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Comprehensive SEO Link Building Strategy: Defining The Ideal PR Footprint

Link Building Strategy

We always assess the desired ratios of PR over other aspects to define the most ideal digital footprint. A wise man recently said to me: “What Google tells people is how it HOPES for SEO to be, but in reality, it is still a little primitive which means that brute force in link building has not gone away yet – albeit that a quality footprint is more important today”. He happens to be a client who scaled his business through a combination of PR and SEO – and he refused to back down on his efforts when John Mueller at Google said link building won’t help. I wish Mueller was right though, because it is shocking to see the budgets some people spend on link building – yet there is only one thing that is more shocking: that is to see how far behind businesses fell who took his advise and did nothing. 

I will point out that because of the impact of generative AI in search results, Mueller is only right because positions 5 to 10 and beyond are being obliterated in the organic search results, pretty much like positions 3 to 5 in paid search. We have therefore re-prioritized our top SEO tool recommendations accordingly – which is well worth reading.

An effective SEO strategy requires diversifying your link building efforts to ensure long-term success and stability in search engine rankings. In this guide, we will discuss five different approaches to link building, comparing them to picking various types of fruit. By combining these methods, you can achieve greater scale and improve your overall SEO performance.

Assessing Digital Footprints

Below is a snapshot overview where we ask why a business is super successful. From their top contributing mentions on the web which can be seen below, just 2 in 33 came from newspapers. The rest came from a mixture of other sources – and these things are really important as  we outline in a video you can find below on our HARO PR and Link Building Service,


A healthy PR footprint for SEO and Referral Business

From the above proof, we can all agree that a healthy footprint consists of far more than just press releases and things we can pay for. A lot is earned in this game.


Let’s evaluate 7 distinct tactics that leads to a better link building strategy:

1. Picking the Easy Fruit: Free Links from Sites like Wix, Reddit, etc.

Free links from websites such as Wix, Reddit, Medium and other online platforms can provide quick and easy backlinks to your site. These links can be obtained through:

  • Posting your own blog posts with relevant links
  • Creating profiles on business directories and social media platforms
  • Participating in online forums and communities relevant to your industry
  • Leaving valuable comments on blog posts and articles

While these links may not have the highest authority, they are still beneficial in building a foundational link profile and improving your site’s overall SEO.

2. Picking the Forbidden Fruit: Paying for Selected Links

Paying for links is often considered a risky SEO strategy, but when done carefully and with reputable sites, it can yield positive results. This approach involves:

  • Identifying websites that offer paid links in a discreet and ethical manner
  • Ensuring these websites are relevant and authoritative in your industry
  • Negotiating fair pricing for the placement of your links

While not a traditional “earned” link, these paid links can still contribute to your site’s authority and search engine rankings when done correctly.

3. Picking the Rare Fruit: Earning Links through Highly Authoritative Content

Earning high-quality backlinks through the creation of authoritative content is one of the most effective and sustainable methods for improving your site’s SEO. This strategy involves:

  • Producing well-researched, in-depth, and valuable content that appeals to your target audience
  • Reaching out to industry influencers and websites to share and promote your content
  • Continuously updating and improving your content to maintain its relevance and authority

By producing exceptional content, you can naturally attract high-quality backlinks and improve your site’s search engine rankings.

4. Picking the Invisible Fruit: Obtaining Top-Tier Links from Sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.

Securing top-tier links from authoritative sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other reputable publications is a challenging but highly rewarding SEO strategy. To obtain these high-value links:

  • Establish yourself as an expert in your industry by consistently producing high-quality content
  • Network with journalists, editors, and influencers who contribute to these publications
  • Offer valuable insights, data, or research that can be used as a source for their articles

These top-tier links can significantly boost your site’s authority and search engine rankings, making them a crucial component of your overall SEO strategy.

5. Creating Your Own Fruit Trees with the Sitetrail Unlimited Access Pass

The Sitetrail Unlimited Access Pass allows you to create your own network of high-quality backlinks by providing access to their extensive database of authoritative websites. With this pass, you can:

  • Identify and connect with relevant websites in your industry for link building opportunities
  • Gain access to exclusive tools and resources for improving your SEO efforts
  • Monitor your site’s performance and track the progress of your link building campaigns

6. Aggregating the Latest Academic Research to Earn .edu Links

Earning .edu links from reputable educational institutions is a highly valuable SEO strategy, as these links carry significant authority and trust. To achieve this, you can aggregate the latest academic research related to your industry and use it as a foundation for creating engaging and informative content. Here’s how to do it:

  • Monitor academic journals, research databases, and university websites for new studies and publications relevant to your industry
  • Summarize and analyze the research findings, highlighting the key takeaways and implications for your audience
  • Create in-depth articles, whitepapers, or reports that showcase this research and provide valuable insights
  • Reach out to educational institutions, professors, and researchers to share your content and ask for a link or citation on their websites or resources

By positioning your website as a valuable source of industry knowledge and academic research, you can attract high-quality .edu links and improve your site’s authority and search engine rankings.

7. Pitching the Highest Quality Blog Posts to Relevant Websites

Guest blogging is an effective method for earning high-quality backlinks, expanding your audience, and building relationships with other industry professionals. To pitch the highest quality blog posts to relevant websites, follow these steps:

  1. Identify authoritative websites in your industry that accept guest posts or contributions. Look for sites with a strong readership, high domain authority, and an active social media presence.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the target website’s content and style. Understand the topics they cover, their target audience, and the tone and format of their articles.
  3. Brainstorm unique and engaging blog post ideas that would be valuable to the target website’s audience. Ensure your proposed topics haven’t been covered extensively on their site or elsewhere.
  4. Craft a personalized and professional outreach email. Introduce yourself, express your interest in contributing a guest post, and pitch your proposed topic(s). Highlight your expertise and any previous guest blogging experience, and include links to your best writing samples.
  5. Once your pitch is accepted, write a high-quality and well-researched blog post that meets the target website’s guidelines and expectations. Ensure your content is free of grammatical errors and provides valuable insights to the readers.
  6. Include a relevant and natural backlink to your website within the content or your author bio, ensuring it adds value and context to the article.
  7. After your guest post is published, promote it on your social media channels and engage with readers in the comments section to maximize its reach and impact.

This unique approach to link building provides a valuable resource for scaling your SEO efforts and achieving long-term success.

Mind the experts?

John Mueller and Barry Swartz are well-known figures in the SEO industry who have often emphasized that link building does not work and may even be detrimental to a website’s search engine ranking. If only this was true – perhaps it will become true in the future. However, our experience with hundreds of client and competitor websites contradicts this notion. The reality is that links continue to be an important ranking factor in search engine algorithms. What has changed over time is the emphasis on the quality of the domains linking to your website. In today’s competitive online landscape, it is crucial to focus on acquiring high-quality, authoritative backlinks from reputable sources rather than simply amassing a large number of low-quality links. This shift in focus has led to a more sustainable and effective approach to link building that can yield long-term benefits for your website’s search engine performance.


A successful SEO strategy requires a combination of multiple link building methods, including free links, paid links, authoritative content, top-tier publications, and access to platforms like Sitetrail. By diversifying your approach and leveraging each of these methods, you can effectively scale your SEO efforts and improve your site’s search engine rankings.

Adriaan Brits

Adriaan Brits

Adriaan Brits is the CEO of He works with clients around the world on digital marketing strategy and PR. When it comes to scaling a business, he is one of the top 10 consultants with the biggest media list globally.

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