16 SEO pros and our 5 years in link building for B2B. We’ve joined forces to create an exhausting link building guide full of tactics that earn backlinks in 2023, 2024, and beyond.
We’ve broken down all the tactics into 3 buckets, ranked by the difficulty of acquiring backlinks. Let’s start with advanced link building.
These tactics require extra leg work, endurance, and a high skill set. But you can expect outstanding results like getting 3,000+ unique referring domains from one single article. Let’s dive in.
While all of Andrew’s examples are standalone products, you can roll out your power page content on a subdomain.
Example: Your product is a user onboarding tool. Create a power page where you record and explain the advantages and disadvantages of user onboarding flows for different software.
Specific personalization is what boosts your positive rates. Likewise, lazy, generic templates ruin your outreach efforts and your company’s reputation.
Let’s look over the traits of high-quality and shallow personalization for guest posting or forming new partnerships.
While both may work out, great personalization can reach as high as 45% positive reply rates based on our experience at Editorial Link. Conversely, the average reply rate for outreach emails is only 8.5%.
That said, show you’re a human who gets the business. Offer a solution for missed opportunities. Tease with a win-win collaboration.
Furthermore, look at the number of referring domains SaaS companies acquire with digital PR in under several months.
The number varies depending on the brand, type of content, its rankings in the SERPs, cooperation with other brands and experts, and distribution efforts.
So, which type of content earns more unique backlinks?
Use your unique product data, analytics, internal experimentations, and research to pull off fresh and authentic content.
This tactic works great for well-established companies, personal blogs, and beginners alike. For example, the article “11 realizations from testing Search Generative Experience” by SEO expert Kevin Indig earned 36 backlinks with a DR of 55-75 within a week, according to Ahrefs.
The same is true for titans like Deloitte or Salesforce. Most linked-to Deloitte’s pages are original research, with a whopping 4,131 referring domains for two studies.
Master digital PR for link building with Brian Dean’s course in partnership with Semrush.
Discover what people think or experience with surveys and present the outcome as data-driven research to get more eyeballs and backlinks. The topic to explore might be anything from salary to industry struggles:
Surveys are versatile means, so listen to what people are talking about, what data they would like to see, research keywords, and launch an online survey. Tools like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or Typeform will be of great help.
Another example is Aira’s survey on link building impact on SEO growth, its measurements, and costs. Aira allocated a separate URL for each question group and landed over 1,000 high-DR referring domains in total.
The report was picked up by Shopify, HubSpot, Ahrefs, Yoast, and Search Engine Land, to name a few.
Team up with industry leaders with similar target audiences to double content distribution and brand exposure. HubSpot joined forces with Litmus, RockContent, and Wistia to create the latest “State of Marketing Report 2023”.
The result is over 17,500+ referring domains.
Likewise, BuzzSumo teamed up with WebCEO to look into the correlation between Core Web Vitals and user experience metrics. The study has acquired 166 unique backlinks to date.
Long-form content assets work as lead and backlink magnets alike. For example, Ion’s “Interactive Content Across the Buyer’s Journey” whitepaper earned 160 referring domains and was mentioned on HubSpot, PRNewswire, and GrowFusely.
More established brands can reap umpteen numbers of backlinks from ebooks and whitepapers. For example, three LinkedIn ebooks resulted in 1,191+ referring domains. However, some LinkedIn ebooks have got just 10-26 backlinks.
It can be anything from interactive infographics to playbooks or gamified landing pages. With proper distribution, interactive assets earn editorial backlinks for their novelty and creativity.
Think of Poppy Field, an interactive visualization of war fatalities. It’s got 222 referring domains, and the number is constantly growing.
Develop free tools to carry out simple tasks like predicting the ROI of an advertising campaign — just like Hootsuite did. This calculator brought 333 referring domains.
Another tactic is to give away a part of your solution. For example, Ahrefs has developed an array of free SEO tools with limited data. Not only do these tools generate backlinks, but also they are a great means for lead generation.
Furthermore, Icons8 built free design software Ljunacy to attract backlinks and SEO traffic. The page ranks for over 2,000 keywords and comes with over 3,100 ref. domains.
Step 1: Find ideas that resonate with society, press, and the blogosphere — data privacy, personal data collection, and selling.
Look for studies mentioned in big media:
Step 2: Verify if this is still a current issue.
Step 3: Come up with an idea. Think of a unique angle and/or dataset. Or steal and tweak proven ideas to replicate the success. Get inspired by my team’s work:
This study has got a link even from National Geographic, probably the biggest link building win I experienced. It was an offline version of the magazine, so no passing Page Rank, lol.
And we couldn’t agree more! The bigger your following and engagement, the more content managers and journalists want to cite you.
Create carousels and share your opinion on hot topics and trends. Break down your internal processes and bolster posts with numbers.
“The best-performing posts by far are carousels. Sharing a specific strategy that helped me do X works the best. For instance, ‘How to scale guest blogging: Tactics helped us get featured on 75 websites.’” — Antonio Gabric.
Also, a well-established personal brand on social media opens lots of doors for guest blogging.
The same tactic proved fruitful for Tomasz Niezgoda:
This tactic works wonders for local SEO. The essence is you offer $1,000 scholarships on behalf of your company and ask educational institutions to feature your scholarships with a link. If your contest is meaningful and beneficial to students, you’re likely to secure high-quality .edu backlinks and media mentions.
Consider AutoAccident’s college scholarships. The team offers scholarships every year. All topics are tied back to the company’s mission and services — personal injury lawyers.
The latest Sacramento Driving contest was rolled out in May 2023. In one month, the scholarship page earned 155 referring domains. Worth to mention that 30% of the links are of DR70-91. Considering the reward of $1,000 and extra spend for pitching colleges and media outlets, the end totally justifies the means.
Use Google search operators to compile a list of sites that provide scholarships — site:.edu external scholarships and inurl:k12 external scholarships.
📚Recommended reading: A Complete Guide to Charity Link Building.
Brainstorm a show-stopping ad to go viral and get thousands of media mentions and backlinks alike. For instance, Heineken’s ad "Not all nights out are out" returns about 2,640 results in the SERP.
Of course, not every media will place a backlink. So, it’s a good chance to claim your unlinked brand mentions.
An expired domain is any website that hasn’t been renewed and is no longer in use. However, some of them have amassed lots of high-quality backlinks and come with a DR of 40-70. This makes expired domains a quick win and a “white-hat” way of boosting SEO rankings.
You’ve got several options.
For example, Petkeen.com bought petnet.io with over 1,000 referring domains and a DR of 62 and redirected this domain to Petkeen.com, according to Wayback Machine. This way, petkeen.com flooded the site with link juice. Moreover, Petkeen thought up a smart and safe way for a 301 redirect strategy and created a separate page discussing Petnet.
The cost of the deal was $26,725. The domain was sold on 2021-04-30 at NameJet, according to NameBio.
Another excellent example is how learn-about-tea.com, with over 200 referring domains, was redirected to https://recipes.net/drinks/tea/
If it still sounds like a way time-consuming venture, explore the second option.
For example, Shared.Domains perform group purchases of powerful auction domains, where each participant gets a link from it. With Shared.Domains, you can get a strong homepage backlink for 7-10 times cheaper and boost your site's SEO performance.
If you don’t want to search and vet domains, resort to Shared.Domains and place your order. This vendor participated in over 10,000 expired domain auctions on GoDaddy, Namecheap, DropCatch, and NameJet.
As such, Oleg Galeev recovered his affiliate site with backlinks from Shared.Domains after the Google update in May 2020 and saw exponential growth in his website’s traffic and revenue. Later, that site was sold for over $600,000.
Prepare to roll up your sleeves and find numerous link building opportunities.
These are popular link building tactics for B2B companies. They’re relatively easy to carry out, and you may expect a great return on investment.
Everyone does guest posting, but only a handful of companies drive tons of links. The most common reasons for poor results? Templated and boring pitches that get an immediate turn-off. Shallow content ideas. Outreach to irrelevant contacts. The hard sell.
Ben’s secret sauce is exactly what you need for ABC guest blogging, which is a reverse-engineered approach that connects people (aka blogs), so everyone in the group receives, say, 5 unique backlinks from one member.
So, how the ABC approach does work in practice?
First, you get friends with several companies that acquire links through guest blogging. Next, you offer them a mutually beneficial collaboration — you’ll link to their websites from your guest posts, and you expect them to reciprocate.
This way, one person can bring 5-7 links to your site monthly, depending on their guest blogging volume.
Another tip to smart guest posting is to boast your best-written content ever in pitches and deliver on promises.
We at Editorial Link also employ this tactic to secure high-quality links on DR85+ domains, like HubSpot, Forbes, BusinessInsider, etc. Cultivating long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships has opened hundreds of doors for delivering only quality backlinks for our clients.
Want to explore our white-hat link building services? Get in touch with our Senior Link Building Strategist.
Parasite SEO is when one populates the SERPs with its product by a certain keyword being featured on authoritative domains. Examples include:
The logic behind is similar to guest blogging. First, you identify keywords and websites you want to be published on. Next, you pitch guest posting ideas or purchase sponsorship packages. Once your article is live, we recommend boosting it with backlinks to advance its appearance in the top-10.
At Editorial Link, we tested this tactic with an article on Search Engine Land on How to outsource link building: Benefits and tips to follow. The results are amazing! The piece has already occupied the 2nd position by a competitive keyword “outsource link building”.
Reverse listicle link building, or a two-way listicle link building, is a strategy that involves creating and publishing listicle-style content on your website and then reaching out to other relevant websites and suggesting including their content in your listicle.
In return, you ask them to link back to your listicle.
Start with listing all the niche websites and their DRs. Sort them by descending DR and write about the most-known and several less popular businesses for free. Then, reach out to other relevant sites and offer them an inclusion for a backlink.
Example: If you were to create a listicle about social media scheduling tools, you’d go to G2, enter your primary keyword for the listicle, and collect products’ URLs.
Next, you open up Ahrefs/Semrush and navigate to the Batch analysis. Drop the prepared URLs and generate the report. Sort it by DR.
Upon publishing your listicle, contact every business on the list and politely ask them to give a shout, ABC link building, or link back. Reverse listicle link building can help you forge partnerships with top-notch brands.
The next underrated tactic for obtaining backlinks on any website is to collaborate with freelance writers, bloggers, and contributors. It can go two ways:
While the former directly violates Google’s Spam Policies, as paid backlinks are prohibited, the latter is just networking and is safe.
To find freelance writers on specific websites, go to LinkedIn, type in “Writer” in the search box, select the current company, and set a page language. Go through the results and contact every writer to offer a collaboration.
Don’t specify “freelance writer” in your search, as it limits the results. Not every writer specifies they’re freelancers on their pages.
And here’s another way to get links from statistics link building by Jakub Rudnik.
So many SEO experts see value in statistics link building that we’ve got one more powerful tip from Andrew Holland:
Finally, statistics link building is also a favorite tactic for SaaS of John Ozuysal, Founder of House of Growth and Co-Fouder of Datapad. And John has devised a way to earn even more backlinks to statistics articles:
What makes a good story go viral? It hooks the readers with a title. Next, you set the premise and unfold, contradict, and offer unexpected twists. Lastly, you strengthen it with data or personal experience.
The best examples of thought leadership content in the SEO world, in our opinion, are Kevin Indig’s blog, Rand Fishkin’s LinkedIn posts (I wish Rand turned them into blogs), and Tim Soulo’s articles on Mention and Ahrefs.
That said, Kevin’s blog has amassed over 4,200 referring domains from HubSpot, Ahrefs, SearchEngineLand, Wix, YCombinator, Business 2 Community, and more.
Likewise, Tim Soulo’s single article with a pretty provocative title “I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading. And NO, I Don’t Feel Sorry” has earned 600+ referring websites
Here’s Ben Pines’ secret advice on how to become a sought-after guest:
Detailed and transparent case studies can also serve as backlink magnets. For example, when writers want to back up their claims or give an example, they often mention relevant case studies.
The more data you showcase in case studies, the more valuable resource you create for potential customers and content creators alike.
Safe to say that 67% of SEO pros are skeptical about broken link building, as it’s time-consuming and dubious in terms of ROI. But those who’re doing it right rank broken link building in the top-5 amid their link building methods.
HubSpot, Editorial Links, ActiveCampaign — we all get high-quality backlinks by finding and fixing broken ones.
📚Recommended reading: Broken Link Building: The Complete Guide
Now, you simply reach out to all the listed agencies, congratulate them on their award, and send over the badge, asking them to put it on their website and link back to yours. Everybody wins!
G2Crowd is obviously lord and master in embeddable badge link building.
We’ve labeled these 8 tactics as "beginner-friendly" because you can easily employ them and start building links straight away. What’s more, you can seal backlinks even from DR90+ domains.
So, what are you waiting for?
Join Slack, Discord, and Facebook communities for link builders to level up your link building! Here’s a handpicked list of link building communities you can trust:
You can’t scale this tactic, but you can land a handful of high-quality backlinks. How?
Get in touch with products or services you are happy with. Say that you want to spread your love towards their services and write up a testimonial.
Spice it up by showing off the numbers, like with tool X we improved our CTRs by 78%. This will make your testimonial irresistible even for big-name companies.
Ask if they could place a backlink to your website or a concrete landing page. Done!
If your brand has strong recognition, set up media monitoring tools like BrandWatch or Mention for your brand and product-related keywords (e.g., productivity tools). Get alerted on new mentions and check if a media outlet has placed a link to your site.
Or use Ahrefs to find unlinked brand mentions.
Next, you outreach to selected websites and ask them to link back to your site under your brand mention.
All three are platforms that connect journalists and sources. Register as a source, select your niche, and receive daily emails with journalists’ requests. Set up alerts for Slack to be the one among respondents to seal the backlink from prominent blogs and media outlets, such as CNN, The Verge, The WSJ, etc.
When drafting your input, mention your analytics data, statistics, numbers, or studies. The more unique and fascinating your answer is, the higher your chances of getting featured on top-notch media outlets.
Niche edits require link builders to find relevant articles ranking on the SERPs and ask webmasters/editors, to put a contextual backlink to your landing page. Usually for a monetary reward, a favor, or a backlink from your side in return.
Here’s how HubSpot approaches niche edits with a smart twist called HisOps.
If you’re a B2C or B2B product company, set aside your marketing budget for a product reviews campaign. Reach out to bloggers and offer them a trial, a sample, an affiliate commission, or a shout-out for their honest review or a comparison post.
This tactic works two ways:
The idea behind is to search for blogs that have borrowed your images/infographics without giving credit back and claim the link.
To find unauthorized imagery uses, turn to reverse image search (Google or Bing image search).
Think of imagery that associates with your product. Take professional photos and upload them onto photo banks like Flickr, DepositPhotos, or Unsplash.
Coffee blog CoffeeRank did just that and successfully received unique backlinks from Flickr.
Denote the URL a user must credit for the image in the image description. Run a reverse image search monthly to spot unauthorized image uses.
We do hope you’ve enjoyed reading this ultimate link building guide! If you have any questions or need a helping hand with backlinks, contact Editorial Link’s team for a personal consultation.
📌Have got one more secret practice on acquiring backlinks? We’d love to feature your tips and tricks! Contact our editorial team ([email protected]) and offer your input for the article update.