Actionable Strategies – Increase Backlinks

Table of Contents

What is a Backlink

Backlinks also known as one-way links or Inbound Links are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page.

One strategy to increase the chances of showing Google page 1 or higher rankings is to increase the number of backlinks from credible and authoritative sites.

Backlink Benefits

  1. Backlinks ensure your site is crawled by Bots
  2. Backlinks help increase your page strength
  3. Backlinks help drive traffic your site
  4. Backlinks increase authority and credibility

Backlink Types

  • Mention

    • <p> Brand Name </p>
  • Nofollow links

    • < href=”” rel= “nofollow”> Brand name </a>
    • < href=”” rel= “UGC”> keyword </a>
    • < href=”” rel= “sponsor”> keyword </a>
  • Spnsored Content Attribute

    • <a href=”” rel=”sponsored”>Link text</a>
  • User Generated Content (UGC) Attribute

    • <a href=”” rel=”ugc”>Link text</a>
  • Do Follow Links

    • < href=””> Brand name </a>
    • < href=””> <img src=logo.png></a>
  • Deeplink

    • < href=””> keyword</a>

Which Backlinks are best for you


Linking Website

Authoritative (has incoming backlinks)

Relevant (Gets relevant traffic and ranking SERP Page 1, Avg position 1,2 and 3)

Linking Webpage

Authoritative (the page has other incoming backlinks)

Relevant (the page is relevant to your linked page)

Not Thin Content (the page has at least 600 words of text)


Linking Content

Dofollow – The link to your site is Dofollow and passes value

Contextual – The link is placed contextually

Anchor – Uses brand name, naked URL or keyword as anchor

Visible – The link is as high up as possible in the content

Traffic – The link potentially drives traffic to your page


Backlink Quality Checklist

  1. Link is contextually relevant
  2. Linking domain is authoritative
  3. Link is do-follow
  4. Linking blog / page has some traffic

24 Actionable Ways Get Backlinks

  1. Use HARO to respond to requests from journalists
  2. Broken Links
  3. Infographics
  4. Ask suppliers, vendors and partners to link to you
  5. Guest Posts – Write a guest blog post for an industry publication
  6. Publish Research and pitch it to the press
  7. Analyze your competitor’s backlink profiles to identify opportunities
  8. Internal Linking
  9. Blogging
  10. Testimonials
  11. Donation Sites
  12. Content Promotion
  13. Create eBooks, guides, etc. in hopes of being cited as a resource
  14. Interviews – Regional & Global
  15. Assemble ultimate guides
  16. Local directory submissions
  17. Sponsor an event
  18. Compile informative case studies
  19. The Skyscraper Technique
  20. Provide testimonials
  21. Comment backlink
  22. Wikipedia links
  23. Forum links
  24. Reclaim unlinked mentions and unlinked images

It’s often easy for established sites to build backlinks without much effort. In fact, at Qualys, we haven’t done outreach for links in a while, yet our link profile continues to grow at a steady pace. Now, I’d love to say that it’s all because of high-quality content, but the truth is that our brand has built an audience, credibility, and trust over time.

But what if you have a brand-new website or if people don’t really know who you are in your industry?

Well, today I’m going to show you how to build backlinks to a brand-new website in a systematized way.


Backlinks From Social Media Sites

So assuming you’re starting with zero links pointing at your site, the first thing I’d focus on is building links to your home page.

There are 3 strategies that I find work really well.

The first method is to build citations and create social media accounts to boost trust signals. Citations are online mentions of your business and they’re most commonly used in local SEO. So, if you’re a local business, you’d basically find business directories and add your business name, address, and phone number, which are collectively known as NAP.

A 2018 study by Moz, found that citation signals help websites rank in both the map pack and organic search.  And these are usually no followed links, so, the purpose of these links isn’t to build a website or page-level authority. But it’s to somewhat legitimize that you do have a real business.

A great way to find these opportunities is to search in Google for something like “your city” and “your job.” From here, copy down a few domains from local competitors, ignoring anything like directories. Next, we’re going to use Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool, which will show you who’s linking to one or more of your target URLs. So I’m just pasting the homepage URLs of my plumbing competitors here.

And as a final step, I’ll set the mode to URL since we want to see who’s linked to just their homepages since that’s where the link will generally point to. Let’s run the search. The more intersections there are from the referring domain, the higher the probability of it being a place to create a citation.

To analyze the link, click on the number, and then click on the link. And as you can see, the company’s name, address, phone number, and a link to their website are all there. So, I’d go and add my site to this directory too. Now, whether your website targets visitors locally or globally, it’s also worth creating social accounts with a link back to your site. But don’t bother signing up for every network out there. Instead, focus on the primary ones in your niche whether that be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or LinkedIn.

Even if you don’t plan to use the social network immediately, it might be worth creating the account so you can also claim your business name.

HARO - Help a Reporter Out

The second thing you’ll want to do is build authority links to your homepage. To do this, I like using Help a Reporter Out, also known as HARO. HARO is a company that connects journalists to sources and sources to journalists. Just sign up for an account as a “source,” and you’ll get emails with a list of queries from journalists at various publications. And these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill publications.

There are journalists from places like Forbes, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and more. Responding to queries quickly and concisely can land you mention and links to both your homepage and/or social profiles.

A few places I’ve been featured because of HARO are Inc Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and CIO to name a few. This, in my opinion, is the easiest place to get authority links that can boost trust and rankings, especially since you’ll be judged on your knowledge more than your current online visibility.

Podcasts Links

The third place that I think is awesome for homepage links is Podcasts. Podcasts are hot and there are a ton of them in almost every industry. Best of all, podcasters are always on the lookout for interesting guests that can provide value to their audience. And for almost every podcast I’ve seen, they’ll provide a link to the guest’s homepage as well as other resources that come up throughout the interview.

To find podcast opportunities, just search in Google for something like “[your niche] podcasts.” And the results should almost always be list posts with popular podcasts in your industry. So, let’s go to this awesome page on the 12 best SEO podcasts. Scrolling down, you’ll see podcasts like Authority Hacker and Search Engine Nerds.

So, let’s click through to one. And as you can see, they’re featuring numerous guests in the SEO space, so, this might be a good podcast to pitch.

To expand your list even further, go to one of the podcast episodes Scrolling down, you’ll see links to her websites like express writers and content hacker. So, I’ll copy one of the domains and put it into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. And since we know that podcasts generally link to homepages, I’ll set the search to URL mode and run the search.

Next, I’ll go to the backlinks report, where we can see all pages linking to the homepage.

To filter our results, I’ll type “podcast,” in the include search box. Then I’ll set the search filters to only look for that word in the titles and URLs of the referring pages. And it looks like I could contact other sites like ProBlogger, CoSchedule, and Shane Barker, to potentially be a guest on their shows.

Not only are podcasts a great source for links, but they continue to send us new customers every month. Doing these three activities are a great way to build high-quality homepage links as well as to boost trust signals.

Page Level Link Building Strategies

Now, let’s move on to some page-level link-building strategies because links to your homepage alone won’t be enough to build sustainable and growing traffic.

One of my favorite strategies is resource page link building. This is where you get backlinks from web pages that curate and link out to useful industry resources. And the sole purpose of their existence is to link out to other relevant pages, making them easy links to get.

Now, what I love about this strategy is that you can branch out to pages on broader topics. So let’s say you had a blog post on CrossFit exercises. With a lot of link-building tactics, you’d probably have to find a page where they mention something super-relevant, like CrossFit. But with resource page link building, you can try and get links on pages that cover broader topics like fitness, weight loss, and exercise. So just go to Google and search for something like inurl:resources.html intitle:fitness

Now, just visit the pages, make sure they’re resource pages and link out to external resources, and pitch your content appropriately.

Skyscraper Technique

Another link-building strategy that I highly recommend is the Skyscraper Technique.

This strategy is simple. You find a page that has a lot of links, improve on that topic, and then reach out to those that are linking to the original page and ask them to link to you.

What are bad links?

Incoming Links

  1. Any links paid for to manipulate Google
  2. Links from so-called “Link Farms”
  3. Solicited Links
  4. Links from spun articles
  5. Links from low quality web directories
  6. Links from sites with explicit or illegal content
  7. Links from spammy blog comments

Outgoing Links

  1. Paid links that do not include the Nofollow attribute
  2. links to bad neighborhoods (porn, wars, spam)
  3. Spammy links left by your visitors in comments
  4. Broken links
  5. Hidden link

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 SEO describes the work you can do to try to improve how often your website shows up when someone types a search query into Google or another search engine. You’re probably eager to understand how you can improve how often your website shows up in the search results. 

Backlinks can be defined as any incoming link from an external website that points towards a page on your site.

1 – Rankings

Google understands backlinks as a vote of confidence from well-established sites.

2 – Discoverability

If you want to rank high in organic listings, you need to make sure that your content gets found.

3 – Referral Traffic

To drive lots of visitors to your site, backlinks are an essential tool. You can use them to direct people to your content, to promote your shareable resources.

4 – Brand Awareness

Quality links from reputable websites can help you attract new customers and boost conversions.

  1. High Authority Links
  2. Low Authority Links
  3. Sponsored Links
  4. Nofollow Links
  5. Follow Links
  6. Toxic Links
  1. Earned Media
  2. Infographics
  3. Digital PR
  4. Broken Link Building

About the Author

Zabi Niazi - Director of Search Marketing SEM and SEO

Hands-on execution & Revenue-focused digital marketer with expertise in Design & Operations centered around people, processes & technology engineering a Demand-Gen Engine capable of delivering innovative experiences that tell the brand story and map to the buyer's journey generating awareness, acquisition, retention, and advocacy.