How to Get Backlinks Like an SEO Pro (NEW Guide for 2022)

How do you get more backlinks in 2022?

Well, this website you’re on right now has 150,000 backlinks from 3,960 unique domains.

total backlinks 2022

And in this guide, I’ll show you 7 ways to get more backlinks like a link building pro.

In fact, you’re going to learn:

Let’s dive in.

Backlinks are created when one website links to another website. Google (and other search engines) consider backlinks to be “votes” for a page. In fact, Google’s original PageRank algorithm used backlinks to signal content quality. Many studies have found a correlation between backlinks and organic search engine rankings.

Here’s an example of a backlink:

backlinks example

High-quality backlinks have 7 characteristics: relevance, traffic, authority, link profile quality, editorial standards, outbound link quality, and indexation.

Let’s start with:

1. Relevance

John Mueller recently said that relevance is more important than how many backlinks a website has.

In fact, here’s exactly what he said:

john mueller total number of links

In short, most of your link building efforts should focus on relevant opportunities. That’s why I created The Relevancy Pyramid. It’s the single best way to prioritize your link opportunities.

The Relevancy Pyramid

The model is simple:

There are fewer link building opportunities that are 100% relevant to your website. You should focus on these first.

Then, once you’ve tapped those out, move down the pyramid where there will be fewer prospects.

Now there are two exceptions to this link prioritization strategy:

  1. Getting links from super authority sites like the New York Times, Washington Post, or .edu/.gov sites is always okay.
  2. The Relevancy Pyramid changes if you’re working in local SERPs.

I recommend focusing on geo-targeted opportunities first. Then move on to topically relevant prospects on the national level.

This will create the most natural and relevant link profile.

Local Relevancy Pyramid

Now, of course, it’s not all about relevance. If that were the case, you could create hundreds of relevant websites yourself and link to your site.

That doesn’t work because it would miss all the other factors that make a backlink powerful.

Bringing me to standard #2:

2. Traffic

You need to get links to your site from relevant websites with organic traffic.

Think about it:

What does that say if Google sends organic search traffic to a site?

It means that it’s likely a trustworthy website. In general, sites that are popular in organic search are valuable link building opportunities.

You can use Semrush (Semrush review) to see if a website is getting organic search traffic (and to see the “value” of that traffic):

SEMrush traffic cost

Now a website can be relevant and have traffic, but it still needs:

3. Authority

If a website is getting organic traffic, it likely has authority. You can use Ahrefs’ DR (Ahrefs review) to prioritize link building prospects based on their site authority.

Domain Rating (DR)

The stronger a website is, the harder it will be to get the link.

That makes those links even more valuable, so it’s worth the effort.

4. Link Quality

It is possible to manipulate third-party metrics like Ahrefs’ DR or Moz’s DA.

So that’s why you need to manually analyze the backlink profile of all your opportunities.

I like to run the website through Ahrefs and filter their links by “DoFollow.”

Ahrefs DR

I then sort them so that the strongest links with the highest DR are at the top.

In short, you want to see the site getting links from high-quality sources.

Use the same criteria from above.

5. Editorial Standards

Why are diamonds valuable? Because they’re difficult to get!

That’s why you should focus on getting links on websites with high editorial standards.

editorial guidelines

The harder it is to land a backlink, the more valuable it is.

The opposite is true, as well:

The easier a backlink is to get, the less valuable it is.

6. Outbound Link Quality

Websites with strong editorial guidelines will likely only link out to quality resources. You want your link to “live” around other trustworthy outbound links.

Enter your domain into Ahrefs Site Explorer and go to “Linked domains” under “Outgoing links”:

Ahrefs linked domains

Examine every prospective website and ask:

  • How are they linking out?
  • Are the outbound links relevant?
  • Are the outbound links going to respected, trusted sites?
  • Do the outbound links look natural, or do they look like paid links?

7. Indexation

Nothing is more important than making sure you get links on indexed websites. If the site isn’t indexed in Google, then your links will be worthless.

Go to Google and search “site:example.com”.

Google site search

If they don’t show up, avoid the website.

Now that you know what a quality backlink looks like, let’s talk about what links you should AVOID.

3 Types of Backlinks to Avoid in 2022

If you review the 7 characteristics of quality backlinks above, you’ll see that the following types of backlinks don’t qualify.

Most websites aren’t relevant, don’t have traffic, have no editorial guidelines, and have horrific outbound links.

Here’s the first example:

1. Public Blog Networks

You’ve probably heard of Private Blog Networks (PBNs), but public blog networks differ.

Both are risky because it’s artificial link building. However, private blog networks are slightly less risky because they can be disguised better.

On the other hand, public blog networks are nothing more than link farms that are easily detectable.

Look at this website that’s using public blog network links:

public network links

Most public networks don’t even bother to block third-party crawlers like Ahrefs.

The truth is, if it takes me two seconds to see that you’re using public network links, then what do you think Google can do?

Here’s what an actual public blog network looks like:

public blog network example

Stay away from these links if you want to avoid getting penalized.

2. DoFollow Blog Comments

Here’s what they look like:

dofollow backlink example

These links hit the “authority” quality criteria for links.

However, they greatly miss the mark with everything else. Plus, you don’t want your website in the same neighborhood as some of the outbound links you’ll see.

3. Web 2.0s

The thought process for using web 2.0s is similar to DoFollow blog comments. You’re trying to leverage the existing site’s authority like Wix:

wix web 2.0

However, web 2.0s adds another level because they attempt to add artificial relevance.

web 2.0 backlink example

So what’s the problem? Well, they aren’t editorial links, the content is low-quality, and you don’t benefit much from the authority because it’s on a subdomain.

Plus, the only way web 2.0 backlinks can have any benefit is if they’re indexed. And guess what?

They’re notoriously hard to index on Google unless you build tier two links.

Now you know what backlinks to avoid like the plague.

But now an important question arises:

What’s a Good Number of Backlinks?

Examining your competitors is key to knowing how many backlinks you need.

And this process is called a backlink gap analysis.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Identify a qualified keyword target

Related: Best Keyword Research Services (According to 11 Tests)

2. Create SEO content that’s better than the competitors

SEO content” applies to both informational and transactional pages.

3. Identify how many backlinks you need through a link gap analysis

A link gap analysis is broken down into two parts.

First, you need to analyze how many backlinks your competitors have to their domain as a whole.

Run your target keyword through Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and then scroll down to see the competitors.

Ahrefs SERP overview

Go to “More” and open “Domain Comparison” in another tab.

ahrefs domain comparison

Enter the top 4 competitors for your target keyword and enter your domain as well.

domain comparison analysis

Now you’ll see the gap between you and the competitors. If there isn’t much of a gap (or you’re ahead), then awesome! You likely won’t need many backlinks to the page to rank.

This leads to the next part of the link gap analysis.

You now need to analyze how backlinks you’ll need to your target keyword-driven page to rank.

You can use the Ahrefs KD metric to get a rough estimate.

ahrefs link estimate

However, this is flawed for one big reason. You don’t know what authority of links you’ll need to rank.

So what we do is categorize each competitor’s backlinks into authority ranges like this:

Link Gap

Then you’ll know exactly how many backlinks you’ll need at each authority level.

This is super useful because you can estimate the budget you’ll need for backlinks.

Here are 7 link building techniques you can use to land more high-quality backlinks.

1. Authority Transfer Technique

The Authority Transfer Technique isn’t technically a “link building” tactic, but it’s a powerful way to distribute link authority (PageRank) to your most important SEO-driven pages.

Here’s how it works:

Step #1 – Identify what pages on your site have existing backlinks

The easiest way to find these pages is to use Ahrefs.

Just open up Ahrefs → Enter your domain → Start analysis

Ahrefs site explorer

Then click on “Best by Links” under “Pages” → Sort by “Referring Domains”:

referring domains
Step #2 – Add internal links on those pages to relevant SEO-driven pages

Now all you need to do now is add internal links. Your internal should target pages that are A) topically relevant and B) you’re trying to rank.

I recommend using exact match anchor text with your internal links (it’s safe to do so as long as they aren’t site-wide).

internal link example

I recommend using this technique every time you publish a new SEO-driven page. It’s one of the best ways to give your page a boost out of the gate (by leveraging existing authority).

Your goal should be to push your pages up the SERPs as far as possible before acquiring links.

The Authority Transfer Technique is one of the best ways to accomplish that goal (fast).

2. LIS Technique

What qualities make people want to link to your website?

There are many qualities, but there’s one that helps enormously and is called “Length Implies Strength” or LIS.

Ever seen one of those super long sales letters that seem to scroll for decades?

Well, that’s not an accident.

Long sales letters leverage “Heuristics.”

In short, we (humans) are lazy and hate thinking. So we use mental shortcuts to make decisions, solve problems, pass judgments, etc.

So what does this have to do with link building?

According to Backlinko’s study:

“Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles.”

That means if you want more backlinks, then create long-form content.

For example, if you examine what pages have attracted the most backlinks on GotchSEO.com, you will see that they are all my longest pieces of content:

total links

The average word count for my top 4 most linked-to content assets is 7,223 words.

Pretty insane, right?

Here’s the main takeaway:

If you want more links, write longer, in-depth content.

Don’t take this out of context, though!

It needs to be well-thought-out and add massive amounts of UNIQUE value.

3. Predictive Links Technique

What if you could create pages on your site that attracted backlinks like clockwork? That’s possible when you use the Predictive Links Technique. The best part is that it’s super simple.

Here’s what you do:

Step #1 – Examine your competitor’s most linked-to pages

Just open up Ahrefs → Enter a competitor’s domain → Click on “Best by Links”

best by links

You’ll immediately see what topics have attracted the most backlinks in your niche.

You can also use this same technique for creating “predictively” viral content on social.

Just go to Buzzsumo → Enter a topic


Then you’ll have access to proven ideas to attract social shares (and links).

You can also do the same thing with YouTube.

Go to a popular channel in your niche → sort their videos by most popular

youtube most popular

And BOOM! You see the ideas that the niche is most interested in.

Step #2 – Create a page around the same topic, but make it 10x different and better

Whether you’re using this method to attract links, get more social traction, or dominate YouTube, the principle is the same. You will create a content asset that’s 10x different and better than your competitors.

Step #3 – Reach out to the people that linked to your competitor’s content

I recommend “testing the waters” (a concept I teach in Gotch SEO Academy) before pitching your content when you use this strategy. Send a simple outreach email like this:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME], and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I researched [TOPIC] and saw that you linked to [COMPETITOR’S URL] – that makes sense because it’s awesome. I just published a new guide on [TOPIC] it [VALUE PROPOSITION].

Would you be interested in seeing it (and maybe give some feedback)? Let me know, and I’ll shoot the link over.

Thanks again!

If the prospect complies, then send them this:

Hey [NAME],

That’s great! Here’s a link:

Let me know what you think.


If you think it adds value to your readers, would you mind linking to it? I can [INSERT SOME VALUE YOU CAN GIVE THEM]. Thanks again!

I recommend testing many different templates for the second email until you hit a sweet spot.

Just make sure you’re giving something valuable when asking for a link.

3. Relationship Accelerator Technique

The Relationship Accelerator Technique serves a dual purpose:

  1. It can help you build relationships with key “linkerati” (people who are capable and willing to link to you).
  2. It can help you score links with minimal effort.

There are a few different ways to go about this.

You can host expert roundups, host interviews, or ask for expert contributions to your content.

For example, I had Miles Beckler on my SEO podcast and he linked to the page where it was hosted:

miles beckler backlink

This technique works because there’s a clear exchange of value. The experts get exposure, and you get to build a non-transactional relationship with them.  You’ll be exposed yourself because they likely share or link to the content.

4. Oprah Technique

I created a cool name for this technique, but it’s super simple. You’re going to get interviewed and land links.

Go to Google → Enter “interview + niche” or “interview with + [YOUR COMPETITOR]”

Add all these prospects to your link building database. Then, just reach out and pitch yourself for the interview.

Use a simple template like this:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. First, just wanted to thank you for all the amazing interviews you’ve been doing. I’ve listened to your interview with [INSERT ONE YOU LIKED] multiple times because it’s so incredibly valuable. Quick question: are you accepting new interviewees at this time? If you are, I would love to chat because of I [COOL RESULT].

Let me know. Thanks!

5. Use The Merger Technique

The Merger Technique is simple:

Find websites with high-quality link profiles, acquire them, and 301 redirect them to your website.

The merger technique

For example, Neil Patel acquired UberSuggest and merged it with NeilPatel.com. As a result, he gained an additional 17,500 backlinks from 5,610 referring domains:

And Backlinko did the same thing when we acquired PointblankSEO.com. Brian scored 24,500 additional backlinks from 2,000 referring domains:

pointblankseo links

They both acquired active websites or tools, which is the best strategy.

You can also use expired domains. I recommend using Spamzilla to find them (watch this free tutorial).

6. Leverage The Phantom Technique

You may reach your target backlink volume for a specific page at a certain point. But what should you do if you’re still not ranking where you want to be?

That’s when the Phantom Technique enters.

Instead of building more backlinks on tier one (links directly hitting your website), you can strengthen your existing backlinks.

This process is known as tier two link building. It’s extremely powerful, and your competitors likely won’t know you’re doing it.

7. The Switch Up Technique

The Switch Up Technique is my favorite way to build relationships fast. As you may or may not, building relationships is critical to getting more backlinks.

Most people fail at link outreach because they’re metaphorically trying to hit a home run on the first date. Just like in sales, you need to take baby steps along the journey.

You have to build relationships with the websites (and people who are capable of linking to you) BEFORE you ask for something.

There needs to be an exchange of value.

“Value” comes in many forms, including money, help, and content.

Here’s a perfect example of a student of Gotch SEO Academy (our SEO training program) exchanging value with me (I had no choice but to link to this tool because it solved a REAL problem and added REAL value):

brandyn morelli

Money works well, but you can acquire links without having to pay people. But that will only be possible through building real relationships.

The first step to accomplishing that is to use the Switch Up Technique.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go through your blog content and examine all your external links.
  2. See if you’re linking out to general websites like Wikipedia, CNN, or any authority website with many authors.
  3. Go to Google and look for a replacement from a lower authority blog.
  4. Change the link
  5. Reach out to the person

Use a non-threatening template like this:

Hey [NAME],

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I was doing some research on [TOPIC] and discovered your guide about [TOPIC]. I really enjoyed it. I never realized that [SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM THEIR CONTENT]. Super cool. Anyway, I won’t take up any more of your time. Just wanted to thank you for putting the article together and wanted to let you know that I linked to it from my article: [INSERT NAKED URL] – it’s about [TOPIC].

Thanks again!

So that’s it! Still have questions about backlinks? Here’s you go:

FAQs About Backlinks

My backlinks are decreasing. What now?
It’s natural and normal to lose some links over time. That’s why it’s critical to remember that link acquisition isn’t a one-time event. It needs to be an ongoing activity. You should always be taking action to acquire new backlinks to compensate for those you lose.

My backlinks are not showing in Google Search Console, Ahrefs, etc. Why?
Google Search Console only shows a sample of your total link profile. While third-party tools like Ahrefs are amazing at finding backlinks, they aren’t perfect or comprehensive. Assume that these tools only show a percentage of your entire link profile.

Are Fiverr backlinks good?
In my experience, 99% of link opportunities on Fiverr are bad. In general, I would avoid buying backlinks from Fiverr. Remember… you usually get what you pay for.

Are NoFollow backlinks good?
NoFollow backlinks are not good or effective because they don’t pass PageRank. They’re only useful if you’re getting referral traffic or sales. But from an SEO perspective, they have no value.

How many backlinks per day are safe?
You only need to worry about link velocity when you’re building artificial backlinks. If you’re acquiring backlinks through outreach and content promotion, then you don’t need to worry about this.

That’s a Wrap!

The art of getting more backlinks is a massive topic, but I hoped this gave you the right framework for getting more.

If this was helpful, please share it. Or better yet, link to it 😉

– Gotch

Need more link building help? Check these resources out:

Buy Backlinks – Link building is extremely time-consuming, which forces most people to ask this question. Buying backlinks is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. But what if you’re not buying links, and you’re buying a process instead? That’s what this post dives into.

19 Link Building Techniques & Strategies – In this video, you’ll learn 19 evergreen ways to get more backlinks. These techniques work now and will continue to work in the future.

Best Link Building Services – We spent $140,424 to find the best link building services. Our results were surprising!

Niche Edit Backlinks – We spent $22,960 on niche edits to see if they actually work.

Sell Backlinks – We sold backlinks and made $470,998. In this guide, we show you how to do the same.

Photo of author

Nathan Gotch

Nathan has led 100s of successful SEO campaigns in the most competitive verticals like SAAS, health, finance, and law. He's also helped 100s of agency owners scale by systemizing their SEO. Nathan is featured on Ahrefs, Semrush, and Search Engine Journal and his YouTube channel has over 1 million views.

3,067 thoughts on “How to Get Backlinks Like an SEO Pro (NEW Guide for 2022)”

  1. OMG i can’t say that how much this in-depth article give value to me like I am a newbie in blogging industry.
    i just shocked and read all article and techniques and surely apply and implement

    thanks a lot sir for giving us this outstanding content

    lot’s of love

  2. Hey Nathan Gotch,

    This is really an awesome and detailed article on backlinks. I was aware of some of the tricks to link building. But after reading this detailed article I have come to know about some additional tricks to get backlinks. I will definitely follow these steps. Thank you for sharing & It’s more helpful for bloggers.

  3. Hi Nathan,
    Thank you for this amazing article about SEO. This article is very informative for me. I got to learn a lot from this post thank you for sharing.

  4. Hey Nathan,
    very insightful article , much appreciated . i am looking for some seo techniques for my website and now i can do very well in backlink part.
    thanks buddy

  5. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! many thanks such a lot, However, I’m experiencing difficulties together with your RSS. I don’t understand the rationale why I’m unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution are you able to kindly respond? Thanx.

  6. I think the process of buying expired domain is the easiest for me. What happens to those links when I buy them?

    For how long do I need to keep redirecting the expired domains to my website?

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