Never again will you have to point an SEO newbie to multiple pages on the Web to learn link building. Just point them here, tell them to read up, and they’ll be an expert in no time (OK, maybe not an expert, but they’ll know a ton more).
Like my link building strategies post, this is a work in progress, and the reason I made it is because there isn’t any definitive list of link building resources on the Web that can stand the test of time. I’m here to change that.
There are a few outstanding link building blogs that regularly publish great content. Here’s each of them & their RSS feeds.
Outside of these, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Distilled, Wordstream, White.net, Hobo Web, and Wordtracker all provide link building content, but not exclusively like the majority of the blogs listed above.
After spending hours upon hours searching for the best link building content for beginners, I only feel comfortable recommending these three.
What Is Link Building? Strategies & Examples – This is Chapter 7 in the SEOmoz beginner’s guide to SEO. This is a must read for anyone new to link building.
Clockwork Pirate (NOTE: this is now a bit outdated) – This is a free ebook by Kelvin Newman that completely covers every aspect of link building. Even if you’re an experienced link builder, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy.
Note: Since this post was published, I released my link building training course. I created it so I could point all beginners (and even experts) to one place!
There are many strategies out there that are used to acquire links. Here are a couple evergreen lists that you can constantly reference.
Link Building Strategies – The Complete List – I created this because I wanted every single link building strategy ever thought of in one place. I highly suggest bookmarking this for future reference.
101 Ways to Build Link Popularity – Created in 2006, this post has stood the test of time. Although I encompass just about all of the strategies listed here in the above post, it’s still worth mentioning because of how much this list has contributed to the SEO community.
131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies – This is the original link building strategies list. Although severely outdated, this is a landmark post you’ll come across regardless if I listed it here or not.
Link Building Strategies for Smaller Brands in a Competitive Space – Although this isn’t a comprehensive list like any of the ones above, I listed this hear because chances are you’re having trouble competing with some of the bigger brands in your industry, and that’s where this post by Jason Acidre can help.
Here’s a list of link building tools for every step of the process. I know there are a ton out there, but these are the ones I’ve found to be the most helpful.
Open Site Explorer – This is my favorite provider because of the metrics that go along with each link. As a word of caution, this post shows that OSE only indexes in some cases about 2-3% of the inbound links a website has.
Majestic SEO – This is another backlink data provider that’s quite reliable. Majestic has both a fresh & historic index, as well as many other cool features. Also as a word of caution, the afore mentioned post on backlink data providers show that up to 80% of Majestic’s data is link rot.
Link Research Tools – Although it does a lot more than just backlink data, this is another tool that’s gotten streaming reviews in the past few months. Since I haven’t really used it, here’s a relatively recent review.
Ahrefs – This is the next kid on the block for backlink data. It’s fairly promising, but it still has some work to do. Once again, see how it matched up with the others in the afore mentioned comparison post.
Blekko – There’s no way I wasn’t going to mention Blekko, which is by far my favorite search engine (I even have a Blekko t-shirt!). By clicking “seo” under a result, you can see the backlinks to it & how it matches up with the competition. If only Google did this… Also – here’s a cool use of this tool to analyze directories.
Buzzstream – This is my favorite CRM when it comes to building links. I don’t recommend it for one-off campaigns like broken link building, but if you’re an in-house or if you spend a lot of time with fewer clients, Buzzstream is essential. You can also use it to prospect.
Tout App – This email productivity tool integrates right into Gmail, and you can also sync it with whatever CRM you’re using. In a nutshell, it saves you a lot of time during the outreach process, and it lets you see a lot of awesome analytics such as your open rates.
Raven Tools – Although I personally don’t use it very often, most of the link builders I talk with only have good things to say about Raven’s toolset. You can use it to find contacts, manage existing links, and a whole lot more.
Ontolo – Hands down, this is in my opinion the best tool for prospecting. There’s so much you can do with this toolset it’s insane. You won’t instantly find prospects (plugin your queries and come back tomorrow), but it’s still quite an awesome tool.
Solo SEO’s Link Search Tool – Just type in a keyword any you’ll have a massive list of prospecting queries.
Domain Hunter Plus – I like to call this one the broken link checker of the future. Although it doesn’t check links as fast as CML, you can quickly see how many links that broken URL has, download those links as a CSV, and you can check to see if those domains are abandoned. I did an in depth review here.
Wayback Machine – Just drag that link to your bookmark section, and when ever you get to a broken URL, hit that bookmarklet so you can see what used to be there.
Google Cache – When you hit this, you’ll see what the page looked like when it was last cached by Google. I’m mainly concerned with when the last time the page was cached (if it was cached).
Mechanical Turk – Outsourcing some of the tedious process of link building is also another time saver. Mechanical Turk is Amazon’s cheap labor force that’s great for this. Here’s a great post on using it for link building.
Elance – I personally don’t use Elance, but I know a few link builders who use it a lot.
Excel – It’s not exclusively a link building tool, but I can guarantee you you’ll spend more time with Excel than a lot of the tools listed here.
Screaming Frog – This is a link audit tool that you can use to quickly spider a site. For link builders, you can see broken links on all pages of a site, and not only just one page if you were to use CML or DHP.
SEER’s SEO Toolbox – This is a mashup of APIs in Google Docs that allows you to get data on pretty much anything you need. Hat tip to Chris Le for this.
Outdated Content Finder – Bill Sebald created this outstanding tool for finding outdated content. What for, you ask? So you can reach out to the writers & help them update any misinformation (and get a link in the process!). Here’s a walkthrough of it.
URL Profiler – desktop application (both for Windows & Mac) to grab metrics for a set of URLs. You can connect APIs to grab PR, Ahrefs, Majestic, Mozscape, and a few other data points.
In order to build links, you have to find the opportunities in the first place. Here are some of the top link prospecting posts from around the Web.
9 Actionable Tips for Link Prospecting – If you’re new to prospecting, this post written by Paul Rogers is a great place to start.
Beginner’s Guide to Link Prospecting Using Google Search – One of the most used tools for link prospecting is Google itself. Here’s a great guide to Google prospecting written by Garrett French.
21 Link Builders Share Advanced Link Building Queries – Once you’ve got the basics down, here’s a great list of link building queries from some of the best link builders out there.
Using Blogrolls to Expand your Link Prospecting Lists – Before you dive into some hardcore link prospecting, know that someone has already done a lot of the work for you. Paul May writes about taking advantage of blogrolls for prospecting.
Link Prospecting with Twitter Tools & APIs – Twitter is a fantastic place to do some social prospecting. In this post John Doherty lays out the entire process from start to finish.
Link Building Query Theory: 7 Crucial Keyword Types – This is a great reference for queries if you ever get stuck.
Outreach is the process that separates the boys from the men. These posts will help you with scale the process, build relationships, and obtain a high success rate.
Content-based Outreach for Link Building – This goes down in my book as one of the greatest link building posts of all time. Justin Briggs lays out the entire process of doing manual outreach with your content.
Throw Away Your Form Letters (or Five Principles to Better Outreach Link Building) – This should be your head to toe guide you reference whenever you’re doing outreach. If you implement the 5 principles outlined here by Michael King, I guarantee your success rates will go up.
A Linkbuilder’s Gmail Productivity Setup (with Outreach Emails from 4 Industry Linkbuilders) – Gmail is one of the most scalable email platforms to conduct outreach from. John Doherty kills it with this one, and he even got example emails from 4 top-notch link builders.
Linker Outreach: A Method for Social and Editorial Link Building – By using social sites like Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Google+ you can conduct outreach in an entirely new way. Jason Acidre tells you how to identify who’s shared similar content so you can let them know about yours.
Putting Guest Post Outreach Theories to the Test [With Some Real World Data] – All link builders aside, data is the best teacher. James Agate, who sampled 400 guest posts, shows us what works & what doesn’t when conducting guest blog outreach.
Everything I Know About Effective Blogger Outreach – This post, written by Marcus Taylor, does a great job of summing up some of the most essential factors to success during the outreach process.
Infographic Clean-up as Link Building Outreach – Creating infographics for outreach is a popular strategy that can be highly successful – if you do it right. Oliver Mason walks us through the process from start to finish.
10 Outreach Best Practices That Separate Success From Failure – this post by Ross Hudgens goes through mostly the smaller details of outreach. A lot of these might sound insignificant, but they can make a world of a difference as coming off as real.
There are a lot more awesome link building resources than those that fit into the categories above. Here are some posts from around the Web that are just outright awesome.
Please Exit the Link Building – So much link awesomeness (yeah, I just used that word) in one post. If you want to be great at link building, you absolutely need to read this post by Ross Hudgens.
60 free press release sites tested – a detailed review – This is an awesome in-depth review of free press release sites and their effectiveness. This is definitely worth bookmarking.
Guide to Link Building for Ecommerce – If you build links for an ecommerce site, you should print this out and tape it on your wall.
24 SEO Experts Discuss Links vs. Tweets – This is an awesome discussion with some of the top industry experts about the future of links & social signals.
Link Building with the Experts – 2012 Edition – Every year Rae Hoffman does a “with the experts” post on link building. This is the latest edition.
10 Super Easy SEO Copywriting Tips for Improved Link Building – Whether you realize it or not, copywriting plays a huge role in attracting links from other blogs. If you put out content on a weekly basis, make sure you memorize each of these 10 tips by Cyrus Shepard.
15 Sites That Help You Use Your Twitter Profile for Link Building – Kristi Hines does a great job showing us how to get 15 easy links with Twitter.
4 Steps to Executing A CRO Approved Link Building Campaign – If you’re having trouble with outreach success rates, you might want to check out the process I go through to make sure they’re as high as possible.
Utilizing Second Tier Link Building for Massive ROI – Building links to your links is not only advantageous for link building, but it’s also a reputation management & sales strategy.
Which Type of Link Anchor Text is the Most Effective? [An Experiment] – I wish we saw more experiments like this. James Agate tested 3 sites by building links with exact, partial, and non-keyword anchor texts. You better check out the results yourself.
What Happens When You Build 10,000 Dodgy Links to a New Domain in 24 Hours? – This is a really cool experiment (two awesome experiments in a row?!) on spammy link building to brand new sites. It’s quite interesting what Marcus Taylor found.
What Makes an Effective Link Builder – Even though I include a presentation below with the same title and by the same person (Justin Briggs), this is still definitely worth noting. These are the characteristics of an effective link builder.
Screaming Frog Guide to Doing Almost Anything – Screaming Frog is a massively powerful tool, which is why this detailed review of just about everything you can do with Screaming Frog (including for link building purposes!) is extremely helpful.
The Broken Link Building Bible – broken link building is one of the best tactics in the game right now, and luckily for us, Russ Jones walks us through every step of the process.
Broken Link Building Bible: The New Testament – this follow up post to the above, also by Russ Jones, highlights a lot of advanced techniques for both prospecting & outreach.
The Most Creative Link Building Post Ever – I had a chance to ask over 50 SEOs one question, “What was the most creative way you, or someone you know, got a link?” The responses are well worth your time reading.
Forum Participation Rubric for Ecommerce Link Building – Getting links in forums goes beyond rankings; we’re talking revenue now. Don Rhoades walks us through how to properly participate in forums to get links to money pages as well as generate passive revenue.
Creative Link Building for Ecommerce Sites – Having trouble figuring out how to use your products & content to get links? Well, Stephanie Chang has you covered. See how others are building links in really creative ways.
Unmissable Local Link Building Opportunities – James Agate breaks down some head smacking local link opportunities, making life for local businesses quite easy.
The Complete Guide to Link Building with Local Events – Who knew local events could score you such great links? Kane Jamison knew, and he talks about each & everything you need to know when creating local events for links.
33 Links & How to Get Them – Justin Briggs and his team at Big Fish are killing it, and he was willing to show exactly how they got these particular 33 awesome links.
92 Ways to Get (And Maximize) Press Coverage – PR can be awesome for link building; who wouldn’t want a link from the Wall Street Journal? Chris Winfield walks us through each & every thing you need to know when trying to get covered by the press.
How to Get Major Media Coverage for Your Business with No Connections – Derek Halpern walks us through what he calls the ‘drafting technique’, in which you get coverage from those journalists who’ve already covered (and shown interest in) your competition.
The Ultimate Guide to Scrapebox SEO – Jacob King wrote an extensive walkthrough of each feature of Scrapebox and you can use it for link building purposes.
Interview with @PointBlankSEO from Kwasi Studios – I hate to tout myself, but this was a very well done interview by Woj Kwasi, and thought I shared a few interesting tips.
Here are some of the top link building videos from around the Web.
Wil Reynolds’ Youtube Channel – At the time I’m writing this Wil has over 60 videos uploaded on YouTube. I’ve watched every single one of them (yes, they’re that good), and I suggest you do the same.
Scalable Link Building Using Social Media – One of my all time favorite Whiteboard Friday’s, this video by Mike King takes us through using social media to scale your link building efforts.
Outreach for Linkbuilding – Tom Critchlow walks us through some of the steps he takes when conducting outreach.
Scaling Link Building – Ross Hudgens & Tom Critchlow talk about scaling link building & getting the right team working underneath you.
Link building strategies: Video from SEMPDX – Ian Lurie walks us through some link opportunities you already have. You’ll also get a few laughs while watching.
Using Email to Build Links – It was inevitable that Rand was going to appear in a video on this list. Find out how to build links through email (if you’re wondering, this isn’t the traditional outreach we usually talk about).
If you missed one of these presentations in person, you can always check them out on Slideshare.
Creating A Link Building Machine – If you have each of the characteristics listed here by Ross Hudgens, you win at link building.
Past, Present & Future of Personas in Search – Personas are essential to understanding your audience. That’s why Mike King broke down the process to finding them with this presentation.
Key Linkbuilding Strategies for 2012 – Patrick Altoft outlines some of the important aspects of link building we need to be focusing on this year.
Link building mistakes 2011 – Learning from mistakes is the most valuable thing you can do. When someone else makes them before you, though, it saves you the pain. Wil Reynolds shows us some mistakes that he’s made and possibly we’re making right now.
Effective Link Building – This is one of my favorite presentations because it preaches hustle. Justin Briggs kills it with this one.
500 Writers/Editors Reveal What They Look for in a Pitch – Great research from BuzzStream on outreach.
LinkMoses Private – This is Eric Ward’s link building newsletter. It’s $8/month, but there’s enough value in there to make it well worth it.
Point Blank SEO newsletter – I’m only including this because of Sean’s testimonial on my Build Links, Fight Cancer post. I send out new strategies, tips, and opportunities each month. You can use the form below my author box to signup.
94 Easy Ways to Learn SEO – Although it’s not exclusively link building, I recommend everyone to take a look at this.
Paddy Moogan’s Link Building Book – this is a super comprehensive resource to building links, and Paddy is currently only selling it for $37. My favorite part is the case studies section.
Ultimate Guide to Link Building – Eric Ward, Garrett French, and yes, even me! (but mostly them two) put together the first book in print on the topic.
ClickMinded SEO Course – more than just link building, but a training course that will give you a solid foundation in SEO, written by Tommy Griffith.
I want to hear what you guys have to say. Is there a resource missing that should be up there? Let me know in the comments, but before you do, give me a reason why it should be up there, and make sure it doesn’t overlap with any of the resources above (i.e. dont recommend another infographic link building outreach post).