80% of SEO professionals agree that link-building is a highly effective tactic to include in your marketing strategy.

That said, if you’re unsure which backlinking strategies work, you’ll find it challenging to accrue high-quality backlinks.

Luckily, you can use several different strategies in tandem, which will net backlinks and boost brand awareness.

Read on to learn the most effective backlinking strategies and how to use them in 2021.

Why is a Backlink Strategy Crucial in 2021?

Backlinks are created when a third party links back to your website. 

Most often, websites link to outside sources to further explain something or to endorse the site they are linking to.

This demonstrates to Google that your site is an authority, which will push you up the ranks.

Due to this, the quantity and quality of backlinks you have will affect your domain authority, which affects your Google ranking — a higher link authority leads to a higher Google ranking.

Since 50% of all traffic goes to the top spot on Google, you want to be as near as possible to the number one search result to drive as much organic traffic as you can to your website.

A high quantity of backlinks shows Google that you’re an authority to a wide audience. The top result on Google has 380% more backlinks on average than results in positions two to 10.

High-quality backlinks ( i.e., backlinks from other websites with high domain authority scores) enable you to piggyback off the trust that comes with these high-authority sites. This also pushes you up the ranks.

Bear this in mind when building a linking strategy. 

Research the quality of your link first with a domain authority tool. While there are plenty of SEMrush/Moz alternatives, 65% of marketers use Moz’s domain authority to measure a link’s quality. 

In short, sites that rank at the top of Google see more organic traffic. If you want to get to the top spot and drive more traffic, you need a robust backlinking strategy as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) plan.

6 Backlinking Strategies to Drive Traffic and Domain Authority

Not sure how to build backlinks to boost SEO and fuel a higher domain authority? 

Try these six proven tactics that marketers are using in their 2021 backlinking strategies.

1. Write shareable content

Content creation is the number one strategy for generating backlinks. The problem is that 90% of web pages get absolutely no traffic. If your content gets no traffic, nobody is backlinking to it.

That’s why 75% of marketers say they generate content that’s specifically designed to net backlinks.

According to Irina Nica, HubSpot’s Senior Marketing Manager of Product Awareness and resident backlink expert, the three best types of content to attract backlinks are:

  1. Stories backed by original data
  2. Expert interviews and thought-leadership pieces
  3. Ultimate guides to niche topics

Take route optimization software Track-POD, for example.

Offering a very niche software, Track-POD makes itself the subject authority by creating ultimate guides that explain various aspects of the industry.

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Their guides help to explain everything you need to know about topics like last-mile delivery, proof of delivery, and route planning. This makes them great backlink resources for other articles who need help defining these topics without cluttering their own articles with details.

By using this tactic, Track-POD has 17,346 backlinks across 1,076 referring domains.

Alternatively, check out this article of original podcast stats by Buzzsprout.

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By offering up-to-date, original data, Buzzsprout positions itself as an expert resource for other websites.

That’s why this article alone has 178 backlinks from 79 different referral domains.

2. Build broken links

A slightly sneaky strategy, this backlink tactic undercuts your competition, filling their outdated shoes.

While it’s a relatively old-fashioned backlink tactic, it’s still used by 53% of marketers.

The idea is that you find links within your sector that no longer work and create replacement content to fill these broken resources. 

Ideally, you’d target competitor sites to find broken content links on their websites. To do this, you can use a broken link checker tool like the one offered by Ahrefs.

Once you find a broken link, you run this URL through a backlink checking tool. Ahrefs also has a backlink checker tool.

The backlink checker will show you all the websites that backlink to the broken resource. You’d then write an article that replaces the original link’s content and contact all those backlinking sites to offer your replacement.

For example, imagine that Preply’s blog on how to address professional letters was a dead link and you wanted to replace it with your own link.

You’d run the URL through Ahrefs Backlink Checker to get a list of backlinks.

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Then you’d write an email to each of these websites to warn them about the broken link and suggest they replace it with a link to your article about how to write professional letters.

3. Write guest posts

Guest posting is a very popular backlink strategy. In fact, 75% of SEO professionals build backlinks with guest posts.

The thing about guest posts is that they not only help create backlinks, they also build your persona as a trusted authority on a niche subject.

Plus, you get the chance to infiltrate a new audience and show them the value of your brand. 

Not only that, but since content creation can be very time-consuming, it’s often far easier to convince a website to include your backlink if you’re offering content for free.

This is how Simple Money Lyfe founder Drew Cheneler gets so many backlinks to his personal finance blog.

Cheneler finds blogs with similar target markets within a slightly different niche, such as entrepreneurial magazines.

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Cheneler tailors his content to merge his own niche — personal finance — and the niche he’s writing for (in this case, small businesses). 

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Notice how he integrates his own backlinks naturally into the text to show readers where they can find more information on the topic.

4. Listen for brand mentions

If you listen across the internet for mentions of your brand or products, you can find any unlinked brand mentions and chase them to gain a backlink.

It’s a common strategy — nearly half of all marketers chase brand mentions for backlinks.

It’s pretty simple to do if you use the right tools. 

With something like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs Content Explorer, you can search for your brand name and find mentions that come from third-party sources. 

If you’re looking for a free tool to do this, try Google Alerts. This will track content that’s published each day and alert you of any content that mentions particular key phrases, such as your brand name or products.

Contact these websites directly to ask if they’ll link back to your site. 

5. Influencer outreach

By leveraging influencers, you can build backlinks and market to a new audience. Not only that, but influencers also serve as social proof by endorsing your products to followers.

That’s why 40% of marketers are using influencer outreach as a strategy.

Don’t feel like you need celebrity-level influencers to help boost your backlinking strategy. In fact, influencers with smaller followings tend to get the highest engagement rates.

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Simply reach out to relevant influencers in your niche and offer them free products or a commission in return for a backlink on their website or social media pages. 

Look at how Herbal Dynamics Beauty leverages influencers.

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Herbal Dynamic Beauty gives each influencer a personalized discount code for their followers. They receive a commission for every sale made using this code.

In return, influencers include a link to the website on their Instagram bio. 

By doing this, Herbal Dynamic Beauty gets more sales through affiliate marketing and a backlink to its website.

6. Link exchanges

28% of SEO professionals exchange links to bolster their backlinking strategy. It’s a great tit-for-tat tactic. You offer to scratch someone’s back and they’ll scratch yours in return.

This tactic is relatively straightforward.

Find a list of complementary websites that have a similar target audience to you but aren’t in direct competition.

For example, say you’re a software company that offers maturity assessments to consultants. You may find websites that cater to your niche of consultants that don’t directly compete with you by offering complimentary services. Alternatively, you could exchange links with other software or SaaS companies different from yours. 

Write to them directly and offer to backlink to their content in your blogs in return for backlinks to your website in theirs.


Have a better idea of where to start with your backlinking strategy? 

If you’ve tried writing content but it’s not hitting the mark, link exchanges and influencer outreach may give you the boost that you’ve been looking for.

Remember, if you’re really struggling, you can always pay for links. 40% of SEO professionals admit they use this strategy from time to time.

Hopefully by now, you are equipped with six new strategies to skyrocket your backlinking efforts. Are there any others you would add to this list? If so, let us know below!