How to Get Backlinks
Link building doesn’t have to be as complicated as the gurus make it sound. Anyone can learn the basics and it doesn’t require buying a $2000 course.
Here is the gist of it broken down simply:
- Create content that people will like
- Find people that like said content
- Convince them to link to it
Sounds super easy in theory, right? Well, the problem is that the first step can be very time consuming, as well as taking lots of skill to get right.
The good news is that there’s a chance your website already has content that is link worthy!
In this article we’ll go over some different ways that you can get links without adding additional content to your site.
Steal Competitors Resource Page Links
A resource page is exactly that, a page that serves as a resource for other pages. Getting links on these pages is one of the most used and abused SEO tactics there is. You might think that you can’t get a link on one of these unless you have a crazy long infographic or blog post. The good news is that your site is probably good enough if it’s relevant to the resource page.
If you take a look at most resource pages you’ll notice that a lot of outbound links are not anything special. The sites just happen to be a relevant resource and that will be good enough most of the time.
Most SEOs use a process like this to find the resource pages:
- Use search operators like this (inurl:resource “keyword”) to find niche related pages
- Scrape Google for results
- Reach out to the best ones
This process will definitely work but there are a few issues
Issue 1: It takes a bit of skill to scrape Google properly. You will need many search operators, proxies and other tools. Then you’ll have to add all the results to Excel or Google sheets which can take all day.
Issue 2: The second issue is that you always end up getting a bunch of crap results in the scrape and then have to filter them out later.
Because of these issues we think there’s a better method. This method is to steal your competitors resource page links.
The way you go about this is easy. First input your competitor’s domain into Ahrefs site explorer. The go to the backlinks report and apply the dofollow filter.
NOTE: if you aren’t sure who your top competitors are then just go to the “competing domains” report in site explorer and see which domains have lots of keywords in common.
After you’ve gone to the backlinks tab, you want to search “resources” to pull up all the results that have that word in the title or URL.
It doesn’t end there though, next you’ll want to look at the other sites on the resource page and check them in site explorer too. This way you can greatly multiply your efforts and get more links.
Once you have your link targets you’ll want to reach out to them and ask for a link. You have to give them a good reason though, don’t just demand a link cause that probably won’t go well.
Here’s a few things you can include in your pitch:
- Local to the same city
- Serve similar industries
- You are a new or better option to another related product or service
- Your site is better than an existing one
Leverage Existing Relationships for Links
If you look at the resource pages of big brands across the web you might notice that they link out to lots of their affiliates and suppliers.
If you promote or sell any products then it’s a good idea to check if they have a resources page on their site. Even if they don’t, it’s a good idea to reach out anyways because often times you can secure a link because of the existing relationship.
Make sure to also look beyond “resource” pages. Client pages, customer testimonial pages, affiliate pages and supplier pages are all possibilities.
Here is how you go about getting links from these targets. First make two lists which are:
- Brands you sell/promote
- Your suppliers or the companies you do business with
You can search for both of these lists separately. For the stockists, use search operators like site:domain.com “where to buy” OR “stockists”.
You’ll want to manually go through these pages before reaching out and make sure that they actually link to their stockists.
When it comes to the businesses and products you follow the same process but use an operator like this site:domain.com “our customers” OR “our clients”.
You can also use site:domain.com testimonial to find testimonials pages easily on a site. If they have one just send them yours to include, although only do this if you ACTUALLY use the product or service. Being honest is important here.
Convert Mentions to Links
It’s very common for people to mention a business online and not link to it. Despite what you might think this doesn’t just happen to big brands, small businesses also fall prey to unlinked mentions.
Sure, it might suck when someone mentions your brand without linking but these are also one of the easiest link outreach targets you will find. The reason for this is that they already know and like your business if they went to the trouble of mentioning it. Therefore, getting the link is usually easy. Just ask if they would mind adding a link to help people find the site easier.
So how do you find these mentions of your site?
One method is to use a Google search operator like this: “brand name” -yourdomain.com -facebook.com -twitter.com. This should show you most of the mentions across the web while at the same time filtering out irrelevant results.
You can check if there is no link by looking at the source code. Just right click and “view source code”, then CTRL + F and search for yourdomain.com. If there aren’t any results then it is unlinked.
The above process does take quite a bit of time though, so here’s an easier way. Go to content explorer and search for your brand name.
Content explorer is like a search engine in a way. It has a database of more than a billion web pages that it searches for your keyword.
You can then check these pages for any unlinked mentions. This can be automated by exporting the full report from content explorer and using screaming frogs custom search feature to check whether each page links to your site.
A cool little trick that can speed things up is to use the “highlight unlinked domains” feature in content explorer. This will highlight all the results of websites that haven’t linked to you.
This will only check for links at the domain level though, instead of the web page level. This means that it won’t show you every page with unlinked mentions.
Here’s why this works so great:
- Fast. You don’t have to export and scrape data with SEO tools.
- Shows best opportunities first. Links from sites that haven’t linked to you yet are far superior to more links from domains that have already linked to you.
You’ll then want to export these pages as a .csv file. Make sure the “only highlighted unlinked domains” is checked.
Then search for their email address and send an outreach email. The success rate on this kind of outreach is usually quite high.
One thing to note is that you can also look for unlinked mentions of:
- Company representatives or employees
- Branded products
- Company events or anything related to the business
Be Listed on Relevant “Best Lists”
There are “best x in y” lists for all kinds of businesses in almost every location. An example would be “best coffee shops in Singapore”. A good link building tactic is to reach out to any of these sites that you’re not featured on and see if they will add you to the list.
There’s two reasons why this is a good idea:
- They’re obviously interested in what your business does because they’ve written a post about it.
- They either don’t know your business already or forgot to add you to the list when writing the post.
These factors make it easy to reach out and get featured.
To find these opportunities you can use a search operator like this: best business type -”your business name”. This will give you results that have these “best x” articles that don’t mention you already.
Use CTRL + F to make sure that you aren’t listed and then reach out to these sites. You can use the Ahrefs toolbar to extract all the Google search results with just one click. This also makes it easier to see all the metrics of the sites like the DR, URL rating, etc.
Another effective method is to find these sites that have reviewed competitors in your industry.
Here is how you can find them: competing business name intitle:review -”your business name””
Another way to find them is to input the domain into Ahrefs site explorer and search for “reviews” in the backlinks report.
The thought process behind this is that if they have reviewed your competitor then they might also be interested in reviewing you or at the very least trying out what you have to offer.
Find Pages that Mention Multiple Competitors
If you can find sites that haven’t mentioned you but have mentioned multiple competitors then it’s a good idea to reach out and see if they would be interested in adding your business to the page or at least trying your product or service.
Here is how you find these opportunities:
First, list off your 3-5 biggest competitors. Here’s are some examples that the onsite SEO page optimization software Surfer SEO might use.
- Page optimizer pro
- Text Tools
- Link Assistant
The use this search operator in Google: (“COMPETITORA” AND COMPETITORB) -intext:”YOUR BRAND” -site:competitora.com -site:competitorb.com -intitle:competitora -intitle:competitorb
The end result is that you’ll get tons of results that mention competitors but not your brand. You will have to run multiple searches that use different competitors though in order to get all the results.
Once you have your search results you can export them to a .csv file with Ahrefs SEO Toolbar which will show you all the metrics that can be sorted whichever way you like.
The downside to this method is that you can only get one hundred results at a time with Google. A solution is to use Ahrefs content explorer and use this search operator: (“COMPETITORA” AND COMPETITORB) -”YOUR BRAND” -site:competitora.com -site:competitorb.com -title:competitora -title:competitorb.
Here you can sort the results without having to export.
Now your job is to sort through the results and try to find why they mentioned your competitors but not you. Here are the most common reasons why they would do this:
- They’re referencing something your competitor did (news story, viral link bait article, etc)
- They’re just not familiar with your brand or business
- They’re listing companies that are similar to you but just forgot to mention you
- They like competing businesses better
If you’re looking to build links fast then your best option is to find articles where your business can be added without too much effort needed. “Best list” type articles are a great option here.
Then it’s just a matter of reaching out to them and asking for a link. Here is a sample email (don’t copy it word for word).
Gabriel here from Undrcut Digital Marketing.
I was wondering if there’s any reason you mention both [Competitor 1] and [Competitor 2] on your [insert post URL here] but not [your business]?
Just curious, I’m actually kind of happy that you didn’t list us because it gives me an opportunity to tell you about our awesome company which I think you’ll love, because we’re [Why you’re good].
Any chance you could add us to that post?
Get Forum Links
Forum links are known to be pretty easy to get. Most of the time all you have to do is sign up and leave a comment on a relevant thread with your link in it. Other sites like Quora work in a similar manner. The only issue with this is that these links are almost always nofollow, meaning that they don’t pass link juice.
Here is a quick hack to find forums that allow dofollow links:
First go to Ahrefs site explorer and enter a competitors domain. Then filter for “backlinks”, “dofollow”, and “message boards”. This will show you all the links that they have from forums.
You can then register to these forums and get your own backlinks. The only problem is that these links are quite rare, as forums usually nofollow all their links by default. Also, they can look a bit spammy so don’t overdo it.
If you go through enough of your competitors you should still be able to get a decent amount of these links. Once there are no more dofollow opportunities left you’ll have to go back to nofollow ones.
Many SEOs don’t think too highly of nofollow links but they shouldn’t be neglected, especially if you need to maintain a high link velocity.
Here’s something to keep in mind: Leaving a reply on a forum thread takes the same amount of time no matter what, so why not go for threads that have high traffic?
It just makes sense that the more traffic the thread has, the more exposure your link will get. With exposure comes potential links as well.
Here’s an example of how to think of it:
If a site gets no traffic whatsoever: Nobody knows that your site exists so they can’t link to it.
If a site gets 5,000 visitors per month: a small percentage of those people might have websites. Even if only 50 of them have a site, some of them will still might link to you.
If a site gets 50,000 visitors per month: Let’s pretend that only .1% of these people link to you, that still adds up to 50 new links per month.
As you can see, posting on forums in your niche will put your business in front of new people that might not have heard of it otherwise. These people will be much less likely to nofollow their links as well.
So what’s the best method to find these forums? First use this Google search operator site:quora + topic to find Quora threads related to your topic. You can also replace Quora with other big authority sites Then export the results using the Ahrefs SEO toolbar.
From there just sort the results by traffic to find the pages that you should go for first.
An even better and more efficient method is to just input a domain like Quora into site explorer. Then go to top pages and search for your keyword. This will give you all the most relevant pages by traffic. Then just go on the forum and post your link when appropriate in threads. Make sure not to force it, make it look natural.
You can also use this exact same method for blog commenting. Enter your target blog into site explorer and look at the “top pages” report for the highest traffic pages. If comments are allowed make sure to drop a quality one in there.
Steal Links from Less Deserving Competitors
Surely you’ve heard of the popular “skyscraper technique” before.
If not it involves a few steps:
- Finding content with lots of links
- Creating superior content
- Ask the sites linking to the inferior content to link to you instead
Theoretically it’s perfect but comes with one common issue which is that creating super valuable content is very time consuming.
So if you have less time than your competitors then you might not be able to do this, but thankfully there’s a way to get links without creating anything new.
Instead of creating new content you can just go with what you already have. You can just take some of the best content on your site and promote the hell out of it by finding similar stuff and stealing their links.
An example would be if you have a competitor that has an inferior product to yours. If you can prove to people that yours is better with actual facts then you can reach out to anyone linking to them and recommend that they link to yours.
Here is an example email:
John here from Product X.
I just came across your Buyer’s Guide and saw that you recommended the Product Y..
Did you know that when tested this one didn’t do too well?
I’m not sure if you’ve personally tried our Product X, but this was one of the few to survive thrid party testing. Not only that, but it’s actually cheaper than the Product Y—one of the cases you currently recommend.
Just thought I’d give you a heads up in case you wanted to swap out the recommendation.
This does take a bit of effort to do. You actually have to research thoroughly why your product or service is superior. In order for people to swap out links they need a good reason to do so.
You can go through this exact same process for other content on your site like buyers guides, blog posts, and more.
Now you might wonder how you find all these link opportunities in the first place?
Here’s the long method:
- Find good content on your site
- Search Google for similar content
- Filter out the inferior results
- Input them into Ahrefs site explorer to see how many links they have
This method is time consuming but it works. You also might find it hard to find content that has quality backlinks in the first place.
Here’s an even better and faster method:
Use content explorer from Ahrefs to find similar content that has backlinks.
You do this by searching for a keyword related to your content. For example: if you wanted to build links to a digital marketing agency then you could search for “digital marketing”.
Then use the word count filter to narrow results down to just the weakest pages that still have referring domains. A good amount of referring domains is 20+.
Also, if the content was created years ago then it might be a good idea to add a publish date filter for old content.
The last step is to check the backlinks report in site explorer for any results that are relevant. You can sort through these results manually and email the best ones.
Don’t Neglect Internal Linking
Your average SEO knows that they should use internal links, but most still don’t realize the ranking power they have. There are numerous case studies on the web of sites using internal linking to increase their traffic.
Also John Mueller himself from Google has stated that anchor text from internal links helps to provide Google with additional clues as to what the content is about.
So to recap, a strategic internal linking strategy can help your rankings.
How do you execute this strategy? Here’s one way.
- Find a page you want to rank higher
- Find other pages on similar topics on your site
- Link from the similar pages to the target one
Here’s an example:
On the Undrcut site we want to rank for various digital marketing services locally. The problem is that people are much more likely to link to informational content than money pages. Because of this, what we can do is to add internal links from the most popular blog posts to the service pages that we want to rank. This will help to boost the rankings of the service pages for their keywords.
So how do you find these pages to link from? Just use this search operator site:domain.com “keyword”.
Swap the domain.com with your domain and swap the “keyword” with something topically related to your page.
Next you’ll have to download the results using Ahrefs SEO toolbar or any other chrome extension that allows exporting of SERPs. Then you want to open up each of the results in your browser and look at the source code.
When viewing the source code use CTRL + F to look for the URL of your target page. If you get any results then you have already linked to it and you can go onto the next result in the sheet.
If you get no results then it means that there is no internal link to your target page. This would be a good opportunity to add one.
Getting backlinks for your site isn’t as difficult as the gurus would have you believe. Almost any site can get high quality links without having to invest a lot of money.
Take action on everything that you learned in this article and see how it goes for your site. Even a small time investment can get some good links in the long run.
We would recommend outsourcing some of these processes so that you can focus on running your business and scale faster.