Link building

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

Link building isn’t as simple as posting, waiting, and swimming through links.

If it did, we would all have DR90 sites ranking for extremely difficult keywords.

You must be proactive. Unless you’re Forbes, which you’re not, the links don’t just pop up with every new piece of content.

The only problem is knowing where to start. How to reach those normally inaccessible backlinks.

The answer? Link building research.

Here are four tips and research reports you can explore right now to boost your links by 10x.

1. Use the Link Intersection Report to Identify Prime Link Opportunities

One of the most obvious ways to find new link opportunities is to look at competitors.

But simply digging into their backlink profile isn’t always helpful.

You will often see a mix of random and unique links that they got by chance.

Pure luck.

Their content was in the right place at the right time for the right reporter.

The real link building gains come from viewing websites that link to multiple competitors or multiple sites in your niche.


These leads are also ready to link to you. They are already linked to several sites like yours.

And if your content is better (which it probably is), you can quickly leverage that information to build a target mailing list.

Launching Ahrefs, open the Link Intersect tool:

This research tool/report will show you which domains are linking to all your target sites and not yours.

Start by entering your competitor or niche sites in the colored bar section:

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

Next, enter your own domain in the “but is not related to” section:

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

Generate the report to view link opportunities. This is what your compiled report will show you:

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

At the top, you are reminded of your two target sites compared to yours, and given a total of domains that are linked to the two competitors and not to you.

This is an active list of referring domains that are constantly bind to people in your space.

That is why this report is so important. These are not one-time links.

They are compatible with websites like yours.

Sort by your target metrics such as DR, Ahrefs Rank or niche relevance, and export the list.

From there, find the right contacts and build a relationship or pitch your content for a link.

2. Hoard Competitor SERP Links

Links are key to ranking ahead of your competitors in your keyword SERPs.

Although this is not the only factor, it is nevertheless a huge factor.

If you take identical domain rankings, identical content, and just change the more and better links factor, which page do you think will rank better?

If you’re not sure where to start researching link building, this report and research method is a fantastic place to start.

To get started, go to Google and find one of your main target keywords that you are already ranking for on the second or first page.

Compile a list of all content URLs in your given SERP that are ranking underneath you.

Why below?

  • Because you have to start small. If Forbes ranks above you, emailing people linked to Forbes and asking them to link to you probably won’t work right now.
  • Anyone ranking below you probably has inferior content, which means you can use that as leverage to get their backlinks.

Next, head over to Ahrefs and, one by one, start plugging each URL in your list into the site explorer:

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

Set a minimum DR of 20-25 to eliminate unwanted links and export the list.

From there, search for each author’s emails and send them a quick note about how your content ranks higher, how comprehensive and informative it is, etc.

Finally, sit back and watch the links arrive. Once you start to rise in the SERPs, rinse and repeat.

3. Set topic, keyword, backlink and mention alerts

New content is uploaded every minute, on millions of different topics.

There are nearly endless opportunities to create favorable, high-impact links to new content.

The only problem?

Reach those writers, bloggers, and journalists before 20 more send them the same old email.

The solution?

Subject and keyword alerts.

This is one of my favorite link building research strategies.

I use Ahrefs alerts.

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

…but there are also free options, like Google Alerts:

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

Ahrefs alerts or Google alerts basically ping you via email when blog posts or web pages go live mentioning a specific topic you enter.

For example, you can use it for a multitude of purposes:

Unlinked Brand Mentions

Usually only found in established brands, your brand may be mentioned in unrelated articles.

This is an easy chance to send a quick email and nicely request that they include your website link. Conversion rates are extremely high on this.

Subject Takeover

Topic picking is one of my favorite link building tactics.

By using Ahrefs or Google Alerts, you can be the first to seize the opportunity before your competitors find it.

Steal brand mentions from your competitors

Just like you, your competitors generate mentions from high-quality journalists and websites.

Enter their brand name in the alerts and see where you can contact them to ask them to include your brand as well.

With Ahrefs, you can enter their domain and receive backlink alerts as well.

4. Scan your lost links for easy redemption

Unfortunately, we all know the pain of losing a great backlink.

Whether it’s due to the removal of an entire post mentioning your website or a competitor slipping through it, link removals hurt both your ego and your domain authority.

Beyond that, losing really good links can hurt referral traffic, content rankings, and more.

The good news is that recovering those lost links is easier than acquiring new ones.

Using the Lost Links report on Ahrefs, start by entering your root domain and look at the list:

4 Link Building Research Tips to Boost Your Links 10x

From there, based on how many links you’ve lost, you can start sorting by metrics like DR, traffic, etc., to focus only on high-quality links.

You will be able to see the exact page and anchor that you were previously linked to, which will make it easier to raise awareness.

In your email broadcast, you have a few options:

  • Ask them to please put back the link if your example or reference is still there.
  • Ask them why they removed your referral/link and how you can improve your content so they add it back.

Lost links are not hopeless.

In fact, they are quite the opposite.

Leverage them by using the lost link as a relational icebreaker for future collaboration.


Link building research should be thorough.

Even if we want the links to happen “naturally”, it becomes more and more difficult.

As content grows, grows, and becomes more competitive, so does acquiring top links.

If you don’t know where to start, use the four reports in this article to start your search for links.

More resources:

Image credits

Screenshots taken by author, June 2020