Backlinks tell search engines like Google that people recognize you as relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy.
And the more backlinks your website has, the higher your referral traffic will be.
No wonder, then that links have been an integral part of SEO strategies in their ongoing pursuit of ranking highest in Google search.
However, there’s a catch.
Building 1000 links overnight through a black hat link-building scheme will draw attention for all the wrong reasons.
That’s because it’s an unnatural way of growing a website, and Google hates it.
Think of Google as the Search engine police. They’ve written a set of rules that outline the do’s and don’t of link building. For example, link schemes are listed as a big no-no in their guidelines. 
So, you need to build links in a way that tells Google you’ve legitimately earned that top spot.
This is called white hat link building. Here’s a look at 7 proven white hat methods that will help you rank.
1. Guest Posts
The first way to earn high-quality backlinks is through guest posting.
I use the term earn here because you need to work quite hard in order to be reimbursed with that all-important link.
Once you’ve identified websites relevant to your niche, you need to contact the webmaster or website owner and pitch them the idea of writing a piece of content, possibly a blog article, that they can upload to their website.
That’s where the hard work comes in.
You’re doing research on someone else’s product. You’re writing for them without financial compensation and on top of that, you’re playing by their editorial rules.
So why on earth would anyone do this?
Because guest blogging allows you to add a link to your site on their site, directing relevant traffic to you. And Google loves that.
Approaching someone else with a pitch for a guest post can be extremely intimidating, especially if you aren’t completely sure how to check if the link would make SEO sense.
If that describes you, rather approach a link-building agency that can do this on your behalf.
2. Link insertions
Yes, writing high-quality content for your own blog section is a good way of adding value to your audience. But with so many websites in the world, it can be a grueling task trying to get noticed.
Enter link insertions.
Link insertions are links that are added to existing articles on relevant websites.
You build link insertions through manual e-mail outreach to webmasters who have content and traffic that is relevant to your site.
These articles have been around for a while so they are indexed by Google and some have traffic and links pointed at them, which makes them more powerful than your regular guest post links.
What makes link insertions one of those certified white hat link-building techniques that really work is that these links are to existing articles.
With a tool like Ahrefs, you’re able to check if the website you’re approaching for a link already generates organic traffic and has strong linking domains pointing towards it.
That makes these links worth quite a bit more as you don’t have to be worried if the content will actually be indexed by Google and thus make a difference in your SEO.
For example, if you’re trying to appeal to an audience interested in something like solar energy, target websites that cover topics related to natural electricity sources and power supply.
But check if their blog articles are already generating traffic naturally in Google searches. By doing this you’ll be sure that the effort you put into your outreach campaign won’t be going to waste.
Next, you need to identify pages within those websites that would benefit from a link to one of your pages. Find articles that do well and provide your target audience with helpful information.
Finally, you need to pitch your idea to a webmaster.
Think something along the lines of:
I recently came across your awesome blog on Solar Energy. I really enjoyed the way you described the process of converting energy from the sun into electricity to power household appliances in such a simple way.
In fact, it motivated me to publish an article on my own site about the benefits of solar power.
Here’s a link to the article –
If you feel it’s something that’ll add value to your audience, feel free to link to the page…”
And Bam! You get another link.
When done right, you could potentially be gaining links here from websites that already have hundreds of really high-quality backlinks pointing to their site.
This, in turn, adds to the strength of your natural link profile as Google sees it all as part of an interlinking network.
But what’s in it for the target website owners?
Webmasters actually struggle to make any significant amount of money, so often they’ll ask for a small editorial fee for them to insert a link from their website.
Don’t confuse this with buying a link.
Paying for links is also one of the black hat techniques that will see your website disappear from the Google search rankings faster than a toupee in a hurricane.
That’s not what you’re doing here.
You’re paying editorial fees…Someone has to be compensated for the time they take to check through your content and insert that link into their article, right?
We’ve seen the benefits of link insertions in our own campaigns –
“link insertions are 70% of where links to my money or commercial pages come from, and I will continue to use them as my primary source of links for my own projects“Gert Kulla – Head of Strategy at Batlinks
3. Broken link building
Broken link-building is based on the natural assumption that just about anyone will accept help, especially if there are no strings attached – You’re helping websites out by getting rid of one of their 404 error pages.
I personally get annoyed if I follow a link to a web page that just turns out to be a dead end. Sometimes I even click away from the website itself and look through subpar pages on another website just because of that annoying error message.
Broken links give the impression that you’re not putting any effort into maintaining your website.
And Google’s crawling software gets just as annoyed because they can’t move from one page to another.
No, those bots don’t like making u-turns.
When you run a BLB campaign, you need to find pages on websites relevant to your niche that have a broken link within them. Perhaps it was a link to an infographic, an informative article, or some other form of supplementary material.
The point is the link is no longer in use and now reflects badly on your link prospect’s website.
How do you capitalize on this?
In short, you need to create a piece of content that would fit in nicely with the article containing the broken link, and simply ask the webmaster if you can help them out by replacing that link with a live one.
Again, not all broken links are worth pursuing. Are the broken links on a website broken for a reason?
You need to put time and effort into figuring out if those links are quality backlinks that will genuinely add value to your page too.
As with all white hat techniques, this requires legitimate effort and research into the metrics that actually move the needle.
We recently spoke about determining the quality of a site before building links to it. Check this article out, as it’ll give you better insight into this process.
Broken link-building campaigns do require a different skill set, but it remains a go-to strategy for all white link-building enthusiasts.
4. Link Round-ups
Link roundup lists are curated lists of the best websites or brands in a particular niche.
And who doesn’t want to be part of a “best of” list? Exactly.
Above is an example of one such round-up list from Big apple media
Editors are already looking for websites to quote or name in a particular niche, and the potential traffic that could be generated by making it to a list of this kind is huge.
However, like with all white hat link-building techniques, there’s a catch. Nothing in the SEO world is free.
Think about it from the point of the person making this list.
If he/she included your page as one of the best of whatever niche you’re in, only for the users directed there to be underwhelmed with your site, they’d get a bad reputation.
So if you plan to include round-up lists in your SEO strategy, make sure you have your ducks in a row, so to speak.
Your blog content needs to be up-to-date and of really high quality. Keep up to speed with your competitors and see what topics they cover, what works, and what doesn’t in your niche.
Here’s a video explaining the value of writing content that Google loves…
Apart from your content, your on-page SEO needs to be at a really high standard, with no 404 – error messages or 301 – redirects to irrelevant pages.
Cover these basics well and the next round-up webmaster you reach out to will be more than happy to add your link to their list.
5. Resource page link building
Resource page link building is very similar to the link insertion strategy we’ve already discussed.
You look for websites that speak on a specific matter and then offer for them to link to your website.
You’re literally asking them if you can help them out by being a resource for their statements.
However, before even attempting to do resource page link building, you need to be recognized by your peers and Google as an authority in your field.
Put yourself in your target website’s shoes – Would you want to link to the content you’re offering them as a resource?
So begin delivering as much accurate and topically relevant content as possible.
Webmasters will only use your website as a resource page if it’s recognized by others to be accurate and authoritative.
Once you have that box checked, you can approach site owners with the opportunity to place a link back to one of your own blogs.
You’ll likely be mentioned at the end of an article with an anchor text such as a resource or source. But there is still serious SEO value there if the website has ranking factors pointing to it.
With so many topics to cover, it goes without saying that reporters can’t be experts on everything.
To ensure that they write articles that really make sense and are completely accurate, they turn to the Haro website.
Haro stands for Help a Reporter Out.
Questions are asked pertaining to all niches, from Web Analytics to Politics and the moral dilemma of keeping miniature ponies.
“Experts” in these fields receive an email query and try to answer it to the best of their abilities. If your answer stands out as unique, informative, and most important, accurate, you get quoted in the publication the reporter is writing for.
This is an awesome way of building links to websites that would otherwise be virtually impossible to get links from.
Reporters from websites like the Washington Post and Forbes have been known to use Haro in the past to get a quote from experts to include in their articles.
These websites have such a high domain authority, and a dofollow link from one of them will pass on so much link juice that your page will almost immediately see the positive effects.
7. Calculator link building
So many SEO professionals out there employ the conventional tactics we’ve mentioned in this article.
Stand out from the rest by taking a completely different approach.
A great way to do this is by creating an app, an infographic, or a helpful tool that will add value to other websites.
Here’s a great example.
Expertfitness.org is a website in the fitness niche. They created a handy tool that would appeal to others within the same niche, a TDEE calculator.
This is obviously something super relevant to anyone in the fitness niche, as anyone browsing these types of websites would want to keep tabs on their Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
So they created and uploaded a calculator to their website, which is better than many others out there. The result? More than 100 backlinks in the last couple of months alone.
Why would anyone want to link to this calculator?
There are many fitness articles on the web that speak about the benefits of a TDEE calculator, but not everyone has access to one or has been linked to one.
Expertfitness.org now has two possible ways of building a link from this page.
Option 1 – Approach websites that don’t feature a calculator or link to one.
By using a tool like Ahrefs and doing a bit of research, it’s possible to identify websites that speak about this subject matter, but don’t feature a tool like this or link to one.
Including a calculator will add more value to their readers, so it’s easy to reach out to webmasters and ask for a link insertion.
Option 2 – Approach websites that already feature a calculator or link to one.
Websites that already feature a TDEE calculator or link to one themselves might not seem like target link websites. But if you’ve put in the effort to create an awesome tool, back yourself by pointing out its superior features.
For example, the calculator on expertfitness’ website includes features that are likely to be more helpful to readers than other calculators, like a body fat percentage indicator.
Expertfitness can simply approach those websites and offer them a far superior tool to link to.
Final thoughts on white hat link building
Before setting out on a link-building campaign, you need to figure out what your own objectives are and what you’d be reasonably capable of accomplishing for your website.
Avoid the lure of black hat link building that will only ever, at best, provide you with short-term results. And once you find what works for you, stick with it and refine your processes until you have a really high success rate.
White hat SEO is definitely harder than black or even gray hat, but links are of higher quality and have a longer-lasting effect on a site’s rankings.
A Case study in the SAAS niche
We recently did a link-building campaign using broken link building, guest posting, and link insertions for a website in the SAAS niche.
During the 5 month period that the campaign ran, we were able to grow the organic traffic 80 times over and build 99 backlinks to the site.
The website benefited from our content marketing service which created 46 articles for their blog section.
But the benefits didn’t stop once the campaign ended. Many more links were added to the site organically and the site’s domain authority continued to grow.
Reach out to Batlinks today if you’re looking for a white SEO company that can bring in the search engine ranking results you need for your website.