Jessica La

The Only White Hat Link Building Guide You’ll Need in 2022

What you'll learn...

“For people to discover your website these days, you need to build pathways and big, flashy signals that lead them there. In the realm of digital marketing, this means – you need links, links, and more links.” – Luisito Batongbakal

Imagine investing $3,000 each month in producing high-quality blog posts for six months straight – only to later realize that none of these posts contributed to your website’s search engine rankings in any way. 

That’s $3,000 x 6 = $18,000 you’d have wasted by the end of six months.

And this is not just a what-if scenario.

Most businesses make the same mistake over and over again.

Despite investing thousands of dollars in content marketing, I’ve witnessed most businesses struggling to rank for relevant keywords at the top of search engines.

And there’s one BIG reason behind this – none of them prioritize their link building efforts. 

Some don’t consider link building at all.

Data fetched from uSERP indicates that 95% of web pages have zero backlinks pointing to their website. 

uSERP infographic

As stated by Andrey Lipattsev, Partner Development Manager at Google, in a Q&A session, the top two ranking signals Google considers when determining rankings include content and backlinks.

This was later confirmed by John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, via a Twitter post:

Graphical user interface Description automatically generated with low confidence

According to uSERP State of Backlinks report, 58.1% of SEO professionals believe that backlinks have a gigantic-sized impact on search engine rankings. As stated by 59% of respondents, backlinks will reportedly have an increased impact on rankings as Google updates its algorithm.

Let’s look at the number of backlinks top ranking pages on Google have for different keywords. I like to use Ahrefs for checking backlinks, but there are other great link building tools like Moz that you can also use as well:

Keyword – “influencer marketing”

influencer marketing SERP screenshot

Keyword – “digital marketing”

digital marketing keyword serp screenshot

 

If you look closely, each of these top-ranking pages has thousands of links pointing to them. So if you want to gain that much-desired #1 position on Google, you need to prioritize your link-building efforts.

Not only that – but you need to focus on links from relevant and high-quality websites. 

There are many shady black hat link building tactics out there that people use to inflate their backlinks in hopes of ranking. Not only are these tactics a waste of time and money, but they also go against the search engine guidelines. They may result in Google penalizing your website.

Don’t believe me? Just look back at the search engine ranking pages for the keywords from before. You’ll notice that having the most links doesn’t always mean getting higher rankings – the quality and relevancy of links are arguably more important (more on this later).

Building backlinks without breaking webmaster guidelines is the only way to go if you want your business to succeed in the long run. And that’s what white hat link building is about.

In the following few sections, we’ll get into:

  • What is white hat link building,
  • The importance of white hat link building and,
  • 3 proven white-hat link-building strategies. 

Let’s dive in!

What is White Hat Link Building?

“White Hat” Link Building is the strategic White Hat SEO process of using the right set of link building tactics to acquire backlinks from different websites to your own. 

These tactics adhere to the Webmaster Guidelines and don’t manipulate Google’s algorithm for better rankings.

On the other hand, “Black Hat” tactics do not adhere to Google’s guidelines. They’re tactics people use that try to manipulate the search rankings and attempt to game the system, such as:

  • Buying Low-quality Links
  • Link farming
  • Irrelevant anchors
  • Blog and Forum Comment Spamming

The Importance of White Hat Link Building

Of course, Black Hat Link Building tactics seem easier, cheaper, and quicker.

I’ll be honest here – these tactics may even help you achieve the desired results.

But at the end of the day, they won’t withstand the test of time.

As we all know, Google keeps updating its algorithm. If you get caught, your website will get penalized – which will set you back months or years and even risk losing everything you’ve created.

And even after spending days or months trying to correct things, sometimes you’ll find yourself failing at your efforts.

The reason why I’m using such a serious tone here is that – black hat link building is SERIOUS stuff. And since I want you to succeed in the long-term, I’d advise you to avoid it at any cost.

Don’t involve yourself in link schemes like buying spam or low quality links, spinning content, using link farms, and more. 

Instead, it’s advisable to position yourself as an authoritative source and improve your search engine rankings by incorporating White Hat Link Building tactics into your link building strategy and only acquiring high-quality links.

To help you excel at your White Hat Link Building efforts and actually get ranking on page #1, here are my three proven White Hat Link Building tactics that I personally use to gain high-quality links.

3 Proven White Hat Link Building Strategies That’ll Help You Get Results

Okay, so here’s my white hat link building secret (not a secret anymore):

  1. Guest Post Outreach
  2. Build a Better & Longer Version of the Articles You’d Like to Rank at the Top For
  3. INFOGRAPHICS – The Real Deal 

1. Guest Post Outreach

76% of editors worldwide plan to publish anywhere between one and ten guest posts each week. Guest Posting is a brilliant link building tactic most businesses, marketers, and bloggers use to get high-quality links to their websites.

Let’s say you run a marketing agency in Seattle and are on the lookout for high-quality backlinks pointing to your SEO service page.

Not having backlinks will make Google consider your SEO service page a non-authoritative web page, which makes it hard for you to rank.

But when you get high-quality links from, let’s say, DR70+ websites pointing to your SEO service page, then Google will think of it as a credible and authoritative source. 

If you’re wondering what DR is, it’s an abbreviation for “Domain Rating” and refers to the strength of your website’s backlinks. 

DR score ranges between 0 and 100, and the higher the DR of the website you get backlinks from; the higher your chances of appearing at the top of the search engines.

You can find yours out using Ahrefs free backlink checker

Alright, so remember when we established the importance of backlinks from high-quality websites? Well, it should come to you as no surprise that getting backlinks that are DR 70+ is not easy. 

Because if you know the importance of it, then you can bet that high authority websites do too. So you’ll have to offer something of value.

This is why many sites will ask you to pay for link placements. But I’d personally avoid those. If they’re allowing any links on their site for $, then chances are, that site probably doesn’t have a good backlink profile. 

Which leads me to one of the best ways you can deliver value for these valuable links. 

And that’s, yes, if you haven’t been paying attention – the first and most effective strategy of guest posting. 

Guest posting is the process of submitting a truly value-adding and informative guest post, which when published, will link directly to your preferred web pages.

Guest Post Outreach is the process of:

  1. Preparing a list of websites or publications you can publish your guest posts on.
  2. Find the right decision-makers that can approve your pitch. Typically these are “Content Managers”, “Editors” or “Head of Content” etc.  
  3. Getting the right email address. 
  4. Creating the perfect email outreach.
  5. Once you land the guest post, you can go and write something worth publishing that meets all their guest posting guidelines (super important), put your link in, and submit.

These are the basics. For a more detailed guide on exactly how you can do steps 2-4 to see email conversions of up to 40%, check out my outreach email article that includes sample templates or some outreach tools that will save you a lot of time and headache. 

💡 Pro tip

Most people will tell you to start low and aim for sites with DRs between 40-60. But I say start from 65+.

Why?

Because really, doing the outreach and guest post process takes the same amount of time regardless of what DR site you’re reaching out to. So you may as well shoot for the stars.

Of course, you’ll need to find relevant websites or publications in your niche before you can do the outreach. I’ll now show you two tactics I personally use to find websites to submit guest posts to:

Now let’s get into how you can find these guest post opportunities.

Tactic #1 – Google Search Strings

To find the right guest post opportunities, you can use search strings like:

  • Keyword “guest post”
  • Keyword “guest article”
  • Keyword “contributing writer”
  • Keyword “submit your content”
  • Keyword “submit post”
  • Keyword “this post was submitted by”
  • Keyword “suggest a post”

Where keyword is the niche you want to target. 

Let’s say I want to submit a guest post related to Shopify development. I’ll use the search query:

Google Search Query

Here are the results:

google serp results

Here, the first and second results are not relevant – but the third one did catch my attention. Upon clicking on it, I was redirected to HulkApps content guidelines web page:

hulk apps page

Let’s check their Domain Rating:

Graphical user interface, application Description automatically generated

As of writing this, it’s 55. While you can submit your guest post here, I mentioned before that publishing on higher DR sites would be more worthwhile. 

NOTE – Not all the results you find via these strings will be 100% accurate. After using these queries, you need to dive in a bit more and prepare your list accordingly.

Tactic #2 – Reverse Engineer Competitors’ Backlinks

Let’s say you want to submit a guest post related to influencer marketing. Now, the top-ranking articles on Google related to influencer marketing will obviously have thousands of backlinks.

Let’s check it on Ahrefs:

Graphical user interface Description automatically generated

Let’s look at the backlinks of the first one – “What is Influencer Marketing: How to Develop Your Strategy?” 

As of this writing, it’s 4,069.

Now, select the number – 4,069 – doing this will take you to the article’s backlink report.

And here we are:

Graphical user interface Description automatically generated with low confidence

Here are some of the DR90+ websites that have pointed links to that blog post:

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Now, what you can do is prepare a list of these websites, conduct your analysis (learn whether they are accepting blog posts or not) and based on that begin with the pitching process.

2. Build a Better & Longer Version of the Articles You’d Like to Rank at the Top For

Again – let’s say you run an influencer marketing agency and want to get your articles ranked at the top of search engines for keywords like “what is influencer marketing” or “benefits of influencer marketing” or “why influencer marketing.” 

To do this, you should build a better and longer version of the articles ranking at the top. 

I’ll put this into an example. If you want to rank at the top for the keyword “what is influencer marketing.”…

Step I: Head over to Ahrefs and search the term “what is influencer marketing” under the Keywords Explorer tool.

what is influencer marketing Ahrefs search

Step II: Keep scrolling until you reach “SERP Overview” section. There you can see the position of the articles:

Graphical user interface, text Description automatically generated

Step III: Now these are the articles ranking at the top of Google. Now, if you want to rank at the top for the keyword “what is influencer marketing,” you need to build a better and longer form of these articles. 

Head over to each of these articles (relevant ones) and try to gain insights into their structure, content, length, and more.

Step IV: Write & Publish the Article. 

You can quickly write the article using AI writing software like Jarvis. Make sure that you’re also working on search engine optimization with tools like SurferSEO (a tool I swear by) or Yoast for a free version. 

Step V: Once you have published the article, the next step is to reach out to the websites or publications that are pointing to the top-ranking articles for the keyword “what is influencer marketing.”

The best way to do this is by identifying the backlinks for each of these articles.

what is influencer marketing SERP screenshot

For the first article, it’s 4,142. Upon clicking on the number, I was able to fetch the live backlink report for that article.

Graphical user interface Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Easy peasy!

Now, you can filter these links and reach out to the relevant publications via a cold outreach email campaign like:

To:

Subject Line: Your article on {Article Name} was great

“Hi {Name},

Nice to e-meet you!

{Say something to catch their attention/personalization}.

{A bit about you}.

I can see that you’ve linked to {Competitor Article Title} in your article {Article Name}. And while that article is brilliant, we’ve built a better version of the same that’s highly informative, educational, and engaging.

Feel free to give it a read at {Your Article’s Link}.

Best Regards,
{Your Name & Position}

While building your email, please make sure that you personalize it to catch the person’s attention. 

So that’s strategy number 2. It’s a lot of work, but worth the effort. And with that, let’s hop into the last strategy.

3. Infographics– The Real Deal

People love infographics. And if you truly are offering value-adding and actionable information via infographics in a visually appealing manner – business owners, content marketers, and bloggers would love nothing more than to link to it.

Again – let’s assume that you run an influencer marketing agency and prepare “The State of Influencer Marketing in 2022” infographic with value-adding stats, facts, and metrics. If the information is really good and value-adding, bloggers, content marketers, and business owners that want to prepare articles or blog posts related to influencer marketing would definitely link to it when they use data from your infographics.

But – it’s not just about the copy. A brilliant infographic is a perfect combination of copy and design – which is why you need to focus on both aspects.

Also, infographics hold the potential to go viral – which will definitely help you generate dozens, if not thousands, of high-quality links.

Some of the infographics that have gone viral have the following three things in common:

  • Stunning design
  • Value-adding content and well-researched stats
  • Brilliant promotion strategy – Just like any other form of content, even if you are building the best infographic in the world, it won’t go viral unless you promote it.

Now the way to promote infographics is similar to strategy 2. You’ll find keywords that are related to the infographic, find sites ranking that you believe your stats will add value, and pitch it to them.

Want to Get High-Quality Backlinks?

Link building, in my opinion, is a strategic process. One of the big mistakes companies make is to consider link building as an after-thought. 

You need to hire or collaborate with a dedicated professional who can help you get high-quality links to your website the right way – a White-Hat Link building professional.

And while you may find shady tactics like spamming comment sections, paying for backlinks is a great way to get high-quality links, so that you can focus your energy on the high-level strategic direction of your company or department.

Good luck!

Jessica 

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Thanks for reading!

Jessica La

Hi, I’m Jessica 👋 — and I write content read by 500K+ monthly tech/marketing readers.

I focus on effective PR for growth at the highest quality. And I get results. Fast. 

My shtick?

Great products deserve to be seen and used.

And I create great content with high-quality links to help you achieve that.

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