s step #1.
Next, create a piece of content that’s 5-10x better than what you just found.
For example, I noticed that most of the SEO tools lists out there were pretty short.
So I decided to create something that was 10x better.
Unlike most other lists of SEO tools, my post contained every tool on the market (170+ tools).
Was this piece of content easy to make? Nope!
But it was worth it. To date, my SEO tools list has been shared on social media 20,777 times…
…and has backlinks from over 1.08K different domains:
Finally, promote your “Skyscraper” content.
This is key.
Yes, a piece of Skyscraper content already puts you ahead of your competitors.
But to get the most out of your content, you need to actively promote it.
There are a million ways to promote your content.
So let me show you one quick strategy that works really well for Skyscraper content:
Promote to people that you mention in your post.
For example, I emailed all of the tools that I mentioned in my Skyscraper post. Here’s the exact script that I used:
And because I wasn’t pushy or spammy, most people were more than happy to share my content on social media (some of them even linked to it):
3. Build Links From Outdated Resources
Using “The Moving Man Method” I scored links from…
An authoritative .edu site:
A popular resource page:
And several contextual links from relevant sites in the SEO and online marketing space, like this:
And now it’s time for the steps.
1. Your first step is to find sites in your industry that have:
- Changed names
- Moved to a new URL
- Stopped offering a service
- Stopped updating a resource
- Shut down
How about an example?
A while back SEOMoz changed their name to Moz (and moved their site from SEOmoz.org to Moz.com):
After I heard the news, I realized that this was a PERFECT opportunity to reach out to the hundreds of people still linking to the outdated SEOMoz.org URLs.
2. Our second step is to find sites still linking to the old, outdated URL
Now that you’ve found a site that was recently re-branded or a site feature that’s no longer there, it’s time to find all of the links pointing to that page.
Just grab the URL of the outdated resource and put it into your backlink checking tool of choice.
(I’m using Semrush in this example but there are lots of link building tools that you can use to do the same thing.)
Then, check out all the sites that link to the old URLs.
Depending on the site, you should have quite a few link opportunities to work with.
Either way, you want to focus on sites that have the highest Domain Authority (DA).
3. Last up, reach out and get your links.
Your last step is to reach out to all of the people that still link to the outdated resource.
You want to give them a quick heads up about their outdated link…and gently suggest that they add your link to their site.
I tested a few different outreach email scripts for my SEOmoz/Moz campaign. Here’s the one that worked best:
And because I added value to their site twice (once from the heads up about their outdated link and again by showing them my valuable resource) people were more than happy to add my link to their page:
That’s all there is to it 🙂
4. Use Content Formats Proven To Generate Links
A while ago, BuzzSumo and I did a study of 912 million blog posts and articles:
So, what did we find?
We discovered that most content is completely ignored.
In fact, they found that 94% of all online content gets ZERO links.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is, we found that certain types of content consistently performed better than others.
Specifically, we discovered that the following content formats tended to generate lots of backlinks:
In other words, if you want to get backlinks, focus on these content formats:
- “Why” Posts
- “What” posts
Am I saying: “Just publish a bunch of why posts and infographics?”
Of course not.
If you want to get backlinks today, your content has to be amazing.
But these formats give you a starting point for writing amazing content that actually works.
5. Publish Ultimate Guides
You already know that the only way to move your site to the top of Google is to build high-quality backlinks (and lots of them).
That much is clear.
But HOW do you get other sites to actually link to you?
For example, here’s an Ultimate Guide to link building that I published a while back: