4111 2
SEO 48 min read

A Complete White Hat SEO Guide: Google-Approved SEO That Works!

Content Strategy vs. SEO Strategy: How to Decide Which Comes First
A Complete White Hat SEO Guide: Google-Approved SEO That Works!
The term "White hat SEO" refers to the set of SEO tactics that are in line with the terms and conditions of all major search engines, especially Google with their utter search landscape dominance and insane market share.

Basically, it's all the SEO you do that you wouldn't be worried about showing to a Google manual reviewer.

Now, it's not that simple and there are grey areas aplenty.

Luckily, there is my complete white hat SEO guide to the rescue.

Here you will learn how to rank without worrying about impending penalties from Google, Bing, or any other major search engine.

Let's go!

Dominate the SERPS With 4 White Hat SEO Pillars - All You Need to Rank for Any Keyword

Before we start, two quick notes.

First, my guide is divided into four major areas of white hat SEO:

  1. Site architecture,
  2. On-site Trust building;
  3. On-page SEO;
  4. Link building.
There'll be important takeaways from each so read carefully and if you can, take copious notes.

Second, my guide presupposes you've done your keyword research and you know your target audience inside and out.

If you haven't done your research, which is step #0, then bookmark this thorough white hat SEO guide and go read Serpstat's keyword and audience research tutorials.

Pillar #1 - Site Architecture

Site architecture is how you build your site from the ground up to be useful to both Google and users.

Google needs excellent site architecture so they can reach every nook and cranny of your website without wasting too much of their precious and limited crawl budget.

And your users need to be able to find everything they want on your website with as little time spent as possible.

The best way to achieve both is to follow a three-click site architecture rule.

The three-click rule simply states that all content on the website must be accessible in three clicks or less from the homepage.

Here are two easy ways to bring all your site content only two clicks away from the homepage:

#1 Categories in the Menu

Your blog's categories are an easy way to categorize your content and make it very apparent to both Google and users what's what on your blog.

"Well duh, that's why they're called categories, they categorize things".

True, but they're also excellent for equal PageRank distribution and leveling your site architecture without hurting UX one iota.

How?
Here's an example
Take a look at the menu from Startup Bonsai and this page.
Menu Categories on Startup Bonsai
Menu Categories on Startup Bonsai (Source)
Those 5 links below the "blog" menu link are categories. When you click one of those, you enter the category and get access to all the content classified under it.

So, because the categories are in the menu, and the menu is ever-present across the site, it means that Google-bot only needs to hit any page on that site, start crawling and find category links (first click) + all posts within each category (second link).

That is the easiest way to flatten a site's architecture, but it's not enough.

Why?

Because similar to blog feeds, categories usually hold only 10 posts on the first page, and after that, the pagination starts.

So, if for example, a category holds 100 posts, then there are the first category page + 9 category paginated pages.

The problem here is that most themes wouldn't show internal links to all 10 of those pages, but instead to only 3 or 4 max.

For example, when I click on the Software category on the aforementioned StartupBonsai, I see that there are 40+ posts in total and 5 category pages.

But there are links only to 4 of those, leaving one paginated category and its content orphaned and invisible to Google-bot.
Category pagination
Category pagination (Source)
That's a serious hole in the otherwise solid site architecture.

The answer to this is the second way to flatten site architecture, and this way truly brings everything 2 clicks away from the homepage.

#2 HTML Sitemaps

HTML sitemaps are not the things of the distant SEO past, and they aren't useless at all or only reserved for the likes of huge news sites like the New York Times.

If you know how, you can use HTML sitemaps to spread PageRank across your entire site, direct Google-bot everywhere you want, and be super useful to a user who's lost but doesn't want to click that back button just yet.

How?

First, use this simple and free plugin to create a sitemap that holds all your blog posts.

Second, put that sitemap in the menu or in the footer. This will get it one click from the homepage and all content within the sitemap is only 2 clicks away from the homepage.

It works!
Note: I went through some pain to find this example as most big sites don't use HTML sitemaps, to their SEO detriment, but this site's sitemap is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
All blog posts published on that blog are listed in alphabetical order, giving Google a nice overview of the property
Blog posts in alphabetical order
Blog posts in alphabetical order (Source)
Here's a very old, but still relevant video by Matt Cutts where he talks about how HTML sitemaps are perfect for even PageRank distribution.

It's well worth the watch, and very short:
Note: Don't forget about contextual internal links. They're super powerful, and an excellent way to spread internal link equity and relevance across your site.
However, adding these links manually is hard and tedious work, so I suggest you use an internal linking automation plugin to speed things up.

Pillar #2 - Trust Building and Presenting Yourself as a Respectable Brand!

Ever since the August 2018 update hit, things have not been the same in SEO.

That Medic update shook up the health niche, but it also brought fundamental changes to the search.

Suddenly, EAT and YMYL became boiling hot terms, and suddenly, many affiliate sites disappeared off the SERPS and into oblivion.

Google stopped trusting them overnight and switched off the traffic flow completely.

However, in 2021 we pretty much know what to do to make Google's trust algorithms fall in love with us, and the steps to that perfect courtship are below:

  1. Telling Google who owns the site;

  2. Telling Google who's responsible for the content;

  3. Telling Google how they can contact support in case of any problems

And that's it.

#1 About Page

Your website's about page is the crucial page on your property.

It's the one spot on your website where you get to talk about your hardship, struggles, and how you made it after having suffered severely.

It's the place to tell your hero's journey and emotionally connect with your visitors.

Your about page is very important because it helps build trust and rapport between you and your audience. Having read it, these people will trust you more, click on your links more, subscribe to your email newsletter in higher numbers, and generally interact with your business in a positive way.

But Google-bot can also use your website's about page to glean important info from it.

When Google-bot first hits your about page, the first thing they look for is relevant keywords. They need those words and phrases to establish context and be able to place your site in a niche.

Here's a good example, Tom Pick's about page on Webbiquity is full of keywords like:

  • SEO;
  • Marketing;
  • B2B;
  • Consultant;
  • Social media marketing;
  • Influencer marketing;
  • Content marketing;
  • etc.
Hence, Google-bot parsing his site's about page can understand Webbiquity is in an online marketing niche.
Webbiquity's about page with relevant keywords
Webbiquity's about page with relevant keywords (Source)
Next, Google bot searches for the site owner info.

It is really important for them to know who owns a website.

In Tom's case, it's very easy to figure it out because there's a plethora of information for both humans and robots:

  • Physical address;
  • Phone number;
  • Email;
  • LinkedIn profile link;
  • Twitter profile link.
These are important trust signals that validate Tom Pick and Webbiquity in Google's eyes.
Site owner contact info
Site owner contact info (Source)

#2 EAT-Enhanced Author Bio

After having learned who owns the website, Google next needs to check who writes the content there, as it's smart and understands that most site owners are also not the only bloggers on their properties.

Arguably, this is the most important information you can provide as Google delivers individual web documents in response to the queries typed into search, and not entire websites.

The easiest way to achieve this is to have an author bio at the end of every blog post.

However, the bio itself is not that important. What matters is that the author is established in the niche with a good EAT.

For example, this blog post on Voila Norbert is signed off with Norbert.
Author Bio example
Author Bio example (Source)
While it's cute, the problem here is that Norbert is not a real person, but a brand mascot. I have no idea how Google views this. It's probably neutral, but there are definitely no trust points gained here.

The prime example of a good author bio comes from Healthline.

Author bios over at Healthline are perfect from an EAT standpoint, which is ironic considering their bios have no meat to them but consist only of links that lead to the author page of said writers.

They're perfect because they tell who the author of an article is, and there's a link to said author's bio page, where you can learn more about that individual.

For example, this hyperglycemia guide is written by Kimberley Holland. The author bio in this article lists her name as a hyperlink that, once clicked, leads to her personal author bio page.

There we can learn more about her, where she's been featured, and why she's qualified to write about diabetes.

#3 Contact Info

The third thing Google really cares about is ways to contact the company if you have a complaint.

Having a contact form is a good starting point, but is not enough.

If you want to appear legitimate to Google, you need to give several email addresses for several types of problems someone might face.

For example, Respona only has one contact email in their footer.
Respona Contact Info
Respona Contact Info (Source)
That is a good starting point, but realistically, it's highly unlikely that anyone who has any type of problem can get help via just one email address.

For instance, if someone is a Respona user (they're an email outreach software) and they require help with something, should they ask for it here?

What about if someone else is not a Respona user, but wishes to become one and wants a particular question answered?

Same email?

Like I said, having one email is a good starting point, but true businesses have several departments based on the types of inquiries customers and potential customers make.

As a good example, we again have Healthline.

On their about page they have:

  • Addresses in San Francisco and New York;

  • Several real telephone numbers;

  • Email for advertising inquiries

  • Email for partnerships of other types;

  • Email to inquire about job openings;

  • Email to report a content inaccuracy and request an update;

  • Email to share a personal health story;

  • Email to license their content.
Healthline's Contact Info
Healthline's Contact Info (Source)
They don't have all this info in the footer, which would be ideal. It's probably because the footer would look stuffed, unprofessional, and maybe even overbearing to users.

But this is definitely enough to pass the trust bar as evidenced by their ever-growing search traffic.
Not having a visible way to ask questions might hurt not just building rapport with Google-robot, but the bottom line too.
Note: All of this was on-site trust-building. The mention of "on-site" tells you there's also off-site trust-building. And there is, but that's beyond the scope of this already massive Whitehat SEO guide.
I strongly recommend you watch this episode of SEO Fight Club where Kyl Roof's presentation on off-site EAT and trust-building is pure gold.

Pillar #3 - Basic On-Page SEO That Works

There's a word "basic" for a reason. It's because on-page SEO is a massive, massive topic that deserves a mega guide of its own.

And it has it right here on the Serpstat blog. I wrote it and I can safely say it's awesome.
Don't mind the modesty, it's my biggest character flaw :)

Here's a simple whitehat on-page SEO checklist that will get you far and above your competitors who do their on-page SEO willy-nilly.

#1 SEO Title

SEO title or meta title refers to the blue link displayed in the SERPs that tells what the web page is about.

It's a UX feature that enables the user to click with confidence on the result they want.

But it is also a powerful SEO signal.

Here's how to nail your meta title every single time:

  • Include your target keyword. Always have the main keyword you're trying to rank for in the title. It's a huge relevance signal, and a huge mistake if you don't do it.
  • Frontload target keyword. This means to put it at the beginning of the title. It has the most SEO weight like that.
For example, this Serpstat SEO checklist guide and tutorial targets the keyword "SEO checklist" And sure enough, the keyword is front-loaded in the post's title tag.
Meta title on SERP
Meta title on SERP
  • Include title modifiers. These are words that expand on the meaning of core keywords and help you capture more long tails.
For example, this post's meta title from Moosend is craftily written and replete with excellent modifiers.

Their title tag is "9 Best Mailchimp Alternatives for 2021 [Free and Paid]"

Recognize the modifiers?
Moosend's meta title
Moosend's meta title
The most common examples of title modifiers are:

  • Best;
  • Top;
  • Worst;
  • For X'
  • Year in the title;
  • Free;
  • Chep;
  • Free trial;
Pro tip: Some title modifiers also seem to trigger featured snippets for the select SERPs. Meaning if you include them in your title, you have a higher chance of getting picked to be featured at position #0.
For example, the query "best Zendesk alternatives" shows this post as a featured snippet, while the query "Zendesk alternatives" without "best" shows the same page ranking number #1, but there's no featured snippet.
If you don't want to take wild guesses and do all the research manually, you could use Serpstat's Keyword research tool and see all the featured snippets available.
  • Beware of title tag length. Google will truncate overly long title tags and to avoid it, aim to make them shorter than 56 characters on desktop and 47 for mobile SERPs. Which one you pay more attention to depends on whether your audience predominantly uses desktop or mobile devices to browse your site (check with Google Analytics)

There's more to title tag optimization than this, but these tips will get you far, and as mentioned there's a lot more in Serpstat's SEO checklist post here.
A great instrument for detecting all technical issues on your website, including mistakes in meta tags is Serpstat's Site Audit tool.
Meta tag issues detected by Serpstat's Audit Tool
Some meta tag issues detected by Serpstat's Audit Tool

#2 URL

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Don't let it confuse you. It's just a virtual address where your content lives and where crawling bots can go and retrieve content.

SEO optimized URLs are also a strong relevancy SEO factor.

Here are the tips:

  • Include a target keyword in the URL slug;
  • Remove stop words as they're useless for SEO and make your URL longer;
  • Make your URL as short as possible but not at the expense of the target keyword which needs to be included.

And that's it.

For example, this SEO audit guide on Serpstat's blog has an excellent URL slug. Short, informative, and SEO-friendly.
Pro tip: Short URLs are better for rankings, but occasionally, it pays to have a longer URL.
When?

When you're specifically targeting a long-tail keyword.

It's because long-tail keywords usually have less competition and this means that on-page SEO matters more and can get you further up the Google SERP without link building.

In those cases, the exact match long-tail keyword in the URL becomes a strong factor that can help you rank much faster than you normally would.

To illustrate it with an example, here Visme is targeting the phrase "how to build links with infographics" with this article.

And their URL doesn't include just build-links-infographics which would have been an acceptable solution.

Instead, it contains the full keyword how-to-build-links-with-infographics. Much longer, but in this case also much better for SEO.

#3 Meta Description

Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor.
Meta descriptions are not used for ranking
Meta descriptions are not used for ranking (Source)
But you still need to be optimizing for them.

Why?

Because when you input your meta description value you get to include relevant keywords which will get bolded in the SERPs.

For example, when I search for Black Friday Hostgator sale I can see Google uses my meta description as I intended it to, but they add the-all-important-bolding of keywords which make my result look more relevant and imposing.
Meta descriptions on SERP
Meta descriptions on SERP

#4 H1 (True Post Title)

Headline (H1) tags' SEO value is often overshadowed by its copywriting value.

Namely, everyone will tell you that most users read the headline and if it's not compelling they will click the back button.

And that you need to make it enticing so they keep reading

It's true, you do. But if you're smart about it, your H1 tag can both excite people about your post and bring you the SEO kick you crave.

Here are some tips

  • Make your headline longer than the meta title. Blog post headlines don't have a character limit, as long as you keep them to a human-friendly, reasonable length. So make them longer by including power words, and by using your keyword modifiers

For example, this Serpstat post has a long headline that includes its target phrase + modifiers:
Long headline with the target phrase and modifiers
Long headline with the target phrase and modifiers
  • Front Load your target keyword. Once again this brings a stronger SEO boost than if you were to include it anywhere in the headline.

For example, this post targets the query "baby won't sleep until held" and sure enough, the target phrase is in the headline.
Target phrase at the front of the headline
Target phrase at the front of the headline
Final tip: Use only one H1 tag to clearly signal to Google that it is your post's headline and they should weigh it as such.
Don't have multiple H1 on a page as that would confuse both Google and your readers.

#5 Subheadlines

SEO rules for subheadings are nearly identical to those that apply to H1 tags (see above), so I won't dwell too much on them.

The only thing you need to know is that heading tags break up your long article into manageable chunks and that each subheading needs to be informative, on what's coming, as well as SEO friendly.
Even if you didn't read the post, you should be able to immediately understand what the section underneath the subheadline is going to talk about

#6 Keyword Density

Don't run away because we're talking about keyword density here.

There are things here you can pick up even if you don't believe KW density is a thing.

But first, what is keyword density?

Keyword density as a concept designates the percentage of the page's content body that's your targeted keyphrase.

As an example, if your target query is "robots" and your 1000-word article contains the word 60 times, your keyword density is 6%.

By first checking the keyword density of your top competitor, and then by tweaking your page to be just a notch keyword-denser, you can outperform the winning page simply because Google will consider your result more relevant.

I know it sounds simplistic, but it works.

Remember, Google-bot doesn't consume content like humans do it

Instead, they parse the web document looking for exact match keywords, partial matches, LSI, entities, synonyms, etc. And they use those metric scores combined to calculate the page's relevance in respect to a certain topic the page is trying to rank for.

Here's how to fine-tune your page without the risk of keyword stuffing.

  1. Go to Google and search for your target keyword and click on the number #1 ranking result.

  2. Go CTRL+F on Windows and search your target keyword and check the number of times it appears on the page;

  3. Superotimize your page by matching that exact match count, and then by beating it by adding only a handful more.
Pro tip: Google parses the HTML source code, so "a keyword on a page" doesn't necessarily mean "visible keyword on a page". Image alt attributes and titles are an excellent way to add a few more targeted keywords.
Just be reasonable with image alt tags as those are really helpful to blind people.

How about an example?

Let's say I searched for "how to design a portfolio website?"

This is what Google currently shows me at the time of writing this complete Whitehat SEO guide.
SERP results
SERP results
Next, I need to click on the number #1 ranking result from Twine.net, then go CTRL+F and type the target keyword "how to design a portfolio website".
Target keyword on an article page
Target keyword on an article page (Source)
And I see this article only has the phrase 2 times. Probably because the article is not super long, but also because it's a long-tail phrase, a question that would be hard to naturally repeat too many times within the article.

However, with a bit of creativity, you can easily turn those 2 instances into 6 instances and gain a super easy SEO boost for your page.

Now, look at the following post from Envato. The keyword "branding trends" is repeated 8 times. As it's a 2,500+ word article and the main keyword isn't that long. It's super easy to add it several times across the piece without it looking awkward.
Target keyword on an article page
Target keyword on an article page (Source)
Make your page more relevant by having the target term more often than your competitor.

This SEO hack really works!

If you're dealing with a bigger project and need to conduct comprehensive research, doing it manually could turn into a nightmare that never ends. You could let Serpstat's Text Analytics tool do it for you, it will help you determine the right amount of keywords on your page by comparing it with your competitors.
get a personal demo Serpstat
Take advantage of Serpstat's ultimate Text Analytics tool

Want to get a personal demo, trial period, or a bunch of successful use cases?
Send a request and our expert will contact you ;)
Personal demonstration
Leave a request, and we will conduct a personal demonstration of the service for you, provide you with a trial period, and offer comfortable conditions for starting exploring the tool

#7 Image SEO

Properly optimizing images for SEO is super helpful for ranking in Google Images. But it also helps with on-page SEO for ranking in the regular Google.

The 3 elements to optimize are:

  • Image filename;

  • Image alt attribute

  • Image title attribute
#1 Image Filename Keyword

Rich Image filenames is an ancient image SEO trick that still moves the needle in search.

Just barely though, but it's still worth doing as it can act as a tiebreaker on competitive terms.

Here's how to make image file names SEO-friendly.

  • Only the filename of the first, hero image, needs to contain the target keyword in the image filename.

  • Keep it short and include only the target keyword in the filename.

  • Write in dashes and not underscores as latter is harder for Google to pars

That's it.

For example, this page's hero image is unoptimized. How do I know?

I know it because their image filename is "blog-image-001" whereas it should be "SEO-packages"

Because that's the main keyword for that post.
Unoptimized image filename
Unoptimized image filename (Source)
#2 Alt Attributes

Alt attributes are usability features that screen readers use to describe the image to blind and visually disabled people.

Keep that in mind as it has SEO implications too.

But first, do alt attributes really help with SEO?

Yes, they do.

According to John Mueller, they help a ton with image SEO and even a tiny bit for ranking in regular Google SERPs.
Importance of alt text
Importance of alt text (Source)
Here's how to optimize image alt attributes for SEO.

First, include your target keyword as an alt attribute in only one image of the blog post, usually the first one.

Second, other images can include secondary keywords as long as they're still descriptive of the images they represent.

If you include keyword-rich alt attributes, but they have nothing to do with the image, you're spamming keywords and at this point in time Google image recognition technology is so advanced they can basically see the image as humans do.

Want proof?

Here, I inputted an image of myself into Google Vision AI and look how Google can scan the image and pretty much see what you and I see.
Google Vision AI
Google Vision AI (Source)
So they would know right off the bat that the alt attribute "a handsome SEO" would be appropriate here :)

While "a piece of fruit" wouldn't.

Third
, hero images are perfect for adding alt attributes. They're nearly always the first image in a post and provide a stronger relevance signal than if your alt attribute was somewhere in the middle of the post.

As an example, this article provides an excellent example of effectively used alt attributes.

It targets the query "ways to promote a blog post" and the alt attribute is long, descriptive, and keyword-rich.

It's "18 clever ways to promote a blog post and attract a larger readership".
Example of hero image
Example of an alt attribute on a hero image (Source)

Pillar #4 - Link Building

Google frowns upon all forms of link building. According to them, any link built to manipulate PageRank can lead to a penalty.

In Google's ideal world, the best content gets the best links most often and the best content ranks.

But we're not living in the best of all worlds (sorry Leibniz). We live in a world where you can be a pearly white hat and do the first 3 pillars perfectly and still be beaten by black hats with lots and lots of spammy links. Or with just a few quality links they've "arranged for" to happen.

You need to combat this, and the best way to do it is to build links Google is not actively penalizing.

Every link can get you in trouble, but if you build the types of links you'll find below and your competition builds PBN's or Sape links, guess who will eventually be busted and who'll rank and keep on ranking and making money.

#1 Guest posting

Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to build relevant, high-quality backlinks to your site. This strategy, when done correctly, yields links in the context of an expert article where you can usually choose optimized anchor text to maximize the SEO impact.

As part of a guest posting strategy, you'll write blog posts and articles for online publications in your industry. In return, you'll get a link back to your website in your author bio or within the article itself.

Here's a quick overview of the guest posting process:

  1. Brainstorm relevant article ideas and corresponding link placements
  2. Search for blogs and sites in your niche that accept guest authors
  3. Pitch two or three article ideas to each editor, depending on their recently published content
  4. Once a pitch is approved, write the article according to best SEO practices
  5. Finalize your link placements according to your SEO strategy and the publisher's editorial guidelines

How To Submit A Guest Post To Serpstat Blog?

You can set your own cadence for guest posting. You may decide to write just one or two articles per month, or you might devote more resources to guest posting to produce fresh content every week.

In general, guest posting is easier when you have an ongoing strategy. You'll build a name for yourself as an author and thought leader in your niche, which in turn makes it easier for new guest post pitches to get accepted by site editors.

Plus, you'll be more aware of the latest industry trends, so you can always provide the most relevant content.

When brainstorming guest post topics, the only limits are your industry knowledge and keyword research skills. It's important to find topics that provide SEO value to whatever site you'll be publishing on while still emphasizing your expertise in the industry.

Often, articles like "X Best Tips" or "Top X Companies/Products" are effective ways to highlight your company while providing excellent link quality.

Take this roundup of the best PEO companies as an example. Because there's such a strong search intent around this keyword, the host site (CrazyEgg) will get lots of traffic. The featured companies all get a link from a highly authoritative site.

Link building example: the roundup of the best PEO companies​
Link building example: the roundup of the best PEO companies (Source)
It might seem counterintuitive to create an article that also features your competitors, but think about it this way: you'll access a wider audience, win a high-quality link, and might even snag a few customers away from your competitors.

As you brainstorm guest post topics, consider some of these factors:

  • What the publisher's site has recently posted
  • Whether you or someone on your team has the expertise writing on the topic
  • How your topic provides useful information to the intended audience
  • Where your link will be included and how it will fit naturally into your article
Lastly, remember that you'll likely need to switch to cloud-based tools to work efficiently with site editors and content marketers. Even if you prefer to work in offline word processors like Word, you'll need to convert Word files into Google Docs and share them online for easy editing and publishing.

#2 Interview Link Building

Interview links are some of the easiest links you can build.

Why?

Because when you're being interviewed, you talk about yourself. And then it's totally natural to mention your blog and specific articles within the blog

You can even use keyword-rich anchor text and it's natural because you're just describing what they can expect if they decide to click on that link.

Here's an example.

I recently got interviewed on this blog.

I used that opportunity to send a handful of keyword-rich links to my money site.

Simple and effective.
Link building through an interview
Link building through an interview (Source)
Pro tip: You don't have to be a big name to get interview gigs. All you need do is be helpful and offer something tangible to a blogger who has an interview section on their blog.
For example, you can warm them up with a few social shares and comments, and once you've built that initial spark, propose that they interview you and you'll, in turn, give them a backlink from your next guest post on a powerful blog.

This pitch is likely to work simply because you're sending a value exchange proposition. You're asking for something, but you're also giving something in return.

#3 Expert Roundups

Expert roundups are another easy way to build genuine, whitehat links to your site.

The format of this link building tactic works like this:

You get asked for your opinion about X. You provide that opinion, and as a result, you get featured with a link (almost always a dofollow one) to your site.

For example, I recently got featured in this beautifully-coded, custom-page explainer video roundup by Breadnbeyond.
Link building through an expert roundup
Link building through an expert roundup (Source)
These clever illustrations make me laugh, but what makes me joyful is that powerful branded link to my homepage.

That really helps with my SEO and that link is as white hat as it gets.

I also had the honor of getting featured in this AI and SEO expert roundup on Serpstat's blog.

And once again, I got a live, followed link from the super-powerful Serpstat blog.
Linkbuilding through an expert roundup on Serpstat
Linkbuilding through an expert roundup on Serpstat (Source)
How to Find Expert Roundup Opportunities?

Unfortunately, there's no magic bullet to finding these opportunities. You need to have just a tiny bit of reputation in order to get invited to these. Reputation comes from being active in your niche.

  • Socially share;
  • Comment on other people's blogs;
  • Engage with others any way you can.
and you will get invited more and more often.

It's because bloggers organizing roundups are usually eager to get as many participants as they possibly can.

Finally, occasionally you can stumble upon an opportunity where you don't have to wait for an invite but can invite yourself.

For example, this Benchmark Email page lists out monthly opportunities to contribute.
Contribution opportunities
Contribution opportunities (Source)
If you have a good answer to a query, it doesn't matter who you are, you will get a valuable link from a website.

#4 Podcast link building

Podcasts are a hidden source of incredible SEO value for your business.

While most people listen to podcasts on an audio streaming platform, many podcasts also have a website where listeners can access episodes through a browser.
Link building via podcasts
Link building via podcasts
Those episode pages are prime spots for links.

You can approach podcast link building in two different ways. If you have the expertise and resources, you can start your own podcast and host it on your website. Then, ask your guests to link to their episode once it's released.

A simpler strategy for podcast link building is appearing as a guest on already established podcasts. This way, you don't have to foot the bill for production costs and you'll access a built-in audience that the hosts have already invested in building.

When you're a podcast guest, you'll still need to spend time preparing. You'll need to have a clear message that provides value to the listeners.

Make sure to ask for a link back to your site once the podcast publishes your guest episode. You can also keep an eye on social searches and mentions around these podcasts to make the most out of your appearance.

Appearing as a podcast guest can be exciting, but don't start asking to be a guest on just any podcast. As with any link-building strategy, look for high-quality podcasts and websites that are directly relevant to your company.

#5 Broken Link Building

Broken link building, sometimes called link reclamation, covers a few different tactics that don't necessarily require you to produce original content.

Broadly speaking, these approaches are used to find places on the web you should be linked to but aren't. By identifying and contacting these sites, you can find link prospects who have already demonstrated an interest in your business.

Here are a few of the tactics covered in broken link building and link reclamation:

  • Find links to 404 pages on your site. When a link ends at a 404 page, your site loses all the link authority it could pass. To regain this link juice, you can either fix the 404 or reach out to the impacted sites to offer the updated web page or resource.
You can find 404 pages and other technical issues on your website with Serpstat's Site Audit tool:
 Serpstat's Site Audit tool
Serpstat's Site Audit tool
  • Search for your company name or branded product terms on Google or social media. Use quotes around your query to ensure an exact match. If you find a mention of your company or product but no link, reach out and ask them to include a link wherever they've featured your business.

  • Follow up on linkbait. If you've created an infographic or another free resource along with an embed code for your site — sometimes known as link bait — you can't simply trust in the passive link building process and that everyone who posts your infographic will link to it. Periodically run searches to find instances where your content hasn't been credited, and reach out to ask for the right link. Side note, custom graphics in blog posts can be amazing to gather links naturally for your site. To do this you'll either need to hire a graphic designer or use one of the tools listed here to DIY it. Whatever you decide to do, don't overlook this tactic, it can be very powerful once you get it right.
Let's look at this example from the online English tutor platform Preply. Its business English vocabulary infographic is a handy resource for tutors and English language learners alike.
Infographic example
Infographic example (Source)
If an independent tutor shared this on their website via an embed code but didn't include a link, that's a great opportunity for Preply to snag a perfectly relevant link with little effort.

Link reclamation might seem like an easy way to improve your backlink profile, but it shouldn't be the only link-building strategy you use. Balance simpler approaches like 404 reclamations with more time-intensive strategies like guest posting.

#6 Link roundups

A link roundup is typically a blog post featuring the best-curated content in a niche during a given time. For instance, a tech blogger might post a weekly roundup of the most important tech news and analysis, while a food writer might create a seasonal post of their favorite recipes and techniques to try.

Creating your own link roundups won't be the best use of your time if you're trying to build links for your website. You'll host far more links from possible competitors than you will earn unique links for your site.

Instead, seek out the top link roundups in your niche and pitch them your best content. Don't fall into the trap of thinking link roundups are easy links — curators are looking for content that stands out from the rest.

Your best content should draw from your industry expertise, original research, or even case study questions that provide insight into how parts of your field really work. You want to provide something unique and interesting to increase your chance of being featured.

Likewise, keep in mind that not all link roundups are created equal. Some, like the semi-monthly Moz Top 10 newsletter, carry impressive authority. Others come from casual bloggers with minimal domain authority looking to get some quick traffic.

When it comes to maximizing the SEO value of links, 35.9% of link builders say they focus on link quality over link quantity, and 56.3% say you need to consider both factors. That means no matter what link-building tactic you use, you'll need to make sure every link is the right fit for your business.

#7 HARO

HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a public relations tool that sends you daily queries from bloggers and journalists looking for expert insight across categories like business and finance, health and wellness, and travel and leisure.

Some HARO queries ask for quotes from subject matter experts to be featured in roundup style articles, while others might look for interview subjects or other needs with a larger investment.

Since many of these journalists publish online, HARO is a great way to find unique and relevant link opportunities.

Take the EarlyBird app, for example. The EarlyBird team regularly updates their blog with informative articles around their niche, like this one on custodial accounts, that easily get them backlinks from other sites.

In addition to this, they landed a feature profile on a business strategy site by responding to a HARO query. They get both brand exposure and link juice from responding to one simple email.
Brand feature via HARO
Brand feature via HARO (Source)
Remember that journalists who use HARO receive dozens of responses to each query, so your pitches need to stand out to get noticed.

Here are some tips for using HARO successfully:

  • Only respond to the most relevant queries. As we mentioned above, quality is the driving factor behind link building. To conserve your resources and maximize your chance of getting featured, only respond to queries where you're a true expert on the topic.

  • Check HAROs daily. Query emails are sent three times per day, so regularly block out some time to look for good opportunities, try to outsource it, or use Gmail effectively to save time. Many reporter queries are time-sensitive, so you'll have a better chance of landing the link if you respond early.

  • Follow the pitch instructions precisely. Some queries will ask for headshots, website URLs, or other specific information. Provide everything the reporter asks for in your first response to make it as easy as possible for them.
Does it work? It sure does, and the proof is in the pudding. Here's a successful HARO mention for CloudTalk.io:
HARO mention example
HARO mention example (Source)
These link building tactics work and will work forever and you don't need any more.

Instead, use these ones to dominate your niche.

Conclusion

As Google gets smarter, black hat SEO gets harder and this means that for most bloggers reading this whitehat SEO guide, white hat SEO is the future. It's definitely harder. But it's also definitely worth it.

But why not start with it right now?

Go serious, hardcore white hat and gain an edge over your competitors who're still trying to trick Google and are getting burned left and right, instead of contributing value to the web.

Gain an edge today!
To keep abreast of all the news from the Serpstat blog, subscribe to our newsletter. And also join our group on Facebook and follow our Twitter.

Learn how to get the most out of Serpstat

Want to get a personal demo, trial period or bunch of successful use cases?

Send a request and our expert will contact you ;)

The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

Rate the article on a five-point scale

The article has already been rated by 10 people on average 4.92 out of 5
Found an error? Select it and press Ctrl + Enter to tell us

Share this article with your friends

Are you sure?

Introducing Serpstat

Find out about the main features of the service in a convenient way for you!

Please send a request, and our specialist will offer you education options: a personal demonstration, a trial period, or materials for self-study and increasing expertise — everything for a comfortable start to work with Serpstat.

Name

Email

Phone

We are glad of your comment
I agree to Serpstat`s Privacy Policy.

Thank you, we have saved your new mailing settings.

Report a bug

Cancel

We use cookies to make Serpstat better. By clicking "Accept cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Learn more

Open support chat
mail pocket flipboard Messenger telegramm