90 SEO Experts Talk White Hat Link Building, Outsourcing And Scaling

Tim Soulo
Tim is the guy responsible for marketing and product development at Ahrefs. But most importantly he’s the chief evangelist of the company.

    Here at Ahrefs we decided to join the “expert roundup” craze and publish a monstrous piece of our own.

    And since we sincerely believe, that there’s no better topic for SEOs to discuss other than Link Building, here are the questions we craved answered:

    1) Please tell us about your favourite “white hat link building strategy that scales”.

    (What makes it your favourite one? How to execute it properly?)

    2) How do you scale it?

    (What tools do you use? Where do you hire people to scale it?)

    We've reached out to 100+ SEOs and Marketers and ended up with a final list of 90 answers.

    Boy that was fun!

    All in all, I can easily drill down all 90 answers into a single screenshot:

    content-is-king

    Yep! Almost everyone was praising Content Marketing and baiting links with epic content.

    But don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating against reading the answers below, just because they prove that “Content IS King”.

    You’ll find tons of awesome tips below, I promise!

    Here are just a few things you can learn from this monstrous roundup:

    1. Skyscraper technique seems to be the SEO trend of 2015. Lots of people are referencing it!
    2. There are quite a few mentions of tools that I personally never heard of. Like Wrike or Loot for example.
    3. You may also discover some new marketing strategies. I enjoyed the "Siege Media’s 2-step outreach process" mentioned by Nate Shivar and Skyscraper 2.0 by Gael Breton.

    And just for your convenience, here are a few quick links to some of the Link Building strategies mentioned in this roundup:

    New to Link Building?
    Just in case you’re new to link building, this post might be a bit too overwhelming for you.

    Here’s a great guide for anyone who is just starting out:

    “The Noob Friendly Guide To Link Building”

    And because we have so many answers, we have created this handy list of experts with quick links to each of their answers:

    90 Experts Share Their Favourite White Hat Linkbuilding Strategies:

    Adam-Connell Adam ConnellAdam-Steele Adam SteeleAlbert-Mora Albert MoraAndy-Crestodina Andy CrestodinaAndy-Drinkwater Andy Drinkwater
    Brian-Harnish Brian HarnishBrian-Jackson Brian JacksonCasandra-Campbell Casandra CampbellChris-Ainsworth Chris AinsworthChris-Dreyer Chris Dreyer
    Chris-Makara Chris MakaraColin-Klinkert Colin KlinkertDave-Schneider Dave SchneiderDavid-Leonhardt David LeonhardtDennis-Seymour Dennis Seymour
    Dom-Wells Dom WellsDoug-Cunnington Doug CunningtonDustin-Woodard Dustin WoodardFervil-Von-Tripoli Fervil Von TripoliFloyd-Buenavente Floyd Buenavente
    Gabriella-Sannino Gabriella SanninoGael-Breton Gael BretonBishal-Biswas Bishal BiswasGareth-James Gareth JamesGary-Viray Gary Viray
    Greg-Nunan Greg NunanHarsh-Agrawal Harsh AgrawalJames-Brockbank James BrockbankJamie-Knop Jamie KnopJamie-Spencer Jamie Spencer
    Jason-Chesters Jason ChestersJeremy-Rivera Jeremy RiveraJohn-Rampton John RamptonJomer-B.-Gregorio Jomer B. GregorioJon-Dykstra Jon Dykstra
    Joseph-E.-Gojo-Cruz Joseph E. Gojo CruzJosh-Bachynski Josh BachynskiJosh-Escusa Josh EscusaJoy-Hawkins Joy HawkinsKen-Lyons Ken Lyons
    Kevin-Indig Kevin IndigKim-Ängalid Kim ÄngalidLeigh-Louey-Gung Leigh Louey GungLewis-Ogden Lewis OgdenMarco-Saric Marco Saric
    Marcus-Miller Marcus MillerMatt-Banner Matt BannerMatt-Williamson Matt WilliamsonMatthew-Barby Matthew BarbyMatthew-Capala Matthew Capala
    Melanie-Nathan Melanie NathanMichael-Arce Michael ArceMichael-Salvo Michael SalvoMichael-Yurechko Michael YurechkoMikael-Uusitalo Mikael Uusitalo
    Mike-Wallagher Mike WallagherMurray-Newlands Murray NewlandsNate-Shivar Nate ShivarNathan-Gotch Nathan GotchNeil-Patel Neil Patel
    Nick-Eubanks Nick EubanksNimrod-Flores Nimrod FloresPaul-Shapiro Paul ShapiroPhil-Rozek Phil RozekPhilip-Blomsterberg Philip Blomsterberg
    Philip-Kleudgen Philip KleudgenRand-Fishkin Rand FishkinReggie-Paquette Reggie PaquetteRobbie-Richards Robbie RichardsRobert-Mening Robert Mening
    Roel-Manarang Roel ManarangRyan-Stewart Ryan StewartSarah-Lively Sarah LivelySaurav-Rimal Saurav RimalSean-Si Sean Si
    Sean-Smith Sean SmithServando-Silva Servando SilvaSteve-Rendell Steve RendellSteve-Wiideman Steve WiidemanSteven-Macdonald Steven Macdonald
    Steven-Wilson Steven WilsonStuart-Walker Stuart WalkerThomas-Smale Thomas SmaleTor-Refsland Tor RefslandTung-Tran Tung Tran
    Tyson-Downs Tyson DownsVenchito-Tampon Venchito TamponWill-Blunt Will BluntYaro-Park Yaro ParkZac-Johnson Zac Johnson

    So let's jump right into the answers!

    We'll start from Rand (obviously)...

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    I love blogging, because for me/Moz, it's something we're good at, passionate about, and resonates with our audience.

    However, this depends on the field you're in and your personal strengths.

    When I give advice about how to earn links/amplification/inbound attention , I urge folks to find the intersection of their strengths, what resonates with their audience (and their audience's influencers), and what they love to do.

    There is no use doing something you're good at if you don't actually love it, because you won't want to improve and you won't get positive energy from repeating and scaling it.

    We've built an audience development team at Moz of 4 folks who focus on creating, discovering, and promoting the best blog content in our field.

    They set the bar incredibly high, and then find ways to continually improve.

    This includes the creation of a broad content strategy, a keyword research process, guest content strategy, a content calendar, and a unique metrics system we call 1Metric to help us optimize.

    You can see that process/metric described here with illustrations: One Content Metric to Rule Them All

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    White Hat really means only one route:

    "Provide better, easier to digest solutions to visitors' problems than anyone else does."

    The way to achieve this is with killer content that entinces people to share!

    You have two main camps: people who claim quality content isn't needed to rank, and people who feel 'write it and they will come'.

    The problem is, neither is true. If you are not creating, or curating quality content, there is no way you will get people linking and sharing it of their own free will, meaning you will need to do things not considered 'White Hat' to get it ranking.

    Of course there are long, long tail keywords and certain small local niches that will rank very easily, but we are talking about larger, income producing niches.

    The second camp are also wrong, this infographic from 2012 (which means it is most likely much more than double these numbers today) highlights that there are more than 2,000,000 blog posts per day, over 500 million (yes, too many zeros to type out in number form) status updates (yes, this is a form of content too) and 800,000+ videos uploaded... DAILY!

    infographic-internet

    If you think great content alone will move you up, you are in for a rude awakening. Here is the key:

    1. Create Killer Content, your best stuff, even if it takes 40+ hours

    2. Spend at least 4 times as long, promoting and repurposing that content

    The reason this method works is because you create 1 killer, 2,000+ word post with quotes and citations from authorities in your niche, images, videos and even polls or research findings.

    You then reach out to those influencers that you quoted and ask them for additional comment on your post (and a mention via their social media channels.)

    Here is an example of a killer post you can create

    For this post we contacted top influencers and asked them to answer the question about how to start an SEO business.

    As you can see from the post, it has over 300 shares and the site is BRAND NEW (it is one of the first pieces of content) so all those shares were from influencers quoted, and their followers.

    3. Split and repurpose the content

    Turn the post into a PDF file that you:

    1. Give away in exchange for an optin;
    2. Submit to all PDF submission sites to generate traffic and backlinks.
    3. Turn the post into slides and make a video of the post content and share it on the top video sites, once again with links back.
    4. Take the audio file from the video and upload it to all the podcasting and audio sites (yes including iTunes) and link back (this will give you links from sources like Apple).

    Bonus: If you want all the steps on splitting and repurposing content, I have created a free PDF for you. Get it from here, no optin required!

    In future, once you have done the first couple yourself and know and understand the process, you can teach the process outlined above.

    When you are scaling, aim to do at least 1 of these posts a month, if you have the resources, 2-4 would speed up the organic and social growth of your site.

    There are three main moving parts to scaling this method

      1. Content Creation and Curation - for this you should hire an expert if you don't have time to do it yourself

    As you have done the first couple yourself, you know the work involved and can walk them through exactly what you would like.

      1. Reaching out to influencers you have quoted or asked for comment to add to the post, and larger sites that link to other content inferior, or less related to the one you have created

    Suggest they replace the link with your link (this also works well for outdated content links)

    You could either do this yourself, even when scaling, or a team member you trust. The reason is they are contacting on your behalf and therefore represent you.

    Another option is a PR or marketing agency, but be careful they fully understand what you are looking to achieve.

    1. The splitting and sharing of content, this should be done by a VA that you can find online for about $450 a month

    Each post, to split and share the content would most likely take them 3-4 days, so having a full time VA on this task will allow you to scale to 4-5 of these killer posts per month. (More than enough for any business).

    Another option to spread the word and get shares is promoting the content on Facebook via the 'boost' feature.

    Here is an example post that we did that got over 300 Facebook shares, just from a $10 'boost'

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    My favorite link building tactic is to focus on writing exceptionally good content.

    If you shift your time, focus and money into creating great content that educates people, you’ll notice that you’ll get more links than if you manually built them.

    In the short run it will be costly, but in the long run you’ll save money and see better results.

    Read more here: Why Content Marketing is the New SEO

    You can scale it by hiring writers and an editor to manage those writers. Typically you’ll find that the writers from the Problogger job board.

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    My favorite “white hat link building strategy that scales” is the The Skyscraper Technique by Brian Dean.

    I combined parts of his technique on my first roundup post “80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts” with Jon Morrow`s advice on creating a massive roundup post.

    And the results?

    It was like pouring rocket fuel on a big bonfire.

    *Kaboooom*

    The roundup post resulted in the following:

    - 5707 visitors in 6 days.

    Tor Refsland 1 analytics

    - 22 693 page views

    Tor Refsland 2 top pages
    - 72 comments

    - Over 700 shares on social media

    Tor Refsland 3 productivity tips

    Here is the short version of my success:

    Step 1: Find a keyword that you want to rank for, which will be within your target niche.

    I chose the keyword “productivity tips”.

    Normally it`s recommended to use a long(er) tail keyword.

    However, I had a good feeling that the massive roundup post would be a success, so I chose the keyword that I wanted to rank for on Google in the future.

    In other words: it`s a long-term strategy.

    Step 2: Create epic content that is relevant for your audience

    I chose the roundup post because I wanted to create great content, build relationships with other online entrepreneurs, in addition to getting social shares and comments.

    I sent an email with the following question to the people I wanted to participate:

    What is your best productivity tip that you use in your business?

    Step 3: Make sure that your headline and content will fit your opt-in offer at your website

    My free opt-in is the free eBook “Insane Productivity Hacks”, which helps people to DOUBLE their productivity within 7 days.

    This means that the productivity question for the roundup post is spot on.

    The same goes for the title “80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts”.

    Step 4: Promote to participants when the post goes live

    Send an email to all participants informing that the post has gone live, and nicely ask them to promote it.

    Step 5: Promote blog post in all your social media channels + email list and forums (if you are in any).

    The experts say that you should spend 20 % creating your content and the remaining 80 % promoting the heck out of your content.

    What remains?

    3 activities: promote, promote and promote.

    Do you want to hear the crazy part?

    I haven`t even gotten started yet by promoting the content to the top 100 social media influencers who shared a similar post.

    The same goes for promoting the content to other websites that has created a backlink to a similar post.

    The best way to scale it is to hire someone, like a VA to do most of the dirty work for you, like contacting the participants, putting together the body of the post and promoting.

    I haven`t done this yet, since I want to crack the code by doing it myself first.

    Only by having successfully done an activity myself, will I be able to teach other people to do it properly.

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    Outdated link building!

    It's similar to broken link building but it's not as popular (yet) to SEO's, at least to my impression.

    And being not that popular (yet), makes it my favorite right now.

    Because there's not too many SEO's doing it right now, I'm getting a really good conversion rate with my email outreach.

    It works like this:

    Basically you'll just be looking for websites that have gone under but the domains are not dropped yet. This is different from broken link building since you are not looking for links on people's sites that are pointing to pages that return 404 error or DNS lookup failed.

    These things cannot be found by looking for broken links first.

    Instead, what you'd want to do is the opposite - find those well-linked, recently out-of-business sites first. After finding them, use Ahrefs to find out their most popular pages.

    From there you'll know the most-linked pages that were previously on those sites which are now non-existent. What you have to do then is to find out what the content on those pages were and create similar and better ones.

    Afterwards and finally, reach out to the owners of the websites linking to those pages. All you have to do is tell them the pages/resources they are linking to are not available anymore or the businesses operating those sites already closed shop.

    Then introduce the alternative/replacement, which is the content on your site.

    How I scale it

    This strategy is easily scalable with proper and effective use of tools. In fact, you can even just have a good VA read this and have him/her implement the whole process all by him/herself.

    For finding those well-linked, recently expired domains, you can use sites like ExpiredDomains.net.

    What I really like about this site is that you can search for domains that contain your niche keywords.

    And you can refine your search further with a comprehensive list of filters. To maximize effectiveness and quality of the domains returned, I make sure I get only those domains that are currently still on auction:

    There's already great chances that the domains that come up from this are all about the industry/niche you're targeting and that they are still fresh (not likely to have been used for PBN's yet.), so that's a huge time-saver right there.

    And then you get the domain stats right along with your search results. So you'll know right away which ones are worth checking out further.

    And then I use Ahrefs to find out the most-linked pages from those domains, like I've described above.

    For finding out what the contents of those pages actually were, the site Archive.org comes very handy.

    When it comes to producing content, I use the team of excellent and experienced writers I formed from the vast pool of writers at WriterAccess.com. You can form your own team there for any niche/industry by posting a casting call and selecting the best applicants.

    This took away a great headache for me.

    Finding excellent and easily scalable writers for your SEO needs isn't that easy as you may already know.

    Lastly and most importantly, for finding out exactly what websites and pages link to those outdated and unavailable content (which is the whole point of this all), I use Ahrefs again.

    Visiting those sites usually gives you info on how to contact them - email, Twitter or Facebook, etc..

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    Surveys!

    I conduct surveys and collect stats to create visually appealing data for journalists and pitch them out.

    Figure out which publication (major) that you want to target and collect data on your users that they’d want to report about and find interesting.

    Data is something people can never take away from you and is interesting if you frame it right. I execute it by using Survey Monkey or like software.

    Gather data and make it visually appealing. Next put together a post on this for your site and for theirs (so they don’t have to do the legwork).

    It works most of the time.

    Here's an example!

    Scale - don’t overdo it.

    Plan 1 a month and 2 target publications to run with it. Hire a freelance writer to write up your posts. This will help take a lot of the workload off your back and allow you to become more creative with your mind.

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    I’m a huge fan of putting together a long white paper on your business blog.

    Make sure this is 7-10k words long.

    Then putting together 5-10 different guest blogs that talk about the data (you need to have stats and data in there) that’s in your white paper.

    These will be put up on other sites to really help people learn as well get people back to your site and the post ranking.

    I’ve found that this gives the readers a lot of really good information while helping your site rank for a variety of keywords and searches.

    Scaling it is as simple as hiring the right person and pumping out the right types of content that are amazing for your brands. I use wrike.com for managing the process. I have used loot-app.com for crowd sourcing content.

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    My favorite “white hat link building strategy that scales” is broken link building.

    I think re-building broken links are a win for everyone. A successful broken link building campaign helps improve user experience (better for webmasters).

    It strengthens the overall Web (better for search engines). And it gets relevant, contextual, editorial links for website owners (better for SEO).

    I think many SEOs discount broken link building as something that can’t scale. Traditionally, it’s been known as the safe but tedious link building strategy.

    But I think the tedious part simply not true. The key is to break it down into parts and scale each part of the process.

    Scaling Broken Link Research

    Instead of loading webpages manually and running a broken link checker, scale broken link research by mining websites that are disproportionately more likely to have broken inbound or outbound links.

    In mining terminology, it’s the difference between sifting for gold nuggets and searching for a motherlode.

    I wrote a post on this process and all the sources I go after.

    But with tools like Ahrefs and WikiGrabber, there’s no real reason not to scale broken link research.

    Use high authority sites like Wikipedia to find your first broken link that will lead you to hundreds and thousands of others.

    Each one of these broken links will have even more websites that link to it.

    Pro tip with Ahrefs: Be sure to use the Broken Outgoing Links feature. Pair it with high authority sites in your niche that link out, and you’ll be set.

    Scaling Content Replacement

    In order to pitch a website on replacing a broken link with a link to your website, you have to have something for them to link to. And as many SEOs know, there are few things do not “scale” like high-quality content assets.

    The key here is to do a couple things.

    First, making sure you are setting yourself up for success with broken link research.

    Again, the goal is to find broken link “motherlodes” where you can build a single content asset and get enough links to recoup the investment.

    Second, make sure broken link building isn’t a strategy that operates in silo with its own resources.

    Broken link opportunities should be integrated into your content strategy. It should make use of past assets.

    As you scale and add resources to other parts of your marketing, you should use them to complement your broken link building.

    The aggregate effect will be a campaign that can go well beyond getting one or two links to dozens and hundreds in a scalable workflow.

    Scaling Broken Link Outreach

    First off, scaling outreach shouldn’t be measured by how many emails can you send out, but by how many links you can get.

    The key is spending a lot of time on prospects that are more likely to replace the broken link, and less on sending a sheer volume of pitch emails.

    I get to that point by borrowing Siege Media’s 2-step outreach process.

    Send out lots of short, introductory emails that pre-qualify your contacts. See if you can even get a response.

    Once you get a response, then spend time on a manual, custom pitch.

    Since you’re dealing with pre-qualified prospects (aka, they’ve responded and are interested), you’ll be able to get more links in less time than you have by simply focusing on the number of pitch emails sent.

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    There's an ingrained belief in SEO circles that that link building is incredibly hard to scale. The truth is that it's hard to learn effective tactics, it's actually not that hard to scale.

    Until two months ago, Expert Round-Up Articles (ERAs) where one of my primary white hat link building tactics.

    What's an ERA? You're reading one!

    ERAs are fantastic for generating links for three reasons:

    • When you feature the advice of experts, they're infinitely more inclined to link to your content, or to respond favourably to a guest post request
    • They generate a ton of social shares, which means your content reaches a ton of new eyeballs which likely includes other bloggers who have never ready your blog before and are now more likely to link to your stuff
    • The content is usually very high value, which makes sense because it's the thoughts of a group of experts on a particular topic. So because of this, the content itself is very link-worthy

    The downside of ERAs is that they take quite a bit of coordinating.

    It's hard to make them super-efficient. There's identifying the targets to feature, the outreach, the compiling of responses (which come in at varying times), formatting the article and so on.

    ERAs are effective, but even when very streamlined, get trumped for efficiency by another of my favourite tactics:

    Top Lists

    Efficiency and a clearly defined process is the key to scaling and I choose Top Lists as the weapon of choice for a white hat link building tactic because of efficiency.

    They achieve exactly 1, 2 and 3 above that an ERA provides, but they take about 1/4 of the time to execute.

    The outreach component is completely cut out, the compiling of the article is far quicker and although the final piece of content is lower-quality than that of an ERA, they build new connections with influencers just as well in a fraction of the time.

    Summary of My Process:

    If I do not know the niche well, I get a VA to provide a list of potential bloggers to feature in the list.

    I will usually choose the final list myself because I strategically choose influencers I want to reach + bloggers I feel are a high probably of accepting a guest post request after I publish the article.

    Top lists will usually feature an image of the featured blog/blogger, links to their website and social profiles along with a description of the blog.

    This can eat a lot of time, so I get a VA to insert the images and create the links. I will usually do the description of the blog/blogger because I want to make sure that's accurate.

    I have a draft email template that is sent to featured bloggers (see below for that template!).

    I have this loaded into Buzzstream (not essential) and a VA will send it for me. This template includes a request for a guest post or guest post swap.

    I handle all the comments and questions that come back as these are usually related to guest posts which is exactly what I aim to get from the tactics.

    I will usually write the guest posts myself because aside from a link building tactic, they provide an opportunity to expose my site to a new audience.

    Scaling is cool, but I choose to make the creation of the Top Lists efficient and don't mind putting in the hard yards on the actual guest post to create a quality piece of content

    Bonus Tip: Get a badge made up that and email that to the bloggers featured as well. Some will place it on their site and link to the article from it.

    Bonus Tip #2: This is a link building tactic after all, so I create them with links in mind.

    I usually prioritize including bloggers that have evidence of linking to articles they've been featured in because I know I'm a good shot at getting an easy link from that.

    Tools Required:

    Zero! You can use Buzzstream.com, but it's not essential.

    Template that I use to advise people they're been featured in the Top List (includes guest post request):

    Hi {name}

    Just a quick email to let you know that I featured you in my list of the Top {insert relevant details of the top list}

    Here's the article {insert relevant details of the top list}

    I really hope it delivers some new visitors to your site!

    I would also like to invite you to publish a guest post on my site in the near future as I'm looking for experts like yourself that can add value to my audience (currently around 14,000 visitors per month).

    If you're open to it, I'd love to create an article for your site also so please let me know if that is of interest.

    Once again, I hope your inclusion in the list drives some new readers to your blog and I look forward to staying connected!

    Regards.

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    My favorite white hat link building technique that scales is expert round ups.

    This is my favorite one to do because it allows you to get great links, connect with really influential people, and it helps promote you as an expert in the industry.

    Executing this is all about building relationships with the experts. This can usually be done by personally connecting with them or by connecting with them through someone you know.

    After you have made the connection, you ask them to be apart of your epic round up and let them know which other experts will be involved.

    Once you get their responses, make sure to let them know when their post goes live and make it easy for them to link back to your content.

    If you get enough well known individuals rounded up, you'll be able to get huge traffic, social shares, and backlinks from their followers and from all the people that end up hearing about the post.

    If you're thinking about scaling it, there are some services that offer help such as this one.

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    By far our favorite link building tactic over at Authority Hacker is the Skyscraper technique.

    It's not always easy and a lot of people are struggling to make it work and your content certainly needs to be top notch to pull it off but if you do, it scales so much more.

    You can then reverse engineer the sites linking to everyone ranking for your target keywords and show them your content.

    In the health niche, some of our skyscraper campaigns allowed us to get over 40 linking root domains to a single piece of content using that technique alone:

    Gael Breton 1 site explorer

    In order to run the skyscraper technique successfully we use a combination of Ahrefs for data mining and Buzzstream for outreach (the 2 tools plug together perfectly as you will see in the tutorial).

    Here is a summary of the process in case you are not familiar with it:

    1. We find a piece of mediocre content on a competitor's site that received a lot of link love, preferably targeting a keyword with some search volume. You can use the Ahrefs top page function for that:

    Gael Breton 2 site explorer

    2. We craft an epic piece of content on the same topic, we always go above and beyond for these.

    Here is an example of a recent piece of that type on Authority Hacker targeting the "how to make money blogging keywords".

    Given the fact that one successful piece can generate dozens of high quality links for your site, it's really worth investing a lot of resources in a single piece of content.

    I highly recommend you work on your formatting skills as well. We found that content design is almost as important as what you actually say.

    3. Collect the information of the sites linking to ALL the top 10 sites ranking for your target keyword inside Buzzstream (find them using Ahrefs) and email them saying that you like their content and you'd like to show them something they might like.

    4. If they ask to see it, send them the link to the piece and offer them to include it in their content (and to write a paragraph to fit it in the content).

    5. Rinse and repeat 🙂

    We actually developed that process further into what we call a "Skyscraper funnel" where we also offer the people that said yes to become regular sharers of our content and to also contribute content to our site (which they then share).

    This allows us to go past building links and to actually build content partnership with influencers in the industry.

    Here is a little diagram of what this process looks like:

    Gael Breton 3 funnel

    If you'd like to learn more about this process, we recently did a free webinar about it, you can watch the replay on Youtube if you want.

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    My favorite white-hat link building strategy that scales is writing content.

    I know, as an advanced (or perhaps black hat) SEO you are rolling your eyes right now.

    But the thing is - it is true.

    Creating content that people care about and want to share amplifies the social reach of your content 100 fold, and helps you gain valuable links that you otherwise would not have.

    Would you rather write emails and perform outreach to webmasters with a technique that likely has a less then 2% response rate?

    Or, would you rather reach targeted people in your audience through keywords they use, and speak to them in an effective way that will get them to close on the deal on your website?

    Personally, I’d much rather use the latter.

    So what if you are not a writer?

    If you are not a writer it is still very easy to find writers and pay for content so that you can scale this link building properly.

    Wait a minute, you may be asking. Content and links are two different concepts.

    Why are you talking about them in the same article? I am talking about them because combining them into a white hat process with solid market research behind them is what is going to help you set your site apart from the competition, and ultimately beat them.

    So how would you build a process like this?

    First, Perform Research Into Your Market Niche

    This part is important. The best way to accurately scale your content is to first find out what the top competition in your market are doing.

    This is done through market research. Find out who the competition is, what they are writing about, when they are writing about it, why they are writing about it, and how much they are writing.

    The amount of words alone don’t always equate to high quality content that’s going to garner links and scale in your industry properly, so it’s important to understand how the content is written and the approach your competition is taking towards their target market.

    When you perform a deep dive like this, you gain valuable insights into who their customers are, what they buy, when they buy, where they go to buy, why they buy from them, and how they persuade them to buy from them.

    Researching social media is another important aspect of research that should not be ignored. Perform research into the influencers in your niche.

    These are the people you will need to make connections with if you hope to be able to share your content effectively.

    The more you make those social connections, the easier it will be for you to amplify the social reach of your content.

    By obtaining this kind of information, you can BE BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITORS.

    Don’t ever be the fool who “just writes great content” who only does just enough to get by. Be the leader who writes EXCEPTIONAL CONTENT so you can obtain the best , most valuable links to beat your competitors.

    By taking this approach, you can literally rise above your competition rapidly and become an authority in your niche in a shorter amount of time than it would take otherwise.

    But, the key here is not to just pad your content with worthless information. It is important to make sure that your longer content is also valuable and meaningful to those who will share it.

    After Research, Hire Writers

    When you expand the reach of your content, you need to think big.

    Is your content national? Or local? If it’s national, you need content writers with breadth of experience and knowledge in every area of your country.

    This way, you can scale your content writing approach to fit the wide audience you are going after.

    Decide on how much quality you will accept and how much you are willing to pay for it. The better the quality, the more you are usually going to pay.

    How Do You Find These Writers to Scale Your Project?

    You can place an ad on Criagslist in the areas that you wish to hire writers from. Be sure to specify what you are willing to pay, how many words your article will take, the topic you want them to write about, and how you intend to use the content.

    You can find writers for industry expert posts by contacting writers in your niche, and having them write content for you this way.

    You can interview industry leaders and ask top 100 questions posts about things that make them tick, and these will offer significant insight into how they became so successful.

    The trick is to assess how much content you plan to writer

    Building the Machine

    Let’s be honest here for a minute.

    To scale properly, unless you are a programmer with a fortuitous skillset and can put together the ultimate content automation machine, you are not going to be the type of person who can automate every part of this process on your own unless you are also a good manager.

    This is where the non-programmers can shine and build a massive machine for their company. For this process to work you need people.

    You need to be able to manage a team, and you need to be able to constantly keep track of a wide variety of different cogs so that the machine can function properly.

    Let’s take a look at what an example content writing machine may look like using a fake California personal injury lawyer website as an example.

    Say we have a California personal injury lawyer website – we want to think big and make it a huge social presence in all of California.

    Content is but one small cog in a large machine but this should give you an idea of how to think so that you can build your own machine:

    Brian-Harnish-website-content-pages

    With this in place, you can then create an editorial calendar spreadsheet that will have the details of every part of your machine – who is writing what, who is sharing what, etc.

    The last thing you need is to reach a point in the process where you have a bottleneck occurring that disrupts deadlines, or, even worse, derails the entire project completely. Use the editorial calendar to keep your content machine in check.

    When you setup the machine with the amount of writers you will need to complete this task, the rest of your steps become clear. Unless you can type 250 wpm, you need to hire people to execute your project through Craigslist, Odesk, or Elance.

    Finding writers online is not hard at all. The hard part is bringing them together and organizing the machine as such so that you can ensure that the process continues to work for you towards the end goal you have in mind for the project.

    Keep weekly checks in place in your editorial calendar to make sure that you are making proper milestones and continue to post the content and share the content to your social media followers

    (by this point you should have already performed all the research necessary to perform this task effectively).

    Then, from the editorial calendar comes the social media execution calendar.

    This is where you will take all of your editorials and have them in a spreadsheet arranged in such a way that builds a solid foundation for you to hire social media posters to share your content.

    Or, you could do all of the work yourself and schedule & automate posts ahead of time through programs like HootSuite or SocialOomph.

    This is where the magic of the social automation happens – so long as you observe proper pacing in scheduling the sharing and posting of your content to your massive social networks, you should not run into any problems with Twitter when it comes to being marked as spam.

    By scaling this approach – you can try using different values depending on how large your website is going to be, how many people you want to reach, and whether or not you want to be #1.

    Play around with them and see how much of a difference these numbers make to your link building.

    When you work with these plans effectively, you will be able to see how much an effective white hat link building plan that scales properly will help your website continue its meteoric rise in the search results.

    Remember, search engines want high quality content to give to their customers.

    Give it to them, and you will be rewarded through an ever-increasing natural, white-hat link profile that scales. Ignore them and do a haphazard content program that sucks, and you will be unable to take your website anywhere.

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    I’m a fan of using group interviews (a lot like this one) because of how well they work.

    This involves curating a list of the top folks in your niche and asking them a single question that your audience would love to know the answer to.

    You can then publish the answers in a single post and the fact that people have contributed to the post makes them more likely to share it or link to it.

    This can be a great way to get editorial links when done right.

    In the past I’ve used this tactic and earned links from some quality sites that would be difficult to get a link from using any other tactic.

    Don’t do this for link building though, there’s a much bigger benefit to doing these types of blog posts.

    They typically generate a lot of social shares and traffic thanks to so many people contributing.

    They get people talking and they can contain a lot of valuable insights (Yep, SEO continues to evolve as it has done for a long time, I share some additional insights in this post).

    Aside from all of these benefits, you can use these types of posts as a way to get talking to influencers. From there, you can forge and develop a relationship.

    But the key is making it a mutually beneficial relationship.

    Your goal should never be to get a quick link and you should never ask people to link to you. You’re playing the long game here.

    You’ll get more from creating good will in the market place and forging relationships with influencers than anything else.

    I haven’t scaled this tactic, as I prefer the personal approach but it can be done.

    One of best ways to scale this while still using a personal approach is to reach out to people with a well written email and ask them to fill in a form via Google Forms (or something similar).

    A spreadsheet in Google Docs can then be used to populate a spreadsheet with all of the responses, making it very straight forward to compile the post.

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    I can't help but go all "local search" on these questions.

    That's my foundation, and I am going to stick to it.

    With every link that you build, acquire, or already have, get a citation (business name, address, phone number) with it. If you got written up in the Globe and Mail, received a link, but didn't think to also ask for a citation, you're not doing it right.

    Likewise, if you have a citation, are seeking a citation, and are not trying to get a link there too, well...you know.

    When we start working with a new client we run a link and citation audit, find the links without citations, and the citations without links. Outreach. Quick win, very little work, easily scaled.

    Link audits, will of course use Ahrefs, but we will run through Majestic as well just to make sure.

    Citation audits, the NAP Hunter tool is great, but even just straight up manual search will get the job done.

    Or, a $7 audit via Loganix.

    Very basic stuff, but too often overlooked. Even by myself, it took Brian Dean of Backlinko to remind me today that I told him about this 4 years ago.

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    The best was to create a healthy link profile is through an organic approach with a clearly definitive content strategy.

    You have to be committed to creating and promoting content through your digital roadmap. That means a lot of research before you start the process.

    Consider that a strong content strategy in today’s digital world isn’t just about the written word, it includes videos, infographics and evergreen articles.

    Sure, getting links from authority websites in your niche doesn’t hurt the process, but that takes building relationships.

    There's no better place to start those relationships than on social networks. This is sometimes a long process, but it can establish your authority and your ability to get your content and services out there. Ultimately, your content has to be worth linking to.

    Scaling anything, particularly content, requires organization. You have to define the content roles and the goals of that content.

    Sometimes, curating content is enough, while with some clients, you have to include a more robust strategy, based on their immediate needs and goals.

    We've used a variety of tools but nothing works better than a custom editorial calendar. There you can insert authors, research, start date, published date, publishing venue, etc.

    Some tools below are a few we have used from time to time.

    Ultimately, when you’re looking for a large reach in the shortest amount of time, then contributing to well known publications is one of the best methods we’ve found to establish long-term readerships.

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    Link building involves a set of multiple techniques used to promote a website, but I will focus on our favorite ones.

    The first part of link building is finding the link opportunities, i.e. the websites that are likely to link to you.

    Although search results can help you with this, you need an additional tool in order to assess the value of the links in question.

    One of the tools that can be used for this purpose is ahrefs, because the report generated with this tool includes backlink analysis, as well as the list of links and broken links.

    Secondly, you have to have very good content, the kind of content that will attract the users to like, share and comment.

    These are some samples of great content:

    Explore the competition

    This link building strategy involves exploring your competitors’ link profile in order to find out how to improve your link opportunities by focusing on links you can earn.

    You should only seek link opportunities from websites of higher quality.

    This strategy consists of several steps:

    • Identify the competitors
    • Identify the competitors’ link profile
    • Identify the achievable links
    • Establish the contact

    Authority websites

    Another strategy used in looking for new link opportunities is reaching out to authority websites. This strategy is based on the premises that authority websites’ links are more valuable and thus worthier in the link profile.

    In the process of obtaining links from authority websites, follow these steps:

    • Identify authority websites related to the topic of your website
    • Identify the achievable links
    • Establish the contact

    Influence marketing

    The final stage of the process of reaching out and seeking link opportunities is a strategy where you find individuals who would be willing to recommend you and link to you.

    This includes contacting journalists and influencers in the same sector your business is in.

    The following steps will facilitate this link building technique:

    • Use search results to identify journalists / influencers related to your industry
    • Use social media to identify journalists / influencers related to your industry
    • Search using the keywords related to your website
    • Establish contact

    Establishing contact

    As previously mentioned, most of the times you will need to get in touch with the webmaster/owner of the site you want to get a link from.

    It’s very important that you personalize each message, otherwise you’ll message will be seen as spam and deleted.

    Do not use generic personalization like “I like you blog “love your posts”… be more specific, check their Twitter or Facebook or G+ accounts and mentions things like:

    • “ I saw on Twitter you ‘ve been to xxx place, hope you liked it!”
    • “Congratulations about your new car”
    • “I really enjoyed your xxx post”
    • “ by the way, I also love Celtic basketball team”…

    I’ll give you an example:

    Subject: Hi John, let me have your opinion

    Email: Hi John,

    Your conference at xxxx was really great, I really enjoyed the video. I’m getting in touch with you because I saw on your post xxxx that you mention several SEO tutorials.

    I’ve spent several days preparing my own SEO tutorial and it would be great to have your opinion.

    Do you mind if I send you the link?

    Anyway, take care and good luck with your trip to yyy.

    Regards
    Your name
    Your site/company

    Share this section

    This is an awesome, but extremely difficult question to answer.

    That's because there is an inverse relationship between scalability and effectiveness!

    My most effect tactics are the least scalable and most difficult to replicate.

    But here is my favourite:

    Original Research!

    1. Find a common assertion in your industry that is frequently stated but rarely supported.

    It's probably a bit of conventional wisdom.

    For dentists, it might be "electric toothbrushes are more effective"

    2. Conduct a survey of people in your industry to produce a data point that supports (or rejects) the assertion.

    For example, ask 100 dentists if they believe that electric toothbrushes really are more effective.

    3. Publish the answer on your site

    4. Reach out to relevant bloggers, journalists and editors, sharing the insights you discovered, such as "Most dentists don't actually believe that expensive toothbrushes are better" or "4 out of 5 dentists say the investment in a fancy toothbrush is worth it"

    If the content is relevant, you're about to become the center of a link bonanza. Your site is the only place on the internet with this statistic.

    You are the original source of the research. Anyone talking about this topic is likely to link to you.

    We produced a piece of research using this approach and it quickly became the 3rd most linked-to page on our site.

    Attracting coverage (and links) from hundreds of sites.

    It was a survey of bloggers, which produced statistics like "The average blog post takes 2.5 hours to write," addressing the common assertion that blogging is time consuming.

    You can scale it by repeating the research the year after year. This way you can produce longitudinal data showing trends over time.

    You can also repurpose your list. Anyone that reported your statistic (and linked to it) the first year should be notified the second year.

    It's not easy, but it's a reliable way to generate a lot of links and attention. So go find the "missing stat" and publish it!

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    Stealing competitors backlinks, Superb Web 2.0 Backlinks, and the beast - Private Blog Network (it can be used ethically, too).

    Backlinking has always worked for me when it comes to ranking mine as well as my client's keywords at the first page of Google.

    The success and failure of backlinking methodology depends on few aspects and not following them would be insane.

    They're:

    1) More referring domains.

    2) More anchor variations.

    And many fails, for:

    1) They've build dozens of backlink in singular site. Higher backlinks, less referrings.

    2) Over-optimization with primary keywords.

    And IF you really want to shoot your site to the TOP, believe me -- don't get in prey of guru's. Social Signals, blah, blah, doesn't matters.

    1) 40% Backlinks (Blog commenting & Super Web 2.0 Backlinks with spicy taste of PBN)

    2) 40% Anchor Variation (The many variations, the better)

    3) 15% On-page (H2 Tags, H3 Tags, keyword placements, variation of keywords, alt-tags of images)

    If you REALLY want to rank at top of Google, and not decay within 3rd or 4th or 5th page, try this.

    It works!

    How do I scale this?

    Thanks to Ahrefs & OpenLinkProfiler for letting me to crush the competition by getting their backlinks profile.

    I simply love 'em!

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    My current favorite “white hat link building strategy” is something people are not going to like… it’s called content marketing.

    Yes, you heard me right.

    For me personally the days of hunting down high PR links and checking dofollow/nofollow are no more.

    I have found that if I pump out quality content I actually can acquire more links than if I spent that time building them. And they are usually higher quality as well.

    I can then also rank long term on dozens of long-tail keywords with the high quality content. So it scales in the sense that it is like a snowball effect.

    My personal blog just reached over 35,000 visitors a month and that is all organic traffic.

    And guess what? I have never manually built a single backlink.

    I have started using this approach for my clients and they are also now acquiring backlinks naturally and more of them! It works in any niche.

    I think people need to stop obsessing over links and start obsessing more over their content. If you have great content, the links will follow.

    Of course you still want to monitor your backlink profile because negative SEO is still rampant everywhere.

    I use Web CEO + rmoov to keep my backlink profile clean.

    The great thing about Web CEO is that it’s backlink tool is powered by Ahrefs, which in my opinion is the best source.

    There are a couple ways I scale this.

    First I hire high quality content writers. And I’m not talking about buying gigs on Fiverr.

    I’m talking about finding good quality writers on Freelancer, Elance, or UpDesk and investing in your content.

    Some of my clients in the medical niche I will pay upwards of $150+ for a 2,500 word post.

    But again, over time this pays off.

    Also you might have to go through a few writers before you find one that you like and produces quality work.

    Look at your content as an investment rather than just an expense. If your content is good enough it will eventually create a snowball effect.

    Also don’t forget to do keyword research.

    I increased my reach by 170% on a post just by taking 5 minutes to do some quick lookups in SEMRush and KWFinder.

    Another strategy I use is Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique.

    This is something that can easily be done without hiring more people and it works great for scaling!

    Take what you already have, and make it better.

    Reach out to influencers to get help spreading your content. If your content is good don’t be afraid to ask people to share or link to it on their site.

    I wouldn’t consider this manually building links (we aren’t buying links, scraping domains, or creating accounts on web 2.0 properties), rather it is making others aware of your content, and if a link follows, great!

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    Right now, my favourite white hat link building strategy is guest posting.

    I like it because—contrary to popular belief—it’s easy to get guest posts accepted if you write something good, and because guest posts give me a lot of control over relevancy, which is working really well right now.

    On the surface guest posting seems difficult to scale but if you have a good process in place, it scales quite nicely.

    I like to come up with a topic and create a post template around it. This way it’s easy to produce a lot of unique content quickly.

    Here’s an example.

    Let’s say you sell tours in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. Guest posting on travel blogs would be great because not only will you get highly relevant links, you'll also get targeted traffic.

    Here’s a template you could use to guest post on dozens of travel blogs.

    • Section 1: Why Guanacaste is a great place to visit
    • Section 2: General remarks on X in Guanacaste
    • Section 3: The Top Five X
    • Section 4: Conclusion

    With this template, you could do the top five cities, the top five beaches, the top five sodas, the top five hikes, the top five places to watch the sunset, the top five activities, the top five places to stay, the top five animals to see, the top five bars—the possibilities are basically endless.

    Writing becomes easy when you don’t have to come up with a new idea for every guest post, but you can also hire someone else to write them.

    In order to streamline the the guest post outreach, I use BuzzStream to both build and pitch a list of prospects.

    If you’ve created a template, you can basically send the same pitch to all your prospects and choose a different variable for X every time a blogger says yes.

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    Build content that people will want to share and engage with!

    Good question. It’s a difficult question to answer as there are many variables and differing strategies which can yield success depending on your objectives, some of which are more scalable than others.

    We also know that Google are all over certain link building strategies like a rash.

    Anything which can be defined as “strategic link building” can often (in Google’s eyes) be seen as unnatural as it’s often planned (i.e. forced) link acquisitions rather than natural acquisition.

    By this I’m referring primarily to techniques such as directory submission, guest posting etc, each of which can still provide value but unlikely to be utilised on a mass/bulk scale.

    The acquisition of local links through local citations for example can be a great way to gain local exposure and a great way to generate relevant, potentially valuable, referral traffic and lead generation, whilst also picking up a few links.

    This is great for local search marketing campaigns and can be scalable on various levels, but opportunities will no doubt eventually be exhausted.

    So what do you do that will stand the test of time and which you can scale? Build content that people will want to share and engage with!

    This approach is nothing new and should not come as a surprise. Industry voices have been preaching about the benefits of creating great content for years, long before Penguin existed.

    But it’s only since Penguin and Google’s clamp-down on unnatural link building that people have started looking towards content for the solution.

    In 2013 Cyrus Shepard’s ‘How to Rank’ blueprint stated:

    “90% of your effort should go into creating great content, and 10% into link building”

    Even Chapter 7 ‘Growing Popularity & Links’ of Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO states:

    “Create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking”

    If done correctly, creating great content which is valuable for the reader will attract natural links and make your link building efforts much easier in the long run.

    Furthermore great content can generate better user engagement signals, from analytical signals such as bounce rate and time on site through to social signals and direct engagement.

    The approach to creating content can of course take various forms such as

    • written content (research, guides, tutorials, expert roundups)
    • videos
    • infographics
    • creative/interactive content

    … or a combination of more than one technique all of which will require investment - not just financial investment but time and effort to ensure the content offers value and is marketed correctly to strengthen/broaden its reach.

    That’s how to do scalable, long-lasting link building the right way!

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    My personal favorite white hat link building strategy is a scholarship .edu link building campaign.

    Not only do you raise money to help pay for the ever increasing costs of a college education but it’s also great for PR and a fantastic way to obtain some very powerful backlinks from extremely high domain rank websites.

    Chris-Dreyer-backlinks

    It’s pretty simple to create but takes quite a bit of time to do effectively.

    Here’s what you do:

    • Create a page on your website with all the information about the scholarship, the eligibility requirements, submission details and deadlines. (Example: http://www.levininjuryfirm.com/scholarship/)
    • Identify what colleges have financial aid and/or scholarship resource pages.
    • Outreach to those universities to let them know about your scholarship by email or phone.
    • Answer all emails from the colleges and student entries. That’s. it

    At our agency we use Ahrefs to identify what colleges link out to businesses within our industry.

    We keep a spreadsheet of those websites, their resource pages and contact information.

    You can scale the scholarship campaign a few ways.

    You can create one for specific cause and outreach to those associations.

    Anthony Castelli created one for Military Veterans (Example: http://www.castellilaw.com/anthony-castelli-attorneys-veterans-college-scholarship.html) but you can pick a cause of your choice.

    • You can also scale by getting the media involved with strategic press releases
    • Reddit has a scholarship subreddit
    • Social media can have a large impact.

    We’ve even started doing the large check pics and video essays to make them more shareable on social as well.

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    While there are many ways to generate links, my favorite white hat link building technique is broken link building.

    If you are not familiar with broken link building, it is essentially the process of finding links that are broken or no longer work that websites are still linking to.

    What appeals to me for this approach is the fact that many of the sites that are using outdated links on a page in fact already have decent page authority.

    This means if you can successfully inform the webmaster of the broken link and get them to swap your link in place, you should get a link with decent strength.

    This is an approach I typically recommend for clients who work with me in addition to making sure they own branded search terms.

    You'll be helping the webmaster out by not only letting them know something isn't working right on their site and provide them with a solution at the same time.

    More often than not the webmaster is more than happy to swap out the link for yours as it saves them the hassle of hunting down a working link.

    Then what you can do is take the broken link you found and plug it into a tool like OpenSiteExplorer to see who else is linking to this broken link.

    Here is where you can really scale the process.

    Download the list of sites who are linking to the broken link.

    You can then take this list and hire someone from your favorite freelance site to find the contact emails of the URLs in the list.

    This of course, unless you are into looking for this type of info.

    Once you have this info, you can build a spreadsheet with the email address, the URL where the broken link appears, and the broken link itself and build out a Google Sheet to use this mail merge plugin.

    You can then easily send out emails to these contacts in a few clicks.

    Then rinse and repeat as this works great when you come across hundreds of sites you need to reach out to.

    However, with a standard Gmail account the mail merge plugin only allows 100 emails to be sent a day.

    For me, this works fine as anymore and it can start to be difficult to manage.

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    I'm a strong proponent of blogger outreach, which is reaching out to blogger fo guest posts, product reviews, giveaways, but also social shares and links.

    It's incredibly white hat (unless you are paying for sponsored posts, with rich anchor text, that sort of thing), and more importantly build relationships in the process.

    By connecting with bloggers you are more likely to get natural, organic mentions going forward beyond the initial request. Executing it properly requires a personal approach i.e relationship building and adding value.

    In order to scale it I use my blogger outreach software NinjaOutreach, which helps you find thousands of bloggers in your niche. Additionally I might use a tool like Ahrefs for find linkers who are potential bloggers I can reach out to.

    For example, when I published my guide to traffic generation case studies I found some related articles, then found the people who linked to them, then reached out to them to see if the were interested in linking to or sharing mine.

    Hiring people to scale it comes AFTER I have proven that it works, and I can use my tool's team collaboration function to scale it.

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    I like using multiple images per blog post.

    This is an advanced technique that is way beyond what most bloggers are doing with images, and part of the reason why it is beyond most bloggers is that it does require some investment up front.

    Why it is so powerful is because it combines a number of different elements that you will read about in content-marketing posts all over the Internet:

    • Include an image in every post.
    • Make sure your image is appealing and original (avoid stock photos like they are soaked in acid)
    • Use text on images to make them more eye-catching, as I wrote about here.

    Multiple images gives you multiple ways to attract attention.

    For instance, when I recently blogged about the health risks faced by writers, I did up a stunning orange-on-black image meant to catch people’s eyes quickly in social media.

    Then I purposefully did up a second image geared specifically to one segment of my audience – authors – much less stunning, but based on an image of Hemingway, who is an icon for most fiction writers.

    Because it is a quote image, it is also highly shareable.

    The two images in that post will appeal to different people, doubling my chance of getting social shares that ultimately lead to backlinks; so far it is one of my most-shared posts.

    I really should have added one other image addressing back-aches or repetitive strain injuries, and specifically geared it to bloggers.

    The beauty of this is that it is not scalable in the traditional sense of the word.

    Anything that is scalable by hiring cheap, offshore labour will get massively abused and will end up hitting you in the face like a boomerang when Google gets fed up with the resulting pollution in its SERPs.

    We have seen this with article submissions, comment spam, article spinning, directory submissions, forum submissions, blogging contests, etc.

    But this is scalable in a small way. For each post you write, you have two or three opportunities to post to Twitter, FaceBook, Google Plus or wherever else, each time with a different image.

    Write once, promote twice or thrice.

    If you use a VA to post to social media, it is even more scalable.

    If you hire a Fiverr artist, you can also cut down on your work, but I would not delegate the strategy to a Fiverr artist, just the graphics work.

    But delegating the artwork on the social submissions won’t come back to slap you, because the extra shares you get and any links you attract will all be genuine and natural.

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    Though I like using suggestions and creating stuff for my audience, like what I did for the schema plugin, it has to be using infographics.

    I actually recently released one on my blog about using an SEO checklist and it got really cool links.

    Imagine if this was in a different niche that had the tendency to link to images more. It’ll be amazing and really viral!

    I know, I know, it’s an old school way of doing things but people often forget that the barrier for entry for this type of content is smaller as there is a cost involved, especially for nicely designed ones.

    There are a lot of infographics out there, but there are only a few that stand out and catch traction. Be one of those.

    This is how I scale

    I have an in-house designer but you can get it done outside using freelancers, heck even Fiverr.

    The important part is to actually do research, find what’s lacking and deliver with great information, graphics and make it memorable.

    I basically have a workflow using Trello, which is my project management app of choice. We have a checklist in there if we have to do this.

    We do research, find a topic, break it down into sections and sub sections. If it’s really long, I will use WorkFlowy to make it easier for me to see things in one glance.

    We then write/describe 1–3 design ideas on the look that can be used and pass it along our designer.

    While that is being done, we can then proceed to check how we will be promoting this content.

    We will look for other similar topics using BuzzSumo, grab the pages that got the most shares and links.

    We compile the links, the commenters, the sharers.

    We proceed to do this for the results that Google show when you type in the keyword.

    We now have a list of proven linkers/sharers/interested people. Once the infographic is done (it’ll take 1–2 revisions) we can start promotion!

    As a bonus, there are also high quality infographic directories out there.

    Doesn’t hurt to get those links, too.

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    One of the things I’ve found to be the most scalable time and time again is guest blogging.

    This is something a lot of people use and it’s the go-to link building tactic for a lot of people. Not only does it work, but it’s quite easy to scale.

    It’s my favorite because the process of getting it to work correctly involves outreach and networking. As a result, you end up with a few new friends and fellow bloggers who might link to you time and time again.

    It also gets you in front of a lot of new people, which in turn can result in more links and traffic.

    In order to properly execute guest blogging, you need to build a relationship with your target bloggers first. I’ve seen some success with “cold” messaging people too though.

    The best thing to do is find high quality blogs in your niche and just starting hanging out there more often, commenting on their posts, re-tweeting their tweets, and generally getting to know them.

    You’ll soon know whether or not they accept guest posts and how approachable they are.

    With practice, you’ll get quite good at emailing them and seeing if they accept guest blogs. If you’ve befriended them a bit, this feels natural and you won’t particularly feel out of place.

    Success isn’t guaranteed, but rejection hurts less when you have put the ground work in first.

    To scale it, I usually hire a VA, create them a profile on my site (usually on the about page), give them an email address, and teach them what to do.

    They will then try to comment on 3-5 blogs per day, and once 3 comments have been accepted on a site, they email them (from a template) asking for a guest post opportunity.

    Tools I might use are Google Spreadsheets for tracking the whole thing, and something like Ninja Outreach for finding people to reach out to in the first place.

    It goes without saying that the comments need to be high quality and the email templates need to be personalized slightly for each site.

    As a backup plan, you can also find people who have a “write for us” or similar section on their blog and just directly message them according to their requirements. This is also easy to scale.

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    There are a lot of ways to build links and it can be subjective as to what is "white hat" versus well done "gray hat".

    I like to have a private blog network that is built in a conservative way to reduce risk and execute the following strategy at the same time:

    (One can argue that a PBN is like a media company building out a network of websites...)

    1. Comment on many (dozens or hundreds) of blogs related to the topic. You can find blogs to comment on using this method that speeds up the process a lot.
    2. Use the Ahrefs Site Explorer to get a list of what comments are approved. You can export a CSV that has a lot of information about the specific page that your comment is on.
    3. Import the CSV to a tool like Ninja Outreach or Buzz Stream.
    4. Send out emails asking for guest posts and you can cite the post that you commented on

    I have seen about a 20% conversion rate (2 out of 10 allow guest posts) using this method.

    PRO TIP #1:

    Mention that the blog owner can put in there own affiliate links if they want. This works especially well for topics that don't have significant monetization methods, like travel, food, or other hobby based blogs.

    PRO TIP#2:

    Add backlinks throughout your guest post to your own site as long as the content is relevant. And, be sure to add some other authority sites in the text as well.

    You can scale the process by commenting more often on more blogs, then subsequently sending more emails.

    Using Ninja Outreach or BuzzStream makes sending out the emails very fast and they are well worth the money.

    I currently handle the commenting and guest post writing in house but you could hire people for both very easily on Upwork.

    I would recommend native speakers for whatever language that you are targeting. That way you stand the best chance to get your comments approved and your guest posts accepted.

    Technically, you can outsource the whole process with 2 to 3 virtual assistants. And, there are really is an unlimited number of blogs to comment on so this is fully scalable.

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    I’m a huge fan of content curation and interviews so I have to say that my favorite strategy would be the expert round up blog posting.

    I was fascinated with Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique so I have decided to use the method in my own seo blog.

    Some of my expert round-up posts include the Best Kept Secrets Of Prominent SEO’s and Internet Marketers and 8 Well-Respected SEOs And Marketers Share Surprising Tips where I got the chance to interview the best minds in SEO and internet marketing.

    The idea was just plain and simple – you build up one gigantic blog post using your interview questions and answers.

    How I executed the strategy:

    1. Listing up name of prospects – I listed down the names of who I wanted to be part of my expert round up blog posts.

    They were all experts in the SEO playing field and are my influencers. Most of the people I have in my list don’t know me at all so the success rate was relatively small especially if you put yourself as the “spectator”.

    To increase my chances of getting more answers in my round up interviews, I had to reach out to more targets.

    2. Research background and get all active social profiles – this gave me the idea of what social media sites or forums my prospects are most active.

    I used those platforms to engage with them. I’ve added them in social media for me to be part of their circles.

    Most of them were active in Google+ and Twitter so I was frequently doing retweets, +1’s and reshares on their blog posts and status updates.

    3. Comment on their most recent blog posts – blog commenting was quite popular in link building before but I have preferred to use the method in marketing myself to my prospects.

    Commenting helped me heighten their awareness about me from “spectator to acquaintance”. This kind of complements to actively doing social shares/reshares.

    4. Subscribe to their newsletters – to understand and directly engage with my subjects, I wanted to know what they are up to on a regular basis.

    Subscribing to their emails was also part of the plan to get their active email addresses.

    5. Engage with them through email - I was able to catch up the email addresses of my targets after subscribing to their newletters so I made a point on actively conversing with them via email – sending response of thanks for sharing some helpful posts.

    This was the part where I actually got their attention so I have asked them about my motives for interview.

    6. Send interview questions - So when I got some “yes” in my interview offers, I sent them the list of questions I prepared for them. I have limited the questions to less than ten to have lesser turnaround time.

    7. Be patient and wait for response - I gave my targets a week as time allowance to help them spare some time answering my questions.

    8. Once your list is ready, publish in most convenient time - I got more traffic during weekdays than in weekends so I had some thoughts of publishing the posts within Mon-Fri.

    9. Supplement post with social shares and promotions - The actual blog posts are likeable/linkable now so I haven’t had a hard time in promoting them.

    10. To spread the word - I did some promotion on the content via my social media channels as well as some marketing related bookmarking sites such as Kingged, Growth Hackers, Inbound.org, AllTop and Reddit.

    I was the one who made it so I didn’t hire someone to do it for me.

    If in incase you don’t have much time to do it yourself, get someone who’s great with people to help you do the outreach. You can find a lot of amazing VA’s in Upwork (formerly oDesk).

    To scale the results of my strategy, I needed Google Analytics, Majestic, Sumo.me and BuzzSumo.

    Tangibles

    1. Traffic acquisition of posts – the posts generated some decent number of traffic.

    Fervil Von Tripoli 1 landing page

    Fervil Von Tripoli 2 landing page

    2. Social shares and engagement – number of people who actually comments and shares your post can help you scale if your strategy is effective.

    Fervil Von Tripoli 3 seoers

    3. Numbers of email subscribers – After publishing the posts, I have generated more email signups. I used sumo.me and hello bar to capture the emails.

    4. Backlinks – didn’t really focus on building up links to my expert round up posts but I had some decent links indexed.

    Fervil Von Tripoli 4 external backlinks

    Fervil Von Tripoli 5 external backlinks

    5. Leads generated – there were good number of leads generated with the help of the round up blog posts.

    Intangibles

    1. Additional authority of your blog - there was a great trade behind the effort in doing the interviews.

    I wanted to have a collection of content assets in my blog and part of it was publishing huge posts with great content ideas.

    To improve the trust and authority of my blog, I needed to initiate the round up post as part of my SEO campaign.

    Happy to say it was successful and some people considered my blog as a helpful SEO resource.

    2. Relationship built with prospects – since my prospects already knew me even in acquaintance level, I didn’t had a hard time connecting with them.

    Seeding the relationship with my prospects really helped improve my personal branding. I got the chance to meet my SEO influencers in person.

    They became my good friends and drinking buddies. The good times and the best ideas in online marketing came out during our drinking sessions. 😛

    Share this section

    I honestly believe that there is no single approach to doing link building that would guarantee success.

    The reason behind it is that not all niches are the same, which makes it more reasonable to approach each one differently.

    Thus for a website that wants to rank for the keyword "Advanced Dew Point Hygrometers" employing guest posts and looking for websites where you could place your link, would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

    Fortunately, there are some approaches that one might find generic and could be expanded in the context of creativity.

    In my case after reading the book: It's Not All About "Me": The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone by Robin Dreeke. I began to approach link-building in a much more "ME" approach, that is the "ME" of the person you are trying to market to.

    Instead of looking for guests posting sites and building authority from them and hoping and waiting that they agree for me to post my content.

    I decided to reach out to influencers and look for professional advice that would give value to my target audience and niche.

    I looked for pre-existing interviews in the web and searched for the contact details of the people who previously answered and then asked them questions that has not been asked of them in their previous interviews or if there is something that I need to clarify regarding their answers I place it in the interview template that I make.

    The advantage of this approach is that these influencers are the most sought after people in the industry. Thus their point of views and ideas are treasured by their followers.

    I thought that doing this approach would be more of giving value and relevance to your niche and your industry thus raising the authority of your website.

    As for traffic and rankings, I made them all secondary because I thought that marketing should be about the person you are targeting and not about the product or service you are selling.

    Now one may need to be more creative when dealing with a website that deals with "Advanced Dew Point Hygrometers", but I am not saying that it is impossible to use this approach to the same website.

    Starting out with the leading brands selling them and connecting with their people would be a good start of conversation especially when they want to highlight their superiority over others.

    To my surprise, the interaction and open rate of this approach are surprisingly high as the interviewees had prior experience dealing with other interviewers thus my success rate is as high as 30-50%.

    But then I scale it by using social media as an avenue for increasing my reach and engagement thus resulting to more natural social signals for my website and campaign.

    In layman's terms, this would be the second level of engagement as a supplement of the first which was the interview.

    As for the tools, I do it manually, just the regular email and send. The same goes with searching for influencers and other interviews online I just use Google.

    As of the moment, I have a team of people doing it for me they are from the Philippines as well.

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    I use most types of white hat link building techniques, but believe high end link building cannot be scaled.

    If you can scale it then so can a competitor.

    Most techniques are labour intensive and I don't like working. I like to try and build or create something that is useful and likely to attract links without any effort once live.

    One effective method is using images or graphics.

    Here's a technique I used a while back on one of my travel sites:

    1) Found a cheap VA on Odesk (Upwork). Got VA to find lots of travel images in the 'public domain' with no copyrights.

    2) VA uploaded all the images to a pro Flickr account, allowing images to be used with attribution.

    3) Added in each image description that link attribution must be given to my site.

    4) Created an image gallery on my blog using a Flickr plugin, giving bloggers a url to link back to.

    Next step was to just sit back and wait.

    I then regularly checked for attribution links by just searching Google for "source:mysite”.

    The main problem was webmasters and bloggers were linking to the Flickr account, but outreaching to them and giving them the correct url to link to had 95% success rate.

    Gareth James links

    This technique is not specifically about image link building, it’s about repackaging something and giving it away for free.

    This could be images, graphics, scripts or tools which I have all used in the past.

    If you get creative you'll find many different applications for this which can be used across different niches.

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    Quality content & Infographics are my favorite two ways to get links.

    I focus on Quality content & come up with content that are important but is not touched in my niche.

    Most of the content are based on experience & my need as a blogger. Infographic is something that I'm testing right now again, and will share the results soon.

    I do hire quality writers who can churn well-researched content along with me.

    It costs me a lot but by the end it is totally worth it.

    Here is one example of such content.

    This post has more than 4.5K words & you can see the quality yourself.

    BuzzSumo is one tool that comes out to be very handy for researching content.

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    My favourite linkbuilding strategy is 'Create something your visitors want'.

    It doesn't mean that you have to go out to the market and perform lots of interviews, but it does involve a certain amount of research.

    You want to find who are the current SERP winners and why.

    The easiest way to do this is by using BuzzSumo.

    OK, it is a paid service, but one that allows you to really see what content is being shared the most, based on your requirements.

    This is hugely powerful!

    At a glance, you can see if an article has had 1 social share, 100, or 1000. This then allows you to see if it is something you can better.

    Can you create more up to-date data? A more insightful view? Some additional testing that shows a different view point?

    Then comes the fun bit - creating the content.

    Depending on your market and niche, you might need to think outside the box a little.

    Always check the articles you are researching and look at the comments. Are people disagreeing with something? Are they asking for additional confirmation on something? if they are, make sure to include it in what you do.

    Buzzsumo then allows you to check who has shared an article, allowing you to reach out and make contact with them - this is huge!

    For a very modest investment, you can find out what is popular, why and who has shared it!

    Not only can you check for social shares, you are also able to check and see if it has lead to backlinks. Get in touch with those sites that have linked to it and tell them you have something more current than what they already have in place.

    This can sometimes lead to a competitor losing a link, while you gain one - it's more common than you might realise.

    The scalable aspect comes from repetition and diversity

    .

    Depending on your market, it might be near on impossible to appeal to the same people every time, so you need to think about how you can scale this to reach a larger audience.

    If you take 'Minskin Cats' as an example, there are unlikely to be a huge group of people interested in this rare breed, so you need to think more about how appeal to a larger audience.

    Instead of 'Minskin Cats', you could talk about the more generic field of 'Domestic Cats' where you could reach out to a much wider audience.

    The more you can diversify, the more you can repeat your searches for content types related to your field.

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    My favourite “white hat link building strategy that scales” has to be the skyscraper technique.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect way to earn links through high quality content.

    The common problem people experience with content marketing is that they create great content assets (be that an infographic, buying guide, video or something else) but then fail to do anything with it!

    To me, a great asset is only as good as it’s outreach and distribution strategy.

    The bottom line is that regardless of how great a piece of content is, if people don’t know about it, how can they be expected to link to it?

    It’s simple; they can’t!

    For those of you not familiar with the skyscraper technique; head over and read Brian’s post on Backlinko (linked above) and you’ll quickly see why it works so well.

    In short, you’re taking a piece of content which a competitor has put together which you have identified to have a large number of quality links pointing to it, making the content better and reaching out to those who linked to the original piece.

    Of course, the ‘difficult’ part is finding these popular posts in the first place, but with tools such as Buzzsumo, you can’t really go wrong and it turns a labour intensive task into something quick and easy.

    The reason why the skyscraper technique can scale is the approach in itself - rather than having to research which topics work or don’t work for your audience, you simply take someone else's concept and make it better.

    The time-consuming part of the technique is the creation of FANTASTIC content assets, however surely the requirement to do that as part of a digital marketing campaign in 2015 is a given?!

    From there, you just need a good link checker (I’d recommend either Majestic or Ahrefs) in order to be able to identify who is linking to the content.

    To scale, there’s no reason why a virtual assistant couldn’t provide a list of contact details from the sites which you’ve identified and exported from your chosen tool.

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    Scaling link building is certainly harder than it used to be. Different strategies work better in different industries, but if I was to pick one that works across the board and I start every campaign of with would have to be competitor backlink analysis.

    Not only does this give you tons of awesome link opportunities, but it also gives you an insight into how your competitors are acquiring links which you can utilise later on.

    What's also fun is whilst going through your competitor’s backlinks is seeing all the spammy links they (sometimes) have.

    Although if they do, it will leave you thinking how the heck they are ranking where they are and haven’t been penalized.

    There isn't much you can do about that unfortunately... just concentrate on building your own website up.

    My process for competitor link building

    ... is fairly simple.

    I'd find the top 10 or so competitors from an organic search point of view, then download the competitions links through backlink indexes like Ahrefs here.

    Now we have lots of links to go through, MANUALLY.

    There's no way to automate this part I'm afraid.

    I load them all up into separate profiles in BuzzStream for easy management and outreach, but alternatively you could use Excel.

    As you go through the links see if there is an opportunity for a link to be added back to your website.

    The majority of the time there won't be, but for the times there are, it's worth it. As these links are what’s making your competitor a top competitor in search.

    Some of the links you might not be able to get a link straight away, such as a website where they have been featured in an industry news article.

    Make note of this though, as in the future when you've got some news or content to promote you then have a list of hot leads to distribute it to.

    This is scalable in the way that it's applicable to any website and you can constantly monitor your competitor’s links by downloading a fresh set of links going to your competitors every month for new opportunities.

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    My favourite link building tactic is infographics.

    I often find that many businesses create infographics which are just a bunch of facts and figures with very little practical advice and then are left confused when their infographic only gets 5 links all from infographic directories.

    Some of my top performing infographics have actually being useful guides and cheat sheets which people find useful.

    This type of content is also evergreen which gives me an opportunity to outreach them all year round.

    In order to increase my placement rates I often offer guest posts or guestographics in my follow up pitches as recommended by Brian Dean.

    Before I did this I was lucky to get 5% placement rates, now I can be confident of getting a much better response on my second or third emails just by offering 300 words of text.

    Bloggers are busy people if you can offer them something cool to share on their blog for free they're very likely to say yes!

    I handle all the design, research and outreach myself for this process but use a few different tools to help me scale.

    I use Ahrefs to look for similar infographics, blogs and pages which might be receptive to my content.

    I use Link Prospector from Citation labs to find placement opportunities such as resource pages from libraries & colleges.

    I will then manage my contacts and pitches with in Buzzstream to make sure I follow up in a timely fashion and don't email the same person the exact same pitch twice!

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    My favourite white hat link building strategy has to be gaining links via great content through social media.

    Here is what I mean.

    Research your market and then create a piece of content that is far better than anything else out there.

    Now spread the word via social media, get in touch with other influential figures in your niche and use sharing sites to spread the word.

    Now if your content is great then other sites will start to notice and link back to your article.

    Here is a screenshot of one article that I did that proves that this technique works:

    article-tons-of-shares

    Apart from my home page, this article has the most back links out of all the pages on my site.

    Here is a screenshot from Ahrefs of the referring domains to this page:

    Jason Chesters social metrics

    But don't be fooled into thinking this will work with every niche because it won't.

    I have been involved in certain niches where nobody wants to share anything or link to others!

    In this case you have to think outside of the box.

    Maybe create a competition or giveaway or do something for the site owner that you want to gain a link from. Write them a great piece of content or help them improve their site.

    The tools I use to scale this method.

    Get people discussing your topic and create some controversy.

    Use social tools such as buffer to schedule tweets.

    To scale this operation its important to stay on top of the latest trends, this is when it's a good idea to hire a VA to research topics and present ideas, you can then hire a quality writer to compile the articles and again a VA to spread the word via social media.

    White hat link building is a touchy subject as any form of link building is not 'white hat'. So acquiring links naturally is key.

    There are lots of other link building and SEO techniques here.

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    People often think that building links is difficult in "boring" industries. However, there is a benefit to working for clients who's peers and competitors are not at the top of their online marketing game.

    For example I came up with this idea for a steel door company I'm working with on their marketing.

    Leverage Your Product/Service's Benefits For Links

    One of the benefits for building to utilize steel doors is an improvement in fire safety. So that opens so many possibilities for links and visibility!

    Let's open up BuzzSumo to find some of the top influencers when it comes to fire safety.

    Jeremy Rivera buzzsumo

    From here there are a couple of different paths you can take to turn that concept into links and social shares here's my favorite way.

    Come up with a "question" you want to get answered about fire safety. Then you do need to dig for some contact information.

    For NFPA, I went to their Press Room page to get their media email. For the question I came up with this:

    "We're putting together some resources for our customers about fire safety, specifically around steel doors but general research and statistics could help too, can you point us to your best resources or have a quote from one of your officials that we could include?"

    Once they reply with a resource, keep that conversation open with a thank you, and let them know you'll share that resource when it becomes available online.

    Repeat this process with other influencers until you have sufficient content to make a page, post or infographic and then share it with the contributors, who now have a vested interest in sharing it.

    Since they're not direct competitors, they will not feel anything holding them back from sharing it and often mentioning it on their own site or blog as well.

    Remember to tailor your question's difficulty and focus based on your target, and the less sophisticated the website the less sophisticated your question should be!

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    In a nutshell, my favorite white hat link building strategy is inviting content providers to link to their content on my sites from their site and their social media channels.

    Much of the content I publish on my B2C niche sites is contributed by thousands of individuals and companies.

    I invest a great deal of time reaching out to these people and organizations inviting them to provide content. Also, some find us and ask to get published on my sites.

    Once their content goes live, I send a personal email letting them know their content is published. In that email I invite them to link to their content from their website and social media channels.

    The process is a form of networking within the industry. Instead of blatantly asking for links, I offer an opportunity for free exposure on my sites.

    Once I deliver the free exposure to them in the form of getting published on my sites (for free), I then invite them to link to the content and promote the content.

    Jomer Gregorio


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    This is what we have been doing for our clients and for our internal marketing as well.

    I call this "Outreach Marketing".

    1. Research and find the best topics your industry is talking about.

    Take note of those topics and create content titles out of those topics according to their importance.

    2. Create a linkable asset using these content titles.

    The most popular one right now are infographics. The infographics must be contextually accurate, well-research, back-up with proper citations and more importantly must be easy to read.

    Note: If your content is not useful enough the entire system will not perform well. This is very important piece of the puzzle that must be perfected first.

    3. Include in the infographic resources your target website/blog and cite their posts/pages or contents.

    4. Come up with atleast 2 draft email pitches.

    Note #1: Always test different subjects and when creating an email pitch remember that by default people doesn't care about you until you proved you care about them.

    Note #2: Always make them the center of your email and point to the fact that you are pitching your work because you believe that it might help their "audience" in some way.

    5. Pitch the cited resources first.

    6. Find relevant and related blogs or websites and send them pitch email.

    7. Follow-up the unresponsive.

    8. Rinse and repeat.

    This strategy can be done manually and via using different tools available in the marketing as well.

    For further info I advice our readers to check out our tips for strategic natural link building.

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    My favorite white hat link building method for a particular website I handled back in 2014 was image link building.

    It was pretty simple and straightforward and the response rate was always good.

    It even became my repetitive task month over month because every month, a new image is produced and industry related websites would use it without giving us a credit.

    The website I handled was in a publication industry and every month they would release an issue and each issue comes with new image that I could use for link opportunity.

    Here’s how I did it

    Using the website logo and month issue cover, I identified websites who used our website logo or month issue cover without any credit whatsoever.

    I used Google Image Research to find these websites but of course one tool is not enough..

    So I used another tool called ImageRaider

    I’ll show you an example..

    Grab a copy of your image and upload it to imageraider or images.google.com.

    Alternatively, you can just copy the URL of the image you’ll find elsewhere on the web and paste it in a box.

    Joseph E. Gojo Cruz 1 image search

    Once the tool is finished doing its thing, you should see a result something like the image below:

    Joseph E. Gojo Cruz 2 image search

    Key takeaways

    You have to go through each website to see which one of them will benefit you when you approach them for link credit.

    Give your prospect a favor. Assuming they are relevant to your industry, give a Tweet, Facebook share or +1 to the page where you find your image.

    Personalize your email. Thank them for using your image and let them know that you’ll help promote their page via social sharing.

    Josh Bachynski


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    I don't do link building. The PageRank algo is mostly dead. See John Mueller's latest hangout from the 2nd here.

    PS: Even if I did, by definition, no link building strategy that "scales" could possibly be "white hat."

    Any link building strategy that does not violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines would, by definition, be organic and randomly donated.

    Random != scalable. Again by definition.

    However, what I do offer, is buzz generation.

    We generate "buzz" for a brand or site out there on the interwebs in a way that Google will pick it up and use that as a ranking signal.

    This is both powerful and perfectly safe. (Links NOT being perfectly safe being the other reason why I don't sell them or focus on them, other than it simply not being the main signal anymore)

    How to scale it

    Throw more people at it to amplify it + make super viral content + in a niche that already had amplifiers = more buzz = more / better rankings

    We have seen 800% increases in some queries.

    You just have to know how to do it right. It takes strategic planning, as much (if not more) than tactical implementation.

    Want to know how? Email me 🙂

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    My favorite out-of-the-box white hat linking strategy at the moment is the one that Backlinko talks about here.

    • I start by doing what they reference and searching Google for site:wikipedia.org [keyword] + “dead link. For the keyword section, I would input topics related to my client’s industry
    • Once I find a few articles with dead links, I compile a list of what the links were about and see if I can use Wayback Machine (archive.org) to find what the page used to look like
    • Then I have our content writer or the business owner write up an article about that topic if one doesn’t exist already. I make sure it’s accurate and cites several sources.
    • Once the article is live, I log in to my Wikipedia editor profile and edit the Wikipedia article to replace the dead link with the article on my client’s site (note: it really has to be about the same topic since you’re replacing the dead link and citation)
    • Once the link is live on Wikipedia, I then put the dead link into Ahrefs.com and check for other sites linking to it
    • I reach out to the webmasters of those sites (if applicable) to see if they can replace the dead link with mine.

    The great thing that sets this apart is the fact that since so many people quote Wikipedia it will often also result in future links as well (so it’s like link-building on auto-pilot).

    It’s extremely important not to abuse this tactic.

    Wikipedia is an amazing resource and spamming it is never desired.

    If I’m replacing dead links, I always want to make sure the replacement is of equal or greater value to the one that was there before.

    The page I’m linking to cannot be a sales pitch and must cover the same topic that the dead link spoke about.

    Share this section

    We've had a lot of success building links at scale by "going local" with linkable assets and leveraging the power of parochialism.

    I'm sure you see this in action on a regular basis.

    Just think about the articles that your Facebook friends proudly share that tout their city, town, state or children's school system as “tops” or “best” at something.

    Point is, if you can find a way to work a regional or local angle into your content, particularly one that celebrates an area, you can tap into an audience that will enthusiastically share, promote and link to that content at scale.

    For specific, real world examples of the types of regionalized content I'm talking about (and there are a range of approaches you can take), check these out:

    These lists peak our curiosity and are almost irresistible click bait. What parent doesn’t want to know if their child’s school made the list of “top public schools” in their state?

    When it comes to link outreach, your best bet is to target local journalists and local radio station websites (there are tons of them you can reach out to).

    They frequently feature this type of content, so it’s a perfect angle to pitch when doing outreach.

    You can also buy ads on Facebook too and leverage geo-targeting to scale your promotion, distribution and content amplification efforts.

    Like I mentioned earlier, Facebook is the perfect platform for these types of pieces.

    Localism works even for the most obscure niches. No matter how boring your industry, you can still find ways to work in a regional angle to appeal to a local audience.

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    I work in affiliate areas where the typical visitor is looking for reliable information before a purchase. One example is the health segment where it’s actually possible of getting natural links.

    I’ve tried a bunch of different link building strategies over the past years, and one of my favorite white hat link building strategy that has been proven to work for my sites in the long run is good quality and link-worthy content.

    I usually start by spending some time researching my competitors with tools such as Ahrefs

    Then I write a list of different topics that I would like to address along with detailed instructions for my content writer to make sure that my text on the particular topic is better than my competitors.

    If someone is looking for a reference for a statement, my text and my site should be able to provide that.

    Well, it’s certainly not a good strategy if you’re impatient and looking for results in a short period of time.

    But whenever content generate links, they tend to be white, and if you have not received any links at all after 12 months, chances are that you earned your money back from long tail traffic from search engines anyway.

    Content building is also highly scalable since it’s easy and quite cheap to outsource it all, or parts of the work, to a reliable content agency.

    If you like to go sleep without worrying about future filters and penalties from Google, then I would definitely advise anyone working in niches where natural links is possible, to spend a bit more money and time on their design and especially the content.

    If you’re not getting any links, the worst case scenario is that you only added more value to your site.

    Leigh Louey-Gung

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    My favourite white hat link building process that scales is viral content development.

    Creating content that spreads through the internet like wildfire is the most effective way to get links.

    You can land features on websites that you just can't buy links on, including all the big ones - Mashable, Techcruch, Quartz, NY Times, Inc, and anything else you can name.

    And best of all, it's the one method that's most likely to keep you off Google's penalty radar.

    It terms of return on investment, there's no better option.

    Scaling anything obviously requires the development of effective systems and processes so I won't go into that.

    The thing that's different about scaling viral content development is that it works better when you clearly define each step in the process and get a different person to work in each one.

    • Get a marketing person to identify niches and opportunities
    • Get a creative person to work out how you're going to approach those opportunities
    • Get a design person to put together the content
    • Get a people person to do the outreach

    Trying to scale the system by getting one person to do everything will typically leave you with poor quality results.

    You need an expert at each step to create truly remarkable content.

    You simply can't afford to produce anything less than stellar content because the link between success and failure is incredibly slim, and if you're on the wrong side of it, you'll just be wasting your time.

    Find the right people, train them properly, and watch your white hat link building success soar.

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    My favorite link building strategy has to be "The Ego Method".

    Essentially you perform a roundup post containing 10-20 of the top blogs, websites, YouTube channels on your niche and create a great piece of ego bait that you share on social media and also get some paid traffic to.

    You then let those featured in the article know about it and how they can share the article.

    Quite often they will even mention it on their own websites in a roundup/summary post at the end of each month, such as ..."and we were also featured at [insert site] in their article [top xx in niche]."

    This will also provide a powerful and relevant link back to your site.

    Despite the method above being my favorite, it is far from guaranteed to produce a backlink. However, what it does do is open up communication channels and helps you to form a rapport with your competition.

    This method goes way beyond just asking for a link.

    One of the biggest benefits I have seen to using "The Ego Method", is that it will also open the door to possible guest posts further down the lie.

    This is the perfect opportunity to create some very valuable, in text backlinks where you can control the anchor text.

    To scale this method, I use a mixture of BuzzStream, Google Docs and VA's.

    Data gathering can take a long time, so outsourcing is the only way to scale this method.

    BuzzStream makes short work of sending out your emails, requests and responses and their Chrome addon is perfect for finding and filtering large prospecting lists.

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    Industry-association memberships are a rock-solid source of relevant, authoritative links.

    Yes, your client has to pay at least a few bucks every year to be a member. That is the sole drawback. But most memberships are still cheaper than what you’d invest to earn most halfway-decent “free” links, and most clients understand the value.

    Memberships usually aren’t a hard sell, in my experience. (Unlike, say, BBB accreditation. Also a great source of a link, as I’ve written, but many business owners hate the idea.)

    There’s at least one industry association (and often many) for pretty much every type of business.

    My favorite example is the National Resume Writers’ Association - a nice link if you’re a professional resume-writer.

    You can probably also find a regional group, like the Massachusetts Dental Society - which might be especially wise to join if you don’t feel like joining a giant organization like the ADA.

    They’re scalable, in that you can join more than one, and in that a multi-location company can have each of its branches join an industry association specific to the region it’s in (e.g. Tri-State area, DFW, etc.).

    Another nice thing about joining professional organizations is that you’re not just chasing a link. There’s often other marketing potential, online and offline.

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    I think it is tough to come up with a single truly white hat link building strategy that scales. It is almost an oxymoron.

    However, there are some ways to scale links building and earning and this is is one approach that can work well.

    1. Find a topic that needs a great answer

    2. Write that great answer and have it on your site - then weep a little as it does not rank

    3. Write a series of guest posts on highly popular triple A sites and link to this post in a natural way

    Here you are building authority and talking about related topics on relevant sites but also linking to your article with relevant (but natural anchor text).

    As this article then starts to rank naturally on the back of these high quality relevant links the article itself will start to rank.

    Once your article gets well ranked it will often start to take on a life of it's own and earn natural links.

    Here we have used a great piece of content to add value to your own site and then guest posting on triple A sites to manually build links to it hoping that it will naturally earn links if there is generally discussion around the piece.

    A great example of a piece of content that can take on a life of it's own is the SEO algorithm updates piece from Moz.

    This article has hundreds of links and whilst they may not have needed to have propped it up with some guest posting it is the kind of content that was well searched for and will take on a life of it's own.

    You can expand on this to add scale in a variety of different ways.

    You can monitor the web and look for references to this topic and then contact folks to introduce them to your article.

    You can use paid promotion to make more people aware of your article. You can take this approach and do it for several articles till you have several well ranking cornerstone pieces of content that generate links and mentions.

    It is tough and not every article you write is going to work but if you can find something that needs doing better. Do it. Then promote that using guest posts or whatever means you desire to make folks aware of it and so it ranks then it should take on a life of it's own.

    Summary

    Scale is the enemy of white hat and in a nutshell the only way to scale this is to find an area where there is a gap and fill that gap - then do a bit of work to build the initial links and then let the article take on a life of it's own.

    This is not 100% natural but as long as it is done with a goal to help people and let it pick up links naturally (or super naturally if you have done the initial pushing).

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    My favorite strategy that gets quality links and social media shares is basically doing PR work.

    This consists in a two pronged approach:

    1. I publish a great, timeless piece of content on a site that I run.

    The main element I look to achieve in this content is timelessness.

    The post has to have a long shelf-life and has to be as relevant, as interesting and as useful to the target audience on the day it is published as it is three months down the line (as described here).

    This is a great characteristic to have in the world where an average article published becomes irrelevant and forgotten a day after it has been made live.

    Publishing one amazingly great post, but also at the same time a timeless post, gives me a long time to do all the necessary marketing work in order to attract traffic, social media shares and links.

    2. I get out and tell influential people about this post.

    The most effective way of getting links is to reach out to bloggers and other writers that have previously covered similar topic areas that I believe may be interested in my post.

    Then simply tell them about your timeless piece of content, don't ask for links or anything like that. Just be useful instead.

    The process goes like this: Identify influencers you want to reach, find their contact info, write a brief but punchy email, and simple click on the send button (see a bit more details on this here).

    This can be scaled and outsourced without losing effectiveness.

    You can do it in several ways such as outsourcing the building of contact database or outsourcing of the outreach itself to people you can find on job sites.

    On top of this there are several tools that can help you scale the process of discovering writers to contact.

    It's possible to do through Google, but http://buzzsumo.com has really changed the game for me since their introduction and has allowed much easier discovery of influencers.

    Keep repeating this process over a longer period of time and you will see big results and links coming your way.

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    My favourite white hat link building technique, although I prefer the term link earning, is what our team refers to as content recreation.

    This technique basically involves looking at the content that has been working for both your competition and well known online publications in the niche that you are working.

    This is defined by the content with the most social interactions on the sites you look at.

    The tool we use to do this quickly, easily and for free is SocialCrawlytics.

    Once you have identified the content that has been working for your competitors and other established sites in your niche you must look to create better, unique content based around the same subject area.

    This can be as simple as more up-to-date content or presenting content on the subject in a different format such as an infographic.

    At this point it is important to note that any content you create using this technique should be unique and not a copy of the original content.

    Remember this technique is about identifying a specific topic area that a relevant audience are receptive to.

    Then you must share it to the same social channels that the original content had success with as identified in SocialCrawlytics.

    A tip here is to search for the original content on the social networks where it was popular and share it to the same places or in the same ways (maybe specific hashtags on Twitter).

    I tend to simply do a search by the original content title.

    When carrying out this technique you can also take it one stage further and obtain the link metrics for the most socially shared content using a link metrics tool.

    For speed I tend to find Opensite Explorer from Moz pretty effective, but many others will do the same such as Ahrefs, Majestic and so on.

    Depending on the project you can use this data to take this process one stage further and outreach your content to the sites that link to the sites where you identified the original content.

    This technique leads to a significant increase in traffic to your site, more social likes/shares and ultimately more links.

    The great thing about this link earning technique is that it is very scalable as it is a clear defined process that isn't hugely time consuming and is based on figures produced quickly by tools.

    On a final note on white hat link building via content analysis I would recommend having a look at tools such as Ahrefs Content Explorer and BuzzSumo as you can carry out a similar technique, but you can do it by searching for the most popular content on specific topics.

    These tools also allow you to analyse content on a domain, however I tend to use SocialCrawlytics and it is a great tool for link earning no matter what your budget size.

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    One of my favourite white hat link building techniques is still guest blogging.

    Whilst a lot of people have concerns over guest blogging, I find it to be the most effective and scalable link building technique in my arsenal.

    Now, when I talk about guest blogging, I'm not referring to just firing off a load of low quality articles to crappy blogs.

    I'm talking about lining up columnist opportunities within top tier publications.

    One link from an industry-leading publications can hold more value than 100 from low end blogs - this is what can get you big results.

    Scaling this technique is relatively straightforward and it combines a few tools with some in-house resource thrown in alongside it.

    The tools you'll need are BuzzStream, Followerwonk and BuzzSumo..

    You can use BuzzSumo to identify websites that have large readerships and popular content within your industry.

    From here you can upload target sites into BuzzStream to get contact information and domain metrics.

    After this, you can use Followerwonk to find the social accounts of influencers within each of the publications you're targeting.

    If you're a fan of ScrapeBox then you can use my advanced link prospecting method to find even more opportunities.

    Once you've got all the data, you'll want to script a good pitch to send to the decision makers.

    You can use BuzzStream to manage the outreach process and have someone stay on top of follow-up (using a tool like Boomerang for Gmail is great for this).

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    My favorite link building strategy that scales is to create original imagery or graphics related to your industry that are sticky and social.

    Then, offer these images rights free to bloggers through a personal email outreach.

    Let them know that the images or graphics your are offering are free to a select number of top blogs in your industry.

    Make sure you ask for the credit so that you get the back link.

    This link building strategy can scale using tools, such as PitchBox and TinEye, but it's important to keep blogger exclusivity in mind.

    Placing the same images on too many blogs may upset the bloggers you are working with, so constantly create new visual content for them.

    In order to scale image link building exercise I found it useful to prospect bloggers and include their information in Google Docs. Then, write a generic pitch and customize it for each blogger.

    You should also track results and follow ups in a spreadsheet. Some of this work can be systemized and put into a repeatable process, so a virtual assistant can come handy in researching bloggers' information and tracking.

    Tools such as PitchBox can be used to manage prospecting and outreach at a larger scale.

    Lastly, I like TinEye image trackback tool, which will also allow you to view where your images were used on the Web and reach out to webmasters to ask them to give you image credit.

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    Somewhere on my hard drive, is an old unfinished post called “Why Good Link Building Isn’t Scalable”.

    I started writing it years ago but never finished it. I started writing it because I’m not a big believer in scalable link building.

    That is, I don’t believe there is any 1 set-and-forget technique, that will continually bring in links on a large scale for any website it is applied to.

    That being said, I do believe there are link building methods, that are meant for longer-term success, that can be applied to many niches.

    My favorite white hat, scalable link building method includes creating linkable content for your niche.

    It’s my favorite method because, if done right, you’re actually providing value to your industry and that can result in big pay offs.

    My motto is:

    Watch for opportunities and be the website that puts in the work.

    For example, there was an incident in the news recently (in my city), where a school bus driver kicked a kid off his bus and drove away leaving him standing on the side on the road.

    People were understandably upset and there were a lot of comments regarding the bus driver and the rules he should have followed. No one was really sure WHAT the rules/laws were for a school bus driver though.

    Now if I had a local client, that was somehow relevant to this story (automotive niche, careers niche, legal niche, education niche etc), I would have created and published content surrounding the actual laws for school bus drivers.

    Which I could have then shared with the media outlets covering the story. This could have been great for some high-authority local links.

    I would have also used tools such as BuzzSumo, to uncover local influencers, and then shared the content with them as well.

    Coming up with ideas is the easy part. Actually doing the research, creating the linkable content and then getting it in front of the right people, is what’s hard.

    This is what I mean by putting in the work. If you do it right, you can’t fail.

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    First thing you do is head over to Fiverr.com and search for "linkwheel"...

    Just kidding.

    Everyone knows that content is king, and good content naturally attracts all the links you'll ever need!

    Still kidding.

    We really like citation building, we're kinda biased considering we run Loganix and all, but hear me out.

    Authority sites that let you present your business to their user base and give you a nice link, all for a few minutes of work, sounds great doesn't it?

    And no, before you ask.. they're not just for small local businesses.

    Apple.com has citations in their link profile.

    Got a physical presence and a phone number?

    You can build citations.

    With the help of a citation building service or a virtual assistant (who doesn't mind A LOT of data entry), you can pick up dozens to hundreds of white hat, quality links.

    Some citations are more valuable than others, many sites are nofollow (for good reason) but what you're gaining is natural link diversity.

    Branded, generic, or raw anchor links from unique domains with authority, plus you get to watch your Ahrefs root domain count climb.

    "But Mike, I'm from [country that isn't the USA], where can I find good citation sources?"

    We've been publishing our best international citation lists, completely free and are constantly adding more to combat the slew of US/UK/Canada citation lists out there and help out our SEO brethren abroad.

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    Scaling link building is not only about using tools or cheap outsourcing. Scaled link building is also about creativity and making use of, leveraging, what’s available right there in front of you.

    This method in particular leverage editors hard work building, curating, lists about top blogs in any particular field.

    We can use their hard work to build great lists of candidates for possible outreach.

    Take a search term like: “Top * photography blogs" inurl:top as an example.

    We see well over 200,000 results. Pages upon pages with people recommending their favourite photography blogs.

    Curated and there for your taking.

    Try you own niche to see for yourself. You can stop here and just go through them manually to find the quality ones in terms of content and quality link profiles or go a head and automate and scale.

    Let’s look a possible approach using ScrapeBox, Screaming Frog and URL Profiler.

    For the sake of this article I assume you know how to handle these tools.

    Let’s go!

    Scrapebox is handy tool to scrape Google’s results pages as deep as you want. Input your possible search terms you want to scrape:

    “Top * photography blogs" inurl:"top”

    Mikael Uusitalo 1

    Let Scrapebox do it’s magic.

    You will now have a full list of websites mentioning, listing, photography blogs. Some less relevant ones will slip through, but the wast majority will be of high quality.

    Mikael Uusitalo 2

    Next, make sure you install the ScrapeBox Link Extractor.

    Use the tool to extract all external links on you freshly scraped websites and export your new batch of URL’s as a .TXT list.

    Mikael Uusitalo 3

    Next up, fire up Screaming Frog.

    Import and spider all URL’s from your .TXT to get general meta data as to be able to wade through the list to choose your most relevant ones based on content. Export a .CSV.

    Mikael Uusitalo 4

    Lastly, let’s put your list through URL Builder to get link data.

    Import your .CSV from Screaming Frog. Choose URL Level data from Ahrefs, domain level data from Ahrefs and domain level social shares.

    If you want, go with uClassify too to determine content.

    Mikael Uusitalo 5

    Let URL Builder do it’s thing and export the finished .CSV.

    Mikael Uusitalo 6

    Open the .CSV in Excel.

    Here we go! Your list of (mostly) pre curated photography blogs. Sort it based on domain and URL metrics and scan it once to remove broken and faulty ones.

    That’s it!

    Hopefully you will have a very targeted list of blogs where you can commence your outreach in a tool of your liking.

    I would recommend scaling this en mass on the research side of things of this process, building your list of outreach candidates, but be vary on the outreach side of thing.

    As always, the outreach part of this require manual labor to build lasting relationships that generate links.

    There is no getting around this so keep it natural, and most of all, personal, tailoring outreach per the recievier as much possible.

    Happy linkbuilding!

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    My absolute favourite white hat link building strategy is resource page link building.

    Why I like it so much? From my experience, it has the best response rate as well as time spent on acquiring a link.

    In short, you'd have to find a resource page that links out to similar pages that you have.

    Once you've found it, you'll need to send an email to the webmaster. You can use a simple script, like this one:

    "Hello *NAME*,

    Hope all is well with you. I was browsing your resource page here: LINK .. and noticed that it provides tons of useful information. Thanks a lot for putting this together.

    Furthermore, if you ever plan to update the resource page, I recently put together something that would be a great fit.

    See it yourself: LINK TO YOUR SITE

    Either way, keep up the good work and let me know what you think!

    Regards,
    YOUR NAME"

    The only tools I use for this is gmail + google search. You can find relevant resource pages with this search string:
    intitle:"your keyword" + inurl:"resources"

    Then save all you finding to a .txt file and start sending emails! My conversion rate has been over 7% so I guess it's worth it 🙂

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    My favorite white hat link building strategy is prospecting for expire domains and leveraging its old link profile.

    We try to find expired domains with relevant Topical Trust Flow and then simply reach out to the webmasters who are linking to the dead resource/site.

    This strategy is safe alternative to building a private blog network and is more effective because the link equity is directly hitting the site. As opposed to a PBN, which acts a buffer between the good links and your website.

    I explain this process further in my post The White Hat Alternative to PBNs.

    How to scale it

    We have VA’s who prospect for quality domains and our go-to for VA’s is Elance.

    The VA’s use DomCop, ExpiredDomains.net, and FreshDrop.com.

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    My favorite white hat link building strategy that scales is building tiers of resource content targeting 5-10 head containing keywords each.

    What I mean by this is:

    a) I find a set of closely related, contextually relevant body keywords

    b) Pull out the ones body keywords (3 to 5 words each) that contain much larger volume head terms (2 to 3 words each)

    c) Validate that these seasonal search volume is not such that they have significant swings months to month, i.e. it's a "sustainable base of search volume"

    d) Organize these into content sets, prioritize them, and

    e) Craft specific use case content for each set.

    Generally speaking this can be done again and again within any vertical - it all comes down to how creative you are.

    At this point I rely mostly on TermExplorer and BuzzSumo, though I do still like to spot check with Google Trends and Wikipedia's trend volume query tool.

    Hiring people to do this for you still seems to be the holy grail of SEO, so the best advice I can really give is try to find untainted process-oriented resources and train them yourself.

    Oh, and good luck.

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    While the Skyscraper technique may be a strategy most have heard before, it's still one of the most effective and scalable link building strategies.

    I've actually dabbled on this topic before.

    This tactic is certainly one of my personal favorites because it helps you narrow your focus on what's most important: consistently curating out thought-provoking content that doesn't blend in, but instead help establish yourself amongst a sea of competitors.

    In order to execute properly, you need to start by researching for the right competitors to analyze. That way you can take existing content that's exceptionally received and challenge yourself with how to make that same topic go above and beyond.

    Once you have your newly acquired content asset you can scale by contacting all those root domains that are currently linking to competitor's 'weaker' article.

    I almost exclusively use Ahrefs & Open Site Explorer for all of my link data.

    Need help executing a strategy like this?

    You can find talented and capable virtual assistants on Elance.

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    One of my favorite things to do is write an epic guest post on a high traffic publication and then write a piece of complementary content on your own website and drop it into your guest post.

    The goal of this isn't even necessarily link building, but rather to enrich the guest post for the readership.

    It does require some planning on the writers part.

    They should have an idea in mind for a tangential topic as they are writing the initial guest post and may even have to write the second piece before the first piece goes live

    I did this when I wrote my LinkedIn Pulse article on OKDork.

    The post was about some data analysis I did that could help publishers get more views on their posts.

    It was immediately followed up a post about LinkedIn Pulse from an SEO perspective on my own blog--moving the topic from page views to link acquisition.

    One way to scale this tactic a little bit more effectively is to consider breaking up one post into two pieces.

    This way, you only have to write a single piece of content, but you get to yield double the benefit.

    Place part one on a third party website and part two on your own website.

    Instant gratification!

    Philip Kleudgen


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    My favourite white had link building method definitely is guest posting. It may seem old school but it works really well and it's also easy to scale up.

    The benefits are very high authority links if you target the right blogs, high converting referral traffic and a nice relationship with the blog owner on top.

    To scale things up I do repeated guest posts on the same blogs, I also search for new targets using a free tool called dropmylink.com and I make sure my guest post works like crazy for the hosting blog also.

    On top of that I'm a member of MyBlogU.com which allows bloggers to connect and grab links and guest post opportunities on each others blogs.

    I also interact a lot in the comments of my posts and sometimes that results in additional guest posts.

    Someone who likes your guest post enough to leave a positive comment very often is also willing to allow you a guest post on their blog.

    To scale the content I have used oDesk in the past and had a researcher make excel tables or lists for me I could use as resources for my articles.

    I also have re-written stuff from a different angle for several places to make it unique and useful each time.

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    One of the first things I did when I joined EYEMAGINE, the agency I work at, was tell them how important Ahrefs is to our agency’s and client’s content marketing strategies.

    I quickly created a step-by-step process on how to use Ahrefs in my favorite way so that we can apply the strategy to our clients and to our agency.

    We work with mostly ecommerce companies, so creating lifestyle content around our product and industry is super important.

    We first take a look and see what our competitors are doing and find their most shared content using Ahrefs’ Top Content tool.

    After pulling up each of our competitor’s top content, we export them into Excel and create a sheet for each domain so we can always quickly refer to it later.

    We then look to find any similarities between our competitor’s top content as that it is a clue to what our customers like to consume.

    Next is analyzing how we can improve it.

    Finally, in order to ensure this piece of content is successful, we look and see who was linking to these pieces of content. This will give us a starting point on marketing and promoting our new content.

    Scaling content successfully in terms of being consistent but also of the highest quality is very difficult; however, I’m a big fan of outsourcing content to expert writers who are more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.

    I don’t like hiring copywriters who charge per word and can write on any subject.

    Quality will never be as good as someone who is a legitimate expert in the subject, which is absolutely critical in creating content that you want shared and be useful to readers.

    The content creators I work with are typically already blogging and may even have a large online following.

    Their work is more expensive, but you get high quality content and may even be able to tap into their existing network to help promote it.

    It can be a lot of work, but this is a good start to creating the best content in your industry.

    You’ll develop your own process as you figure out what works for you to make implementing this strategy easier and take less of your time.

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    My favorite strategy is to find all the websites linking to content similar to mine.

    These are the people with an expressed interest in the topic, and have a proven track record of linking to it.

    First, I'll run keywords through Buzzsumo and export the top 50 results.

    Next, I'll run simple google searches looking for content related to the subject of my post.

    I'll run a few long-tail variations and add the top 10 results for each search query into a spreadsheet.

    Second, I'll batch process all the URLs in Ahrefs to get a list of the websites linking to the content.

    Third, I'll use the BuzzStream's Buzzmarker chrome extension to build a prospecting list.

    Fourth, I'll build out an email template and run an outreach campaign pitching my content to all the people linking to the related content.

    This strategy is very easy to scale using BuzzStream and Ahrefs together.

    I can usually get 10+ solid backlinks in the first week after publishing a new post.

    This gives it a nice little bump up the SERPs, provided I have solid on-page SEO in place.

    I use three tools for scaling:

    1. Buzzsumo (find similar content)
    2. Ahrefs (backlink analysis)
    3. BuzzStream (outreach campaigns)

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    My favourite white hat link building strategy is without a doubt a "broken link building" that can be easily scaled.

    In short, you'll need to find a piece of content that used to be an awesome resource, but for some reason it has been taken down and now leads to either:

    • A) Page not found - 404 error
    • B) Page has moved
    • C) Page has deleted

    This stuff can happen quite often and you'll be amazed on how many quality links you'd be able to get using this method.

    Scale strategy:

    My first objective is to find dead pages that are somewhat similar to mines. So let's say I want to promote a piece of content that is in the blogging niche.

    How do I find them?

    1) Go to Google and search for "100 blogging list" or "100 blogs" or "list of blogging" - in that way you'll find so called "list posts" that link to 100+ resources.

    Without a doubt there's one or two links broken - this just happens.

    Alternatively, you could use brokenlinkbuilding.com tool that might help you find some relevant pages that are no longer available.

    The downside is that it's a bit buggy and vast majority of the results are no good. However, if you find 2-3 gems - you already have a positive ROI.

    2) Go to Ahrefs.com and copy this dead/broken URL into the search field.

    If you find something that has more than 20+ referring domains - it's already a win :).

    Now just let those webmasters know about this broken link and offer them to replace it with your link (the one that is live).

    3) How to scale?

    Simple. Those webmasters might share other dead links on their page too.

    Use "Check My Links" chrome plugin to find them out.

    Share this section

    As we know, active link building has become something you’d rather approach with a scalpel than with a chainsaw. Especially when we talk about white hat link building, you want to put in an active and scalable effort that is / looks organic at the same time.

    One method I have had great success with is what I call “gold mining”:

    You seek out one expert in your industry / community and search for one or more keywords they should be ranking for but do not.

    This way you can find a “gap in content”: what topic should they cover on their site that’s not covered yet.

    Of course they have a high interest in providing content about this for their audience. This is where you step in, create content that they NEED and have them share it.

    There are multiple benefits to this method:

    • The content is shared from an objective source. (Guess what has more credibility: a company selling itself or someone else recommending the company?)
    • The influencer usually has a much bigger audience
    • You can build a long-term relationship with the expert
    • Mentions help to shape the opinion about your company or product

    All this leads to one thing: backlinks, backlinks, backlinks.

    If you want to use that method, follow these steps:

    1. Identify one influencer / expert within your industry (could be a social media rockstar) with a big audience.

    2. Find out what their audience likes and determine what’s missing in their “collection" of content.

    You particularly want to find a keyword they are not yet ranking for. In the second question I show you a way to do that.

    3. Create that piece of content (Google the keyword and make sure what you create is better than what’s ranking in the top10) and publish it on a landing page on your website.

    It has to be of high quality!

    4. Make the influencer aware of that content, in the best case scenario you call them personally or contact them via e-mail.

    Be sure to be careful when “selling” the content: you want to show them the benefit of sharing / posting this content, instead of selling too hard.

    5. Make sure to monitor the amount of traffic and backlinks you get from the campaign to calculate the ROI.

    Scaling

    Searchmetrics provides a feature named “Keyword ideas”:

    It works by looking at what keywords a site is ranking for and then showing relationships (frequency) to keywords that the site is not ranking for yet.

    This is how you identify topics the influencer is missing out on.

    You just have to create a project within the Searchmetrics Suite for their site.

    Once you do that you get tons of keyword recommendations – perfect to scale up!

    Share this section

    My favorite strategy to build and earn links is social sharing.

    Most of my online marketing case studies involve social sharing strategies to improve website organic search engine traffic.

    Since social signals impact search engine rankings, it is just important to have links from social networking sites.

    Integrating social sharing buttons on your website allows your audience to easily share your content which later, can produce links.

    Installing social sharing buttons is easy and will only take you few minutes especially if you are using WordPress.

    Few of my favorite social sharing WordPress plugins are Digg Digg and Social Deux.

    In case you are not convinced on using social sharing buttons for gathering links, you may want to consider some social media marketing statistics that provide you more than just one benefit (links).

    Most of the time, I use Facebook paid advertising not only to earn links or shares from it but also to drive traffic and sales for my own business websites and my clients.

    Screenshot below shows one of my boosted Facebook posts wherein I am trying to spend $10. You will see that it already gave me 1,471 targeted traffic (using Facebook retargeting) and 154 link shares.

    Roel Manarang facebook

    Facebook’s custom audience feature is what excites me most since you can do almost anything, even targeting your competitors’ audience and promoters.

    Apart from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus are also great platforms to earn link shares.

    Share this section

    White hat link building is extremely difficult to scale and that's why so many SEO agencies still rely on building web 2.0s or private blog networks to rank sites.

    I personally use a wide range of white hat tricks like guest blogging, round up outreach and press outreach, but one of my favorites right now is broken link building.

    Broken link building is a bitch - it requires a ton of effort to prospect, check for dead links, check the content, track down the website contact and send them an email.

    The only way broken link building works is if you can do it at scale.

    I found a way to automate the prospecting process by using Scrapebox to harvest thousands of relevant URLs and then an Addon to check those URLs for dead links.

    Instead of spending hours combing Google for 1 or 2 good prospects, you can harvest thousands with the click of a button.

    Within a few minutes you have an Excel file full of links to relevant content that have dead links in the page.

    From there, it's just a matter of finding their contact info and sending them an email.

    If you aren't a Scrapebox expert, you can outsource it.

    I wrote an in depth post that you can read here: http://webris.org/broken-link-building/

    Share this section

    White hat link building has become a tough process to scale. It’s not as simple as it used to be, but I found the easiest way to do this process with the best results is through creating ultimate blogs that provide a ton of statistics and data to support your claims.

    By doing this, your site becomes a source for information that other bloggers will link to when using your stats, as most good bloggers will almost always link back to the source where they found their data.

    Here’s how our content writers do it for our clients:

    Pick a Topic:

    We start by understanding the topic our client wants to become an authority in.

    Basic Research:

    We use Google Suggest and BuzzSumo to get a good idea on what topics are trending right now and what gets shared the most.

    Michael Arce Google suggest

    1. Deeper Research:

    Once we find a topic that seems pretty popular and share-worthy, we come up with a generic title such as Most Common Plastic Surgeries and Google it.

    This will almost always pull up about 2-3 pages worth (or more) of blogs that were written with that same or similar title.

    2. Collect Information and Stats:

    I open each blog up in separate tabs and I get ready to copy and paste pieces of information that I agree with in a Word Doc on my second monitor.

    I also include a link to that information so I can source it when writing my ultimate blog.

    Once I’ve copied over as much information as I can from the first blog, I move onto the second blog.If there’s any other information that I haven’t already added to my Word Doc, I paste that over too.

    I keep doing this until I’ve gone through about 10 blogs or so.

    Usually once I get to the last 3-4 blogs there’s nothing new to add except a few potential statistics to support the topic.

    3. Write Ultimate Blog:

    I then take all that information and collection of stats and write it in my own words.

    This becomes the ultimate blog on the topic, as there’s no blog out there that covers as much as this one.

    Of course, every time I mention a statistic or great quote that I took from one of these blogs I mention and/or link back to the source.

    4. Sharing and Mentioning:

    Once the blog is complete, I then share it throughout social media and its relevant groups and communities.

    Depending on the popularity of the topic, I sometimes even pay to promote the post to a specific audience.With Twitter, I like to share the article multiple times over the course of a few weeks.

    Each time I would mention the writer or company that helped provide some of the data used in the ultimate blog.

    5. Where do the links come from?

    We’ve noticed that after a few weeks our clients earn several links to these types of blogs from similar writers that want to source the data they got from our ultimate blog.

    Often times, the writers in which we got the information from write more blogs on the topic and even source our blog for data they didn’t already have.

    I will admit, this process isn’t as scalable as link building used to be in the heyday of around 2010, but it’s effective and white hat.

    And if you build a process around it and get great writers to follow this process, it makes it simple and efficient and almost always earns links from relevant, prominent websites.

    Share this section

    I don't particularly have a favorite link building strategy.

    However, I do believe any kind of assets that adds value to users can be a great share whether it's through links or social engagement.

    Few strategies that have the ability to earn links would be:

    • webinars
    • white papers
    • industry related research
    • any kind of tools or assets that adds value (videos, infographic, interactive infographic, webcomics, calculators, etc.) all have potential to earn links.

    The goal would be to create assets/tools that helps earn links for the longest period of time because it adds value to your users.

    Though it depend on the client and their intension of how far they are willing to go to ensure they are providing what they can to the community they are wanting to build that helps grown their business.

    It's not easy to scale link building these days. Majority of time now is taken on gathering data for the assets and outreach to promote the asset once built. The data needs to be compelling to ensure that it adds value. This is not easy to scale.

    The outreach we provide are more personalized that ensures we are speaking the recipients language and that adds value to their community. The goal is to create personal messages, which is tough to scale.

    Here are some tools that may provide help to your cause:

    • GMail Canned response - allows you to create various templates but it's important to make it personable and relevant before reaching out.
    • AHrefs - helps find prospects for outreach from other resources.
    • Buzzsumo - helps find influential people within the industry for outreach.
    • Buzzstream - allows you to track your outreach.
    • Google suggest, Uber suggest, Advanced Google Search queries - helps find data that could convert into a positive story for assets, tools, etc.

    Share this section

    Two words - link bait.

    Not just any type of mindless link baits but ones from evergreen content.

    There are four posts in SEO Hacker that drive in a little over 21% of my site's traffic.

    These posts rank pretty high for their target keywords and get shared and draw in links - naturally.

    It scales because all I need to do is to create more posts like these, fashioned in a way that it will rank 100% for a keyword that has a high search volume - and ship it out.

    Scaling the method:

    Firstly, I look for what keywords have good search volume.

    The quantity isn't all that accurate today since Google took it out.

    I use ubersuggest.org and keywordtool.io to look for the keywords, then I proceed to write content for it with thorough research.

    I don't use any tools for that.

    For publishing, I simply promote it in all my social accounts. That keeps the ball rolling.

    Share this section

    My favorite white-hat link building tactic would definitely be simply pitching and publishing editorial content on large publications around the web.

    My company, SimpleTiger, is primarily a content marketing agency – so we have a lot of experience working in all realms of content.

    I personally like to find out what the client’s goals are, what their target market and personas are, to find out the biggest publications as well as most acutely targeted smaller publications are in the niche.

    Then I approach them with fresh, extremely high quality content that would be sure to get published, get shared, and get the client noticed by their target audience (the blog’s own audience).

    To scale this we have a team of copywriters, a team to manage the direction of the copy, and many connections with editors, and contributors to large publications already under our belt.

    I hate to say it because it sounds so cliche, but people really are and always will be your greatest asset when it comes to this.

    Building relationships with contributors, great writers, and editors of these publications has been invaluable for us, and for scaling this content output over time.

    Other than that we use tools Moz, Raven, Kissmetrics, and tools like that to track our efforts in an ongoing basis and report on them to our clients.

    It might not get you thousands of links quickly, but it gets you the right links from the right sources and puts your name in front of the right target market, and that always sparks growth.

    Share this section

    I do have 2 favorite white hat link building strategies that can be scaled rather easy.

    One involves spending money and the other one doesn't (but could be done with money too).

    The first one and something I've been using a lot lately is running FB Ads to people that follow pages in similar niches and posting the articles on very segmented groups.

    Both can get targeted traffic but since the people you promote are very likely to read your article and have a similar blog about it, they might link to it in their next post too.

    Basically, what I do is target similar audiences and spend a few dollars on FB ads to attract them to very complete guides or case studies and agin their trust.

    After that, it's all about retargeting them constantly every time I write a new post and they'll most likely read it, like/tweet/+1 it and link to later back in their own blogs.

    The second strategy I use is a growth hacking technique via Twitter, where I automate posts and comments to people according to keywords to get highly relevant traffic that might link to my blog too.

    This one is a technique I've seen a lot lately and the followers can be very engaged and several times they comment and link back to you too.

    Scaling both techniques is easy on my end as I don't need to hire anybody or put more hours into it.

    With the first strategy I just need to raise my budget to instantly get to more people, get social interaction and links.

    The second one is a bit more tricky, but it can all be automated with several accounts if needed and I won't consider it a black or even grey hat technique. It's all automation.

    Additionally, networking with people on the same niche and making small groups or masterminds can always help to deliver instant social interactions, readers and backlinks without having to do anything else, but you can't network with thousands of people every day, so there's a limit there."

    Share this section

    My advice for building superb, genuine and honest white hat links is to not aim to build them at all.

    The simple fact is, building links and white hat are mutually exclusive. But, I want to share a technique that gets many links that are completely genuine.

    By leveraging the power of Reddit you can put your article or website in front of so many different agencies, websites and influencers that you will naturally gain links back to your website - these are genuine links that you didn't request.

    I've done this twice recently gaining in-content, do follow - editorially placed links on sites such as the huffington post, business insider, the australian times, jalopnik, quick sprout plus many more.

    Unfortunately to get this, you do need a little bit of luck on your side and an amazing article.

    Creating a huge and impressive post in a particular niche and sharing in the right sub-reddit at the right time can be very powerful.

    If you make it to the front page, hope that your server is up to it, I managed to send over 275,000 to a small site in the travel niche with this technique.

    I'm not going to go into detail about how to make a successful viral post on Reddit but this might help.

    I found that expert roundup posts (just like this one in fact) that featured a few well know redditors in the list were always very well received - because by using many of the prominent members of smaller sub-reddits you could effectively game the up-vote mechanism with honest votes.

    The beauty of this method is that you don't have to worry about scaling - you can't scale any larger than the reach of Reddit.

    All you need to concentrate on is creating hugely awesome and interesting articles.

    If you want to hire someone, then it will be writers and graphic artists on elance or one of the other outsourcing sites.

    Success is not guaranteed, but with experience and an understanding of the Reddit mentality - you have the opportunity to gain a beautiful link profile even if your site is completely new.

    Share this section

    My favorite white hat link building strategy that scales would have to be researching influential people in my (or a vertical) industry and working with them to create content that improves our collective personal brand authority, both via their domains and on ours.

    The referral traffic is great, but the community and friendships you build lead to ongoing peer support, referrals and idea sharing.

    An example might be a recent podcast/blog post at CreativeSearchStrategy.com, where we interviewed James Reynolds.

    James and I now are communicating in email and social, and likely will for years to come.

    We interviewed Neil Patel for our blog some years back, who shared some fantastic advice for novice and entry-level search engine optimization specialists.

    Another great example would be "Link Moses" Eric Ward, who we've looked up to and learned from for years, sending tons of referrals to through information products, blog posts and emails.

    One day he turned around and sent us a major client who we've been with for over a year now. The reciprocity and friendships we get from building relationships is beyond measure.

    My second favorite method of attracting links is through solving problems.

    Steve Wiideman questions queries

    Question-based queries can also help improve brand authority, attract reference links and organic sharing behavior.

    The media in these types of content can syndicated to image and video-sharing destinations, which can also be optimized with titles, descriptions, a backlink (often nofollowed), tags, and mentions of influential contributors.

    A quick burst of outreach to similar content can result in links within "Additional Reading" or "External Resources".

    Scaling

    We use Buzzsumo religiously to find, track and prioritize opportunities, along with Buzzstream to find relevant and influential people in our space to work with.

    It's not uncommon for us to pickup on trending posts and add the author to our lists in Buzzstream, circles in Google+, and Twitter lists.

    Influencer marketing platforms, such as Traackr, TapInfluence, SocialEdge and others are popping up everyday, introducing marketers to their influencer groups, even getting very niche - such as TheShelf for fashion advertisers.

    Share this section

    Content marketing is my favorite white hat link building strategy that scales.

    Firstly, it's easy to scale when you dedicate resources to creating new content and have a set calendar for when you publish new content (i.e., on a weekly or bi-weekly basis).

    We’ve created a set of guidelines for the authors that helps us strive for high quality content first, frequency second.

    Here’s an example of the guidelines we have on the SuperOffice blog:

    • Posts must be a minimum of 1,500 words
    • Posts need to be useful (include specific take-aways)
    • Posts must use data and charts (include links to all sources)
    • Posts must be visual (include 2-3 images)
    • Posts should be well written and interesting
    • Posts should be easy to read (use of conversational tone is encouraged)

    The type of blog posts that we publish at SuperOffice is long-form and data-driven.

    As shown in the above, the blog posts are 1500 words and packed full of actionable tips of sales, marketing and customer service.

    It's this approach has helped us get authoritative links and in the last six months, we've received links from sites such as Fortune, Forbes, CMO.com and Entrepreneur.

    Writing long form content and getting links from authoritative websites has helped increase organic search traffic from 3,000 visits per months to now more than 18,000 visits (see chart below).

    Steven Macdonald sessions

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    My favorite white hat SEO strategy is good ole fashion email outreach.

    It is time consuming but completely worth the effort.

    I find that people are more open when you connect with them because of a similar interest. Instead of Google searches, search social media pages, groups/ communities and niche specific forums.

    The email template I use currently has five phases that help you stand out from most other email templates I see and receive.

    Phase 1: Subject Line

    I like using, ‘Your Post (Name of Post)’. Someone simply used this Subject line on me and it peaked my interest immediately.

    I had no idea if there was a problem with the post or a specific question or any number of reasons that may need immediate attention. Getting your email openned is half the battle.

    Phase 2: What’s in Common

    I let them know that I saw their content due to a share in a specific social media group or forum they are also a part of.

    Phase 3: Show them you actually read their content

    Be specific and comment on a certain part of their post that caught your eye. It doesn’t have to be long but be sure to let them know you actually looked through their content and maybe even pass a compliment.

    Phase 4: Let them know you created some content that relates to their post (without link)

    It is much more likely you will get better results if you connect enough to get them to respond saying they would like to see your content.

    On about a third of the replies I get, the person went directly to my domain attached to my email address anyway.

    Phase 5: Ask if they would like to read your post

    Of course you need a call to action. Use something like a simple, ‘Let me know if you want to check it out’ works just fine.

    Steven J. Wilson outreach

    I don’t even put a link in my subject line. I want to present the email as ‘Push Free’ as possible. Online we get things pushed on us all the time and your email should come across completely different!

    Before You Begin Your Email Outreach

    A good email outreach campaign starts on your website first. Don’t let that time you spend go to
    waste if you don’t have things on your end in order.

    In Phase 4 you will be leaving the headline of your content in the link. You have to make sure you create an interesting headline that will peak their interest.

    Once they make it to your website, start things off with some unique high quality images.

    Now finish it off with valuable content that also links to other quality content.

    This will increase your chances of them wanting to link to your content.

    Even when I don’t get the link, I still begin the important process of building a relationship with them, get social shares and new followers. All of which will open the door to backlinks in the future.

    Share this section

    I'm not much of a link building / SEO person. I don't do any keyword research, on page SEO or really hustle to get links.

    I create viral content by looking at other popular content out there and seeing how I can improve it (similar to Brian Deans Skyscraper Technique).

    I find good content through content sharing sites like Inbound.org, GrowthHackers and Reddit for example.

    Or tools like BuzzSumo, Topsy, QuickSprout, or even just by looking at popular blogs in my niche.

    Then I see what's missing and set out to create a bigger and better post.

    If it lacks depth I expand on it. If it lacks examples and data I add them in.

    If it looks poor I make something better. If there's unanswered questions or something missing I make sure my topic has it.

    One easy way to do it is just to reference a lot of experts and "quote" them which I basically just take snippets from their post and turn it into a tweetable quote in my post.

    Posts like this always get a lot of shares and pick up links because you're already expanding on viral content. This is how I get the bulk of my links but there's no real strategy to it.

    I talk a lot about this and other traffic strategies in this post: http://nichehacks.com/promote-blog-posts-blog-traffic/

    I don't like SEO as a traffic source due to it's unpredictable and unreliable nature.

    I've heavily focused on content marketing, social media and referral traffic in the past but recently I'm moving towards paid traffic (FB Ads for now) as I feel it's the only way a real business should be operating + it's scalable when you have everything in place and working.

    I have looked at hiring someone to do the manual outreach for me to pick up shares and links and feel it would be beneficial but never gotten round to it yet. Would definitely be a good process to have in place.

    But like I say my focus going forward will be on paid traffic over everything else.

    More passive, can be scaled, more predictable, instant.

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    Forum marketing has always been my favourite way of building links.

    When done properly, it should also drive targeted traffic so you get the SEO benefit of the link and traffic all at the same time – most other link building strategies don’t have this benefit.

    The key is adding value to the forum you are contributing on and only linking when it’s necessary. Don’t just make 100 10 word posts with your link in your signature.

    By adding value, people are more likely to click on your link and you’re less likely to get banned for spamming like many others do.

    Scale wise, I’ve used BuzzBundle successfully in the past over the years have found there is no replacement for manual contributions. As you build a reputation on certain forums, people will start to mention and link to you without you having to do anything.

    If you find a relevant forum for your niche then the direct traffic and sales you generate will allow you to invest back into further link-building.

    I have always hired full-time people who work in the office with me to scale this method. It’s not the cheapest, but it does create the best results.

    Share this section

    My favorite would be blog commenting.

    Why?

    It's more than just link building - It's a connection & traffic building strategy.

    By leaving a good thoughtful comment, you're actually building a relationship with the site owner which will possibly lead to links through guest posts or mentions on his/her blog.

    For example, when I first started my blog Cloud Living, I regularly commented on NichePursuit by Spencer Haws to get his recognition and that eventually resulted in me being interviewed on his blog.

    I also got thousands of referral visitors from Niche Pursuits by always being the first to leave a very thoughtful and long comments on every new blog post.

    Tung Tran traffic stats

    It's scalable

    Just create a list of relevant blogs in your niche and start leaving comments 🙂

    You don't need any tool. The key to make this work is focusing on leaving comments that add value to the posts instead of just hunting for the links.

    Share this section

    One of my top whitehat linkbuilding (oxymoron?) strategies is through partner relationships.

    This is without a doubt one of the easiest, most effective, and little used strategies.

    How do I use it?

    If I were using it for myself (and I have), I would first look at all my accounts payable.

    What services do I use? Would I be willing to vouch for any of them? (You may wonder, "Why would I have a service if I don't like it or believe in it?"

    Well, some services-Internet, Phone, etc. I don't have much of a choice in).

    I'll sort through my list and sort them top to bottom (best to worst).

    I'll then send them a quick email (I have most of their emails, if I don't, I'll use a tool like Hubspots Sidekick to get the email address) and let them know how much I appreciate the work they do, and our partnership.

    I'll continue by asking if they would be interested in a review?

    What do you think they'll say? Umm yes! Heck ya they want a review.

    I'll then write up a review, and include a hyperlink to my website, usually in my name or company name.

    I'll then send it over along with my photo, and see if they can post it on the homepage of their website. Win, baby.

    How do I scale this?

    I ask all my clients for a vendor list, and if there's anybody on there that they wouldn't feel comfortable leaving a review for.

    I send that off to my VA, have her grab the email addresses if necessary, and then she copies and pastes an email very similar to the one I mentioned above.

    *** The key to this is to have a repeatable process in place so that if your VA disappears (never happens, right?), then you can simply insert another in their place.

    Great way to continue to build relationships, and get my clients name out there and get a link in the process.

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    There are a few link building tactics that can still be scaled up until today, most of which are included in this link building 2015 article:

    • Establishing content pillars
    • Building links from resource pages
    • Link monitoring
    • Interview hacking
    • Guest blogging

    My favorite among the above list is high quality guest blogging.

    Here is my short step by step guide on how to execute this link building technique:

      • Look for high quality blogs that are relevant to your niche (direct non-competing brands and connected industries).

    See how these niches can benefit from your content by intersecting topics with your brand (e.g. sun protection guides/content for parenting blogs linking to curtains/blinds website).

      • Don’t start with guest blogging footprints (“guest post” “topic” OR “industry) when looking for niche domains. Instead, do a Google search for curated content in your industry (“top [industry] blogs”)

    You can also use related search function to find more link opportunities (related:domain.com).

    • Look for industry influencers with self-owned blogs and add them to your list (investing in those tiered blogs are beneficial in the latter part of your campaign).
    • Send soft email pitches to bloggers/webmasters after pre-engaging with them (commenting on their recent posts, sharing their content on your brand’s social profiles and/or subscribing to their email lists).
    • Follow up non-responsive linkers or do Twitter outreach.
    • Provide at least two industry topics that haven’t brought up in their blogs (identify content gaps – topics that are not commonly discussed in the niche but can certainly provide value to the community).
    • Invest in content and do extensive research (write as if you’re writing for New York Times).
    • Build relationships with guest blog targets, as you can collaborate with them for future content assets (for your own blog or for their blogs – if they’ve built authority and community).

    You can check out this comprehensive list of link building strategies that are effective in 2015 and beyond.

    A few considerations we (as a team), take on when executing the above link building tactics:

    • Using automated tools to complete small tasks (Buzzstream/EmailGenerator.io for email guessing/finding, Ahrefs for top pages with highest referring domains – content ideation and Buzzstream/Gmail with Boomerang/Right Inbox for blogger outreach)
    • When looking for freelance writers/link builders, we basically search for them at top freelancing local sites (Onlinejobs.ph).

    As much as possible, we’re looking for online professionals that don’t have any background in Internet Marketing and SEO, so we can train them effectively with our business process and with link building courses available online.

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    Relationships are the key to link building.

    A simple definition of what constitutes a relationship is an exchange of value between two parties.

    In our world, this value may be something as simple as a Facebook share, or as substantial as a product purchase and everything in the middle.

    The more value you exchange, the more meaningful the relationship.

    As you accrue meaningful relationships in your industry, the better your link profile becomes over time.

    Why?

    People want to help those that help them first - it’s the age-old principle of reciprocity.

    This is my favorite link building strategy because it’s not about the links.

    Relationships are much more than that.

    Relationship building is an opportunity to expand your authority, make more friends and inevitably influence your customers more than ever.

    How do you build killer relationships and turn them into links?

    Step 1 – Write an epic (2,000+ words) blog post based on long-tail keyword research

    Step 2 – Use BuzzSumo to find authors that have linked to similar posts in the past

    (Hint: Take the most prominent articles in a Google search for your keyword(s) and put them into the backlinks analyzer)

    Step 3 – Discover the names and contact information for the ‘linkers’ you will contact

    Step 4 – Start placing deposits with your ‘linkers’. This is where the relationship building starts to come into play. ‘Deposits’ may be a share, a comment, a review or something else these people value.

    Step 5 - Conduct a blogger outreach campaign to earn your links.

    Scaling relationships for link building

    Blogger outreach (and relationship building) can be overwhelming if you want to do it on scale. So here are 3 tips for taking it to the masses;

      • Document everything in a spreadsheet like this one;

    Will Blunt  1 spreadsheet

      • Use an email template like this one;

    Will Blunt 2 email template

    • Alternatively, do it all in a paid alternative like Ninja Outreach or BuzzStream

    My final bit of advice; want the relationship MORE than the link.

    Share this section

    This is probably new technique for people. I am creating quizzes related to the niche or topic with WP Suggester plugin and then promoting it through social networks to engage visitors and attract organic links.

    With WP Suggester you will able to create quizzes that help to choose and suggest the best product or service to website visitors.

    Here are some bonuses of doing this way:

    • Page will get more shares
    • Acquire organic links from top media websites
    • Visitors will stick longer on the website
    • Lower bounce rate
    • Visitors will end up buying a product or signed up for the service (increase conversion)
    • And you will get visitors emails (increase leads)

    I just introduced WP Suggester plugin on my website as well if you are looking in-depth overview.

    Just check through buzzsumo and search for quizzes and then you will surprise how many shares pages have! Then check how many backlinks these pages have through ahref.

    Here are couple examples:

    Isn’t it awesome?

    Yes, it is. You are getting a lot of share and organic links from top websites.

    And with WP Suggester you will able to convert all your traffic to customers and repeat visitors!

    The tip is here to create different quizzes for different pages, posts, articles. Yes, you can embedded on any page and even make it as pop-up to increase conversion.

    It’s pretty simple to scale it up.

    Find VA or Freelancer via Elance or OnlineJobs.ph with good writing skills.

    Show him couple samples or even just point to see quiz demos.

    Give the topic to create the quiz about it

    And that it! Simple and easy!

    Share this section

    My favorite white hat link building method would have to be guest blogging and being a contributor to other sites. Now this is something that many people are doing wrong.

    The worst way to go about this is to try and do "guest blogging" for the sake of making money by placing paid links into your articles. That is the absolute last thing you want to do.

    When doing guest blogging correctly, you will want to put your name and brand out there to not only exemplify your work, but also to bring extra exposure to your name or brand in the process.

    This works especially well when you already have a well known and trusted folowing in place.

    For example, here's a killer article I wrote on SearchEngineJournal that went on to receive over 5,000 social shares.

    SEJ gets a high quality article and I get extra exposure on their site to their massive audience.

    On top of that, all of the different experts and examples I laid out in the post also went on to share it around as well.

    Since I'm already seen as an expert in the online marketing and blogging space, all of these contributions and articles continue to help build my brand, expertise and exposure for my how to start a blog guide that I'm currently working on.

    By focusing my time and effort on writing high quality content that provides value and working on projects that always come back and build my own expertise and brand, I can continually increase traffic, branding and ROI with each new contribution -- while also reaching new audiences in the process.

    Scaling

    While the benefits of high quality writing and outreach on other sites seems amazing (because it is), it also takes a lot of time and effort.

    Even though it's seen a "free", if it's taking you your time, it's still costing you something.

    With that being said, there are actually many different ways that you can outsource, scale and minimize your workload - however, everything I put out there under my name, I've actually written.

    This can't be said about every expert who is writing for other sites. Also, to get a better understanding of how the whole guest blogging concept works, be sure to view my guest blogging best practices as well as the many benefits of guest blogging.

    Some ways to minimize your workload would be to hire someone to find new sites for your to contribute content to, handle your scheduling, email outreach and coming up with new content ideas.

    To manage when and where you contributions are going live and the quality (alexa, pagerank, DA) of sites you are writing for, tracking this within Google Sheets or Excel is easy enough (especially if you are working with a VA to share data).

    If you don't want to write articles yourself, you can always hire someone to do this for you, but make sure it's always at the highest quality possible.

    Share this section

    The best white hat linkbuilding strategies are unique to the site and offering, but if the strategy is crafted up front, the execution can be systematic and scalable.

    One of the most successful white hat linkbuilding campaigns we executed was for a company that sells officially licensed movie and television show merchandise.

    I'll give you the blueprint here. It was pretty simple, very scalable with a little coordination, and allowed us to gain top in-content links on high-quality relevant blogs and sites from PR3 all the way up to PR9.

    What we did first was set up a series Google alerts for any movies and TV shows that the company had licenses for. Then we'd review each article hit daily and filter the ones on PR3+ sites.

    (This can be done by an assistant, intern, or Fiverr gig. For smaller sites, this can be done weekly instead of daily.)

    Then we'd find the contact info for the author of the article. This could be a little time-consuming but we'd cut the search off at 5 mins.

    By then we should have an email address, Twitter handle, or other contact info.

    Next we'd reach out to each author with a very short (3-4 sentence), personalized message that complimented the author, and asked if we could send them our client's relevant product.

    We made sure the message was short and semi-personalized as bloggers receive many long form letters per week and we wanted to separate ourselves from the spammy shotgun approach.

    (Tips: We tested email subject line and found that email subjects with a question mark at the end received the best open rate, and ultimately better response rate.

    Also, response rate increased when we sent the message from a female's email address vs male's email address.)

    More times than not, we would get a response back, and at that point we get the author's mailing address (and size for shirt, etc).

    And PS we asked if they could link back to our client's site in their article--but this comes after they respond back to our initial email.

    The best part is the content is already created and live and most cases the link can be added by the author that same day with no need for anyone to write new content as the content already exists and is high quality and relevant!

    Sometimes it takes a follow-up to make sure the link is live, but when you factor in the time-savings from not having to create the content, we found this white hat linkbuilding technique to be scalable and effective.

    It's really all about establishing that relationship by creating a hook based on your offering, and then crafting a strategy that works with the site and the sites that naturally write about your industry to target the right influencers.

    And the added benefit we've found is that this technique has strengthened our relationship with top bloggers and newspaper writers that can help promote our upcoming projects (i.e. more high-quality content and links for our clients with minimal effort).

    Share this section

    Instead of working on links acquisition at the onset, I develop personal branding strategies that are focused on niche expertise related to the brand or client I am working with.

    Essentially, this would mean building the credentials of the persona online first to provide that high impact push once content related to his/her expertise is later created.

    A well-developed persona can amplify the content you’ll produce moving forward. It may lead to other influencers or sites linking to you. Most of the time, content that are well shared and linked to come from established authors. There’s that extra boost on the content itself.

    Here’s how to do it.

    1. Develop a content plan meant to showcase his/her expertise on the field or niche you are targeting. Consistency is key here.

    Link Building Tip:

    The plan can be based on the target sites you are able to gather using AHREFs, Link Prospector by Citation Labs, ScrapeBox, and many other tools you can use for link prospecting. This is dependent on your objectives.

    2. Encourage the CEO or any C-level executives or subject-matter experts of the brand/client you are handling to start reaching out and engaging other influencers in his/her industry.

    They should serve as your “authors” of the content you are planning to develop. Nothing beats building relationship and engagement first before embarking on link acquisition.

    Tip: A total buy-in is needed in order to pull this off.

    3. Create expertise-level content based on the plan you’ve provided by getting expert opinion from the persona you are building. Get on board subject-matter experts to profound your content.

    Tip: Build first at least 5-10 digital assets (solid content) via the brand/client website or blog as a launch pad for outreach.

    You may want to start looking into the right content marketing development framework too.

    Gary-Viray-content-development-framework

    The sad fact about old school link building per se when you start scaling is that you may end up south if you do it wrong. At first, it seems easy but in the long run, it becomes too tiring. However, when you start to re-focus on building authorship and personal branding of the writers instead, it becomes scalable. Later on, they get the chance for interview round-ups and other influencers may begin to notice them where sharing and linking becomes very natural. It is brand building 101 if you come to think of it. Link building is part brand building.

    Aside from the tools I’ve mentioned above, we at Propellr —digital marketing agency, use Buzz Stream, CognitiveSEO, and Buzzsumo a lot more. They scale productivity ten fold.

    Now, the one tricky part here is hiring the best copywriters, creatives, and content writers out there.

    We mostly hire based on referrals from co-workers, proven track records, and good working attitude. Fresh graduates are good too as long as they are coachable and trainable. Wit and creativity are key things we look for.

    Where do we hire them? Oh! I am based in the Philippines; we have lots of creative people here.

    Share this section

    One of my favorite large-scale white-hat link building strategies is something simple and often overlooked: harnessing your site’s existing community.

    Many large sites have decent-sized audiences, yet they rarely identify & cater to the influencers within their community.

    Emails, contests, content, gamification, or even on-page social sharing tools could cater to those who have the power to link to your site.

    The best way to scale this concept is to build-in social & blog link fields into your user profile templates & prompts.

    Then if you were running a Twitter contest, for example, you could target just those who actually have a twitter account.

    To take it a step further, why not give your users a reason to link to you?

    What could you do that would foster a community of people who think of your site as their home or a representation of themselves?

    Sites like LinkedIn, IMDB, Model Mayhem, Stage 32, Etsy, and SoundCloud are great examples of sites that people not only link to, but are even using on their business cards.

    Share this section

    My favorite white hat link building strategy that scales has to be product giveaways.

    To make it a little more interesting, you can use a contest format that creates scalable link building opportunities across several niche sites.

    For example, a basic contest will allow you to go after low hanging fruit like giveaway websites. Find a contest being run by a big brand; search the link in Ahrefs, and you’ll be able to quickly create a list of viable sites.

    Sarah Lively OE 1

    You can go beyond what’s in Ahrefs with the related search operator that will generate even more giveaway sites. The majority of these sites have a free contest submission area, so it’s pretty easy to be listed.

    Sarah Lively Google 2

    That’s the low hanging fruit. Those links are easy to get, and the websites often times aren’t the highest quality. To go beyond that and build quality references to your site you will need to be a little more creative.

    Start by creating your contests around a theme.

    Pick a specific audience you want to be eligible to win, and you’ll be able to generate more valuable mentions.

    For example, if you want to center your contest on volunteering, and specifically make anyone who has volunteered with the homeless eligible, you have the opportunity to reach out to nonprofit organizations focused on homelessness.

    Several organizations have an active blog, and by letting them know you’re giving away a product for volunteers in their sector, you’re helping the nonprofit encourage volunteerism and helping build quality references to your own domain.

    Sarah Lively 3

    Pro Tip: Create a winner’s page featuring each winner of the contest.

    The scalability of contests and giveaways becomes twofold when you can promote the winners.

    By having a more in-depth submission process than simply adding your name and email, you can effectively leverage your winner’s story in local media and with related organizations.

    Sticking with a volunteering example, you can have users submit a photo, or a brief statement on why they are giving back to their community.

    A story centered on a community member making a difference in their neighborhood will easily resonate with local publications, and it’s likely to be shared amongst the winners network.

    Share this section

    I would say using evergreen content in conjunction with broken link building. I have previously written an article on the power of Evergreen here on Ahrefs, and one on broken link building on my blog.

    You get several synergies by using these two methods at the same time:

    1. You build great evergreen content which itself attract backlinks.

    2. You revive/improve/update old content and then convince site owners to change their links.

    The good thing here is that you may get several high quality links by producing just one new piece of content – you kill several birds with one stone.

    White hat SEO and scalable is somewhat of an oxymoron.

    The problem is that Google loves to slap your wrist for anything they consider to be scaled, because in their mind, scaling is synonymous with a darker shade of SEO. Guest blogging was scaled and then went kaput.

    So were directory submissions, which Google, five-six years ago, even held as a recommendation in their webmaster guidelines.

    Nevertheless, it would be hard for Big G to say that broken link building is anything but White Hat.

    The most important aspect of Broken Link Building is to quickly assess what’s good and which links are worth hunting down.

    Making use of the right tools is indispensable.

    There are several ways to do broken link building, but when I am looking to get links from highly authoritative domains.

    Here’s how I do it:

    Here I am very interested in the social metrics which are a good indication of whether a site is actively maintained or not.

      • I then use the broken links function which is heaven sent for someone like me.

    It literally saves me days of analysis and time running other software.

      • I go through the broken links.

    Is there anything I could use? How many other domains are linking to the same content? What does the page look like in archive.org?

    • I then author the content, preferably in an Evergreen style which may be purposeful for a lot of sites, and which may result in a “link ripple” effect.
    • Contact the webmasters

    A year ago we had to use several tools to do the same job. Today we do most of the work with Ahrefs, and to take things to the next level, we will soon start using the API.

    Share this section

    My favourite scalable tactic is to look for opportunities to get links on high authority sites in such as Universities and Government organisations.

    If you have an e-commerce client then you can potentially get them a number of high quality .ac.uk / .gov links by sending an outreach email asking for inclusion on an organisation's staff discount or alumni discount page.

    In order to be included you usually have to offer an exclusive discount code.

    Of course it is up to the institution in question as to whether your request is approved or not but I have had some relative success in deploying this tactic.

    One note of caution however, the acceptance rate will much depend upon the type of retailer your pitching, e.g if you client sells quite a mundane, slightly boring product like plumbing valves for example, it might not be such a good idea to use this tactic!

    In order to find the target sites I use advanced search queries such as site:inurl:.ac.uk "alumni discounts" which can yield a treasure trove of high DA sites where you could potentially get a placement for your e-commerce client.

    You can repeat this search using different extensions or different query types such as "staff discounts" until you have a comprehensive list of link targets. Admittedly it’s a laborious process outreaching to each institution but this calibre of link makes it well worth the effort.

    Top Tips

    • Try to get a named contact and email address
    • Don’t mention links! Asking for a listing…
    • Try to use the client’s email address, e.g not an agency one
    • Explain why the product would suit their members
    • Be generous with the discount, offer more than others

    End.

    La Fin

    Can’t believe you’ve made it this far! 🙂

    Well that was it!

    90 opinions of prominent SEOs and Marketers on their favourite WhiteHat LinkBuilding strategies.

    Would love what you think about their answers, whether you agree with them or not!

    Let me know your opinions in comments!

    PS: Huge thanks to Codrut Turcanu for helping us collect this massive amount of answers!

    Tim Soulo
    Tim is the guy responsible for marketing and product development at Ahrefs. But most importantly he’s the chief evangelist of the company.

    Get notified of new articles

    46,961 marketers are already subscribed to Ahrefs blog. Leave your email to get our weekly newsletter.

    • Wow a lot of great people and great thoughts here. Glad to be part of it!

      • thanks a lot for contributing, Yaro! 🙂

    • Great post Tim, nicely done — I’m proud to be a part of it.

      Lots and lots of people promoting content marketing and viral marketing — some interesting ways to scale this which I’m hoping to try out myself soon!

    • I am glad I helped you guys and tank you Tim & AHREFS for having the idea! 😉

    • I wanted to take a second to wish the best to each and everyone who participated with their awesome insights and helped spread the word about this monster SEO expert roundup!

      • Thanks again Codrut!

      • Codrut,

        There is no doubt this is an INSANE monster roundup. Really great job here!

    • Wow, most impressive roundup I have ever seen! @codrutturcanu:disqus is a beast! Thanks for including me. So much great information in here I’m gonna have to re-read a couple times 🙂 Let the sharing commence.

    • a lot of great tactics in here. Definitely worth taking the time and writing down your favorites for use later!

    • Such an awesome roundup and I’m in some great company here. Going to take me a while to digest all of this. Will be back many times.

    • Dean

      This is a great article, however it’s really funny how this guy Gael claims all over his blog that they haven’t build any links, and yet in the same time his favorite link building method is skyscraper technique, he even has an article how they’ve used it to build links. SEO expert my a**. That guy is a shame for the SEO world, using some annoying tricks to get money and subscribers, following all the others SEO expert techniques. claiming that they rely on social media, but the truth is they desperately try to build links with all the methods they know. Anyway it’s not going well for them at all, that’s another proof for their expertise. And now I shall listen to this so called SEO expert. No thanks. I unsubscribed to their email list cos I was getting this annoying emails and well know used templates, they haven’t even bother to customize those. But it gets even more interesting, one of the articles they have, and all the methods mentioned is directly breaking of the Google webmaster guidelines. So be careful who you follow this days. On the other hand I do agree with what Gael has to says about Brian Dean’s technique and everything he shares with his audience. He is one of the best out there, and there are other SEO experts from this amazing list which I truly respect and follow. In general this is an amazing peace of article. Please don’t get me wrong I do not have anything against this guy but I won’t recommend to anyone. This is just my opinion, it’s up to you to decide. You can sum it up like this: We will teach others how to build a blog without building any links, but instead we will work our butts off to do 24/7 link building. In the same time our subscribers will have trust in us cos at the end that’s just a psychology of marketing, they will spend money through our affiliate links…I mean who will know what we actually do right? Well here are the news, people do actually see this things. So having a knowledge about SEO and sharing something with your audience, does not make you an expert. As long as you try to manipulate your followers and brag about it you won’t get anywhere. Oh I almost forgot they are also health experts, hiring low paid VA’s to write those articles…What a joke! You can delete my comment here if you like, but you can’t delete my opinion.

      • Woah I really rubbed you off the wrong way.

        I’m not going to get into a debate here but happy to chat via email (gael@authorityhacker.com)

        I promise no template!

      • I like Gael 🙂

    • Jesal Mars

      This site is really a great one.

    • The theme here is content. You can try every trick in the book but great content intelligently promoted usually wins the day because that’s what’s at the heart of the Google algo. The more natural the link profile the more solid the ranking and you only get a natural link profile with great content.

      Oh, and all the time you spend hanging onto the words of SEO experts, perhaps hoping they’ll tell you their latest Google beating tricks, could be spent creating that content 🙂

      • Agreed @RedEvo:disqus — even with some fairly woeful tech problems and no understanding of SEO I’ve seen some sites do so well because of great content.

        • Yup. It frustrates the hell out of people to see their shiny website ranking below a homespun one but no matter how many times you advise people content matters when it comes to the web they can only think about the design.

          I think this is changing and more companies are waking up to the need for great content but.…

          • Yep. I do content for a living and it frustrates the hell out of me, that people think they can pay $10 and get a blog worth reading.
            When it comes to content I think Humans first and Google second. You can write an engaging, interesting, shareble piece of content that please the Google gods as well.
            Interesting and awesome beats well optimised every time!!

            • Ded right. We’ve got content that’s had no ‘seo’ work done to it other than basing it around an established need (established using keyword research). From there we seeded it in social media and because it genuinely helped people and it was entertaining they shared it. Some folk really do over think this stuff 🙂

            • True dat!

            • Marketing Guy

              thanks for this comment

    • Ed Leake

      Dear Santa,

      For Christmas this year I want the gift of time so I may read this MASSIVE post from end-to-end.

      Thank you,

      Ed

      • saved into my folder of must read stuff — which I regularly delete because it overwhelms me!

        • Ed Leake

          I know the feeling Kate, I have a ‘readme’ folder that has over 1,200 files in it… !

          • Delete it. Break free! You won’t regret it.

            • Ed Leake

              I believe this image is apt for such a situation! 😀

            • haha 🙂

    • Thanks to all SEO Experts. Really appropriate. Learn a lot. 

      Finally, Contents is King. And Seems Content marketing will become a future of SEO.

    • same s**t we’ve been hearing for years.

    • Hi Tim and Codrut. 

      A million thanks for including me in this MONSTER roundup with the cream of the crop 😉

      Have a great day!

      Tor

    • Nice… this should keep most link builders busy for months 😉

    • Its really impressive to see that so many marketing experts share their views about link-building under one post…I have bookmarked this article for my future reference and would love to refer it again in the coming days..

      Thanks to all again!!!

    • Some great tips here — and hello Tim 🙂

    • Mary Jeannette

      LOVE all the tips, tricks, and strategies here. I’ll be learning from this for a long time. Just one side question though: out of 90 experts that you asked, why could you only come up with three that are female? I know there are more of us out there.

    • James

      Would have helped if there was a back to top button somewhere!

    • JanPaul999

      Wow I made it all the way to the end!!! This must have been the most massive post I’ve ever finished reading till the end!! But it was worth it! Some good ideas I got! …Oh I read it split in 2 days.

    • Wow it took me couple of days to read through. Some priceless tips here !

    • Guillermo Russo

      Thanks so much! This is so useful !!!

    • Well, I finally get to read this post. Great job Codrut. Not surprisingly Broken link building and the Skyscraper technique were the most favourite. However, I think that image link building has enormous potential as well.

    • This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for in the hunt for extra of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks.

    • Ouch 2 out of 90 contributors are female…I can think of more bright females to be included in this list. Might as well name this list, “The Who’s Who of SEO Dudes”, at least Joy is on the list, pretty much saves this page from being featured by HuffPo!

    • Great post..thanks for sharing this post.

    • Wow!

      A great roundup with awesome information and cool contributors.

    • Hi there Tim,

      This is what I call a expert roundup, you covered all our questions (newbies like me). It took me 3–4 days to read and understand it.

    • Hi there Tim, this is a very detailed post about expert roundups, thanks

    • Wow, such a great information.

    • Wow a lot of great people and great thoughts here. Glad to be part of it!

    • Thanks, i love you blog

    • Curtis Orhiz

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