SEO Link Building 2018 (30+ Techniques For White Hat Backlinks)
SEO link building is a topic that is widely discussed in the SEO community.
Even in 2018, links still seem to be one of the strongest ranking factors out there.
Of course, before you start your link building strategy, you will want to cover in depth keyword research as Google’s algorithms are honing in on UEO and UIO (User Experience Optimization and User Intent Optimization).
If you’d like to check out the SEO course I have covering these subjects you can find it here.
Today we’re going to cover some of the top ways I build high quality natural backlinks and how others do too as we have over 30 contributions from SEO experts around the world showing how they find link opportunities in 2018.
Also, if you haven’t already, and you’d like to submit a link building tip of your own to this post, you can do so here.
2011. Focus On Authority Building vs. Manual Outreach
Although manual outreach works, it can be extremely time consuming and may never offer any return.
That’s why I recommend building authority as the first white hat SEO technique on this list.
Here’s the secret:
Start building an audience in channels that you control.
Although organic traffic is great, you technically don’t control the traffic as your rankings could drop at any time.
Which means, organic traffic is actually a great liability.
We want to focus on building assets and minimize building liabilities.
Here’s how I create assets that I control vs. liabilities:
Step 1: Figure Out Your Unique Offer
What are you giving away for free? I recommend you start publishing free content on at least two of the following avenues:
- Vlogging (Youtube)
- Facebook Groups
- Other Social Media Platforms (Quora, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
The idea is that you’re not going to have a ton of time to participate in full capacity on all of these platforms, which is why it’s important to hyper focus two.
Step 2: Create Content Upgrades
A content upgrade is anything extra that you can giveaway in your content in exchange for an email address.
However, I recommend you actually upgrade your upgrades with other unique offers to be able to control your traffic in separate areas (hopefully in the networks where you are spending most of your time).
A great example of this is what I’m doing with my Facebook group content upgrade in this post.
I’m offering a free Facebook group in exchange for an email.
But here’s the best part:
Not only am I getting an email and a new member for my Facebook group, I’ve also set up an auto responder to send an email afterwards which reminds my opt ins to subscribe to my channel.
You can of course take this strategy and use it for other channels like “subscribe to my podcast” or “get my free ebook”, etc.
I know what you’re thinking..
“Chase what does this have to do with building links?”
Ok… here’s what you do.
Now that you are generating audiences that you control, you can use this audience to build links, generate reviews, etc.
Also, because these audiences are already interested in the subjects you’re talking about, you’re going to be more likely to find people who will be willing to collaborate with you and ultimately build links.
2. Brian Manon
My top white hat SEO tip for developing high quality backlinks is pretty simple and effective.
I spend a few hours a day in Facebook Groups networking and helping other bloggers out.
I give without expecting anything in return.
By doing this, I am constantly asked to guest post and also receive links and testimonials on other sites.
This technique also has made me some great friends in the online marketing world.
3. Akshay Hallur
I would mainly rely on white hat link building.
The way to go forward is through white hat outreach techniques.
For my niche sites, I usually do guest post outreach, broken link building, and skyscraper link building.
I also occasionally do infographics link building.
The best part:
I’ll get my infographics done for as low as $10 by giving my VA access to Visme.
Then, I outreach the relevant sites and ask them to feel free to use my infographic.
Also, for example, if I have a good article on “YouTube SEO”, then I would search for other blog posts that have mentioned the term “YouTube SEO” in their content and haven’t linked to any articles.
Now, I will outreach to them to consider linking to my post strategically.
I would say that white hat link building is the way to go.
I don’t really prefer building PBNs due to risks associated for long term business, and Google is also becoming smarter day by day.
Another strategy is to create really good graphics on your blog. If the niche is popular, obviously many people use your image by linking naturally to your site.
You could also conduct image search for your own images occasionally and outreach the sites which have used your image but not linked to you.
My main objective is to get backlinks that are of high quality than my competitors in my niche.
About a year ago, I published a 4000+ words blog post on how I get natural backlinks for my sites – https://www.gobloggingtips.com/get-natural-backlinks/
You can refer to this article to learn about all of the strategies I’ve used to build natural backlinks to my sites.
4. Ryan Esco
One of my favorite overlooked SEO link building techniques is Competitive Research.
Just like many other aspects of online strategies, competitive research is a great first step to understanding what is in the marketplace and how people are responding to your competitors.
But here’s the best part:
I then look at those links to determine if there is an opportunity to garner a link from that same source.
Not only does this give insight into the backlinks that are most important for their ranking, but it also shows where they are spending their efforts.
Once you have a target, reach out and request a link with either an offer to contribute content or fix broken links.
Next, I run a competitive keyword report to identify which keywords they are ranking for and where there is an opportunity to include these keywords in my content.
From my own research, I have established a keyword map and content calendar but tracking the competition gives you a different perspective and uncovers hidden gems and potential trends in SEO link building.
5. Stephen Fox
For local clients, the best method is guest posting on other local business’s websites.
First, you create a list of local business’s websites that have an active blog.
Then reach out to all those local companies and ask them if they’re willing to accept a guest post on their blog from another local company. You can give them a bit of background information about how new content will help with their online presence and the link back to your website (or your client’s website) will help your online presence as well.
This results in a win-win situation for both businesses, and it’s a great way to help another local business owner out. You can also use this strategy for targeting other businesses in your niche but in different cities.
So, for example, if you’re a roofing company in Detroit, you can reach out to roofing companies in other cities around the U.S.
For national clients, my favorite method is the skyscraper technique. Find an article that already has a high quantity of links and social shares.
Then, write an article that goes into even more depth on the subject.
After that, reach out to all the websites that previously linked to the original article. Inform them that you’ve create a new article that goes into even more depth than the content that they have linked out to.
The key to this is trying to build up a relationship with the website owner before asking them to link out to your article!
6. Jim Milan
Create content that mentions other businesses or individuals and then let them know that you have mentioned them.
The reason this works so well at generating links is that by mentioning other businesses or individuals in your content you have given them a reason to link to it.
One way to do this is to create an expert roundup post.
An expert roundup is where you ask an industry’s experts for their top tips or insights on a given topic.
Gather the experts’ responses, organize them into a list, and publish the piece.
Let the pieces’ contributors know that you have included them in the roundup and ask if they could link to it and share it on their social media properties.
A recent expert roundup on link building that I published on my site led to 199 social shares and a 299% increase in overall traffic.
7. Rhoda Toynbee
Keywords are important, but don’t forget about long tail keywords.
Those are phrases that you would search for. How do you know what people are searching for?
Start a search in Google and when it starts automatically suggesting the next word, you are viewing long tail keywords that people search for!
8. Nathan Swartz
For me, developing high quality backlinks is absolutely about content creation.
I get half a dozen emails a day where content pushers, typically someone who’s getting paid to promote other folks’ content, are writing things like, “If you put a link on your site from this page to our page over here, we’ll share your post on social media.”
That’s not natural, and it’s certainly not of equal value for me. Paying anyone to get links back to your site is silly.
Take that money, or that time, and create something worth linking to.
Create a valuable Facebook page, too, or whatever social net you’re into.
Don’t have a Facebook page where you just post a link to your latest content. Share relevant content.
If you’re a bakery, share recipes and fitness articles or whatever you can build an audience from.
At wandrly.co‘s Facebook page, we’re a travel mag for families who want to travel full-time in an RV or a van…
But we don’t just share links to our stuff, to our story…we share all of the families out there doing it that we can.
Resources for people who want to live like this that we don’t create. We establish credibility and that leads to people wanting to share our content on their sites.
So, long story short? Don’t worry about building links, worry about creating something that’s worth linking to.
9. Brandon Hopkins
The last couple of years, 2018 being no exception, have shown that real links on real sites are extremely important.
My focus over the last couple years has been real outreach.
We don’t have “lists” of sites to build links on, each link we secure is from an actual email sent to a relevant site in the client’s industry.
I think moving forward this will continue to gain importance.
10. Kostas Chiotis
For me, the best and most controllable link building technique is guest posting. Not only can you get really good links, but you can build relationships with other bloggers and collaborate in the future.
Also, people tend to link to sites they know and trust, so if you write regularly on a site and you also link to the posts you write from other guest posts or posts on your site many of them will start linking to your site (if you have content that provides value to the readers) without even asking.
11. Mohit Arora
All of the SEO experts know that high quality backlinks play a very important role in search engine optimization.
There are many link building techniques that help to get tons of backlinks to our site.
But, I do believe that if we want to rank higher in search engines, we don’t just need backlinks (quantity) – we need QUALITY backlinks.
This is a very common link building mistake that most bloggers do – they go for quantity rather than quality.
It sometime gives negative rankings, and in some cases, you are simply linking to sites with low reputation, irrelevant niches, and buying links, etc.
Google and other search engines keep on updating their algorithms in order to improve this.
So, it is very important now to use White Hat SEO Techniques for effective Link Building.
Below are few techniques that I prefer:
1) Building Relationship (or Networking) – Find niche-related communities: forums, blogs or social groups etc. Actively Participation in these will not only help you to gain quality backlinks but will also help to connect to some interesting and passionate people.
2) Writing Testimonials and Reviews: Find high authoritative brands and review their product and services and earn some quality links. It’s a win-win situation for both.
3) Finding Backlink Opportunities From Your Competitors: Audit your competitor’s website and analyze their backlink sources. There are many tools available for this purpose (e.g. SEMrush). Filter high authority sites with doFollow link. Find your potential keywords and plan your outreach strategy to get backlinks from these sources.
4) Broken Link Building Techniques: Find highly authoritative pages relevant to your niche. Browse them and look for dead pages (404 pages). You can install any browser extension to highlight dead links on any page. So, find similar post from your site (or simply create a post) and reach out to site owners mentioning about broken links on their blog and ask to link with your one.
5) Turning Your Mentions Into Backlinks: Find your non-linked brand mentions and turn them into backlinks. In many cases, people mention your brands or products, but they might have not linked to your website. Contact the webmaster and ask him to convert that mention into a backlink.
12. Vineet Gupta
I believe in doing white hat SEO as it is more beneficial in the long term.
Black hat may give you short term gains, but it won’t last in the long run when google make changes to their algorithm.
1) Guest blogging: One of my favorite white hat tricks. You get for sure results with guest blogging if done on sites related to your niche.
2) Quora: Very helpful in generating quality leads and traffic for your site. Make sure you add value by giving detailed answers.
3) Blog comments: Still helpful in connecting with new audience and building links. Do around 30-40 comments a month. Thats the measure that I follow.
4) Infographic: Publish infographic on your site with embed link. And then when you are doing guest blogging, publish infographic on other sites. The trick is to publish infographic on sites that have good traffic and authority. This is so that if people like it then infographic can get more exposure, and your site can get new audience.
13. Itoro Obot
Here is my tip covering the essence points upon which all my other SEO techniques are hinged.
In addition to all of the other White Hat SEO Techniques for 2018, keep your mind on these three tips and watch your page becoming more visible on Search Engines Result Pages.
1. Domain Authority
Work on visitors’ engagement (i.e duration of visit, number of pages visited, returned visits, etc.), the better the results, the better your chance on an improved domain authority and consequently a toast of Search Engines in your targeted keyword.
2. Anchor Text Of External Backlinks
Visitors from a higher DA site coming to your site through a “keyworded” anchor text link and most importantly, staying on the page gives your site a huge boost on page authority and consequently better ranking on SERP.
My favorite SEO juice transfer method is a good formatted Anchor link with my keywords on targeted sites using my 30%-Rule
3. On-Page SEO
Fully aware that users’ engagement and bounce rates are twins, so how do you keep the two fully optimized?
Quality content that directly provides answers contained in the title(s) is a must.
Apart from the main content, place relevant and natural links on the post.
A satisfied visitor will always follow the links for similar content thus improving on your bounce rate.
14. Joshua Hardwick
Here are my recommendations for developing high-quality backlinks:
Guest Posting: Yes, I know Matt Cutts infamously stated that “Guest blogging is dead” over 3 years ago but the fact of the matter is this: guest blogging still works. What’s more, a good chunk of the links you’ll see to most sites were built using guest posting; they just disguise them a little better.
My advice: go for quality over quantity. Write great posts for a handful of websites rather than a ton of average posts for many.
Skyscraper: Making something great and telling the right people about it is always going to work.
Just don’t fall into the trap of “more is better”, because that isn’t always true.
Instead, analyze the original piece of “skyscraper” content and figure out what’s crap about it.
When you’ve done that, fix it, then tell the original linkers why it’s better (i.e. because you fixed X crappy problem that the original had).
I know I’m not offering any new wisdom here but that’s because tried and tested usually trumps new and in fashion.
15. Kristian Jønsson
Build small and free tools that help your audience solve some of the problems they struggle with.
It’s way easier to build links to a tool than a blog post as long as the tool is non-gated.
An example is this Email Marketing ROI Calculator we built earlier this year:
Setup alerts on your keyword and send an email every time a blog mentions your keyword.
This has been one of our best link building tactics this year.
16. Eagan Heath
I’ll go with HARO.
HARO is a great way to earn linked mentions in news stories and other high domain authority publications.
Through this service, journalists request input from experts on a variety of topics.
The digest goes to your inbox multiple times per day based on broad category, and you can respond directly.
We recommend crafting detailed answers and following the requesting journalists instructions to a ‘t.’
They often ask for links to head shots, website URLs and Twitter handles.
17. Tom Pick
As Google’s algorithm becomes ever more sophisticated in its evaluation of quality, building high quality backlinks becomes more challenging.
Any technique that is manipulative or involves buying links is, of course, out.
Tactics like infographics and guest blogging can still be effective, but the widespread adoption of these practices has raised the bar for what’s expected; “average” content won’t cut it any longer.
The best approach in today’s environment is to focus on earning, rather than “building” links.
Pay it forward.
Develop relationships with key bloggers in your industry.
Generally, avoid the “A-listers” (the people with six-digit Twitter followings and who speak at all the big conferences)–they’re too busy to help.
Concentrate on influencers one level down, who are still appreciative of the coverage they get.
Quote them in blog posts, link to their content, interact on social networks, comment on their blogs.
Then create high-quality, link-worthy content for them to cite. If done well, there’s little to no need to ever even ask for these backlinks; they just start happening.
18. Priyanshu Raj
My first effective way to do white hat link building is guest posting. I often use this technique for most of my blogs.
Guest Post is an excellent way to earn authority backlinks. This is also one of the best relationship builder techniques.
In doing so, you can develop good relationships with the industry experts.
You just have to find your niche/industry to contribute your content.
Who doesn’t like impressive content on their blogs?
You can use some Google Dorks (I am sharing below) to find the relevant sites for guest posts.
Some Google Dorks are…
[Your Niche] + Write for Us
[Your Keyword] “Guest Post”
[Your Niche] intitle:”write for us”
So, as you can see, these dorks are effective and can work for you like a charm.
19. Chris Foerster
1) Outreach to journalists and bloggers
2) Citation building
3) Scholarship offerings
4) Broken backlinks
20. Robin Khokhar
My favorite white hat SEO technique of 2018 is building “resource pages” that can be linked to by fire departments, city libraries, and chamber of commerce websites.
Any helpful topics that help people stay safe can be easily linked to by these coveted places if the content is super useful.
21. Jose Victor Castellanos
A link building technique that I’ve been using in 2018 for e-commerce websites is finding bloggers on Instagram and sending them a product to review in a blog with a link back to the website/ product page.
22. Rachael Barone
One way to earn legitimate high quality backlinks and build stronger connections with the community is to sponsor a local organization.
Supporting your local chamber of commerce, sponsoring a run, or being on the board of a local charity is an effective way of building a good reputation and earning a link back to your site.
Here are some techniques for White white SEO that we use:
1. Guest Posting
2. Authority Content
4. Social Sharing
5. OnPage Optimization
24. Brandon Ludlow
To receive legitimate .edu links as a local service business, you can email hiring ads to local colleges.
Depending on the school, they will upload the PDF for a doc sharing link or post it on a blog of some sort.
http://www.arizona.edu/ is a local example that works for my clients as well as 3 or 4 other local schools I send this to monthly.
The best part is that you can actually find the help you might need as well. I know a lot of people use the scholarship method but I find this method to have much better response rates.
A2Z Web Pros
25. Brian Akdemir
Don’t copy your competition! Everyone is doing it.
Instead, get ideas from competitors and try to search for similar types of link opportunities.
Some companies let you write your experience about what they offer and if you suggest writing a review if they give you some demo or similar this becomes a win-win situation for both.
You get a link from an high authority site and they get a review!
Trágora Translation & Voice Over
27. Stan Van Rooy
A great way of generating backlinks is to find an interesting keyword, look what ranks #1, create something better and ‘steal’ there backlinks.
28. Justin Morgan
Crafting news-worthy and note-worthy content is paramount.
When you link to another website, it’s almost the same as recommending another business, or recommending a book.
So if you put yourself in the other editor, blogger, or journalists’ shoes, you need to make sure their link/recommendation is going to reflect well on them.
Many times, this can be done through providing rare information which supports the article or blog post.
By aligning yourself (and supporting) what this other person is saying, you legitimize their linking.
An example might be to provide supportive data based on original research which supports the article which you hope to gain a link from.
Dental Marketing Guy
29. William Brook
Guest posting / blogging we think about the traffic gain the backlink is simply and by product.
SEO by GoRazy
30. Christopher James Fleming
Not many sites make use of image links: most, if not 80%, are always text. If you have a load of images then it makes sense to make the most of these as images can speak a thousand words.
Here are 3 great tips for getting image links:
1) You then turn these into slide shows or flips books that you can upload to other websites for free that will usually provide a option to either write a link or will insert one for you back to your website.
2) Another great option if you have plenty of high quality images or vectors is to upload these to images sites let let other use them for free as long as they provide credit to the creator I,E a nice back link to your website.
3) Let others use those images in their blog posts and ask for a link back to your website in return, a good way is to create a resource page on your website with all the images your willing to let others use providing they link back.
You can always reverse look up your images to see who has provided credit and who hasn’t so you can follow up with an email asking them to proivde one.
Equill Media Ltd
31. Cobus Van Vuuren
I see great value in doing research and case studies within your industry.
32. James McMinn
Write great content, optimize that content, and then have a strategy for magnifying that content across the Internet.
I have been successful with having people contact me to syndicate that content or to link to it as a resource.
Of course, sometimes people do not reach out but are very receptive to link back to our content if I reach out to them.
That’s why spending a lot of time on one piece of good content pays off more than hurrying through a ton of bad pieces of content.
33. Neil Sheth
Be helpful first. Link building = relationship building.
As your relationships with bloggers, influencers, etc grows so does your chance of getting a link from their site.
It’s no different than meeting people at business networking events. The more you go, the more you get to know people and they get to know you.
For instance, when I’ve referred someone else’s business, they tend to go out of their way to do the same for me.
I find the same true for link building and that’s why I try to be helpful first. That might mean sharing their content, commenting on their site, connecting them with other people or even linking to their site.
The list is endless but the question is simple, “how can you add value to them?” These tend to be the best links, which is almost the side benefit of a great long relationship.
34. Chris Wagner
As an affiliate marketer, I always ask first for backlinks to services providers whose I have done comprehensive review on my website and its works very well for me.
I got 3 new backlinks from high domain authoritative website in this month and my domain rating has also been improved.
You can email to people who links out to your competitors site which is known as Email Outreach.
I use Ahrefs to find my competitors links and then sends email to let them know that I have also covered similar article based on my findings and knowledge.
In email, I asks them for update a link and they does. My pro tips – Don’t forget to set “Internal links” because it is also another ranking factor.
If your A post/page has earned good external links so you should pass links to the relevant posts/pages that exists on your website that will give little bit boost in ranking which I have done carefully on my website and saw great fluctuation from bottom to top.
There are infinite techniques out there but which will work for you that will tell you through your experiments.
35. Rob Watson
My favorite link building tip is helping out with journalist queries.
In terms of effort versus quality of links, I find this the most effective link building activity over all.
I am based in the UK and subscribe to HARO, Source Bottle and journalism.co.uk and get pitches through several times a day.
Sometimes I am busy and can’t keep up with my inbox so I have IFTTT automations set up to give me a push notification if the emails contain certain words such as ‘SEO’ or ‘Digital Marketing’ as I don’t want to be late on those. I also have IFTTT notifications set up for any tweets tagged with #journorequest that also contain a keyword.
Journalist pitches are a great way to get links. The only weakness is that the volume of links is not enough for it to be my only source of links, so I still do proactive outreach too.
However, if you’re quick and provide good quality content – especially if you can give an original angle on something – you have a great chance of getting featured.
You’re dealing with someone who needs quality information quickly – that will always be warmer than cold outreach.
That speed of reply can’t be stressed enough though – even if the journalist says their deadline is 3 days away, I find that I only get featured if I reply within a few hours.
Have your bio information saved and ready, and follow any specific instructions to the letter, to give yourself the best possible chance of being featured.
Finally, if you don’t get featured, all is not lost. Just keep a note of what the article was about.
You can look at it when it was published, see who shares and links to it, and maybe create a bigger, better article yourself to do outreach on.
Click to Sale
36. Moinuddin Gholam
Building relationships. Just like I’m doing now.
Getting featured on round-up posts, commenting on blogs, broken link building, guest posting or helping out a reporter etc. are all relationship building first and link building next.
37. Romano Groenewoud
Recently at MozCon 2018, Geraldine Deruiter (https://twitter.com/everywhereist), Rand Fishkin’s wife, put it best in my opinion: “Be the content you want to find”.
But what does this mean?
Really try to step into the shoes of search engine users landing on your page.
What would they like to see?
What would they appreciate?
As a result, would they want to refer to your page from their website or Twitter account?
Truth be told, this is more of an on-page/content type of advice than a linkbuilding tip, but in my view, it forms the foundation of any successful linkbuilding, or maybe better phrased ‘link earning’ campaign. I have seen numerous search engine results pages (SERPs) here in Google.nl (The Netherlands), where some websites on the first page are avidly building links, yet not making much progress in the rankings (hovering near the bottom of first page).
Whereas, pages receiving just a handful of earned relevant, quality backlinks or no links at all take the top spots in the same SERP. The main difference being, the pages ranking high, truly satisfying searcher intent.
Of course, links are still very important, see for example the Stone Temple Consulting links study (https://www.stonetemple.com/link-as-a-ranking-factor/) last updated May 2018. Accumulating quality, relevant and useful links to your web page is still invaluable.
However, if your page does not satisfy the intent of the searcher, no matter how many links are being ‘build’ or ‘attracted’, the page will most probably not reach top 5 of results for given query.
As Josh Bachynski in his YouTube videos constantly reminds us of: Google may have ways to measure searcher satisfaction (for example through Google Chrome browser data), and they may have an organic Quality Score system just like they have for AdWords.
Therefore, the #1 linkbuilding tip for 2018 and beyond would be to develop ‘empathic intelligence’, in order to improve web pages to fit searcher intent to such an extent, they cannot help themselves, but link to your web page from their blog or social media account.
In this way you can attract the right backlinks, gather genuine social signals and improve user behavior signals, killing three birds with one stone.
Thanks for stopping by, if you’d like to leave your top White Hat SEO link building tip as well please go here.
Also, if you’d like to leave a comment on what you think, you can submit one below.