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20 SEO Link Building Tips for 2016

White hat link building 20 SEO Link Building Tips for 2016techniques

No matter what others say, SEO is not dead and neither is link building. Actually, SEO has been dead for years, for those who failed to adapt to the ever changing rules and increased requirements on skills, tools, details and perseverance.

Five years ago, one could easily buy his ranking position. A little bit of these and a little bit of those links, and you are on the first page. Well, that time is long gone.

Link building is not dead, it just reached a new level of complexity and is now more advanced than ever before.

Read on and learn more about smart link building techniques. You will learn how to build links without hurting your search rankings and see which tools can help you find the best links.

Simple Link Building Tips

Although proper link building is not an easy thing to do, there are still many white hat SEO techniques you can start with even today, without considerable efforts or expenses.

1. Ask for backlinks

This is a good way to start, especially if you are a beginner in this job. Think about your friends, relatives, colleagues, partners, clients that have a blog or a site. All you have to do is ask for a backlink. Ask for in-content links instead of links in the sidebar or footer.

But be careful and make sure that the backlink comes from a website that is relevant to your niche, otherwise it will not have too much of an impact and may even be harmful.

2. Build relationships

For good link building, you need to build good relationships. There are plenty of opportunities to build new contacts. You should start with niche-related communities: forums, blogs or social groups.

Make the first step and start contributing with interesting and relevant comments and posts, providing contextual value to each discussion. By actively participating in these online communities focused on your niche, you will not only gain some good backlinks, but you will always have access to the newest industry news and be able to connect to some interesting people that share your passions.

3. Give a testimonial

Testimonial link building is a win-win scenario. Many businesses offer you the chance to say a few words about your experience using their products. On the one hand, this is a perfect way for them to build customer trust. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for you to get a backlink and potential traffic from that site and it usually has a much higher approval rate than your standard link request e-mails. The contact gets another testimonial to place on their site, while you get a new incoming link.


4. Start a blog

Don’t make a blog with one post and one backlink to your site. If you do, you not only wasted your time, but probably also just created another risky link for yourself. If you want to have your own blog, you need to keep it alive.

Write posts on a regular basis. Focus on your industry and on your client’s needs! In time, it will most likely gain authority. Make sure that your content is relevant, useful and well-structured. This is the only way to ensure that the WORLD will want to link to it again and again. That’s how you get great backlinks, you earn them!

5. List your site in trustworthy directories

There are many directories that provide no real value to the Internet users and Google has excluded them from its search results. You don’t want your website to be on such pages!

But not all online directories are bad. A directory that not only gives you the chance to post a link to your website, but also provides useful information for your potential customers is a directory you would want to be listed on.

The new PageRank is RELEVANCY, therefore niche directories and directories attached to informative websites for a specific industry are a good choice. Having your business listed with such directories makes it easier to get indexed with the major search engines and helps people find you online.

You could start with a listing in the Dmoz – Open Directory Project. This is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.


6. Write a good guest post

There are many sites and blogs that will accept to publish your article. Before you write an article somewhere, make sure that:

  • the website or blog is relevant to your topic
  • the article is NOT about how great you are/ your company is
  • you have a focus on quality (well written, professional, and interesting)
  • you keep in mind that a poor article can bring bad reputation

It’s important that you build links that help your website and not links that can negatively impact your website’s ranking in search results.

Build links for your business, for your customers, make them relevant, and associate them with great content. Your users will be happy, Google will keep you in the search results and your business will grow.

Check out this infographic that reinforces the tips above and gives you a clear picture on how to build high-quality links and how to stay away from building bad links.

It’s all about quality, relevancy and user focus.

Smart Link Building

Advanced Link Building tips

Link building has become a very hard and tricky job, and because of that you need professional tools to help you with that. LinkResearchTools developed 20 different tools that you can and should use for discovering and building new, high-quality links.

7. Discover competitors' common backlinks

If you research your competitors, you will probably notice that they have some backlinks in common which you do not. Well, if they managed to get these backlinks, why shouldn’t you too?

All you have to do is to analyze these backlinks and try to get them as well. The Common Backlinks Tool (CBLT) is a tool especially made for this. Enter up to 10 competitors and start your report.

CBLT Report

This tool will help you not only find common backlinks, but also discover competitor’s sources and techniques.

8. Get an indirect backlink from your competitor

It is quite common that some of your competitors link to the same sites. These sites are usually big authorities in the industry. A link from such a place would be very helpful as to the powerful link juice your website would receive. But there is something else: if you manage to get your backlink here, your competitors will indirectly link to you.

LJT report

9. Recover your dead backlinks

Sometimes you might find broken links to your website. This may be the case if the location of your page changes or if another webmaster misspelled your link. In both cases, these backlinks will return a 404 error.

Such issues may also commonly occur after a site was re-launched or migrated to another domain. You should then redirect these backlinks to some other page.

The Link Juice Recovery (LJR) is a very easy to use tool. First, you will get a list of all your broken backlinks:

Link Juice Recovery

Once you have the list, the LJR tool will generate a .htaccess code which you can easily insert into your .htaccess file.

.htaccess code

10. Turn your mentions into backlinks

This is probably one of the easiest ways to gain some new backlinks. Somebody already wrote something about you. They mentioned your brand or product, but they have not linked to your website. In situations like these, it is usually enough to contact the webmaster and ask him to convert that mention into a backlink.

But, how do you find those mentions? Start a BLP report and filter the results by mention as Link Status.

Competitive analysis

11. Find the strongest competitors healthy backlinks

Since Google launched the Penguin update in 2012, strong links are not the only webmasters concern. If you do not want to be penalized, links must be safe as well. How do you find those strong, and yet not risky links?

Use Link Detox (DTOX) to explore some specific competitors, or Competitive Link Detox (CDTOX) to compare your site against 10 of your competitors. After you get the report results, you can easily sort links by Power*Trust and by very low DTOXRISK.


12. Find the most relevant link building opportunities

There are many opportunities for link building on the Internet. There are many forums, blogs or sites where you could place your backlink, but usually it is not so easy to find them. Whether you want to find a strong relevant site or blog where you can place a guest article or thematic forum with follow links – the SERP Research Tool will help you. SERP is designed to help you find the most relevant and strongest results.

After you get your results, you can sort them by strength, theme or any other metric you want. The best thing about SERP is that you know these links are relevant and high authorities in your industry.


13. Be aware of your competitor's new links

Very often, in everyday life, a quick reaction can mean the difference between success and failure. On the Internet, it is pretty similar. It is extremely important to be aware of your competitor´s activities.

Link Alerts is a tool made to inform you about your new backlinks, but, apart from that, you can also use it to monitor your competitors. Not only will it help you find some new backlink opportunities, but also discover some new sources and techniques you could use in the future.

Link Alerts

The best thing about Link Alerts is an e-mail notification you get twice a week with fresh backlinks. This will allow you to identify negative SEO attacks right away. In case of new, unwanted links, you can react immediately, and thus protect your site from being hit by a Google Penalty. Read all about the risks and techniques of negative SEO attacks here and learn how you can protect your site.

Earn your links!

Let´s start with the basics. Content is king!

This is one of those phrases you can find all over the Internet and something that you have to remember once and forever.

Why is content king?

To understand this, you have to think like a search engine, for example Google. The primary goal of Google is not “good user experience”. The primary goal for Google is, just like for any other company, to earn money. And Google cannot earn anything unless they provide good user experience. And good user experience, in turn, comes with good and relevant search results. If they fail to show relevant results, users might switch to some other search engine.

What is good content for Google?

For content to be considered good, it must have at least the following simple attributes:


How can Google value content?

Google checks technical features of your site like site load speed, navigation, design, keyword density, complexity, etc. Also they will measure user experience through CTR, bounce rate or time spent on site.

But, there is something more; one really simple fact.

Good content will bring you a lot of natural backlinks!

That´s the best user feedback you can actually get.

“How to write a quality article” would be another interesting topic, but for now, let´s focus on how you can earn more backlinks with your content.

14. Social media

So, you created a unique, quality and powerful article, but it stayed unnoticed? Well, sometimes it happens. Great content alone doesn’t get you ranked. In situations like these, you will have to push your content a little bit. The best way to do so is to use social media.

Good content on social networks doesn´t mean just new visitors, but also promotion to people who can build new backlinks for you. Share your content more than once to get more traffic and to reach visitors in different time zones. Make sharing buttons clearly visible around your content.

15. Infographics

Long or complex articles can be hard to digest. On the other hand, a short one might not be very convincible. With infographics you cannot go wrong. It is a compelling way to use visual content to tell a rich story at a glance. Infographics will attract attention and potentially go viral. Depending on their quality, influential people or companies will use them.
Sometimes someone might use your infographic, but without linking to you. In such case, you could start a “Google reverse image search”.

he value of infographics

If you notice that a webmaster “forgot” to link you, you could simply warn him to do so.

16. Lists

You know what?

  1. Lists
  2. Are
  3. Cool

It’s psychological; our brains love lists. If you create some cool list, there is a big chance that people will actually click on it and later share it. Just compare these two headlines:

"Green tea is good for your health"
"7 incredible reasons why you should drink green tea"

Let´s be honest, even if you do not like green tea, you would click on the second headline.

17. Research reports and case studies

Your personal opinion can be interesting and valuable, especially if you have been in a specific field for a long time. But, if you want to become an authority and earn a lot of backlinks, you will have to show facts and stats. That’s the reason why the most sharable contents are:

  • Research papers
  • Case studies
  • Reviews
  • Comparisons

Try to be the first to write about a certain topic. Fresh content is critical in any industry especially if your niche changes quickly. In your research, include all relevant data, test results, charts and always link your sources.

18. Newsletter subscriptions

Usually, companies do not understand the importance of a newsletter. If it is used properly, the benefits can be great. Publishing a newsletter will increase attention and awareness of your readers or clients. With quality and interesting content, you increase the probability of sharing it, thereby increasing traffic and the amount of backlinks.

Try to include some effective call-to action button in your newsletter, for example offer them to register for some webinar, download some whiter paper or eBook.
<h3"> 19. Extra material

No matter how interesting and cool your content is, you can always make it more valuable by adding some extra material like:

  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • Manuals
  • Guides

This way, you will generate more leads and move them further. Also you will show expertise and increase your authority.

 20. Learn from others

There is nothing as sad as people who spend days and weeks writing about something and then… nothing. All that passion and knowledge for nothing. Good, and yet unnoticed articles are something that happens every day and to everybody.

The problems can be various. Usually, people make a mistake with the choice of topic. It doesn´t matter how good your article is if nobody cares for that topic. The opposite can happen too; cool topic, but weak content!

You can read hundreds of articles and watch dozens of videos about good content, but there is always one safe road: learn from others.

For example, you want to write about health, but don´t know which topics are the most popular? Well, let´s start one simple report with SSPT. We tested on thehealthcareblog.com. Here is a list of the blog posts, sorted by Power*Trust.

SSPT Report

If you really want to see, how many backlinks these blog posts received, you only need to analyze these pages in the Juice Tool.

Juice Tool

Now, if you want to understand why these case studies got so many backlinks, open and read them 🙂


Real link building has always been hard. Why wouldn’t it? Creative endeavors require time and effort and this is exactly what link building is – a way to add value to the Web, working all the time alongside great content.

But no matter how hard it is, don’t ever be so desperate to use black hat link building techniques that can cause more harm than good. Do not buy backlinks! The backlinks you buy, can only hurt your site. Instead of that, invest in software that can help you get white hat SEO backlinks and invest in people that are able to produce great content!

Most important of all, focus on the users and give people real value. Build links that are relevant, enriching both the web and its users.

Build links that you will be proud of!

superhero smallWith the Superhero Plan you can perform link audits, link cleanup, link disavow boost, competitive research, professional SEO and backlink analysis for your own or your competitor's sites.

You can avoid a Google Penguin Penalty! Learn all about the Real-Time Google Penguin Update in this free webinar.

Join our free 21 Day Link Strategy Training below

Signup to receive snack sized bits of knowledge about Link Research Strategies, SEO Tactics & features of LinkResearchTools platform and technologies.

Bonus: signup you will also receive a free copy of the eBook "7 Golden Rules of Link Building" for immediate download.

Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper is the CEO and Founder of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox. A well-known and distinguished expert in SEO who started link building for clients in 2003, building the Link Research Tools since 2006 and marketing it as SaaS product since 2009. When the famous Google Penguin update changed the rules of SEO in 2012, Christoph started Link Detox, software for finding links that pose a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He introduced ongoing link audits and risk management to the market in early 2011. In 2015, Christoph introduced Impactana, a new technology platform and SaaS product to measure the success of content beyond "social buzz", to find content, videos and people that make an impact.
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper

Latest posts by Christoph C. Cemper (see all)


  1. @MacartneyRay on February 4, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    RT @cemper: You know what?

    1. Lists
    2. Are
    3. Cool

    http://t.co/FHJbW59bW3 http://t.co/UT4K2FsyEw

  2. @bcomvisible on February 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    20 SEO Link Building Tips: White hat link building techniques http://t.co/ktghunJ2hI via @LnkResearchTool #how #to #get #great #baclinks

  3. Seoencuba.com on February 6, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Excellent article. I learned a lot …

  4. Doroteya on February 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Fantastic and full of fresh ideas link building article. Thanks for sharing such useful information.

  5. @cemper on February 10, 2015 at 4:23 am

    20 White Hat Link Building Tips for 2015 http://t.co/k2Ke6HtTlP

  6. Lovely Sharma on April 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    All information shared by you are great! If we do all these off page activities, definitely we can achieve good rank in Google and other major search engines. Thanks for sharing this post.

  7. Service Laptop Bucuresti on November 16, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Great article. I love The Common Backlinks Tool, such a powerfull resource.

  8. Cris on January 5, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I knew it! Guest posting will always be in the game of SEO for link building techniques. 🙂

  9. Mohaimen Kazi on February 17, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Thank you for this info! I’ve been working on my website and trying my best to get a higher ranking. Much appreciated!!

  10. SixtyMarketing on February 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Christoph, link building is near enough impossible in 2016 and Matt Cutts has mentioned a few times now that it may not even be a ranking factor in the future? Hope you dont mind but i have wrote an article about link building factors for 2016, which i think will be a great extension of your post for your readers – http://www.sixtymarketing.com/focus-backlinks-2016/ – Hope you enjoy and thanks for the good read!

    • Christoph C. Cemper on February 23, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Hey Kev

      Thanks for your feedback. Matt Cutts is on vacation for over 2 years now.

      John Müller on the other hand just confirmed end of November 2015 that links are very important and continue so.
      See also my (german) recap of that conference.


      The over-simplified view you took in your post linked is of course the wrong way to address it.
      It’s not either or.
      And certainly it’s not only about money keyword links.

      Best regards from Vienna,

  11. Arti Tripathi on February 28, 2016 at 3:48 am

    Nice tips to try. There are few more link building techniques which you can try in 2016.

  12. Hammad Rafique on March 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Woah, I didn’t check that my 2 years old site has lots of mentions because of images it has. Bloggers were giving credit mentions and I contacted them I asked that it is illegal to use my content without backlinks to my site and got 5 links in just one week. Awesome tip man, keep sharing.

  13. Catana alexandru on March 24, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    nice article , i will follow some of your tips !

  14. SEOFactor on March 28, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Great article – a lot of information, very interesting point of view. Bookmarked!

  15. Abhinav Adithya on April 11, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Great job Christoph, you have suggested a best way to build high quality link building for websites.

  16. ITUpdate on April 11, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I find those strategy very helpful and something new to the SEO world. Currently been doing some of those tactics and hopefully get some good results on the coming days. Link building now-a-days is not easy.

  17. Michael B. on April 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Great and instructive post, thank you.

  18. تلگرام on April 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I knew it! Guest posting will always be in the game of SEO for link building techniques. 🙂

  19. medico mart on May 2, 2016 at 5:43 am

    great post that help me to link building to my website. any other way to get back links to my website.

  20. Anurag Kumar on May 7, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Impressive tips, backlink plays a major role in ranking website. But after so many years of knowing google all I can say that google studies your links, from where you are linking and how important that link is. Google algorithms studies each and every backlinks to give you trust and ranking. If your webiste is linked to some low quality sites. It will not play any major. However, backlinks are not the sole ranking factor, your website structure is also important in ranking. Thanks for your tips.

  21. Angelo A. on May 24, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Are all of these link building methods acceptable for a brand new website? If not, which should be done down the road?

    Great read, thanks.

    – Angelo

  22. Brian on June 3, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Very good techniques for link building. These methods can be very useful if we do it on the right way.

  23. Gloria John on June 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Hi, Christoph!
    It is a great list of link building techniques. It is a very impressive article with in-depth knowledge. Recovering dead backlinks is an important point hat you mentioned. We should always check for broken links and if found any of such links we need to redirect it to some other pages. Using social media is also an effective alternate for link building. There are numbers of social media networks that help us to build high-quality links.
    Great job ?.

  24. 5ines on June 13, 2016 at 5:30 am

    Nice Article….I Love Competitor’s Common Backlinks Technique…this Article helps us a lot.
    thank you, Christoph C. Cemper
    why don’t you Read My Article, 50 Elements to Consider While Optimizing Your Website —-http://goo.gl/3yulzi—–

  25. Marek Murín on June 20, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Big thanks, Christoph. I found a couple of valuable advice. 🙂

  26. Ruth Belmont on June 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Very nice article. Thanks for sharing. All the strategies are awesome. I will definitely use it from now onwards . I generally face problems in link building & finding broken links. Also it is difficult to find good quality links. But all the suggestions stated by you will help me a lot. Thank you once again.

  27. Superfreelancers on June 27, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Great article,can you tell how much time demoz take to index url

  28. Abhinav Aditya on June 28, 2016 at 4:35 am

    Awesome post!!! In SEO it is must to pay attention towards link building and it should be a quality one to get high rank in SERP. It seems that you have suggested some class techniques to build quality backlinks. Keep posting…

  29. Fabric Structures on July 1, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Impressive post, back-link still plays a vital role in ranking website in major search engines like Yahoo, Google, Bing. A link from high authorities sites gives an boost.

  30. Priyanka on July 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    It’s a best link building strategy, no doubt about that. As I think every point is useful and effective in this article. I know you done this after long hard work. I really appreciate this.

  31. Visible One on July 27, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Indeed, a great article! No doubt these back link tips are useful in ranking website in major search engines. These techniques can be very helpful if we utilize them on the right way.

  32. sarath on July 29, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Great list Christoph! I feel like link building is more than relationship building now. For that, social media and Guest posting is my favorite choice. I can also find some other best ways for link building in this article. Hope this help every readers to find more easiest ways for link building for coming years.


  33. Jonathan Berthold on August 2, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Excellent summary! Full of the basics & some salient tactics for advanced link building. It’s interesting to see how the world of link building has evolved over the past couple of years due to some of the major updates rolled out by Google. This, in addition to the 7 Golden Rules, are excellent guides on the new age of link building.


  34. Android Lovers on August 30, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Awesome trick to build high quality backlinks, I’ll try it now


  35. Elly baju couple on September 26, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Link building is tiring activities especially for white hat seo. We must be consistent to do that.

  36. Airport Cabs Hyderabad on October 3, 2016 at 9:39 am

    What changes i have to do to rank on first page in google and bing any ideas guys please suggest me?

  37. Abel Pardo Fernández on October 3, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    Very good article, Christoph.

    I think that good contacts is a keypoint for getting good links, for having good jobs and for everything in life.

    Best regards!

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