5 Backlink Building Techniques That Actually Work

Chris Tweten5 Jul 2022 • 5 MIN READ

Effective Backlink Building Strategies

Backlinks act as a powerup for your content, so being able to execute on backlink building strategies is key to SEO success. Here’s how it’s done at scale.

While the power and necessity of backlinks is a hotly debated topic in the SEO world, in my mind, backlinks are without a doubt an effective way to rank websites.

In fact, I’m getting sick of the content vs backlinks debate.

So, let’s try to reframe how you think about backlinks and then I’ll get into 5 backlink building techniques I use to get results for clients at scale.

Concept: Think of backlinks as a powerup for your content.

Super Mario backlinks analogy

Sure, it’s easy to beat Mario without powerups, but do they make the game exponentially easier?

Is it more fun to play with powerups?

Do you beat levels faster than without?

Breezing through the game with superpowers is not only the better experience, but it’s also the fastest route to Bowser’s Castle. The same can be said for backlinks. It makes the SEO experience more enjoyable, more effective and you can get results much faster than without.

In reality, backlinks powering up your content looks more like this.

content and backlinks at scale

Over the last year working as a startup CMO, at my old day job and now full-time with Spacebar Collective, I’ve built hundreds of backlinks every month.

I did this using a variety of powerups, including:

  • Guest blogging
  • Niche edits
  • Broken links
  • HARO
  • Leverage

I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I just executed on well-known techniques.

And you can too.

Guest Blogging for Backlinks

Guest blogging is my #1 source of backlinks, by far.

It’s a scalable tactic that is only limited by your ability to:

  1. send outreach emails to webmasters
  2. produce guest blog content

With the right processes in place, it can be the difference between being stuck on page 2 and stealing valuable search real estate from competitors.

In my experience, webmasters work with guest blogs in a fairly binary manner. They either accept guest posts or they don’t. To some degree, it doesn’t really matter how good your pitch is because some people just prefer to do everything in-house. Therefore, it’s your job as a link builder to put time and effort into your prospecting, doing your best to identify websites that are most likely to accept guest posts.

Here are a few ways I like to pitch guest posts from cold emails:

  1. Offer to refresh outdated content for them
  2. Find topics a website logically should rank for but hasn’t covered already
  3. Offer to rewrite an old blog that used to rank or get traffic but doesn’t anymore

Above all else, when pitching guest posts, you want to make sure you’re making the webmaster’s lives easier. No one likes guest posts that require massive amounts of editing or miss the mark with their existing readership.

Niche Edits

Don’t want to drain resources writing guest blogs? No problem!

Run cold outreach to sites asking if you can pay $ to guest blog for them. Yes, you read that right.

If they’re down, ask if you could just insert your link into an existing blog instead. They won’t have to edit or publish new content, but still get paid. You don’t have to write new content, but still get a link.

Here’s a cold email outreach template to give you an idea of how to pitch this:

Subject: Can I submit a guest post to {{companyName}}? Will pay $!

Hey {{firstName}},

This is Chris Tweten, CMO at Spacebar Collective. I was checking out the {{companyName}} blog and loved your content on backlink building strategies.

I noticed you don’t offer your readers any email templates, could I write a guest post with a bunch of the ones I use? Totally understand if this is something you charge a fee for, I’m willing to pay $ for a guest post on your site.

Let me know either way, it’d be good to hear back from you.


Broken Links

Again, I want to reiterate that I’m not reinventing the wheel. Broken link building is a staple of the industry, used by many SEOs for a long time.

The problem I’ve faced with broken link building is that reply rates in email campaigns have been abysmally low. While it seemed like no one was interested in updating their broken links, that just wasn’t the case.

People weren’t interested in updating broken links for old content they stopped caring about. That makes sense, considering they’ve left it with broken links and haven’t noticed or haven’t cared enough to update it themselves.

The solution?

Target websites with broken links in recent content.

Hit up ahrefs and go to the Best By Links section for a site with lots of links.

I used HubSpot for this example.

Now filter by 404s and sort by First Seen. This shows you all the most recent broken links on the site Broken links suck for SEO and suck even more for reader experience, so pitch your resource to replace their broken link and you should earn some backlinks.


Help a Reporter Out is an incredibly competitive place to farm links and it’s only going to get more competitive over time.

So, let’s forget all about pitching among the thousands of SEOs out there.

Sign up as a source instead!

Make a request asking for quotes for an expert roundup blog then ask people whose quotes you include to link back to your site in exchange.

The key to making this tactic work is all in the relationship building. You don’t want to get on bad terms with the HARO platform, as this can get your account banned and your domain blacklisted from being a source. Don’t ask everyone for a backlink, just the ones you genuinely connect with that are most likely to.


Leveraging digital assets like templates and data is by far the most underutilized backlink building strategy out there

How can you provide value to others in a way that’s straightforward and quick?

Let’s go back to that broken link strategy as an example. Do you think HubSpot would find value in knowing ALL their recent broken links? You know, instead of just the one you want to replace?

Offer them the whole spreadsheet and ask for a link back in exchange.

Backlink Building at Scale

Want to learn more backlink building strategies?

I’m teaching a cohort-based course on backlink building.

backlink building at scale