What is Link Building?

At its essence, link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours.

Traditionally, link building has been an "active" process, meaning that you go to other websites, directories, etc, and request, purchase or exchange a link from that site. Recently, however, the practice of creating engaging and "link-worthy" content (such as you are reading right now) has become a "passive" form of link building, where your website gains links on its own merit.

Whichever method you prefer or your market requires, in the end, any strategy or tactic that is executed with the intent of gaining links to your website qualifies as link building.

Link Building Campaign Strategies, Tips & Techniques

At Ontolo, we believe that marketing disciplines aren't as complicated and complex as many marketers would have you believe. Link building is no different.

We believe the link building process can be broken down into three fundamental steps, followed by an additional step for reporting.

1. Research for Discovering New Link Prospects

This stage, also known as "link prospecting," is the research and data collection stage of link building. Here, you may perform link building queries, review competitor backlinks, or find directories or other partnerships for which to build links.

If you are building links via building linkable content, in this stage you may be researching content in your industry that has already achieved links, brainstorming ideas for what kind of content you may produce, or performing research that your market might find valuable.

2. Reviewing/Qualifying Your Research to Find the Most Relevant and Valuable Link Prospects

Also known as "link qualification," in this stage you are reviewing your research to identify the most relevant and valuable link opportunities. Where, in the first stage of link prospecting, you may have thousands of link prospects to sift through, here, you're identifying only the top ones to invest your effort.

A "good link" is typically assessed against two measures: relevance and value. Relevance is commonly a subjective assessment of how on-topic the page or site is that you're aiming to acquire a link. Value, however, may be assessed against any number of hard metrics from PageRank, backlinks, SEOmoz scores, Majestic SEO scores, Alexa or Compete traffic rankings, etc.

3. Acquiring New Links

In the final (non-reporting) stage of link building, also known as "link acquisition," you are completing the purpose of your research to go out and actually get the links. If you are purchasing content or directory links, this is the purchasing stage. If you have found content that the owner's readers might benefit from having a link to you on there, you are sending out that link request. If you are writing content, you might be doing outreach or investing in social media efforts to build interest and links to that content.

4. Link Building Reporting and Campaign Management

As with any marketing effort, and link building is certainly a function of marketing, reporting and management become critical to a successful campaign. Here are the most commonly-used metrics for link building reporting:

  • Google PageRank to the domain home page, subdomain home page and individual URLs
  • Total backlinks to your site and top content.
  • SEOmoz scores, including mozRank, mozTrust, Domain and Page Authority.
  • Majestic SEO's ACRank

Link Building Guides from Top Experts, Organized by Process

Link Prospecting

Link Qualification

Link Acquisition

Ontolo Link Building Tools, Organized by Process

Discover New Link Prospects

Link Qualification Tools

Link Acquisition Tools

  • Link Prospect URL Reviewer
    Quickly review your link prospects by opening multiple prospect URLs in new tabs in your web browser. This is the first URL reviewer ever made publicly available and one of Ontolo's most popular link building tools.

Link Building Management & Reporting

  • Manage Your Reviewed Link Prospects
    Manage the Qualification & Acquisition Statuses, Custom Tags, and Notes for the link prospects in your Ontolo database.
  • Bulk-Edit Your Link Prospects
    In just a few clicks, edit the Qualification & Acquisition Statuses and Tags for lists of URLs you enter. You can apply Statuses and Tags to Domains, Subdomains and URLs for quick editing of lots of prospects.
  • Competitive Backlink Monitor
    Keep an eye on your competition by monitoring key backlink statistics of up to 25 competitors. This is a free tool that only requires registration.
  • Monitor Your Top Backlinks
    Once you've acquired a link, stay on top of it by making sure it stays live, followed and unchanged. This is a free tool that only requires registration.

Other, Outside Link Building Tools, Organized by Process

Discover New Link Prospects

Link Qualification Tools

Link Acquisition Tools

Link Building Experts & Their Blogs

Link Builders and SEOs work hard to contribute to you and the community. Week in and week out, they're breaking new ground, forming new strategies and tactics, then sharing them with others. In that sense, it's one of the most generous industries in the world.

We've put together more than 300 SEOs and link builders that we think you might benefit by learning from.

What to do from here:




Table of SEO & Link Building Experts


SEO/Link Building Expert Twitter Website
Aaron Wall @aaronwall Visit Website
Adam Sherk @adamsherk Visit Website
Adrienne Doss @adriennedoss Visit Website
Marty Weintraub @aimclear Visit Website
Disa Johnson @airdisa Visit Website
Aj Kohn @ajkohn Visit Website
Alaister Low @alaisterlow Visit Website
Alissa Ruehl @alissaru Visit Website
Allan Dick @allandick Visit Website
Al Scillitani @alscillitani Visit Website
Alysson Fergison @alysson Visit Website
David Leonhardt @amabaie Visit Website
Andrew Goodman @andrew_goodman Visit Website
Andy Kruge @andyatkinskruge Visit Website
Andy Beal @andybeal Visit Website
Andy Beard @andybeard Visit Website
Anton E. Konikoff @antonkonikoff Visit Website
Adam Audette @audette Visit Website
Avinash Kaushik @avinash Visit Website
Barbaraboser @barbaraboser Visit Website
Barrie Smith @barriesmithii Visit Website
Barry Smyth @barrysmyth Visit Website
Beah Burger @beahburger Visit Website
Jeremy Bencken @bencken Visit Website
Ben Wills @benwills Visit Website
Brad Geddes @bgtheory Visit Website
Bill Slawski @bill_slawski Visit Website
Bill Hunt @billhunt Visit Website
Chris Boggs @boggles Visit Website
Ken Lyons @bostonseo Visit Website
Brent D. Payne @brentdpayne Visit Website
Brian Carter @briancarter Visit Website
Brian Chappell @brianchappell Visit Website
Brian White @brianwhite Visit Website
Bruce Clay @bruceclayinc Visit Website
Brett Tabke @btabke Visit Website
Byrne Hobart @byrneseyeview Visit Website
Carrie Hill @carriehill Visit Website
Casie Gillette @casieg Visit Website
Chris Copeland @ccopeland101
Cristoph Cemper @cemper Visit Website
Cesar Serna @cesarserna Visit Website
Chris Bennett @chrisbennett Visit Website
Chris Garrett @chrisgarrett Visit Website
Chris Raimondi @chrisraimondi
Christa Watson @christawatson Visit Website
Chris Winfield @chriswinfield Visit Website
Ciaran Norris @ciaranj Visit Website
Cijo Abraham Mani @cijoabrahammani Visit Website
Chris Sherman @cjsherman Visit Website
Chris Dimmock @cogentis Visit Website
Conrad Saam @conradsaam Visit Website
Cory Kleinschmidt @coryklein Visit Website
Craig Fifield @craigfifield Visit Website
Cristian Vasile @cristianvasile Visit Website
Carolyn Shelby @cshel Visit Website
Christopher Penn @cspenn Visit Website
Curtis R. Curtis @curtisrcurtis Visit Website
Chris Whitling @cw360 Visit Website
Dana Todd @danatodd Visit Website
Dan Cristo @dancristo Visit Website
Danielle Winfield @daniellew
Dan London @danlondon Visit Website
Danny Dover @dannydover Visit Website
Danny Sullivan @dannysullivan Visit Website
Dan Thies @danthies Visit Website
Daron Babin @daronbabin Visit Website
Dave Naylor @davenaylor Visit Website
David Mihm @davidmihm Visit Website
David Wallace @davidwallace Visit Website
Dax Herrera @daxherrera
David Berkowitz @dberkowitz Visit Website
Debra Mastaler @debramastaler Visit Website
Mikkel Demib @demib Visit Website
Dennis Yu @dennisyu Visit Website
Derek Edmond @derekedmond Visit Website
Derrick Wheeler @derrickwheeler Visit Website
Desi Matlock @desimatlock Visit Website
Tyler Dewitt @dewittsmedia Visit Website
Vivek Chaudhuri @digitalv Visit Website
Glenn Murray @divinewrite Visit Website
Dixon Jones @dixon_jones Visit Website
Dana Melick @dmelick Visit Website
John Doherty @dohertyjf Visit Website
Don Baker @don_nsi Visit Website
Don Dikaio @dondikaio Visit Website
Don Steele @donsteele
Dave Dugdale @dugdale Visit Website
Jennifer Horowitz @ecombuffet Visit Website
Darren Shaw @edmontonseo Visit Website
Evan Fishkin @efishkin Visit Website
Elisabeth Osmeloski @elisabethos Visit Website
Elise Richardson @eliserichardson Visit Website
Eric Hoffman @eric_hoffman Visit Website
Eric Enge @ericenge Visit Website
Eric Ward @ericward Visit Website
Erika Tabke @etabke Visit Website
Ralph Tegtmeier @fantomaster Visit Website
Frank Reed @frankreed Visit Website
Fred Horrocks @fredhorrocks
Kunle Campbell @fuzzone Visit Website
Gary Stein @garyst3in Visit Website
Gaston Irigoyen @gastonirigoyen Visit Website
Nick Gerner @gerner Visit Website
Greg Niland @goodroi Visit Website
Graham Hansell @grahamhansell Visit Website
Michael Gray @graywolf Visit Website
Scott Willoughby @great_scott
Greg Boser @gregboser Visit Website
Greg Finn @gregfinn Visit Website
Chris M. Carroll @grumpyhawk Visit Website
Greg Sterling @gsterling Visit Website
Mark Edmondson @guavamarked Visit Website
Gyutae Park @gyutae Visit Website
Ryan Smith @hackingsearch Visit Website
Heather Lloyd-Martin @heatherlloyd Visit Website
Peter Hershberg @hershberg Visit Website
Hugo Guzman @hugoguzman Visit Website
Michael King @ipullrank Visit Website
James Duthie @jamesduthie Visit Website
James Owen @jamesoseo Visit Website
Janet Driscoll-Miller @janetdmiller Visit Website
Jason Duke @jasond Visit Website
Javaun Moradi @javaun Visit Website
Jonathan Colman @jcolman Visit Website
Jonathan Hochman @jehochman Visit Website
Jennifer Cario @jennifercario Visit Website
Jennifer Sable Lopez @jennita Visit Website
Jenny Halasz @jennyhalasz Visit Website
Jennifer Slegg @jenstar Visit Website
Jeremiah Andrick @jeremiah Visit Website
Jesse Liebman @jesseliebman Visit Website
Jill Whalen @jillwhalen Visit Website
Jim Banks @jimbanks Visit Website
Jim Boykin @jimboykin Visit Website
Jim Hedger @jimhedger
Jeffrey K. Rohrs @jkrohrs Visit Website
Jeordan Legon @jlegon Visit Website
Joanna Batten @joannabatten
Joanna Lord @joannalord Visit Website
John Andrews @johnandrews Visit Website
John Heard @johnheard Visit Website
John K. Mccaw @johnkmccaw Visit Website
John Mueller @johnmu Visit Website
Jordan Kasteler @jordankasteler Visit Website
Joseph Morin @josephmorin Visit Website
Joshua Palau @joshuapalau
Julie Joyce @juliejoyce Visit Website
Justilien Gaspard @justilieng Visit Website
Justin Briggs @justinrbriggs Visit Website
Jason Acidre @kaiserthesage Visit Website
Kalena Jordan @kalena Visit Website
Karen Deweese @karendeweese Visit Website
Karon Thackston @karonthackston Visit Website
Kelly Gillease @kellpickles Visit Website
Kelvin Newman @kelvinnewman Visit Website
Kendra Jaros @kendrajaros
Ken Jurina @kenjurina Visit Website
Keri Morgret @kerimorgret Visit Website
Kevin Lee @kevin_lee_qed Visit Website
Kevin Heisler @kevinheisler Visit Website
Kevin M. Ryan @kevinmryan Visit Website
Kevin Newcomb @kevinnewcomb Visit Website
Christine Churchill @keyrelevance Visit Website
Kristi Hines @kikolani Visit Website
Kim Krause Berg @kim_cre8pc Visit Website
Kevin Mullett @kmullett Visit Website
Laura Callow @lauracallow Visit Website
Laura Lacy @lauralacy Visit Website
Laura Lippay @lauralippay Visit Website
Lauren Polinsky @laurenpolinsky Visit Website
Lee Odden @leeodden Visit Website
Rebecca Lieb @lieblink Visit Website
Volm Saša Ebach @linkaufbau Visit Website
Ryan Clark @linkbuildr Visit Website
Lisa Barone @lisabarone Visit Website
Lisa Myers @lisadmyers Visit Website
Lisa Wehr @lisawehr Visit Website
Andrew Shotland @localseoguide Visit Website
The Silk Road @lonniehodge Visit Website
Dana Lookadoo @lookadoo Visit Website
Loren Baker @lorenbaker Visit Website
Lyndon Antcliff @lyndoman Visit Website
Kevin Spence @makeitrank Visit Website
Mani Karthik @manikarthik Visit Website
Marc Poirier @marcpoirier Visit Website
Mark Tempest @mark_tempest Visit Website
Roger Montti @martinibuster Visit Website
Marty Shaw @martyshaw Visit Website
Mary Bowling @marybowling Visit Website
Matt Siltala @matt_siltala Visit Website
Matt Cutts @mattcutts Visit Website
Matthew Finlay @mattfin
Matthew Diehl @matthewdiehl Visit Website
Matthew Brown @matthewjbrown Visit Website
Matt Mcgee @mattmcgee Visit Website
Mike Blumenthal @mblumenthal Visit Website
Ken Mcgaffin @mcgaffin Visit Website
Michael D Jensen @mdjensen Visit Website
Marshall Simmonds @mdsimmonds Visit Website
Melissa Mackey @mel66 Visit Website
Melanie Mitchell @melaniemitchell Visit Website
Melanie Nathan @melanienathan Visit Website
Mel Carson @melcarson Visit Website
Micaela Burr @micaelaburr Visit Website
Michael Pilla @michaelpilla
Michelle Robbins @michellerobbins
Mike Grehan @mikegrehan Visit Website
Mike Halvorsen @mikehalvorsen Visit Website
Marie-Claire Jenkins @missmcj Visit Website
Monica Valentinelli @mlvalentine Visit Website
Michael Mcdonald @mmcdonald Visit Website
Molly Block @mollyblock Visit Website
Monica Wright @monicawright Visit Website
Peter Morville @morville Visit Website
Matt Van Wagner @mvanwagner
Nacho Hernandez @nachohernandez Visit Website
Napoleon Suarez @napoleonsuarez Visit Website
Natala Menezes @natala Visit Website
Nathan Buggia @nathanbuggia Visit Website
Neil Patel @neilpatel Visit Website
David Brown @neoblog Visit Website
Craig Neil @newportseo Visit Website
Branko Rihtman @neyne Visit Website
Nichola Stott @nicholastott Visit Website
Nick Wilsdon @nickwilsdon Visit Website
Nick Wilson @nickwilson Visit Website
Nick Dynice @nsputnik Visit Website
Todd Friesen @oilman Visit Website
Tadeusz Szewczyk @onreact_com Visit Website
Ethan Giffin @opie Visit Website
Gord Hotchkiss @outofmygord Visit Website
Paddy Moogan @paddymoogan Visit Website
Patrick Gavin @patrickgavin Visit Website
Pat Strader @patstrader Visit Website
Paul May @paulmay Visit Website
Peter Davanzo @peterdavanzo Visit Website
Peter Young @peteyoung Visit Website
Patrick Keane @phkeane
Ian Lurie @portentint Visit Website
Rachel Andersen @rachel_andersen Visit Website
Rand Fishkin @randfish Visit Website
Rebecca Kelley @rebeccakelley Visit Website
Rhea Drysdale @rhea Visit Website
Richard Baxter @richardbaxter Visit Website
Ricky Santos @rickysantos Visit Website
Rishi Lakhani @rishil Visit Website
Russ Jones @rjonesx Visit Website
Rob Kerry @robkerry Visit Website
Rob Ousbey @robousbey Visit Website
Andromeda Edison @romie Visit Website
Ross Hudgens @rosshudgens Visit Website
Rasmus Sørensen @rumbas Visit Website
Barry Schwartz @rustybrick Visit Website
Ruud Hein @ruudhein Visit Website
Ryan Lash @ryanlash Visit Website
Sally Falkow @sallyfalkow Visit Website
Sara Holoubek @sarita Visit Website
Saurav Verma @sauravverma Visit Website
Scott Mclay @scott_mclay Visit Website
Scott Cowley @scottcowley Visit Website
Sean Carlos @seancarlos Visit Website
Sean Golliher @seangolliher Visit Website
Sean J Maguire @seanmaguire Visit Website
Sean Sloan @seansloan
Gareth Hoyle @search_magician Visit Website
Kieran Flanagan @searchbrat Visit Website
Chris Zaharias @searchquant Visit Website
Sebastian @sebastianx Visit Website
Aj Ghergich @seo Visit Website
Seo Theory @seo_theory Visit Website
Alex Juel @seoholicc Visit Website
Gillian Muessig @seomom Visit Website
Ann Smarty @seosmarty Visit Website
Alex Bennert @seosylph Visit Website
Susan Etlinger @setlinger Visit Website
Shannon Yelland @shannonyelland Visit Website
Scott Hendison @shendison Visit Website
Chris Silver Smith @si1very Visit Website
Simon N Reynolds @simonnreynolds Visit Website
Ben Cook @skitzzo Visit Website
Jay Hawkinson @sleestakk Visit Website
Sandy Macnamara @smacfiltered
Marshall Stevenson @spryd Visit Website
Stephan Spencer @sspencer Visit Website
Stephen Harred @stephenharred2 Visit Website
Steve Espinosa @stevemcstud Visit Website
Liana Li' Evans @storyspinner Visit Website
Todd Malicoat @stuntdubl Visit Website
Rae Hoffman-Dolan @sugarrae Visit Website
Susan Esparza @susanesparza
Susan Moskwa @susanmoskwa Visit Website
Cindy Krum @suzzicks Visit Website
David Szetela @szetela Visit Website
Tamar Weinberg @tamar Visit Website
Tanya Vaughan @tanya_vaughan Visit Website
Terry Van Horne @terryvanhorne Visit Website
Adam Lasnik @thatadamguy Visit Website
The Caveman @the_caveman Visit Website
Gerald Weber @the_gman Visit Website
David Harry @thegypsy Visit Website
Tom Critchlow @tomcritchlow Visit Website
Tom Demers @tomdemers Visit Website
Thomas M. Schmitz @tomschmitz
Toni Carreiro @tonicarr Visit Website
Tony Adam @tonyadam Visit Website
Tony N. Wright @tonynwright Visit Website
Tony Verre @tonyverre
Topher Kohan @topheratl Visit Website
Michael Updegraff @upworks
Vanessa Fox @vanessafox Visit Website
Jennifer Van Iderstyne @vanetcetera Visit Website
Vince Blackham @vinceblackham Visit Website
Virginia Nussey @virginianussey Visit Website
Mike Cohen @wannadevelop Visit Website
Wayne Barker @wayneb77 Visit Website
Chris Davies @wcdavies Visit Website
Mona Elesseily @webmona
Wiep Knol @wiep Visit Website
Wil Reynolds @wilreynolds Visit Website
David Yehaskel @yehaskel Visit Website
Joost De Valk @yoast Visit Website
Jake Feuerbacher @youfoundjake Visit Website
Michael Martinez @seo_theory Visit Website
Mike Pantoliano @mikecp
Kate Morris @katemorris Visit Website
Alan Bleiweiss @alanbleiweiss Visit Website
Brian Foy @brianfoy Visit Website
Fabio Ricotta @fabioricotta Visit Website
Kris Roadruck @krisroadruck Visit Website
Gianluca Fiorelli @gfiorelli1 Visit Website
Dave Minchala @daveminchala Visit Website
Arnie Kuenn @arniek Visit Website
Jon Cooper @pointblankseo Visit Website
Bill Sebald @billsebald Visit Website
Jon Ball @pageonepower Visit Website
Dustin Verburg @dustinverburg Visit Website


Notes on this data:

  • Priority for site URLs is: Personal site then either a LinkedIn or Google+ Profile. Links to company blogs, company profile pages, etc, have been removed.
  • Company sites, in general, have only been associated with experts in cases where they are either the owner, CEO, or part-owner. This gets tricky in some instances, so let me know if you have corrections.
  • If you have corrections to your information or wish to make a suggestion (for yourself or someone else), comment here with the information. After it has been reviewed (which, for obvious quality reasons, doesn't guarantee inclusion), we'll remove the comment.




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