Home SEO How to Start Link Building from Scratch in 2021

How to Start Link Building from Scratch in 2021

Start Link Building

High quality content creation brings traffic. But content probably won’t get more visibility in search if it’s hosted on a domain without enough links from external sites.

Due to the long process of getting quality links from sites, Google pays considerable attention to external links. Once you’ve created good content, you need to find ways to distribute it online. Therefore, link building has become such a unique kind of “art”.

SEOs and internet marketers who start link building often see this as a challenge. But that’s because they usually have no idea where to start.

In this article, I’ll cover some basic link building tactics to get you started in this direction.

1. Link building: metrics and terms

First of all, you need to know about the basic metrics and conditions for link building. They help you evaluate links and donor sites and see if they are worth your effort.

How do you evaluate which links to use first? Aside from the dofollow and nofollow HTML attributes that most link builders focus on, there are a couple of metrics that SEOs often see as proven methods for finding high quality links.

Page Authority

After removing the PageRank metric, Google keeps the link rating metrics a secret. To help professionals find link donors, various services offer their own metrics to measure the quality and impact of pages.

For example, Moz provides several metrics that you can use to evaluate domains and pages. Its Page Authority metric measures the authority of an individual page and predicts how well a particular page will rank in search results. Page Authority scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to greater ranking ability.

Page link profile

A page’s authority is highly dependent on its individual metrics, such as

  • links it receives from other web pages,
  • and the number of root domains linking to this page.

Thus, out of two pages with the same authority, the better is the one with a large number of links from a wide variety of root domains.

Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a great metric for finding quality pages to link from as it is an overall score for the entire site. If the site has a high domain authority, then it also helps the pages by distributing a certain percentage of the link power to them.

Citation Stream

As I mentioned earlier, various SEO tools have different metrics for determining link value. Majestic SEO is another popular link scoring tool that provides two important metrics: Citation Flow and Trust Flow.

Citation Flow is a measure of the impact of a URL based on how many sites link to a given URL.

Stream of Trust

The flow of trust is a metric designed to determine the degree of trustworthiness of a link. The metric takes into account the quality of the backlinks leading to the site.

Context matching

Static numbers can help determine the potential impact a page has from backlinks, but these numbers don’t tell the whole story. The most important factor for link building should be the contextual relevance of a particular link.

You need to look at the content and think:

  • Will linking to this post make sense to the user?
  • Will your link be useful to the reader if you add it to the page?
  • Will this post promote natural exploration of related content?

If your answer to all of the questions is yes, then this is most likely the perfect link to get into your link profile.

Search engines are constantly improving the quality of their results, and since links play an important role in ranking, search engines discourage those who try to cheat the system, for example, by purchasing links in bulk.

Reference weight

Each page of the site has its own link weight, which is transmitted to pages with outbound links.

When evaluating a page in order to place links on it, it is important to consider the number of links going to that page and the possible value they can convey to your site.

Anchor text

Once you’ve identified the ideal pages you want to link from, the final challenge is to choose the specific text that will serve as the anchor text.

Anchor can be:

  • brand name,
  • high frequency keyword,
  • low frequency keyword,
  • popular search phrase.

Try to avoid non-anchor links that are less relevant, such as:

  • “Here”, “here”, “by reference”;
  • “Click here”;
  • “a source”.

Finally, the anchor text you choose should also have contextual meaning to the user who, upon clicking on it, will find a page with relevant information.

2. Methods of link building (where to get links from)

There are many methods to help you get links to your site from other sources. In this chapter, I will list these methods so that you can implement them yourself and in most cases for free.

Local link building

Local link building is getting links from sites whose target audience is concentrated in a specific country, city or area.

Map services

Online maps are useful for both getting links and promoting your business in general. You can get good conversion traffic, calls, orders from the cards.

Queries for finding map services:

  • list of map services / top map services;
  • online maps / online maps;
  • list of maps services;
  • online maps.

City company listings

Lists of local companies is a broad concept that combines ratings of establishments, various recommendations, city guides.

When searching for such sites, you can build on the following search queries:

  • list of companies / list of establishments / catalog of companies;
  • [city name] list of companies;
  • place a company;
  • companies list;
  • companies list submit.

Review sites

Review sites partially overlap with company lists and map services, but they are still a separate way of local promotion in and of themselves.

Keys for finding reviews:

  • review sites [country];
  • customer review sites list;
  • customer review.


Informational partnership or sponsorship with conferences is a great opportunity to get a link to the site from the event site.

You can collect a list of conferences by request:

  • conference “theme”;
  • conferences “theme” city / conferences “theme” country;
  • conferences “topic”;
  • conferences “theme” city / conferences “theme” country;
  • events “theme”.

Educational centers

Government and educational domains (like .edu) tend to have high credibility and are therefore particularly attractive to link builders.

There are three scenarios for getting backlinks from such sites:

  • in comments,
  • instead of broken links right in the text,
  • in the “Partners” section.

My tip: To get organic mentions and natural backlinks from the .edu site, you need to find schools and invite them to collaborate. This can be information exchange, internship program for students, and so on.

Discount pages

Offer discounts on your products or services to specific groups of people, such as students – search for discount aggregator sites and arrange to host your discount.

You can collect a list of such sites by request:

  • discounts for students;
  • discounts on goods;
  • discounts for students.

Notice boards

Bulletin boards are a good way to get a backlink to your site, as thousands of users sell products and services on them every day. This method is especially effective for online stores and service sites.

Bulletin boards can be searched by queries:

  • region notice board;
  • online bulletin board region.

Link building through mentions

Look for sites that mention your brand without links. If the site has written about your brand but hasn’t linked you, write to them and ask if they can link.

You can track mentions of your brand manually or using specialized programs.

Content link building

A method of obtaining links by posting ready-made content and/or useful links to your content on donor sites.

Broken links

This method involves finding broken inbound links on donor sites that lead to non-existent pages, and replacing the broken links with relevant links from your site.

Broken links can be found manually or using specialized services.

Guest posts

Guest posts are the placement of your article with a link to the page you need on donor sites. That is, you become a guest writer on the blog.

Link exchange

A link building method where you negotiate a reciprocal link placement. You can also negotiate other barters, for example, a link in exchange for money or PR.


Link building method in which you agree with the owner of the donor site to publish a review for your brand with a link to the site. You can prepare the content for the review yourself or ask the site owner to write an honest review. Usually reviews are published in exchange for a product or service.

There is a reverse version of this method, in which you write a review on a product or service and publish it on your blog, and after publication, contact the service representative and share the review with him, hinting that the post will be of interest to their users, and you expect the return link from the site.

Expert opinions

A method is similar to the previous one. You invite an expert for an interview, and then post the transcript on your blog. Then you can send the expert a link to the published material in the hope that he will link to your content from his site.

Remember: maintaining a good relationship with a person is much more important than getting a link, so do not insist – at the very least, you will let the expert know about your company and, perhaps, this will have long-term consequences. If the content comes out interesting and valuable, it can go viral on the Internet itself.

You can also act as a guest expert on an external blog and get a link from a published webinar/interview/survey.


The essence of the method lies in the fact that you are looking for articles with ready-made lists and trying to get into them with a backlink to your site (lists of goods, services, services, companies, blogs, etc.). For example, you can search for a list of digital blogs if your blog is related to this topic.

You can search lists by keys:

  • top “niche” blogs / list “niche” blogs;
  • top “niche” companies/list of “niche” companies.


These are event overviews published as a blog post with links to external sources. You can try to negotiate with the site so that they include your current news in the digest. You can also create a “Digest” section on your blog and include mentions with links there on reciprocal terms.

Link building through UGC

Creating unique content can be challenging, especially for those with limited resources. Websites simply won’t link to low-quality content.

Using User Generated Content (UGC), you can create unique content that will attract links. Most often, when using someone else’s content, sites link to the original source, so if you have the opportunity to create such auxiliary content, then such link building methods are for you.

Creation of pictures and infographics

If you create infographics or any other graphic content, then there is a high probability that your work is used without mention of authorship and backlinks to the original source. The essence of the method lies in finding such sites and asking for a link to the source.

The search is carried out through image matches at https://images.google.com/.

Tests and quizzes

An interesting test can drive traffic from social media as well as increase backlinks if it goes viral.

Press releases and media

You can create a press release, contact journalists from various publications, and invite them to publish your story.

If you don’t have contacts or are having trouble getting out to the media, you can hire a PR agency to spread your story – an expensive but viable option.


Submits are posting information about a site with a link to it on various sites that allow you to post user information.

Site directories

Placing in directories (directories) is one of the old methods of link building, in which you can post information about a company and get a backlink for free.

You can search directories by keys:

  • add the site to the directory,
  • directory submission “keyword”,
  • directory List “keyword”.

Job search sites

Job search sites can also be used to get backlinks. The essence of the method is that you register as an employer and put a link on yourself.

You can find resources with vacancies using queries:

  • edu sites,
  • job search sites,
  • job site uk,
  • job site us.

Video hosting

Interesting and high-quality video content usually garners good coverage. In addition to the well-known video hosting sites YouTube and Vimeo, you can find many sites to post videos with a link in the caption.

Search queries:

  • list of video hosting sites / top video hosting sites;
  • video hosting sites/video submission sites;
  • submit video.


The logic of work is similar to posting a video – you create an audio track or participate in a podcast recording, find platforms for posting audio and add a podcast there with a link to the site.

Search queries:

  • podcast platforms;
  • podcast sites;
  • audio podcast platforms;
  • free podcast platforms.

Freelance Portfolio Websites

The essence of the method – you register as a contractor or customer and draw up a profile, where you indicate a link to the site.

Search queries:

  • freelance exchanges/freelance sites;
  • freelance sites list;
  • freelance jobs.

Site aggregators

Another method of getting backlinks and distributing content from the site is to get into the list of aggregators.

You can select a list of relevant aggregators using the keys:

  • blog aggregator,
  • news aggregator,
  • list of blog aggregators,
  • news aggregator.

Guerrilla Link Building

Hidden types of link promotion, in which users do not even suspect that something is being advertised to them and/or that the link should not be in the place where it is.


The method involves placing links in specific forum threads. You can also create a company profile on the forums and publish your news there with links.


Expert and relevant comments under influencer articles can draw attention to your person or business. On some sites, you can leave links in the comments – this method is suitable for such blogs.

Q&A Sites

Question/answer sites, where people ask questions about a variety of professional and general topics and get answers, can help draw the attention of a specialized audience to a company.

Social networks

Social media links are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to link building and increase brand visibility in search results.

Social network search queries:

  • list of social networks/top social networks;
  • social network list.


There are a large number of encyclopedias in various niches and of a general nature from which backlinks can also be obtained. Therefore, you should not neglect this type of link building.

Wikipedia and others

You can get a link from Wikipedia in two ways: create a company page there, provided that you have a world-famous brand, or provide ready-made articles with useful material with confirmation and argumentation and provide links to sources (including the desired site).

You can find a list of encyclopedias by queries:

  • list of encyclopedias / top encyclopedias;
  • wiki list / internet encyclopedia list;
  • wiki site list / popular wiki sites.

Link exchanges and link purchases

I do not recommend buying links, but I will not hide the fact that many SEO companies “buy” links in all sorts of ways.

There are a myriad of exchanges on the market offering the purchase of “natural, contextual, authoritative, white” links. It’s up to you to decide if you are ready to use this method and break Google’s rules in order to improve rankings and attract traffic.

3. Link building tools (which I use in my work)

There are many tools to automate and speed up the link building process. I will tell you about four types of tools that will help you with link building.

Link Research Tools

Researching links and sites before placing your link there is very important for developing the right link building strategy. There are many tools for analyzing your link profile, site, and page authority. Here are the main ones that I use in my work:

  • Moz,
  • Majestic SEO,
  • Semrush,
  • Ahrefs.

Site search tools

With the help of tools and the correct selection of keywords, you can quickly and easily find sites for link building. To do this, I use Netpeak Checker in my work, since with it you can parse search results for specified keywords.

Also, Content Explorer from Ahrefs, Google Alerts, Scrapebox can come in handy.

Outreach tools by email

They will help you create and manage link building campaigns and track performance. Some services also make it easier to find contact information for potential donors, create templates for mailing lists, send a chain of letters, and much more.

There are many services out there. Choosing the right toolkit depends on your tactics, campaign scale and budget.

I have such tools in my arsenal:

  • To search for contacts: Netpeak Checker, Hunter.io, Snov.io.
  • To automate outreach mailings: Lemlist, Reply, MailShake.

4. Analysis of the effectiveness of link building campaigns

An analysis of the effectiveness of link building campaigns shows the dynamics of work with each donor site, and also helps to understand which methods worked well and which ones are better to abandon due to poor results.

Checking for backlinks after posting

From time to time, it is necessary to check donor sites for backlinks – this allows you to understand how successful this or that link building campaign was. It is important that the links persist, otherwise all efforts are wasted.

I check the pages I have linked to through the External Links parameter in the semrush tool:

  • I am adding a list of pages that should link to my site.
  • At the end of the scan, I open the report.
  • I filter all links to find links only to my site.

If a site that previously referred to you has deleted the link, you should write to the site owner and remind you of the agreement and/or do the link building method again.

Create GA reports for collecting statistics

Using reports in Google Analytics, you can see conversions and conversions from each individual domain or page.

To do this, we create a text document in which we collect all the pages that link to your site. We write these pages in the document in one line through a vertical separator | no spaces and no https or www, for example, example.net.

Next, in Google Analytics, we create a report in which we set the filter “Full URL of the referral” and add the collected pages using a regular expression.

Link building is about relationships

Don’t be discouraged if the recipients of your emails don’t accept your link request, flag the email as spam, or find themselves too busy to consider your offer.

Many outreach emails will never get a response. I’ll even say that if you get 5 to 10% of the responses to them, then you are doing a great job!

On the other hand, on the other hand, based on personal experience, the contacts I made for link building have become valuable assets and even long-term partners, so don’t treat your contact as a one-off issue.

Summarizing the article

Now you know what parameters to rely on when evaluating link building sites, and you also have a list of methods for obtaining links.

Once you earn your first few links, you will start to gain traction, become more confident, and refine your approach. You will see what works for each segment and you will hit the target more often.

As these links begin to accumulate, you will see not only a surge in traffic, but a steady stream of referral traffic, which will be a great bonus for all your efforts.

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