Content Strategists’ Backlinking Strategies for SEO Success

05 Mar 2024


Undeniably, the internet is a valuable information source. The days of spending hours scouring for information in library reference books belong to a bygone era, thanks to the Web.

While online information sources are convenient, their genuineness and reliability can come into question. So what can serious publications do to reassure readers their sources can be trusted?

One answer is, “Use backlinks.”

Now, more than ever, backlinks provide bona fide publications and websites with opportunities to assert their credibility. This article will explore what backlinks are, why they are essential, and how to use them effectively.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks, commonly referred to as “inbound links” or “incoming links,” connect one website to another. These links are a crucial part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and an important element of a content marketing strategy.

Backlinks play a critical role in showing a website’s authority, authenticity, and relevance to search engines such as Google or Bing, making them a favorite among content strategists.

When a website’s backlinks connect to credible mainstream sources, readers’ opinions about the integrity and authenticity of the website are raised. In contrast, a site littered with links to unknown or fringe websites and publications will probably be seen as much less credible.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

Backlinks are an important part of today’s digitally published content. Here’s a closer look at some of the reasons:

  • As already stated, search engines highly value backlinks to credible, mainstream sources. The reason lies in search engines’ algorithms. These algorithms are set up to place a higher value on respected information sources as opposed to random ones.
  • Legitimate backlinks help websites and publications show authority and trustworthiness. For example, a health information website could show authority and trustworthiness to most readers by linking to official sources such as the CDC, WHO, and major news outlets rather than to obscure websites. Every good content marketing strategy for B2B must avoid linking to dubious websites and publications.
  • Backlinks make a website more easily visible to search engines by improving crawlability and ease of indexing. Websites and publications that do not contain backlinks sit alone, almost invisible amid the vast information ocean. Conversely, websites with abundant backlinks become more visible as they join a network of other visible sites.
  • Using diverse links improves search engine response. Using links from a variety of sources shows search engines that a website is legitimate. Search engines do not punish websites for a lack of diverse backlinks, but they do rank sites with diverse links higher.
  • One of the main advantages of using backlinks is social proof, which convinces readers that information on a site is authentic because others seen as trustworthy back it up.  Verified backlinks also show search engines that authentic human labor is behind the site’s content, and not AI technology.

Undoubtedly, backlinks are essential to a solid B2B content marketing strategy.

Unethical content marketing methods, though, such as backlink buying, do little to enhance reach and visibility.

Search engines heavily punish such shady practices by content strategists, making their sites unattractive for backlinking from serious publications.

Types of Backlinks

Solid content marketing methods employ various types of backlinks within a B2B content marketing strategy. Here’s a look at the various types of backlinking methods content strategists and content agencies employ in designing content campaigns:

Google/MOZ Research

The best way to find legitimate backlinks is through Google or MOZ (keyword) research, which allows content strategists to uncover the top-ranking websites and publications on search engines such as Google. Using keywords, these tools find relevant content for organic, high-quality backlinks. These backlinks are always desirable, since they are in good standing with search engines

Non-Gated Links

Non-gated links refer to those obtained from platforms such as Tumblr, WordPress, or other blogging sites. They may come from a reputable content agency but still do little to enhance visibility. Search engines and readers may find information coming from these public platforms less credible than authoritative, mainstream sources. Still, non-gated links do have a place within ethical content marketing to help support a publication’s opinions and arguments.

Gated Content Submission

Gated content submissions are the opposite of non-gated ones. Gated content, such as that found in academic journals, requires approval from respected professionals. Backlinks from gated content on sites such as, Medium’s partner program,, or Forbes’ contributor submissions can all enhance visibility, given their quality standards. Content strategists may obtain links from these sources by submitting qualified material for publication.

Guest Blogging

A staple of content marketing strategy for B2B is guest blogging, which means contributing blog content to other websites and publications.

This can be a great way to increase high-quality backlinks. Best of all, it’s a two-way street; websites and publications can mutually contribute, giving increased visibility to both sides.

The trick is to create quality, relevant guest blogs on reputable and reliable sites.

Platforms such as are good tools for finding sites that accept guest blogs.

Existing Websites

Content strategists link content to other sites or publications they own or control. These links don’t require acceptance from other parties. Websites and publications can also get access to sites that are owned and run by content agencies. Care must be taken to ensure these sites are legit and not bogus sites meant to fluff backlinks.

Asking for Backlinks

Websites and publications can reach out to other sites, publication owners, and content creators to request backlinking. Typically, this involves returning the favor, so backlinks are increased for both parties. An already-existing relationship between site owners typically makes the parties much more open to using this tactic.


Forums generate follow and nofollow backlinks. In short, follow links pass authority from the source to the target site, while nofollow links often denote user-generated content or indicate that the site does not endorse the linked content. Nofollow links from user’s pages on forums such as Reddit or Quora don’t carry much weight in terms of SEO. They can, however, help to build relationships with followers, content creators, and site owners, opening doors to referral traffic down the road.


Backlinks from online directories such as the Yellow Pages can provide visibility. The key to using this B2B content marketing strategy is get links from high-quality, relevant directories. Little-known directories may not yield many SEO benefits, although industry-specific ones can bring in referral traffic.

Classified Ads

Linking from classified ads such as Craigslist may not yield the expected results. Some content strategists scour classified ads looking for content creators offering backlinking services, and some content agencies openly promote these services. Agencies must demonstrate legitimacy, ensuring their backlinks are authentic.


So, How to Backlink Best?

As this list has shown, content strategists can choose from a variety of methods for obtaining backlinks to design a strategy that fits their needs. The key to an effective strategy is to use legit, well-positioned sources.

While it may be tempting to buy lots of backlinks, they won’t hold much SEO weight. Search engines such as Google punish websites that do this, pushing them to the bottom of search results. The best approach is to backlink the old-fashioned way, preferably through organic referrals and traffic generation.

Backlinking Dos and Don’ts

Like any other SEO practice, backlinking comes with its set of dos and don’ts. Consider all of the following:


  • Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Ensure relevance between content and the linking site.
  • Diversify the backlink profile.
  • Use a natural and ethical approach to link building.


  • Avoid manipulative tactics or buying links.
  • Steer clear of excessive link exchanges.
  • Don’t prioritize quantity at the expense of quality.
  • Be cautious of link schemes that violate search engine guidelines.

Caution: Violation of search engine guidelines can make a website disappear. While the offending website cannot be removed, search engine algorithms nullify its visibility, making it extremely difficult for users to locate the site, even with specific keywords.

The best strategy is a natural and ethical one, which, admittedly, can take longer to boost a site or publication’s SEO ranking. But it’s preferable to do things right than to cut corners and pay the price down the line.

A Final Consideration

SEO is a powerful strategy to help put websites on the map, and backlinking has proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase visibility on search engines and drive traffic.

The key to success is patience.

Websites and publications must be willing to invest time and effort to ensure that a backlinking strategy produces the expected results.

When it comes to backlinking, less is more.

Some websites mistakenly believe that blanketing their content with backlinks will boost their SEO ranking. Instead, focusing on quality over quantity is the way to go. Websites prioritizing high-quality backlinks always get ahead faster. 

Content strategists who are willing to do the work necessary to produce solid content and achieve legitimate backlinks from reputable sources are rewarded with better rankings and more traffic.

Zach Richter 

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