Are you ready to take your website to the next level with a solid link building plan? High-quality backlinks can skyrocket your site’s SEO, pushing you up the search engine ranks and driving more traffic your way.

Link building isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a strategic process that demands careful planning and execution. Without a well-crafted plan, you’re shooting in the dark, and that’s not a good place to be.

1. Define Your Backlink Strategy

In the quest for improved SEO performance, defining your backlink strategy is a pivotal stepping stone. It’s not enough to simply aim for more backlinks; specificity will give your efforts direction and purpose. Remember, it’s quality over quantity that makes a difference.

Your first priority should be to identify high-value websites in your niche. These sites should have authority, relevance, and a steady flow of traffic.

Next, remember to establish clear, measurable goals for your backlink strategy. Are you seeking to improve your ranking for a specific keyword? Or perhaps you’re looking to boost overall website traffic? Whatever your objectives, set realistic expectations and establish concrete metrics to gauge your progress.

2. Conduct a Backlink Audit

Now that we’ve established the importance of a solid backlink strategy, let’s dive into backlink audits. Conducting a backlink audit is a fundamental step to sharpen your approach. By analyzing the existing backlinks, you can pinpoint any weak spots and plan improvements accordingly.

Analyze Google Search Console

To kick things off, Google Search Console is a great place to start. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of your overall backlink profile. You can review and evaluate the websites linking back to you. It helps you to identify the number, types, and sources of the backlinks. You’ll even get an insight into the anchor text used, which can often be overlooked but holds great significance in terms of SEO.

Run a Backlink Audit in Semrush

Next up is Semrush, a gold mine of SEO data. Using its backlink audit tool, you’re not merely scraping the surface. Instead, you’re diving deep into potential backlink risks, toxic links that might harm your SEO, and those with high-value potential. Their tool allows you to audit, track, and analyze your backlinks, making it easier to spot patterns and trends in your strategy.

Run a Backlink Audit in Ahrefs

Then, there’s Ahrefs. Known for its accurate data and advanced metrics, Ahrefs expands your audit scope. Apart from auditing your own backlinks, you can use it to conduct competitor backlink analysis, giving you a tactical edge. Recognizing where your competitors are most linked can illuminate opportunities for your own site.

In addition, you can discover which backlinks you’ve lost, and you can change the time frame to analyze your performance over time.

Free Backlink Checker Tools

If you’re on a tighter budget, don’t fret. There are plenty of free backlink checker tools available, providing you with fundamental backlink analysis. They won’t offer the same depth of data as paid tools, but they can certainly give you a basic understanding of your backlink profile. Some honorable mentions include Moz Link Explorer, OpenLinkProfiler, and Rank Signals.

Building a backlink strategy is a progressive journey. It all starts with understanding your current state, and that’s precisely what backlink audits offer. 

3. Disavow Toxic Backlinks

Once you’ve conducted a thorough backlink audit, you’ll likely discover backlinks you’d rather not have in your backlink profile or the total collection of backlinks linking to your site. These bad or ‘toxic’ backlinks can harm your site’s SEO performance and lower your rankings on search engines. The process of eliminating these harmful links is called “disavowing.”

What exactly are toxic backlinks? These are the backlinks from spammy or low-authority websites, paid links, links generated from link networks, and essentially any links that violate Google’s guidelines. If you’re unsure if a link is toxic or not, tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush and Ahrefs can provide valuable insight.

But it’s important to remember that disavowing should not be your first action. Try reaching out to the site owner or webmaster first with a polite request to remove the unwelcome backlink. If the backlink isn’t removed after your request, that’s when Google’s Disavow Tool comes into play. This tool allows you to ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site.

However, disavowing isn’t as simple as it sounds. It should be part of your backlink strategy, but it must be invoked with caution. Some backlinks might seem toxic at first glance, but could actually be helpful in some way. Keep in mind that Google’s algorithms are smart enough to detect and ignore most low-quality links.

4. Setup Your CRM Designed for Backlink Outreach

Any successful link building strategy needs organization. The power of a CRM, or customer relationship management system, can’t be overlooked when managing your outreach efforts. Choosing an SEO-friendly CRM that supports link building activities is crucial. 

Look for features like contact management, email integration, task management, and performance tracking. Some stellar tools for the job include Buzzstream, Pitchbox, Backlink Gap, Hunter, and BuzzSumo. With these tools, you can find high-quality sites to target and find the right person to contact for each site, which makes your outreach much more effective.

However, it’s not enough to just start sending out link requests. Tracking your outreach efforts is key for future strategies. Monitor how many emails you’re sending, open rates, response rates, and the success rate of links gained. These are valuable metrics for you to refine your ongoing link building activities.

5. Find a Personal Email for Outreach

Mastering the delicate art of email outreach is important, but before you even start drafting an email, you need to find the correct email address. You don’t want your well-crafted, personalized emails to end up in a generic info box, where they’ll most likely be ignored. A personal email typically guarantees a better chance of capturing attention, so you should avoid catch-all emails, such as:

There’s no easy button here, and sometimes the manual route is the only way. Start by scouring the ‘Contact Us’ or ‘About Us’ pages on the website you intend to link from. If you can’t find a personal email on these pages, turning to social media might be a good plan B. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter might reveal personal email addresses, but remember, it’s more about building a relationship than pouncing on every email you find.

Finding a personal email isn’t a surefire ticket to link building success, but it’s a crucial aspect of any link building strategy.

6. Personalize the Outreach Email

Now that you’ve successfully found the right personal email addresses, the next decisive step is to personalize your outreach emails. Building a successful link isn’t about sending out as many emails as possible. It’s about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Remember, you’re dealing with real people, not faceless email accounts.

Here are some tips to effectively personalize your outreach emails:

  • Research your recipient — Understanding your recipient’s interests, their recent work, and their industry can provide valuable context when crafting your email. Remember, every piece of personalized info you include demonstrates how much you care.
  • Tailor the subject line — A carefully crafted subject line can drastically increase the chances of your email being opened. 
  • Mention common connections — If you both know someone in common, make a mention of it. This builds trust and encourages them to read on.
  • Show that you’re not a robot — Use a conversational tone. Speak to your recipients as you’d speak to someone in person.

By personalizing your outreach emails, you’re not just hurling a generic “please link to me” into the void. You’re building a genuine, one-to-one relationship, fostering an exchange that might just result in the backlink you’ve been after.

7. Create the Right Content for Link Building

In your pursuit of securing valuable links, creating the right kind of content is crucial. Exceptional content paves the way for obtaining high-quality backlinks and effective and is a vital part of all link building strategies.

Firstly, understand what type of content garners attention in your industry. Is it blog posts, case studies, white papers, or info-graphics?

It’s essential not to forget quality for quantity. Yes, being consistent with content is important. But it shouldn’t come at the cost of content quality. Superior content is inherently linkable. It tends to attract organic backlinks. That means it rakes in the links even without effortful outreach.

8. Backlink Monitoring

Monitoring backlinks isn’t just optional, it’s absolutely vital. Backlink monitoring is the process of tracking who’s linking to your website, ensuring these links are high-quality, and spotting any potential link-related issues before they impact your site’s ranking.

With constant shifts in the digital landscape, losing and gaining backlinks is not uncommon, so you need to keep an eye on the following:

  • Link growth or loss
  • The quality of your backlinks
  • Who’s linking to your site
  • Toxic links
  • Relevant and irrelevant links

If you use guests posts or link exchanges, make sure your posts and links are still live, and if your partner takes down your link, take down their link as well. These efforts will ensure that your backlink portfolio says healthy and successful. 

9. Test Your SEO Backlinks

Once you’ve established a regular link building and monitoring routine, it’s vital to enter the next phase: testing your SEO backlinks. This step ensures that your efforts are paying off and you’re gaining the high-quality links necessary for boosting your site’s online visibility.

The internet, a dynamic entity, frequently undergoes changes. A page that was dishing out high-quality backlinks yesterday may not exist today. Therefore, ensuring that your SEO backlinks are active and useful is fundamental for maintaining your site’s credibility. To examine the efficiency of your backlinks, you need to conduct regular tests.

In testing your SEO backlinks, you’re essentially focusing on two parameters:

  • Checking if backlinks are active.
  • Evaluating backlink quality.

Seeing if backlinks are active is simple: a backlink is either present or absent. However, assessing backlink quality is a bit more complex and involves understanding Google’s guidelines regarding quality backlinks. Key aspects when examining backlink quality include the credibility of the source site, relevance to your content, and link location.

Although comprehensive testing takes time and effort, it’ll pay off in the end. You’ll be able to uncover any threats before they become significant hindrances and then take corrective measures. 

10. Measure Your Backlink ROI

Your link building plan isn’t complete without measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your backlinks. It’s crucial to have an understanding of how your backlinks are performing. Use tools like Google’s Search Console, SEMrush’s Backlink Audit Tool, Moz’s Link Explorer, and Ahrefs to perform this task. These tools will help you assess the quality of your backlinks, and their impact on your website’s SEO health. 

Remember, maintaining a strong online presence requires regular backlink testing. So, don’t let your guard down. Stay on top of your backlink game by conducting comprehensive backlink tests periodically. This way, you’ll ensure your link building efforts are always paying off.



Kristine is the Director of Marketing at Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.