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What are backlinks?

Backlinks often referred to as “inbound links” or “incoming links” are external links from other sources that point to a website. In SEO speak the work of getting backlinks is called “Off-Page SEO” or “Inbound Marketing” and can be quite time-consuming.

Tool To Try: One of our favorite backlink tools right now is called Ahrefs.

Backlink from Website A to Website B
Typical Backlink Scenario

Backlinks and the 20 best inbound Marketing Methods for 2019

Ever wonder how the SEO Pros always seem to get GREAT ranking articles. The key to their success almost always has to do with a GREAT backlinking strategy. Developing a backlink strategy for obtaining new links is often referred to as Inbound Marketing.

There are two types of backlinks

  • Follow
  • nofollow

Nofollow Dofollow Backlinks

What is a No Follow Link?

A nofollow link is a link that doesn’t provide what is referred to as link juice, it doesn’t boost PageRank and it doesn’t improve a site’s ability to move up in SERPs.

what does a “NOFOLLOW” link look like?

In HTML it looks something like this

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>

The nofollow element tells Search Engines don’t count this link as a ranking factor.

what does a “FOLLOW” link look like?

<a href=””>Link Text</a>

Notice it’s missing the rel=”nofollow” element.

Are NoFollow backlinks Worthless?

Certainly not, even though they don’t provide ranking bonuses, no follow backlinks can still bring in lots of referral traffic to your website.

Overall the best backlinks from a ranking factor are from high Page Authority & High Domain Authority sites that are “Follow”.

We are going to explore backlink strategies to get “Follow” backlinks.

Sit back and enjoy the top 20 Backlink Methods for 2019

1. View Your Competitor’s Backlinks and Reach Out To Them

Why reinvent the wheel.  One of the easiest ways to help build backlinks is to see who is linking back to competitors within your niche.

So how does one go about seeing backlinks?

Currently, my 4 favorite SEO backlink viewers are

Both Moz and SEOQuake will get you what you need, but I really like Moz for its simplicity.

So how does it work?

The easiest method is to install the browser extension MozBar and utilize it’s “Open Site Explorer” functionality or SEOQuake, which uses SEMRush’s backlinks functionality.

When performing a keyword search (With MozBar On), click on the “Links” link next to the Page Authority (PA) information.

Backlinks Best Inbound Marketing Method

Once clicked, the Moz –> Open Site Explorer screen will display.

Moz Open Site Explorer

The Moz –> Open Site Explorer shows you the backlinks to the URL you selected to review.

Setting the Target = “This Page”, Link Source = “Only External” and Link Type = “Link Equity” will show you all the backlinks that are Follow and provide Link Juice.

You can quickly see which sites have a high Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) and compile the list of potential backlink candidates.

Now go through your list and reach out to the associated websites.

Hello (Name),

I recently saw that you had an article on X (Whatever subject your competitor wrote about) and I have one that you may also be interested in.  

Thank you for your time,
(Your Name)

2. Publish Long Content (Passive Link Building)

I am sure you have heard the saying BIGGER is Better, well in SEO, at least right now, LONGER is better.

What I am talking about is publishing content that is at least 1,500 words or more, preferably over 2,000 words.

It should come as no surprise that people who publish longer content will also have more backlinks.

Put it this way, if you were linking to someone, would you want to link to a short article or a more in-depth article?

Two really good authors of long content are Brian Dean from Backlinko and Ray Maker from DCRainMaker.

Both Brian and Ray are experts at creating and publishing long content and as a result, always rank high within Google.

To give you an example of Long Content, Check Brian’s 17-untapped-backlink-sources and Ray’s Garmin Forerunner 920XT In-Depth Review

Although different, both reviews give you insight as to how to create long content.

A few things stand out

  • The articles include lots of Images
  • The articles include lots of links
  • The articles are really long
  • The articles have a lot of comments

Writing Long Content definitely takes more time and planning, but the dividends can be huge.

One of the easiest ways to write long content is to create a list on a subject.  Example Top 10 Wedding Gifts or 20 Best Inbound Marketing Methods.

Writing articles in this way provides lots of things to talk about and will make it easy to reach the magic word count.  It will also make people want to share and include your content on their websites.

I look at Publishing long content as a passive way to create backlinks.

3. Images And Social Sharing (Passive Link Building)

Images and Social Sharing

These days Images and Image sharing is huge.  Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter platforms all provide ways to share images.

If you’re not creating images for your articles your missing out on a lot of social media sharing.

Having access to Image programs like PhotoShop or Pixelmator (My Favorite) will make it easy to create and add photos.

4. Writing Product Reviews

For the last 12 years, I have written over 500 articles on Fitness, Health, Wellness, SEO, Antiques and Gaming.  It all started back in the ’90s when I wrote a few articles on Fitness.  From there I got into writing Gaming reviews.  At some point, I decided to start contacting manufactures to send products for me to review.  It helped the manufactures get the word out about their products and I in return got some really cool products to test out.

As a result, I launched several websites

Once I was done writing the review, I would contact the manufacturer and send them a link.  Many times the manufacturer would share the link on their social media and occasionally add a link to their website.

The most expensive equipment I received and reviewed was an indoor trainer called the Wattbike.  Its retail value was somewhere in the range of $1,500 – $2,000.

One of my most successful review campaigns was writing a bunch of articles on Balance Boards and then combining all the information into a single article with links to all the individual reviews.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually using the Publish Long Content, which I am sure has played a big part in the SERP ranking score.

If you Google “Best Balance Boards” or “Top Balance Boards”, the EndTheTrendNow article ranks usually in the top 10 and has stayed there for years.

Top Balance Boards

I haven’t really paid much attention to the ranking, I probably could move up in rankings if I updated the article and got a few more backlinks to it.

Hmm, maybe I should do just that.

So you may be wondering, this sounds great and all, but HOW DO YOU CONTACT THEM?

Usually, when I contact a company, it’s because they have a product I want to use.

Hello (Name),

I am the owner of website X.  We have a viewership of X

The website’s main focus is on X.

We are currently gearing up for an upcoming review on X and came across (your website or product) as an excellent candidate for inclusion.

If you could send us X, we will write a review and share it to our social media.

Once the review is finished we will contact you and provide a link to the article.

Here is our Address


We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time,
(Your Name)

The key to this method is finding the right person to contact.

You almost always need to talk to someone in Marketing, which may be a different company.

NOTE: When writing the email, act as though they are going to send it to you.  That is why I always include a mailing address.

My success rate (Given The Right Contact) is about 80% to 90%.

Sometimes the companies may ask for website statistics, which I am always happy to share.

4.5 Ask For Backlinks

So you have written that product review and you’re really happy with yourself, but when you send the email to whoever you wrote the review for, you don’t ask for any backlinks.  Now, this may be a touchy subject, but more often than not, people will usually include a backlink if you ask.  I take it a step further and also ask to share it on their social media platforms.

Kathleen did just that and as a result, had her review posted in multiple paces.

Case Study – Backlinks and Social Shares

Recently my wife reviewed a product from ZHENZEE called the Zhenzee knit shoes.  After she was done, I said make sure you ask for a backlink.  Now my wife isn’t some SEO guru who reads the latest blogs from MOZ or knows much about the subject.  She is a fitness buff and that’s her passion.

What happened?  She not only got a great backlink from the company’s website, but the article was also shared on multiple social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter.

Zhenzee’s Press page

Zhenzee Press Page

Zhenzee’s Facebook Post

Zhenzee Facebook

Zhenzee’s Twitter Post

Zhenzee Twitter Account

Now that is just one of many examples where it really does pay to ask for a backlink.

In addition to Zhenzee sharing the article, we picked up additional email subscribers to our website and the article was the most active article read the day it was shared.  Not bad for a Yoga/Pilates teacher who doesn’t know much about SEO and SEM.

5. Giving Products And Software Out For Review

For companies that produce stuff, (Software, Hardware, Cool items).  Giving away the product to the right individuals can garner great backlinks, new viewership, and exposure.

While most of my product reviews have been an outreach effort, I will occasionally have companies contact me for product reviews.

You know you MADE IT when companies are contacting you!

For those that don’t have a product, sometimes giving away something and asking for a review of it can also work.

Let me explain.  Sometime when I contact a company, they will send me multiple products for review.  A recent example is a company called  They produce a really cool running foot pod, that tracks cadence, stride length, ground contact and much more.

milestonepod running footpod

When I contacted Milestonepod, I asked for 7 of their Milestonepods for review purposes.  Normally I would only ask for 1.  I explained to them that I had 7 individuals who were going to test out their product and write a review for them.  While they didn’t send out 7 units, they did send out 3, which was more than I hoped for.

This is what is known as a WIN/WIN.

  • They get their product reviewed by multiple people without them having to do outreach
  • I get multiple inputs from multiple testers

Again pointing back to Long Content, by having multiple people testing the product, I should be able to write up a rather long review adding everyone’s observations.

Note: Milestonepod sent me another email and wanted me to test out their version beta 3.0.  What this means is I will probably be one of the very first to have a review on the product.  

6. Being First To Market

News agencies do this all the time with their latest story headlines.  These stories often garner a lot of backlinks depending on the subject.  What you are looking to do is create content prior to all the buzz happening.  It’s sort of like looking for the inside scoop, so as to be first to market.

This technique isn’t easy, because you’re looking for content that will become SEARCHABLE and people will want to search for it.

A really good example is Electric Skateboards.  There is a company called Boosted Board.  They really got their name out there when a Youtube celebrity by the name of Casey Nedstat started shooting Youtube videos using the board and talking about it.

When I saw the video, I knew there was going to be a big demand for the Boosted Board and other electric skateboards.

Based on my assumption, I started contacting various electric skateboard companies to see if they would send a board out for review.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful because the demand of the boards was so high, they didn’t have any demo boards for reviewers or a least for this reviewer.

I did write up a few reviews on electric skateboards and they are currently some of my highest ranking articles.

Drones are another very searchable subject.  Again I reached out to several drone companies to see if I could get a drone.  Eventually, I was successful and am now waiting for it to arrive.

7. Tis The Season with Google Trends

Google Trends is a fantastic tool for viewing trending over time.  Knowing trends can give you valuable information for creating articles that will get links.

In my skateboard example for the term “boosted board” you can see there wasn’t much action until the last part of 2015 leading into 2016.  Australia, Canada, US, and the UK are the predominate sources of searches.  What is also interesting is Google Trends Related Searches.  You can see what other terms people are looking for.

Using trends you can establish an article building campaign based on what is hot and what should receive attention.  Over time trends can help you predict seasonal changes that you can take advantage of by creating content people will want to link to and find during different times of the year.

Google Trends Boosted Board

8. Finding Mentions And Shout Outs

There are two main methods for finding mentions and shout outs about your company, products or name.

  • Image Mentions
  • Company Name, Products or Articles mentions

Once you find them, compiling a list of websites to contact is all that is needed.

Image Mentions

Using Google’ Reverse Image Search, you are able to see who is using a company logo or image you have created.

Google Reverse Image Search

In this example, we are looking for occurrences of SEOBook’s image and what websites used those images.

Google Reverse Image Search Results

The listing should give you a good idea of potential websites to reach out to for backlinks.

Company Name, Products or Article Mentions

The second method of finding mentions is to use Google and sites like BuzzSumo and

While these methods return results, I haven’t found an easy way to filter only those sites that don’t contain backlinks.

Usually, this method involves checking out the sites to see what is being said and see if there are backlinks present.

You can compile of list of sites who provide positive reviews and coverage and submit other interesting articles for additional exposure.

9. Brand And Content Alerts

Brand and Content alerts can be extremely beneficial letting you know who is linking to you or your competition.  Alerts allow you to quickly react and reach out to people or websites for followups and more content sharing.

BuzzSumo allows you to set alerts on

  • Brand Mentions
  • Competitor Mentions
  • Content From A Website
  • Keywords
  • Backlinks
  • Authors

Google allows you to set up alerts based on keywords found.

Google Alerts

Typically I like to set up alerts on websites I own, my name and any other mentions that I might feel are important.

10. Blogger

An easy way to get a quality backlink to your website is to create a blogger “blog” and then post a backlink to your site.

  • Create a free blog from
  • Write an article or two to get started.
  • Add a backlink to your website.

For this method I added a new tab next to “home” and I called it “HangTenSEO”.  I pointed the tab directly to my website

SEO Blogger Book Hang Ten SEO

When I opened up my blog, I clicked on the little tool icon on the right for the menu.  I then added New Site Name = “HangTenSEO” and New Site URL = “”.  One the information was entered, I clicked add a link and a new tab was created called “HangTenSEO”.

HangTenSEO Add A Link Screen

11. Become A Beta Tester

Become A Beta Tester

Getting involved in Beta testing program for a product means you will have a jump on the competition.  I have been a beta tester for quite a few products.  You get to learn the ins and outs of the products before they hit the market and before there is much buzz about them.

I am currently beta testing a product that will be due out in August and I will be able to have content ready to go before the product is released to the public.  This should mean the competition for the keywords and subject will initially below.  This also means I should get a few backlinks pointing to my article once the product is released.

Since the product will be brand new, I also plan on reaching out to various companies promoting my article to get additional backlinks.

12. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is all about building relationships with other websites and blog owners and their audience.  As a result, you increase your sphere of influence and often increase your own website traffic.

To make Guest Blogging truly beneficial, the host must agree to include a follow backlink from their blog or website to yours.

Over time the backlinks will increase your website’s domain authority (Assuming they are pointing to your main website URL and not a page within it).

Beyond actual backlinks, guest posting and blogging allows you access to a whole new audience.  Guest blogging also provides an element of trust for the other readers.

Is There A Downside to Guest Blogging?

According to Matt Cutts, you can certainly overdue it and create spammy links.  Anyone who promotes basically the same content as a guest blogger or spins their article and promotes it out to multiple people would fall into this trap.

When doing guest blogging you want to stick to your specific field of expertise and something that truly relates to your website.

For example, I wouldn’t want to write an article on Fitness and have it link back to my website.  Instead, I would have it link to my website.

13. Collaboration

MyBlogU SEO Collaboration

While Guest Blogging is more of a personal endeavor, collaboration involves two or more people working together on a project for mutual benefit.

Like guest blogging, collaborations open you up to new audiences and increase traffic flow, but unlike guest blogging, you’re not the only one developing the content to share.

Often times the collaboration can lead to even more collaboration increasing your sphere of influence.

Collaboration is great from a marketing perspective because of your pooling your talents and hopefully coming out with content that more relevant to a larger audience.

One website that may help on the Collaboration aspect is called MyBlogU.  Check them out.  They may be just what you’re looking for.

14. Publish An Ebook

There is something really prestigious about being an Author.  People seem to look at you differently, talk about you differently and let’s face it, sometimes act differently around you.

“Can I get your autograph”, “Can you sign this for me”…

Realistically an ebook is just an article or a group of articles that someone can download.  The great thing about Ebooks is they are shareable and very linkable.  In the SEO world, Ebooks are an extremely common method to embed within an article to increase viewership.

Beyond the linking aspects, publishing an Ebook can also provide an easy way to garner email addresses.

Now, to be honest, I really haven’t focused on creating an ebook, but from my experience, they are a fantastic way to get links, build an email list and become an author.

Hang Ten SEO Inbound Marketing Methods

I ended up going the Amazon publisher route and wrote my first book Local SEO – A Roadmap To Successful Local Ranking.

I also wrote an article on publishing to Amazon.


Rather than going into detail about how to create an Ebook, check this article out

How To Make an Ebook

Submitting Your Ebook

There are lots of resources for submitting your Ebook, but you may have to do some research on finding which one works for you.

15. Testimonials

As long as you really believe in the product or service that a company has provided, offering a testimonial can garner backlinks from very relevant websites.

The problem with testimonials, of course, is they often don’t include the capability to backlink, so just make sure that whatever company you want to provide a testimonial for, has followed backlinks.

Here is a testimonial page from Net101  Notice the backlinks for each testimonial.

Testimonials SEO

16. Use HARO to Get Authority Backlinks

HARO Help A Reporter Out SEO Backlinks

HARO or Help A Reporter Out is a resource for connecting journalists with relevant field experts to help meet journalists’ deadlines.  It’s sort of like citizen reporting, but instead of reporting on some blog that doesn’t have a lot of traffic, you can actually get your story or name on some highly publicized networks and newspapers.   HARO distributes more than 50,000 journalist queries from highly respected media outlets each year.

Its straight-forward pitching process allows sources to find topics related to their expertise, industry or experience while allowing journalists to spend more time writing and less time sourcing. HAROHARO was originally created as a Facebook group; it’s grown like mad, and now it’s a media services company with over 35,000 journalists and 475,000 source members, making it a vital tool for brands and reporters alike.

The way the system works is once you sign up to become a source for HARO you will start getting emails where Reporters are asking for source information.

On Twitter, HARO can be found at You’ll see urgent HARO requests (#URGHARO) tweeted all the time. That’s one of the main reasons you should follow them. The other reason? They will often tweet helpful and cool industry-related stuff all the time.

On Facebook, HARO can be found at There you can read great stories from sources who have been quoted in the media or reporters who found all of their amazing sources from our service. You can post your own success stories there too.

I just started venturing into HARO, so right now I don’t have any success stories to brag about.

17. Interviews

We were having a little fun here interviewing one of the Sales reps for On Running shoes.

Interviews are a great way to get content and give companies something to link out to.  In this particular case, we went all out with a pro microphone, flag, and prosumer video camera, but realistically you can just have a conversation via Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, Join.Me or any other online platform that allows you to converse online.

Interviews can be in the form of a written email asking questions or over the phone.

The object is to get enough information to make whatever the person is saying more interesting.  You don’t have to be a reporter or an announcer or a professional this or that, you just have to ask engaging questions that hopefully, people will want to read and respond to.

Once you’re done with the interview can send links to the person or company and as always ask for Backlinks.

18. Create A Roundup Product Article Or Post

I absolutely LOVE roundup Articles.  First, they are usually much easier to write, because you’re writing short blurbs about a bunch of different products or services.   I also find them rather fun because you can really focus in on an industry or product line.

Writing Roundup articles is similar to doing a product review except you’re using the Band Wagon concept to get product owners excited to see their products or services listed with others.

I have utilized this concept quite often when my initial product review suggestion has been ignored.  Sometimes you have to write a review on a product before you get it so that you CAN get it.


To give you an example.  I wrote an article on the Top Road Bike Cycling Shoes.  Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful at acquiring any of the shoes before the review, but afterward, I was able to get a few pairs.  Once I had the shoes, I could then write up accompanying articles to help boost the performance of the original.  Also, this increased the odds of backlinks.

The article your reading right now is a great example of a Roundup article.

19. Event Coverage, Expos, And Conferences

The Running Event Austin 2016

Every year here in Austin we attend what is known as “The Running Event”.  We take lots of pictures, get the scoop on new fitness gear and interview lots of companies and oh yeah we walk away with a ton of free swag for reviews.  All this adds up to a lot of exposure both for us and for companies we engage with.

Even small towns have expos and events that people want to know about and link to.

Austin also has a conference known as Pubcon.  I just found out about it this year, but I will certainly be more active about covering it next year.

Talking about Expose and Conferences.

How would you like to go for free or at least at a reduced price?

Well, the little known secret is for many of them you can, that is if you’re going to be covering them as media.

Contact whoever is in charge of media relations and see if they have media passes.  Most often they do and a high percentage of them are free.  Yep, you heard that right FREE.

Going as media allows you to hit multiple avenues of backlink strategies.

  • Product Reviews
  • Interviews
  • Event Coverage
  • Networking (For future Testimonials, Collaboration…)

20 Guest Speaking

The power of one’s voice.  We go to a church here in Austin called Gateway.  Over the summer months, things can get a bit slow.  People are on vacation and the normal pastors need a little break, so the church brings in Guest speakers.  So far each one has been extremely powerful in their presentation and each person has also been promoting a new book they have written.  Not a bad gig.

If you haven’t heard Laurie Short before, take 40 minutes out of your life to listen.

Similar to guest blogging, guest speaking puts you in front of an audience that may or may not know anything about you.  Depending on the speaker and venue there can be a lot of promotion prior to the event.  Often times websites will link out to whoever the guest speaker is, so people can find out more about them.

Now unlike almost all the other link building techniques, public speaking requires you to usually go outside of your comfort zone and actually speak on a subject that hopefully, you know a lot about.  This particular technique isn’t for introverts for sure.

For those who are good at public speaking, think about doing more of it to build your audience and your links.

A great example of a person who many feel is one of the de facto guest speakers on SEO is Matt Cutts and as a result, I am quite certain he doesn’t have any problem getting backlinks.

21 Bonus Become A Sponsor

Sponsorship is always a way to boost your brand awareness.  As a runner, almost every race I have run has had at least 5-10 sponsors.  From big-name companies to small 1 man/1 woman shops.

Every expo and convention I have ever attended has had some type of sponsorship program.

Normally being a sponsor will involve providing either some type of service or payment.  The payback is advertising, name recognition and usually backlinks.