Earning links is hard if you don’t know how to find shortcuts.
And most people don’t have a clue.
You can build a strong backlink profile without too much time or effort if you know where to look for easy backlinks.
Yes, easy backlinks do exist—and they can be high quality, too.
Let’s explore 12 easy ways to earn authoritative backlinks that Google loves and respects.
But hey, before you rush out to grab those easy backlinks…
A Word of Warning
Google still places a ton of value on backlinks. In fact, backlinks are one of the two most important ranking factors of the search giant.
To protect this ranking factor, Google has developed extensive algorithms to punish spammy websites, penalize sites that violate their rules and give more credence to brands that searchers love and respect.
Your site’s backlink profile can help or hamper your chances of success. So, you don’t want to build backlinks that only work against your marketing effort.
The Penguin algorithm, which has become part of Google’s core algorithm, is out to find and punish unnatural link building. Being part of the core means the algorithm now works in real time and pays attention to each page on your site.
A link is unnatural if it has any or all of these attributes:
1. Link source: The link comes from a source that’s either too unrelated to your business or has a poor reputation.
2. Link velocity: Google may judge good links as bad if you gain a lot of them in a short amount of time.
3. Link anchor texts: It can look suspicious if you have a large number of keyword-rich anchor texts. Maintain the number of keyword-containing anchor texts linking to your site at 4% or less.
Let’s explore each of these factors that might incite a Penguin penalty.
1. Build Backlinks, Not Bad Links
What are bad links? Well, we’ve covered this in detail elsewhere, so here’s a checklist:
- High Spam Score
- Low Domain Authority
- Unindexed website
- Low Trust Flow and Citation Flow
- High number of external links
- Unnatural anchor text
And watch out! Good links can go bad, too. You should continue monitoring your backlinks, even after you’ve gotten them. Here’s what to look out for on the linking site:
- Annoying pop-ups
- Annoying ads
- Skimpy content
- 302 redirects
- Very slow load time
- Error codes
You can use Monitor Backlinks to spot bad links and keep track of all your backlinks. Just like the weather, link quality changes every now and then—so it’s important to keep an eye on them.
Get a 30-day free trial of Monitor Backlinks to get a full view of your backlink profile, plus email notifications whenever anything changes about one of your backlinks!
2. Get Easy Links, Not Fast Links
Don’t buy backlinks. It’s too quick and too unnatural. Don’t fall for it.
Don’t post 50 guest articles every month. It’s unnatural too. Google is cracking down on guest posts that are for link building purposes only.
Safe? I wouldn't guest-post for links. Use your own site to spread the word!
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) February 24, 2017
And if you give easy backlinks, you might be on Google’s radar for a penalty.
In March 2014, Google penalized all of DocSheldon.com for an unnatural link. Yes, just one lousy link killed a whole site.
Although Doc Sheldon took it on with an open letter to Google, it’s probably not going to undo the damage.
Whether Doc Sheldon was right or not, you don’t want to waste time explaining to Google your reasons for a bad link. You can stay away from building too many links, too fast.
I like to think of link building as the real-life tortoise and hare story. Slow and steady wins the backlinks race. Yes, you don’t crawl, but don’t run!
3. Manage Your Anchor Texts
Apart from keeping your links natural regarding link sources and link velocity, you need to keep the link anchor text natural too. Anchor texts tell Google what the link is about. If your anchor texts are keyword rich, you’ll be baiting Google’s Penguin.
In Google’s judgment, your link profile is unnatural if it has more than 4% exact keyword match in the anchor texts linking to your site. So, they’d punish your site accordingly.
But, you can easily manage your pages’ anchor texts in just four steps using Monitor Backlinks.
1. Verify the number of backlinks
Log in to your Monitor Backlinks dashboard and select your site or add a new website by clicking on the drop-down menu (as shown below).
Click the “Backlinks” button to generate your site’s backlinks.
Filter the results by clicking on “Filters.”
Find the “To” filter, and select the page you’re auditing for bad anchor texts. Don’t select more than one page at a time.
For the page I used in this example, it has 1,078 backlinks out of the site’s total of 1,991 backlinks (at the time of this search). See the image below.
2. Determine how many backlinks contain the page’s exact match keyword in their anchor texts
With your filters still open, scroll to and select the “Anchor Text” filter. Enter that page’s keyword into the text box and choose “Containing.” Hit the Enter key.
In this example, I used “close” as the keyword for the page I’m analyzing. Here’s what it’d look like after you enter your keyword and hit Enter.
3. Calculate the percentage of keyword-containing anchor texts
According to a study by SEMrush on ranking factors, keywords in anchor texts appeared only 3% of the time for the sites studied. That’s what you should aim for.
In our example, with the keyword “close,” you can see that the page needs a lot of work. Out of 1,078 backlinks to the page, 903 contain the keyword!
To calculate the percentage of anchor texts containing the keyword: Divide the number of backlinks with keyword-containing anchor text by the total number of backlinks, then multiply by 100 to get the percentage.
So for the example above, I’d divide 903 by 1,078, and then multiply by 100. The result is 83.77%.
4. Decide whether to contact websites that use the keyword in their anchor texts
Don’t go crazy with anchor text outreach—you should only contact enough sites to bring the unhealthy site anchor text ratio down to normalcy.
If your percentage is high, like in the example above, then that’s going to be a big job.
In practice, the webmaster of that site would now have to solicit an anchor text change from around 80% of the linking websites. That’s not an ideal place to be.
You want to manage your backlinks more proactively by getting alerts as they occur—something you can do in a breeze with Monitor Backlinks. You’ll get alerts whenever you earn new backlinks, which can help you spot and manage bad links before they become toxic to your site.
12 Authoritative Sources for Easy Backlinks That Pack a Punch
Now you know what types of easy backlinks you don’t want. Let’s explore how to win easy backlinks that blow your competition out of the water.
Easy Backlinks to Unbalance Your Competition
These sources for easy backlinks give you an opportunity for do-follow links.
#1: Local Business Directories
Savvy local SEOs are prioritizing directories (a.k.a citation sites) as their number one backlink building source.
In fact, according to BrightLocal, marketers have seen a tremendous amount of value from directories that didn’t even give them link juice—just mentions or no-follow links.
Now imagine the impact that getting do-follow backlinks from these citation sites would do to your SEO! These easy backlinks will blow your competition out of the water.
Google places a ton of value on local business directories, too. In fact, major local directories have a significant influence on the local ranking signals identified by Moz.
To help you on your journey, I’ve prepared a list of 120 local directories you can instantly put your business on (and some of them also give you link juice).
Here’s a quick guide to earning links from local directories:
Step #1: Download the resource I provided above or search Google for your city’s, state’s or country’s local directories.
Step #2: Check if the listed businesses in each directory have do-follow backlinks. Use the Chrome MozBar Extension for this purpose.
As an example, I visited the USA Listing Directory and headed straight to their automobile listings.
With the MozBar extension turned on, you can see that the page’s PA is 30, the site’s DA is 52, and the Spam Score is a meager 1/17.
And the links on that page are do-follow.
Another example is from the consultants listings in the ABC Directory. All the external links on that page are do-follow. PA is 27, DA is 49 and Spam Score is 1/17.
Here’s a page for one of their listed businesses.
And what of getting a link from a directory like the Independent, with a DA of 93?
Oh yes, just take a look at the screenshots below.
You get easy, do-follow backlinks to your business from a page with a PA of 43.
And of course, it’s a breeze to add your business.
Step #3: Grab those easy backlinks. Make a list of the directories with the safest Spam Scores, high PA and high DA. And, of course, prioritize your efforts to favor sites giving do-follow links.
Each directory has its unique process for onboarding businesses on their lists. So, you want to find out their process and follow it. Most of them start with a signup page or contact form, and you can usually call in to ask questions, too.
And that’s it! You’re listed and sipping on some punchy link juice.
#2: Resource pages
Lots of authoritative websites keep a resource page for helping their readers find more useful information in their industry.
You can find and get on some of these resource pages, and the process is pretty simple.
Use any of these advanced search strings to get started finding resource pages, and then get on them.
- “keyword” site:.org intitle:”links” –inurl:pdf –inurl:ppt –inurl:doc
- “keyword” site:.com intitle:”resources” -inurl:pdf -inurl:ppt -inurl:doc
- “keyword” site:.org intitle:”resources” –inurl:pdf –inurl:ppt –inurl:doc
- “keyword” site:.com intitle:”links” –inurl:pdf –inurl:ppt –inurl:doc
Note that you can use different keywords to find resource pages for overlapping industry resources. For example, if your website is about “vegan foods,” you can also find resource pages for “healthy living” or “fitness” since these fields overlap.
Let’s take an example.
My keyword here is “vegan foods.”
To make my website sorting process easier, I turned on the MozBar to quickly check for DA and PA scores for each of the search results. Here’s what I got:
Open the most relevant sites to see if they link to commercial websites and if the links are do-follow. You want to prioritize resource pages with high DA and PA scores.
From my search results, I can see that the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) has an attractive DA of 62 and the resource page’s PA is 41.
I opened the VRG website and used my MozBar “Followed” button. Voila! I was pleased to find a ton of commercial sites enjoying backlinks that are all do-follow.
If the VRG is a fit for my niche and business, I’d just reach out and start the process of getting my website on their resource page. A simple email enquiring of their criteria for featuring websites on their resource pages would usually get the ball rolling in the right direction.
#3: Public Profiles
You’ve probably heard of Gravatar, or even have an account with the service. Gravatar is one of many sources for easy backlinks by creating public profiles. Links from profile websites like Gravatar help you diversify your link profile with very little effort.
We’ve covered profile backlinks in detail here, and there’s a sea of public profile websites you can jump on right away. Check out the post to find more than 300 do-follow profile websites to get an easy backlink from almost instantly.
But, if your site is in good standing with Google, you can grab these links pretty breezily.
Here’s how to get reviews from review sites:
Step #1: Find websites that review products, services or other businesses (but do not exclusively publish reviews), and reach out to them. Also, keep a look out for review sites that are willing to feature you (sometimes business directories double as review sites).
You can find websites to review your business using these search strings:
- “niche” inurl:”review”
- “competitor’s website” inurl:”review”
- best “niche” inurl:”review”
- “niche” inurl:”product overview”
The idea is to find websites that have reviewed businesses like yours and then contact them to review yours. You may (or may not) need to incentivize or give them access to your premium products, but it’s worth it all the same.
This review/link building approach is quite common. I’ve been approached by some businesses to write reviews for their products, including Samsung, PureVPN and DesignEvo.
Backlinks from these reviews give your site the benefit of deep links to pages that, otherwise, may never get a link.
I used one of the search strings above and focused my query on the marketing automation niche.
I found some potential sites I could contact to take a look at my marketing automation solution (if I had one). These sites would likely be open to writing reviews about my software with a link to a page on my site.
One of these websites from my search, Impact (DA 57; PA 34), gave a detailed review of HubSpot and how users integrated it with other software solutions. They also gave HubSpot a deep link in that review.
Step #2: Contact these websites and get featured on them.
If the article you found is a roundup review of tools in your niche, you could send an email that says something like this:
It’s Nicholas here. I’m the [CEO/CMO/other relevant title] of [business]. We’ve been [credentialize your business by mentioning any media features you’ve had, your number of subscribers or users, and the like].
Thanks for your roundup on [niche]. I was thinking our tool/solution [name of tool] would be a great fit on that roundup because it integrates well with [tools that would be a good match with yours that are featured on the roundup or on the site].
You can take a look at our [tool/product/service offering] here: [link to website].
If our [tool/product/service offering] is a good fit for your roundup and you’re very busy right now, I can write the roundup piece for you to edit and add to your page. I’ll also give you premium user access to our [tool/solution] for [period of time].
I’ll be glad to answer any questions and to get your reply soon.
If the article is just a review of your competitor’s product/service/tool, then you could say something like this:
It’s Nicholas here. I’m the [CEO/CMO/other relevant title] of [business]. We’ve been [credentialize your business by mentioning any media features you’ve had, your number of subscribers or users, and the like].
I noticed you reviewed [name of competitor]. Your insights were really on point. Since you want your readers to have a great experience with marketing automation solutions [or other niche product/solutions/tools], I thought you might consider reviewing a tool with some improved features and benefits.
Our [tool/solution] has [two or three advantages] that [competitor] doesn’t have. I’ll be glad if you’d consider writing a review about this tool/solution. I’ll also share your writing with our audience and give you premium user access to our [tool/solution] for [period of time].
I’d like to know what you think and answer any questions you might have.
Step #3: Get on review sites that allow do-follow links. This is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
1. Search Google, find review sites and visit them.
2. Use the MozBar Extension to see if the links on their websites are do-follow.
3. Apply to get featured on review websites that give do-follow links, have high DA and PA, and low Spam Score.
Here’s an example.
G2Crowd is known in the review space. The site is DA 62, and the Monitor Backlinks review page there is PA 34.
G2Crowd’s link is do-follow.
Another example is Product Hunt. The site has a DA of 73 and the PA of the page featuring Monitor Backlinks is 33.
You can find and analyze review sites here:
YouTube is an excellent resource for quick and easy do-follow backlinks. Set up a channel (which takes less than two minutes to do) and drop your link in the description box.
Then, go to your account and click on the video icon (as shown below).
And then choose “Upload video” from the dropdown menu.
Choose and upload your video.
Write your video description in the description box and add to your stack of easy backlinks by including your desired URL.
Wait for your video to indicate “Processing Done.” Leave the status as public, and click “Publish.”
Copy and paste your video URL into your browser to see your video.
Given the authoritativeness of YouTube (DA 99; PA 55), this is one of your fastest and most potent easy backlinks.
Forums can give you super-easy backlinks that carry lots of authority at the same time.
You can get these forum backlinks all set in days without violating Google’s guidelines (since they’re not spammy guest posts or links). You just need to know where to find high-quality, do-follow forum links.
Without taking your time, you can use the resources below to get a ton of do-follow links from forums. Each forum has its own guidelines and rules, so make sure you follow them.
Google is very sensitive to relevance. Focus on the forums that are most relevant to your niche.
- List of DoFollow Forums to Increase Backlinks by ShoutMeOutLoud
- 700+ Do Follow High Authority Forums Sites List by BloggersIdeas
- 220 High PR DoFollow Forums to Boost Your Blog Backlinks by BlogCharge
- High PR DoFollow Forums List To Increase Backlinks by Sharjeeltahir
#7: Amazon KDP Community
The Amazon KDP community is a super-easy way to get a backlink.
Albeit, this isn’t a link from the main Amazon website. In fact, the KDP community website has a DA of just 37 compared to Amazon’s 97. My KDP community profile’s Page Authority scored 22. Not bad.
Here’a how to add KDP community juice to your easy backlinks.
Step #1: Create a profile on the KDP community (the community is different from the KDP).
Step #2: Go to your profile.
Step #3: Fill out the form and in the About box, enter your URL and click Save.
That’s it! You have a do-follow link from the Amazon KDP community.
Not-So-Easy Backlinks Also Worth Getting
Now let’s consider other authoritative no-follow or do-follow backlinks that need a little work.
#8: Events Listings
These websites are usually great traffic sources too since event-goers visit these sites to find event opportunities.
So how do you get the juice?
First, forget creating an offline event. Unless you already hold offline events or have it baked into your content strategy, you shouldn’t have to start one just for the links. A simple webinar is enough reason to get featured on most of the event websites out there.
Decide on your webinar topic, set a date and time, decide on what to do during the webinar (like generating leads), and make all your necessary preparations.
Now, get the word out and get some easy backlinks in. Find event directories in any of these categories:
- Your niche/profession
You can use simple Google queries or advanced search parameters to find events directories. Try simple queries like these:
- “keyword” “city” “submit your course”
- “keyword” “city” “submit your event”
- “keyword” “city” “add event”
- “keyword” “city” “add your event”
- “keyword” “city” “add an event”
- “keyword” “city” “submit your class”
- “keyword” “city” “submit event”
- “keyword” “city” “submit your conference”
- “keyword” “city” “submit an event”
- “keyword” “city” “submit your workshop”
Or advanced queries like these:
- “city” inurl:”event” inurl:”submit”
- “keyword” inurl:”event” inurl:”submit”
- “city” “keyword” inurl:”event” inurl:”submit”
- “city” inurl:”event” inurl:”add”
- “keyword” inurl:”event” inurl:”add”
- “city” “keyword” inurl:”event” inurl:”add”
Here’s an example. I used one of the advanced search strings to find events submission pages in San Jose, California.
With the MozBar on to quickly see the DA of websites, here’s what I found.
I can open relevant websites and submit events, or use another string from the list above to find new results.
You want to spread the word about your event and gain some backlinks and mentions along the way. So get going already!
#9: Government (.gov) and University (.edu) Websites
Government and university websites are some of the toughest places to get backlinks, but they have some loopholes you can ethically exploit. I’ve discussed some of these tactics in detail elsewhere on this site, but here’s a quick list:
- Offer a scholarship
- Give free consultations or product samples to members of the faculty or student body
- List your events on your city’s events website or page
- Get on your university’s alumni profiles
- Get on the resource pages of the colleges or towns/cities near you
Links from these sources are almost never do-follow links, but they’ll contribute to your authority and might lead to earning other authoritative backlinks.
#10: Facebook Pages
No, you won’t get a do-follow link from Facebook—but if you get a ton of traffic coming to your site from Facebook, then Google will be forced to raise your search rankings.
Higher rankings almost always equals more backlinks.
Google also uses Facebook reviews as a local ranking factor, so you want to be present and in control. According to Google’s Gary Illyes, social mentions carry as much weight as links!
Social traffic is the number three source of visitors to Nike.com, and Facebook is their number one social traffic source, ahead of YouTube. (It’s not a surprise that search engines and direct website visits are the top traffic sources to the world’s number one sports shopping website.)
How do you harness Facebook? Luckily for you, we have a thorough guide for leveraging Facebook backlinks.
#11: Social Profiles
Just like Facebook, most social profiles take less than two minutes to create. You can do this in a breeze.
The number one reason to claim all your social profiles is that branding influences SEO! In fact, Google favors established brands in its search results over other sources of content.
Having your social profiles all linking to your website won’t send any link juice. Social media links are no-follow links, but they count as mentions. Google takes note of mentions, especially your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) of your business, and your website too.
So what do you do?
Step #2: Claim your NAP and place your URL on all these social platforms by creating a profile for your business on each of them.
Step #3: Put some basic content on all the pages—a post linking to your homepage would do. This helps visitors who stumble on those social accounts to easily find your site without having to look for your profile page.
Step #4: Focus on two to five social fronts, and use a tool like Buffer to manage your postings on those social accounts.
Wikipedia has a DA of 100, and its pages have a PA of over 90.
You do need the approval of the website’s moderators when you edit Wikipedia posts. For that reason, I thought this tactic was a not-so-easy backlink generator.
But in reality, if you please the moderators, then this is an effortless way to get backlinks. Yes, do-follow backlinks.
You have three categories of easy backlinks from Wikipedia:
- Easy backlinks from broken links
- Easy backlinks from unique citations
- Easy backlinks from dead links
We’ve covered ways to get backlinks from Wikipedia in detail here.
To Wrap It Up
The first seven link building tactics are the easiest for high-quality, do-follow backlinks.
Give them the priority in your link building campaign, and then use the five not-so-easy tactics I explained to support your link building effort.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on what’s happening to your link profile by tracking new backlinks and monitoring changes.
Know what’s working, what’s not working and keep doing more of what works.