Content is the cornerstone of link building.

But creating new content can be time-consuming and challenging.

So what can you do if you don’t have the time or resources to constantly produce new content? 

Well, I have good news. 

With the right approach, you can find some quick wins and get quality backlinks without dealing with the hassle of content marketing.

Today, we’ll show you how.

But first, let’s get something out of the way right off the bat.

Before we jump into the tactics, I want to touch on an important concept that underpins all of this: relationships.

Many people approach link building as a cold, mechanical process. They see it as a numbers game where the goal is to get as many links as possible.

While link quantity does matter, building relationships is way more important.

You can have the best content in the world, but if you don’t have relationships with the right people, you’re not going to get many links.

Why am I telling you this?

Because the tactics I’m about to show you will be a lot more effective if you have good relationships with the people you’re reaching out to.

By focusing on long-term relationships, you’ll be able to get more high-quality links and traffic.

Ok, enough theory. Let’s get into the practical stuff.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump into 7 specific ways you can get backlinks without creating new content:

1. Leverage Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free tool that allows you to receive email notifications whenever Google indexes new content containing specific keywords.

You can set alerts for:

  • Brand mentions
  • Competitor mentions
  • Your name
  • Industry-specific keywords
  • General keywords related to your business

And any other combination you can think of.

Once you’ve set up some alerts, your inbox will start filling up with notifications whenever someone mentions your brand or relevant keywords.

For example, let’s say you run an eDocs startup.

You could set up an alert for the keyword “eDocs” and receive a notification every time Google indexes new content containing that keyword.

You could also set up an alert for your competitor’s name to keep tabs on what they’re doing.

Once you start receiving notifications, you must reach out to the people who mention you (or your competitor) and let them know you exist.

Of course, you don’t want to spam people with generic messages.

You must give them a genuine reason to link to you.

For example, you could:

  • Point out a mistake they made and offer to help them fix it
  • Give them some valuable data or insights they can use in their article
  • Let them know about a new product or feature you have

The sky’s the limit here.

Just be creative and consider what would make you want to link to someone.

2. Spy on your competitors

Competitor analysis is a great way to find new link opportunities.

There are a few different ways to do this.

The first is to look at your competitor’s backlink profile.

You can do this using a tool like Moz Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs.

Just enter your competitor’s URL, and you’ll see a list of all the websites that link to them, and in what context they linked to them.

Now, look closely at the list and see if there are any opportunities for you to get a link from the same website.

For example, let’s say you use the Link Intersect feature, and find a website that links to your competitor and one of your other industry rivals.

(Here’s an example of us comparing a site against Moz and Semrush, to see where they’ve been linked, but our example site hasn’t.)

comparing a site against Moz and Semrush

In this case, it would make sense to reach out to that website and ask for a link as well.

Another way to spy on your competition is to keep an eye on their social media accounts.

See what kinds of content they’re sharing and who’s engaging with it.

You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo to see the most popular articles in your industry.

Just enter a relevant keyword, and you’ll see a list of the most popular articles, along with the number of social shares each one has received.

This is a great way to get ideas for new content and find link opportunities. You can check our complete guide to competitor backlink analysis, for even more tips.

3. Find unlinked mentions

Unlinked mentions are instances where someone mentions your brand or website but doesn’t include a link.

These are easy opportunities to get backlinks because all you need to do is reach out to ask them to add a link.

You can find unlinked mentions using a tool like Google Alerts (which we already covered) or Mention.com

Just set up an alert for your brand name, or product name and you’ll receive notifications whenever someone mentions you online.

Once you find an unlinked mention, you need to reach out to the person who mentioned you and ask them to add a link.

We have leveraged this technique to get links on sites even as big as Marketplace.org. And even if it was written by a freelance writer (as per this example below) – you may still be able to convince an editor higher up. 

Email reach out for requesting backlink from unlinked mention

4. Interviews and Podcasts

Reaching out to podcasts, events or conferences that are related to your target audience, is a really good business development activity – but is also something that can be leveraged to get very niche relevant links as well. 

You can prospect for relevant targets in a few ways:

  • Manual prospecting via Google – using advanced operators like keyword + inurl:podcast or keyword + intitle:podcast
  • Prospecting via YouTube or Spotify (can be time consuming)
  • Prospecting via ListenNotes, the podcast search engine.
using interviews an podcasts to get backlinks

ListenNotes is really effective if you want to find podcasts related to your search phrase, if you want to find episodes that have talked about a very particular topic, or you’re trying to find podcasts who had a certain guest. 

Using ListenNotes to find podcasts

Of course, just make sure that as well as the major podcast channels, they actually publish the podcast on their website – so you can get a dofollow backlink out of it.

Bear in mind, this is a more time consuming strategy, as it will require you/an expert to then appear on the interview, and share insights about your business. However, that means you’re also able to spread thought leadership, and get in front of very specific audiences. 

Even aside from the link equity and traffic, it could even lead to direct leads like this:

Getting direct leads from podcasts

5. Broken link building

Broken link building is when you find broken links on websites and then offer to replace them with a link to your own website or similar resource.

This is a great way to get high-quality backlinks because you’re providing value to the website owner.

You can find broken links using a tool like Ahrefs or Moz’s Check My Links extension for Chrome.

Once you’ve found a broken link, reach out to the website owner and let them know.

Then, offer to replace the broken link with a link to your website.

Now, there’s a caveat here…

For many industries, broken link building isn’t as effective as it used to be. 

That said, it can be useful if you are operating in a sector where you are covering very broad topics (e.g., the travel industry or the health and fitness sector). 

Or, if a large website in your niche used to cover topics in the same niche as you, but closed down for some reason, broken link building can be an effective way to fill in the gaps.

6. Resource page link building

Resource page link building is a process whereby you find websites that list resources in your industry and then ask to be included.

This is a great way to get backlinks because you’re offering value to the website owner.

You can find websites that list resources using Google.

Just enter a relevant keyword followed by “resources” or “links.”

For example, if you’re in the fitness industry, you could search for “fitness resources” or “fitness links.”

You can also use more advanced search patterns, like:

  • inurl:links 
  • Intitle:links 
  • intitle:”useful websites”

And any other variation that you can think of.

The key is to maximize your use of search operators to find enough sites that list resources in your industry.

Once you’ve found a few websites that list resources, reach out to the website owner and ask to be included.

7. Testimonials and reviews

Think about the products that make your life easier or the services you use on a regular basis.

Now, imagine if those products or services had testimonials or reviews from happy customers on their website.

Wouldn’t that make you want to use them?

Of course, it would!

Testimonials and reviews are a great way to get backlinks because they offer value to potential customers.

Plus, they’re relatively easy to get.

All you need to do is reach out to the company and ask if you can leave a testimonial or review.

In most cases, they’ll be happy to oblige.

8. User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content that’s created by users, rather than by the company itself.

Examples of UGC include blog comments, forum posts, social media comments, and user reviews.

While these links won’t impact your SEO directly, they can help you build relationships with your audience, which will ultimately lead to more links down the road.

You can also repurpose UGC content into original pieces of content that you can publish on your own site. This might require some effort, but it’s certainly simpler than creating something from scratch.

For instance, you could use product reviews to create an unbiased software comparison. You could then reach out to tech bloggers who might be interested in linking to your piece. 

This is a simple example, of course.

The point is to always think about ways to repurpose UGC content so that it can be used on your site or elsewhere.

9. “Best X” or “Top X” Roundup Links

Depending on your industry, roundup listicles can be a great way of quickly winning relevant links, with fairly little effort. 

Just take a keyword related to your company, audience or product, tag on a phrase like “Best” or “Top”, and you’ll find articles that are listing out a list of similar solutions. 

For example, “best email outreach tools”  has 30 searches a month in the US. And if that’s relevant to your solution, could be a lucrative way of bringing in very qualified click through traffic, as well as securing a very contextual link and social proof.

To find listicles, you’ll either be able to pick most of them out from your competitors backlink profiles, or you can prospect them from Google using searches like:

  • Top [ your keyword ]
  • Best  [ your keyword ]
  • Best  [ your keyword ] for  [ target audience ]
  • Top  [ your keyword ] for  [ target audience ]
Google search results for the keyword "best email outreach tools"

If you can get on as many of the top ranking listicles as possible, this can really add up over time, and multiply the amount of referral traffic from this search. 

Compare this to trying to rank your own “top 10” article, which will only bring so much traffic, and could be quite difficult if it’s a competitive keyword. 

This tends to be a strategy that works really well for SaaS brands, although it can work for eCommerce as well. For example, roundups like “Best Valentines Gifts for Her” if you have a product that aligns with that topic.

10. Contact your Suppliers

If you sell products owned by other companies (i.e. your suppliers or manufacturers), you could be sitting on a goldmine of link opportunities – and you may even already have people in your network you can reach out to. 

For example, here is a company that sells snowboards, and has a number of authorized dealers who sell winter sports equipment. Each store gets a listing on their map, and gets credited with a link as well.

A company selling snowboards which has a number of authorized dealers

All you need to do is:

  • Make a list of all your supplies or manufacturers
  • Locate a section on their website for “Dealers”, “Retailers”, “Suppliers” or “Distributors”
  • Make sure they actually credit them with a backlink
  • Reach out to your contacts and ask to be listed.

11. Business & Professional Associations

You may already be part of certain local business networks, professional associations, industry conferences or business associations, like a Chamber of Commerce.

This is a technique often leveraged as a local link building tactic, but can be very effective if you just happen to already have memberships, and connections to a few organizations and associations. 

For example, here’s the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce in the UK. 

East Midlands Chamber of Commerce in the UK

And when you click on each listing, each business is credited with a link. 

a business getting backlinks from East Midlands Chamber of Commerce

If you aren’t added, then just reach out and ask to be listed. 

Follow the same process for every organization that you contribute to, are a member of, your employees are associated with, and see if you can leverage it for a backlink. 

Here’s another example – the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). They list all their members and companies that contribute to their committee.

Members of the Telecommunications Industry Association

Rather than assume you are listed or will eventually, it’s best to proactively ask, as large organizations may only update periodically. If you don’t ask you don’t get!

So there you have it.

With a little creativity and effort, you can get quality backlinks without spending hours creating new content.

But remember, link building is just one part of the puzzle.

To see real results, you need to pair your link acquisition efforts with a strong on-site optimization strategy.

Also, keep in mind that these tactics are just a starting point.

If you want to see serious results, you’ll need to invest in a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

But if you’re looking for a few quick wins, these tactics should help get you started.