How I Built 826 Backlinks to a Single Article in 8 Weeks

No matter how much SEO evolves, backlinks remain the primary “currency” for Google when ranking websites.

In fact, a November 2016 study from First Page Sage found that backlinks are still the number one overall ranking factor in Google’s algorithm:


And I seriously doubt this will change any time soon.

Of course, there are other critical ranking factors, but building backlinks should still be your top priority.

When you break it all down, the more high quality, relevant backlinks you have pointing to your site, the better your rankings will be.

And that’s great and all, but how exactly do you go about quickly sending a high volume of backlinks to your website?

More specifically, how do you send them to a single article?

I’m about to show you.

I’m going to use a particular guide I created on Quick Sprout a while back as an example.

It’s The Advanced Guide to SEO I wrote with Sujan Patel.

I managed to build a grand total of 826 backlinks in just eight weeks to the guide.

SEMrush stats

First, let me give you a quick overview of the article’s stats.

I’ll use SEMrush to show you the details.


Now, that’s just a drop in the bucket when compared with the total number of backlinks for Quick Sprout.


The particular article I’m referencing accounts only for 1% of Quick Sprout’s overall backlinks.


But when you beef up the backlink volume for multiple articles, it all comes together to create a very powerful link profile for your site.

How did I do it?

It all starts with epic content

If you look through the Quick Sprout archives, you’ll see a massive body of content.

Some articles are better than others, but I always strive to maintain quality.

One content format that’s really helped bring in backlinks is the in-depth guides.

There’s a guide for general online marketing, content marketing, landing page optimization and so on.

Here’s a list of 12 guides and two courses offered.

And, of course, there’s The Advanced Guide to SEO I’m using as an example for this post.

If you browse through it, you’ll quickly see it’s not your average guide.

It’s incredibly comprehensive and detailed.

There are nine exhaustive chapters, covering everything from indexation and accessibility to link-building techniques and search verticals.

The various techniques are also broken down step-by-step so beginners can understand the specifics and ultimately gain a deeper perspective on the underlying theory.


In other words, it’s not something you’ll find on your average SEO blog.

My point here is you need to begin with epic content.

It needs to deliver value the bulk of your competitors aren’t currently offering.

As I’ve pointed out before, this doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel.

In fact, you can take an existing topic, improve upon it and still completely crush it.

This is known as the skyscraper technique.

If the quality level is there, the backlinks will come.

But if it’s not, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Target multiple keywords

I’m sure you know by now that long-form content ranks consistently higher than your average, run of the mill, 500-700-word post.

One of the more recent studies on word count from Backlinko found that “the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.”

02 Content Total Word Count line

There are multiple theories as to why this correlation exists, but regardless of the reasoning, it’s undeniable.

One reason why I really love long-form content is because it gives me the opportunity to rank for several different keywords at once.

Just think about.

If you’re writing a 500-word post, you’re essentially limited to targeting two or three keywords (unless you’re obnoxiously stuffing keywords).

But if you go significantly longer and hit upwards of 2,000 words, you can target several different keywords.

This approach allows you to cater to multiple segments of your demographic, increasing the number of times people link to your article.

Longtail keywords in particular are great for maximizing your organic traffic and attracting a larger percentage of your audience.

An example

Let’s say you’re a web developer writing an article on the topic of coding/web development.

You’re looking to showcase your expertise, build backlinks, bring in organic traffic, etc.

Just a little keyword research on The Google Keyword Planner will supply you with a handful of potential keywords to target.

Here are some keywords that look pretty good to me:


From there, you could include different sections in your article to cover PHP, RWD and mobile web development.

As long as your content hits its mark, it’s reasonable to expect that a sizable number of people will link to you.

Answer a relevant Quora question

I’ve mentioned before that Quora can be an incredibly powerful resource for generating referral traffic.

But it’s also a great place to build backlinks.

Here’s what you do.

First, do a search that relates to the article you’re trying to build backlinks to.

I’ll stick with web development as an example.

Just type in “web development” into the search box to find a relevant topic.

Then click on the topic you’re interested in.


This particular topic looks good because there are over 163,000 questions and 1.5 million followers.


Now, scroll down until you find a question relevant to your article.

This one might work:


It’s got plenty of upvotes and comments, which is good.

Now, leave a detailed, quality answer, and link to your article.

The idea here is that people will be impressed with your answer and click on the link you provide.

From there, a portion will be even more impressed with your article and link to it.

That way, you’re instantly gaining a solid link from Quora and potentially more from people who land on your content.

But here’s the thing.

You never want to be spammy about it.

This is only going to hurt your credibility on Quora.

That’s why it’s essential that your link is highly relevant to the question asked.

Spy on competitors for backlink opportunities

Sometimes, the best way to build backlinks is to simply ask for them.

But how do you know whom to ask?

One technique I’ve found useful involves first seeing where your main competitors are getting their backlinks from.

Since you’re in the same niche, there’s a good chance the sites that link to your competitors will link to you too.

Here’s what you do.

Start by searching for a competitor’s backlink profile on Cognitive SEO’s Site Explorer.

I’ll just use Backlinko as an example.


Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see who’s been linking to their site.


From here, I can see exactly where those links are coming from.

Next, reach out to those relevant sites with an email like this:


This is a great way to get on the radar of some of the more influential sites in your niche, and it can help you quickly gain some valuable backlinks.

It can be a bit of a numbers game, so you may need to send out a high volume of emails to get the results you’re looking for.

Create a round-up post

Okay, this last technique is a little different.

It doesn’t involved building backlinks to an existing article.

Instead, it revolves around strategically creating a “round-up post” with the specific purpose of gaining massive backlinks.

If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, it works like this.

You come up with an interesting question a lot of people have.

Then you contact a large list of experts and ask them for a response to the question.

Here’s a really good example from Clambr:


In it, Richard Marriot asks 55 experts what their three favorite SEO tools are.

A quick search on SEMrush lets me know he got 56 backlinks, which isn’t too shabby.


But there’s no reason you couldn’t get a lot more than that.

And the process is fairly straightforward.

You identify at least 30 relevant experts to answer your question and contact them.

HubSpot provides a template for your email:


You then compile the answers you receive into an easy-to-digest article.

The logic behind a round-up post

You may be wondering what the point of creating this type of article is.

Well, it’s simple.

After you’ve published it, you send all the participating experts a quick email that includes the URL to the post.

Like this:


You can expect a fair number of those experts to link to the article or share it on social media.

In some cases, your article might even go viral.

Just think of the implications of a big name expert, with a massive following, linking to it.

At the very least, you should be able to generate a good number of backlinks.

For more on the topic of round-up posts, I recommend reading this guide from HubSpot.

It will fill you in on the details.


Google looks at numerous factors when deciding where to rank your site.

But backlinks have been and will continue to be one of the primary ranking factors.

You need to come up with a viable strategy for generating backlinks—and plenty of them.

I find that creating top-shelf, long-form content and targeting a handful of relevant keywords is a good starting point.

That’s half the battle.

Beyond that, there are several strategies you can implement that will increase the visibility of your article and encourage others to link to it.

The ones I mentioned here can be a tremendous help and net you as many as 826 backlinks in just eight weeks.

What’s your number one go-to backlinking strategy?


  1. J. Ustpassing :

    Using an example of your own content is a little unfair 😀
    Amongst other factors, your internal link flow alone will push a new page up the SERPs.
    Then there’s the existing audience that are more inclined to link etc.

    There’s “building links” and “acquiring links”.
    Technically, we should “acquire”, we should Not “build” (as far as the SE’s like Google are concerned).
    We are permitted (within reason (based on quantity/quality/relevance etc.)) to build some links – such as directories, social profiles, public posts/comments etc.
    So long as you don’t overdo the quantity/frequency, and they appear in/on quality/relevant sources, it’s fine.

    From there, it’s more about acquisition.
    That’s when we “work” to get links … and that means;
    1) Content
    2) Activity
    3) Promotion
    4) Networking

    You should (seriously!) have something worth linking to.
    But quality content alone will NOT get you links/traffic – not unless you happen to have targeted a non-competed term.
    So you have to Promote it (social posts etc.). This of course requires having a following…
    So you have to Network, interact and engage others.
    Then there’s Activities – PR/Marketing stunts, press coverage etc.

    There is a hybrid of Content and Activity – Functions.
    Creation of Data or Tools or Scripts etc.
    People tend to like that sort of thing, and if you do it well enough, you’ll get links.

    Key thing that few people bother to mention – consumers do not generally link!
    You are far more likely to get links from Peers/Industry than from Clients/Customers/Consumers.
    Think of that when you are researching content ideas.

    Functions can earn you links (and even coverage if done well/timely) – but require a lot of time/effort (unless you happen to be good at coding/development, know your market/audience and can promote well :D).

  2. Welldone Neil!

    I have to agree with J. Ustpassing’s point ?

    You seem to have forgotten the level of influence you have in content marketing space.

    That alone can generate lots of links… coupled with the fact that you create some of the best contents.

    For an average Joe…. he needs to work really more compared to you.

    Take for instance the Quora…. That same Joe is not likely to get the same result like you coz he doesn’t have the same brand trust around his name. Alas… it’s not something you gain overnight.

    I think a more proactive strategy like “round up posts” and “spying on competitors” that you cited will be more relevant in that case.

    • Don’t forget that my traffic didn’t spring up from nowhere. I worked hard, wrote a lot of content, hustled to get eyes on my blog. It might take time, but it’s certainly possible.

  3. Great article Neil, Thanks!

    One of my absolute favorite link building techniques for a new site is the Links & Resource pages method. Use a Chrome extension like LinkClump on a Google result of “InsertKeyword” inurl:links.html -weebly -blogspot -forum

    Then collect all emails and outreach with gmass or whatever email tool you might want to use. A nice way to build those Branded links 🙂

  4. Great article Neil.

    Just wondering if this works for very small sites…

    I have a health blog which is in its infancy stage. Would you recommend I spend time trying to backlink to my existing articles or focus on creating more valuable long form content first and then focus on these backlinking tips?

    Also, what if you want to write articles that link to other (including competitor) websites, does google penalise you for that in terms of ranking?

    • J. Ustpassing :

      I’m not Neil … but …

      Site size?
      The size of a site makes little difference – it’s the quality of the content, the resources (time/money/expertise) available and the degree of effort (bigger sites/names often find it easier) that makes the major difference(s).

      Link to existing content?
      It entirely depends on what you already have. Is it quality? Is it of value/use/interest? Is it worthy of people linking to it? How easily can you identify potential link sources?
      So long as you have some worthwhile content – it’s not a question of “or”, it’s simply “both”.
      Failing that – you may want to revisit your existing content and update/expand/improve it (if possible). Multiple possible benefits to this (freshness (poss. short term ranking boost), re-promotable (social post the updates), relevance (inc. newer information etc.), chance to retarget the page (select variant keywords/phrases etc.)).

      Linking out?
      G have stated that if you link to a “good” page on a “good” site,
      and then later that page/site turns “bad” – then there is no negative applied to your site.
      This suggests the potential of a negative if you link to a “bad” page/site when it is already “bad”.
      So long as you link to something that is “good” (not spammy) and “good” (of use/interest/value) to your readers, then there is no known negative.
      Further, links are html Elements, and it appears that G apply more weight to the content of a link (the link text) than plain text (from a simple paragraph/span etc.).
      So technically speaking, linking out can be a form of on-page optimisation.
      (Obvious warning – linking to strong competitors is likely to help their SEO effort)

    • I would do a bit of both Amy. Linking out is a good thing to consider as well 🙂

  5. Mike Collins :

    Great advice, but it would be more helpful to use a new site that is just starting out as an example. It would be a lot harder to get these results without a huge audience already established.

  6. wp template your spam 😉

    Thanks for the post. On Moz i read about creating visual content, that other need. Like infographics, fotos and so on.

    Thats a great way to get links, because you don’t need a full post, but a section or a great piece.


  7. GST Impact Analysis :

    Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

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