It’s been an interesting few years for link building. After the first Google Penguin update in 2012, many SEOs found themselves lost and totally unsure how to do link building properly. Some gave up on it entirely while others went deep “underground,” refusing to talk about it for fear of attracting the wrath of Google.
So as we head deeper into 2020, I thought I’d collect the top link building resources I’ve ever read. Some are old, some are new — but all of them are still as relevant and actionable today as they were when they were written.
*Disclosure: We only feature services and products we honestly believe in and our perspectives are genuinely our own expert perspective. This post may contain affiliate links from which we earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
The Basics and Primers for Beginners
The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building — Moz’s juggernaut guide was written by well-known link builder Paddy Moogan and is one of the best launching points for beginners I’ve come across.
9 EASY Link Building Strategies (That ANYONE Can Use) — This great guide discusses straightforward, proven strategies for gaining credible links.
White Hat Link Building: The Zen Master’s Guide — With contributions from the likes of Rand Fishkin, Kristi Hines, Ann Smarty and Brian Dean, this introduction to white hat link building offers a complete picture of white hat link building.
Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide (2020) — Brian Dean’s guide to link building offers a huge list of other incredible resources on everything from the fundamentals to outreach.
The Noob Friendly Guide to Link Building — Get the basics on link building theory, the best link building tools and essential skills and tactics in this beginner’s guide.
Link Building Strategy and Process
Big Survey: 14 Link Building Strategies Professionals Choose in 2019 — Learn what 850 SEO and digital specialists revealed about their most widely-used link building strategies.
3 Ethical Link Building Strategies for 2020 — This post explains how putting on your journalist and content creator hat is key to nabbing links from high-quality websites while avoiding Google penalties.
Why Do We Link to Other Websites? — This excellent post from Dejan Marketing clearly explains how link building strategies have changed and shows you exactly how you need to adapt to succeed.
Link Building Tools and Reviews
15 AWESOME Link Building Tools — Brian Dean from Backlinko shares 15 tools he’s used himself to get high-quality links from sites like “Entrepreneur.”
12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential to Your Success — Kevin Rowe breaks down his favorite tools, what they’ll cost you and what they’ll get you.
Link Building Tools Every Link Builder Should Have — Well-known black hat Jacob King has a unique insight into what it takes to build links — both black and white hat — so while your techniques might not be the same as his, it’s worth reading into how he’s using what’s at his disposal.
82 Experts Rank Best Link Building Tools for 2019 (Leadersboards Inside) — This survey of SEOs running campaigns for small to enterprise clients in a variety of industries voted on their favorite link building tools.
13 Best Link Building Tools (for Building AMAZING Links) — Ahrefs, which is consistently ranked as a top link building tool, rounds up this list of modern tools and how to use them. Yes, Ahrefs is included in the list.
Competitive Link Analysis: How to Audit Your Competitors’ Links — This guide to competitive link analysis includes tools, how to conduct a content audit and how to build authority and trust with link building.
7 Actionable Ways to Loot Your Competitors’ Backlinks — Learn how to figure out who is linking to your competitors and how to replicate those links for yourself.
A Simple Guide to Link Prospecting — This post breaks down how to use Google search operators and how to use link building tools for link prospecting.
Finding and Qualifying Link Opportunities Found in Competitive Research — Tiffani Wroe shares how to get insight into most of the organic online marketing strategies your competitors use to get visibility among their target audiences, allowing you to find the best online marketing strategies to get in front of your target audience.
A Simple Guide to Turning (Unlinked) Brand Mentions into Links — Learn how to find unliked citations of your brand and get your website linked to them.
Link prospecting tips and tricks — Learn how to identify and obtain better links through tested methods, including manual exploration and using SEO tools during the link research process.
How to Leverage Advanced Link Prospecting — Discover how to use advanced search operators to power up your link prospecting efforts.
Tactics and Roundups
9 Evergreen Link Building Tactics That Will Never Go Out of Style — It’s true, these tactics adhere to Google’s standard for high-quality content, which naturally leads to more links.
Link Building Strategies:The Complete List — The definitive link-building tactics roundup on the Web, assembled by Backlinko’s Brian Dean.
8 Unusual Link Building Strategies That’ll Catapult Your Rankings — Think outside the box with link building strategy by checking out these case studies of how brands have built links with innovative methods.
9 Easy Ways to Build Links — Link-building guru Jason Acidre gives you nine foolproof ways you can earn links without an enormous effort.
20 SEO Link Building Methods for 2020 — See the most popular white hat link building tactics for 2020, along with tools that improve their efficiency and how to use them.
19 Link Building Strategies that WORK in 2020 — This up-to-date guide on link building tactics like the “Skyscraper Method” and pitching infographics are presented with case studies.
How to Spy on Your Competitors to Capture Similar Links — Once you’ve done a competitor analysis, learn how to use those insights for your own link building strategy.
How to Use Scrapebox for Link Building — Not Spamming — Chris Dyson shows you how to use a tool that was designed for black-hat purposes in a way that legitimately benefits your business.
The World of Link Opportunities Beyond Bloggers — This great post on Moz outlines how you can earn links without blogger outreach or guest posts.
6 Link Building Opportunities that Big Brands Often Miss — Big brands have a lot of link building opportunities available, but these are the ones they may not be taking advantage of.
Resource Page Link Building — This easy-to-use guide explains why resource pages matter and how to get your links on them.
Competitions and Sponsorships
Link Building with Local Charities & Events — This post teaches how to qualify and prospect link building opportunities with local charities and events.
Running Giveaway Competitions for Links and SEO — Rob Ousbey shows you how to use giveaways, contests and competitions to secure high-quality links for your website.
106 Sponsorship-Based Link Building Queries — Every query you need to know to find sponsorship-based linking opportunities.
Local Link Building
Local SEO: A Simple (But Complete) Guide — Ahrefs rounds up all the goods for local link building in 2020 and beyond.
Expert Local Business Link Building Survey — Get insights from dozens of SEOs on building links for local businesses.
5 Local Link-Building Tactics to Try in 2018 and Beyond — Don’t miss these local link building opportunities that spread awareness for a local business.
Local Link Building — This Moz guide is a primer on how to conduct outreach for local link building.
Broken Link Building
A Step by Step Guide to Modern Broken Link Building — Neil Patel and Brian Dean join forces in this epic guide to broken link building with plenty of takeaways for anyone building links.
A Simple (But Complete) Guide to Broken Link Building — Learn how to find relevant broken links and get them fixed for an SEO boost.
Image Link Building
Building Links With Images: Where to Start and How to Automate It? — Benjamin Beck explains how to create images that attract links and how to automate image link building.
Link Building for E-commerce
7 Effective Link Building Tactics for Ecommerce Brands — From video marketing to influencer outreach, learn how to get better links for an ecommerce site.
Link Building for Ecommerce Sites — Though it’s from 2012, this slideshare from BuiltVisible’s Richard Baxter is completely relevant for today, with 15 strategies you can learn from.
Content-Based Link Building, Outreach & Promotion
Rookie link-building and content outreach mistakes you won’t make twice — Save time and content link building energy by avoiding these rookie mistakes.
20 Ways to Find Bloggers to Review Your Product — This step-by-step guide shows you how to identify and approach relevant bloggers and create lasting blogger relationships that lead to more links.
The Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Link Bait — This wonderful guide from HubSpot pulls the curtain back on link bait, showing you how to create content that will earn links naturally.
How to Get Quality Backlinks for SEO: The 6 Smart Ways — Go after high-quality backlinks by using these smart strategies.
3 Alternative Link Building Tactics to Use Now — Think outside the box with these three innovative content tactics for link building.
How to Create a Winning Content Promotion Plan — Stephen Panico put together an immensely helpful guide to promoting your content, an integral part of earning links.
Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days — This piece from Brian Dean at Backlinko covers his “Skyscraper Method” toward content marketing for link builders and shows a real-world case study on how it can drastically improve your results.
How to Promote Your Content Across Owned, Earned, and Paid Media — Matt Gratt walks through the three different channels of content promotion, each of which are essential to use to promote and earn links back to your content.
17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content — Aaron Agius covers in-depth 17 different ways to promote the content you’ve created, from working with influencers to emailing your sources.
25 Creative Content Promotion Strategies — Venchito Tampon has plenty of great ideas for promoting your content to earn more backlinks, from basics you might already know to clever tricks you may not have thought of.
17 Actionable Content Marketing Tips for More Traffic — Get quick tips for 10x-ing your content and getting more links by improving it.
The Dark Side
*Please note that while we don’t advocate for these tactics, the reality is that it’s very useful to know how others are finding success and what’s working for them. Take these pieces as learning, and approach with caution!
Competitor Backlink Analysis: An A-Z Guide (With Link Tracking Template and Scripts) — Robbie Richards shows you how you can yank the rankings rug right out from under your competitors’ feet.
Why I’ll Keep Growing My Private Link Network After Google’s Crackdown — A deeply insightful post from Glen Alsop, one of the most innovative black hat SEOs on the web.
The Future of Link Building
The Future of Link Building and Likely Changes to Google’s Algorithm — Tom Buckland explains how trends like artificial intelligence and smartphone use will impact link building.
What Is the Future of LInk Building? — Matt Sawyer of Econsultancy predicts how changes to Google’s algorithm will shape link building tactics.
Just For Fun
The Link Building Process in GIF Form — If you need a laugh, this quick piece by Chris Dyson of TripleSEO will tickle your funny bone and maybe hit a little bit too close to home.
There’s Always Room for More on This List
Are we missing anything? If you feel like there are more resources we should feature on this list, please leave them in the comments section and we will consider adding them to the next revision of this list.