3 Link Building Tactics you can use to Gain Large Volumes of Legitimate Links for your Website

Any website needs a good base of links to be competitive in the SERPs. But building large volumes of links can be difficult and daunting, especially if you only deploy traditional tactics. What’s more, some methods of bulk link building can be dangerous and detrimental.

There are however, ways to do it right, and in this blog I will share a few easy methods you can use to acquire large volumes of legitimate links while staying within Google’s guidelines.

Introduction

Consider the following questions: Would you prefer to get a steady, but smaller, volume of links using well-known ‘safe’ and ‘traditional’ processes? Or would you prefer to try alternative ways to deliver a significant volume of good and still legitimate links?

In theory, the latter sounds the better option, but for many SEOs who read about bulk link building and/or follow traditional practices, the line ‘deliver a significant volume of good and still legitimate links’ can arouse suspicion.

On top of this, not using traditional methods can mean having to change your link building mindset completely, forcing you to look beyond your immediate scope of work to those that have nothing to do with SEO – which can again be a concern for many.

Help is at hand though, as in this post I will talk you through how you can change your link building mindset and expand beyond the traditional ways and means to gain large volumes of quality – and indeed legitimate – links.

Bulk Link Building: What Not to Do

Most blogs that discuss this topic will tell you that ‘bulk’ link building no longer works and will earn your website one way ticket to penalty land.

Well, this blog is no exception as this is absolutely true – if you participate in shady schemes and use dodgy techniques like:

  • Buying or selling links.
  • Directory submissions.
  • Excessive link exchanges.
  • Large-scale article marketing, guest posting or blog commenting.
  • Building sharable widgets which include backlinks to your site.
  • Putting and then hiding links to your site on other websites (in other words hacking them!).

Now you know what not to do, the flipside to all this is that ‘bulk’ link building can work if you use techniques that don’t break Google’s rules.

The Benefits of Large Link Numbers

Before I take you through my 3 approaches, here’s a quick reminder of some of the link building basics – which you may or may not be using already – and a little more detail around why your site can benefit from a bulk load of links.

At the moment, it might be that your link building consists of the following:

  • Reclaiming broken links.
  • Turning brand mentions into links.
  • Finding competitors links and try to replicate them.
  • Using content marketing assets to earn earn links.
  • Making your PR completely SEO-focused to secure more links.
  • Utilising social shares for link building.

All of these activities are relevant and should form part of a solid link acquisition campaign. But, these tactics have their limits and are unlikely to gain large numbers of links.

Simply put, with these techniques alone, your website may struggle to make a real impact, especially if the link base of your competitors’ sites are vastly stronger and much larger in number. The following image can give you a good visual representation:

link base of your competitors’ sites are vastly stronger

So what can you do about all this to help your site get back among the competition?

Below I will walk you through 3 bulk link building methods I have used before and have found to be particularly effective. You should be aware though that the methods I recommend may be completely different to what you’re used to and might require you to explore beyond your immediate area of expertise.

1. Using Charity Activities, Corporate Responsibility Projects and Offline Campaigns

Example 1

To show you what I mean with this approach, I’ll start with an example of how this could have been used for a client of mine in the property sector.

The client is a large, residential property building company in the UK, which consists of 30 regional companies – our primary point of contact was their Group Marketing Team.

Before I came across this link building opportunity, I attended one of their major sales events and got talking with their Corporate Communications Team. I learned about a charity programme they were already in the process of starting, called ‘Influencing Communities: Charity House Competition’.

They explained that this involved inviting local UK charities to nominate themselves to win a £250,000 house. Each one of the client’s 30 regional companies would choose 1 charity to represent it. All 30 charities would then go through to an online public vote to pick a winner and the 29 runners up would get £5,000 each.

Their campaign plan was:

  • Campaign launch, with nominations invited nationwide.
  • Regional companies shortlist their top 10.
  • Regional companies, decide their top 3.
  • A group charity panel decide the final 30.
  • The 30 charities are announced.
  • The public vote opens and runs for a few weeks.
  • The winner is announced at a luncheon in fabulous venue.

Those of you who are SEOs can probably already see some of the missed link building opportunities that I saw straight away.

Let me walk you through how this program could have run to include bulk link building and to greatly benefit the client’s website.

  1. Campaign launch, with nominations invited nationwide.
    • Create an informative hub explaining rules of the program, time plan and tips on how to nominate a charity.
    • House the hub on the main domain, ideally in a sub-folder
      www.mywebsite.com/charity-house
    • Ensure corporate PR and third-party PR agencies who work for the regions promote the hub while promoting the campaign itself across the UK in traditional and online media.
    • Charities asked to complete an online form and provide links to all of their web properties and social assets to nominate themselves.
  2. Regional companies shortlist their top 10.
    • Supply nominees with promotional pack (30 regions x 10 most worthy charities = 300 organisations with good domain authority websites, social channels, PR and huge following).
    • Announce the shortlist to 300 charities and provide them with promotional assets to push out to their huge communities – approximately 15,000 supporters with good domain authority websites and social channels.
    • Release a map of the UK showing all shortlisted charities and heatmaps of supporters.
    • Announce the shortlist to regional press publications and feature a link to the hub with high-resolution assets.
  3. Regional companies, decide their top 3.
    • 30 regions whittle down to 3 shortlisted charities with the help of a local opinion formers (police chiefs etc. who also have access to amazing domains, .gov, .nhs, .ac.uk etc.).
    • Another wave of stories to regional press and push to the community.
  4. A group charity panel decide the final 30, these are announced and the public vote opens and runs for a few weeks.
    • Public vote to select the winner from the final 30 charities starts. The vote is hosted on the website domain in a sub-folder. The vote runs for 6 weeks.
    • Vote boxes are embedded into regional pages on the website, driving backlinks to pages that need it.
    • There’s a live vote heatmap and a league table of votes.
    • Announce the public vote to national and regional press titles.
  5. The winner is announced at a luncheon in fabulous venue
    • Winner and runners up continue to be showcased.
    • We follow up success stories and further outreach.

This charity programme could have been an impressive bulk link building campaign. Instead, it ran with with a moderate success and generated no links.

Example 2

A year later the same client ran another charity program of a similar scale. Grassroots sports clubs were invited to nominate themselves to win £500,000.

This time, I helped to steer the campaign which ended up acquiring a huge volume of links.

campaign which ended up acquiring a huge volume of links

These Ahrefs graphs below show the spike in referring domains and referring pages:

spike in referring domains

Several days of SEO consultancy and an open mind around exploring link building opportunities is all it took, and no Google guidelines were broken!

high authority domains

2. Using the Activities of all the Departments in your Organisation for Link Building Opportunities

For this example I’ll use another client in the property sector that I worked with. The client is also a large, residential house building company with approximately 400 developments.

I spotted this missed link building opportunity when I got involved in a small property development project. What I learned by doing this was that when a property developer applies for planning, they are required to run public consultation events and maintain public information portals which must be publicly advertised.

So, because the client has approximately 400 developments and all of them go through planning, there would be microsites of some form in place that would probably be maintained and updated by the architects. With this particular client though, the Group Marketing Team were not in the same building as Planning Team, so their work didn’t cross over and no one could give me a definitive answer.

I asked if I could speak with a Planner to learn more… it turned out I was right!

It became apparent to me that the Planners in individual regions were creating ‘planning consultation’ websites themselves using free website platforms. However, I was also acutely aware that these sites tend to be poor quality, not on brand and hosted on different domains. All these aspects would not only be detrimental to the client’s brand but would also miss link building opportunities.

Looking beyond the brand issues though, the link opportunities here come from when a planning application is submitted. This is because it then sparks many conversations in local press, residents’ associate websites, local NHS trusts, news sections, schools’ websites etc.. These conversations can be both positive and negative and almost always link back to the planning website.

Here’s an example of pages which mention and link back to just one such microsite:

link back to just one such microsite

The domain authority of linking websites is also usually very high.

BBC site

881 results x 400 developments = 352,400 brand mentions and backlinks, which are already there but they have just been completely missed.

Links missed

The simplest solution here to gain the benefit of all these links would be to house these microsites on the main domain, in a sub-folders, for example: www.mysite.com/planning/sunnyside

Then hey presto, instant links!

3. Your PR Activity

Your PR activity can be a great source for large volumes of links and there are thousands of ways to do this with only a few limitations. After 14 years in a digital agency working on numerous campaigns in collaboration with PR agencies and PR consultants, I believe PR can, and should be, working for your SEO strategy, at no detriment to the traditions and values of your PR objectives.

To back this point up, I will walk you through a small PR campaign which could so easily have missed link building opportunities, but luckily didn’t.

‘Inspirational Generation’ was a PR campaign we worked on for a retirement property developer involving a competition to recognise and reward inspirational people aged 60 and over.

A few hours of work was all it took to earn 38 good quality backlinks from 18 referring domains, plus a huge social and PR footprint thanks to the efforts of PR agency.

We created an ‘inspirational hub’, which consisted of a landing page that explained the competition and included an application form. The hub evolved between the different stages of the competition to showcase the semi-finalists, finalists, the eventual winners and their stories.

Most of the changes to the hub were doable within the CMS and we just need to coordinate our efforts with the client’s PR agency to ensure all their press releases directed readers to the application form. Naturally, many publications removed the link before publishing press releases, but a good percentage of links stayed, purely because the story wasn’t as clear without it.

Final Thoughts and Ways to Secure Additional Support

It might be tempting to continue building links in a steady and ‘safe’ way, but if you don’t think about giving other approaches a try, it might mean you never catch up with your competition. Make the most of the examples I’ve given you (where possible) with your website and you could soon see your site’s digital presence vastly improve.

If you feel you need extra help with your initial link building then good ‘safe’ agencies can build and promote your content, provide you with solid advice and earn good links.

challenge the norm and look beyond SEO scope of work

However, to return to a key point from this post, if you have 10 links and your competitor has 1,000, you could spend years – even with extra agency support – and get nowhere.

With this, I’d always recommend that you look for the agency who will challenge the norm and look beyond their scope of work by considering other link building approaches like the 3 I’ve listed in this post.

I hope this piece has been a useful source of information for you if you’re looking for ways to get large volumes of links fast. If you have any thoughts, questions or feedback then please let me know in the comments below.

Polly Pospelova

About Polly Pospelova

Polly Pospelova is a passionate online marketing professional who thrives on delivering unique value-driven search solutions. As well as managing Delete agency’s natural and paid search teams, Polly works closely with both technical developers and UX specialists to maximise customer experience, customer engagement and conversions.