10 ways to win or fail


Link building is a consistent and proactive practice that requires time, effort and resources.

It remains a fundamental aspect of SEO, but success doesn’t come easily. 

As you fine-tune your SEO action plan for the rest of the year, consider ways to win – or fail – at link building. 

Fail: Ignoring personal connections

Start with who you know. You likely have personal connections in your industry who can help deliver valuable backlinks. 

So many marketers overlook their own network as a resource, focusing solely on cold outreach and missing out on opportunities for more natural, relevant links. 

Go through your LinkedIn connections, and ask. 

This is not simply a game of volume. In highly competitive niches, the quality and quantity of links matter. 

Getting a larger number of low-quality links is often easier, which will ultimately hurt your website’s SEO. 

Instead, strategically approach your backlinking efforts to ensure you gain high-quality and highly relevant backlinks from authoritative websites. 

When you go through the effort of building backlinks, one of the worst things you could do is select a domain that links back to completely unrelated websites. 

Building links that are relevant to your niche is critical. 

Getting links from irrelevant websites won’t help improve your search visibility or generate the readers and customers you seek. 

Fail: Ignoring local SEO 

Local SEO is a great opportunity to increase your backlinks, but many companies miss this step. 

Especially for businesses with a local audience, geo-targeted link building will help you increase your website’s local search visibility and be more relevant to your target audience. 

Work to obtain links from business listing websites, local blogs and local directories. 

Fail: Sticking to outdated tactics

It was never right, but we all know it happened. Old school and outdated tactics to get backlinks, such as spammy directories and mass blog commenting will only hurt your website’s SEO.

Google still will take manual action on sites that engage in these practices, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest link building strategies and ensure your efforts align with Google’s guidelines.

Dig deeper: Why most brands fail at link building: Top 5 mistakes


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Evaluate your competitor’s ranking performance and backlink profile. This can help you understand your gaps and opportunities. 

What lists are they on? What interviews and guest posts have they done?  

If your competitors are appearing on specific domains, then there is an opportunity for you to be a fast follower. 

Use tools such as Ahrefs or Moz, and identify potential targets for your own link building efforts.

Win: Capitalizing on unlinked mentions

You’ll often find that your website or brand was mentioned on a site, but no link was associated with it. 

In these situations, reach out to the site operator and politely request they add a link to your site. 

Brand monitoring tools like Talkwalker, Critical Mention or BuzzSumo can help you find unlinked mentions, providing opportunities for easy link building.

Win: Contributing to crowdsourced posts

Participate in crowdsourced posts by providing expertise to journalists or bloggers seeking input from industry professionals. 

HARO is a great place to identify opportunities to contribute to content. This can lead to valuable backlinks from authoritative sources and increased visibility for your brand.

Win: Creating valuable data-driven content

Everyone loves visuals. Look for opportunities to create content from your valuable data, including infographics, research results, case studies and surveys. 

Citing statistics and percentages is also important, so focus on creating content that showcases your expertise and provides rare, insightful data. 

With the increasing use of Canva, it’s much easier to create compelling graphics for your website. 

Win: Getting help 

As you read this list of best practices, you’re likely asking, “How much time will this take?” 

Link building is time-consuming, but reputable consultants and agencies can do the tough parts for you, helping you increase your backlinks effectively and efficiently. 

Don’t be scared to ask for help. 

Avoid common mistakes, embrace winning strategies

Focus on creating high-quality, link-worthy content and pursuing natural, relevant backlinks from authoritative sites. 

Understand that link building is a long-term effort requiring consistent monitoring and effort.

Adopting these practices will improve your website’s visibility and boost its SEO performance in the long run.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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