A Link Building Checklist to Earn More and Better Links

If you want to rank well in organic search, you need links.

Google told us, revealing that links are one of the top 3 ranking factors.

Quality links increase a page’s overall authority and trustworthiness.

Quality links to multiple pieces of content can steadily increase domain-wide rankings over time.

Not too long ago, link building went through a few dark seasons where almost all the links we built were boring and spammy. No personalized email, no content needed, and only a few brand mentions.

Link building was about quantity rather than quality.

But then the term “link building” started to morph.

We’ve heard new terms like earning links, giving links, acquiring links, and building relationships.

Earning links is all about building relationships, being part of a community, and developing content ideas that are truly worth sharing.

This emphasis on quality, meaning and engagement has restored balance to the world of link building.

But you also need a diverse link profile.

That’s where this link building checklist comes in.

What follows is a recap of everything we’ll discuss so far in our link building guide, with tasks broken down by month and week.

Rather than rehash all the same information over again, I’ve provided links to the relevant chapters of the guide so you can get more in-depth information on the topics that interest you most.

Happy link building!

Don’t go without technical SEO

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What happens when you link to a poorly constructed website?
  • Can you rank a website based on backlinks alone?

This may be a problem for me, but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one leaning towards “nothing” and “no”.

The colossal pool of search engines is filling up with fast, mobile-friendly, and clean websites.

Will Google Rank Your Poorly Designed Website With High Quality Backlinks?

Or, will Google rank your clean, fast, mobile-friendly website with high-quality backlinks?

Do the technical SEO work before you start worrying about backlinks. Or, work in tangent to do both at the same time.

Additionally, a webmaster is more likely to link to your website naturally if they are technically sound with a clean user experience.

Breakdown of link building activity

I have created this handy yearly calendar of all the link building activities listed in the chapters below.

Here is a link to the model. Please make a copy for yourself to edit.


Here are the link building tasks I do each month:

Backlink Audit

Export a full list of your backlinks from Google Search Console. Then, start manually reviewing sites, adding irrelevant and low-quality sites to your disavow file.

Update disavow list

I still review my disavowal case quarterly. This is a good opportunity to remove sites or add others to the list.

Analysis of competitor backlinks

Every quarter, I collect backlink data from three of my top competitors. I analyze the data and build a list of sites that would be good for my clients.


Here are the link building tasks you should plan to do each month:

Outreach via email

Depending on the size of the site, my goal is to launch at least 10 new sites per month while maintaining my ongoing editorial relationships. This also includes email websites that I have mentioned or linked to in my articles.

Monitoring brand mentions

Setting up Google Alerts or mention tracking to review competitor mentions, brand mentions, and even mentions of your CEO is a good place to start.

Guest Blog

Writing high-quality, authentic guest blog posts is a great way to earn links. The goal is to build ongoing content relationships with publishers to maintain a monthly contribution.

Content syndication

If you’re looking for really amazing content, like Larry Kim-style content, you can work with publishers to syndicate content you’ve already written. Win-win!

Testimonials and Reviews

Testimonials and reviews are an untapped link building activity that gets easier every month. If you provide a testimonial for another brand, you might get a link to your website. Spread the love!


Directories aren’t that obsolete when it comes to getting basic links. Once you submit your site, you still want to continue monitoring the NAP.

Affiliate links

Developing a loyal, affiliate following is another great way to start building links. In addition, your backlinkers will also add a small coin to their bank!

Creation of broken links

An oldie, but a goodie! Building broken links is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get backlinks. Finding a broken competitor link is like finding a burrito with your name on it!


As we all know, content always reigns supreme. But, using ego bait, controversy, or data to create quality content that will naturally generate backlinks, is one of the best ways to use content to build links.

Charities and Events

Charities and events are another great way to build backlinks. By donating your time or money to charity, you will be lucky with a .org or .gov backlink.

And, with events, you could co-sponsor an event. In addition, you will have access to other sponsors that allow quick earnings.

Distribution of weekly link building activities

Week 1 & 2

The link builder runs an internal backlink audit and competitor backlink audit to identify topics from different link building verticals.

Week 3

Think about article titles to create content.

  • Send article titles to customer for approval.

Week 4

Prospect link opportunities.

  • Create email templates for customer approval.
  • Find co-citation opportunities.
  • Outreach to 50 quality prospects.

Week 5

start writing

  • Ask the customer to review the content.

Here is an example of my favorite link building spreadsheet.

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