Don’t Get Left Behind: The 8 Most Effective Link Building Tactics For 2015

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Do you ever wonder if you’re wasting your time building links?

Google has aggressively looked for ways to devalue links in its algorithms for quite a while. At first, you could just hop on to the next link-building tactic, but now, Google has a pretty good handle on how to factor links into its algorithm.

That being said, backlinks are still a very important ranking factor… just look at the image above. 

It’s always good to get more quality backlinks—the ones that are natural because you have content worth linking to. You can build these backlinks using a few tactics.

Some SEOs engage in risky blackhat tactics, but unless you can operate on a large scale and are fine with getting penalized later on, it’s not particularly profitable.

The other main strategy is to earn backlinks by creating great content and getting it in front of the right people.

Although there haven’t been any new tactics for link building in a while, some proved to more effective than others in 2015. Plus, you can always find ways to improve each of the tactics.

What I’m about to show you are the 8 most effective link building tactics that work well right now as well as ways to implement them better than, or at least as well as, anyone else.

The mindset of link building in 2015

I’m warning you upfront:

Most of these tactics require having great content. I’m not talking about the articles you can get from Fiverr for $5. I’m talking about well-written articles and other well-designed content made by experts, whether that’s you or someone you hire.

Here’s the thing: You either spend the money on content, or you spend it on backlinks.

You can get great backlinks without great content, but you will have to pay a lot for them. We’re talking at least $100 per link. Since Google is getting better at recognizing on-page quality, this approach has limited effectiveness.

Instead, spend the money on great content. Eventually, that will earn you long-term, consistent traffic that will more than pay you back if monetized properly. Think of content creation as an investment.

Here is what I generally consider great content to be:

  • in-depth guides written by subject experts
  • professionally designed infographics
  • useful tools for your audience or peers
  • professionally filmed videos

Once you have that content, you can start using the tactics I’m about to show you to get great links for relatively cheap (or free if you don’t count your time).

Here’s why these tactics are the best: As you might know, getting great rankings takes time—it’s a long-term goal. But with most of the tactics in this post, you can get links that send you traffic right away. Always try to get links that will not only help your search authority but will also send you traffic that can be turned into subscribers.

Download this step by step worksheet of 8 most effective link building tactics for 2015.

1. Steal your competitors’ links

If you publish top-notch stuff for a while, you’ll get a few natural backlinks here and there.

When you see those links, you’ll think to yourself: “I wish I knew sooner that I could get a link from this site.”

It’s easy to find those obvious link targets, but it’s often hard to find other sites that could link to you. Although the web has about 1 trillion websites, you’ll never hear about most of them.

What this tactic entails is actively monitoring the new backlinks that your close competitors get and then seeing if there’s a way that you can get a similar backlink as well.

Here’s how you do it…

Step 1 – Find close competitors: Notice that I emphasized close. The more similar your sites are when it comes to subjects covered, the more effective this tactic will be.

Why? Imagine you run a blog about conversion rate optimization. Technically, Quick Sprout might be a competitor because I occasionally write about split testing and other optimization tactics.

However, if you monitored Quick Sprout’s new backlinks every day, very few links would be relevant to your site.

Instead, you want to find a really close competitor whose backlinks are very relevant to you and worth trying to get.

To find those blogs, we’ll use Google, but you have to be really specific. Search for “best [specific niche] blogs.” This should bring up a few lists of popular blogs, which is what we want.

For this example blog, we want to find other conversion rate optimization blogs:

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Look for lists that are pretty recent; otherwise, you might find that blogs that once had a very specific focus have since become more general authority sites.

After looking through the first few lists, we can identify at least five close competitors. For example:

  • Crazyegg
  • ConversionXL
  • Unbounce

Write these down somewhere so you don’t forget them.

Step 2 – Spy on your competitors: Once you have a list of competitors, start by searching for the first one on Ahrefs or Majestic. Here’s what it looks like on Ahrefs:

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On the top menu, navigate to: “Inbound links > New”. This will show you the newest backlinks that point to your competitor.

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By default, it should show you links from the last seven days, but if your competitor gets a ton of links on a regular basis, you may want to do this daily. Besides, free plans can show you only a few results at a time, so checking every day will let you see more of the backlinks.

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Next, start visiting the sites that provide the backlinks. Just click on the blue URL:

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Find the link on the page, and figure out why the author included it:

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In this case, it’s a quote by a Crazy Egg blog author about using the Buzz Sumo tool to find new content ideas.

You’ll need to repeat this for each link in the report, and then do the same thing for each competitor.

Step 3 – Find a way to get those links: This is where you’ll need to practice because it’s not easy to figure out how you can get a similar link.

In this case, I can reasonably assume that if the author is using a quote there, it means that coming up with popular content ideas isn’t her area of expertise.

From here, there are a few ways that I could approach it:

  1. Pitch a guest post on that topic (e.g., “X Ways to Come Up With Content Ideas That Are Guaranteed Winners”).
  2. Introduce myself as a conversion rate expert and offer to provide a quote about content ideation or any other relevant topic in the future.
  3. Come up with a clever spin on using Buzz Sumo for content ideas and send it to the author so that she can quote it and include a link to my site. Additionally, I could write a short tutorial on it that she could just link to.

Every link is different, and there are different ways to approach it.

In general, you need to figure out why the author linked to your competitor’s piece: what value did your competitor provide to the linker?

Figure that out, and then try to provide value in a similar way. It won’t always pay off, but if you get really good at this, you can have upwards of a 10% success rate.

Step 4 – Monitor in the future: This is a never-ending tactic, which is a great thing. If you can get just one or two links doing this an hour or two a day, you’ll have 360-720 really high quality links in a year. If you get this many, you will be getting some significant search traffic.

2. Stand out among the crowd with the Skyscraper Technique

I mention Brian Dean and his site Backlinko all the time. He’s best known for his Skyscraper Technique.

He’s written quite a few case studies of his readers getting great results from it. One reader got several backlinks along with 36,282 visitors and 1,000 subscribers. Another reader was able to drive 17,584 unique visitors to a brand new website in one day.

The basic idea is to create the best piece of content by far for a particular subject. Then, reach out to people who have linked to inferior content and ask them to add a link to yours.

Here’s how it works…

Step 1 – Pick a keyword and research the SERPs: First and foremost, this technique is for you to get some high authority links. The traffic is just a bonus.

In order for this to work well, you need to pick a keyword with a decent search volume (at least 1,000 searches per month). You’ll see why this is important soon.

You’re free to use any keyword research tool you’d like, but I’ll use the Adwords Keyword Planner for this example. Start by searching for your main niche:

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You’ll get a list of relevant keywords. Next, filter out any results with fewer than 1,000 searches per month:

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Now that we have a list of keywords with a decent search volume, we can look for a good keyword to target with our content.

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This isn’t the greatest list. Some keywords are too general (e.g., “search engine optimization”), while others are too specific (e.g., for a certain product).

One possibility is “search engine optimization tips.” This is related to conversion optimization but only loosely. So I would keep trying other search terms in the tool to find a better keyword.

Next, I inserted “split testing” into the tool and found that “AB testing” had 4,400 searches per month. That’s a good keyword to target.

Next, go to Google (in incognito or private browsing), and search for your keyword. Start looking through the results to see what you’re up against:

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Don’t get put off if you see content from extremely authoritative domains ranking highly. Remember, the goal of this technique is to get backlinks. You may rank for your target term, but you may not. You can still get traffic and rankings for long-tail searches, and the links will help your other content as well.

Step 2 – Create the best piece of content ever: There are many ways to improve content. You can make it longer, more in-depth, more trusted, better looking, or improve some other aspect of it.

It’s important that you improve upon the content in the first few search results not by a bit, but by a lot.

You want to be able to reach out to site owners and say that linking to your guide will improve their articles or resource pages a lot.

Here are some great guides to producing exceptional content:

Step 3 – Use email outreach to “steal” links: Once you have your content, it’s time for an email outreach campaign. You can do this yourself or hire a virtual assistant to do it for you.

First, you need a list of competitors. Use Scrapebox or this online tool to scrape the Google results for your target keyword:

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Copy the results into a spreadsheet. Next, you’ll have to run the URLs through Ahrefs or Majestic. Then remove those that have fewer than five links.

Once you do that, you’ll have to get the full backlink profile of each URL:

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Export the list of backlinks, and add a new sheet for each URL’s backlink profile.

Finally, you need to visit each of these pages that link to your competitors’ pages, and send them an email asking them to include a link to your page. Brian has outreach templates you can use.

As you can see, this is not an easy technique. It will take at least 20-30 hours of work. However, you should be able to get a good level of traffic and, more importantly, 20+ great backlinks.

3. Truly remarkable infographics still awe audiences

Using infographics to get backlinks is a strategy that has been around for years. It was one of the main strategies I used to build both the KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout blogs.

However, as more and more people recognized the potential of infographics, the results started to diminish. I still think they are a valuable tactic even if they aren’t as effective as they used to be.

Since 2012, my infographics have driven over 21,000 visitors and over 370 backlinks from 34 unique linking domains.

If you pay a designer to create your infographic (which I recommend), it will cost you somewhere from $250 to $595 per infographic, depending on the designer and the size of infographic. This works out to $7.3-17.5 per linking root domain (about a tenth of that per backlink).

Here is my complete guide to creating a popular infographic.

In addition to the sites in that guide that you can submit your infographic to, here is a list of another 20 (some duplicates).

Start with what’s in that guide, but there’s one promotional tactic you can use to take your efforts even further.

The basic idea is to find infographics that your competitors have made in the past and see who republished them and linked to them.

Google “[competitor] + infographic”:

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Alternatively, you can perform the search in Google images.

You will see that the infographics are either:

  1. shared by your competitor (someone else’s infographic) or
  2. created by your comptetitor.

For the most part, just ignore the first one unless it’s highly relevant to your niche. If it is, record the original URL of the infographic.

Keep going through the results until you have a giant list of infographic URLs that are highly relevant to your blog. Then, repeat it for each competitor.

Afterwards, plug your URL into a backlink analysis tool, and inspect the backlinks:

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Vsit all the URLs that are linking to the infographic’s page:

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On each website, try to find a contact email. It’s likely that if a site has shared a conversion optimization infographic in the past, it will do it again in the future.

Email the contact person with the template from my guide (or your own), asking them to take a look at your infographic. Remember, if you leave a few comments on that site or share a few of its posts first, your odds of success will be higher.

4. Strap on a mic and get interviewed

Speaking is not for everyone—I get that. But if you’re comfortable being interviewed on a podcast, you can get some solid links that cost nothing other than your time.

If you have a great reputation in your niche already, you probably get podcast interview requests fairly often.

But if you don’t have that level of popularity yet, don’t worry—it can still be done. The only difference is that it will take some extra effort on your part.

Instead of targeting really popular podcasts, we’re going to target podcasts of a low-medium popularity. They have a much harder time getting good guests, and if they’re new, there’s a good chance that they will grow as they continue the show. This could lead to a win-win relationship with the podcaster.

At this point you might be thinking: “How does this get me links?”

When a podcaster does a show, they almost always have a website where they post show notes. They post links to the resources mentioned in the episode. You can send 4-5 links to the content on your site to the podcaster after the interview, and almost all of them will be happy to add them to the show notes.

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Step 1 – Search for general niche terms: Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a really good podcast search engine.

Until there is one, you can either go straight to iTunes or use Podbay.fm.

Search for any niche where you think you would be a valuable guest. For example, I would search for “marketing,” “SEO,” “entrepreneur,” “business,” etc.

You’ll get a list of podcasts that are focused on that topic:

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Step 2 – Identify suitable targets: This is the problem with not having a better search engine. There’s no way for you to easily find a suitable podcast.

Instead, you will have to record the name of each show from each search result in a spreadsheet. Yes, I know, this is tedious, so outsource it to a virtual assistant if you don’t want to do it yourself.

When you “view” a podcast on podcast.fm, you can click on “Stats” to find out the podcast’s popularity.

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Create a column in your spreadsheet for the “TrueRank” of each podcast:

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The rank is a measure of how popular a show is, where lower is better.

Step 3 – Work your way up: Unless you’re well-known elsewhere, you can’t start with the most popular podcasts.

Order your spreadsheet by the podcasts’ rankings: from the highest TrueRank (the least popular) to the lowest (the most popular). Target the first 5-10 least popular shows before moving to the next ones.

If you really want to boost your chances of a successful pitch, leave a 5-star review for the show on iTunes. The podcaster will greatly appreciate it.

Then, find their email from their website, and send them a pitch like this:

Subject: (Name of podcast)

Hi [name],

I freaking love your podcast! I only discovered it yesterday and wish I did sooner. Not sure why you guys aren’t ranked higher in iTunes.

Anyways, I left you a glowing 5 star review, so hopefully that will help you get a little more exposure.

I actually gave podcasting a go before, and it was a blast, but decided to pursue other business opportunities.

I’m not sure if you’re looking for guests for the show, but I’d love to come on for an episode if you are.

I’m a [profession or business description]. For your show, I think we could have a great discussion about [related topic]. In particular, we could talk about how I [past impressive achievement].

Keep up the great work!

Warm regards,

[your name]

In order to write your pitch well, you will have to give the show a quick listen. See if they have standardized questions as well as what topics they prefer to talk about (although you can usually see those from titles/descriptions).

Once you’ve done a few shows, move on to the next set of shows. Do the same pitch, but add a line in the middle of the email that says: “I’ve recently done interviews on (Podcast #1), (Podcast #2), and (Podcast #3).”

Although this is time consuming, and part of a long-term strategy, it can pay off with some solid links and an opportunity to connect with influencers in your niche.

5. Actively target link roundups for links and authority

Link roundups are an underused source of links at the moment.

I’ll show you how to find roundups in your niche and get included in them.

In case you’re not familiar with link roundups, let me explain. They are a collection of links of the best new resources in a niche. Typically, the creators of these roundups publish them once a week or once a month on their blogs.

They are used in almost every niche, which makes this an incredibly versatile and useful tactic.

Here’s how you do it…

Step 1 – Find link roundups: To find roundups, search Google for:

“intitle:roundup” + [your niche]

 

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You should be able to find at least a dozen within the first five pages or so of the results. The best ones are weekly and monthly roundups, which could lead to ongoing links if you develop a relationship with the creator.

In this case, I used content marketing as a pretty specific niche. But you could also look for general “internet marketing” roundups or for related roundups in SEO or inbound marketing. As long as you think the roundup will contain links to articles in your niche, it’s fine.

There’s no limit to how many you can record on a spreadsheet: the more the better. Ideally, get at least 15-20. Some niches will have more than others.

Step 2 – Establish contact with the authors: Roundup creators spend a lot of time finding good resources to include. If you can bring them good content (yours), it’s a win-win.

Cold emails can be fairly effective, but you can take your results to the next level by establishing content first.

The problem with cold emails, even in a win-win situation, is that the roundup creator will assume that you’re doing this just to get a link. That means you probably don’t care about their roundup much or its level of quality. Some won’t mind, but some will.

The alternative plan is to comment on a few roundups (new ones), share the roundups and other content, and then ask for yours to be included.

Remember why roundup authors create roundups:

  • to get social shares
  • to attract backlinks
  • to attract engagement (comments)
  • to begin relationships

Monitor the list of roundups you have over the next month, and make sure to comment on the next one. Also share it on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social platform is most appropriate, and make sure to tag the creators in it.

Step 3 – Reach out: Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, you can finally reach out and ask to be included. In many cases, once you comment on and share previous roundups, the creators will check out your website and even include some of your posts.

Either way, here’s a template you can use if you need to reach out:

Subject: Weekly roundup on [site]

Hi [name],

I stumbled across your weekly roundups a short while ago and love how much effort you put into including only the best posts of the week. I know that must take a ton of time.

I hope it’s not too forward, but I just published an epic post that I think would be great for a future roundup. It’s a [length] word guide on [topic] that is incredibly detailed and actionable.

Can I send you a link to the post?

Best Regards,

[my name]

If the person you are emailing says yes, just send your link. If you don’t get a response after a week or so, send a quick follow-up email with a similar message.

Since you’ve commented and shared past roundups, the creator will likely know that you’re willing to help out if you get included, which will improve your chances of a positive response.

Once you do get included in a roundup, make sure to leave a comment on it and share it wherever possible. Then, send another email like this:

Subject: Just wanted to say thanks

Hi [name],

I really appreciate being included in your roundup this (week/month). I’m a little biased, but I think it’s one of your best yet ;).

If there’s anything you need help with, just shoot me an email. I’ve checked out the rest of your work, and I love it. If you ever need a link/share, I’d happy to help.

Thanks,

[your name]

The final piece of the puzzle is to wait a while (at least 2-3) roundups, and then ask them to include your next epic piece of content. You will have a very high success rate this time.

Since you can’t constantly pester one person, it’s good to find as many roundups as possible so that you can get a continuous stream of links.

6. Create a useful tool for your community

When we talk about content, we usually talk about text, audio, or video.

But I think you can consider a tool a type of content as well.

I’m talking about a tool that your readers and colleagues can use: something like Quick Sprout (big) or something like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer (small). Either way, you can get some great links that work out to $2-20/link once you factor in the cost of the tool, which is fantastic.

Option #1 – Create a small tool: You take on much less risk with a small tool. If you spend a few hundred dollars and for some reason it doesn’t do well, it’s not too big of a deal. If you spend thousands, then it starts to matter a lot.

Here are some examples of tools:

  • Keywordtool.io: A keyword research tool. Estimated cost – $4,800. Linking root domains – 2,400. Cost per linking root domain: $2.00
  • FaqFox: A simple market research tool. Estimated cost – $200. Linking root domains – 83.00 Cost per linking root domain: $2.41
  • The Content Ideator: A content ideation tool. Estimated cost – $2,400. Cost per linking root domain: $20.69

Depending on the tool you pick, you have some wiggle room in the price. I can think of many tools that could be made for just a few hundred dollars.

The main reasons you would create a small tool is to get backlinks and traffic.

Option #2 – Create a powerful tool: Alternatively, if you see the opportunity to solve a big problem with a tool, you can take it. That’s what I did with the Quick Sprout website analyzer.

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I’ve previously blogged about the cost and return on an investment like that. It cost over $45,000 at first to build (~$100,000 for the final version), but I figure that it brings in about $60,000 per month.

The exact URL for the tool has 625 referring domains (and the number will only grow). This works out to $160 per linking root domain. That’s about what you pay per link when you hire an SEO agency. The difference is that this tool brings in a ton of business on a regular basis.

If you decide to create a powerful tool like this, the links can be part of the reason, but the primary objective should be to build your business (feed it leads).

I highly recommend making a free and a paid version of your tool. Not doing so was one of the biggest mistakes I made with Crazy Egg.

7. Make authoritative businesses love you with detailed reviews and testimonials

Do you know what the #1 objective of most businesses is?

It’s to make money.

If you can help them do that, they will love you.

Here’s what you do: Make a list of all the products you use to run your blog or business that you genuinely like.

Then, fill in the blanks in this sentence:

“(Product name) has helped my business (achievement).”

This is what businesses are looking for. They want to show testimonials and case studies from businesses who have actually accomplished something with their product.

Then, get in touch with the company (marketing director if possible) and offer to provide a testimonial. Include that sentence from above. You need to show that you have some data to back up your claims.

Additionally, offer any other data you have, or offer to do a video review as well.

If you have something to offer, there’s a good chance you can get a solid link from an authoritative domain such as this:

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Not all companies have a testimonial page. You can still offer to give one—they can use it in blog posts or on various sales pages. Just mention that you’d appreciate a link with it when it makes sense.

8. Guest blogging isn’t what it used to be…

Guest blogging for SEO has been all the rage for a few years up until a little while ago when Matt Cutts declared that guest blogging was dead.

That’s an exaggeration, but I think the way that many people guest-posted is indeed dead.

If you’re just posting on low traffic low authority blogs that are desperate for content, the ones you’ll find on services such as MyBlogGuest, you are not going to accomplish much.

Instead, you need to focus on getting guest opportunities on leading authority sites in your general niche.

First, however, you need to realize that this isn’t all about SEO. If you’re putting all the work into getting an opportunity and creating great content for a guest post, the one or two links you get is not enough to justify the effort.

The main benefit you get is traffic and increased exposure/authority from appearing on a leading blog.

I’ve written many times about how to do guest-posting effectively:

The final tip I’d like to give you on how to improve your guest-posting from a link-building perspective is this: contextual links (links in the article) get more value than links in a bio box.

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Most site owners won’t be happy if you stuff your guest post with links to your site. However, it’s usually fine to add one or two—when appropriate—in the article text itself as long as you are including links to other authoritative sources as well.

Conclusion

Link building is still a vital part of SEO and site growth. You shouldn’t spend all your time on building links, but you should be spending a large chunk of it on a regular basis.

In 2015, effective link building tactics revolve around creating exceptional content and then getting people with access to high authority sites to see it.

It’s up to you to decide which of these tactics you’d like to focus on. It’s a good thing to have a diverse link profile, which means that you should try at least a few of these tactics.

If you have any questions about the tactics I’ve given you here or have experience with any of them, please leave a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Well, you mentioned the most effective techniques to get quality backlinks.Mt blog is very new & I’m failing to build backlinks.
    I’m publishing articles, I’m getting the response, But I’m not getting natural backlinks for my articles.
    But I’m trying my best to make buzz of my new blog http://www.shouterbuzz.com . I will try again to build some links so that I can rank good in Google.
    Thanks for the article It will surely help me.

    • Deepak, thanks for sharing your experience. I think with time and patience you’ll find things will change. Looking forward to hearing of your progress.

  2. Hey Neil,

    I enjoy researching my competitors links and seeing exactly what they are doing and where are they getting them.

    This really is a very valuable route to go.

    Especially when you add more value to the resource on the page where they received a back-link.

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

  3. As always, epic post Neil!

    I think one of the keys to gaining links is the actual quality of the content. You need to write such high quality stuff that people WANT to link to it. It should be a case of trying to beat the algorithm but instead forgetting about it all together.

  4. I really like using the skyscraper technique and then pitching it to sites linking to weaker content. It is time consuming, but the results are worth it.

    I’ve been more active lately in the link roundups you mentioned and have seen positive results. I’m interested to try working in a few more of your recommendations into my routine….

  5. I kind of know the times when you post new articles and i enjoy that time cause i feel i “waste” my time on something valuable.

    In the meantime when you have some time you can take a look at a “MUST HAVE” Template for marketers that i know they would love:
    http://themeforest.net/item/blomag-html5-template-exclusively-for-marketers/12139045

    Let me know your thoughts.

  6. Great post. A lot of useful information. I haven’t thought of testimonials as a link building technique. Thanks a Neil!

  7. Hi Neil,

    This is something I was looking forward to for my new e-commerce website. I’ve 2 back links as being displayed in alexa ranking. I’ll surely going to improve on this following your advice.

    Sunil

  8. Hi Neil,

    I am really grateful to being a part of your regular readers. I’m almost every week surrounding here.

    I did love to research about my close competitors to found what they are doing exactly for getting top rank on Google.

    Have a nice day!
    Thanks,
    @AMRahulSharm

  9. It is very useful. Thanks Neil.

  10. That’s what I love about coming here, I always learn more than anywhere else, but to be honest, my head is spinning, I’m going to have to come back regularly to check what I missed. That’s my biggest goal, to work towards sharing the same amount of valuable and reliable content you do.

  11. Totally agree with Neil. Publishing “good, unique content” is not going to cut it anymore. Aim for exceptional. Write and build something that’s way better than what currently ranks at the top of SERP for your keywords/topics.

    I know you’ve had a lot of success creating tools, Neil. Which tool that you’ve built is the best for you in terms of ROI?

  12. Being a great blogger. Yeah!! It’s true that the content is king in SEO for Skyscraper technique. We should also consider some old techniques.

  13. Nice tips here. Though these tips are not new to me, but still its good to know that people like yourself still encourages us to build links and not only create great content.

    P.S: Myguestblog has changed, it is now MYblogU or something like that.

    I have a question, which sharing plugin you are using in your blog here, it looks great. I hope the navigation bar is Hello Bar..

    🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing these tactics Neil . I never expected the cost of Web Analyser tool on quicksprout is $100,000 .. But it is so far best tool i’ve ever used , haven’t seen any ads on it . But wondering , it brings such a huge money 🙂

  15. Hey Neil

    A very useful article here. For my young blog, will implement close competitor research to find out where do they get backlinks. My blog have been failing to get backlinks lately, but will surely work on this one as per this article dictates.

  16. Neil, another great article. Link building is something I get lazy with. Takes so much time.

    “Although the web has about 1 trillion websites, you’ll never hear about most of them.”

    And don’t you mean 1 billion websites, instead of 1 trillion? But the point that you’ll never hear of the vast majority is true. I had my site only a few weeks and it was already in the top 10 million in Alexa rank, meaning it was in the top 1% of all websites ever.

  17. Neil,

    Loved the article…and the breadth of its coverage and the depth in which you have covered this article.

    Link building has always been and will always be a moving target. Its a nasty never ending game of cat-n-mouse that the so-called big search engines have started and now to their own peril (read yahoo, aol, excite, alta-vista, askjeeves etc).

    Google has evolved as the 900lb gorilla on the block and even its struggling to declutter the spam sites. And in its never-ending effort to serve up relevant results it keeps fumbling with one update after another. Its a hit and miss solution to solve a problem thats its only fuelling more.

    The bigG needs to realize and accept the fact that there are smart and smarter people on both sides of Google’s complex.

    Can’t wait to share some things that I am experimenting with to blow the piddly updates out of water (atleast for a short time till they catch on to it), and then we will move on to the next one.

    Good info tho and quite detailed and relevant as of right now.

    Good on ya Neil.

    Onward and upward.

  18. You never disappoint with your posts.. always saved on my Pocket. Thanks Neil for the insights. You are awesome

  19. What about old time tactics like commenting on blogs, RSS directories, general directories, wrintng articles on high pagerank sites like Hubpages i think those still work, but you have to select only the high PR sites.

    What do you think?

  20. Amazing, it will be really interesting to share the report for the backlinks this article will get in a month or so.

    Or maybe let us know if you have done any link building in that specific period of time, and the results you’ve got 🙂

    I just checked, currently it’s on 7th place in Google, for just 13 hours since published?
    Is this article published or updated 13 hours ago?

    Anyways, this is gold, just amazing!

  21. Jagdish Kashyap :

    Thanks alot for sharing this wonderful techniques! As I’m working on a new blog and I really need some tips to get some high authority site links!

    Stealing your competitors backlinks is really nice technique to be on the top 😉
    Cheers!
    Thanks Again!

  22. This is the best article about link building I have read in the last months, thanks a lot to put all this information together.

    Cheers

    Arnold

  23. Hi Neil

    First of all THANK YOU for doing a great job in the field of Content Marketing.
    Your 100k per month Post inspired me to start my own blog in Travelling which I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

    I’ll try to implement more of your tactics on my blog.

    Great job.

    Regards
    Karan Sharma

  24. “… Google has aggressively looked for ways to devalue links in its algorithms for quite a while. …”

    This is technically inaccurate.
    Google have not really been looking to devalue links.
    They’ve been looking at;
    a) finding additional factors that indicate quality
    b) finding ways to reduce the effectiveness of spammy link building practices
    Neither of those are the same as lowering the value of links.

    The general tactics are the same as last year … and the year before … and the year before that … and so on.
    Basically, people are going to have to rely on;
    a1) Having stuff worth linking to
    a2) Promoting that stuff
    b1) Doing stuff worth talking about
    c1) Reaching out and asking for inclusion

    The reason is – all the lovely spam networks, excessive exchanges, in-depth and confounding link schemes, the spammy article/e-zine sites, crummy directories etc. have been hit, and hit hard.

    There are plenty of other things to look at mind you.
    The low-hanging fruit aren’t going to give you a lot of worth – but to get the ball rolling (Esp. for startups),
    1) Social Profiles
    2) Valid Directories

    After the simple “signup” and “easy content” methods, you start going up-hill in regards to time/effort.
    3) Visual sites (slides, pdfs, mind maps etc.)
    4) Share sites (scripts, images etc.)
    5) Social shares (you need content, or a good social post)

    Then you have the solid but more “costly” methods above (as cost of resources increases, the potential ROI increases too).
    6-13) As Per Above

    14) Pull a PR Stunt

    So there’s lots of little things you can do to generate some “self” links.
    (Social profiles, initial posts, little videos, little scripts, little graphics, free templates etc.)
    After those, it really does boil down to content, promotion, social manipulation or basic marketing/advertising.

    Warning :
    When doing your “research” for “better content” … do double check.
    I’m more than a little tired of seeing people include things that are inaccurate, wrong, stupid or outdated.
    The idea is that You create something of value – not that you run round the net stealing other peoples content and revise it a bit, then pile it all together. That’s not only lazy and close to plagiarism/paraphrasing, it’s often error prone!
    (And by “double check”, I don’t mean look at 3 semi-trustworthy sites. Do REAL research, look for contention/questions on that specific subject/angle etc. Trust me, it will save you some embarrassment :D)

  25. I suspect that many said good words about this article. Many people will say nice words, so it is pointless to repeat those words. I’ll tell you only this: I really like the article that you wrote.
    I carefully consider the links that we have achieved my competitors and I only care about the most valuable links.
    Please help me with this: I read somewhere that some consider more valuable than some weak links (from a local business ), but a stronger link (from a business that is not in that area, is not a local business ) .
    Sorry, my English language is not good, I use Google Translate to translate from Romanian into English.

  26. Hi!

    I had some AHA moments reading this post. I’m too shy to make a podcast interview but I’ll try to practice speaking to myself.

    I’ll send you a testimonial, something like “How a quicksprout blog post helped me to get a lot of great backlinks” when I succeed using these tactics.

    Best regards,

    Alex

  27. Back-linking was never taken seriously, though I knew it’s very important. From now on, I will be implementing the tactics presented here. Thanks Neil

    Regards
    Heston

  28. There is a balance we need to meet between getting links and getting conversions ( sales). While professional videos may garner you some links, it depends on what your niche is to whether this will convert to a paying customer or client.

    I advocate authenticity and transparency and to those I reach being very real pays off. My fans want to see my mistakes, my imperfections. I have landed some very high end clients by posting raw video, periscope streaming with fails and being very real. Professional videos would turn off my audience.

  29. Good article neil, I’ve tried to steal links from competitor. But it doesn’t work well. Most of my competitors have backlinks in their own network/private site/blog. How will you get backlinks from those types of site?

    Thanks,
    James

  30. Hi Neil, maybe I’m just stupid, but everytime I go to Adwords Keyword Planner (including when I click on the link you give in this post) I land on a page which tries to sell me ads. It is really infuriating because I spend ages trying to find a link which then takes me to where I can actually do some Keyword research without being directed towards buying ads. I don’t know which bright spark in Google thought that by making it difficult for people to do Keyword research they would force them into buying ads. I just gave up after 10 frustrating minutes. Any chance you could tell us how to get to the place in Google Adwords where I can do some research? I used to be able to do it about 3 years ago when it was designed to be simple.
    Thanks.
    Davina.

    • Davina, it definitely has changed a lot over the years. Google wants to ensure you are getting ROI rather than just waiting clicks — which is why it takes some time to get the keywords and ads down. I would suggest just trying out different variations of ads until you find one with a good CTR and conversion rate.

      • Thanks, Neil, but I can’t even get to the part in Google where I can find appropriate Key Words, so there is no way I’m spending one cent with them on spec!

        I will use another Keyword research tool and take my marketing Dollars elsewhere, if this is how Google wants to play it. The revolution against Google starts here!

  31. Skyscraper technique sounds like something to try. I’m always hesitant about, well, bugging people. Do you have any tips for not making a fool of myself? How to approach people, etc.?

    On the other hand I’ve been rather disillusioned by viral traffic spikes. You know, ten thousand people show up, and you think, “I’ve made it! I’ve hit the big time!” and Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” starts playing in the background, unbidden. . . Followed by business and traffic getting right back to normal.

    I’ve been working on building up links and organic traffic instead, but it’s a long slow slog. In order to rank high in search, you must have lots of inbound links, in order to have links, you must rank high in the search. . .

    • If you get the traffic spikes, you should see spikes in shares and links.
      Go trawl through that data – see if you can build some relationships, interact with those that left comments/ratings.
      Chances are, you can get a fair % of those to come back … and they will repeat their behaviour.
      Over time, you build a following…….

    • Connor, don’t be hesitant. If you have a great product to offer the rest should follow. Make sure your content is sticky and informative and you’ll never worry about “bugging” anyone.

  32. Hmmmm Neil,
    You’ll never cease to amaze me. How do you usually write all these mouth watering articles? I’m always like “WOW” whenever i read any of your posts and its always so fascinating man.

    Indeed, most link building tactics no longer work and even some that works will only last for a short while and the big G will just kick your ass :).

    However, if you follow all the tips mentioned here, there’s no way you’ll end up not getting top notch links from some authority blogs and this is the type that lasts forever.

    I’m currently trying to apply the Skyscraper technique on my new blog and will certainly update you on how it goes.

    Thanks for always sharing awesome stuffs Neil, more strength to your elbows.

  33. Hi Neil,

    Sorry if this sounds silly.

    But leaving a website link in the comments section.. does that help with back links too?

    Thanks!

  34. What about investing in blog themselves. bloggers are in need of money and content arguably sometimes. If bloggers partenered with content marketers, i think it would be awesome…

  35. Dear Neil,
    I can’t do that. Its so hard.. May be I was not born to do that. 🙂

    However, Excellent Post again.

    Waqar

  36. Great post Neil. I also Agree with you back links very importance factor for ranking. Here you give us great ideas about backlinks. Really I always learn new thing more than anywhere else.

    unique and informative content will always provide the nice ROI.

    One again Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts

    Thanks
    Webleonz

  37. Nice Article.Thanks for the this article now I can also build backlinks very effectively so that my site can rank easily.Thanks Neil Sir

  38. Thanks Neil for another great post!

  39. Thanks Neil, Something that i asked in your last post.

    Many of these are tactics that are already discussed by many others including you.. But this post do include some in depth info of how to actually implement those tips and lot of handy references too. Well that’s the whole thing your last post was all about.

    Again, these are tips typically for continuously updating websites.. Hope you consider off and on page tactics for static websites too..

    Thanks again..

  40. Hi Neal,

    I really love your articles, but if you can create sample approach on how to do content generation and management to a professional services website such as accounting website, and cleaning services website. i’m having such a hard time in creating contents with such website, but thanks for CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, i can now have a better headline in my next article.

    kind regards,
    Dale

  41. very very useful information neil, thanks for sharing 🙂

  42. Hey Neil,
    The article is quite informative and elaborate. In short, I understood that the quality backlink gives a boost to reach high in google. And great backlinks depend on great article, great strategies and hard work with honesty. I m not saying I am complaining here.

    But suppose, I have site of my business. Which only has a few pages with information on the service we provide.
    How can I make good strategy in that case???
    What should be my approach….if there is no more option for on page SEO??
    How can I get good results in ranking with only off page SEO???

  43. Neil again excellent post.
    I Like the way you explained each link building strategy and link roundups is new to me.
    presently I’m planning to publish an article using Skyscraper technique.
    thanks a lot.
    Srikanth.

  44. Another amazing post. My whole team has to read it 🙂

    Regarding guest posts:
    Most websites still don’t create a new author, so they just copy/paste the bio or write something like “author xy writes for domain.com” at the end of the article.

    Do you think Google notices that these are guest posts?
    I thought about not submitting a bio to avoid every footprint.

  45. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the awesome post.

    To be honest, it can easily become inundating to think about executing all of these tactics especially if one is just starting out.

    My little advice would be to focus on one or two strategies that one is really comfortable with and then diversify when you attain some measure of perfection.

    For me, I chose to go with creating Infographics; I saw a link of Brain Dean’s Guestographic method in one of your posts some time ago and I put it into action immediately.

    I created this post http://danewah.com/how-to-get-domain-authority-backlinks-for-free/ which has an Infographic in it and followed up with this one http://danewah.com/35-multimedia-motivational-business-quotes-by-living-entrepreneurs-infographic/

    I’ve also started getting other Bloggers ask me to create an Infographic for them in exchange for a backlink; of course, I like this deal and accept it.

    I like this deal more because the Bloggers don’t post the Infographic as a Guest Post; I let them post it as if they created it (ghost post); this gives more value to the editorial backlink which they give me.

    I believe that with a little bit of consistency with this strategy, I’d see my traffic and ranking improve greatly.

    Once again, Thanks Neil for teaching us and making this community more knowledgeable.

  46. Hiya there Neil,
    I have my website, which is recently launched and I am attempting to build a social following, primarily on twitter however I can’t help but notice that the number of your twitter followers are out of this world. Could you share the secret of what app or service you use to follow users related to your niche (as I assume you did not follow 25k people yourself :P)
    Thanks so much,
    Alex

  47. Hi Neil, This is really wonderful stuff. You write so well. That’s why I read your posts regularly. I was wondering about the effectiveness of guest blogging. Thanks for clarifying.
    I am going to read other posts on guest blogging you mentioned here.

  48. Kaluri Shankar :

    Hi Neil
    I like the way you explain your audience about the techniques and I came to know that write well written content for those who are minimum popular.
    Thanks a million for this informative post.

  49. Neil I always enjoy your article its worth our time because you get so much in-depth and share so many worthy resources and tools which we can use. thanks a lot.

  50. Waqar Ahmed :

    Hi Neil, you are doing an awesome job on QS, just keep it up. here i need to clarify something here and happy to hear you on it.

    let suppose we got a online magazine. And want to do some “OLD TACTICS” which usually we shouldn’t do often like the forums posting with a signature, blog comments. But when we want to do then what’s the method we should use. Because lots of SEO fellas i had watched on internet doin lots of spammin there “in Blogs, Forums” they don’t even know about these kinda advance technique of link building. they don’t know we shouldn’t build links on a page which have 1000 external links(50 maximum external links in my point of view). I just want to modify their techniques to not get caught by GOOGLE on their filthy tricks. the traditional formatting in link building they use “search operators” intitle: inurl: and “+” in keywords to find the relevant backlinks from G. lots of SEO’s don’t have the premium accounts of these services or even one of these services you mentioned in your posts. they do manual research and try to build a single quality link. what you gonna suggest them on it.

    Thanks
    @waqarjani

    • Don’t worry what other people are doing. Sometimes older sites are able to get away with more do to factors like good user metrics (click through rates, low bounce, etc.)

      I wouldn’t waste time on things that won’t be long run. I also wouldn’t focus on quantity… go for quality backlinks. In the longrun you will do better.

  51. Hi Neil,

    This is very informative article. You explain it so well. These are useful tips and tactics of links building in 2015.

    Thanks!

  52. Those advanced types of linkbuilding are very time consuming, and sometimes you can find yourself spending a lot of recources with no or very little result. I’m not saying that they are not working, but with some projects you simply don’t have enough time to build all these complicated relationships. Hopefully, some trivial linkbuilding tacticts are still working now, so I hope it will be still ok for us gray-hatters.

    Great post though.
    Thanks!

  53. This is megauseful!

    I’ve been a guest to several podcasts, with great conversion rates, but never really looked at podcasts as a link-generation strategy.

    Will certainly use that and the Skyscraper technique to build up http://TrademarkFactory.com

    THANK YOU!

  54. Wow. Neil, that’s a lot of information to digest. Thank you for putting this together. You mentioned that Fiverr is not a good source for quality content. Where would you recommend that we find great writers for super quality content? Thanks in advance.

  55. Yes! Great stuff, cant wait to implement some of it!

  56. Hello Neil,

    Great tips shared and I guess I’m gonna have to notedown or may be bookmark this post for later read.

    Thanks

  57. Great article. I once spent like 10 hours per day to get every single link I could for my website.

    Not any more. I found that that 80/20 rule works for linkbuilding. Meaning 20% of highest quality links will give you 80% of ranking results.

    Thnx, Neil!

  58. Neil,

    Nice post. I always expect to see a few link opportunities that I overlook and you always deliver. One thing I think is worth a mention is getting links from HARO. I don’t usually share links on your comments, but thought it might provide some value to the audience. I recently wrote this post on how to increase your chances of getting links through HARO:
    http://thedigitalelevator.com/seo/get-haro-links/
    Thanks for the great posts as always!
    Daniel

  59. Neil,

    Great post! One quick question that you might have already answered somewhere else. It looks like you are an advocate for purchasing content. Do you purchase content for Quick Sprout and put your name on it? I know many famous people publish books that they obviously did not write. What’s your opinion? Is this OK?

    Thanks!
    Brian

    • Brian, that’s not something I do.

      • Neil, thanks for the response! My gut told me you weren’t a supporter and I don’t support it either. However, you still seem to crank out quality posts regularly and write who knows how many comments to people. You must make it to bed by 1 or 2 in the morning.

        I am: a husband, a father of 2 kids ages 3 and under, a full-time web designer, etc… And I have managed to post a measly 31 times in the last two years. I love educating readers as well as providing them with fun information about being a nerd. I just don’t have the time to dedicate and I hate that I have to say that.

        How do you do it?

  60. Thanks for the great read Neil! I run a fashion jewelry ecommerce business (www.helensjewels.com). Most of my time is spent finding influential fashion bloggers and collaborating with them on Instagram posts/blog posts.

    They receive samples of our products, post them to their social accounts as well as blogs (with links back to our site/product pages). Are these links just as valuable as linking to actual content form our blog? Building links how we are doing it now usually takes a lot longer because I have to wait for them to receive the products and wait until the make the posts on our blogs as opposed to sending someone a link from our blog to put on their site.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  61. Most of these begging for links “tactics” has been mentioned at backlinko. Nothing useful.

  62. Neil, Thanks for the brief description about link building. Just want a suggestion that which one is better for my eCommerce website “Open Cart or WordPress”??

  63. I am getting addicted to your ideas. Here I am writing down everything you have listed here. What a creative way to get new links in the non-spammy way. I think that these strategies have worked even before 2015. It is just usually ignored.

  64. This is coming straight from the master, so every body, including me, would sit-up and take notice. Got lots of useful inputs, I have already marked the one on info-graphics as my next read.

  65. Neil, you and Brian Dean are just the same. you create a post with far too much information for anyone to learn fron you. Do you realise how much scrolling I have to do on a 19 inch screen. By the time I get to the last tip I have forgotten the first. I know you want to submit great content yourselves but this is too much content to follow. One small tip each day will be great. That way I can keep up. I cannot process lost of help all at once. Its easy for you to go on and on. Its not helpful for your readers.

  66. No offense Neil but as a Professional SEO, it is unethical to steal and spy your competitors’ link. I agree with Lewis, one of the key in link building is providing quality contents that people will be interested and involved to. I think this kind of tactic is for those who are desperate. Yet, the remaining tactics are useful. Thanks!

  67. Hi Neil Patel,
    I don’t know some of these link building strategies before reading this article. I have saw many online marketer still write about old link building techniques on their blog post, which in my opinion didn’t work in today SEO world. But, you have written latest backlink building tech. which proves helpful for all those webmaster/bloggers who implement it properly. Thanks for such a helpful article.

  68. Hi, Neil. Great post.

    I was particularly interested on the tool making strategy, it’s something I thought about in the past. I would like to know your opinion regarding the following situation:

    Say website x is about healthy foods. Perhaps a good tool for them to build would be a vitamin calculator. However they have this idea for another tool that doesn’t relate to their niche but has potential to hit big on social and on getting backlinks. Let’s say this tool would be great for people who watches a lot of movies.

    Would it still be worth creating this tool or because it isn’t related to the niche the benefits go down too much since the backlinks acquired would also be from unrelated websites?

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear, english is not my first language. Thanks and please continue with these great posts.

  69. You can never lose by reading you. A lot!!

    I’m just wondering, before investing a huge amount of money in building your tool, have you made some kind of validation or minimum viable product?

    Thanks very much for this post!

    Regards!

  70. These are the best tactics. I am following your tips and doing back links but the problem is, I don’t know how to index them quickly. Could you please suggest me how to do it sir? Thanks in advance.

  71. A really great text, I am beginner, my intention is to try all of this tactics, but it isn’t easy task. I am disapinted that guest post is “dead” or losing its importance

  72. Hey Neil,

    First of all, thanks for such a great information. umm no offence as a beginner I am saying that, we have to pay ahrefs to dig out our competitors links right ?? well, There is one more site where you can dig out your competitors links without spending a penny on it 😀 link ” openlinkprofiler[.]org.

    And one more quick question, I heard may of bloggers are using premier tools to build backlinks (tools like GSA..) is that save? to build backlinks by these tools?

  73. Thanks a lot for the tactics sir.

  74. Neil, fantastic post! This very post actually inspired be to create a tool for Broken Link Building.

    I actually had used it for awhile on my local server and it brought me awesome results, but since reading this post I have uploaded it for free at http://www.brokenlinkwizard.com/

    Would love to hear your feedback!

  75. Hi Neil,

    I was looking for the new strategies to build backlinks for the website. I have came across your post and that are the great strategies to implement to gain the quality backlinks for the website. Thanks for sharing!

  76. I’m not going to lie. If there was ever one thing that I struggle with its link building. This blog post however has handed me a lifeline and I won’t give up now.

    Thanks for sharing

  77. Hi Neil, You are really so genius, I can find the things that I want on your blog. Learned huge things today by this post.

  78. Hi Neil,

    To enhance my current link building strategy, this article help me a lot in effective link building. Thank you for sharing with us and I hope more in future.

  79. If I am looking for USA traffic to my website. Should I create back links from sites that have more traffic from USA (as per alexa) or it doesn’t matter?

  80. Hi Neil,

    First off, I’m a regular reader and love your site, thanks and keep it up!

    I have a question that I can’t find an answer for, regarding the linkbuilding tactic of building links from local business listings.

    I have a website that receives at least 80% of its traffic from organic search. SEMRush shows the site ranking for about 10.4K organic search queries which are mostly national search queries. However, I do have some specific pages covering local topics that receive traffic from local queries.

    The website is not a local business. However, it seems that I could pass some valuable page rank by building links from local listings. I was considering using Moz Local to list my website across all the major listings and receive backlinks. My goal would be to improve my current rankings, which are mostly for national search queries.

    My question is, would listing my website as a local business through Moz local hinder my national rankings? I know that the links from local listings would provide page rank & trust and thus could potentially increase all of my rankings, however I just want to make sure having a local address and being listed as a local business won’t send a signal to Google that I shouldn’t rank nationally for the keywords I currently rank for.

    What do you think? Would I see any benefit from local listings? Would I see any detriment?

    I really appreciate your response!

  81. Neil,

    I just wanted to tell you how invaluable your posts are. I did quite a bit of SEO work quite a long time ago. Back then, it was a simpler time!

    Recently, I started a new business and started trying to optimize my site and build backlinks. The problem was over the years, I had lost touch with modern SEO techniques and was essentially clueless.

    I’ve only been reading your blog for a short time and have already seen immediate improvement on my businesses website in regard to traffic and conversion.

    Thanks Neil!

    • The game definitely has changed and I am glad I could help. I had similar issues with all the updates so I wanted to create a place to help others.

      Thanks for sharing.

  82. I always read your blog but this is really give more info about how to promote website in 2016, thanks to Neil Patel

  83. Hello Neil,

    Thanks for the great resource here. Even though we are from a startup and trying to implement different kind of link building tactics to beat the competitor’s.

    Now with the above tools, we are going to compare with our competitor and make more even better to get increased conversions.

    Once again Thanks Neil!

  84. Great post. A lot of useful & interesting information. Thanks a Neil!

  85. Awesome information and thanks..

  86. thanks for sharing these awesome link building techniques.

  87. Thanks for sharing! I am starting on it now.

  88. What are the best link building strategies for 2016?
    1. Create semantic core – a list of targeted keywords First of all, you need to make keyword research and create a big list of targeted keywords. This keyword research tool will greatly help you with that. If you’re new to keyword research, make sure to check out this article.

    2. Prepare a detailed link building plan As it is well known, a good plan is 50% of success. Whereas, doing a lot of activities without a plan may even harm your website rankings. Backlinks are a real Google rank increaser if to use them in a smart way.

    3. Build links gradually and steadily Once you’ve got a detailed link building plan, you can start getting backlinks. But don’t hurry up, to look natural to Google, your link building must be performed slowly and steadily. As a general recommendation, we can say that for a campaign to look natural, you should build not more than 5 links a day. It is impossible to know how does Google rank websites, but it is clearly known, what approaches can make Google think that you create fake traffic.

    4. Get backlinks with different, unique anchor texts & different keywords.

    5. 25% of your anchors should include the URL of your website or even just consist of your URL only. 20% of links should point to the inner pages of your website 80% of links should point to the homepage, and 20% – to inner pages of your website. This rule is especially important for large sites with many web pages.

    • Thanks for the comprehensive response Karin, these are fantastic suggestions.

      I think one thing to also point out that producing high quality content will make your marketing much more effective. The better your content, the easier it will be to attract links

  89. Still I am confused with getting links from the same Industry, there are several genuine cases where we get backlinks from other industry related websites…

  90. I was looking for something like this…I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs….Keep sharing.

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