18 min read

Link Acquisition: 9 Methods That Work Best in 2024

Dmytro Tsybuliak
Link acquisition

In 2024, link acquisition still remains one of the most effective strategies for increasing your site’s authority, organic traffic, and brand awareness. From the early days of Google's 1996 “BackRub” algorithm to the recent March 2024 Core Update, the way you acquire your links determines how search engines perceive your website.

 And here's why:

  • While Google claims links aren't as important for ranking as years before, they still signal search engines where to place your website. And SEO experts seem to agree. In our recent survey of 113 SEO experts worldwide, 58.4% rated the impact of links on rankings as significant.
  • Backlinko's recent research backs the same thought, showing that top results on Google usually have an average of 3.8 times more backlinks than positions #2- #10.
  • Link acquisition from authoritative websites is one of the fastest and safest routes to better online visibility and traffic inflow. According to our survey, 83.2% of SEO experts believe that the impact of link building on rankings and traffic can be seen already within two weeks or more.
  • Quality backlink acquisition is crucial for enhancing your site's domain authority, which, in turn, results in better rankings. Based on Ahrefs' findings, websites tend to gain higher rankings when the linking domains have a score exceeding 45.
  • Link acquisition is a powerful driver of user engagement, as quality backlinks naturally draw in interested audiences to your content. Moz suggests that websites with more backlinks often experience higher dwell time and lower bounce rates, which can eventually lead to higher conversions. 
  • Strategic backlink acquisition from relevant, niche-specific websites informs search engines that your content contributes to a specific subject area, increasing your relevance in that niche. This automatically labels your content as "helpful" for users as per Google’s Helpful Content System & Ranking Update of 2022.

Seems like a good day to start getting serious about link acquisition and adding some effective strategies to your link-building plan. We'll delve into all the details shortly, but let's start things off with the basics for now.

What Is Link Acquisition?

Link acquisition, or link-building, is an SEO tactic for securing backlinks from high-authority websites to your own.

By acquiring links from reputable sources, you're telling search engines that your content is helpful, well-researched, and trusted by many. Hence, it deserves to rank high in SERP.

When your link acquisition strategy is effective, your backlinks essentially serve as endorsements from Google, affirming your valuable contribution to users' search experience. The better the quality of your backlinks, the more trustworthy you seem to Google.

What Is Link Acquisition?

💡Pro-tip!

Sometimes SEO newbies confuse link acquisition with another similar notion — link earning

While both involve sourcing backlinks, there's a distinction between them.

Link acquisition involves strategically obtaining links through specialized methods such as guest posting, direct outreach, and various other techniques that we'll dive into later.

On the flip side, link earning is more laid-back. It's about creating awesome content that naturally attracts links because it's just that good.

Brightlocal is a great example of a website that's earned trust from authoritative sources because of its spot-on, relevant content.

example of brightlocal

Check out its resource page, packed with numerous insights! It offers a wealth of information to educate both experts and beginners on important SEO topics, making it highly valued by many.

Maybe, in its early days, Brightlocal DID hustle for links to climb the rankings, but now it's all about link earning. With its solid reputation, it attracts links naturally.

If you explore Brightlocal’s backlink profile on Ahrefs, you'll be taken aback by the numbers: an impressive history of 4 million backlinks from 60.7 thousand referring domains. That's some serious link love!

brightlocal backlink profile

When you dig deeper into Brightlocal’s referring domains, you'll stumble upon some heavy hitters like microsoft.com, youtube.com, and a bunch of other big names!

Referring domains of brightlocal

However, don't get too carried away. Proper link acquisition is a marathon, not a sprint. For many websites, the only way to rank higher is by taking a proactive approach and investing time and effort to actually BUILD those links.

Take Backlinko, for instance. While it boasts an impressive 3.1 million backlinks, there's still room to leverage link acquisition methods to increase its referring domains.

Backlinko backlink profile

If you're in the same boat, you have two options:

  • You can always turn to trusted link acquisition services like Editorial.Link. With its wealth of experience and established relationships with reputable websites like podium.com, monday.com, hubspot.com, and more, boosting your rankings with high-quality, contextually relevant links is just a click away!
  • Or, you may experiment on your own, by enhancing your backlink acquisition efforts with some methods that still prove to work in 2024. We’ll dwell on that in a bit. Just scroll down!

Proven Link Acquisition Methods: 2024 Edition

While you might already be familiar with most of these backlink acquisition methods, in 2024, you can still boost your rankings with:

Link Acquisition Methods: 2024

Niche edits

Niche edits, or link inserts, involve placing your links into already published content that's relevant to your niche or area of expertise. As the naming suggests, this link acquisition method comes from the idea of "editing" existing blog posts, articles, and other informative content to include your links.

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

Niche edits prove to be an effective backlink acquisition technique because:

  • Unlike new content, niche edits are placed in already indexed content, leading to quicker improvements in rankings.
  • Niche edits add links to content already relevant to the linked site. Search engines prioritize contextually appropriate links, hence their SEO value boosts. 
  • When placed on authoritative websites, they automatically transfer authority to the linked site and increase its rankings. 
  • Appear totally natural to search engines, which excludes the risk of penalties.  
  • Contribute to a natural backlink profile thanks to varied anchor texts.

One of the most reliable ways to score niche edit links is by reaching out to website owners or editors. Start with a friendly suggestion to enhance their content, and then highlight how adding your link could bring value to their readers.

example of pitching niche edits

Of course, if your content is highly relevant and well-researched, website owners and editors may naturally include your links in their content without you needing to ask or pay for them. 

However, it's always best to be proactive and reach out first, especially if you have a good reason to. Here are some instances where you can freely do so:

  • If you come across a broken link in a resource related to your niche, you can reach out to the website owners linking to it and ask them to replace it with your link.
  • If you find websites or businesses that mention your brand without a link, you can ask them to add a citation link.
  • If you bump into pages listing resources relevant to audiences with similar interests to your area of expertise, you can propose adding a link to your resource.

PR links

PR links, or “Public Relations links” are not new but remain a proven method of backlink acquisition. It's about sourcing links from authoritative media hubs, influencers, and reputable websites.

💡Pro-tip! Before approaching serious media, ensure your content is newsworthy or highly sought after by their audiences. This increases the likelihood of your content being linked to and featured by media outlets.

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • When a reputable publication or media outlet features your business, it sends a strong signal to both search engines and potential customers about the quality and relevance of your website.
  • PR links offer benefits beyond SEO, including brand building, reputation management, and relationship building with journalists, influencers, and industry experts. 
  • A single link from a major news outlet can serve as an inexhaustible source of referral traffic and additional backlinks.
  • PR links from websites with high DA provide a significant competitive advantage over rivals. Due to the uniqueness and originality of your content, it's unlikely that competitors will secure the same link, giving you a distinct edge in the market.

Learn from the best! In 2022, Airbnb.com showcased a masterful approach to strategic backlink acquisition by combining product PR and newsjacking in response to a major event of the year — the war in Ukraine.

By collaborating with international and regional nonprofits and governments, Airbnb facilitated housing for up to 100,000 refugees. This initiative resulted in over 28,000 individuals signing up through Airbnb.org to provide temporary housing for those in need.

example of pr links campaign

This not only drove an influx of new users to the Airbnb platform but also generated significant media buzz, opening doors to more backlink acquisition opportunities. Take a look!

airbnb pr links campaign

💡Pro-tip! Interested in exploring the broader potential of PR links for your link acquisition? Start incorporating these PR link-building tactics into your strategy, including:

✅️ Newsjacking

✅️ Expert commentary 

✅️ Data-driven content 

✅️ Connectively (formerly HARO) networking 

✅️ Awards & Recognitions

✅️ Product PR

✅️ Thought leadership

And don’t even doubt digital PR! Our recent survey among SEO experts confirms that it’s a top choice for link acquisition in 2024, with  67.3% of surveyed pros vouching for digital PR.

digital pr is the most effective link building tactic

Guest posting

Guest posting is a backlink acquisition method that focuses on creating valuable articles, posts, and other materials for external websites in exchange for links.

Following our research, guest posting ranks as the second most popular form of link acquisition among surveyed SEO experts, with 38.9% of professionals regularly leveraging it.

38.9% of professionals regularly leveraging guest post

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • Guest posting on websites with solid DR can transfer link juice to your own website, particularly if the content is of high quality. This brings not only new audiences but also referral traffic benefits.
  • Publishing content on reputable niche sites establishes you as an expert, boosting credibility and trust among your audience.
  • Guest posting fosters relationships with industry peers, opening doors to collaboration opportunities like co-production  or more guest posting chances.
  • Diversifying your backlink profile with guest posts across different websites helps reduce the risk of algorithmic penalties and enhances your site's overall SEO performance.

The most common guest post examples include:

Our successful link acquisition strategy involved offering more than just guest posts but focusing on building relationships. By regularly providing value, we established a connection with a publisher who allowed us to regularly contribute guest posts due to the consistent  quality of our content.

Zoltan Fagyal, SEO Consultant & Co-Owner at Back Bay Digital
Zoltan Fagyal

SEO Consultant & Co-Owner at Back Bay Digital

Linkable assets

Crafting linkable assets, also known as link-bait content, is a fantastic way to acquire links. It's all about creating valuable, unique content that naturally draws in links. As our findings show, linkable assets conclude our top three link building tactics, with 36.3% of experts voting for them.

36.3% of experts voting for linkable assets

💡Pro-tip! If you're running low on ideas, here's a quick list of linkable assets you can come u with  source those valuable backlinks:

✅️ Infographics

✅️ Fresh stats (for example our State of Link Building | 2024)

✅️ Thematic studies

✅️ Listicles 

✅️ Educational videos

✅️ Podcasts 

✅️ Case studies

✅️ Product/Feature/Reviews

✅️ Playbooks/Guides

✅️ Free tools (for example our Link Type Classifier)

A practical but often overlooked method for acquiring links is creating comprehensive statistical articles relevant to our industry. Other content creators usually refer to and link to these articles, which becomes a valuable resource. By regularly updating these articles with the latest data, we keep them relevant and attract quality backlinks. This boosts our SEO and helps establish us as industry experts.

Adarsh Ravindranathan, Content Promotion Specialist at G2
Adarsh Ravindranathan

Content Promotion Specialist at G2

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • Linkable assets are like magnets for links because of their quality, often prompting others to link to them voluntarily.
  • This approach is highly cost-effective for acquiring links since you invest less in content promotion. While initially securing a few backlinks may be necessary for ranking, additional links tend to follow organically without further assistance.
  • Even if your linkable asset receives a link from just one high-ranking source, you can still benefit from its link equity, not to mention search and referral traffic.
  • High-quality content establishes the website as an authority in its niche, boosting the brand's reputation and credibility as more people engage with the linkable assets over time.
  • Link-bait content frequently drives higher user engagement, including longer site visits, reduced bounce rates, and increased social sharing. These positive indicators indirectly support improved search engine rankings.

An excellent illustration of effective link-bait content are Search Engine Journal’s annual reports, featuring up-to-date statistics in the SEO field.

state of SEO by SEJ

Many SEO experts eagerly anticipate these fresh insights and readily link Search Engine Journal’s findings into their content.

Given how new the report is, take a look at the impressive number of referring domains this linkable piece of content has already acquired!

state of seo by SEJ referring domains

Resource page link building

Resource page link building is a link acquisition method that presupposes setting up a dedicated section on your site where you gather useful tools, articles, tips, educational videos, and more — all relevant to your niche.

Typically, such resource pages provide free materials that add value, such as up-to-date stats, research findings, and observations. These freebies can appeal to a wide range of audiences, including niche websites that are keen to incorporate such valuable content into their own.

Our high-quality content has become a powerful tool for generating backlinks on its own. We currently receive inbound backlink requests due to our clients’ strong positioning in many relevant industry topics. Other players discover our content and offer to exchange link placements. Each month, we receive 2-4 such requests from high-level websites, including some direct competitors.

Jairo David Guerrero Vasquez, Founder & SEO Capitan at Phanum
Jairo David Guerrero Vasquez

Founder & SEO Capitan at Phanum

Here’s how SE Ranking leverages this approach.

resources pages on se ranking

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • Resource pages are hubs of fresh insights for website owners and interested publishers. By offering them the opportunity to link to your resource, you create a win-win: they enrich their content while you gain a valuable backlink. 
  • Links from resource pages are often considered high-quality because they are curated and maintained by website owners who value quality content. 
  • Resource pages are typically organized by topic or niche, meaning the backlinks you acquire from them are directly related to your content, boosting relevance and authority.

💡Pro-tip! Once your content is featured on a resource page, it can continue to attract backlinks and referral traffic over time, providing long-term benefits for your site's visibility.

For example, not long ago, Greg Jarboe was featured as an expert in our recent article on ethical link building strategies, contributing valuable insights on the topic.

example of resource page link building

To our delight, the expert kindly boosted our post's visibility by adding a link to the article on the external resource page seo-pr.com.

our cases with resources page link building

This is a great example of ethical link building. We expect more referral traffic and backlinks in the long run, while the expert gets a new mention and might boost his authority in the niche. It’s a win-win!

example of ethical link building result

Broken link building

Broken link building is a manual link acquisition method that involves searching for broken links on relevant external websites in your niche and offering your own content to substitute such gaps. This approach proves to be effective as most website owners genuinely appreciate external help and may reward you with a valuable backlink for your attention to detail.

You can use Ahrefs to find relevant websites in your niche and identify 404 error gaps in their backlink profiles by checking the "Broken Backlinks" section.

broken links example

Now, you can reach out to website owners having broken links and offer a helpful hand in fixing them.

A Quick Fix for a Broken Link

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • When you target broken links on reputable websites in your niche, the backlinks you acquire are often highly relevant and authoritative, which can significantly boost your own site's SEO performance.
  • Since you're offering a solution (fixing a broken link), your outreach is more likely to be well-received compared to cold outreach that solely requests a backlink. Website owners are often appreciative of the heads-up about broken links.
  • Creating content to replace broken links can be more efficient than creating entirely new content from scratch. Often, you can repurpose or update existing content to suit the needs of the broken link context.

Unlinked mentions

Unlinked mentions are a type of contextual backlinks that you can use as an alternative backlink acquisition method. This tactic involves finding mentions of your brand on other websites and asking the site owners to add a link back to your site where your brand is mentioned.

You can keep tabs on these mentions by using specialized tools like BrandWatch or Brand24. Just set up filters, and you'll get notified whenever your brand name or chosen keywords are mentioned.

Alternatively, you can rely on the trusty Ahrefs for the job. Its Content Explorer feature functions like a mini search engine for mentions when configured correctly.

Let's explore mentions of the domain "Backlinko.com" in the Content Explorer, while excluding any results from the site itself using the site: backlinko.com variable. Additionally, we’ll focus on mentions on websites with high DR, say, within a range of 40 to 80.

example of unlinked mentions

Now, you can check whether any of these mentions include links, and if not, you may ask website owners and editors for linking.

Amplify Your Content: Let's Link Up

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • Unlinked mentions signal existing interest in your brand or content. Identifying them allows you to secure new backlinks, enhancing your website's ranking and driving increased traffic.
  • If your name pops up on a respected website without a link, you could benefit from its credibility by getting a bit of its link power flowing your way.

One approach that I think is feasible is finding unlinked mentions of your brand, and reaching out to see if websites mentioning it would add a link. It’s a great approach because those who have mentioned your brand are already familiar with you and are quite open to being contacted for this type of request.  

Also, because it’s a warmer “lead”, they are more likely to add a link to a priority page or whatever page you ask them to link to. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that using the mention tracking tools is sufficient for this effort, but I’ve found so many more opportunities by using search operators and searching in Google. 

It’s an overlooked strategy for established brands that can help them get really great, targeted links to priority pages.

Aaron Anderson, Founder & Lead Link Builder at Linkpitch.io
Aaron Anderson

Founder & Lead Link Builder at Linkpitch.io

Blogger outreach

Blogger outreach or collaboration with bloggers can also score you plenty of backlinks. Since it's aimed at an audience similar to yours but may not yet be familiar with your brand, it's highly effective. According to THM Agency, around 60% of consumers make a purchase after reading a blog post about a product.

In the same way, if your link gets featured in a blogger's content, there's a good chance it will also be clicked or even shared by the blogger's audience.

💡Pro-tip! Discover bloggers whose values align with your brand's, and strike up collaborations through:

✅️ Guest posts

✅️ Backlink exchange

✅️ Broken link building

✅️ Unlinked brand mentions

✅️ Product reviews

✅️ Partnership

Take Neil Patel, for example. He includes brand mentions in his product reviews without direct links, which are likely to attract organic searches simply because they're mentioned on his blog.

blogger outreach post on neilpatel

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • When bloggers link to your content, it amplifies its reach. Their audience becomes exposed to your content, potentially leading to increased social shares, traffic, and engagement.
  • By reaching out to bloggers in your niche, you can secure backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites, growing your own authority and relevance.

Content promotion

Content promotion is a backlink acquisition method that is applied to articles, blog posts, and other materials to give them a little extra boost after they've been published.

Before diving into content promotion, engage with your audience on social media by posing relevant questions related to your content. Observe their responses and consider asking them to register for events related to the content, allowing you to gather direct contacts.

Here's a fantastic example of sleek contact collection demonstrated by Andy Crestodina in his LinkedIn post.

example of content promotion via linkedin

Once you've obtained their contacts, begin building an email list of interested individuals who may appreciate receiving your content regularly.

💡Pro-tip! Include links in your email newsletters, campaigns, and automated sequences. However, before audiences consider subscribing to your newsletter, entice them with a freebie such as an eBook or another compelling link magnet. This gesture can encourage those interested to join your list and engage with your content further.

If your content promotion is more targeted at journalists and PR pros, you may resort to specialized tools like Prowly to automate:

  • Journalist, blogger, and influencer database search 
  • Press release distribution
  • Targeted email campaigns dispatch
  • Media pitching
  • Performance tracking

An underrated yet highly effective link acquisition method we’ve utilized is drafting press releases and submitting them to authoritative paid publications. This tactic often goes overlooked but can yield significant SEO benefits. By crafting compelling press releases that highlight notable achievements, product launches, or insightful data reports, and targeting respected publications, we secure valuable backlinks that boost our site’s credibility and visibility. This method, combined with targeted pitching to niche publications, ensures our content reaches a relevant audience, fostering organic link-building opportunities.

Julian Hooks, Principal SEO Consultant at Asurion
Julian Hooks

Principal SEO Consultant at Asurion

Apart from social promotion, email marketing, and PR outreach, other content promotion tactics for link acquisition include:

  • Link inserts: Leverage high-traffic platforms such as forums, Q&A sites, online communities, and directories where relevant to insert links naturally in discussions or listings.
  • Paid promotion: Invest in social media advertising, sponsored content, or pay-per-click campaigns to target specific demographics and amplify the reach of your links.
  • Syndication: Distribute your content to third-party websites, publications, or content aggregators for wider exposure. Ensure proper attribution and link back to your original content.
  • Repurpose Content: Repackage your content into different formats such as videos, infographics, podcasts, or slideshows, and distribute them across relevant platforms with links back to the original source.

🧐 Why use it for link acquisition?

  • Even top-tier content benefits from a nudge. Being proactive ensures a steady influx of fresh backlinks.
  • Leveraging diverse channels like social media, email newsletters, influencer outreach, and paid advertising amplifies your content's reach, extending beyond your current audience. This broader visibility attracts potential linkers who see value in sharing it with their own followers.
  • Extensive promotion and sharing of your content signify authority and credibility to both search engines and fellow website owners. Content perceived as authoritative, informative, and trustworthy is more likely to attract inbound links.

Wrapping Up

Strategic backlink acquisition isn't just a passing trend — it's a cornerstone of your website's SEO game plan. It remains the top-notch method to maintain your rankings unless you're all about those white hat link acquisition methods we've been diving into.

If you're still getting the hang of professional link building, don't feel pressured to dive in all at once. Take it slow, one step at a time, and gradually start adding these techniques to your arsenal.

For optimal results, entrust your rankings to reliable link acquisition services like Editorial Link.

Leveraging our well-established partnerships with reputable websites, we provide comprehensive expertise in devising tailored backlink acquisition strategies for every client. Contact us and discover how we can benefit your business!

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