Google has become better and better at analysing backlinks and the structure of backlinks and evaluating them accordingly. In the end, this is actually an ancient method based on “recommendations”. For example, for hundreds of years, people have been doing business in real life and making purchasing decisions. Google has made use of this system and since then has made appropriate decisions about where which page should rank for which search terms.
The way backlinks are currently evaluated, they do not seem any different than pure “recommendations” of other websites. Accordingly, only certain websites are displayed on the first search results page whose quality is still significantly better than that of other search engines.
In my opinion, “backlinks” are the second decisive factor for Google after “content”. Without content, you can’t get ranked – but with content you can, and in combination with selected backlinks of high quality, even better. In niches or areas whose search terms are fiercely contested, there is no way around a very good onpage and a very good offpage.
Basically, this means that in order to be able to rank better in Google and thus to target search terms that are relevant and target-oriented, you absolutely need backlinks after content – i.e. links from other websites to your own domain.
Linkbuilding in theory
Whoever sets up backlinks basically only increases the number of external links to their own website. In other words, links from “foreign” websites, which so to speak recommend that users should follow this link in order to obtain even more or deeper information that is useful and helpful for their answer to your problem.
The search engine Google relies on many different factors and uses an algorithm that calculates the strength and relevance of a backlink accordingly and how much of this “power” should be transferred to the linked page.
However, there are many other factors that change from time to time, and every time a new update is made to the Google search engine’s algorithm. In the past, the number of backlinks often determined the ranking of a website. Nowadays this is no longer the case, as each individual link is weighted accordingly and the authority of each individual backlink is evaluated. So every single backlink of an external site always has a different effect on the own ranking of the money site, so you never know exactly what influence other websites will have on your own. After all, we are SEOs and not Google.
In the following, I will simply list 17 different ways how to build links today. I will present Blackhat, Greyhat as well as Whitehat methods, which sometimes work better and sometimes worse and which are worthwhile in their effects in the long run as well as only in the short term. Accordingly, I will go into more detail about each of these methods.
16 different ways to build backlinks
The Skyscraper Method
This method has been known for more than 5 years and was first introduced to the public by Brian Dean. This strategy is basically based on the fact that already existing content is significantly improved. For example, if you should find a contribution to your niche that has been linked very often, you might consider writing a much better article about it.
Then you contact the website owners who link to the competitor’s article and just tell them that there is a better article now and that they should link to yours.
You replicate backlinks of your competitors, thus weakening their authority and giving your own site this power – as long as you are linked and the campaign was successful.
Here I would like to summarize the most important steps:
- First of all, search for subpages of other websites that also deal with your topic or are at least relevant to it. This post should have many incoming backlinks. Afterwards you do a detailed analysis, look at the top 10 search results for the corresponding keyword or topic and analyse their content very carefully. Just write down everything you like and look for content that complements the existing post, that you like or that has some special benefit. Parts of the often linked post that you may not like offer a great opportunity to search for better or even missing information and to incorporate it into your new post.
- Then you create a comprehensive, extremely well-researched and professionally prepared article on this topic on a new subpage of your website, which surpasses the quality of all other articles of your competitors on this topic, both in terms of content and informality.
- Now comes the last step: Contact the website owners who have previously linked to your competitor’s subpage. Your job here is to sell your mail well and convince people that your article is much better, more comprehensive and up-to-date. It is quite likely that one or the other webmaster will replace the old link with a link to your subpage.
How can you see how many links are received on a subpage?
There are two very good SEO tools for this purpose – either SEMrush or Ahrefs.
Let me show you briefly how the results of both tools differ:
The important thing here is that in the end you will really find enough website owners who might be willing to link to your new, better post! Because if there are only a few people to whom you can suggest your new post as a better link target, the chance is all the smaller that you will end up with the valuable backlinks.
In the picture below, for example, I search for links for my honeymoon website and simply enter the short-tail keyword “honeymoon”. I now take the first search result and look via Ahrefs for all the backlinks that have been created on this subpage. As you can see, 239 dofollow backlinks have been set and that offers enough contact possibilities to help me to provide my site with all kinds of power, as soon as I have researched and written a much better article about it.
To give you one more important tip: My research with Semrush yielded a completely different result, so I strongly advise you to use the tool Ahrefs and not Semrush, especially when analyzing backlinks.
Semrush, however, proves to be much better for content and onpage analysis, for which Ahrefs again is not so well suited:
Press portals can be used to publish press releases, which not only generate backlinks, but also a lot of traffic. The funny thing is, however, that many SEOs advise against using this type of links or reach, as a relatively large number of backlinks are built up within a very short time, which could allegedly lead to a penalty.
My experience with this has been consistently positive, as it also leads many visitors to my website and, among other things, backlinks from very strong websites can be established if my content or website has very high quality content.
Here are providers of such press releases, which I can recommend to you:
- Press Synergy
- Press Advantage
- Press Cable
So if you want to share content with an enormous added value in public, journalists and content managers may pick it up and publish it accordingly and link to it. You will learn more about this in our case studies, where we apply exactly such strategies and use them specifically. One thing I can tell you right now: They are very effective, but only if you know what content you are using and how to further optimize press releases after they have gone online.
As soon as you include very helpful infographics on your page in your posts, not only Google will notice this positively, but your visitors will also appreciate it. Pages with useful and practical infographics and self-created photos will not only be much more innovative, but also more exciting to read.
Connections and complicated facts can be presented much easier and more understandable and can make sure that your visitors not only stay much longer on your website, but also get other website owners to link to your important and valuable contribution.
The only disadvantage of infographics, however, is that they usually have to be created very elaborately. Therefore we have published a few valuable tips in our case studies and in our blog, which not only make the creation very inexpensive, but also simplify the creation process considerably.
You can also offer these infographics as a free download on stock photo platforms and subsequently write to all website owners who use these graphics and images on their website and ask them to backlink or at least mention your brand. This is another outreach method that can be very effective and provides powerful backlinks that can rank your site enormously.
So your task would be the following:
- contact the owners of the websites that match your topic or at least write about it. Offer them to use your infographics for free and in return leave a backlink on your website – either in the form of a small contribution to the topic of your graphic or simply from the picture with a contribution to the topic on your Moneysite. If neither of these is possible, they can at least mention your brand as a source.
With this strategy, not only can the content of your website be properly upgraded, but you can also act as a good link magnet to provide your own site with valuable and effective backlinks.
Certainly you buy on Amazon mostly intentionally only the products that have a good rating. Reviews are generally read very carefully and are accompanied by significantly more sales.
In a survey, almost 100% of respondents said that reviews are the decisive factor in determining why people buy or don’t order. Almost everyone relies on reviews of a product or service and usually decides whether or not to buy based on this review.
So if you write a detailed review or test report about a certain product or service, it is quite possible that you will be linked to it. It is only necessary to draw the attention of the respective manufacturer or owner of this product or service to your test report or review and to ask them to link or at least mention this report from their site. Of course the test reports should be positive, because only then the link partner will see in it a decisive reason why he should link you or your website.
What works very well is to place a testimonial directly on the page of a software producer and at the same time ask for a backlink to the tester (who of course did this test properly). In combination with an interview this method can work wonders!
For example, we have built up a certain expertise in SEO at SEO Geek Lab. But of course we know that we are not the only ones who want to make themselves heard in this market.
Nevertheless, we are not afraid of giving interviews or conducting them with other industry experts!
Many SEOs are constantly looking for other colleagues who have an interesting and exciting story to tell and can convince both professionally and informatively.
Either you record a professional video interview and post it on YouTube, or you offer to place this interview on the interested party’s website for free (perhaps with the video and transcript) and receive a valuable backlink in return.
The method of link exchange is a technique that Google is very reluctant to see, but it can still work as long as you diversify the respective footprints of the individual websites and make sure that no direct connection to the origin can be established.
All you have to do here is to consult with the website operators and not carry out a link exchange that is not direct, but only indirect.
In doing so, website A links to website B and then page B links to page A. In this way, both website owners are able to achieve a better ranking in Google.
Google has posted its own contribution to this and points out that such methods, if they are discovered, lead to a penalty.
So the link exchange can still work over several corners. But you need at least two partner websites.
You can see how the exchange is done in the following graphic:
In the best case, three site operators are involved in this link exchange – or only two, one of which owns two websites. Here, however, you should definitely make sure that the one with the second website does not have it running on the same hosting – if this is the case, Cloudflare can help to diversify the respective IP addresses and thus prevent a possibly defective footptrint – because we of course do not want these links to be simply devaluated in the worst case. A little tip for people who have in Impressum on the site: Diversify there as well, because it can lead to problems if it is obvious that one party owns two of the three participating websites.
Link building via content updates & errors of other webmasters
We all know it. The bigger the websites are and the more work is involved in certain projects, the more mistakes can happen in one or the other website project. Maybe it’s just certain posts that are no longer entirely up-to-date. Or maybe certain links have not been updated anymore, still linking to pages that may not even exist anymore. So-called “broken links”. But exactly these possibilities help you to discover link opportunities from time to time and simply register these broken domains OR (and I would recommend this, as it is much easier) contact the webmaster of the affected site and point out that he should rather take us as a link target in order to continue to offer his visitors an added value without sending them into nirvana, as is currently the case (more about this in the next chapter). Now first the strategy to report content updates or bugs and use them as a chance:
How to proceed?
- find websites that are generally in your subject area. You can do a normal Google search or just search for specific sites you already know
- read the contributions of the pages you find interesting and note down points that could possibly be written or edited better This also includes sub-topics that have perhaps not yet been dealt with sufficiently or whose content could be supplemented very usefully
- then you send the owner of this website a short but helpful and friendly mail explaining what you have found. It should be clearly visible that you are really engaged with his site, understood the topic and aim for a cooperative collaboration
- if the webmaster has applied your suggestions for improvement and even thanks you, you can kindly point out to him that you have written a very good article on this topic and if he wants to, he can link you to it
However, not giving is taking – unfortunately, that’s not how the world of search engine optimization works. At least not yet. But that is not so bad. Much more important is that you can achieve a success rate of 20-30%. And by the way: You will get absolutely topic-relevant links and these links will not cost you an extra cent!
Broken Link Building & Moving Link Building Strategy
This methot is slightly different from what you have already read above. This is because it involves the following steps:
Find pages on the net that are not only very old, but also extremely large and are not updated as often – or where this process is criminally neglected. Often such pages are created because there was a not so optimal relaunch before, where not everything was moved as planned or simply worked sloppily. For this it is sufficient to enter search terms like:
- This domain is for sale
- We’ve moved
- Our new name
- Our new company name
- You can find us now under
- This page is no longer updated
You simply add keywords from your niche to these search phrases!
For example “we have moved honeymoon”.
- then search for backlinks that still point to these old, neglected sites. This can be very time consuming, but with tools like Ahrefs you have the possibility to automate this process almost completely. What exactly your attitude to this in Ahrefs is, you will find in our newsletter and you can download it, if you search for “Broken Links”!
- now you have two possibilities:
- You register this page, if it is “dead” and logged off and no website exists anymore
- Or you can contact the webmaster of the other website who is currently sending his users to this faulty page. But you should make sure that you NEVER beg for a link. Provide them with immediate added value. This means: not only point out to him that the link is pointing to Nirvana, but also that you have created a comprehensive blog post to which he can link from today on and thus continue to provide added value to his users.
There are many websites on the Internet that are in a similar niche where you yourself are active. If they have a blog or advice section, you can contact the site owner and offer them a free article that you research in detail and write for them.
Your goal is to make readers of the other website aware of your own services through the guest article, but above all to place a backlink in the guest article.
Since you have almost complete control over the length and topic of the article, the choice of anchor text and the position of your link within the text, the distribution of guest contributions is an extremely effective source of backlinks.
From time to time it is a good idea to check the backlinks of your own competitors. With this strategy you will often find very topic-relevant websites for the placement of guest contributions or for the application of the content update strategy. Use the tab “Backlinks” in Ahrefs analogous to step 2 from the chapter “Broken Linkbuilding & Moving Link Strategy” to get a list of the incoming links of your competitor.
Write blog comments
Many webmasters offer you as a visitor the possibility to leave comments below your blog posts. In the beginning, this function was often misused to (automatically) create numerous backlinks. Due to the high amount of web spam, Google introduced the nofollow attribute, which is used in most blogs today for comments. Nevertheless, there are still a few blogs where you can get a dofollow link in the comments.
Step 1: Search for relevant blogs for your link creation. To find blogs relevant to your niche, you can use Google Search for example with the following search phrases:
[your search term] + blog + comments
[Your search term] “powered by wordpress”
[Your search term] “leave a comment”
“reply to post”
[Your search term] “blog”
[your search term] inurl:blog “Your email address will not be published”
[Your search term] “You can use the following HTML tags: “
[Your search term] “E-mail notification of further comments.”
[Your search term] inurl:Blog
[Your search term] inurl:Category
Step 2: Read the blog post carefully and make notes on which statements you agree with, what you liked best and where you feel there is room for further discussion.
Then, in your comments, refer to the text and tell the author about the comments you just made. Google has this type of link building very much on its radar, as it has often been misused to manipulate rankings. In your blog comments, never use keywords in the anchor text of your backlink, but rather your domain, a URL on your website or your name.
Write forum posts
Contributions in web forums are, in addition to guest contributions, one of the two link types that allow backlinks to be set directly in the editorial text content. This means that these links are of particular relevance to Google and are weighted more heavily.
In addition to blog comments, forum posts were also massively alienated in order to automatically create inferior links. The moderators in the forums are therefore now trained to recognize link marketing and remove such posts.
With the following tips, however, you can still build numerous helpful forum links for your ranking:
Be an active user in the respective forum. Do not limit yourself to publishing your own backlinks, but log in to your account regularly and contribute to the positive overall image of the forum.
Help the readers. Only if your backlink really fits the topic, you should include it in an informative answer.
In many forums it is now necessary to have several active accounts. This allows you to steer the discussion in the desired direction and make your link much more inconspicuous.
Social Media Profile Links
In the beginning some social networks were able to generate follow backlinks for their own website. In the meantime almost all platforms have activated the nofollow attribute.
Links in social networks do not directly strengthen the link power of your own website, but they do justify incoming links for Google.
If your website does not get any traffic from Google search, but builds up numerous backlinks, this appears suspicious to Google. If the link building then stops too abruptly, a decline in rankings is often visible. However, if the search engine giant finds entries of your website in social networks, the newly generated links can be traced back to visitors of these pages from Google’s point of view.
Present release & build relationships
Many social networks offer the possibility to share up-to-date content. Google also reads about your social media postings and, as described in the previous chapter, is very positive about it.
Google also obtains a lot of data about visitors from social media by evaluating and extrapolating the Google Chrome data. In addition to targeted link building, actively shared content on social media platforms helps to get out of the Google Sandbox faster and to activate the effect of inbound links faster.
You can place your company in yellow pages free of charge or inexpensively in the form of your own entry (including backlink). Since this possibility of link generation is very simple and could be used to manipulate rankings, Google lets the links of most business directories transfer only little power to your website.
However, the improvement of results from regional search queries has made great strides in recent years. Google has been responding to this since the Pigeon Update in 2014 with location-specific search results. Placing your website in yellow pages will help you improve your rankings in Google’s regional searches.
Local and online newspapers are daily on the lookout for interesting content for their readers. Pick up the phone and introduce yourself and your company to the editorial staff. Offer to tell the editorial staff about yourself and your story or to provide added value for the readers in a professional article.
After the appointment, ask the editorial team to include a link to your website in the online version of the text so that readers can find further information on the topic addressed.
Domains with an excessive number of outbound links (e.g. web directories) and little unique content (text content) transmit very little link power. Therefore, care should be taken to build backlinks from high quality websites. Otherwise, you may spend a large amount of money on a link on a well-known website, but your domain will benefit much less from this than from a cheaper link from a weaker domain with better quality.
Forum and content links are among the types of links with particularly unique content. These can also score points with editorially monitored content, which is particularly important to Google in the rating of backlinks.
SEO software such as Ahrefs helps you to assess the link power transferred from a domain.
The tool offers two different metrics:
The Domain Rating(DR): The value from 0-100 indicates how strong the link power of the domain is in total. The value is calculated from the incoming links, from how many different subpages they arrive at and other quality criteria.
The URL Rating(UR): The value from 0-100 indicates how strong the link power of an exact subpage of your domain is.
There are many ways to get backlinks for your website on the web. However, the promising strategies have one thing in common: they require a lot of time to implement.
When setting up backlinks, remember that the number of links set up on Google today has less influence than their quality. The individual link types are weighted differently by Google. For example, a link in a blog commentary transmits much less link power than a link that is directly in the editorial content of this blog post.
Tips for the forum link structure
You can create forum links yourself by creating accounts in forums relevant to the topic. Make sure that you take part in the conversation with useful content. Most forum operators have recognised that links are a marketing measure and check them very carefully.
Make sure that there is enough unique content available for Google in the thread in question so that the subpage is indexed quickly and reliably and the link gains more quality.
Tips for the content link structure
You can generate content links yourself, for example by applying the broken link building strategy described above or by publishing infographics and valuable content that other webmasters link to organically in their articles. The Skyscraper strategy also leads to very positive results in most cases.
Make absolutely sure not to determine the websites to be contacted randomly, but in an off-page analysis using tools like Ahrefs.
Important: Concentrate on your core areas
When will you start applying the tips from this blog and improving your website’s Google rankings?
Many decisions in your business are in your hands …
… but when it comes to backlinks, we are happy to support you.
Because: building backlinks is time-consuming and takes away your focus for important activities.