17 Link Building Opportunities For Free Backlinks For Your Niche Site

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  16/08/2018
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Today another very nice topic that you can get started with yourself: 17 link building opportunities for free backlinks for your niche site.

Writing good content for your site is extremely important for getting backlinks to your site. Webmasters from other sites link to your content because they find it interesting for their readers.

They want to give their readers more information about some of the topic they are talking about, and you provide that information.

Watch this post as a video, or read on for even more tips and links to helpful content:

There are a number of challenges that ensure that good content alone is not enough. Buzzsumo surveyed more than 700,000 social shares, and they found that more than half of the articles shared on social media did not get backlinks. Social Shares work, people want to share the content, but these pages are still not getting links.

It is therefore very important to actively obtain links for your articles. there are certainly a number of opportunities to acquire these for your site, and I will outline them here. I have no less than 17 opportunities for you that you can start using right away. But first of all…..

What is a backlink?

A backlink is a reference from one site to another site that establishes a link between the two. By clicking on the link, a visitor can go directly to the linked page. A site links to another site because it wants to provide its visitors with more information about a topic.

Backlinks are important to sites for two reasons:

More visitors can come to their site because visitors from one site click through to another site
Google uses a backlink to determine how popular a site is and how much value this site would add in their search results

In the second sense, a backlink is a “vote” for a site. If a high-quality site links to another site, it’s a “vote” that that site also has good content.

wat is een backlink

Because Google still values these votes so much, it is very important to collect more high-quality votes from sites in your niche. Hundreds of links from totally unrelated sites these days do nothing for your link profile, but backlinks from other well-regarded blogs and websites in your niches do wonders for your ranking in the search engines.

How can I get started with link building?

Now if you think to yourself:

Link building, it just gives me a headache. I have to pay attention to so much”

Semrush content audit tool
Semrush content audit tool

Perhaps the video below is a better first step into the basics of link building:

Below you will find all these tips with useful links to additional information:

17 Link Building Opportunities for Free Backlinks

Here I’ll give you some of the best opportunities to collect links for your site so you can climb higher in the search results and generate more relevant traffic.

These are 17 Link Building Opportunities for Free Backlinks:

Opportunity 1: Imitate how your competitors come out on top

With link building you want to get higher in Google. You want to snatch the top positions from your competitors and get all that search traffic to your own site. But sometimes you don’t have to worry too much about it.

Your competitors are already in those positions. Google apparently thinks their link profile is good for occupying those top positions. That’s why your first tactic is to replicate the link profile of your competitors.

Use a tool to map the backlink profile of the sites above you. For example, you can use SEMrush, also for the Netherlands, which I find very pleasant to use. Also because I already use it for keyword research for my niche site content to see which words the competition is found on (then I can also implement those myself).

You get a single overview of the growth in the number of backlinks and referring domains to your website (one domain, so one website, can have multiple links to your site and each unique domain is worth more than an extra link from a domain that already goes to you link).

Overzicht van backlinkprofiel

You can also see which websites link to your site or that of your competitor to see which websites you would also like a link from.

Another useful tool is to check the backlink profile to see if there are no “toxic” links in between, ie links that you wouldn’t want because they will damage your backlink profile.

Backlink audit voor toxic links

But I think the most useful is the handy comparison that you can make with the backlinks of competitors by putting them next to each other, so you immediately have an overview of what you are missing compared to the link profile of your largest competitors.

Linkprofiel concurrenten vergelijken met jouw backlinks

And you can literally see the websites where most of your competitors have a link and you don’t, and export this data for later processing.

Domeinen waar je concurrenten een backlink hebben

You can try these tools here for free first, without full profile insights, but to get started and see if it’s for you.

There are also plenty of other tools in different price ranges. I also often use Majestic as I’m quite a fan of Topical Trust Flow, plus you can also import the information from Majestic into SEMrush for even more backlink information.

Topical Trust indicates in which area a site has built up authority. Since we already know that hundreds of links from unrelated sites don’t do much for your ranking anymore, it is important to pick out those sites that do have a lot of value for your website. When you make a selection of link prospects based on this topical trust flow, you will immediately find the sites that have built up a Trust Flow in your niche.

With an account at Majestic you can enter a url where you can see the backlink profile of that site.

linkprofiel op majestic

Why is this competitor beating you in search results? He probably has some high-quality links that you don’t. On the “Backlinks” tab you can see which links this site has. You can then export the list to excel so that you can easily filter and organize your list.

backlinks tab bij majestic

This way you can more easily compile a list of sites where you would also like to get a link. These sites already link to your competitor so there is a chance that you could also get a link from them. I usually filter on a minimal Trust Flow for the domain, and I usually also filter on a number of Topics that are relevant to my site. The rest falls off.

You can also use other tools to map the backlink profile. In any case, it is important to remember that not every link is worth the same, even though the site may be about your topic. Too many low quality links but related sites is not good for your profile either. I think the traffictravis.com blog does a good job of figuring out the value of a link, if you’d like to read more about it.

You don’t have to get all the links that your top competitor has. The advantage of this is that you can do the same for the second, and the third, and the fourth competitor. Until you have a nice list of link opportunities. If you already have the best links from the top five competitors in your profile, you have far more high-quality links than any of these competitors individually, and you should be able to beat them.

Opportunity 2: The Skyscraper technique

Your competitors probably have good content on their site, but is it the best content possible? That’s where the Skyscraper technique can help.

When you find a good article in your niche with a lot of backlinks, you can ask yourself: can I write that too? But better, more complete and with more substantive tips for the reader.

If you have the ultimate best article that leaves the rest of the competitors behind, then you deserve to be on top. Once you have this better article you can see which websites have provided a link to that article of your competitor. Since yours is better, you can now ask these website owners if they wouldn’t rather link to your piece, or at least link to your piece as well. This way you can use the links of your competitors to rank your own site.

A handy way to find articles on the web with lots of backlinks is to install the MozBar for Chrome. This shows you directly in the Google search results how many links point to a page and it is completely free.

Opportunity 3: Getting Link Juice from your competitors

What could be better than getting a link from your competitor to rank your site with? It is an authority in your niche and it ranks higher than you on the same words, so a perfect way to boost your rankings.

You can of course try, but the chance that the competitor will link to you is quite small (to put it mildly). Fortunately, there is a way to get their link juice. And that’s by looking at the sites they link to!

Look at the sites they have linked to on their site. When you manage to get a link there, you indirectly receive some link juice from your competitor’s site and this is excellent for your link profile and your rankings.

Opportunity 4: Guest posting on other blogs

A guest post is an article you write to post on someone else’s blog. The advantage of this is that it is a real blog that is maintained and which is therefore good for the Google ranking. The idea is to write to the webmaster and ask if you can write a guest post or guest blog for his or her site. You can of course place your link in this article for more information on the subject.

You not only get targeted visitors from their blog to increase your audience, but also a good quality link from a real site about your topic.

How can you easily find Guest Posting opportunities?

In Google you can use advanced searches. Using these searches, you can do a very targeted search for sites that contain everything you need to identify guest blogging opportunities related to your keyword.

The first one you can use is: inurl: guest-post + keyword or inurl:guestblog + keyword. Placing “inurl:” before your search will ensure that you find sites that contain these words in their url.

geavanceerde zoekopdracht guest post

You can also use an advanced search query to search the text of the web pages and ensure that all the words you want appear literally in the text. In this way you will quickly find qualified blogs to contact and this advanced query is not used much yet.

You do this with the Allintext search operator, which filters pages containing the keywords you enter, and exact match in that order as well when you use quotes “”. So if you type: allintext:keyword blog, or allintext:”keyword adverb” blog and hit enter, you’ll get back only those web pages where these words appear in the text.

Other searches I often use are focused entirely on sites that are actively looking for guest bloggers themselves. These sites often respond much faster to emails and are also much more likely to accept a guest post. Here are a few sample keywords:

Keyword + intitle: “write for us”
Keyword + intitle: “contribute to”

Opportunity 5: Let other bloggers write about you

There are a ton of bloggers on the internet so chances are a few are writing about your niche as well. Having another person write about your products and services is a great opportunity to acquire unique content, target their specific audience and followers, and of course obtain a link.

You can search for blogs by simply typing your keyword +blog into Google.

When you look for bloggers who already indicate that they are open to collaborations, you will give a list of perfect link prospects. Bloggers who are open to this often have a page title with “collaboration” or “contact us”.

You can then search more specifically for bloggers who want to write for you by using searches like:

keyword +blog inurl:collaboration

keyword +blog inurl:work-with-us

Opportunity 6: Listings of your business without a link

If your business is already quite popular, especially in your niche, there may already be a lot of opportunities to easily get more links by taking advantage of this popularity. There may already be a lot of people and sites that mention your company when they talk about a topic in which you are an authority.

This gives you a chance to get very natural links from real people and sites. Normally, a website that mentions you will also be willing to link it. Searching for websites that name your company but do not yet have a link will therefore yield a number of potential gold mines.

You can easily find it by googling your company name (and if it’s multiple words put them in “”). If you have already been very active with link building, it may become a bit more difficult to find opportunities in this way between the many sites where you are already on. In that case, there are also paid opportunities to research opportunities using tools like Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer or BuzzSumo’s new unlinked mentions feature.

In addition to your company name, don’t forget to search for specific products and services for which you have a unique name. Of course, these product/service names can also be used by people in their blog articles to write about your company and give you even more opportunities to find linking opportunities.

In addition, there may be mentions going around the internet in the form of images. You can also find these with a Google search. You can then grant the user of your images permission to use the image on his or her site, provided they post a link to you as a reference. In addition, you will also see that many bloggers use a picture of your logo and may not even name you literally, let alone link to your site.

With Google reverse image search you can find all the sites that use a certain image and it is very easy to use.

Go to google.nl
go to the “images” tab
drag a picture from your windows explorer into the search bar of the google page

You will now get all searches with sites that use the same image on their page.

google reverse image search

Opportunity 7: Links of Partnerships

When you collaborate with other companies or provide services for them, this is also an excellent opportunity to gather good backlinks. Often the websites of these companies have possibilities to make their partnerships known with a link overview. It is also important for your company to be among them.

links van onze partners

Opportunity 8: Reviews for Online Service Providers or Tools

When you purchase services or online tools from third parties, this also offers a great opportunity for a backlink. You can see if they already have testimonials or reviews from their customers on their site and if there is a link to the websites of their customers.

When they link out to the writers of the reviews, it is definitely worth offering to write a good review. Free back link!

testimonial van SaaS als link

Opportunity 9: Sponsorship Links

A sponsorship is of course an excellent opportunity to gain more brand awareness and to reach a targeted audience, but don’t forget the link opportunities in your assessment of entering into a sponsorship!

If the company, event or charity you sponsor also has a relevant website with good authority, a link from that site can have a lot of extra value for your company. The key word here is getting relevant links. And often you can also sponsor in the form of offering free products or offering your services for free, which can cut costs considerably.

sponsorlinks

If you do not see these opportunities automatically, you can always actively search for them. Sites that list their sponsors are easy to find. For example, you can search for inurl:our-sponsors +keyword or inurl:our-sponsors +keyword.

sponsor worden voor links

A second search in google for “keyword + club” or all together keyword club will give results about clubs in your niche from which you may be able to get some sponsorship deals. You can also make these combinations with event to also find out specific events to which you can connect your name (and link).

The advantage of the latter way of searching is that you will also find clubs and events that have not yet thought much about sponsorship and may offer you opportunities to score a good link for a relatively low amount or few products.

Opportunity 10: Directories

Oh yeah, link building directories are dead. More than dead and Google has confirmed it. Still, I include them here because there are still a lot of opportunities for good backlinks that many people are now neglecting.

Generic directories now do more harm than good when you list your website including link, but there are still a lot of valuable links to be found, and you can do that by only using link directories in your niche.

There are three simple questions to ask yourself when researching a directory:

Is this directory relevant to my business and audience (or specific to your niche and product/service, or specific to your location and community)?
Is it clear that this directory is maintained and curated by a human site owner?
Is this a visible directory that my target audience might visit?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then that’s a page worth getting on too. It is clearly a link overview with value for visitors and value for your company.

Opportunity 11: Resource link building

A lot of blogs and websites have an overview on their site in which they name different resources to help their visitors with more information. This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that you are also included with your relevant information.

Find a topic that is relevant in your niche, look at the resources page of the website and see if you also have content that offers more information about it. If necessary, write a specific piece to provide more information and then submit your link to the site’s webmaster.

Inurl: useful-sites + keyword
Inurl: useful-sites + keyword
inurl:sources list +keyword

Opportunity 12: Broken link building

Broken Link Building is another technique that SEO specialists use discreetly. It is also a very powerful one that can get you some nice backlinks. Link rot ensures that after 4 years, almost 50% of the links are broken, which means: linking to a page that no longer exists.

It can have many reasons. A company that no longer exists, a company that had created a page but in the meantime has given it a different URL or has removed it. A link to a page that no longer exists returns a “404 Not Found” error.

A webmaster of a site does not always know that he is linking to pages that no longer exist, but you can give him a hand. You can find potential sites with broken links by doing a Google search, for example, in the same ways you did above. Blogs with interesting articles about your niche, and especially lists of resources that are rarely updated.

Once you’ve compiled a good list of websites, you can search any website with Xenu Link Sleuth or Screaming Frog (I personally use Screaming Frog but it’s a paid tool, while Xenu is free).

The results from Xenu and Screaming Frog will clearly show you which of the links have a 404 not found status. You can then see if you have a similar article on your website so that you can suggest it to the webmaster for replacement. If necessary, you can write a new article that is better or at least equal to the original.

You can even look up the page that 404 didn’t find in Webarchive.org’s Wayback Machine for inspiration. They probably still have an old version of the page in their archive so you can see what it looked like.

Another useful method to find broken links is with the Chrome extension “Check my links”. This automatically checks all links on the page you are on and indicates which are broken with the color red. This method does require you to go through every web page of the website to find all the broken links on the site. It would be much more efficient if you use Xenu or Screaming Frog.

Once you’ve identified the dead link and have content on your own site that could provide a good replacement, ask the webmaster to point the broken link to the new resource (which you created) instead of the 404 not found webpage.

It’s important that you don’t do this too obvious. Of course the webmaster should not get any idea d

if your agenda is just to do link building with his or her broken link. So make it look as much as possible that you want to help with the site and have a good alternative.

One more tip: keep track of broken links around your niche websites. If you use Chrome, always keep the “Check my links” Chrome Extension on. This also allows you to identify chance opportunities and use them right away in your link building program.

Opportunity 13: Comments on your site

If you’ve read the comments on your site, you can find some gold mines of linking opportunities there. Sometimes people who comment on your blog also have their own website or blog, and a quick search among your comments can yield perfect links.

These people have already taken the trouble to comment on your site because they liked your article. When you ask them if they want to write something about you, or if you can write something for them for their site, the threshold is already much lower.

Check whether the people who comment on your blog have their own websites, then qualify them based on your statistics (for me Topical Trust Flow).

Opportunity 14: Comments on other sites

But it doesn’t stop at just comments on your own site. The same happens on the blogs you would like to be on. Often comments are also posted here from people in the same niche and sometimes also to promote their own blog. Also, go through the comments on the blogs you found in the previous steps and you’re sure to hit a few more link opportunities.

Opportunity 15: Incoming Links to the Top Blogs

Bloggers in communities love to share, discuss, comment, and even link to each other’s blogs. The easiest way to find more opportunities is to run their site through your favorite backlink checker and you’ll find even more opportunities from other bloggers in the same niche.

Just like imitating the backlink profile of your competitors, authoritarian blogs in your niche have also built up a good profile. You have selected them for a reason to want to get a link from. If you can also get some of these links that link to them, you can strengthen your profile considerably.

Opportunity 16: Use Twitter Suggestions

Twitter is a great networking tool and I still think it’s one of the strongest. You can easily follow someone on Twitter and retweet their messages and influencers are often much more willing to share a message than on other social media platforms.

But Twitter is also useful for discovering new influencers. The power lies in the twitter suggestions. When you have found a good influencer in your market and you look at the recommendations that twitter makes: “Who to follow”.

Here you get all the people the person is connected to or people who are in similar niches. Often these recommendations are very accurate. Twitter uses an algorithm that takes several factors into account for these recommendations, and they are highly relevant about 80% of the time.

twitter volgers voor linkbuiling

And you don’t have to stop at these suggestions. You also have the small “Refresh” link at the top of the box. A few clicks on this link will quickly give you many different results from possible prospects.

twitter suggesties vernieuwen

When someone has a site, he or she will most likely have it in their profile and you can immediately pick it up to include in your list of prospects.

Opportunity 17: Make use of existing backlinks

Strangely enough, few people do this. Perhaps because a backlink from a domain that is already linked to you has much less SEO value than a link from a new domain. However, it still has value for your site, and remember that a domain that is already linked to you is much easier to persuade to link to you again, for example in a new article or about a new product that you are now using. offers.

The easiest is to map out your backlink profile and look for domains that link to you only once. I myself use Majestic for this task. If you don’t have a tool to do this with, you can always use Google Search Console to find your links.

  1. First, go to Google Search Console account by clicking ‘Sign in’ at the top right.
  2. Then click on ‘Search Traffic’ in the sidebar.
  3. Then click on ‘Links to your site’.

Now you can see all the backlinks pointing to your site. A whole new source of low hanging fruit to get extra backlinks. And a perfect way to spread your anchor text ratio by asking for links with your brand name or bare url links. The link may be of less value, but it’s great for your profile!

Conclusion

When you apply all these 17 opportunities, you will see that you can considerably strengthen your backlink profile, and with free backlinks. You won’t always get immediate results but with a little persistence and by taking some of these opportunities every now and then you will see that you will always get good quality links to your site. And with these tips in mind, you will also start to recognize more and more opportunities if you simply look around the internet for research and you can immediately seize the opportunities.

          Joost Nusselder is The Content Decoder, a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new tools en tactics. He's been working on a portfolio of niche sites since 2010. Now since 2016 he creates in-depth blog articles together with his team to help loyal readers earn from their own succesful sites.