Link Building Strategies for 2023 That Can Increase Site Rankings

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Building strong backlinks pointing to your content is the foundation of an effective SEO campaign. In this post, we will take you through various link building strategies that will trend in 2023. Every tactic that is listed here has been battle tested. We have analysed over 50 successful SEO campaigns, and now we know what works and what doesn’t.

Most people tend to dive head first into link building strategies before building a strong base. You must know that by having a sturdy base, that is a well-optimized website, the task of link building becomes easier.

Listed below is a checklist that you should consider before venturing into link building:

1. Reverse Engineered Competitor Link Profiles:

Find out the websites linking to competing articles and write an updated content centred on the topics covered. Pitch the updated and superior content that you created and request them to consider it for updating their existing article and provide you a courtesy link.

Sites that post niche-relevant content from your competitors are more likely to link to your content as well.

Step 1: Type your primary focus keyword in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and scroll down to the SERP report. (Refer to the image below)

Step 2: Look for a minimum of 20 referring domains (see the image highlighted). Click on the backlinks number; it will redirect to backlinks of that particular website. (Refer to the image highlighted in yellow)

Step 3: Set the following filters highlighted in the image above:

  2. One Link Per Domain
  3. Link Type – Do follow
  4. Language – English

After you set these filters, you will get a solid list of outreach prospects.

Step 5: Make a master sheet with the link outreach prospects.

Repeat the process for all the results with a minimum of 20 referring domains and add all the backlinks to the master sheet.

2. Competitor Link Gaps:

Use the Ahrefs Link intersect tool to find the competitor link gaps. The idea here is to find all the sites linking to one or more of our competitors.

The main focus here is, if a site has linked to multiple competitors, there are more chances of them linking to your site as well.

Here is the step by step process:

Step 1: Make a list of 10 competing domains from the strategy 1 master sheet and paste them into Ahrefs link intersect tool.

Step 2: Add your domain/url under the “But doesn’t link to” section – This is optional, but recommended. (Refer to the image below)

Step 3: Click the button “Show link opportunities” and it will show you the report of all the websites linking to one or more of your competitors but not linking to your domain or URL.

Step 4:  Click the numbers under each URL to view the linking domains and the anchor text.

Pick up any relevant, high-quality link prospects to your master sheet. Use any of your model outreach scripts to reach to them for a link.

3. Create Linkable Assets:

Any effective link building campaign should always begin with the creation of linkable assets. A linkable asset is mostly a blog post or a page that is mainly information driven. These blog posts are designed to educate and also add value to the SEO industry.

Top backlink quality indicators:

All backlinks are not the same, concerning quality, and it is crucial that you know what a good backlink looks like, here are some points you can follow:

(i)    Relevance: This should be your number one priority, and the primary goal should be to get backlinks on websites that are relevant to yours. The links that you acquire should start with appropriate opportunities. However, there is one drawback with this approach, achieving 100% relevancy for every single connection can be unrealistic; but as you broaden your research, you will see many more opportunities that you can go after.

(ii)    Authority: The objective is easy here, the stronger the site, the better the results. Google doesn’t update PageRank anymore so you will have to rely on third-party metrics. Third party tools are not perfect, but they get the job done.

(iii)    Link Quality: Third-party metrics like Domain Rating (Ahrefs), Trust Flow (Majestic), and Domain authority (Moz) can be deployed. So, please do not go by the authoritative appearance of a site because it can be toxic as you dig deeper. Hence, it is best if you examine the link profile concerning your opportunities.

(iv)   Traffic: If you have the intention of driving massive traffic to your website, then you have to change your mindset to approach link acquisition. Your goal should be to achieve backlinks on websites that gain organic traffic. It does not necessarily mean that you will get much referral traffic, but it’s an appropriate standard to go by.

(v)    Editorial Standards: You must approach backlink with the mentality, that if it’s hard to get it’s probably valuable. Moreover, if it’s easy to get a backlink, it probably holds less value. It will help if you focus on achieving backlinks on websites that have editorial standards.

(vi)    Outbound link quality: Websites that have strong editorial rules and guidelines will link out to quality resources. Your end goal should be to go live around other quality outbound links. When examining the potential website, ask yourself relevant questions like: “What are they linking out to?” or “Are the links relevant?”, “Do the links lead to trusted sites?”, “Do they appear organic or do they look like paid links?”

(vii)    Indexation: The target website needs to be indexed on Google, and if it isn’t, then your backlinks are insignificant. Go on Google and search for “site:” If the website does not show up, then avoid it.

How to Build Foundational Backlinks?

Foundational backlinks appear in any standard website. It creates an atmosphere of trust around your site because it’s not linked using keywords but with brand names from authority sites. You can use this approach with the clients that you take on and notice that it works quite well.

Please note that you should use a naked link or branded anchors only, for foundational links.

A.) Social Media:

Firstly, you need to secure all your social media platforms, at the least your business should consist of:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

You do not have to be super active on all the platforms, but it does help to be visible on them. You can choose what platform works best for your business and populate these accounts by sharing content; hence, creating some kind of base.

B.) Business Listings and Citations:

Google values their business listings and has made it a part of the local search algorithm. This should be enough for any SEO campaign. The interesting part about listings is that almost 50% of them will give you a follow, unoptimized link. Creating business citations are a great way of building a layer of trust around your site.

C.) Niche-Targeted Directories:

While many directories prove to be worthless, there are some great ones you can find if you look hard enough. Niche targeted directories tend to offer relevant follow links. Backlinks that have both these characteristics may be hard to find. You can use the search string listed below to find niche directories:

  • NICHE + Directory
  • NICHE directories
  • NICHE + “submit site”

D.) Geo-Targeted Directories:

These directories are the most sought-after for linking local businesses. Here are some search strings that you can utilize to discover geo targeted directories:

  • City + directory
  • Directory + city
  • Submit my site + city
  • Niche + city + directory
  • City + directories

E.) Niche Relevant Blog Comments:

Many SEOs skip niche relevant blog comments. They neglect it as they only get a “NoFollow” mention. It is highly recommended that you don’t overlook them. You can use niche relevant comments for the following reasons:

  • Creating a layer of relevancy surrounding your client’s site.
  • Improving the ratio of Follow and NoFollow backlinks.
  • Diversify your anchors in an eloquent way.
  • Getting minimal amounts of referral traffic.
  • Build a positive relationship with the blogger, so that you can leverage it for backlinks in the future.

From all the points listed above, #4 is the most important, and this is where most SEOs tend to make mistakes. Try not to go to a top blog post and write “me too” or something that is bland and redundant, this won’t build positive relationships; you will have to create connections in a meaningful style.

You have to add Value and focus on points by leaving a concise, well-thought out comment.

F.) Niche Relevant Forum Backlinks:

Participating in an online forum that is related to your niche is a great way to build brand recognition. If you do it right, you will get relevant traffic to your website. Even though most forums don’t allow signature backlinks, many will allow profile backlinks. These backlinks are quality signals and can benefit your site.

Listed below are some of the quick techniques you can follow to get the most from your forum profile backlinks:

>> Prospect for relevant forums:

  • You can use search strings on Google like:
  • Forum + NICHE
  • NICHE + forum

>> Take time to fill out your profile:

Since your link may be a naked link, you will need to increase the co-occurrence. This is when your site’s target keyword phrase is next to your link. You will have to write a legitimate profile description and also make sure that you toss it in your main keyword.

>> Understand the forum’s personality:

You need to understand that every discussion is different and you need to know how each forum operates. Some may tolerate minimal self-promotion while others will shun you for it. You will have to scan through the forum and notice the members who share links in the relevant threads.

>> Increase post count and add more friends:

The more posts and friends you have, the more trust you can build on the forum. More connections send more internal links back to your profile page. This will also lead to a gradual set-up of authority on your profile page.

>> Start a thread:

When you start a thread that has well thought out content, it will be a great way to start building credibility on the forum. The point is to start increasing the number of internal links that hit your profile page. This commands the forums authority; hence it will increase the influence of the page that is hosting your link. Another goal that you need to be a part of the forum community, this way you can build a sense of trust with the other members.

Once you establish a positive reputation on the forum, you can then share your content without the fear of getting ridiculed.

(G.)   Content-Driven Approach:

It can be a challenge to produce excellent and engaging content. However, content is the best way to drive natural high authority backlinks to a website.

There are three things you can do with content:

  • Find the correct keywords that you wish to target.
  • Create a good piece of content around that keyword.
  • Promote that content.
  • Once you begin creating quality content, you will develop ASSETS for your business, no matter how many updates Google has, it can never take away your content. You will have to approach this strategy with a long-term mindset that goes beyond 2019. There is a compound effect that goes into producing and promoting content regularly.

(H.)  Editorial Backlinks:

For a link to be considered editorial, it has to pass an editorial review of a popular blog without your intervention. Google favours editorial backlinks more than any other types of link the downside of this approach is that it can be quite challenging to get these high authority backlinks. You may have to build relationships with bloggers that are within your industry. Secondly, you have to produce great content that is worth being quoted to receive editorial backlinks. You can get high authority editorial backlinks if once you build a relationship with the decision makers.


Getting backlinks is an art, and it is a massive topic that requires a lot of research and experience. Hopefully, the points listed above will help you understand the basic framework of link building strategies that will work in 2023.

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