14.7.2022

B2B, SEO

B2B Link Building: 14 Tactics to Increase Your Site’s Authority
  • / What is link building?
  • / How important is it for B2Bs?
  • / How Google uses links
  • / 14 link building tactics
  • / Step 1: Lay the foundation
  • / Step 2: Ongoing
  • / Step 3: Advanced
  • / Bonus: Outreach emails

Link building is one of the most important steps in a B2B SEO campaign.

Without backlinks, your website can’t build up authority. And without authority, you won’t increase ranking positions or organic traffic.

This guide explains how B2B companies can master link building. We’ll look at:

  • What is link building?
  • How important is it?
  • How Google uses links, and
  • 14 tactics to help build links

By the end of the guide, you will be armed with all of the tools needed for high-authority B2B link building.

First up…

What is link building?

Link building is an SEO tactic where you get other websites to link back to your website (using a clickable hyperlink).

This backlink from another website sends a signal to search engines and it can help your website rank higher in the search results.

How important is link building for B2B companies?

Very important.

I’d say links are one of (if not) the biggest ranking factors there is.

Especially for B2B SEO, which can be broken down into 4 key areas:

  • UX design
  • Site performance
  • Market-leading content
  • High-authority links

Without high-authority links, even the best content won’t rank well on Google. Meaning future customers won’t find you when searching on Google to help fix their problems.

How Google uses links (the mechanics)

In short, Google views links from another website to yours as a thumbs up.

A vote of confidence that if people are talking about your website and linking to it, you’re doing something right and that your page should appear higher in the results.

Without backlinks, a website will not rank well for many keywords. Meaning no organic traffic.

However, not all links are created equal…

In our B2B SEO guide, in the link building section, we run through exactly how Google uses links to rank a website.

Next up, 14 tactics you can use to build links…

14 B2B link building tactics

In this next section, we’ll look at 14 tactics B2B companies can use to build links.

We’ve broken the tactics down into 3 sections:

Step 1 – Laying the foundation
Step 2 – Ongoing
Step 3 – Advanced

Let’s begin…

Step 1 – Lay the foundation:

This first set of links is essential to indicate to Google that you’re a real business, where you are located, and what industry you operate in.

Every website should build these as a foundation.

(1) Google My Business

An obvious one to begin with, but an important one.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free service from Google which allows you to list your company, outlining what you do and what time you’re open. Including a link to your website.

You can choose what type of company you are from the list. And this allows you to appear on Google Maps for related searches and it also allows you to take reviews for your business.

Again, this will help to signal to Google you’re a real business. And it will help you appear in their map pack.

recruitment-agency-screen-shot-google-map-pack

(2) Directories

Directories are websites that list out lots of businesses, categorised into different industries.

They help to show Google that you are a legitimate business with a real address.

Just make sure you use the same Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) across all of the directories you submit to. This is so you don’t confuse Google with different addresses.

You have national directories like Yell, bt.com, and b2blistings.com. Local directories such as business groups in your area or chambers of commerce. And you will have industry-specific directories too.

Don’t go overboard and only submit your website to relevant directories.

yell-directory-listing-screenshot

(3) Social media

A quick and easy one, make sure you’re linking to your website from your social media profiles.

Although these links will be nofollow (meaning Google doesn’t count them when ranking your website), they form a key part of a natural backlink profile.

(4) Suppliers and partners

Do you have relationships with suppliers or partners that you regularly work with? Then you may be able to use this relationship to get a link to your website.

As an example, we work with a design agency as their development partner. We can approach them to see if they’d like to do a joint blog post over on their website and we link back to our website in the process.

It could even be a joint case study with a supplier to showcase the work you’ve done together. Or, you may have had great success with a tool or service and they want to feature you on their website as a case study.

In short, what relationships do you have already that you can use to your advantage and build links?

Step 2 – Ongoing:

Now you have a foundation in place, this next set of tactics will take your link building to the next level.

I’ve listed these tactics as ongoing because once you have a repeatable process in place, you can always be working on building these types of links.

(5) Unlinked mentions (brand mentions)

What is this?

Most B2B companies speak at events or conferences, your employees will go on podcasts, or a website will cover your company’s new feature or product release.

Either way, it’s very common for these websites to talk about you but they don’t link to you. Hence the name, unlinked mentions.

One word of warning, not every website will be worth contacting. So be sure to check the quality of the website before reaching out to them.

How to build them?

One of the best ways is to stop them from happening in the first place. Internal education to colleagues about the value of link building can help a lot. Your team will know to ask the website they will be featured on for a link.

Another great way to catch unlinked mentions is to sign up for Google Alerts. Google will search the web for a keyword (in this case your company name, or even your employee’s) and then alert you when you are mentioned.

google-alerts-screenshot

When you notice an unlinked mention, they are usually easily fixed with some outreach.

(6) Reverse image search

What is this?

Think unlinked mentions but with images!

When another website uses your image, they will often not credit you. This is a great opportunity to reach out to them and ask if they can credit you as the copyright holder and link to you.

This is a great tactic for B2B companies that have a lot of unique images on their website. Or have created custom infographics. Any visual asset you own the copyright to that another website has *ahem* borrowed.

As long as you’re happy for them to use the image, asking for image credit and a link to your site works well for both of you.

How to build them?

Google is your best friend when it comes to reverse image searches!

  • Take your image file or URL
  • Upload it to Google Image Search
  • Look down the sites in the list
  • Who hasn’t linked to you?
  • Outreach
  • Follow-up

google-images-screenshot

(7) HARO

What is this?

Another great link building tactic for B2B companies is HARO.

Help A Report Out (HARO) is a free service that connects reporters (that are creating content) with subject matter experts (you).

The reporters feature you (or a member of your team) and then link back to your website.

The more prestigious your company and your subject matter experts, the better. This will increase your chances of getting links.

As a note, you won’t always be featured. But HARO is a great, always-on tactic to build highly-relevant B2B links each month.

He’s a list of example sites the email three times a day:

How to build them?

  • Sign up to HARO
  • Receive an email x3 a day
  • Search the list for topics related to your niche
  • Check how authoritative the reporter’s website is
  • Pitch the reporter

(8) Guest posts

What is this?

Rather than blogging on your own website, you share your experience and insights on another website’s blog as a guest. Hence the name guest posting.

Ideally, you want content on your website to link back to within the guest post. However, this tactic still works well without content. You’ll just have to link to your homepage, or your sales page (if the guest post site lets you – which is rare).

It’s a tactic that’s been around for years. One that still works for B2B companies to this day.

However, like with all link building tactics it depends on the website you get the link from. They need to be high-quality and relevant to your niche.

Otherwise, it can be a time-consuming tactic for not much in return.

How to build them?

  • Find a few strong SEO competitor(s) in your niche
  • Run their website through Ahrefs or Majestic
  • Look at the websites that link to them
  • See which posts are guest posts
  • Outreach
  • Follow-up

In addition to this, Backlinko has an in-depth guide on this topic to find targets.

guide-to-guest-blogging-screenshot

(9) Link placements

What is this?

You approach a website to place a link within a piece of content that is already live on their website.

This is one of the quickest ways to build links to your website. However, 9 times out of 10, this involves paying them in exchange for the link placement!

I know, I know… this goes against Google’s guidelines on building links.

But, it does work!

People will say this method doesn’t work but I guarantee you it does.

You just need to be careful and only work with the right websites.

More on this next…

How to build them?

The process is very similar to guest posting. But, instead of pitching them a guest post, you mention link placements in the outreach email.

  • Find a few strong SEO competitor(s) in your niche
  • Run their website through Ahrefs or Majestic
  • Look at the websites that link to them
  • See which posts link to your competition
  • Outreach
  • Follow-up

Step 3 – Advanced:

This section is dedicated to advanced link building. Tasks that take longer than the steps before but make a great addition to your arsenal.

They will take your link building to the next level, increasing your authority, and putting you ahead of the majority of the competition.

However, I want to highlight that to reach this level you need to be a thought leader in your industry. Producing amazing content that other websites want to link to and share with their audience.

It doesn’t come easy.

Let’s begin…

(10) Content marketing

What is this?

Best-in-market content will get links from other websites. There’s no doubt about it.

However, there’s a common misconception that by producing great content, you can sit back, relax and watch the links roll in.

This isn’t true.

You still need to do outreach to help the content get picked up by news outlets and other websites. Over time, websites will become aware of your content and be more likely to feature it.

But, to begin with, you need to put in the work.

How to build them?

In a similar approach to the other tactics, you create a list of target websites to reach out to. When you publish a new piece of content, send them a message.

You need to make sure the content is relevant to them and their audience and is truly unique. You can’t send them a generic guide that other websites in your industry have as well.

One of the best ways to build these links is using the skyscraper technique. In short, you:

  • Find an original piece of content with lots of links (Ahrefs or Majestic)
  • Create content that is way better than this original piece
  • Email the people that link to the original content highlighting why yours is better

Ahrefs have a detailed guide on this approach here.

In short, on a very top level, create the best content around and let people know about it!

(11) Digital PR

What is this?

Well and truly in its heyday, digital PR is a great way to build links from high-authority websites (mainly international and national news outlets; or industry-specific news sites).

The aim is to create an asset (be that research, content, or a unique insight) that you then pitch to these high-authority websites. In turn, getting a link back to your website, increasing your online presence.

You must have a newsworthy or topical angle otherwise these outlets won’t pick up your story. And it needs to appeal to a larger audience so it can get the most traction.

I’ve included some great B2B examples below:

Digital PR is a great tactic for B2B companies because it can be used by what people perceive as “boring” industries to generate a newsworthy story.

digital-pr-screenshot

How to build them?

I’ve linked to this Digital PR Guide by Moz, where they break down the ins and outs of building links using this tactic.

In short, it follows this process:

  • Ideation
  • Pre-outreach
  • Content creation
  • Outreach
  • Follow-up

The most important step is the ideation phase. You need to have truly newsworthy content, that hasn’t been done before, in order to gain maximum coverage.

(12) Resource pages (listicles)

What is this?

Resource pages (or listicles) are where websites link out to their favourite content (resources, products, blog post, tools, guides etc.) on the web.

Pages such as “my top 10 tools for X”, “10 case studies for industry X”, or “[industry] resource hub”

cyber-security-hub

You have to market-leading content on your website. And I’m talking amazing – the best of the best.

The websites listing these resources will only want to share quality content with their audience. They don’t want to risk their reputation by linking out to poor content.

So this won’t be done for every blog post or guide you release. Only your best content.

This does not work for links to your homepage or sales page (unless you have a truly remarkable, newsworthy product e.g. “you’re the first company in the world to do X.”)

How to build them?

In short, the process goes like this:

(1) Do you have great resources? What are they?
First of all, you need great content for this tactic to work. Otherwise, why would the other websites link to you?

What great content do you have on your website? I’m talking in-depth guides here.

(2) Find websites with resource lists
For this, you will want to use “search operators” coupled with your target keyword related to your resource.

Search operators are phrases you can type into Google to help you find target websites.

Such as:

  • “related sites”
  • “resource pages”
  • “related urls”
  • “helpful links”
  • “resources”
  • Inurl:links

When coupled with your keyword, your Google search may look like this:

  • recruitment “resource pages”
  • growth marketing “resource pages”
  • IT support “helpful links”
  • SEO inurl:links

(3) Pitch the website
Reach out to the website, I have added an email template below for this:

(4) Remember, follow-up!
We’re all busy and it’s likely the website missed your email, so you need to send them a friendly reminder.

(13) Round-ups

What are they?

Closely related to resource pages are round-ups.

These are weekly or monthly round-ups from industry-related blogs or websites that curate content and share it with their audience.

They may share insights such as “The Best [Industry] Content This Week”.

How to build them?

In the long run, as you produce more content and become known as a thought leader, the round-ups will rely on your content.

However, until then, you need go out and find these websites. You can do that using Google, using search operators like:

  • “best blog posts”
  • “best blog updates”
  • “best content”
  • “best posts of the week”
  • “best posts of the month”
  • “link round up”

And then add your industry before to get the search phrase:

  • cybersecurity “best blog posts”
  • cybersecurity “best content”

You can also use Twitter to find these round-ups, here’s a great video on that:

(14) Broken link building

What is this?

When a website links to another website that no longer exists – the link is broken and returns a 404 page. This is bad for the user experience.

Broken link building fixes this. You let the website know about the broken link and then suggest a replacement (your website).

How to build them?

This is a very similar approach to the resource page link building above. You are looking for web pages related to your niche that have broken links.

(1) Use search operators:
Use the search operators from above, to find the pages related to your content.

Here we have used an example for digital marketing:

broken-link-building-screenshot

(2) Check for broken links:
Now we have a page with a list of links, we can see if any are broken.

Then use this tool, Check My Links, to find broken links on the page. If you have Ahrefs SEO tool bar, you can use the Check Status feature as well.

(3) Outreach:
Once you find a broken link, you can reach out to the website.

Bonus: Improving your cold outreach emails

One of the most important parts of any link building campaign is the outreach email.

Usually, these are cold emails to prospects that may not know you yet.

Even the best content or marketing campaign will be ignored if you don’t have an attention-grabbing subject line or persuasive copy.

Want to improve this?

Here’s a great video from SparkToro on effective cold outreach.

Summary

There we go, 14 ways B2B companies can build links to their website. Helping you to create a high-authority link building strategy that increases ranking positions and organic traffic.

Link building isn’t easy!

It takes a lot of time to research the best websites and build those links.

But, as momentum builds up like a flywheel and you’ve overcome the initial learning curve, it gets a lot easier.

If you have any questions about this, please reach out to me below. You can check out our related articles or look at our B2B SEO agency page.

Post Author
Stephen White, Director

Stephen started his career as an SEO, learning his craft at web design agencies and multinational media agencies. Working on household names such as Huggies, Old El Paso, and Birkenstock. In 2018, he took those years of experience and founded Spaced. A B2B marketing agency that helps marketing teams generate more qualified leads, to fill their pipeline, and ultimately grow revenue.