15 Ways To Build Powerful Whitehat Backlinks That Will Rank Your Niche Site (Updated 31st January 2017)
Everyone tells you that getting high authority whitehat backlinks is the only long-term and sustainable way to stay on top of Google search rankings.
A research by Moz shows that there’s a very direct relationship between quality backlinks and Google search rankings.
The higher the quality of your backlinks, the higher your search rankings.
But what most people don’t tell you is how link building has completely changed in the post Penguin era.
You can no longer write a bunch of spun articles with your backlinks and place them on sites and article directories that are completely irrelevant to your niche, and still get rewarded by Google.
That doesn’t happen anymore.
All links are not equal.
The right links will get you promoted in search results.
But the wrong ones can get you penalized and even blacklisted by Google.
Without going into too much detail, before getting backlinks from a domain ask yourself if it’s:
- Relevant to the content of your site
- Has a high DA score
- Linking to you naturally
Domain authority (DA) and Page authority (PA) in particular are two factors that you should always consider, apart from relevance, before choosing a domain for backlinking.
DA and PA are the new PageRank (PR itself is an outdated SEO metric now and should not be considered).
You can calculate the DA of a domain by simply installing the MOZ SEO toolbar.
So in the post Penguin era, 5 or 6 links from relevant low PR but high DA sites are much better than 10-15 backlinks from irrelevant high PR and low DA sites.
But here’s the next problem.
It’s hard to get high authority sites to link back to you.
The “create high quality content and they’ll link to you” approach works only for the already popular blogs.
But if you’re a newbie, creating great content isn’t enough.
You’ll need to hustle and spread the word to get quality backlinks.
And this is why I’m writing this post – to show exactly where and how you can find high authority backlinks to your site.
These are not time-sensitive or short term linking approaches.
These tactics will work in 2016, 2017, 2020 and beyond (and in any niche).
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)
"Backlinks will remain a vital Google ranking factor, but effective link building is now about trust and popularity." - Neil Patel
1. Use Guestographics To Get Authority Contextual Backlinks
Infographics are among the most popular forms of content that attract the most backlinks.
A study of the most frequently linked blogs by WordStream, found that infographics were among the top linked content types.
Infographics also tend to get shared very frequently on social media.
Combining infographics with a comprehensive guest blogging strategy can hep you get lots of authority backlinks.
I know what you’re thinking – guest posting on a high authority site takes a LOT of effort and time.
That is why the guestographic approach is a great shortcut to landing guest posts on high authority blogs in your niche.
I don’t know who invented the term guestographics, but I first read it on Brian Dean’s blog, Backlinko.
Here’s how you apply this technique:
Research the most popular content in your niche using BuzzSumo.
It gives you the list of blog posts with the highest social shares.
Identify a topic, gather lots of data and numbers about it, and convert it into an infographic.
For example, if you’re in the health and fitness niche, you can create a data driven infographic on healthy diet that helps you lose weight in 10-13 steps.
You can get a decent infographic designed by a freelance designer within a budget of $300.
You can find designers on portals like 99Designs, Elance, Upwork etc.
The design is important, but your data and numbers are even more important.
Publish this infographic on your blog and make it embeddable by using the embed code generator.
Now reach out to the sites that have published similar content and offer them this infographic.
But here’s the added value you’ll offer.
Along with the infographic, offer the blog a short unique guest post that describes the infographic.
Include your link in this short guest post.
Now let’s do the math.
As I said, you can get a decent infographic designed for under $300.
Let’s say you approached 100 blogs in your niche with your guestographic, and only 20 accepted your offer (I expect his to be much higher though), how much does 1 backlink cost you?
Less than $15.
A survey by Moz shows that nearly 37% businesses in the U.S spend $10,000-$50000 per month on acquiring authority backlinks.
$15 sounds like a good deal to me.
And the infographic is your asset forever so you can keep using this technique to build more links
2. Create Data-Heavy Content to Build Whitehat Backlinks
The reason why most people fail to get contextual backlinks from guest posts is because they do it the wrong way.
No high quality blog would accept your guest post if it has promotional backlinks going to the homepage of your site.
Don’t expect them to give you backlinks with keyword anchors like “Sydney web design agency” in guest posts.
That’s not how it works. But there’s a work around.
To get links from high quality blogs, you need to create link-worthy content on your own blog, and then use it as a reference in your guest posts.
Publish infographic on your blog and posts with lots of data references.
Research shows that data-heavy content gets linked much more frequently as compared to opinionated content.
Use data from sites like Statista, Pew Research and other reliable sources in your niche.
To make your guest post look awesome, use multiple snapshots, images, and segments of your infographic.
Use the data heavy posts on your blog as reference in your guest posts, and link back to them.
I’ve used this strategy to land guest posts on some of the most popular blogs on the web (not just for me, but for my clients as well).
3. Give Testimonials to Services You Trust & Get A Link In Return
Who doesn’t like testimonials?
If you’re using an email marketing tool, a website hosting service, plugin or any other tool that you’ve found useful, offer them a free testimonial that they can show on their website.
Most of the times, to prove that you’re a real person, websites would also willing mention a link to your website.
For example, a simple search like “web design agency testimonials” or “hosting what clients are saying” can give you dozens of sites that display testimonials.
You may even consider purchasing a service just because they display testimonials on their site (if the domain has enough authority).
You can find some really high authority (DA: 70+) sites to link to with this approach.
4. Use the Broken Link Building Strategy To Steal Others Links
This is a really simple, but effective strategy to get high authority backlinks.
The idea is simple.
There are thousands of websites that were once high authority resources but, for different reasons, they’ve shut down or no longer exist.
But there are still thousands of links pointing to these resources.
To take advantage, you can create a similar resource, and reach out to the sites pointing to the outdated resource and let them know about your link.
For example, Topsy, a popular social analytics service, was recently acquired by Apple.
The service no longer exists.
But there are thousands of links pointing to it. Any company with a similar tool can take advantage from this.
The same can be done with content resources.
The best way to find such broken links is to look for the resource pages in your niche. You can find them using search queries like
“your niche + resource page”
“your niche + recommended links”
“your niche + links”
Once you find a few of these pages, look for broken links on them.
Find a few of these broken links, create a similar or more valuable resource and reach out to the website owner.
Tell him about the broken link and offer your own free resource.
Even if you manage to get 5-10 high authority backlinks from this activity, it’ll be worth your time and effort.
5. Use the Skyscraper Technique to Earn Powerful Backlinks
I strongly believe in earning backlinks with superior quality content which is why the Skyscraper Technique is one of my favorite backlinking strategies.
Brain Dean coined this term a few years back, but the concept is pretty simple.
- Identify the keywords you want to rank for
- List down the blog posts, related to your target keywords, which are already popular on social media and have dozens of links pointing to them
- Create an even better blog post which is more actionable, easier to understand and generally provides more value
- Reach out to relevant blog owners and convince them to link to your content instead.
Sounds simple, right?
We’ve been using the Skyscraper technique on NicheHacks from day 1 and it has worked most of the times.
And when we didn’t rank for the exact search terms or didn't get the backlinks we were targeting, the superior quality of our content got us links from other authority sites.
Here’s how you can do it as well
- Find the right keywords to target in your content by using a free keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or Term Explorer. Just enter the broad keywords related to your topic to get more keyword ideas.
- Choose 10-15 keywords that are closer to your topic and have an average monthly search volume of over 1000.
But avoid choosing keywords that are too broad and don’t give you an idea of the searcher’s intention.
For example the keyword “email list” has over 100,000 searches per month.
But it’s such a broad keyword that you’re not sure what the searcher’s looking for.
Your opportunity lies in the more specific and longer keywords with a decent search volume.
- Analyze the ranking difficulty level of these keywords by using Ahrefs or Moz Keyword Difficulty tool (both premium tools). If you’re looking for free options, you can use KWfinder.
I used the premium version of Ahrefs for this post
You need to target any keywords with a difficulty level of under 50.
Those with a score of under 30 are even easier to rank for.
Once you choose 2-3 closely related keywords, search each of them on Google to see the top ranking content for those terms.
I have the Moz Bar Chrome extension installed in my browser which gives me the number of links pointing to each search result.
Just click on it to see the number of unique domains pointing to that particular article.
For example, the first search result in my snapshot is a blog post on Hubspot which has 147 unique domains or websites linking to it.
Clearly a popular piece of content.
Any search results with more than 30 referring domains are worth targeting.
Your job now is to analyze each of the top search results for your target keywords, understand why they’re so popular, what questions they're effectively answering and how you can make them better.
There can be a number of ways to improve any blog post.
- Adding more snapshots, images, and videos
- Adding more data references
- Making it more actionable
- Sharing more examples
- Making it longer and more in-depth
- Adding a unique perspective
- Writing more engaging content
- Formatting the content for easier navigation
- Improving the design of the content
- Updating the content with fresh data and more recent examples
For example, Brian Dean created one of his most popular blog posts ever by improving an outdated and badly designed post on another blog and turning it into an epic and beautifully designed guide.
There are many other examples of this technique in action on NicheHacks as well.
Once you create a significantly better blog post using this technique.
You’ll need to reach out to all the blogs that are linking to the old and outdated content, and convince them to link to your post.
It’s a time taking process.
But it often results in improved search rankings and large number of quality backlinks earned solely on the basis on quality content.
6. Get Easy Links from AllTop and Other Blog Aggregators
Submitting your site to high quality blog aggregators is a low hanging fruit when it comes to link building.
You can easily secure multiple high authority backlinks by submitting your blog to different industry specific as well as general blog aggregators.
There are several free and paid blog aggregators where you can sign up and add your RSS feed URL to automatically submit any new posts published on your blog.
AllTop, for example, is one of the most popular blog aggregators on the web.
Here are a few other sites where you can submit your blog and get quality backlinks
- BlogEngage (Paid)
- Blokube (Paid)
- BlogSearchEngine (Paid)
- BizSugar (Paid)
Other than these blog aggregators, you can submit your blog post URLs to content curation platforms like Triberr, Scoop.it and Inbound.org.
These platforms are used by hundreds of thousands of marketers.
And, although you won’t get do-follow links from them.
They can give your content a lot of exposure which opens up linking opportunities.
7. Get .Edu Backlinks from Resource Pages
Backlinks from .edu domains carry significantly more value as compared to the usual .com links.
Google trusts them because .edu domains are mostly used by universities, colleges and other educational and research institutes.
Getting .edu backlinks isn’t easy, but even a few of them can really strengthen your link profile and give a nice push to your search rankings.
Thankfully there’s a smart workaround.
Most university and college websites have resource pages with links to other content on the web which their students can find useful.
For example, here’s a web resource page on the official Harvard University website.
There are a couple of ways you can take advantage of these pages:
- Many of these resource pages aren’t regularly updated. Which means there’s always a chance of broken or outdated links on these sites. You can find them using the broken link method I mentioned earlier, reach out with your own resource and convince them to link to you.
- Even if there are no broken links on the page, you can still reach out to the university website if you have created a really high-quality piece of content that will be useful to the students.
To increase your chances of acceptance, make sure your content is detailed, in-depth and backed by solid research.
Landing .edu backlinks isn’t easy, and you’re unlikely to get a response rate of more than 4%-5%.
But as I said earlier, even a few backlinks are worth the effort.
8. Share Detailed Case Studies To Attract Backlinks
You know why bloggers like Noah Kagan, Neil Patel and Ryan Deiss are quoted so frequently on other marketing blogs?
Because their content is always backed by real-life examples, case studies, and solid evidence.
It’s not just theory or recycled content copied from somewhere else.
One of the best biggest qualities of link-worthy content is that it contains solid evidence and undeniable proof.
Other bloggers link to it because it makes them look more credible.
No matter which niche you’re targeting, if you can share original case studies, examples or your personal learnings, your content will always attract links from other bloggers.
9. Become a Case Study for an Influencer by Having Success With Their Strategies
If you can’t create your own case studies or examples for others, there’s another smart way to get authority backlinks from the biggest influencers in your niche.
Just become a success story for them to quote on their blogs.
Not sure what that means?
Let me explain
Most of the leading bloggers and marketers have their own strategies and techniques which they regularly share with their readers.
They’re always looking for people who actually implement their strategies and achieve success.
Because that makes them look more credible and allows them to market themselves better.
For example, Brian Dean introduced the Skyscraper technique and claimed that it could help you rank much faster on your target keywords and earn you lot of backlinks.
Just a few weeks later, Brian shared a case study of one of his readers who implemented the Skyscraper technique and achieved exactly the kind of results Brian initially claimed.
Brian not only linked to his reader’s homepage but also quoted him in a number of podcasts, blog posts and social media threads.
Glen Alsop, another leading marketer and the owner of ViperChill, recently started his new blog Gaps, where he shares real life internet marketing success stories.
Last year Glen shared an affiliate marketing strategy on Viper Chill and claimed that it could be a game changer for anyone who implemented it the right way.
1 year later, he shared a detailed case study of one of his readers who generated more than $200,000 in Amazon commissions in less than a year using that exact strategy.
Glen linked to his reader’s blog which must’ve given him a real boost considering the traffic and authority of Gaps.com
I’m another example of this strategy in action 🙂
I was featured, with a backlink to my site, on WritersInCharge last year as a success story because I followed the guest blogging strategy advocated by Bamidele (the owner of that blog)
So let me just summarize this point for you again:
- Identify the blog you want a link from
- See if the blog owner teaches any particular strategy, advocates a certain marketing technique or sells a product.
- Implement that technique yourself and achieve results.
- Contact the blog owner, thank him for sharing his strategy and tell him how it helped you achieve success.
- Do share the snapshots and the URL of your site as proof of your success.
You don’t openly need to ask for a link because in most cases marketers would happily feature you themselves.
And just in case they don’t, you can always offer them a free guest post detailing how their strategy helped you.
Few would deny.
10. Reach Out To Relevant Blogs To Promote Your Content
I strongly believe in earning links by creating quality content (I know I’ve said it before)
But it doesn’t mean I expect people to link to my content just because I’ve published it on my blog.
I know I need to reach out to the right people and tell them about it.
If you’ve created a piece of content that you think offers value and actionable insights to the readers.
Then make sure you identify the people who’re most likely to link to it and then reach out and tell them about it.
For example, I’m sure you’ve read that study by SerpIQ about the relationship between content length and Google search rankings.
It has been on the web for a few years now and countless marketers (including me) have quoted it and used it to advocate long form content.
Recently, however, a new study on this topic with slightly different findings was published by CanIRank.com.
I’ve seen a few other studies that countered the findings of SerpIQ but most of them lacked evidence.
This one, however, was different and carried a lot of interesting points backed by data evidence.
But I wouldn’t have known if their outreach team hadn’t emailed me about it.
Ahrefs is one of my favorite tools these days.
They also do a fantastic job at creating awesome, very well-researched and original blog content.
But they don’t sit and wait for people to link to them.
Instead, they reach out to every relevant blogger possible.
And since their content is genuinely useful (like the post suggested in the snapshot above) people link to them more often than not.
So how exactly do you find such linking opportunities?
Let me simplify this for you.
- Just search for the blogs that have linked to similar content in the past. For example, if you’ve written a guide on “Post Pregnancy Weight Loss” you could search for the top ranked content on this topic on Google and reach out to the blogs that have linked to it.
- Once you have the list of sites linking to similar content, reach out using their contact form, email address or Twitter Id and let them know about your content.
- Another easy way to find linking opportunities is by using BuzzSumo or Ahrefs to see the most frequently shared content on your topic.
Once you have the list of the most frequently shared posts, simply search their URLs on Twitter to see who has Tweeted it.
All of these people are potential linkers or Linkerati (as Rand Fishkin calls them)
- Reddit is another goldmine when it comes to finding linking opportunities. You might not have heard this before, but a simple search for any domain on Reddit results in a list of all the Sub-Reddits where that particular URL has ever been shared.
For example this is what I got when searched for NicheHacks using this URL https://www.reddit.com/domain/nichehacks.com/
Some of them are submissions by Stuart himself, but many are shared by unknown people.
Using this technique you can find people who’re sharing your competitor’s content on Reddit.
For example, I searched for DigitalMarketer and got this (https://www.reddit.com/domain/digitalmarketer.com/)
This gives you two opportunities.
- You can target the people who’ve shared your competitors’ content and share your posts with them
- You get a list of Sub-Reddits where you can promote your new content since you already know people are sharing similar content there.
With this technique, you can find people who liked your content and shared it on Reddit.
You can reach out to them whenever you publish new posts.
Blogger outreach is a time taking process, but if your content is good enough (and you target the right bloggers) your chances of securing backlinks are pretty high.
You can, of course, make the whole outreach exercise much simpler by using a tool like NinjaOutreach which basically automates the whole process.
You can read our detailed review of the tool to learn more about using it.
11. Use HARO and MyBlogU to Get Authority Backlinks
Both HARO and MyBlogU are great places to get authoritative whitehat backlinks and build your network.
All you need to do is spend 5-10 minutes daily on them answering questions.
To be specific, HARO (help a reporter out) is a place where journalists and reporters from different magazines and news sites post questions when they need help in researching content for their stories.
If you can answer their question effectively, you can get free coverage on sites like the Huffingtonpost, Entrepreneur, Forbes etc.
Similarly, MyBlogU is a place where content creators and businesses can collaborate to crowdsource content, gain media coverage and build their network.
You can earn authority links by participating in Brainstorming and Interview sessions where different blog owners float an idea and ask user to contribute on it.
If your input is valuable for them, they’ll publish it on their blog with a backlink to your site.
NicheHacks team member Christopher earned links on authority sites like PostPlanner using MyBlogU. He described the process in detail in one of his posts (you can read it here)
Here are a few of the snapshots showing the links he earned
You can apply the same strategy to platforms like Quora, Inbound.org, Triberr, LinkedIn groups, Scoop.it and many other industry specific forums.
Thousands of people access these platforms and use them for content research.
While this is not a direct link building approach, it can certainly earn you dozens of authority links if you spend 10-15 minutes on them every day.
"For Google, a backlink from another site pointing to yours is a meaningful vote of confidence." - Jay Baer (Convince and Convert)
12. Find Your Unlinked Mentions and Claim Your Link
Sometimes people mention your blog or your name in their content.
But either get the link wrong or don’t link at all. If you reach out to them, chances of getting a backlink are really high.
This approach can unearth some real quality links for you (if you’ve been creating quality content, of course).
A few months back I found that Neil Patel mentioned one of my posts on his blog, but linked to the wrong page.
Now Neil is a big influencer and his blog is visited by thousands of people.
I couldn’t let this one slip.
So I reached out, told Neil about the mistake and got my link!
You can also set up Google alerts for your brand and blog name.
Whenever you get a new mention, see if it has been linked to your site properly.
If not, reach out and ask them blog owner if he could add the link.
Be polite, and appreciate that he mentioned you on his blog
13. Link to Relevant Content and Reach Out
It might sound strange, but research shows that the more you link out to other people’s content, the likelier you are to gain backlinks yourself.
Here on NicheHacks, we make it a point to link to at least 4-5 outside sources in every 1000 words.
But in order to increase the probability of gaining backlinks, you also need to proactively reach out to the bloggers you’re linking to.
There are a number of ways you can do that.
- Twitter: Most influencers I know, prefer being mentioned on Twitter directly. This allows them to quickly review your post and give you a quick RT if they like it. For example, I reached out to Brian Dean after publishing a post earlier last year. He responded and gave me an RT.
While an RT from an influencer is not a backlink, but it exposes your content to lots of other people who can link back to you.
- Email: Once you publish a blog post in which you’ve mentioned an outside source, you can simply send them an email like this (I use this template)
Hey Chris [sample name]
Hope you’re doing well.
I read your post [title] a few days back and found it really valuable. I’ve just linked back to it in my newly published blog post [your link]. I also just Tweeted and gave you a mention.
Just wanted to thank you for the awesome resource.
Keep up the great work.
Send this to everyone you’ve linked in your content. A tweet is the most probable result of these emails (which has its own benefits).
In my experience, this approach works much better when you target bloggers of the same (or a bit higher) level as yours.
14. Submit Content to Round-ups and Link Parties
There are blogs in most niches that run monthly or weekly link roundups.
These roundups are typically the “best of the month/week” kind of posts where the author shares links from different blogs.
You can search for such round ups in your niche using search queries like,
- “your niche + weekly roundup”
- “your niche + link party”
- “your niche + best of the month”
You only need to land on each website once to get the link juice, so it’s worth the time and effort.
15. Submit Your Site To Web 2.0 and Website Feedback Services
Web 2.0 backlinks can be a powerful way to help you rank higher in search results only IF (and that’s a big if) you do it the right way.
If you do it the wrong way, Google can easily catch you manipulating its algorithms.
Here’s a very detailed guide by Maketever on building Web 2.0 links the right way.
Some of the popular Web 2.0 sites you can use to build quality backlinks include:
You can also find quick and easy backlinks by submitting your site to different website review services.
There are many you can find with a few searches on Google.
Here are a few to get you started.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)
Time to Start Building Powerful Whitehat Backlinks!
So there you have it.
There are plenty of other ways to build quality backlinks to your niche site, but this list should give you a pretty solid starting point.
Building and earning quality links does take time – make no mistake about it.
But that’s the only sustainable way to stay on top of Google search results on your target keywords. And all the time you put into link building is certainly worth it.
What other way are you using to build links to your site?
I’d love to know more about it in the comments.