Do you want to boost your rankings? Are you wondering which backlink strategies will offer the biggest return?

In this article, you'll discover how to build links in 2020 while improving your content's authority and rankings. 

Before we get to that, though, let me tell you a little backstory. It will help you understand why certain link building strategies still work, while others have completely lost their effect.

In fact, it will tell you exactly where to look for new backlink opportunities!

A Backstory on Backlinks

A couple of weeks ago, a client shared their concerns about building backlinks.

He read various online content about link building that left him only short of being confused.

I mean it. Having read all this content, this client could no longer tell where to look for new links, and how to build them. 

This, however, comes as no surprise. From what I could see, a lot of the advice he found revolved around relentlessly scouting the web to find new backlink opportunities. All while most of the information is actually hiding in your existing website data.

Note: If you are just getting started with backlink implementation and optimization like the client above, start with our primer on backlinks, What are Backlinks and How Do They Work?. This is a great primer on backlinks to get you started before you dig deep.

Link Building Today

Contrary to many comments you may have found online, link building never died. What's more, links continue to remain as one of the strongest ranking signals. 

As a matter of fact, with all other factors - content and technical SEO - being equal, a website with a stronger link profile will always rank higher.

But link building has, however, become extremely difficult, time consuming and highly resource intensive. Acquiring quality links is not an easy task when you have to approach someone out of the blue and pursue them to link to your site.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome this challenge. 

First, many great backlink strategies revolve around your exiting link profile. Needless to say, reaching out to someone who is already linking to you is much easier than research new partner sites to get the link from.

Other strategies you'll find in this post require more effort and resources, sadly. Yet they can still generate wonderful backlinks to drive up your rankings. 

So, without any further ado, here are the best backlink strategies to help you rank higher.


9 Backlinks Strategies to Boost Rankings in 2020 

A quick note before we begin: I've organized these backlink strategies into two groups. The first four strategies below will help you find new links in your existing link profile. Strategies five to nine, allow you to expand your link profile with new mentions and backlinks. I've included links to each strategy's section below for easy navigation.

Find New Links in Your Existing Link Profile Expand Your Link Profile With New Mentions & Backlinks


#1. Reclaim Lost Links

As your website evolves, pages get deleted, moved and URLs can change. Unless you correctly redirect those assets to updated versions or other relevant sections of the site, any external links pointing to them lose their value.

The result - lost link equity.

Good news is that the solution is simple - once you identify those broken pages, the link reclamation process at this stage is to ideally send the linking site owner a short email with the update URL to re-capture the value of those links.

  • View your existing links by the target pages by URL status. Here’s the quick report in seoClarity’s Link Clarity:
  • Focus on URLs with 4xx status, denoting that for some reason; browsers can no longer access the page.
  • Identify which of those broken pages receive any backlinks and fix to redirect to the appropriate page.
  • Depending on the number of those pages, I recommend you prioritize those with the highest Flow Metrics first. This way you can ensure the most important links will get re-captured first.

Here’s an example of a page with significant link equity that got lost due to a 403 status.

Link Clarity Link Status Example

(Screenshot from seoClarity’s Link Clarity)

Recommended Reading: Link Profile Analysis: How to Maintain a Clean Backlink Profile


#2. Change NoFollow Links Into DoFollow Links

A natural link building profile should have mixture of DoFollow and NoFollow links. Your aim here should be to increase the amount of DoFollow links to 70% to 75% and take the NoFollow link ratio below 25%.

As per the new Google guidelines, this is going to be challenging as many websites prefer to offer nofollow links. But there is no harm to reach out to the stronger, more quality site that is linking you. It is always worth asking them to change it from nofollow to dofollow link.

View your existing links by the target pages that have nofollow links. Here’s the quick report in seoClarity’s Link Clarity


#3. Add an Alt Attribute to Image Links

A link from image is fine, but an image without an alt text tag is not help for Googlebot. Search engines and other robots cannot interpret images with the alt text, but images can still play a crucial part in how people interpret a particular web page. Alt tags solve for this by providing text which search engines read to understand their value. 

These are easy to find using the filter in Link Clarity.

Link Clarity Filter By Image Links

#4. Monitor for Lost Links

There’s a good chance that current sites have that did link to your site, brand or company, but for whatever reason, they dropped the link. This could be a conscious change or possibly the site dropped that page. Prioritize the lost links from highly authoritative sites and reach out to them and reclaim those links. It might negatively impact your site.

It's also important actively monitor the anchor text and to make sure there wasn't a change from a current dofollow link to a nofollow link. 


#5. Reclaim Unlinked Brand Mentions

One of the things any enterprise brand is rarely short of is press coverage. Either their products, recent developments or news get referenced online often. However, not all of those references would include link back to the company's site. 

Reclaiming those unlinked brand mentions is the basis for this strategy. 

Using your brand monitoring tool of choice, review brand mentions to identify the ones missing a link. 

From them on, the process revolves around conducting outreach to those publications, asking to update the page with relevant link so that their readers could learn more about the company. 

PRO TIP: This strategy works equally well on name mentions. Instead of brand mentions, however, look for online mentions of key people from the company, and identify pages that miss a backlink. 

Recommended Reading: Want to Earn High-Quality Backlinks? Here’s What You Need to Know.

#6. Publish Linkable Assets

Anyone actively building links will agree that it's much simpler to earn a link than to build it.

But how do you earn links to your content? You design it to be linkable. 

Linkable assets are pages that offer information other people will find worthy of referencing in their content. The most common examples include:

  • Proprietary research other content creators could cite in their work, or
  • Collections of stats, like this page from Hubspot that collected over 9000 backlinks to date. 


#7. Build Free Tools

A free tool can generate buzz about the company, and help it acquire organic, white-hat links in the process too. 

Sumo's Kickass Headline Generator earned the company links from 237 unique domains last year alone. 

For it to bear fruit, this backlink strategy requires additional PR push to spread the word on the free tool. You must ensure that people who could link to it will know the tool even exists, after all.

This can be done in many ways - through personal outreach to bloggers, submitting the tool to ProductHunt, mentioning it online on Quora and various online forums, and more. 

Speaking of free tools, seoClarity recently introduced our latest free tool, Schema Builder, a Chrome plugin that allows users to add structured data easily, without the need for a web developer.

Its point-and-click functionality generates perfect schema markup for any webpage in mere minutes. We dare you to try it and join our community of users who are loving this free solution to solving their schema challenges.

Download Schema Builder

#8. Guest Post on Top Sites

SEOs have different opinions on guest posting, and rightly so.

Post on low quality sites that exist purely to generate low-quality content, and the strategy can be easily seen as spam.

However, publishing opinions and advice on reputable sites in the industry is a great way to keep the brand fresh in the customers' minds, and generate backlinks to various content pieces. 

The downside to this strategy is that it requires a lot of effort to deliver results. You have to identify potential guest posting opportunities, reach out to those sites and pitch your ideas, create the content, and manage the process until publication. 

#9. Product Reviews 

This strategy is ideal if you want to build links to product or other money pages. These assets aren't very link-worthy, typically, with not many publications wanting to include such references in their content. 

The situation is different with product reviews, however. In such instance, reviewers will almost always link to a reviewed product, to allow their audience learn more about it, and purchase it, if they wish to do so. 

I admit that this might be a bit more costly strategy, requiring to send free samples of the product to selected bloggers or publications. 

However, if you struggle to build links to money pages, then, acquiring product reviews offer the biggest opportunity to overcome this. 


Closing Thoughts

It’s only natural to launch any link building strategy by looking for new backlink opportunities outside of your site. However, internal data about existing links as well as site’s performance helps to gain focus and clarity to identify the best potential links to create.

The best opportunity for sites is evaluate existing data first for insights, before scouting the web for new linking partners.