Link building isnt rocket science. Theres no secret club where only an elite few get taught how to build links. Anyone can do it.
The fundamental process is as follows:
- Create something worthy of a link.
- Find people who might be interested in linking to you.
- Persuade those people to do precisely that.
The problem? Step #1 takes a lot of time, and skill, and knowledge of your industry.
But heres the thing:
Most businesses, products, and services are already worthy of links.
You dont have to spend countless hours creating an all-singing-all-dancing interactive infographic to get backlinks. You can build links using what you already have on your website and speed up the process—dramatically.
Want proof? Heres a link we got to ahrefs.com without creating any new content:
In this post, youll learn seven link building tactics you can use without creating new content. Here are the link building tactics:
- Piggyback off competitors resource page links
- Get links from the companies with whom you have existing relationships
- Convert “unlinked mentions” to links
- Get listed on relevant best x in y lists
- Look for pages that mention multiple competitors… but not you
- Get forum links (yes, really)
- Steal links from less-deserving content (and businesses)
Heres what a resource page looks like:
You can see that it does what it says on the tin—it lists and links to “resources.”
Getting links from resource pages like this is one of the oldest tactics in the book. But you cant get resource page links unless you have a worthwhile resource to pitch, right? Right.
An important point here is that when we talk about resources in this context, were not necessarily talking about lengthy blog posts or interactive infographics.
Your business is a resource in itself.
To illustrate what I mean by that, take a closer look at the resource page above.
Youll notice that it links out to a lot of useful companies homepages—printing companies, illustrators, etc. Thats because they all offer products or services that are useful for designers.
Heres the process most SEO professionals use to find and land links from resource pages:
- Use Google search operators to find niche-relevant resource pages (e.g.,
- Scrape them.
- Pursue the worthwhile ones.
This approach does work. But there are two problems:
Problem #1: Scraping Google is time-consuming and requires some degree of skill. You have to use tens or hundreds of search operators, scrape the results for all of them, then merge and dedupe your list in Excel or Google Sheets. That can take hours.
Problem #2: You almost always end up scraping a lot of irrelevant and junk pages, such as those that only link to internal resources like this one:
Those are no use to us. So whats the solution?
Piggyback off your competitors resource page links. In other words, find the resource page links that your direct competitors have, then replicate them.
For example, lets say we were trying to build links to discountstickerprinting.co.uk. One competitor might be vistaprint.co.uk.
Paste that domain into Connekt Teacher Site Explorer. Then navigate to the Backlinks report and add a “Dofollow” filter.
Site Explorer > enter competing domain > Backlinks > add “dofollow” filter
Not sure who your competitors are?
Use the Competing Domains report in Site Explorer to get some ideas.
Type “resources” into the search box. You should see something like this:
Most of the results are resource pages from which the competitor has links. So we can be sure that theyre relevant targets.
But dont stop there.
If you find a resource page from which a competitor has a backlink, take a look at that page and see if there are any other similar businesses listed there. If there are, paste those into Site Explorer too, then rinse and repeat the process above to find even more resource pages.
Finally, reach out the owners of the resource pages and ask them to add your business.
But dont just ask. Give them a compelling reason why they should spend time adding you to their page. Think about how having your business listed on that page would be valuable to their visitors.
Here are a few potential reasons:
Learn more about resource page link building in this video:
Look at this page:
Its from a vegetarians snacks brand. It lists and links to all of their stockists. These “suppliers” pages are quite common. So if you happen to stock or sell any third-party products, these are prime link targets.
But what if you dont stock and sell other brands products?
Simple. Look for similar pages from your “suppliers,” like this one that lists their clients/customers…
… or this one that features customer testimonials…
Im not necessarily talking about suppliers of raw materials here. It could be any business thats affiliated with your business: accountant, financial advisor, print or graphic design company, etc.
So whats the process for getting links from these people?
To start, you need to make two lists:
- Brands you stock (if applicable)
- Your suppliers—i.e., the businesses/services/products you use
Heres what that would look like for a hypothetical coffee shop:
You then need to tackle each of these two lists independently.
For stockists, search for them one-by-one in Google using the following operator:
site:brand.com intitle:"stockists" OR intitle:"where to buy"
If they have a relevant page, you should see a result like this:
For the businesses whose services and products you use, do the same thing but with this operator instead:
site:supplier.com intitle:”our customers” OR intitle:”our clients”
Heres an example of a relevant result:
You can then reach out and request to be added to these pages.
Not finding any such pages from the companies with whom youre affiliated? Look for testimonials pages using
site:supplier.com testimonial. If they have one, all you need to do is to get in touch and send them your testimonial.
Not only is there a link to ahrefs.com here, but this is also a standalone page dedicated entirely to us. Our testimonial/story is also quite in-depth, which brings me to another crucial point:
Never fake testimonials to get a link. Thats shady and unethical.
You should only supply companies with testimonials if you genuinely love what they do.
Heres one of the posts we found in Content Explorer using the previous tactic:
This post already mentions Dineen Coffee. But this one doesnt:
Or this one:
Where am I going with this?
Best x in y lists exist for all kinds of businesses in all sorts of locations. There are guaranteed to be similar lists in your niche or local area.
So if youre not already featured, why not reach out and see if you theyll add you?
Heres why this makes sense:
- You know they are already interested in what your business does. So much so, that they have written a blog post about it.
- You know that they either dont know about your business or forgot about you when creating that post.
Thats what makes it an easy sell to ask for inclusion.
So go to Google and search for something like:
Best BUSINESS TYPE -"YOUR BUSINESS NAME"
This will return “best x” posts that dont already mention you.
Here are the results for
best coffee in toronto -dineen:
Look through the results and make sure you are not already listed. Reach out to the relevant folks.
Use Connekt Teacher SEO Toolbar to extract all Google search results to CSV in one click.
This also downloads Connekt Teacher SEO metrics (e.g., Domain Rating, URL Rating, Traffic) on the domain and URL-level. That makes it easy to sort and prioritize the prospects. I usually sort by UR or the page-level traffic metric from high to low. You can also look at Domain Rating (DR).
Here is an excellent opportunity I found for Dineen Coffee in ~30 seconds:
You can see that the post lists 23 coffee shops, none of which are Dineen Coffee.
Furthermore, Connekt Teacher SEO Toolbar reports that this page is on a DR56 domain and that the URL gets at least some organic search traffic. Perfect.
But heres the real icing on the cake: the list was recently-updated. It says so at the bottom of the page. And it even tells us who is responsible for updating it.
Bingo! Now we can reach out.
Another trick is to look for websites that have reviewed competing businesses.
Heres a search operator you can use for that:
COMPETING BUSINESS NAME intitle:review -”YOUR BUSINESS NAME”
Or you can paste the competing websites domain into Connekt Teacher Site Explorer, then look for reviews in the Backlinks report.
The thinking here is that if theyve reviewed a similar business, they may also be interested in reviewing yours. Or at least trying out your products or services.
Take a look at this post:
It talks about the cheapest email marketing services in 2018.
Now I know from experience that MailChimp is quite a low-cost email marketing service. Yet MailChimp isnt mentioned in this post. Nor is MailerLite or MoonMail—two free email marketing tools.
Heres what Im getting at…
If you can find websites that mention multiple competitors (but not you), it may make sense to reach out and introduce them to your brand. In doing so, you may even be able to convince them to add your business to that page.
So how do you find relevant pages?
To begin, make a list of 3–5 biggest competitors.
Heres what that might look like for an email marketing service:
Now type this into Google:
(“COMPETITOR1” AND COMPETITOR2) -intext:”YOUR BRAND” -site:competitor1.com -site:competitor2.com -intitle:competitor1 -intitle:competitor2
You should see something like this:
There are hundreds of pages that mention ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit but not MailChimp.
You will need then to export the search results to CSV. For that, you can use Connekt Teacher SEO Toolbar.
That will download the results alongside Connekt Teacher SEO metrics like organic traffic, UR, etc. You can then easily sort and filter by those metrics to prioritize the best link opportunities.
However, the downside of using Google is that you can only export a hundred results at a time.
So another alternative is to use Connekt Teacher Content Explorer instead. Just search for:
(“COMPETITOR1” AND COMPETITOR2) -”YOUR BRAND” -site:competitor1.com -site:competitor2.com -title:competitor1 -title:competitor2
You should see something like this:
Here, 90 web pages mention ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit but not MailChimp.
You can sort and filter the results in Content Explorer without exporting.
Whichever tool you use, the final thing to do is to sift through the results. Try to understand why they mentioned your competitor but not you. This will usually be for one of these reasons:
- They are not familiar with your business or brand.
- They prefer a competing product or service.
- They are listing companies that do what you do (but neglected to mention your business)
- They are referencing something your competitor did (e.g., newsworthy event, linkbait, etc.)
Because this guide focusses on building backlinks fast, your best bet is to look for Videos where your business could be added quickly and easily, such as relevant listicles…
… and guides:
You can then reach out with something like this: