How to build backlinks without making your recipient scream in their pillow

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Do you ever get an email like this?

They are designed to get you to add a link to your website via an article you have already written.

The strategy is not new. It has been used for years by certain SEO gurus. The thing is, most of my friends say they simply delete the emails or send them to spam.

Nevertheless, this strategy is all about quantity. It’s a numbers game. That’s what they used to say in sales. In fact, I used to have to sign customers up for an email in a retail store. That was a number’s game too.

Presumably, they are choosing people based on domain authority. I think sometimes connecting their website to an article is iffy at best.

I chatted with a young friend yesterday who is working as sales for a local video content company. He was literally going door to door to businesses.

I asked him how that was going. He said it was “hit or miss,” but it was about building relationships.

Ironically he was using something that not permission-based marketing to sell something that helps permission-based marketing.

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At the core of most SEO strategies is backlinks. There is a good reason for that because most experts believe that backlinks are among the most important factors for ranking.

So, we do what we always do in these situations. We make a list.

But, is this the only way to run a link building campaign? Using an outreach method?

Today we are going to look at various ways you can build backlinks to your website that don’t involve sending outreach emails.

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SEO Options


What are my options?

One of the first places I tend to go in research for SEO is Ahrefs. They have an amazing library of content on the topic.

Joshua Hardwick wrote an article about backlink tactics which were updated earlier this year. In that article, he lists seven tactics.

I want to focus on a few for this article.

According to Hardwick,

The fundamental process is as follows:

  • Create something worthy of a link.
  • Find people who might be interested in linking to you.
  • Persuade those people to do precisely that.

The article has some of the best tactics you can use to get backlinks.

In particular, it seems as if we are doing a bit of hacking.

We know all the basics like posting on social media (the value isn’t what it used to be), commenting in forums, perhaps blogs, and a few others like converting “unlinked mentions” to links.

For this article, I want to focus on three. The issue with these three tactics are they take longer and may cost more.

The benefit, however, is the value is much greater.

1. Create link-worthy content.

Ah, yes, you hear people all the time. “Create great content,” they say.

So you create great content. Nothing happens.

You thought it was great content, but was it? That’s a different but related question.

Let’s dive in.

Many people will call this link-bait content, but experts don’t like to use the word because it sounds like “clickbait.” Totally understandable.

However, the idea is to write content that is so good that people can’t not link to the article.

How can you do that?

Does it actually work?

Check out this Twitter thread from July 9th featuring Grow & Convert Co-Founder Benji Hyam.

It starts with the dreaded email outreach for backlinks.

Then comes the question from one Twitter follower.

Twitter screenshot
Twitter screenshot


“What would you guys do today for link building if you were starting out?”

I knew exactly what Benji was going to say.

“The same thing that we’ve always done. Write articles that are link-worthy.”

Write “link-worthy articles” is his answer.

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter


Next, the Twitter follower asks, “People just find your content or how are you getting them to link to the content if your not doing outreach?”

Benji then gives him a short answer about how they do content outreach. Then he tells you the result of writing great content.

“Then when people discover the content, if it’s good, they’ll reference it and link to it.”

Screenshot: Twitter
Screenshot: Twitter


To sum up, write link-worthy content, share using a content distribution strategy, and watch as people discover and link to the content.

It seems simple, but it is not.

What makes content link-worthy?

The key to link-worthy articles is to make the article thorough on the topic, readable, and make it different than anything else. Other things help, including using original data.

One can create a whole course on how to create link-worthy articles. For reference, I am going to list some resources below that you can spend some time digesting.

Each article comes with its own ideas, but they all give you excellent points on creating content worth sharing and linking to.


2. Build a relationship with colleagues.

What I mean is to build relationships like a regular human being would do. Be nice, be supportive, and help when you can.

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Photo by nappy from Pexels

How in the world does this help?

When you build relationships with people, you create a bond that includes supporting one another.

Colleagues and friends will be supportive and share your content. Some will even link to your content. And sometimes, you will end up with influencers in your circle, because they are human too.

One hack I discovered along the way is to sign up for someone’s email list, like an influencer. Then, I will eventually respond to an email. As a person who has an email list, I know I am thrilled when someone replies to one of my emails.

I have carried on conversations with influencers this way.

SEO expert Brendan Hufford has a strategy he calls the Dream 100.

The Dream 100 was born out of a terrible time trying to do the backlink outreach thing.

He got the term from Chet Holmes in his book “The Ultimate Sales Machine.”

One by one, Hufford’s heroes were acknowledging the power of the Dream 100.

And if you are starting out in business, this is a great strategy to employ. Hufford says,

“But here’s the most important thing about the Dream 100: it’s the one way you can effectively rise above the noise when you’re starting out.” Hufford

The Dream 100 helped him form his link building strategy.

It’s a pretty sizeable read, but Brendan maps out his strategy in that article. I recommend you read through the article.

Additionally, he created a video to supplement the content.

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Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels


3. Become a resource for others

The final thing you can do is become a resource for others. What I mean here is what we might call public relations.

When I used to write articles for a local business publication, I would tell entrepreneurs the best thing they can do is create connections with writers.

You see, writers need resources.

For example, if I were writing an article about cybersecurity, the first person I contact is my friend Christopher Wright. He runs a cybersecurity firm in our state.

He is also NOT someone who is continuously pitching to me or others to quote him.

Over time, they will begin to contact you for quotes, interviews, and such.

But that is not the only thing.

As an online entrepreneur, we can be interviewed for podcast shows, videos, live presentations, and more.

In the last couple of years, I have been on a few podcasts shows, presented to a WordPress meetup group remotely, had a presentation to my chamber leads group, and people have reached out to me for quotes in articles.

Almost all of those features result in a backlink.

Additionally, I have run my own podcast show. One of my guests even linked to the show on my website.

Each new opportunity builds on the other.

If your business focuses on local companies, then you can also target local publications. It might be a local lifestyle blog or magazine, the local paper, or another local publication.

They all need content. Offer to do live training or write an article in exchange for a link back to your website.

To add to that, make sure you have a lead magnet that you can share that expands on what you are offering and helps you get new email subscribers.

You have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Use it as a resource and share it with a broader audience.

Wrapping it up

Sometimes we think it is easier to find a shortcut, but in the end, it only hurts.

To me, a link building strategy that centers around relationships is the best way to go.

There are lots of ways to build backlinks. Creating link-worthy content, being a good human being, and being a resource are three that should be the center of your strategy.

What strategies have been best for you? Let us know in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.

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