Are you ready for the biggest SEO bombshell? Sit down for this one and hold on tight…

Links are still the NUMBER ONE ranking factor. Yes, Google still puts the most weight on links when calculating their ranking algorithm. You can listen to all the SEO influencers that preach about creating content that Google loves, but the truth is that Google loves links more. They always have and always will.

While I have made a very dramatic shift into the white hat SEO world, one thing about me will never change: my no bullshit approach in this industry. I’m not going to preach one thing and do the other. I’m not going to lie in order to sell you courses or certification programs. I will always say it like it is.

Is content important? Yes.

It’s important to deliver your message and educate your potential customers about your business. It’s also great bait for links, but simply writing amazing content alone won’t get you found high up in the SERPs.

The value of links hasn’t changed, but the types of links that you want to go after sure have. The days of spamming thousands of links are long gone. The days of trying to game the system with footer links and sidebar links are gone. Today, in-text contextual links are what you want to go after, and not exact match keyword variations, either. Brand mention links on authority websites provide a solid SEO value and they appear to be 100% natural.

When your links are natural and appear to be earned the right way, there is nothing to worry about. Your rankings and traffic will continue to climb as long as you do it the right way. My agency, SerpLogic, has an outreach product that is our number one selling service, and it’s because it delivers solid mentions with contextual links on niche related websites. Welcome to 2016 SEO. This is the ONLY way to build links if you want to remain as “white” as possible.

These take time and money, but if you really want the best links possible you have to be willing to part with both.

If you want to attempt to secure some brand mentions links on your own, here are eight proven ways.


1. Buddy up with niche influencers and offer them content

Make a list of the top personalities in your niche. You want to identify people that have a well known name and following, a strong social media presence and a company or personal blog with a lot of readers. (Note: look at social shares, inbound links, and comments to determine whether or not a blog is popular)

It shouldn’t be hard to come up with a list of anywhere from 25 to 100 blogs. Don’t include the huge authority websites like Forbes, Inc, Huffington Post, etc. on this list. You want to only curate a list of blogs that will allow you to easily communicate with the owners. Don’t be so stuck on metrics like Domain Authority and Trust Flow. Diversification is the name of the game, so if you are able to secure a handful of contextual links on DA 15 – 30 sites it will be beneficial, especially if they are niche related websites.

Buddy up and build a relationship with them rather then just sending over a pitch. Everyone sends over a lame pitch. Once you have a relationship established it becomes so easy to ask for a guest post. Focus on the relationship first and after a few friendly back and forth emails I promise you the guest post request (if done casually) will be granted.


2. Bribe editors and journalists

“How much is it going to cost me to get a link on Forbes?”

That’s such a short and sweet approach, and also one that 100% worked for me in the past. Anyone with the ability to post content on the biggest authority websites gets bothered nonstop on social media and through email. People try to be clever and pitch their companies and story ideas. Do you really think any writer or editor is going to read a pitch? Most get deleted.

Want to really catch their attention? Ask them what it will cost. Money talks and bullshit walks. That’s the way the editorial link game is played these days. All the SEO gurus that talk about providing value to these people are lying through their teeth because they want to appear as if they don’t play in the link selling sandbox. They all do. They all have their hand in the cookie jar.. and it pays well.

Sometimes they won’t even ask for money. I have exchanged links for placements, provided infographics, and even done SEO for people. While most want cold hard cash, there are always opportunities to barter. Just ask straight up. Buying a contextual link on Forbes, for example, will give you a nice SEO kick.  You can’t expect miracles with a single link, or even a small handful, but constantly building these high quality links will eventually produce results.


3. Give out infographics like candy

This is one of my favorite methods to get killer contextual links, and all you have to do is spend a little money. I would suggest you find yourself a good infographic freelancer. All of the major freelancer websites have a million options. It might take a few to find someone that creates them the way you want.

I have found several infographic designers that create high quality ones for a fraction of what the large agencies charge. In fact, I found a lot of SerpLogic’s infographic designers through freelancer websites. I hired them for projects and then eventually offered them full time jobs to work for us.


“How would you like a free infographic for your blog? I’d be willing to have my designers create an exclusive infographic for you that you could use for link bait. Just include a link to my website in the form of a brand mention and it’s yours. Let me know.”


That is all it takes. What website is going to pass on an exclusive infographic? Not many, trust me. You are giving them a piece of content that they can then use to land a bunch of links for themselves. Think of it like you are paying $100 – $200 per link, so pick and chose your targets wisely. This is a GREAT way to get links on websites that don’t traditionally allow guest blogging.


4. Publish round-up Q&A blog posts

Are you already signed up to receive HARO updates? I know I have mentioned them in the past as a good link building opportunity, but you can also use HARO to get links by giving out links to other people.

Wait, what?

You kill two birds with one stone using this approach. Submit a question through HARO to get responses for a blog post. If you use this strategy once a month you will build steady niche related contextual links on autopilot.

You have to think of a very good question to ask that your blog readers will be interested in and one that will trigger true experts to respond. Avoid generic questions, because those will flood you with unqualified people just looking for exposure. A specific question pertaining to your niche will still get a huge response, but it will be more qualified people.

You might get anywhere for 50 to 200 replies, so be prepared to weed through shit to find the gold. Look for replies that provide value and you are comfortable posting on your website and also look for replies from people with strong niche related websites that you would love a link from.

Take anywhere from 10 to 25 responses and include them all in a round-up post. Notify the people that you publish and give them a link to the post. Make sure to include a link to their website. You will see that almost half will link back to the post in their resource section or within their blog. This method is so simple even a noob can score niche links this way.


5. Be your own publicist and get interviewed

You can use HARO to find opportunities, but just be aware that most requests receive hundreds of replies. If you take my advice in the previous tip you will see how crazy HARO can get. It’s very competitive and you could have the best response but the person might have already moved forward and didn’t even have a chance to read yours.

Reach out to niche specific news sites and offer your expertise. You don’t want to come across as a cocky person whom thinks he or she is the best thing, but you do want to list your qualifications and paint the picture of why your opinion and feedback would be beneficial.

Let them know you are available for interviews and quotes, and provide them with your full contact info. Also, saying something like you respond to all media requests within 60 minutes will increase the likelihood that they keep your info on file.

You can also create a database of these contacts and email them industry updates and breaking news. This is another great way to get quoted (and linked to) on a regular basis.


6. Create free resources for your local market

Think about how many free eBooks and white paper reports there are about SEO. Are the SEO gurus such nice guys that they want to help everyone learn how to rank? Hell no! They just know that creating resources is an easy way to attract niche links.

Think about it for a minute. If I created a great eBook about ranking on Google that had something groundbreaking, every single SEO blog would be writing about it and linking to my website. Creating a valuable resource is an easy way to attract links, but the key is VALUABLE. I bet you can think of dozens on eBooks and low quality resources that have never earned a single mention.

If you are going to do this, do it right and don’t cut corners. You can do this for any niche, also. Imagine if you were a local florist that specialized in wedding flower arrangements. You could put together a guide of the area’s top wedding venues. If you made it packed full of helpful information on each venue, the local media would surely be willing to offer it as a download on their websites and they would most likely link back to your website without you even having to ask. Not only would it be a great branding piece of content, but it will earn you links as well.


7. Become a source of breaking news

There are thousands of SEO blogs, but only a handful that are good sources of breaking news: Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Roundtable are the few that come to mind.

These blogs have regular how-to posts and other long form content, but they also post breaking news multiple times a day. This helps them two ways:

1. It gets them in Google News, which helps to bring a lot of traffic to their blog every single day.

2. It has turned them into a legit source of SEO information, and so many other blogs cite them (and link to them). All the brand mentions they receive will typically point to their inner pages, but this authority boost helps them really pull organic traffic.

This is something that can be duplicated in almost any niche. It just takes a good understanding of the niche and the ability and willingness to post multiple times a day, around the clock. When news breaks in your niche you need to be the first one to report on it. As your website authority increases you are going to start to rank first for news if you are the first to be indexed.


8. Break out the checkbook and become charitable

If you have money to spend, you can do this and have juicy links as soon as tomorrow.

Find all of the local charities in your area and see if they have a donations page. Look for old websites that sit on an .org domain. A lot of times you will find websites that were PR 7+ years ago when that was being updated. A handful of these links can really push your overall authority up.

Even if the charity doesn’t have a donation/sponsor page, ask them if they will give you a link (saying you are a supporter) in exchange for a donation. You can score amazing links for $25 – $100 all day long if you are willing to do a little leg work.



You need links if you want to rank, so learn how to build ones that will help you and not put you in any danger of a penalty.

Even if you have large budget to pay an agency to build them all for you, it’s good to know how to build natural looking contextual links. This way, when you are interviewing potential SEO agencies for your link building needs you can ask specific questions to see if they truly know what they are doing.

Have any link building questions about the tips mentioned above? If so, drop a comment and I will be sure to answer you as quickly as possible.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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