Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide (2017 Update)
2 min read

It’s no secret that link building is the most important skill in SEO.

In fact, it’s a culmination of several different skills: you need to master content, sales, programming, psychology, and good old-fashioned marketing if you want other people to link to your site.

Bottom line? If you want more search engine traffic, link building is a must.

And in this guide I’m going to show you everything you need to build quality links.

Let’s dive right in.

The Definitive Guide to Link Building
Link Building PDF

Last year we analyzed 1 million Google search results.

And we found that links impacted rankings more than any other factor:

Number of referring domains

In fact, Google has recently come out and said that backlinks are one of their top 3 ranking signals:

Ranking Signals
Google Page Rank Algorithm
How to Find High Quality Links

Before we dive into the step-by-step link building strategies, it’s important to know what makes a good (or bad) link.

Why is this important?

Effect of high authority pages
Untapped sources
SEO Training Data
You can also use Moz’s respected “Domain Authority” metric:
Open site explorer
Case study: Stumbleupon
Backlinko Footer
Anchor links
Doggy Loans
Link Co-Citations

Chapter 3:How to Get World-Class Links With Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Its no secret that content is the key that unlocks amazing backlinks.

But here’s the deal:

Simply publishing content isn’t going to land you any links.

As it turns out, certain types of content work best for link building.

And here are the 4 types of content that tend to generate the most links:

On-Page SEO Infographic
On-Page SEO
Sure, lots of these links would have come in even if I had described the same concepts with text.
On-Page SEO Shared Infographic
AHrefs Results
Backlinko Shares
But most importantly, that post is a link magnet.
21 Actionable Techniques Data
SEO Techniques SERP
Backlinko 1 Million Results
Needless to say, this post contains a boatload of original data.
1 Million Results Data
Statistic Study
Keyword Research Guide
KR Guide Data

Chapter 4:How to Build Powerful Links With Email Outreach

Email Outreach

If you want to build white hat links in 2017 (and beyond), you need to use email outreach.

The question is:

How can you reach out to bloggers and journalists without ending up in their spam folder?

Paleo Desserts SERP
Grab the URL of the first result and pop it into a link analysis tool (I’m using Ahrefs in this example).
AHRefs Paleo Desserts
AHRefs Backlinko
…and it’ll show you all of the email addresses associated with that domain: 2
But what if you want to reach out to a massive site? Combing through this list is going to be a pain.
That way you’re reaching out to the person that can actually add your link to their page.
Chapter 5:The Skinny On Black Hat Link Building

(and Google Penalties)

Google Penalties

No guide to building links would be complete without a chapter on black hat SEO.

Black hat link building is pretty easy to spot: If the links go against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, they’re probably black hat.

Does that mean you should avoid black hat link building altogether?

That’s a choice only you can make. I personally don’t recommend black hat link building (the risk doesn’t come close to justifying the reward). But it’s up to you.

That said, whether you’re a white hat or black hat SEO, you do need to know the penalties that Google dishes out.

So let’s briefly cover them:

Unnatural Links

Chapter 6:My Three Favorite Link Building Strategies (Step-By-Step Tutorials)

Now it’s time for me to show you real-life examples of link building in action.

The best part?

I’ve never shared any of these case studies before.

Mars Facts Paragraph
Mars Facts Data
Broken Link Building
(Note how uber-personalized that email is)
Broken Link Building 2
And most folks were more than happy to add my link:
Broken Link Building 3
iPhone 8 Gossip
iPhone 8 Gossip 1
iPhone 8 Gossip 2
iPhone 8 Gossip Data
iPhone 8 Gossip SERP
History of Gin
History of Gin 1
History of Gin 2
History of Gin SERP

Here’s a quick list of advanced link building tips that I’ve picked up over the years.

Reverse Image Search
The App Method
Interviewed on Podcast
AHRefs Intersect