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Link building is one of the most important parts of SEO, and often the hardest. Finding relevant, powerful sites that are willing to link to you is an exhausting process and normally takes hours if not days to do.
Below are the two ways I find applicable links for my clients, neither taking much work at all to do properly.

#1. Competitor Link Gap Analysis

This is where I normally start when building links for anyone. I go through my list of competitors and run backlink reports on each of them. I find out exactly where they’re linked to, and the authority of the site linking to them. I do the same for myself, and put everyone in their own column within excel. Tools like Moz Link Explorer, SEMRush, and Ahrefs are great for this phase.

Then, I remove all the places in my list that I have links from already. I’m then left with a list of places that my competitors have links from and I don’t.

I go through that list and remove any items that are either spammy or irrelevant, and then use the rest of the links as my starting point for my link building efforts.

If I see my competitors have links from a certain site that I don’t, I just reach out and ask to be included (or, offer to write a guest post where applicable). You’re not going to be able to get every single link, but it’s probably the best place to start for most people.

#2. SERP Link Gap Analysis

The second strategy is pretty similar the first, and often nets many of the same links but is useful in more competitive niches. Instead of looking at just the people who compete with your business, take a more granular look at each search result that appears before yours.

Let’s say you want to rank for the term “Akron Dentist”, and are currently ranked 6th overall. Take the pages of results 1–5, and run an analysis like you did before - but this time, only on links to that page, not the domain as a whole.

Some of the sites ahead of you may not be competitors to your actual business (such as directories), but still will have links to their pages that are great opportunities for you.

If you follow these two steps, you’re sure to start outranking your competitors quickly as long as most other variables are the same (things like, no matter how many links you build, if your site isn’t mobile responsive you’re not going to rank #1 in mobile results).

Do you have any other strategies for building links that have worked for you in the past? Leave a comment below, I’d love to try them.