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How to Get Backlinks: 15 Proven Tactics

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How to Get Backlinks: 15 Proven Tactics


Link building isn’t rocket science. There’s no secret club where only an elite few get taught how to build links. Anyone can do it. 

But it’s harder than it needs to be without tried and tested tactics to lean on.

Here are 15 proven ways to get backlinks:

  1. The Skyscraper Technique
  2. The Reverse Skyscraper Technique
  3. Resource page link building
  4. Broken link building
  5. 301 redirect link building
  6. Pitch ‘best x in y’ listicles
  7. HARO
  8. Guest blogging
  9. Podcast interviews
  10. Unlinked mentions
  11. Pursue link gaps
  12. Get stockist links
  13. Utilize existing memberships
  14. Pitch link roundups
  15. Internal backlinks

1. The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is where you find content with lots of backlinks, create something better, then ask everyone linking to the content you improved to link to you instead.

How to do it

You first need to find pages with lots of backlinks. To begin, search for a phrase related to your topic in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer and set the “referring domains” filter to a minimum of 50. This will show you pages with backlinks from 50+ websites.

It’s then simply a case of analyzing the content and thinking about how to improve it.

Here are some of the best ways to improve content:

  • Correct inaccurate or misleading claims. This is arguably the best way to improve content as nobody wants to link to something misleading.
  • Go deeper. If the content in question is only skimming the topic’s surface, go deeper and explain things in more detail.
  • Explain it better. Using graphics, videos, or whatever you need can help the reader understand things easier.

For example, Neil Patel’s page about long-tail keywords has backlinks from 1.1K referring domains:

But its definition of long-tail keywords is inaccurate (and is super hard to read):

Providing a meaningful definition is one easy way we could improve this content.

Recommended reading: How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique

2. The Reverse Skyscraper Technique

The reverse skyscraper technique is where you choose a great piece of content already on your site, find similar lower-quality pages with lots of backlinks, then ask everyone linking to those pages to link to you instead.

It works for the same reasons as the “regular” skyscraper technique. The benefit is that you don’t have to create new content.

How to do it

To find the best opportunities for this technique, plug a few keywords you’ve published industry-leading content about into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, then sort the results by Keyword Difficulty (KD) from high to low.

Sidenote.

Keyword Difficulty (KD) is based on the number of referring domains to the current top-ranking pages. This means that pages ranking for keywords with high KD scores will likely have many backlinks.

Next, click the SERP button and look for similar pages with lots of backlinks.

Finally, visit these pages and look for compelling reasons why your content is better than theirs. If you find one, pitch your link as a replacement to those linking to the page. You can find these people using the Backlinks report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

3. Resource page link building

Resource page link building is when you get backlinks from web pages that curate resources on a particular topic. It’s a tried and tested strategy because the sole purpose of these pages is to link to valuable resources.

How to do it

To find resource pages, run one of these searches in Google and add a phrase related to your topic:

  • intitle:resources inurl:resources.html
  • intitle:resources inurl:links.html

For example, if you want to build links to a resource on losing weight, you may search for intitle:resources inurl:resources.html weight loss.

You can also use Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar to export the results and their SEO metrics, which allows you to prioritize opportunities by Domain Rating (DR) and estimated search traffic.

It’s then simply a case of visiting each page to ensure it’s a resource page and links out to external resources. If it fits the bill, find the email address of the person responsible and pitch your resource.

Recommended reading: Resource Page Link Building: The Only Guide You Need

Broken link building is where you find a dead link on a page, create your own page on the topic, and ask everyone linking to the dead resource to link to your page instead.

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It works because people who care about their websites don’t want to send visitors to broken pages.

How to do it

There are many ways to find dead pages with backlinks. One of the easiest is to search for a topic in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, filter for broken pages then set a referring domains filter with a minimum value of 10. This will show you dead pages with backlinks from at least ten websites.

If you want to investigate a page further, hit the caret and click the link to view it on archive.org. This will show you what was on the dead page before it disappeared.

If it makes sense for you to create something similar, head back to Content Explorer, hit the caret, and click through to the Backlinks report. You’ll see all of the pages and sites linking to the dead page, which you can pitch your replacement link to once your content goes live.

Recommended reading: A Simple (But Complete) Guide to Broken Link Building

5. 301 redirect link building

301 redirect link building is where you find irrelevant 301 redirects and pitch a suitable replacement to everyone linking to it. It works for the same reason broken link building works; site owners don’t want to send their visitors to what are effectively dead pages.

How to do it

To find irrelevant 301 redirects, go to Site Explorer, change the mode to “https,” enter a niche site, go to the Best by links report, and add a “301 moved permanently” filter.

Eyeball the URLs for irrelevant redirects.

For example, the first URL above looks like a post about the history of search engines that now redirects to one about search engine marketing. We can confirm that’s the case by hitting the caret and clicking to view the page on archive.org.

This is an entirely different topic to the page it now redirects to, so this is an irrelevant redirect with 698 referring domains.

6. Pitch ‘best x in y’ listicles

Best x in y” listicles are posts listing the best businesses in a specific area or industry. Finding and pitching ones where you aren’t already featured can earn more exposure and backlinks.

How to do it

You can find relevant lists by searching in Google with this formula: Best BUSINESS TYPE in LOCATION -"YOUR BUSINESS NAME".

Here’s a list of the best coffee shops in London:

As per our search, one business that didn’t make the cut is Omotesando Koffee—a top-rated shop according to Google. If you were the founder of this place, it might be worth reaching out to the author to see if they’d be willing to add you.

When doing this, keep two things in mind:

  1. Your pitch needs to make sense.
  2. It won’t always make sense to pitch in the first email.

For example, the fact that Omotesando Koffee isn’t already on this list probably means the author has never been to their shop. In which case, they’re unlikely to add them to the list just because they’re asked to. You first need to build a relationship.

Here’s how I would contact the author in this instance:

Hey [Name],

Just came across your list of the best coffee shops in town and noticed my shop, Omotesando Koffee, wasn’t included. Is that because you didn’t like our coffee or haven’t tasted it?

If it’s the latter, I’d love to invite you down to taste our stuff (don’t worry, it’s on the house).

Are you in the area any time soon?

Let me know.

[Name]

Notice that this email doesn’t pitch inclusion on the list; it simply invites the author to taste our product. It’ll be much easier to ask for inclusion after we win them over.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free service connecting journalists to sources and sources to journalists. It’s an easy way to earn high-quality backlinks because journalists are soliciting responses from you, not the other way around.

How to do it

Sign up as a source, and you’ll begin receiving emails with queries from journalists at various publications.

This will include queries from big well-known sites like Business Insider and The New York Times.

The problem is that most queries will be irrelevant, so it’s worth setting up a Gmail filter to save your sanity.

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Here’s how:

  • Click the search options filter
  • Set the “From” field to [email protected].
  • Set the “Subject” to “[HARO]”
  • Set “Has the words” to keywords you want to monitor (you can use the OR operator to list multiple keywords here)

Hit search and check a few emails to ensure you’re getting relevant results. If all looks good, hit the search options caret again and click “Create filter.”

Now it’s time to start responding to relevant queries.

Just know that not all journalists will cite and link to you just because you respond. For the best results, you should respond only to queries only if you have relevant expertise. It’s also worth prioritizing opportunities where the journalist is looking for multiple experts.

For example, the request below from Business Insider clearly states that they’re looking to hear from multiple elite preschools. So if you work for an elite preschool, you probably have a good chance of getting featured by replying to this request.

Guest blogging is where you write a blog post for another website and usually receive attribution and a link back to your site in return.

How to do it

To find websites that are likely to accept guest posts, go to Content Explorer, enter a keyword related to your niche, and change the dropdown to “In title”. This searches billions of pages for matching content.

You can then apply filters to narrow down the results and find websites to pitch.

These filters are a good starting point:

  • Domain Rating: 30+. This weeds out super low authority websites.
  • Website traffic: 5000+. This weeds out websites with little or no traffic.
  • Published: Last 90 days. This weeds out websites that haven’t published content recently, which may be unresponsive to pitches.

You’ll also want to toggle the “One page per domain” box as there’s no point in reaching out to the same website multiple times.

If there are too many websites to pitch, go to the Websites tab to see the top 100 websites by traffic. Pay particular attention to websites with multiple authors, as these are more likely to accept guest posts.

For example, Moz has 182 pages about SEO by 28 different authors, so chances are some of those are guest bloggers.

Podcast interviews are where you’re featured as an expert on a podcast and asked questions by the host.

Each one will only take around an hour of your time, and if you choose them wisely, backlinks are pretty much guaranteed. This is because most podcasts have episode pages on their website, which almost always link to the guest’s website and social profiles.

How to do it

You first need to find podcasts to pitch, which you can do by searching Google for top industry podcasts. Most of the results will be listicles, and Google also tends to show a podcasts carousel in the search results.

Before pitching, check the podcast’s episodes pages to make sure they link to their guests.

If you spot a prolific podcast interviewee (like our very own Tim Soulo) while browsing, paste their homepage into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, choose the “Exact URL” search mode, head to the Backlinks report, filter for results with “episode” in the referring page title, and sift through the results for relevant podcasts to pitch.

You can be sure that any podcasts you discover using this method link to their guests.

Unlinked mentions are when people cite your brand (or anything related to your brand) online without linking to your website.

They’re low-hanging fruit in link building because you’re already halfway there. The person is already familiar with your brand so asking them to add a link to the mention is often enough to win the link.

How to do it

To find unlinked mentions, search for your brand in Content Explorer and add -site:yourwebsite.com

to exclude results from your site.

Next, use the “highlight unlinked domains” feature to highlight pages from websites that haven’t linked to you, then export the results (make sure to tick the “Only pages with highlighted domains” box).

Sift through the results in Excel or Google Sheets and reach out where it makes sense.

Recommended reading: A Simple Guide to Turning (Unlinked) Brand Mentions into Links

A link gap analysis reveals the websites linking to multiple competitors, but not you. It’s often easy to replicate these links because if someone’s linking to multiple competitors, it might make sense for them to link to you too.

See also  Does Word Count Really Matter For SEO Content?

How to do it

To run a link gap analysis, plug your homepage into Site Explorer (use the “Exact URL” mode), go to the Link Intersect report, and add a few competing homepages in the empty fields (set these to “URL” mode too).

Look through the results for potentially replicable links.

For example, the website below links to two of our competitors. Looking at the links, we see that they’re both thanks to podcast interviews.

Given that this host has interviewed two of our competitors, they might be interested in interviewing us too.

TIP

Keep your eyes peeled for common types of linking pages, as this can help you find more link prospects. For example, if your competitors have many links from podcasts, search for more podcasts and pitch them.

Stockist links come from companies whose products you stock and sell. These links are easy to get if you stock products from companies that list stockists on their websites.

How to do it

To find relevant stockists pages, find the websites of all the companies whose products you stock, then run this Google search for each of them: site:brand.com intitle:"stockists" OR intitle:"where to buy". You should see it in the search results if they have a stockist page.

Here’s what that page looks like:

Then it’s simply a case of reaching out and asking them to add you.

13. Utilize existing memberships

Organizations, communities, and clubs that you’re already a part of are arguably the lowest-hanging fruit in link building. This is because they often have team or advisory board pages where they’ll happily mention and link to you if you ask.

How to do it

To find opportunities, make a list of all organizations, communities, and clubs you’re a part of. This can be anything from a school parent advisory board to a local charity to a law association.

Next, find their websites and run this Google search for each one: site:theirwebsite.com intitle:team OR advisory.

It should pop up if they have a relevant page.

Reach out and request a link where it makes sense.

Link roundups are curated lists of the best new content in an industry, usually from the past week or month. The authors of these posts are always on the lookout for worthy content to feature in their next roundup, so they’re an easy way to build links to new content.

How to do it

To find roundup posts, search Google for your topic followed by intitle:2022 intitle:"roundup" OR intitle:"round up".

As there’s no point in pitching discontinued roundups, filter for search results from the past three months (Tools > Any time > Custom range > select the last three months on the calendar).

Finally, check out the roundups and pitch relevant ones.

Internal backlinks are links from other pages on the same website. Many SEOs neglect internal links, which is a big mistake because they’re a powerful way to funnel ‘authority’ to the pages that need it. You also have full control over them—unlike external backlinks.

How to do it

To find pages that would benefit most from a boost, look for those that rank in positions 2–4 for their target keyword. You can do this in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Just plug in your site, go to the Organic Keywords report, and filter by position.

Next, go to your project in Site Audit, click the Link Opportunities report, paste your page’s URL into the search box, and switch the dropdown to “Target page.”

Sidenote.

You’ll need to set up a project and crawl your site using Site Audit first.

You should now see relevant places on your site to add internal links to your page.

Recommended reading: Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

Final thoughts

Most of these tactics aren’t new or exciting, but they work—and that’s what counts. Just don’t try to do them all at once. Start with one, learn from it, perfect your approach, and build from there. Give me a shout on Twitter if you have any questions.





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8 Secrets From Popular Blogs

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8 Secrets From Popular Blogs

How do you get more traffic to your blog or website? There are plenty of ways to increase web traffic, but some methods are better than others.

If you look at popular blogs, you can see what they are doing right, providing insight into different strategies or tactics you can take for your content strategy.

Now let’s break down the eight ways you can increase website traffic with insights from popular blogs and brands:

1. Get The Story First

Business Insider is one of the world’s fastest-growing financial, media, and tech blogs.

As it generates more than 49 million website visitors per month, there’s no doubt there’s some golden knowledge to uncover about its content strategy.

The key takeaway from this high-performing website include:

Creating Great Digital Content Fast

The news site was before its time because it focused primarily on digital content from the beginning. Not print content. Not broadcasting content.

They knew where their target audience was heading and got ahead of the curve.

Today, the need to create digital content is a no-brainer. So, what makes their existing content strategy different?

Timeliness

Business Insider always gets the inside scoop first. They stay ahead of the latest news stories, constantly chase leads, and update their articles with new facts as quickly as possible.

They don’t thrive on evergreen content, and that works for them. Instead, they aim to get the story first, attract the first clicks, and circulate trending content quickly.

This means that you, too, can have an ever-present content strategy by creating timely content and circulating it to the right platforms.

While having evergreen content is fantastic, there’s something to be said for creating fresh, “trending” content.

That’s because users not only look for answers to age-old questions but also for content relevant to what’s happening worldwide.

2. Publish With Purpose

Arianna Huffington’s namesake blog, Huffington Post or HuffPost, was never meant to be a business. Yet, since its start in 2005, the site quickly climbed the ranks to being one of the most popular blogs in the world.

The Huffington Post has become a massive success in web traffic and notoriety – bringing in thousands of daily visitors and becoming a household name as a political blog.

So, what made Huffington Post a traffic success? They publish with a purpose.

The Huffington Post originally started as a political news site to inform the public about critical global issues. It was the founder’s direct response to the corporate-controlled, money-hungry news sites. This resonated with people.

Finally, a website offered unbiased news stories and opinion pieces from both sides of the aisle. It fulfilled the public’s need for honest and raw political dialogue.

Avoiding Burnout

The Huffington Post’s shift from purpose to profit is a somewhat cautionary tale. Burnout is inevitable if you lose track of what value you aim to provide your audience.

Huffington experienced this when her site quickly grew far beyond what she originally envisioned. It became too much of a business.

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Many content creators get into this predicament.

They create content focused on keywords, conversion rates, and click costs. But unfortunately, they forget that traffic and conversions are often proportional to the amount of interest their audience has in the content.

Before you create content, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I asked my audience directly what they are interested in reading?
  • Do I know their pain points, fears, needs, and desires?
  • Do I have the data to support this, or am I assuming this is what they want?
  • What is the primary purpose of this content?
  • What is the ultimate goal that I want to achieve with this content?
  • What action do I want users to take when they read this content?

Don’t veer too far away from the purpose of your content. Focusing on pleasing Google or optimizing for clicks will get you part of the way, but it won’t be enough to keep users interested in and engaging with your content.

3. Attract Reliable Sources

If Business Insider is the king of world news, then TMZ is the drama queen of Hollywood news.

TMZ is known for breaking the biggest stories in celebrity gossip and entertainment.

While TMZ hasn’t graced us with much insight into their traffic stats or strategy, a little detective work reveals a big secret about their success.

The Secret: ‘Tipsters’

As a content creator and writer, I was curious about where TMZ sources its writers (and how they find the juiciest stories).

Their website only uncovered that they hire a few “field reporters” and “researchers.” But, I wondered, who tips them off to the hottest celebrity gossip?

The answer, I discovered, is “tipsters.” Tipsters are their people “on the ground.” People who go digging for the inside scoop.

These people don’t work directly for TMZ but are incentivized to offer expert knowledge or reveal sensitive information to the magazine. As a result, they typically receive payment or notoriety.

The concept of “tipsters” sounds unsurprisingly similar to another type of content strategy: expert-generated content. TMZ has created a low-cost, consistent content creation model based on incentivization. And you can do the same.

Expert-Generated Content

This can take the form of expert interviews, roundup posts, webinars, podcasts, guest posts, and video content.

The idea is to incentivize industry experts to create content for your site, tip you off to new content ideas, and then share your content with their audiences.

You can hack this strategy for your site by inviting experts to create content for you or to participate in a piece of content you are making.

Open your site to guest posts, video contributions, exclusive interviews, or expert quotes. This will help you create a greater volume of content and broaden your reach.

In addition, a little ego boost can go a long way.

4. Boost Referral Traffic

The Verge is a “Jack of all trades” publication covering everything from entertainment to tech to science and product reviews.

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Launched in 2011, they publish a combination of new articles, guidebooks, podcasts, and feature interviews. A common marketing saying is, “The riches are in the niches.”

Since The Verge doesn’t have a clear niche, it begs the question: How do they get their content to rank and generate so much traffic?

Verge’s traffic comes in via referral sites. The sites primarily reference the blog’s product reviews.

Not only do these referral sites send traffic to The Verge via external links from their content, but they boost the blog’s authority as well.

Affiliate Marketing

Verge’s content strategy reveals an excellent opportunity for websites to generate traffic from sources beyond organic search. This is especially the case for affiliate websites.

Suppose the purpose of your website is to promote affiliate products. In that case, your traffic strategy will benefit greatly from you creating content that draws attention from other industry-leading websites.

Not only will users venturing from these websites be interested in your content and products (making them more likely to convert), but high authority backlinks could give your site that added SEO boost.

What this looks like is creating content that provides value to your preferred referral sites – content that:

  • Reviews their products.
  • Offers comparisons of their products over competitors.
  • References other articles on their website.

By publishing content that provides value to other sites in your industry, you have the opportunity to create a whole additional traffic source beyond organic search.

5. Publish User-Generated Content

Lifehacker’s tagline “Do everything better” is a bold assertion that users can hack their way to success in life. (Ironic, perhaps, that we are doing the same regarding your content strategy here.)

The blog offers helpful, often time-saving and money-saving tips for how to work better, live longer, and lead a happier life.

Many of their articles are bite-sized posts that reveal one or two hacks or a bulleted list of tips.

Lifehacker doesn’t rely on keywords to come up with click-worthy content ideas. Instead, they generate a treasure trove of blog topics by asking their audience what they want to read.

How Do I Come Up With Blog Post Ideas?

Despite countless SEO and idea-generating tools, website owners still have difficulty finding topics that draw in traffic and keep their audience engaged.

That’s because we – myself included – often overcomplicate the process.

We try to guess what our readers want. First, we dig into the search data to see which keywords get the most volume. Then, we try to imitate the content our competitors are creating.

Your readers will often tell you exactly what they want. All you need to do is ask.

If you have an existing presence on social media, you can easily reach out to your target audience to get their input on what topics they are interested in.

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You can also source ideas from the comments section, email responses, reviews, or feedback from past clients or customers.

Don’t overcomplicate. Start with your audience and generate a list of topics they want to read about. Then, use SEO tools to identify the appropriate keywords to target in that content.

6. Check Your Facts

VeryWell Health was founded in 2016 and quickly became a reliable source for health enthusiasts and trainers. They exceed at multiple aspects of establishing a popular blog, but none more than creating well-researched and accurate blogs.

The first step when writing any article is to check facts. It’s the foundation of creating a blog that people rely on and trust.

This includes checking your resources and spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Just think when you’re reading a blog, and there are grammar errors, links to outdated or broken resources, or purely incorrect facts. Unfortunately, this makes it all too easy to stop getting return visitors.

But there’s a simple fix. Between tools like Grammarly or having another set of eyes fact-check and copyedit your work, you can easily avoid these pitfalls.

And remember, providing reliable tools and resources for your readers is a reliable way to keep people coming back.

7. Establish Editorial Guidelines

Treehugger is an excellent example of establishing editorial guidelines.

With the structure created by founder Graham Hill and their growing team, they established a foundation for research, making it easier for their consumers to get the information they need quickly.

Creating a vigorous and thorough standard operating procedure (SOP) can help brands avoid the previously discussed difficulties and streamline the editorial process.

This way, businesses can get blogs out quickly and efficiently.

8. Incorporate Interactivity

If you engage on social media, you’ve most likely taken a Buzzfeed quiz or read one of their engaging articles.

The amount of interaction they see with their content and through comments on social media or reactions on their site is unparalleled.

They are a prime example of creating an interactive space for readers and consumers. Through their site, you can have an inclusive and fun experience.

In addition, they allow their followers to rate articles with relatable themes such as “LOL” and “Win.” This helps readers feel like they are engaging in a like-minded community.

We can learn from Buzzfeed. For example, creating an interactive capability for a blog can help develop a sense of community.

You can accomplish this by properly organizing your information and leaving options to add comments or questions to your blog posts.

Final Takeaways

Regarding increasing website traffic, bloggers have been doing it right for years.

Taking time to understand why popular blogs perform well can give you ideas about what you need to do to improve your blogs.

Using these insights for your blogs can provide a steady stream of eager visitors to read what you produce.

More Resources:


Featured Images: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock



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