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The big 3: quality links, quality content, quality site build.

For this page, we focus on the most important one of all, quality links. You don't need to have a degree in links to get them. Just follow these 16 tips like the team at Kayak does.

Before we look at links, just a quick note on quality control. Almost all of the issues shown in the SEO Score image here (courtesy of SiteBulb) are user-created. We recommend reaching out to the team at SEOAudits to learn about the quality of your website.


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A healthy website link profile is one of the most valuable search engine ranking factors.

One of the benefits of ranking organically, for many businesses, is that you can show up in search without the added cost of advertising. A link is a signal between two sites that acts as a vote of confidence and relationship between the two.

  1. A strong link comes from a topically relevant website that has high authority and value as a result of content, popularity, traffic, and literally hundreds of other factors.
  2. A weak link comes from an unrelated website or one with low authority and value as a result of poor SEO practices, lack of online activity, or spam/malware.

This guide is designed to help a business of any size work from the ground up to attract strong links. We start with things that can be done immediately, and work our way up to strategies that can pay off months, if not years down the road.

Let’s get started... you can do it yourself or engage our SEO experts to jump in and help.

1: Set up a page for your business on the top directories

Directories are websites like Yelp, Angies list, the BBB and your local chamber of commerce. Search engines reference local directories to verify location details. These are often referred to as citations. Citations are mentions of your business name and address online, even if those outside websites don’t link to you.

  • Set up a page for your business on popular Local Business Directories.
  • If location-specific, set up a page for your business on the Top Local Citation Sources by Country.
  • Set up a page for your business on the Best Local Citations by Category.

2: If your business is location-specific, create a Google My Business Local Listing page (GMB)

Create a Google My Business Page. This will help tie your website to a physical location, which Google uses in its map and search results.

  • If your business is in a single location, link it to your homepage.
  • If your business has multiple locations, link to dedicated location pages for each (ie. yoursite.com/calgary).
  • If you don’t have a physical location where you serve clients, you cannot set up a local page.
TIP: Embed a map into your contact page as another sign to visitors and Google where exactly you are located. Don't overlook Bing Search. Create a listing there as well.

3: Build relationships (social networking)

While it takes some time, building relationships is one of the most effective ways to keep your company top-of-mind for people who might be interested in linking to your site or connecting with you.

  • Engage with the people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Follow them, retweet them, respond to them, reach out to them, chat and network with them!
  • If someone has mentioned you in a post but not linked to you, look for an opportunity to politely ask them for a link (give them a reason they can't refuse).
  • Make connections at local meetups, events, conferences and in your day-to-day activities.
  • Officially partner with companies in related industries. After all, a rising tide floats all boats.
  • Make use of your preferred Social Monitoring tool or set up social monitoring (HubSpot, Hootsuite, Buffer, etc...).
  • Create separate monitoring streams for your business, your content, and your target keywords (think long-tail).

TIP: Be a good neighbour by linking to others. This helps them gain a link as well as improves your chances of getting recognized and linked back to you in the future.

4: Find authoritative sites and industry leaders. Engage with them.

Not all links are created equal. Make sure that you're earning high-quality links, and not focusing on quantity. High-quality links come from authoritative website that are relevant to your business.

Open your preferred Page Performance tool (Search Console, SiteBulb, SEMrush, aHREFs, MOZ, etc):

  • View the websites that are linking to your site.
  • Filter by Authority and make a list of the most authoritative sites.
  • Filter by your competitors to see which sites are linking to them.
  • Make sure you’ve added your competitors to the monitoring.
  • Make a list of industry thought leaders (this can include thought-leaders in related industries too).
  • Look through your Chamber of Commerce website for potential allies and competitors (peers).
  • Search for industry conferences, certifications, agencies, laws, publications, etc.
  • Find the top bloggers for your industry. 

TIP: Look at top contributors to industry websites and magazines to find thought-leaders.

5: Create content with input from industry leaders

Create a "best-of" list or a resources list. Give credit to sources and authors.

  • Conduct an interview with an industry thought leader and publish it as a blog post.
  • Create crowdsourced content like this one we did in LinkedIn.
  • Solicit information, answers, or opinions on a particular topic from industry thought leaders.
  • Keep track of who responded and who did not for future reference.
  • Ask an industry thought-leader to write the foreword for your book. Or simply ask them for a quote to include.

TIP: Not only might these thought-leaders help you write your content, but they'll typically help you promote it! You'll gain new visitors and a new link to your content.

Improve Your Results

6: Blog consistently and frequently (think quality)

Create a blog editorial calendar. Assign someone to write each post, and choose relevant topics for each. When you keep a blog filled with quality content, people will naturally link to your articles. We recommend blogging 1-2x per week. It’s a great way to keep your site and your message fresh.

TIP: Keep blog articles informative, never self-promotional.

7: Be the first one to cover the news on a topic related to what you do

Search engines love to see fresh content. Be the first one (or one of the first) to blog about the news, and you have the potential to be on the top of searches for the topic! Set up a Google Alert to follow the news of your industry.

TIP: If you’re not one of the first to write about the news, you can still analyze the news or do a recap of it.

8: Include external links in your blog posts

Include one relevant link per article to useful outside content, especially content from industry thought-leaders. While people may leave your site, they’ll also remember you provided them with great information. Be sure to link text that contains relevant keywords (in a phrase).

TIP: Be sure to fully optimize your blog page for search engines.

9: Create strong visual content

Infographics, videos, and interesting images. If you can create a visually appealing, informative, data-driven infographic, and get it in front of enough people, it can go far. Use tools like slideshare to publish infographics and slide presentations.

TIP: Videos are a valuable addition to your content. How-to’s, demonstrations, and even well-made company promotional videos can attract interesting links and return visitors.

10: Optimize for social media and SEO

Include social sharing buttons on your blog posts. Include a link to your website on your social tools and in the profiles. Encourage readers to share the post to their personal social networks. This will help you get new visitors to your blog, and will also help increase the number of links to your website.

TIP: Social sharing buttons should be at the top of the blog post. This will encourage more visitors to share the content as many people share based on headline or image, regardless if they actually read the article.

11: Set up an RSS feed for your blog

An RSS feed provides a simple summary of your blog posts for readers that is constantly updating. If your customers have a "RSS Reader" installed in their browser they can receive updates to your blog by subscribing (clicking the RSS icon on your blog). If you don’t have an RSS feed, add it.

TIP: We strongly recommend choosing a full text RSS feed instead of a snippet RSS feed so readers can view the full article without having to return to your site. That may sound contrary, but RSS subscribers do so because they are interested in the content coming to them, not in going to your site.

12: Promote your content in social and use it in sales meetings

Share your content with industry thought-leaders and those you've formed relationships with. Promote your content in social media. Write your message and include a link to your content.

Including an image in the post can dramatically improve its success on social media because people are visual creatures. We like the bling.

Schedule out a couple of additional messages you can publish over a few days to promote your content on social, making sure to change the language each time.

Don't stop at just one tweet, but don’t spam either. Social is meant to be sociable, not broadcasting. Include a “Click to Tweet” link or button in your emails and in content if possible. And join the conversation on websites such as inbound.org and quora.com.

TIP: Don’t just share a link, introduce it like you would a friend.

13: Engage on other people’s content

Spend time reading articles and blogs written by industry leaders, competitors, news sources and industry journals. If you have something intelligent to add to what they have to say, leave a comment. The best comments add to the conversation and show other readers and people leaving comments that you have valuable information to share.

If the blog or article’s comment section allows you to post a link to your website along with your name or email, use it - but make sure you link to a relevant content page on your website instead of your homepage. And always use your real name when commenting.

TIP: Don’t just drop in a link in without joining the conversation! If you “link-drop”, most platforms will give you the boot.

14: Do some PR (get in the news)

Do outreach to journalists when you have news or a big piece of content. Write a press release about interesting company news. Publish it to your website (not on your blog.) If  press releases are a regular thing, set up a separate blog just for press releases and set it up as subscriptions for journalists.

If you can, do a joint press release with another company. Throw an event, like a meet-up, a dinner, a lunch-n-learn, etc. Invite local thought leaders and journalists.

TIP: Put the time and effort into building relationships with journalists and news companies, your focus can result in major media coverage and exposure. Get a sense of what is “news worthy”.

TIP: Note: Press releases are considered advertising content by Google. As such, they are unlikely to rank without serious support in the form of sharing, links,  and engagement.

15: Write guest blog posts (a series is better than a single)

Look for quality sites to guest blog for. You should know the site well and be able to vouch for their legitimacy. Those relationships you've built will go a long way here. Include links in the text (as hyperlinked words) that direct readers back to your pages. You'll both get the benefit of reaching a new audience and sending links back to your website.

TIP: When looking for a site to guest blog for, weed out sites that have too many blog posts (they might be spammy or low-quality) and sites that never have guest blog posts (they probably won't accept your offer of a guest post without you having a fantastic relationship with them, so don't waste your time). And the biggest tell of all, no engagement = no good.

TIP: There's a fine line between mutually contributions and swapping blogs with other sites. Avoid swapping blog posts. Best practice is to simply contribute for the content and knowledge sharing and let SEO come naturally.

16. Create profiles on these domains to generate ultra-high quality links to your site:

  1. bing.com/toolbox/webmaster
  2. bingplaces.com
  3. mapsconnect.apple.com
  4. google.com/analytics
  5. google.com/webmaster/tool
  6. google.com/mybusiness
  7. canada.alltop.com
  8. facebook.com
  9. twitter.com
  10. plus.google.com
  11. linkedin.com
  12. instagram.com
  13. about.me
  14. slideshare.net
  15. disqus.com
  16. majestic.com
  17. medium.com
  18. scoop.it
  19. blogs.forbes.com
  20. business2community.com
  21. marketingprofs.com
  22. socialmediatoday.com
  23. bizsugar.com
  24. rebelmouse.com
  25. quillengage.com
  26. moz.com/blog

If you do even 20% of the things we've mentioned here, you have an opportunity to dominate search engine results.

Don't ever stop! The closer you get to the top, the tighter the race.


Interested in learning even more? Chat with our experts about Growing Your Knowledge.

In 2011, we stopped doing marketing projects for the money and discovered how to really grow our business, and yours.

If you've ever worked with an ad agency, web design firm, or even a law firm, you're likely familiar with buying services from companies who sell you what you want to buy. It's very common and the way most small businesses operate; as a vendor.

What many people aren't as familiar with are two alternatives to operating as a vendor. More experienced businesses discover Process and Performance; or Partner and Coach, respectively. We like those words a lot. They open an opportunity to change the discussion from, "how much does it cost" to something like, "if we do X can we improve our results by Y". It's a radically different discussion.

In 2011, we refocussed our services to help our clients succeed. And thus, have removed acting as a vendor from our approach. It has been replaced with a determination to provide leadership and empowerment instead.

In a nutshell, our mission is not to do more for you, but to put you in a position to do more for yourself.

We are firm in our belief that great content deployed by knowledgeable marketers propels prospects to act and businesses to grow.