Thinking and Acting Like Link Building Specialists: Strategies and Tips That Work in 2024

Staying up to date on effective link building strategies and tips, I scoured the web for what works for link building specialists in 2023.

I compiled my findings in this article. Check it out!

Heads up: I’ll drop my thoughts on each of the strategies. Think of it as a quick evaluation of what might work or not.

Also, I’ll add a link to extra resources to master the strategies.

Strategy 1: Personalized Outreach

In Shaurya Jain‘s (link building consultant, Attention Always) words: “complacency will affect the result of your outreach.”

And I agree. Random, generic outreach emails don’t get consistent results.

As simple as adding the receiver’s first name might seem, it can increase response rates by up to 43%.

After analyzing over 100,000 emails, Klenty found that personalized subject lines (with first names) have a 43.41% open rate.


Examples of personalized subject lines:

  • [First name], is a 50% increase in organic traffic not too small?
  • Unlock Amazon link building secrets, [first name]

Backlinko also supports the use of personalized outreach. After studying 12 million outreach emails, Brian Dean (founder, Backlinko) discovered that a personalized email body copy is 32.7% more likely to get a response.


Beyond increasing open & response rates, personalization makes you different from other link builders. You won’t be predictable. That gets results.

In Bibi‘s (founder, Bibibuzz) words: “link builders get stuck focusing too much on what to write and who to reach out to.”

Be unstuck. Follow the personalization route.

Lastly, don’t limit your personalized outreach to a few emails. Send as much as possible.

Take a leaf from Samy Thuillier‘s (best-selling SEO instructor) page: send 50 personalized outreach emails monthly.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

The resource to master outreach: tools and templates to use for outreach link building

Strategy 2: Strategic Content Marketing

Content marketing is undoubtedly the king of link building. IMO, it grandfathered all other tactics. So, it’s no surprise that several link builders use it.

Shelly Fagin (director of SEO, Credit Karma) echoed my views. She says:

“When done correctly, no other link building technique can compare to content marketing.”

Shelly continued that content marketing done right is developing content strategies that meet searchers’ intents while attracting brand citations from reputable sources.

You might wonder: what part of content marketing is strategic?

The basics are pretty much the same. SEOs are only just now creative with it.

Take Benjamin Houy (outreach team lead, Digital Third Coast) as an example. He does content marketing by creating proprietary data using surveys, long-form pieces, and graphics.

He then seeks publishers and pitches his data-rich content.

Another SEO, Levi Olmstead (associate director, content marketing, Whatfix) uses a variant of Ben’s content marketing strategy. Instead of creating data-rich content from scratch, he compiles a roundup of statistics.

In Levi’s words: “I noticed an ecommerce company earned 300+ backlinks using statistics roundup.”

My take:

Like what I’m doing in this piece, don’t just compile stats and options. Add your stamp and say to it.

While creating data-rich content is good, you can achieve better results by focusing on less competitive areas.

Another strategic content marketing strategy making waves in 2023 is collaborations. You’ll find that often on podcasts and webinars. Jimmy Daly (founder, Superpath) uses this tactic with his “Content, Briefly.”

Overall, the podcast or article will get x2 backlink efforts from the interviewee and interviewer.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

The resource to master content marketing: how to qualify link prospects

Strategy 3: Systematic & Creative Guest Posting

Guest posting is an evergreen link building strategy. And its use is constantly on the rise — evident in the 5% increase in usage from 42% to 47% in State of Link Building, 2022.

However, there are concerns about guest posting resulting in unnatural links. Chloe Hutchinson (digital PR and creative team lead, Aira) echoed this concern.

In her words: “brands could be wasting money doing guest posting because Google algorithms understand they might be unnatural.”

So, should you do guest posting?

Yes, but only when done systematically and creatively.

Laura Slingo (digital campaign manager, Seeker Digital) advises link building specialists to ask a few questions to do guest posting systematically.

  • Will your piece be good for the web?
  • Will it be genuinely useful and relevant to the audience?

Oli Baise (owner, Massive Kontent)  added that link builders should think outside the box. Be creative with your blogger outreach.

Additionally, step away from the operators like “write for us.” Move towards topic-based prospecting.

Using keyword research tools, Tom English (senior outreach strategist, From the Future Agency) finds what users want and sites creating content around the topics. He then pitched similar content to the said sites.

My take:

Mix up your guest post campaigns to stand out from other link builders. Diversify your content types:

  • Write in-depth guides
  • Create infographics
  • Record user-focused videos

FYI: you can get results from guest posts using niche edits. There’s a higher chance of getting a link.

Also, you don’t need to write articles. Plus, you can handpick high-traffic, ranking pages.

But you might need to pay.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

The resource to do guest posting right: search and confirm niche-relevant sites for blogger outreach 

Strategy 4: Press Release (PR) With HARO & X

In Mark Aseltine‘s (founder, Uncorked Ventures) words: “HARO offers small businesses link building opportunities that they won’t find anywhere else, even without a PR team.”

With HARO, Mark got links from high-authority sites like AP, Forbes, and Fortune. That feat is more incredible, considering Mark’s sites are considerably unknown.

Like Mark, other link builders are also using HARO. So much so, it is the 4th most popular link building tactic in 2023.

In a study involving 755 link builders, Gael Breton & Mark Webster (founders, Authority Hacker) saw that 46.3% of respondents use HARO — making the tactic the 4th most-used after content, link exchange, and guest posting.


My take:

HARO link building can do wonders for both small ventures and large corporations. 

However, competition on HARO is growing stiff as link builders are jumping on the trend. You might want to combine it with other strategies.

You might not see significant results with established PRs on HARO because of the competition. I’ll recommend you search on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Does this tactic work?


Benjamin Houy (founder, Grow With Less) uses X to compile a list of bloggers, content creators, and journalists to work with.

For the latter, monitor hashtags such as #journorequest.


Pro tip: don’t be limited to X. Apply the tactic across all social media platforms. You’d be surprised at the opportunities you’ll unlock.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

The resource to master HARO: how to use HARO for link building

Strategy 5: Reactive PR

A distinctive part of PR link building, reactive PRs are reputation management tools. Brands and individuals use them to correct public opinion and sentiments to negative comments.

Interestingly, outreach specialists also use reactive PRs. In fact, reactive PRs are the 4th most-used technique in 2022 [State of Link Building, 2022].


To date, reactive PRs remain a constant tool SEOs use to rank sites and pages. But how?

Surena Chande (journalist and copywriter, British Airways) says:

There is always a demand for experts to comment on everything:

  • Doctors and pharmacists on healthcare stories
  • Psychologists on sex and relationship stories
  • Lawyers on stories about driving fines and driving law changes

In essence, SEOs explore the opportunity by offering quick and insightful responses to get mentions. The tactic works even better for professionals.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️; insightful comments and contributions always get backlinks.

The resource to master reactive PRs: how to build press release backlinks

Frankly, BLB is one of my all-time favorite link building strategies. And the reason is clear:

BLB offers value without being salesy. The genuine care and “attention to detail,” in my experience, is irresistible.

Beyond SERPReach, other link builders also use BLB. Aaron Anderson (founder, Link Pitch) is one of the lot. His use case is even interesting.

Unlike most link building specialists, Aaron does BLB contemporarily. He doesn’t limit his outreach to only sites with broken pages.

In fact, Aaron does not target sites with 404 responses. Instead, he focuses on repurposed websites.

For example, say a website was a ticket generator. If the domain becomes expired, acquired, and repurposed to a generic blog.

Such blogs are the targets of Aaron.

But how does Aaron find such blogs — considering that SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush won’t discover them?

  1. Aaron surfs the net for resource pages like X tools for finding broken links.
  2. He then goes through all the links manually for repurposed sites.
  3. And boom, the final cog is pitching to the author to inform them of the repurposed pages — and, of course, with a replacement tool ready.

Another BLB tactic is finding one-time, single-purpose sites (e.g., wedding sites for gift contributions or live streaming). These websites will undoubtedly be out of commission once the event is over. Then, you can leverage the broken links. Steward Dunlop (founder, Linkbuilder) uses this tactic. 

Adopt this strategy or not: whether traditional or contemporary, the answer is yes ✅️

The resource to master BLB: how to do broken link building

Strategy 7: Brand Mentions

Like niche edits, brand mentions are low-effort link building tactics. The best part is that claiming brand mentions is free.

There is one issue, however. Brand mentions (averagely) are only effective if you are popular. The case is not HARO where you can attract high-quality backlinks by supplying answers.

Either way, outreach specialists are getting results with brand mentions. Eva Cheng (digital PR consultant, Evolved Search) is one of the lot. She’s had significant success converting mentions into a daily routine.

“Chasing brand mentions is an underutilized technique and most effective when partnered with a creative outreach campaign,” according to Eva.

I agree with Eva’s stand.

My take:

Like your campaign for social listening, launch a similar one for your brand mentions. Don’t sleep on this tactic if you’re actively submitting and getting mentioned with HARO.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

Monitor your brand mentions with Google Alerts.

I always say when you don’t know where to get backlinks, highlight 2-3 industry leaders in your niche. Analyze their backlink sources; target them.

And trust me, the method works all the time. I’ve used (and still use) it for my sites and clients.

Other SEOs also leverage competitors’ backlinks. Amit Raj (founder, Amit Digital Marketing) is an example.

Amit even takes this method a notch higher than typical competitor analysis. Here is how:

  • Pick 3-4 competitors, then analyze their backlink profile 
  • Find the lucrative keywords the competitors target
  • Use the keywords to find more targets from adjacent niches
  • Create your article
  • Now, pitch to the targets and include niche-specific lingos.

Another link building specialist, Jacob Landis-Eigsti (owner, Jacob Le) leverages competitors’ backlinks. But he uses it for local link building to increase domain authority. And it works every time.

Here is how Jacob does it:

  • Plug all competitors into Ahrefs Site Explorer
  • Filter the search for only dofollow link building opportunities
  • Filter off the spammy sites
  • Create 15-20 profiles on the targets daily.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

Read more on how to master competitor backlink analysis.

Strategy 9: Creating Linkable Assets

Linkable assets are one of the diverse link building tactics. They can be in written form, images, interactive videos, resource pages, or even tools.

Either way, you will enhance your backlink profile. And often, it’ll all cost you zero dollars.

So, what linkable assets are link building specialists using in 2023?

▶️ Resource and stats pagesGeorge Driscoll (senior digital PR, Driscoll Digital) uses this tactic to generate up to 100 backlinks annually. And that’s the result without outreach. Imagine what you could get with a campaign targeted at journalists.

▶️ Free toolsTony Mastri (digital marketing manager, Marion) uses a combination of calculators and press releases to get backlinks in the legal and real estate niche. They work.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️ but don’t build another calculator.

Building calculators are common. Think differently. Who do stakeholders need in your niche? Can you automate that for free? Can you build a around it?

Infographics are not only cute and shareable; they are also vital link building tools. Nicolas Straut (senior SEO associate,  Fundera) uses them to get backlinks from adjacent but relevant sources.

FYI: you can do better than get backlinks from adjacent sources.

With well-designed infographics, you can get backlinks from the top guns in your industry. I discussed this extensively in my infographic link building article [link to this at the base of this tactic].

Also, your infographics can rank on Google Images. That could fetch you extra traffic.

Similar to infographics, you can build links with custom images. Jason Thibault (owner, Massive Kontent) uses this method to get up to 6x 75 DA+ backlinks monthly. Here is how:

  • Create a Flickr account and sync it with stockists like Unsplash, Pexels, or Creative Commons
  • Upload custom images > set the permissions to “some rights reserved.”
  • Check the sites linking your images monthly
  • If the attribute is not correct, send a polite email to the author in question.

Adopt this strategy or not: yes ✅️

Read more on how to master infographic link building.

Veronika Höller (global SEO lead & international conference speaker) advises SEOs to choose backlinks carefully. And she’s right.

Failure to critically analyze your backlink will cost you significantly. You will spend your hard-earned money and not see an increased ranking.

Bottom line: don’t be a bandwagon SEO.

Indeed, copy what works for others in your niche. But don’t take it all in hook, line and sinker. Test the strategies on a micro scale first.

Also, don’t limit yourself to one strategy. Take Quincy Smith‘s (head of SEO, Springboard) advice: use different tactics for different pages.

Would you like to contribute to this article?

I’d love to hear from you if you have a strategy that works for you or a use case for the ones listed here.