Since Google started penalising websites for bad links, it has become sensible to focus on white hat SEO techniques and shun black hat techniques altogether.

As a digital marketing agency we would never encourage companies to use black hat strategies, but we all know some sites that have previously ventured down that route. Now that there are so many ways to improve your SEO legitimately everyone’s focus should be on white hat techniques.

…You also never know when Google will catch up and destroy what has taken years to build. And no-one wants that!

More importantly, white hat link building strategies sets up online visibility that your company can reap from for a long time into the future.

Some of the techniques to adopt include:

Links account for 22% of search engine ranking factors. These white hat techniques are effective if executed correctly. Here is a closer look at what each method entails:

Content marketing

The quality of your content is the main reason anyone would want to link to your site. Google has clamped down on duplicate content, and keyword stuffing so use keywords naturally in the content.

Your business should do its homework and find out which topics will attract the most attention and links. Create long content and target reputable blogs and websites within your niche. Get them to link back to your site.

Network strategically


Find industry players where you’d like to get links. So the first step is to identify the websites and figures you want to link to your website. Once you have identified your targets, remember most people will do business with people they know and like. So you need to create a sort of rapport.

Liking their posts and sharing their content for some time is often enough to get you noticed. You can do this for a few weeks then reach out and see the response. Create content that resonates with their audience and ask them to link.

Broken link building


Broken links can help drive traffic to your site if you target authority pages with broken links. Find pages that have a lot of broken links using tools like Ahrefs.

Create content that beats the previous content and pitch to those sites to link to your content. Be prepared to give something in return if it represents good value. This method is effective, though it can be overused.

One thing to remember is that you could also have broken links within your site. Fix those too with the right content.

Pursuing the media

This seems like an odd trick, but it works. Find journalists who work for reputable media houses within your locale and get them to link to your site. Providing relevant content is not an option these days. If your content has little value or relevance, no SEO technique can yield any effort.

However, no entity will want to link to a cheap looking website. Utilising quality images can go a long way in giving your site a facelift. The good news is that free stock photos are easily available.

Overwhelm competitors’ links


This works if you’re not as established as your competition. Find out which of their content gets the most links.

Create skyscraper content. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, skyscraper content is created by:

  • Finding popular and successful content (not only top of SERPs, but also on general popularity)
  • Look at who shared or linked to the content to see why it was so successful
  • Creating something better
  • Replicating the distribution strategy by pitching to sites that had linked to the original content, inform them of your new (and better) content, then and try to get links to your content. If you execute it well, this tactic works.

This may mean more research but it will result in better information and often a longer article which Google will also like.

Hunt down mentions

Use free or paid SEO tools to find mentions of your website or content on the web.

Once you find them, contact the webmasters at the sites to link to your content or website. This can be a great chance to strike a rapport with a blogger too.

Guest posts

This is one of the most abused white hat techniques, but it still works. The main thing when guest blogging is to avoid falling foul of Google through poor content and linking.

• Use advanced search to find guest posting opportunities.

• Find contacts of the webmasters or editors of such websites and pitch to them with relevant content.

When you get the opportunity, do a great job to exceed expectations. Ensure you remain on good terms with your benefactor so that you can get other opportunities in future.

If you decide to use a guest posting service, check out the types of sites they link to as bad links will hurt your search engine ranking.

Web directory linking

Web directories have many visitors who it can direct to your site. Google also considers their links as genuine but only if you are listed in a relevant directory.

So focus on niche or industry related directories to reap from the links.

Giveaways and competitions


If you start contests that target .edu sites, which Google ranks as quality links, you can reap great SERP rewards.

Consider design or essay writing contest which students and staff can share.

Alternatively, if you can afford to offer scholarships they also get shares in the education community.

Final thoughts

White hat SEO techniques will probably change when Google updates its algorithms (which as we know from a previous article happens a lot more regularly than people think). Until then these techniques continue to reap rewards when executed efficiently.

Narrow down to the techniques that are easy for you to implement with the highest ROI. One thing to watch out for is Google’s continuing focus on user engagement. This means you not only need to focus on getting traffic but engaging those visitors.