Neil Patel

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How to Get Backlinks: 12 Strategies You Don’t Want to Miss

A graphic that says "How To Get Backlinks: 12 Strategies You Don't Want To Miss."

“How do I get backlinks?” is a question I get asked all the time. 

Every digital marketer wants more backlinks. After all, the quantity and quality of backlinks is a key Google ranking factor — something Google Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev admitted during a Q&A in 2016. 

But getting them isn’t easy. No one is giving them away for free, especially if you’re spamming site owners with impersonal emails.

You’ve got to earn them — something I’m going to show you how to do in this post. 

This won’t be another list of “effective” link building strategies, mind you. I’ll show you the tried-and-tested methods my digital marketing agency uses to get thousands of backlinks for all kinds of clients. 

Ready to learn how to create backlinks? Then, let’s get started. 

Key Takeaways

  • More backlinks correlate with higher rankings. Research shows pages ranking number one in Google have 3.8x as many backlinks. 
  • Site owners won’t link to you unless you give them a reason. So sell the value you offer, whether that’s a guest post, original research, expert insights, or a shareable asset like an infographic.
  • Increase your site’s chances of acquiring links by increasing its trustworthiness and legitimacy. Use a branded domain, get an HTTPS certificate, and showcase your E-E-A-T signals. 
  • Keep backlink pitches short and concise. Don’t use more than five sentences and make sure your email is scannable. The easier it is to read, the more likely you are to get a reply.
  • Being generous with your own linking can result in more links in return. Create roundup posts and other pieces of content where you link to other sites in your industry and then email each site owner to notify them. 
  • Newsworthy content is link-worthy content. So, write about trending topics and email journalists with your unique take or research. 

Why Building Backlinks is Important?

Do you want to rank at the top of Google? Then, you need backlinks. And lots of them. 

A survey by performance marketing agency Aira finds that only 1% of SEOs believe links have no correlation with ranking, and 48% believe link building positively influences rankings, even if a page has major technical SEO issues. 

A bar graph showcasing opinions from SEOs whether or not links have correlation with ranking.

(Image Source)


Search engines like Google consider backlinks a sign of your site’s authority and trustworthiness. The more high-authority and relevant publications link to your site, the more trustworthy it is in the eyes of Google. 

Backlinks also make it easier for search engine bots to crawl your website. More links mean more chances of Googlebot finding your content. The more humans will find your site, too, of course. As a side note, this is the same reason internal links can be so powerful.

In other words, quality backlinks are crucial if you want to rank. 

Getting these endorsements from other high-authority websites isn’t easy, though. So don’t waste any time reading and implementing my top backlinking strategies below. 

12 Tips to Get Backlinks

The quicker you learn how to get backlinks, the better. Below, I cover 12 proven tips to get more backlinks for your website:

1. Emphasize What Benefits the Site Gets

An email request is one of the most common link building strategies. But guess how many of those emails get a positive response? Almost none of them. 

That’s because they fail to give the recipient a compelling reason to add a backlink. 

It doesn’t matter how amazing your content is if you can’t craft a good pitch. You’ll never get links if you can’t explain the value websites get from linking to you. 

Like every part of marketing, it’s about knowing what your audience is looking for and speaking to that in your request. If you only talk about how amazing you are and miss the key points of what they are looking for, you’re likely to be overlooked.

So sell your value! 

The more value you can offer, the better. I recommend including at least one of the benefits in your pitch:

  • A high-quality guest blog article — that means no AI-generated content. 
  • Expert advice or unique commentary for an article they’ve written
  • A testimonial
  • A better experience for their users. (Your link should make their content or website measurably better)

Here’s a great example I’ve received:

An example of an email comminicating thanks for participation in a guest post.

2. Write Relevant and Competitive Content

If you want to learn how to get quality backlinks, you need to learn how to create quality content. 

That’s right, you need to make sure it’s outstanding content. Why would they bother sharing it with their audience otherwise?

I don’t mean write the longest article you can—length does not equal quality. In general, the ideal content length is around the 1500- to 2000-word mark. That gives you enough word count to cover a topic in detail without losing your reader’s attention. 

It has to be well-written, too, and be worth your reader’s time. So, don’t ignore grammar, but don’t let it get in the way of telling a compelling story. 

The best way to start is by seeing what the existing content in your industry looks like. Type your keyword into Ubersuggest and then ask yourself the following questions about the content that ranks:

  • What’s the angle they take?
  • Do they include first-party research or expert opinions?
  • How many images does the blog post have and how good are they?
  • How long are the posts?

You should be able to find several ways to make your content stand apart from the existing results, whether that’s creating a more in-depth and actionable article or citing research no one else has.  

That’s the exact approach my digital marketing agency used to get 20 top-tier media links like CNBC and Retail Wire for one of our clients in the personal finance industry. 

We created a data-driven asset that resonated with a large audience and was different from anything else out there. This allowed us to pitch to dozens of relevant media outlets that were more than happy to give us a link in return for a good story.

An example of how NP Digital helped a financial client with backlinks.

3. Prove Your Site Is Legitimate

Getting links is a lot easier if your website positions you as a professional, trustworthy, and legitimate organization.

There are several elements that signify trust and I recommend including as many of them as possible:

  • HTTPS certification (as well as other certificates)
  • A branded domain
  • High-quality web design
  • Links to your social profiles
  • Contact information, including the address of your company 
  • E-E-A-T signals like an about page, editorial standards, and author bios.

You can see I’ve got almost all of these elements in place in my website’s footer:

Neil Patel's website footer.

It can be hard for brand-new websites to tick off all these trust signals, but it’s more important for you to do so than established sites. These elements can build trust even if your website is brand new and nobody’s heard of you.

4. Make Your Pitches Short

Want to increase the response rate of your pitches? Then make it easy for recipients to understand your pitch by practicing brevity. 

Take a look at an example of a pitch:

An example of a email pitch.

There are lots of single lines, and it’s easy to find and click on the links. It’s to the point, and there’s no question what the email is about.

Here’s my advice for making your pitches concise and clear:

  • Keep paragraphs to two sentences or fewer
  • Write no more than five sentences
  • Use bullet points and bold font to make it easy for readers to spot the key points
  • State what you are asking for clearly 

5. Leverage Public Relations

Building relationships is one of the best ways to acquire backlinks. Because when people know who you are, they are much more likely to link to your website.

Being active on social media is a great way to build relationships and establish yourself as an industry expert.

Here’s a post from Michaela Alexis, for instance.

A Linkedin post from Michaela Alexis.

What does she do well here? She keeps her personality intact.

Avoid sounding boring and bland. Rather, insert a bit of yourself into each statement.

As you stay active on social media, you’ll start interacting with a variety of people. You’ll have the opportunity to meet others in your industry and maybe even guest blog for them or hop on a video call. When the opportunity comes, don’t pass it up.

Guest blogging can quickly turn into a backlink, and establishing yourself as an expert can do the same when people ask you for a quote on a particular topic.

This is a tactic we use religiously at NP Digital. For example, we used various digital PR tactics to position our client in the legal industry as a leading online resource in the field. These backlinks helped us earn number-one rankings for key terms like ‘online real estate attorney’ and ‘real estate lawyer online’.

6. Do an Original Study

Original data and research can be incredibly news- and link-worthy. After all, no one else has that information, so websites have to link to your brand. 

Creating an original study isn’t easy, though. First, you have to collect a lot of data. You can do this by running an industry survey using a tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Alternatively, you can mine private and public data sets. 

The latter is the route my agency took when building links for a logistics client. We used multiple, varying datasets to see how different roadside restaurants in America stacked up against one another for truck drivers and road-trippers alike.

The trick is to tell a compelling story with your data — the kind journalists will want to write about. In our case, every driver wants to know the best place to stop and the geo-specific nature of the report meant local news outlets could report on truck stops in their state. 

As a result, we garnered over 1,400 shares like and comments across social media — a massive amount for such a niche industry — and won a host of new rankings like “best truck stop food”.

An example of how NP Digital helped a logistics client with backlinks.

7. Create an Infographic or Original Image

Creating infographics is one of the most popular methods of gaining backlinks. But you know what? It still works!

In fact, my agency used infographics to boost the visibility and rankings of a generative AI tool. Our shareable asset was covered by major websites like Yahoo Entertainment! and AOL, generating 4.1K impressions, 119+ engagements, and 34 clicks within a two-week promotional span.

A graphic showing how NP Digital helped a creative software client with backlinks.

Why are infographics still so popular? Because they are easy to understand and share. Everyone from journalists to readers to marketers love them.

You still need to invest time and money to create an infographic people want to link to, though. That means:

  • Using interesting and accurate information
  • Telling a great story
  • Having awesome visuals
  • Using an easy-to-follow layout

Here’s a great example of an infographic by Kissmetrics:

An infographic about colors from Kissmetrics.

You don’t even need to be a designer to create an infographic. There are plenty of free tools like Canva that can help you design stunning images in minutes. 

8. Write Testimonials for Other Websites

I said one of the best ways to win a backlink is to offer value to website owners, right? Well, what better way to help them out than by writing a positive review or testimonial?

Thousands of sites link back to customers that leave reviews or contribute to case studies. So not only are you helping another business generate leads, you’re also helping your own website’s rankings. 

Here’s an example of a testimonial by CloudApp on the Ahrefs homepage:

A testimonial example on the Ahrefs website.

Get started by making a list of all the products and services you use. Then, find the contact information of the relevant person at each company and pitch your testimonial. 

If you’ve got the green light, write an authentic testimonial that showcases the value you get from the product or service. Try to mention a particular feature and show how you’ve solved a common pain point using it. Bonus marks if you create a video, too. 

It’s not just testimonials that get backlinks, though. Contributing to a partner’s case study or customer success story can win you a link, too, just like it did for Flatiron Health from Slack

A Flatiron/Slack case study.

9. Link Externally and Then Reach Out

Want other people to link to your website? Then why not start by linking to them? 

This is a great tactic for proving value when reaching out to site owners. Since you gave them a backlink, it’s not implausible that they’ll give you a backlink in the future.

There are plenty of tactics you can use to externally link to other websites. Here are some of my favorites:

  • A weekly or monthly roundup post of the best content in your industry
  • A link in your weekly newsletter
  • Including an expert comment in your latest blog post
  • Gathering feedback for an industry survey
  • “Best of” posts that list the leading tools in your industry
  • “Best people to follow” posts that roundup your industry’s top thought leaders

Once you’ve added backlinks and published your content, make sure you send a quick email to everyone to let them know they were mentioned. 

Don’t ask for anything here. Just give them the heads up and let them know you appreciate their work. Even if they don’t link to you immediately, you may strike up a relationship that can lead to a backlink in the future. 

10. Comment on Other Relevant Blog and Social Posts

Comments on blogs and social media posts are a great way to build relationships with people in your industry—and occasionally snag yourself a backlink.

But before you go off and start passionately commenting on posts and throwing out backlinks every which way, let me explain something.

While you might occasionally have an opportunity to tactfully include a backlink in your comment, more often than not, the comment needs to be for the primary purpose of building a mutual relationship with the author:

  • If you don’t know what to say, make the author’s day.
  • If you want to share a bit more, you can add some meaningful insight into the topic at hand.
  • If you want to craft a comment that merits a response from the author and helps build the relationship, add your own commentary to the discussion.

Whatever you do, add value with your comment. The more value you can add, the stronger your relationship will become— and that’s a recipe for a future backlink if ever I saw one.

11. Align Social Signals

If you’re serious about building out your link building strategy and rising through the ranks, then aligning social signals is a must.

Social signals communicate to search engines how active and updated your website is. The more active your website, the better your rankings. You’ll notice I link to all of my social profiles in the footer of this website and keep them all updated:

Social media logos in the footer of the NP Digital website.

You may not have the time to leverage every single social platform. In that case, choose one or two that you can keep up with, and post at least once a day on the platforms you’ve chosen.

The Neil Patel Instagram.

Check that all of the information on your social profiles matches your website’s information. Things such as company name, address, and phone number need to be aligned to communicate to search engines that your website is up to date.

This is a simple but effective way to build your rankings with very little extra work.

12. Find What’s Newsworthy

If you want to increase the success rate of your link requests, then start taking advantage of trending topics. These include pop culture or current affairs trends happening right now in the world. Because journalists are actively writing about them, it’s much more likely they’ll link to your site. 

My agency used this tactic to get backlinks from sites like The New York Times and The Atlantic for our client in the entertainment industry. Competitor research told us that a rival website had a lot of high authority backlinks to a page where fans could watch a trending television show from our client. But the link sent users to a broken page. 

A graphic showing how NP Digital supported a client in the entertaining industry with backlinks.

Our strategy was simple. We just got in contact with every linking publisher and asked them to swap the broken link for our client’s so fans could actually watch the show. 

Writing the Pitch to Get Your Backlink

Most backlink pitches get ignored because they are awful. Common pitfalls include a total lack of personalization, no offer of value, unclear requests, and a domain that lacks any kind of legitimacy. 

Let me fix this for you by showing you how to write a killer pitch:

Your subject line is one of the most important parts of your pitch since it determines whether recipients read your email. Pique their interest using one of the following suggestions:

  • [Name], are you interested in partnering up?
  • I’d like to give you something for free.
  • It’s time to take your content to the next level.
  • Your article is missing something!

You want the body of your email to be short, simple, and compelling. Don’t waste the reader’s time, but make sure you show how you can offer value. That can include:

  • Free content
  • A testimonial
  • A link from your website
  • Expert commentary

Finally, make sure your pitch is at least somewhat personalized to the recipient. Use their name, reference their company, and mention something you love about their work. A little flattery doesn’t take much effort but it can go a long way. 

FAQs about How to Get Backlinks

How can I identify websites that are relevant and authoritative for link building?

A tool like Ubersuggest is a great way to find relevant and authoritative websites. Use the Keyword Research section of my tool to find websites writing about your niche or use the Backlink Discovery Tool to mine your competitors’ backlinks for high authority domains.

How do I approach website owners to request backlinks ethically?

The best way to approach website owners for backlinks is to be upfront, honest, and offer something of genuine value in return. Don’t waste their time, either. So state clearly what you are hoping to achieve up front, show them how you plan to add value and end with a succinct call to action.

By all means follow-up your initial email, but don’t spam them dozens of times in the following weeks. Two follow-ups is enough.

What are some black-hat SEO practices to avoid when building backlinks?

The biggest black hat SEO technique when it comes to link building is paying for the kinds of links Google considers spam. These include private blog networks (PBNs), excessive link exchanges, and automated link building programs. 

Over-optimizing your anchor text is another black-hat SEO technique I recommend you avoid. This is where a majority of your backlink’s anchor text is an exact or partial match of your target keywords. The vast majority of your links’ anchor text should be generic (phrases like click here) or your brand name.

How can I leverage social media to build backlinks?

Social media is an epic method to promote your backlink-worthy content. Depending on the size of your following, you can get it in front of thousands of eyeballs without having to send a single cold email. Your followers can also help you promote it across your industry. 

You can also use social media to build relationships with influential industry figures that you may be able to convince to link to your content in the future.

Is it okay to pay for backlinks?

We can’t recommend you pay site owners to link to your site. Doing so is explicitly against Google’s guidelines and can result in a manual penalty. 

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with paying a link building agency to do all of the hard work. An agency should have several proven tactics up its sleeve to get high-quality links, as well as relationships with relevant journalists. So, it’s often better paying for expert advice than wasting hours trying to figure it out yourself.

Conclusion on How to Get Backlinks

Backlinks are an important ingredient in your SEO strategy, but they don’t happen by accident. Rather than sitting around and waiting for them to happen, be proactive and use my strategies to go get them. Creating content that others want to link to and developing relationships with the right people can help you bump up your backlink game and start seeing real improvements in your SEO rankings.

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