18 SEO experts share link building strategies

By Alison Zammit

In this SEO roundup, we asked 18 digital marketing agencies in the U.S about their primary link building strategies for 2021.

Here are the questions we asked:

  1. What are your main link building strategies for 2021?
  2. What parts of your link building efforts are you outsourcing, if any?

I am sure the insights from top SEO experts will give you actionable link building tips you can start using immediately.

Greg Moore – Digital Marketing Director @ Avawing SEO

A link building strategy starts with listing your organization on online directories. Avawing SEO uses 100’s of these citation directories to list businesses and get backlinks in the process. Next, tackle social media and create as many accounts as possible that relate to your business. You can concentrate on posting to only a few accounts regularly and post to the others just enough to keep the account active. Lastly, find niche blogs that will accept guest posts in exchange for a backlink. There are directories such as bigguestposting.com that have a database of such sites.

Dmitrii Kustov – Internet Marketing Director @ Regex SEO

At Regex SEO, all backlink building strategies are performed in-house. Our favorite backlink-building strategy at Regex SEO is, actually, content marketing. We create an awesome piece of content, be that a blog post, infographic, or a video, and push it to websites, related to the topic of that piece. This way we kill a few birds with one stone – authority building through knowledge exposure, brand exposure, as that content gets shared, and, of course, backlinks back to us as authors of the piece.

Lauren Letsch – HR and Operations Director @ Sure Oak

Expert link building is about two things: relationship cultivation and technical know-how. Sure Oak has found the sweet spot where these factors converge to produce real results. Our vast industry connections, coupled with our comprehensive range of premium link building services, grow our clients’ organic traffic—significantly and sustainably. With strict vetting criteria that focus on organic traffic, relevance, domain authority, and TrustFlow, Sure Oak’s gold standard is applied to every site we come into contact with. Customized outreach campaigns and .EDU backlink building services give our clients access to links they would not be able to get anywhere else.

Skyler Malley – Owner and SEO Expert @ Firestarter Search Engine Optimization

For link building, we are seeing a combination of quantity of links and quality of links move rankings. However, one piece we are seeing as most important to rankings is anchor text. When working with our link-building partner we hand-select the anchor text for each one of our client’s links.

keenserps link building service

Dan Kern – Founder & Principal Consultant @ Kern Media

Guest posting on well-respected online publications related to your client’s industry has always been a great way to get true offsite exposure for clients’, drive referral clicks, get links, and improve their E-A-T. One tactic that many don’t utilize is unpublishing good content on a client’s site and republishing it as a guest post on an external industry publication. This can help minimize the effort needed for guest posting, which is the main benefit.

Alexander Vere Nicoll – Co-Founder @ The Brandsmen

In terms of link-building, like all of the services we provide we do things in-house. We take a very cautious and natural approach to link-building in comparison to other agencies. Our objective is to create content of such high quality, that it ranks high in Google and serves as a source of information for other websites. We often obtain natural backlinks in this manner. We also do a lot of guest posting on other websites. We believe simply buying backlinks is an outdated tactic.

Tony Mastri – Digital Marketing Manager @ MARION Integrated Marketing

MARION Integrated Marketing uses digital PR as our primary link building strategy. We lean heavily on Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find opportunities to share our subject matter expertise, and we are generally cited with a backlink in return.
Even if the HARO questions aren’t something I can address directly, I will pass the query along to someone in my organization that can. The value of link building with this strategy is fairly well-known, and even John Mueller recently endorsed “digital PR” as a winning SEO technique.
If you manage to get featured in an expert roundup using HARO, a great way to expand your link building efforts is to reach out to the other organizations that contributed to the roundup. Those contacts clearly understand the value of digital PR and will likely work with you to share your expertise with their own audience when it adds value.

Michael Schumacher – Owner @ Schumacher Marketing

Our favourite link building strategies would be link roundups, resource page link building, broken link building, and the skyscraper link building strategy. We outsource our link building now, but we used to track the effectiveness of each strategy using formulas with Google Sheets. While we got the most links from the skyscraper strategy, it was the most time consuming and was never well received from people we outreached to. The most effective link building strategy in terms of how many links were built / person we outreached to was link roundups. Resource page link building came in close second in terms of the effectiveness per person outreached.

Bill Ward – CEO @ AdminTome Enterprises LLC

Our link building strategy is separated into two primary efforts that are only performed in-house. The first and most used is guest posting on relevant and related sites. These sites typically have a strict submission policy which assures us that they do not post spam. This is great for us because it means the link will be a quality link. The next effort is using social media. Even though social media does not directly help SEO it can help companies get links back to their site. Contributing to the community and participating in discussions is crucial. Nobody likes social media profiles that only spam their own links. Central to all of this is writing great content that engages readers and provides quality information.

Nate Nead – CEO @ SEO.co

Our link building strategy that has been the most successful recently is using podcasting for syndicated link building. Podcast episodes are typically syndicated to multiple other high-profile and high authority websites. We currently syndicate to about 20. When you include relevant backlinks, including those with the anchor text of your choice, you are able to massively scale your backlink profile. We have found it does take some time to seen an impact, but the quality links we have been able to get on a daily basis from using this strategy have been phenomenal.

Joseph Naccarato – President @ SiteWired Web Solutions

Sitewired Web Solutions, Inc. “outreach” to websites that are within the “niche” of the clients website in which we are trying achieve higher authority. We use “Guest Blogging” on other websites within the niche of the clients market that lead back to the clients website. In some cases we will also use “broken link building” where the opportunities arise, by reaching out to anyone linking to the dead resource, and linking to our resource instead. We also look for “mentions” where there may not be a link back to the clients website, and ask for the link back where possible. We also use tools to find “lost links” from referring domains and try to “reclaim those links where possible.

Brian Free – Senior Director, Digital Marketing @ Eyeful

The best way to build links is through original thought-provoking content coupled with targeted outreach. When effective, we are able to build links to relevant websites that will not only help from an SEO perspective, but also have the ability to increase brand awareness and drive referral traffic. It is a solid investment in time and resources, because it has the ability to drive direct conversions and will also increase organic presence over time.

Devin Schumacher – Founder @ SERP Co

The link building we do depends on the project. Local businesses need different links than ecommerce brands, or content heavy enterprise websites. But the main types of links that all websites can benefit from are brand links from relevant websites.
Recently we’ve been doing a lot of personalized link outreach to get links to content from websites that wouldn’t normally give links out. This helps because if everyone is just buying guest posts from the same brokers, your link profile is diversified and unique. And you pick up more relevance along the way. From the content, you can interlink to your products & service pages to pass some of that power. We also have found success building brand anchors to the homepage. Too many SEOs kind of ignore this because they are too focused on keyword anchors. But Google awards brands.
The last tip I would give is Tier 2 link building. Build links… to your links. I’d rather get 5 links that all have Tier 2 links, than 10 links with no Tier 2 links. Really helps make your links more legit.

Ron Robbins – Founder & CEO @ Clicta Digital Agency

When it comes to Local SEO, it’s important to focus on the quality of your link building, not quantity. This and building backlinks that are local to your market. That’s why it’s important to have clean and accurate directory listings. This is not only “low hanging fruit” and an easy way to attain quality backlinks, but you’ll give prospective customers the opportunity to discover your business. Of course, we never recommend outsourcing this work as it should be handled in-house with your local agency. This is to ensure high-quality, “white hat” practices while optimizing your directory information to squeeze every last drop of SEO value the directory links can give to your business.

Terrance Kern – Director of Search @ The Texas SEO Company

The Texas SEO Company provides high Domain Authority profile, image submission, document sharing, PPT sharing, audio and business links placed on general sites and niche-related posts. All the links we acquire are from genuine and real websites, not PBNs, spam links, networks, or guest posts dressed up as outreach. 

Scott Miscall – SEO Jedi @ Webtek Interactive

Our link-building strategies for 2021 are mainly focused on improving client’s brand awareness and engaging in real conversations on niche forums, social, FAQ and Q&A type websites. We use search query link-building techniques to find opportunities for placements. We focus on natural linking, brand mention, naked urls, reference, and citation type hyperlinks; we avoid exact match anchor text but use keyword proximity to influence relevancy. We focus on niche relevancy over domain authority or other domain metrics. Also, we try to avoid creating footprints; we try and keep our link building as random and natural as possible to avoid penalty risk and our links from being devalued by Google

Tony Ybarra – CEO/ Creative Director @ The Code Nerds LLC

We use link building as part of a much bigger or wider SEO strategy. That been said the main reason why businesses think about building links, in the first place is to improve their SEO performance.
Simple is better: Strategies don’t matter if you don’t take the time to understand and implement them.
So don’t try dozens of strategies at the same time and give up at the first sign of failure
Pick ONE strategy, do your best, be patient, revisit it in a couple of weeks or and see if you’re gaining any traction.
Then, if it’s not, move on to the next. The idea is to try beginner-friendly strategies that are easy to implement, monitor and track if you’re just starting out. For this reason, one of our main strategies to start any campaign is Relationship Link Building. The idea is simply to contribute to the industry and be genuinely helpful without trying to get backlinks in return.
With relationship link building, links are simply a natural result of how helpful and friendly you are.
Instead of just asking for links, you can earn great, high-quality backlinks because people genuinely want to link to you.
How we do this: Be Genuine and helpful. Comment on blogs. Be part of the conversation. Communicate with your audience and try to be helpful in forums and rooms.
It’s important to know your audience so take this time to get to know them and focus on engagement. Over the course of a campaign you’ll find that people that just want to link back to you because you took the time to be genuine and helpful.

Bryan Driscoll – Founder @ Think Big SEO Marketing

Basically, link-building is all about providing real value to a particular website in exchange for a link. So if there’s no value, one shouldn’t expect anything in return. This is why we set out to discover a unique approach, one that attracts numerous high-quality links from popular sites with authority.  Our content-gap link building is pretty straightforward. While it’s kind of similar to guest post link building, there are still a few things we have to figure out first before we make a pitch. We start by targeting a number of high-quality websites on which we can publish our guest posts.  Firing off emails willy-nilly, like others so often do, is something we avoid. We do our homework, and this is what allows us to add value to hosting websites. We do necessary keyword research, and we also consider competitors in a client’s industry so we can show how easily one can rank for a keyword that their competitors are ranking for. Additionally, we provide topics to clients that address their desired keywords naturally. Lastly, we can help with promoting content, and we show clients how many backlinks they need so they can get their content ranked on the first pages of Google. This approach works pretty well, largely because it’s one which provides mutual benefit. In posting, we’re not just thinking about ourselves, but we’re also considering how the hosting platform will benefit from letting us post to their site.