What is Link Building in SEO? [2017 Strategies and Examples]

What is Link Building In SEO Pagezii Digital Marketing Blog

What is Link Building in SEO?

You know the SEO basics. Optimize your site content for a target keyword.

But now you want to take your efforts to the next level. It’s time to crack link building in SEO.

So in this post, we’ll guide you through the basics of link building in 2017. This guide also features out-of-box techniques you can use to skyrocket your search engine ranks. Let’s get started.

What Is Link Building In SEO Pagezii SEO Blog

What is Link Building in SEO?

Link building in SEO is the process of getting other sites to link to your content.


The first step in the link building process is to create content. But not just any old content. Valuable content is the name of the game.

Here’s how to do it.

Creating Valuable Content

Creating valuable content is important. Because your community wants to share something useful.

Derek Miller, SEO Manager at CopyPress hits the nail on the head with his thoughts here.

What Is Link Building in SEO Derek Miller CopyPress

When it comes to building backlinks the best tip I can offer is creating a link-worthy resource on your site.

Gone are the days where link-builders can stuff your homepage or money pages into articles. Now, if you want to see the best results, you must invest into creating a high-quality, linkable asset that lives on your website.

This could be a whitepaper, video, infographic, interactive, or just a great blog article.

Conducting outreach for these resources is far easier and more accepting than to conduct outreach to link back to your homepage.

While SEOs want links to their homepage and money pages, the reality is that publishers are much more link-savvy now. As long as you are optimizing your resource pages appropriately, you can still generate great link juice.

Derek’s points echo the idea of creating value. And he lays out a few ways for doing it. You can create comprehensive guides, checklists, or templates. You can also craft quality content on your blog. The idea is to create something valuable that your community will link to naturally.


What are specific techniques you can use?

Simon Ensor, Managing Director at Yellowball shares a strategy below.

Conducting Research

What Is Link Building in SEO Simon Ensor Yellowball

A scalable method for gaining backlinks is to create content that earns them. We’ve found that conducting research and providing great data on interesting topics can earn links long after publishing the content. This means that for one piece of content you can earn relevant links rather than inefficient link building techniques.

Make the most out of your content creation by increasing reach via social and email, as well as identifying a key niche or opportunity.

Simon’s approach is simple. Find an interesting topic, and put the time into your research.

Creating data-backed content is one way to get sustainable links. You can also source other research and quality content in your articles or blogs.

Elijah Masek-Kellly, PR Director at PowerfulOutreach shares his link building technique here.

Sourcing Research, Data, and Expert Interviews

What Is Link Building in SEO Elijah Masek Kellly PowerfulOutreach

One method I use for link building is to source powerful data, research, or an interview with someone influential.

I then host that content in a high-quality blog post and then ping journalists and other writers who might find that information useful. If they quote my post in their next article, then I’ve got a backlink to my site.

Creating and sourcing data-backed content works for getting backlinks. But there’s another way writing useful content will get you links.

Chris Casarez at Exact Latitude shares his technique for building highly-targeted links.

Writing How-To Blogs

What Is Link Building in SEO Chris Casarez

Posting How-To’s for SaaS companies is a goldmine for inbound linking. It’s also completely natural.

Many SaaS companies provide a great service but find themselves struggling to provide a knowledge base for products. Especially when they’re getting started and are working with a bootstrap budget. By posting tutorials and reaching out to marketing departments, you can often get links as well as social engagement.

This is even more effective when the SaaS happens to have a steep learning curve. By producing a shortcut to effective use of the tool, you are filling a niche that helps the SaaS company and their users.

This often results in highly relevant links which gain authority if the SaaS grows over time.

After posting the article, reach out to the SaaS directly through email or through social media. Don’t give up if you get no response the first time around. Tweeting your article while giving the SaaS an @ mention is a great way to keep notifying them.

Chris’ ideas on writing how-to blogs for companies sounds a lot like guest blogging. And for those new who don’t know, guest blogging is when you write content for blogs within your industry. And by providing your expertise on a subject, you’ll usually get a backlink to your home site.

Latesha Lynch shared a perfect definition of this off-page SEO technique with us.

Guest Posting

What Is Link Building in SEO Latisha Lynch Guest Blogging

Guest роѕting оr guest blоgging is реrhарѕ оnе of thе mоѕt overlooked mеthоdѕ fоr сrеаting оnе-wау bасklinkѕ tо уоur wеbѕitе.

Thiѕ strategy invоlvеѕ writing rеlеvаnt роѕtѕ fоr other blogs аnd ѕitеѕ. Thе author оf thе роѕt is аllоwеd to inсludе a link to hiѕ wеbѕitе in the rеѕоurсе box. Yоur роѕtѕ will bе рubliѕhеd оn sites аnd blоgѕ that are rеlеvаnt to уоur buѕinеѕѕ.

But keep in mind guest blogging gigs don’t happen out of the blue. Industry blogs are looking to feature experts in the market. So the first step is building up your personal brand.

Do this by writing high-quality content on your home blog. You can also build your awareness in communities through forum posting and social media. Once you’ve developed your name, start pitching guest post ideas to industry blogs. At the same time, you’ll see blogs come through requesting your expertise.

Now you have methods for creating valuable content. Let’s move onto other off-page SEO strategies.

Engaging with your Community

On the one hand, off-page SEO techniques are about creating valuable content your community finds useful. But you also have to promote that content.

And promoting your content isn’t just sharing links on Facebook or Twitter. Those are part of the deal, but there are new techniques for link building through engagement in 2017.

But before we get into the advanced techniques, let’s start with basics. That is, sharing content and commentary on social networks.

Harris Brown from HFB Advertising shares his technique for engaging with communities.

Sharing Content on Social Networks

I like doing Pro Tips. Creating an image for social media about a professional tip that people can share or embed on their own websites.

Here is an example of one:

What Is Link Building in SEO Harris Brown HFB Advertising 2

It’s that simple. Harris creates image content that resonates with his audience. And because these images are relatable, his community will share it. This is a time-tested strategy for building links using social media.

But there are other social platforms marketers are tapping into.

One those being online publishing platforms. These are platforms like LinkedIn Pulse and Medium.

This off-page SEO technique is one that Mike Koehler, CEO of Smirk New Media is pitching to clients. Check it out.

Posting Content to Online Publishing Platforms

What Is Link Building in SEO Mike Koehler Smirk Media

One of the tactics we recommend to our clients for link building is to increase the amount of content they’re creating for web pages other than their own. While there is a lot to be said about fresh, keyword-driven content on your own page, writing for someone else or somewhere else has proven even more valuable.

Fortunately, there are more platforms than ever for this – we stress writing on LinkedIn Pulse, its long-form publisher, as well as Medium. The benefits are a larger audience and links back to a website. Finding a specific blog to guest post on, as well as increasing activity in niche forums (like LinkedIn groups) are important as well.

So on these platforms, your goal is share content in more detail. An entire blog post for example. And the idea here is to link back to your home site, where readers can get access to even more of your content.

Mike also ends his insights with another link building technique – increasing activity on forums. This could be a LinkedIn group or subreddit. Along with your valuable input, drop a link to relevant content to further back up your points.

Laura Hall, Marketing Executive at Shipy shares her techniques for this here.

Forum Posting

What Is Link Building in SEO Laura Hall Shiply

Posting on forums is a great way for building high-quality backlinks. But make sure the forum is relevant to your business.

When forum posting, you may have to think outside the box. For example, does your site save people money? Then try posting on frugal living or parent forums.

Also, many forums have rules you must stick by, like having to post 10 times before being able to post a link to your site. But if you engage in genuine conversation and your site is useful to the users, you’re on the right track to generating backlinks.

Laura shares invaluable tips for posting on forums. Like being aware of community rules when it comes to backlinking to your site. And you’ll see these rules posted across LinkedIn groups, subreddits, and Quora pages.

And don’t forget about lesser known forums. Sam Kessenich from Rytech shares his preferred forum for engaging communities here.

Chamber of Commerce and Business Alliances

What Is Link Building in SEO Sam Kessenich Rytech

One technique that I often see under-utilized is community involvement. Especially when it comes to local SEO, not taking advantage of the chamber of commerce or business alliances in the area are missed opportunities.

Not only do most of these lead to the acquisition of at least one backlink from an authoritative local site, it also allows for relationship building which can lead to extra backlinks in the future.

If a client is already a member of a chamber or alliance, often times a business is listed on the site and not linked to. Quick e-mail outreach in this scenario often leads to more backlinks in less than a day.

If you want to start building links like a pro, make sure you’re tapping into these off-page SEO techniques. Now let’s finish things off with outside-the-box link building strategies.

Link Building in SEO – Outside-the-Box Methods

Now you know exactly what is link building in SEO, and it’s tried and true techniques. So now it’s time to discuss unique strategies to include in your toolbox.

Let’s kick this off with a bang. One of the most fruitful backlinks you can get comes from .edu sites. These domains are authoritative in nature and can boost rank for your content.

James McCarthy, CEO of Placement Labs shares how to get these links here.

The Scholarship Campaign Approach

What Is Link Building in SEO James McCarthy Placement Labs

Our favorite way to build backlinks is through the Scholarship campaign approach. We’ve found that .edu backlinks are not only some of the most difficult to secure, but they also make your website’s backlink profile look balanced and authoritative.

The process is simple – create a new URL on your site featuring a scholarship that your company is going to offer and include all the information that students will need to submit an entry.

Once you have that, you can reach out to colleges that have “Outside Scholarship” lists published on their website, asking that they include your scholarship info onto their website.

Our most recent campaign was for one of our clients who is a personal injury attorney. His “Personal Injury Scholarship” campaign yielded 14 backlinks from .edu TLDs over the course of the 3-month scholarship entry period.

Boom. 14 backlinks. All from domains with serious authority.

Keeping with the idea of partnerships, another one of our unique off-page SEO techniques are through local events.

Jameson Slattery, Marketing VP at Colorescience shares how gets backlinks using this strategy.

Partnering with Local Events

What Is Link Building in SEO Jameson Slattery Color Science

When it comes to increasing backlinks for our site, one technique that we have found successful over the years has been partnering with local events.

Take Kaaboo for example, a music, food, and arts festival in Del Mar, CA.

As a result of this partnership, Kaaboo created a page on their event website talking about Colorescience and all the ways our product can help their attendees.

In general, I would encourage companies to look at different events around their area that they could team up with to promote their products and increase backlinks to their website. Whether it be a marathon, food festival, concert, or public sporting event, community events are usually excited to partner with local companies that can benefit their attendees.

This is a step away from technical link building in SEO. It’s about raising your brand awareness in a community. Who knows, be active in your local community could land you in the local press.

Speaking of press, reporters and bloggers are always looking for contributions. And using a service like Help a Reporter Out is a great platform to connect with these reports.

Hilary Young shares more information on this.

Use Sourcing Services

What Is Link Building in SEO Hillary Young

One of the best ways to increase your backlinks is to pursue PR opportunities. Securing good press from websites with a strong domain authority will definitely serve your linking strategy. And in this ever-growing digital world, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to do their own PR, thanks to resources like HARO and Muckraker.

You no longer need a huge PR firm behind you to forge the digital relationships you need for furthering your brand.

Hilary lays out a few great resources for doing your own PR and building backlinks. But here’s how it works.

Sourcing services like HARO send out quires to its users from publications. These publications range from giants like Forbes and Inc to your personal bloggers.

So keep a close watch for relevant queries. When you come across a query that’s relevant, share useful data. If the reporter or blogger likes what they see, they’ll include you in their content. And because you shared your insights, it’s common practice for the blogger to link back to your site.

But don’t stop your writing there. Here’s Larissa Murilla, B2B Marketer at MarketGoo with her link building strategy.

Testimonial Hacking

What is Link Building in SEO Larissa Marketgoo

Write a testimonial in case study form for one of the tools you use for your business, and submit it to them. They’ll see their products are working for you, and will also be delighted you’ve written content about their products. All they need to do is publish it.

They can then include your testimonial with a link back to your site, on their testimonials page or section, which is usually a high traffic page as well.

We’ve implemented this technique in our own link building efforts here at Pagezii. And for link building in SEO, it works.

A testimonial is a stamp of approval. And usually business have to work hard for them. So by reaching out with your own testimonial, the odds are in your favor for generating a link.

Now let’s finish things off. The last thing you want is to let backlinks slip through the cracks. So you have to hone in on your sit mentions and get the backlinks you deserve.

Here’s Sean Nichols from SiteVisibility on how to do it.

Mention Monitoring

What is Link Building in SEO Sean Nichols SiteVisbility

A simple way to increase backlinks is through mention monitoring of your brand. If we then come across any sites that are talking about us but don’t provide a link back to our site, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to request a link. This is particularly effective where other business already have links on that page, or a link is of clear benefit to the reader.

One key thing to remember is that you shouldn’t limit your mention monitoring to your business name. Make sure you extend your search and check mentions of your staff as well as your brand name.

So if you see your references to your site but no backlink, ask for it. There’s no harm in trying. Don’t miss out on link building opportunities that are already half way there.

Link Building in SEO – 2017 Strategies and Examples

What Is Link Building In SEO Pagezii SEO Blog

So you’ve learned the techniques and seen them in action. Now it’s time to test these techniques out for yourself.

Kick start your link building efforts with these 2017 strategies and watch your organic ranks pique the search results.

There’s always new link building techniques to add to the list. Would you add any others? Make sure to jump in on the conversation using the comments section.