10 Powerful White Hat Link Building Strategies

White Hat Linkbuilding

In the following post you’re going to learn some of the most powerful and safe link building methods to use in 2013 beyond, completely white hat and straight forward to implement.

Back in December 2012 I posted an article on link building methods to avoid in 2013 (if you haven’t read it then I recommend you do).
White hat link building strategies success kid
This post left a burning question; what link building methods should we be using in 2013?

Please note: if your idea of SEO or “link building” involves finding push button solutions such as firing out spun articles to splogs or blasting out spammy blog comments in the vain hope at trying to “trick” Google then you’ve got 2 choices.

  1. Change your tactics to a white hat approach      
  2. Watch as Google comes in and destroys your website and your online business

I hope its number 1 because if it’s number two then be warned – you’re going to have a bad time! (If you need some more reasons why you should adopt a white hat link building strategy check out - 6 Important Reasons to build White Hat Links in 2013)
White hat link building strategies bad time
If you’ve been continuing along a black hat route then I understand, SEO has become somewhat of a mythology because individuals and companies alike have abused people’s lack of knowledge and just lied to get business.

Thankfully it’s getting more and more difficult for the lies of such companies to stick.

Please also bear in mind that while this post is about link building strategies and tactics you need to be thinking about something more than link building while you read and also put this guide into action.

I’m talking about building relationships because all of the link building tactics that I have listed below will give you the best results possible if you use them to build relationships.

Ok, now let’s get stuck in.

White Hat Link Building Strategies for 2013

Guest Posting

Yes, another post talking about guest blogging/guest posting and all that fun stuff.

You may even be thinking that this has been done to death and hearing scare mongers talking about the death of guest posting in 2013. Even Pro Blogger and Daily Blog Tips have stopped accepting guest posts.

The truth is that there could well be a crackdown on guest posting as a link building tactic by Google but personally I don’t believe this will be a problem for you unless you are shovelling out thin and garbage content and/or getting published on low quality sites (possibly sites engaging in black hat tactics).

I could write an entire post on guest posting, actually I’ve already written several posts on the subject already so I won’t cover old ground here but make sure that you follow this advice moving forward –

Don’t submit rubbish content and don’t submit content to rubbish sites – only give your best to the best.

Note – if you’re struggling to find guest posting opportunities try searching for the author bylines of your competitors to see where they are guest posting or put a full list of the blogs that you have found into the BuzzStream blogroll tool to bulk out your list. You can also use BuzzStream to manage the entire process for you.

Further reading:

Blog Commenting (no, not spamming)

Some may not agree with me on this but I don’t think blog commenting is dead just quite yet, now it’s not a “powerful” link building tactic when you consider it just in terms of link power but if you consider the ability to build relationships and get involved in the discussions of your target audience directly then it can be VERY powerful.

There are a few rules of the road to observe here –

  • Write only detailed and valuable comments (contribute to the discussion)
  • Direct your comments to the post author
  • Don’t use keywords in your name
  • Be nice (no brainer you’d think!)
  • Choose to be notified of replies and continue the discussion

If you observe the rules above then can be a valuable link building/relationship building tactic for you but whatever you do don’t venture over to the dark side, even if they claim to have cookies.

They have got cookies, but the packets been open a while so you don’t risk it!

Further reading:

Social media (not “social bookmarking”)

You’ve probably seen a service on Fiverr or a piece of software that will blast a load of social bookmarks to your site.

You’ll get the major social media sites then you’ll start seeing horrible sites like “submitsocialbookmarks” or something similar.

This is NOT the way to move forward because these types of sites are full of shocking links and usually are setup with the simple purpose of providing a hub for linking out. There’s usually no moderation process and those that are legit usually end up getting hammered by spammers because the owners don’t have the resources to properly police their own website.

So when I say use social media sites to build links, the links are the end result but there is a way to do this and sites that you should be using for this.

The idea here is to use this as a tool to build relationships, build your authority within your niche and drive traffic to your site. You will get your content in front of other authorities and experts within your niche and get people involved within a discussion on your site.

This will then lead to social shares from your industry peers, engagement on your site, possible back links from your industry peers (this will take a while but is well worth it).

This all adds up to insane social proof and massive validation of your authority and solidifies your authority with your existing visitors.

Remember; social shares are a ranking factor within Google and they’re going to be looking at social influence more on the whole in the near future.

Here are a number of social sites that I’d recommend you focus your efforts on that will give you the biggest ROI in terms of your time (which is precious).

  • Twitter – network and engage with your target audience
  • Google Plus – get involved in a community of your peers and engage
  • Linkedin – join a group of your peers and engage
  • Facebook – not as good as it once was due to heavy advertising but still worth investing your time in
  • Reddit – get involved in discussions within sub Reddits of your peers and engage
  • YouTube – upload great videos and network with your peers
  • StumbleUpon – start stumbling and networking with those that have the same interests as you
  • Pinterest – this isn’t for everyone but works wonders if you’ve got some great images or a visually orientated blog

There are a lot of other sites that you could try using, not forgetting niche social networking websites but these are the ones that have worked best for me in the past on the various sites that I’ve managed.

It’s easy to get things wrong with the sites I’ve listed above and so many people do. The idea is not to use these sites as a place to drop links, but a place to start discussions and build relationships.

The links you get as a result will be more powerful and will expose your site to a larger audience than if you just dropped links.

Sure on Twitter it’s difficult to drop links and I’ve got a personal habit of firing my posts into Facebook but it’s difficult to fit much of a discussion into a Tweet and personally I’m a disgruntled Facebook user (that’s not to say you should follow suit, I just don’t like the direction they’re going in).

So if you’re going to drop a link, ask questions and engage your audience and members of the community. Personally I wouldn’t even say “please check out my latest post” I would recommend you ask a question about the content of your article.

It’s all about the conversation.

Further reading:

Link out to other blogs

I can imagine what you might be thinking. “Link out? This is supposed to be about getting links not giving them away!”

Now, I won’t sugar coat this – if you’re looking to get some quick links then this isn’t the best link building strategy for you to use but this can yield some extremely great results providing you’re patient and give it time.

You can link out to other blogs/bloggers in any post you write but there are a few specific types of posts that tend to work better than most others.

Content types

  • Interviews/Q&A’s
  • Lists of products/services
  • Lists of bloggers
  • Round up posts

Why are these types of content so great? They provide extremely valuable and insightful content but the main reason is that these types of posts are a form of ego bait.

The beauty of this is that if you do it right and your content is amazing and also extremely difficult to recreate then the content itself will reel in links on its own.

Reach out

At some stage in creating interviews or Q&A posts you’re going to need to reach out to authorities in your niche, industry experts, product creators or service providers in some shape or form to actually be able to create the post.

Generally speaking the last 3 content types can be done off the bat just with some research and a bit of Googling but after you’re going to need to reach out to those that you link to via social media and/or emails to let them know about the content.

Some may see trackbacks in their CMS, for example if they’re using WordPress they will probably get a notification but don’t rely on this.

Your first instinct maybe to just inform them about your content but there’s no harm in asking them to share or subtly hint.

I’ve had some success with straight up asking people to share what I’ve written which from a marketing perspective it makes sense for those I link to do share because it validates them to their own followers and helps to provide social proof.

An important thing to remember is this tactic won’t result in a link most of the time (at least not until you really get on the map and get right in front of the bloggers you’re linking to) however you will find it easier to get social shares with this tactic.

That’s a really good thing because social shares are a ranking factor and will most likely become a more important ranking factor in the future.

There are some great examples that come to mind where bloggers have done this VERY well. One recent example is Mauro D’Andrea’s post “101 Experts Share Their Tips for Online Success”.

Further reading:

Broken Link building

This is an incredibly powerful link building strategy. The way it works is that you find pages that are relevant to your site with outgoing links that are broken.

You then contact the site owner and let them know that they have some broken links and ask them to link to your website instead.

This sometimes involves creating specialist content and you can go a step further by running a back link checker (e.g. Majestic SEO) on the link that’s broken to find other pages that link to it and then start emailing other site owners and carry out the same process.

There’s a lot more to this, I could write multiple posts on this subject but for now I’ve compiled some of the best existing resources for you to grit your teeth on.

I must point out that this is a time consuming link building tactic but can provide amazing results if it’s done correctly and essentially you’re cleaning up the web of dead links so it’s helping improve the usability of the websites you contact.

Further reading:

Get links with images

If you have got a visually orientated blog or any images at all then chances are that someone somewhere on the internet is using your images on their own site.

You may have a problem with the copyright issues but this gives you a brilliant opportunity to capitalise on an effective white hat link building strategy. Simply email them and ask them for a link back to your blog as image credit. (if you have sensitive content that you would prefer wasn’t used then I understand if this tactic isn’t for you, instead send them a DMCA takedown request, but remember that in most situations you would benefit more from getting the link than not getting the link – it’s again another validation of your authority or talents).

It’s difficult for people to say no when they’re using your content (although some will say no).

The ROI on this tactic can be VERY high but the difficulty is finding the sites using your images.

Thankfully the team at Idée Inc have developed a “reverse image search engine” called TinEye.

You can also try Google’s Search by Image and setting up Google alerts for your image file name.

If your site is relatively new then this tactic might not work for you straight away but as your site grows and you build your traffic this will become a much more accessible tactic – if you can be the first to post breaking news, reviews and other articles then this will give you a big head start when people come to use your images.

Another variation on this tactic is to write a clause into your image copyright that stipulates that anyone using the image must provide a link to your site in order to use the image whether they find your image on Instagram or Flickr.

Take this a step further

Make your images embeddable; SEOGadget.com has a tool for this or you could use the WordPress Embed Code Generator Plugin.

Competitor links

The idea here is that you run your competitors websites through a back link checker like Majestic SEO or Ahrefs to find who is linking to them.

You’ve got a few options with what you do next, but I’d recommend you get your links exported to a CSV or Excel file so you can start organising some data.

You may want to look through these in detail to see exactly what types of sites are linking to your competitors and think about how you can try and get a link from these too.

The other option is to create a Google custom search engine with the domains so that you can start searching for different types of linking tactics.

You may have a specific linking tactic in mind to search for but to start you off you could search for “reviews”, “guest posts” or narrow the results down further with a particular topic (that’s if your competitor in mind covers a larger number of topics to you).

Launch a blogging contest

This is nothing new but can be done VERY well and have a huge impact on your site.

The idea here is that you pick out some prizes, possibly contact product/service providers within your niche to see if they want to donate anything for some extra visibility. If not then pick out a few things yourself that bloggers in your niche would love to win.

Write up your contest rules post giving instructions which will be something along the lines of writing a blog post about your site or a particular post of yours, maybe even the post that mentions the contest (the latter usually works best).

The stipulation will be that they reference your site/post in their blog post along with any other limitations of the prizes, closing date and who the contest is open to. (note – I’d advise discussing the legalities of the contest terms and conditions with a legal professional beforehand).

Post up your contest information then put together a list of bloggers within your niche that might want to take part and start emailing them – remember to really sell the benefits which will of course be some awesome prizes.

Brand mentions

There are plenty of times when a blog or its author is mentioned on a website or within an article on another blog – most of these times you won’t get a link or even know about the mention at all.

This gives you a great opportunity to seek out these mentions and straight up ask for a link.

I would suggest that you don’t just bowl in straight away just all like “gimme a link please!!” type thing – by all means ask at some point but to ensure maximum success you need to build a relationship with the site owner that mentioned you before you ask them for a link.

You can do this in a few ways such as commenting on their blog or messaging them on Twitter or another social network.

Once you’ve built up a rapport it’s time to ask for the link.

This still leaves a problem which is finding out about these mentions. The solution is simple; use Google alerts to get timely updates for any mentions and Google search to find out any past mentions.

Building links with Tynt

Link Building With Tynt
If you have ever looked at a lyrics or quotes website (a site that visitors are more likely to copy and paste from) then chances are you’ve tried to copy and paste something into Twitter or Facebook or even an article and you have been greeted with one of those lovely “read more here …” links.

I have included this because it can be very powerful and it’s a great way of being rewarded for your content but from a usability perspective it can get annoying.

Although it is used by the likes of Answers.com, Sports Illustrated, Financial Times, Fox News and other publishers.

So you might want to just test this to start off with and be selective over which websites you use this type of functionality with.

You can get started for free at Tynt.com, it does involve adding some code but there are a bunch of other features available including in depth analytics that you should experiment with (even if you don’t want to use this as a link building strategy).

Note: if you’re operating in an industry/niche that’s getting hammered with content scrapers then you may feel more comfortable giving this one a miss, but there are some other impressive features that are still worth while checking out.

Summary

So you’ve now got 10 white hat link building strategies you can work with this year and beyond, focus on one at a time unless you’re well resourced because each of these link building strategies will require patience and take time to do.

Now I have two questions for you so I’d love your input in the comments section.

Which white hat link building strategies will you be focusing on personally moving forward? and what are you finding that works or doesn’t work for you right now?

  • http://www.mattsouthern.com Matt Southern

    Some great tips here, but I'd like to add one of my own if you don't mind.

    I find what I've gotten the best backlinks from is creating insanely useful content that people will want to link to. I've gotten great links without intending to just from focusing on creating content that helps people.

    People always like to link to stuff that helps their readers, so I try to be a resource for that. Of course all of your tips are also exceptionally effective when actively link building

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Thanks Matt, always happy for you to share tips of your own.

      You're so right about great content – it's incredibly powerful.

      Appreciate the comment, thanks!

  • Jennifer Cunningham

    Agree that meaningful comments on other's blog grow your traffic slowly but steadily. Use twitter and get lots of trees but few followers. Trying to grow that now.

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Thanks for your comment Jennifer and best of luck with growing your Twitter followers. If you haven't seen it already, in the resources above in the social media section there's a link to an article about building your Twitter following that will help you.

  • http://www.onlinetutorialsonline.com Hussain

    I must say that you provide some very valuable and quality point in very detail it's give me some really good ideas to get more from my link building campaigns.

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Hey Hussain, thanks for your comment, I'm sure these strategies will work well for you.

  • http://www.infaweb.com Laura

    Cheers for sharing Tineye, I just found someone who had embedded one of our infographics but hadn't linked back. – Bonus!

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      No problem at all Laura, glad to hear that you've already got results from it!

  • http://www.SEO-writer.ca David Leonhardt

    I like blog commenting because it involves writing and communicating and ideas – much more fun than link mining the competition, for example.

    As for Tynt, I am not so sure that it is the greatest link-builder. I have used it, I think I still have it on some sites, but the links it builds are from content scrapers, no the ideal sites to have linking back to yours.

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Thanks for your comment David, you're right about blog commenting – it's great for getting directly in touch with influencers too.

      I think you may be right about Tynt in some niches, although having said that there are some industries that I've used it where it's performed quite well.

  • http://www.seoexperts.co.in Smartkathy

    Hey Adam as per your post I went through Tynt.com to test my website. But it takes too much times for testing. All above link building strategies are very good. I prefer link baiting now for high ranking.

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Hey Kathy, thanks for commenting.

      I agree with you completely about link bait – it's all about earning links rather than building them.

  • http://www.myoptimind.com Cris Monde

    Hello sir! I really like all the tips you have provided above! :D
    I tried to use the Google alerts for a brand mention in others site and this is really cool! xD

    Thank you so much!

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Cris,

      Really appreciate you taking the time to comment – I'm glad these tips have helped you.

  • http://www.onlinemarketingblog.com.au Vahe

    Hey Adam,

    Thanks for the post, I've personally being using reddit alot more lot, and I have definently seen benefits in terms of spikes in referring traffic and links.

    By the way what is the social plugin you are currently using? It is pretty clean ans awesome.

    Thanks,

    Vahe

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Hey Vahe,

      No problem at all, glad to hear you've been having success with Reddit, a lot of people struggle with it.

      Are you directly posting into sub Reddit's yourself or are you waiting for a reader to place a link to your content somewhere?

      The plugin I'm using is Flare, it's available from WordPress.org for free :)

      Thanks for the comment!

      • http://wwww.onlinemarketingblog.com.au Vahe

        I directly post them into sub Reddit's myself and try to write natural titles that encourage people to vote and click through to the site. i.e. http://www.reddit.com/user/caribBEINGNY/

        In the past I use to focus on writing specific meta data for these social bookmarks and put them in generic categories which is why like other SEO's there might be a struggle to get any traction.

        But I think to take it to the next level you need to find the subreddit group owners and outreach to them. I'm sure there would be more credibility and hence more people would vote for these posts.

        Thanks and all the best Adam!

        Regards,

        Vahe

        • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

          Vahe,

          Thanks so much for the detailed explanation, I really like what you've been doing with Reddit.

          It's all about the engagement factor now, what you've been doing is similar to what we've been doing on the gaming site that I run. We added giveaways to the mix as well using indie games off Steam which worked really well.

          I hope more people follow this type of example you've listed out Vahe, link dropping is never enough.

          Thanks for getting involved in the conversation!

  • http://www.estudiowerk.com Reginald

    Hi Adam,

    Again, another lovely, lovely writing! Grr! I wish I had come across your website. Love the article so damn much and very infomatic.

    Definitely loving your website and who knows, maybe I can be your guest poster in the next few months!

    *p/s As for your reply the last time around, the site is finally up. YES this time for good. Needed some adjusted and thankfully everything is in order now!

    Regards,
    Reginald

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Hi Reginald,

      Thanks for the kind words – Blogging Wizard hasn't been around for long yet :)

      Glad to hear, there's going to be plenty of stuff for you to learn coming up. You never know, but I rarely accept guest posts at the moment (might change in the future).

      Just checked out your site, you've got a good start .. get Hybrid Connect and GetResponse setup so you can build a list! (see this post here – http://bloggingwizard.com/wordpress-mailing-list-plugins-superior-list-building-power/).

      You've got a great foundation, some areas can be improved like with most blogs but a good start there :)

      Thanks again for the comment, I really appreciate it.

  • http://Website melissa johnston

    Hi Adam,
    Great tips. This is very helpful. Thank you very much for sharing this post. Your ideas are relevant after penguin 2.0 update. Here is another blog related to the link building it is Top 3 Link Building Strategies in 2013 http://www.techwyse.com/blog/search-engine-optimization/expert-link-building-strategies-2013. In this blog several SEO Experts are talking about their experiences in link building.
    Hope this will help you all! Thanks

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Hi Melissa,

      I’m really glad you find the post helpful and appreciate the link to the post on Techwyse.com – there’s a lot of good stuff in there!

  • http://www.mediahunter.com.au/strategic-consulting/ Craig Wilson

    Hi.. I agree with all your points, as per my view guest posting and the social media marketing is best way of link earning. If we implement this all strategies then it it will really give healthy links which are very necessary for improving our web performance. .

    • http://bloggingwizard.com Adam Connell

      Thanks Craig, I couldn’t agree more. Nothing beats writing great content for other sites and social signals.