How to Get Free Backlinks in 2021 (15 Proven Methods)

Are you looking for ways to get free backlinks? Perfect because I’m going to show you 15 ways to score new backlinks for free.

Method #7 is my “go-to.”

Let’s dive in.

15 Proven Ways to Get Free Backlinks

Before I show you tactics, you must understand one essential part of this process.

There is nothing more important in link building than understanding value propositions.

In short, you should never expect something for nothing. The only way your link building efforts will succeed is if you approach it from a value-first perspective.

Think about how you can add value to the other person BEFORE you think about getting something in return.

That said, money is often the best value proposition. But since I’m showing you how to get backlinks for free, that won’t work. So then what can you do?

Since money isn’t an option, you’ll need to use good ole’ sweat equity. The good news is that you must come up with creative solutions when you don’t have capital.

Don’t perceive it as a disadvantage. It’s a massive advantage.

Try these methods to get more free backlinks fast:

1. Leverage Existing Relationships

Think about your family, friends, clients, and industry colleagues. Make a list of everyone who has a website that’s relevant to your vertical. Then reach out and see if they’d be willing to place a link on a relevant page.

2. Go Back to School

Leverage the fact that you’re an alumnus of your high school or college. Schools are always looking to promote successful alumni.

You can also reach out to colleges and universities in your local area and volunteer to help the students. Some options are guest speaking, guest posts, etc.

Leverage your expertise and add value to get links.

3. Offer Internships

Need help running your company? Create an internship program.

Then create a dedicated page for it and look for link opportunities.

If it’s a local internship, you can target local opportunities by searching “CITY + internships.” If it’s national, you can get listed on the internship directory websites.

4. Write Content for Other Websites

Guest posting is a tried and true method for getting free backlinks. There is a clear exchange of value. You write great content for their website, so they don’t have to.

Then you get a backlink for your efforts.

There are unlimited opportunities for guest posting in every vertical.

Go to Google and enter search queries like: “write for us + ” (example: “write for us + fitness”).

Then use the Data Miner plugin to export the results and add them to your link prospecting database.

Repeat this process a few times until you have a large database.

Then copy 200 of the prospects and open up SEMRush. Go to “Gap Analysis” and then “Bulk Analysis.”

Paste the prospects and run the analysis. Now you’ll know the total organic search traffic for each website. Prioritize opportunities that have traffic because these are likely the highest quality opportunities.

Now you just need to have contact information. I use

Once you’ve found the correct contact information, send a simple outreach email like this:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME], and I write over at [YOUR BLOG]. I was wondering if you guys are accepting guest contributors right now? I have a few ideas for your blog that I think you’ll like.

Let me know, and I’ll send them over.


I always like sending an initial email to warm the prospect up. Notice how I didn’t hit the prospect with a pitch right away. My only goal in the first email is to get the prospect to respond.

Once the prospect responds, I send a second email with three ideas:

That’s great to hear! Here are three ideas:

Let me know which one you like, and we’ll jump on creating the first draft.

Thank you

5. Reverse Guest Posting

Reverse guest posting is the process of getting other experts to write for your website. The key is to make sure they have an audience and website themselves.

There’s no guarantee that they’ll link back to your site. However, it’s likely because it acts as a form of ego bait.

Example from my about page.

In other words, people like to promote themselves, especially in the business world. Now there is one caveat with this method.

Your website needs a solid base of traffic and a decent audience. No one is going to write content for your website if they aren’t benefiting from it. Remember the exchange of value.

6. Interview Experts

Interviewing experts (with audiences) is the oldest trick in the book, but it will continue to work. That’s because interviews are the ultimate ego bait. Plus, the interviewee benefits from promoting the interview (on your website).

Take a look at Smart Passive Income’s link profile on Ahrefs.

You’ll notice that interviewees have linked to the page hosting their interviews. But that’s not all.

Since many of the interviewees are well-known, their interviews attract links in general. For example, linked to an interview featuring Ramit Sethi.

That alone shows you the power of interviews.

7. Recreate Dead Content

I call this the White Hat Alternative to PBNs. It’s simple.

Use a tool like SpamZilla to find qualified expired domains.

Go here to start your free trial of SpamZilla.

Then open up Ahrefs and go to the Site Explorer. Paste the prospective expired domain and export all of its Followed links.

Now examine what pages have backlinks. Copy a URL and paste it into the Way Back Machine.

The first question is whether or not the content is relevant to your website. If it isn’t, keep searching.

If it is, the next question is, can you create something better?

If so, create the asset. Then reach out to all of the websites linking to the dead page.

Here’s a simple outreach email to test:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I was doing some research and found your awesome guide about [TOPIC]. I noticed you are linking to a dead website in the section about [TOPIC]. I actually just created an article about the [TOPIC] which might be a good replacement. Let me know, thanks!

8. Fix SSL Certificates

One of the most significant points of leverage is helping websites that don’t have SSL certificates installed.

This method is effective if you’re trying to land new SEO clients as well.

Fixing the SSL certificate can act as a front-end offer. Then, you can pitch them on SEO services.

9. Create Data-Driven Link Bait

People love linking to data. The cool part is that you don’t need to create the data from scratch. You can leverage existing data and create a curated resource.

Now it is even better if you can create original data. Compiling original data is more complicated, but it does pay off.

For example, I have a few data-driven posts on Gotch SEO like:

10. Host an Expert Roundup

Most expert roundups are pretty bad. But if you dedicate yourself to creating one that adds real value and invites real experts, then it can be a success.

It falls under the ego bait category.

In short, there’s a possibility that the experts will link back to the roundup they participated in.

11. Reverse Expert Roundups

You can also find existing expert roundups and pitch your contribution. Go to Google and enter search queries like “YOUR NICHE + expert roundup”.

Then just send a simple outreach email like so:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME], and I’m the founder of [YOUR COMPANY OR BLOG]. I saw that you put together an awesome expert roundup and wondered if I could contribute to it? I have some unique insights to share about [THE TOPIC OF THE ROUNDUP] because of my experience working [in|with] [ENTER SOCIAL PROOF/QUALIFICATIONS].

Please let me know if there’s any way to make this happen. Thanks for your time.

12. Use HARO

Using HARO for link building isn’t new, but it is still super effective. The key is to understand that most of your submissions will get ghosted.

That’s why you need to go into it with the mindset that your submission may not get approved. It’s an odd experience overall.

However, you can score some awesome links IF your contribution does get approved.

13. Volunteer in Your Local Market

There are so many untapped link opportunities on the local level—one of the simplest ways to score links to volunteer in your local area.

Go to Google and search “YOUR CITY + our sponsors” or “YOUR CITY + our volunteers”. Then look for pages that link out to sponsors or volunteers.

These should be your targets.

Now think of a way that you can add value to the charity.

Sometimes that’s in the form of physical labor or in-person participation. But other times, you can offer technical support online as well.

14. Create Profiles in Your Vertical

Notice how I said in “your” vertical? Don’t create a bunch of random profiles just because you can. There is no point.

Only create profiles on websites that are relevant in your industry.

For example, it makes sense for me to have a profile on Moz or a profile on an SEO forum. Most of these websites will give you a link back to your website in the profile section.

Some are followed while others are nofollow. It doesn’t matter because they’re still relevant.

15. Create Business Listings

If you have a local business, the easiest way to score free backlinks is to create business listings. These listings can help you local pack performance in Google.

As long as you keep your Name, Address, Phone, and Website (NAP-W) information consistent.

You can use Fat Joe’s citation building service to save time.

That’s It!

There are countless ways to score free backlinks. But the only way to get them is to do the work.

Also, watch the video below if you’re looking for more link building techniques:

FREE Download: Get access to 7 untapped link building techniques for 2021.