There is no such thing as white hat link-building — they said.
Well, I'm here to prove them wrong.
I've over 5 years of experience in building white hat backlinks.
And in this article, I'll share with you the 15 white hat link-building strategies that still work in 2024.
No fluff, no BS. Just real, actionable tactics.
White hat link-building is all about promoting your content in a way that naturally attracts backlinks.
Instead of participating in grey hat o black hat link schemes to trick the search engine algorithm into thinking that your content is valuable, you just create something that is truly valuable and promote it.
This way, you'll be on the good side of Google, and if your content is really helpful, you'll earn way more high-quality backlinks than any other link-building tactic.
The difference between white hat and black hat link-building is that while white hat focuses on creating linkable assets that attract backlinks naturally, black hat link-building is all about exploiting search engines algorithms.
For example, through testing, we discovered that a backlink from an established page with plenty of backlinks is more powerful than a link from a new page.
A white hat approach would be contacting the website owner and asking them to add our amazing infographic to their page.
A black hat approach, however, would be building a link on a high-quality website (tier 1), and then building many powerful, low-quality links usually from private blog networks (PBNs) to that page to power it up (tier 2s) in a tactic known as tiered link building.
Both link-building techniques will result in higher search engine rankings.
But the black hat one is easier to implement and, most importantly, scale.
It's already hard enough to find one powerful page to get high-quality links from, now imagine trying to find 50 or 60 of those pages.
That's why many Search Engine Optimization pros nowadays are using a combination of black hat and white hat strategies to get the best of both worlds.
Have you ever stumbled across a piece of research or data online and thought, “Wow, that's intriguing!”?
Well, that's the power of publishing original data.
Articles containing original research are often quoted, shared, and referred to.
This won't only get you tens of relevant links but also strengthen your position as a thought leader in your industry.
One person who uses this technique exceptionally well is Brain Dean from Backlinko.
By producing original, helpful guides, he managed to get over 400,000 backlinks.
Now, I know what you're thinking — “I don't have the resources to pull this off.”
Well, you don't need to break the bank to conduct groundbreaking studies.
Look at Brian's Google ranking factors guide.
It's simply a list of 200 factors.
Yes, it's very well written, and took him god knows how many hours to put it together.
But this list alone earned over 7,000 backlinks from other websites.
And it continues to get more links — even though it was published in 2017.
So, how do you find ideas for your data-centric content?
Start by looking around in your niche.
What are the questions people are constantly asking? What are the gaps in the existing data? Maybe there's a trending topic that hasn't been explored in depth.
Forums, social media discussions, and even customer feedback can also be goldmines for such ideas.
Agency Tip: Use ahrefs Content Explorer to find articles that have plenty of backlinks and create a better version of that.
Public Relations campaigns sound expensive, scary, and hard to do.
But trust me when I tell you that it's actually easier than you might imagine.
At its core, PR is about telling a story that grabs attention and clicks.
You just need to have something interesting enough.
Enters data studies.
Data studies make perfect PR magnets.
They're compelling, turn heads, and spark conversations.
And the best part is that it's pretty easy to gather data as a digital marketer.
How? By conducting surveys.
Start by brainstorming some study ideas that are relevant to your niche.
Ask ChatGPT, take inspiration from other studies that gained traction, or just scour through the current trends and see how you can align them to your industry.
Next, craft a short, simple survey using platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.
Send the survey to your email subscribers, use social media groups, engage in forums, buy ad space, or use any other tactic to reach people.
Encourage them to take your survey by offering giveaways — gift cards work really well in that case.
Now, once you get the data, it's time to craft a killer press release.
Turn your data into a story. Highlight key findings, add visuals (people love charts and graphs), and most importantly, make it readable.
Finally, find publications and media outlets that align with your niche.
A great way to do so is to look for journalists who recently showed interest in something similar to your study.
You've probably heard of HARO (Help A Reporter Out), right?
It's like a matchmaker for journalists and sources.
Journalists post queries looking for specific information or expert opinions for their stories.
You, as a savvy content creator or business owner, can respond to these requests.
If your pitch is on point, boom — you're in their story.
It's a win-win.
You provide valuable insights, and in return, you get a mention, often with a coveted backlink.
But wait, there's more!
HARO isn't the only player in town.
There are alternatives like SourceBottle and ProfNet.
They work similarly, offering you more opportunities to shine in the media spotlight.
We have a full guide on how to use HARO and its alternatives for link building, make sure to check it out.
Ever scrolled through a lengthy article and wished for something a bit more... visual?
Well, that's the point of infographics.
Infographics are powerful tools for conveying complex information in a digestible, shareable format.
And the best part?
They're phenomenal for earning backlinks.
Turn your articles into infographics and promote the hell out of it.
It really doesn't get any easier!
Agency Tip 1: Submit your infographics to free image websites. Every now and then, use Google Image search to find websites using your infographic without crediting you and ask them for a link.
Agency Tip 2: Reach out to your competitors and offer to create an infographic for their article in exchange for a backlink. It's a win-win. Plus, it's a great way to build relationships in your industry.
Let's switch gears to something a bit more technical: Creating free tools.
Now, you might be thinking, "Free tools? That sounds like a lot of work."
But hear me out, because this is a game-changer in white hat link-building.
First off, free tools don't have to be complex.
They can be simple yet incredibly useful. Think about a calculator, a template, or even a basic app that solves a specific problem in your niche.
The idea is to make something that your audience will find valuable enough to share and link to.
Here's how you can get started:
Creating a free tool is like planting a seed. It takes some effort and patience, but once it starts growing, it can bring a steady stream of backlinks, traffic, and recognition to your site.
So, roll up your sleeves and start brainstorming tool ideas today!
It's true that this technique isn't the powerhouse it once was, but don't write it off just yet.
When done right, broken link building can still land you some quality links.
The trick lies in finding popular, relevant pieces that have gone extinct on the web.
Here's how you can utilize broken links for white hat link-building today:
Make sure to check our broken link-building guide for more in-depth tricks.
Agency Tip: Conduct a link reclamation campaign. See what links you lost and contact the webmaster, asking them to link to you again.
The Skyscraper Technique in link building has gained a reputation for its effectiveness, but it's important to acknowledge that it's also become somewhat overused.
The essence of this technique is to identify successful content in your niche and then create something that's 10 times better.
After that, you reach out to those who linked to the original content and persuade them to link to your superior version.
Now, the problem is that everyone is using this technique.
Just open your inbox and you'll find hundreds of emails that essentially say, "Link to my content, it's better than what you're currently linking to."
I hate to say it but no one gives a #$&* that your content is better — especially if it's not that “better” than what they're already linking to.
That's why I love to combine the skyscraper technique with other link-building tactics, such as broken and infographic link-building.
I start by finding a broken page that has a good amount of links pointing to it, I make a much better version, and I summarize the content with an appealing infographic.
After that, I'd reach out to webmasters telling them about their broken link and offering my article as a replacement with a free infographic to use on their website.
This way, I'm actually giving them a reason to link to me rather than begging for links.
Agency Tip: ahrefs Content Explorer is a great way to find skyscraper opportunities.
Think about the products or services you use and love, especially those related to your industry or niche.
These companies often appreciate customer testimonials to showcase on their websites.
And here's where the opportunity for you comes in.
When you provide a testimonial, many companies are happy to link back to your website, either directly in the testimonial or in a small author bio.
This gives them credible, real-world feedback to feature, and in return, you get a valuable backlink from a relevant, often authoritative site.
Agency Tip: Offering video testimonials has a much higher success rate.
The idea here is to partner with brands that complement yours.
These collaborations can take various forms, like co-creating content, running joint webinars, participating in interviews, or even launching a co-branded product.
The goal is to leverage each other's strengths and audiences to create something that appeals to both.
For instance, if you're a fitness blogger, you could team up with a healthy food brand to create a series of nutrition and exercise guides.
Or, if you run a tech company, you might collaborate with an education platform to offer a joint webinar on the latest industry trends.
The beauty of this strategy lies in its win-win nature.
Both brands get to tap into each other's audiences, gaining exposure and backlinks from new and relevant sources.
Plus, these collaborations often result in high-quality, engaging content that attracts links naturally due to its value and uniqueness.
This link-building tactic involves searching for instances where your brand is mentioned online but not linked back to your website.
These could be people talking about your products, bloggers using your images, HARO answers that weren't properly credited, and more.
Simply use tools like Google Alerts, Mention, or Ahrefs to track where your brand is mentioned online.
Then, reach out to the author acknowledging their mention of your brand and politely asking if they'd be willing to add a link to your site.
Agency Tip: To increase your chances of success, offer something in return. This could be additional information, a quote, or an offer to share their content with your audience.
I assume you conducted a few guest posting campaigns without any success.
The only responses you got were either “No, thanks” or “We charge $300 editorial fees.”
Well, you're not doing it wrong.
But you're not doing it right either.
The whole point of guest posts is to offer value in return for a backlink.
And there is just no real benefit to the webmaster for letting you write a “Search Engine Optimized blog post” because:
However, I'll share with you 2 tricks that would make your offer way more appealing.
The first one is free traffic.
Instead of offering a generic guest post idea, find some juicy keywords that this website isn't ranking for, but another low-authority one is generating good traffic from it.
This way, your pitch won't be “Please let me write you a guest post.”
It'll be “Yo! Look how much traffic this small website is getting from this KW. I can write you a much better post and help you get this traffic yourself without any cost to you.”
Now, that's something a webmaster would be interested in.
The next trick is article rewrites.
Find a post that was getting good traffic from Google or other search engines, but then lost its position in the SERPs.
Next, email the author letting them know what happened, and offer to rewrite/optimize this post for them.
Agency Tip: Sharing your qualifications with samples of your previous high-quality guest posts can really skyrocket your response rate.
This is the audio equivalent of guest posts.
Most podcasts have high-quality websites where they share their episodes, and being a guest will often result in a backlink to your site.
Plus, it's a great way to build relationships and get brand exposure.
Social media and forums offer a more indirect, yet effective, way to build links.
They provide platforms to share your content, engage with your audience, and spark discussions that can lead to organic link-building.
It also helps you get social signals, which is good for EEAT.
I go more in-depth on how beneficial forum backlinks are in this guide, so give it a read.
This might be a bit controversial, but promoting your content with ads can result in backlinks.
Don't believe me?
Check out this case study by ahrefs.
I won't say that link-building is necessarily hard.
It does, however, take a lot of resources and has a pretty steep learning curve.
When clients ask me whether they should build links on their own or use a link-building service, I always refer to the opportunity cost involved with building links.
If it takes you 5 hours on average to build a high-quality link, and your hourly rate is $40/hr.
This isn't a free backlink.
It's in fact a $200 link.
So, sometimes it just makes more sense to hire an agency to do it for you.
Who do I recommend?
Well, besides *ehm* us.
I recommend Fat Joe and Page One Power.
You make white hat backlinks by offering value to webmasters. You can offer value by designing catchy infographics, creating free tools, high-quality guest posts, or any of the white hat link-building techniques we discuss in this list.
The benefits of white hat link-building, include avoiding Google penalties, increasing your website authority, getting more organic traffic, boosting your website reputation, and many more.
Everyone now knows the value of backlinks, and they won't link to you unless you give them a reason to.
A darn good one, if I might say.
I shared with you my 15 best white hat link-building tactics.
So, roll up your sleeves and start building some backlinks today!
If you want to outsource your white hat link-building efforts, feel free to reach out.
We have a team of over 30 white-hat link builders ready to take your website to the next level.
Just book a free consultation call, and let's discuss how we can benefit your brand.