Despite numerous algorithm updates, link building remains an essential part of SEO. Without good links on top-quality websites, your site won’t get the attention it deserves in the SERPs.
But successful link building is an art. To help you up your game, we’ve gathered five of the best books to improve your link building knowledge, as recommended by our own team of link builders. Enjoy!
Ultimate Guide To Link Building – Garrett French & Eric Ward
Adorning the shelves of all Seeker’s link builders is Garrett French and Eric Ward’s Ultimate Guide To Link Building.
Garrett is the founder of Citation Labs and ZipSprout – his own agencies that specialise in link building and local marketing, respectively. He has also developed a number of link building tools, including the Link Prospector.
Eric, also known as LinkMoses, sadly passed away in 2017. But he was renowned throughout the industry, a pioneering link builder with experience spanning over two decades. Eric was also hired by Jeff Bezos personally to help with the launch of Amazon, something he completed from his kitchen table on a dial-up modem.
The Ultimate Guide To Link Building is a seminal book that covers the depth and breadth of link building today. The revised and updated second edition is only more erudite.
This essential guide teaches you how to conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis and link audit, identify valuable websites, understand search guidelines, implement link building tactics, and so, so much more.
Beyond simply teaching, it also acts as a reference guide that you can return to time and time again. The Ultimate Guide To Link Building takes pride of place on many Seekers’ desks, where they return to it every time they have a tricky link issue that needs resolving.
The Ultimate Guide To Link Building is notable for its ability to convey complicated concepts in an accessible way.
Many SEOs are self-taught (at least to begin with) and this text acts as a self-contained course in itself. No matter who you are, where you’re from, or how long you’ve been doing SEO, this book will teach you everything you need to know about link building.
“It’s great to have a resource that not only goes over high-level link building theory but also goes in-depth on specific link building tactics. It provides plenty of inspiration and ideas for when we launch a new link building campaign.” — Lewis Chaffey, SEO Specialist
Made To Stick – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
In the old days, link building was a veritable SEO Wild West: comment links, article directories, PBNs, and so on.
But the link building tactics of today are (typically) more elegant, with creative SEO campaigns being one such example. Creative, human, and driven by a story people care about, they are crucial for winning links in this day and age.
The Heath brothers’ Made To Stick is an essential read if you ever implement creative SEO or digital PR campaigns for your business or your clients.
Chip and Dan outline the SUCCESS principles, the essential foundations for creating and developing a killer PR campaign idea:
- Principle #1: Simplicity
- Principle #2: Unexpectedness
- Principle #3: Concreteness
- Principle #4: Credibility
- Principle #5: Emotions
- Principle #6: Stories
These are the six principles of sticky ideas that work and get results. When Seeker creates a PR campaign, it’s these principles that underpin it.
Made To Stick should be everyone’s starting point when it comes to successful (and sticky) ideation.
“This book is an essential read if gaining top-tier links is part of your outreach strategy. It pulls apart the fundamentals of every great idea and at Seeker, we cross-reference every campaign idea with this framework to make sure we have a story that delivers results. It’s an essential read for any outreacher and it lives on the shelves of every single link building agency out there, trust me.” – Laura Slingo, Senior Campaign Manager
Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart – Janet Murray
Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart is a crucial text for PR professionals, whether it’s your first foray into PR or you’re a seasoned pro.
Janet Murray is a journalist, editor, and content marketer, and with almost 20 years’ experience, she has a shrewd eye for press releases. She knows what works and what doesn’t, and it is her firsthand experience of the latter (with a few scattered gems of the former) that informs this essential PR guide.
In staggering detail, Janet highlights a plethora of PR tips and tricks, from winning media coverage without actually pitching to journalists to the art of newsjacking. Her knowledge is comprehensive and backed by experience, all but guaranteed to have you churning out successful PR campaigns with ease.
Janet also delves into the nitty-gritty of pitching and press releases. Janet dishes out tips on finding journalists’ contact details (without looking creepy) and how to write a press release that gets read, as well as why it’s essential that you actually read the publications you’re pitching to (with tips on how to do it quickly).
As a guide, it’s refreshingly personal, and Janet adopts an approachable style that makes her subject accessible and engaging. This is no broad overview — Janet is granular in her approach, and Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart contains everything you need to develop a PR strategy that actually works.
“I recommend this book for anyone new to the PR industry, especially if you’re confused about how journalists and the press work. While it’s not specifically about link building, it uncovers many of the basics of how to work with the media and how to leverage ‘brand building’ — both of which you can incorporate with your creative SEO and link building campaigns.” – Laura Slingo, Senior Campaign Manager.
Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It – Chris Voss
Chris Voss is something of an outlier on this list.
As well as being a successful businessman, author, and academic, he is also a former FBI hostage negotiator. Consequently, he is well versed in the nuances of successful negotiations.
As mentioned earlier, in this day and age link building and public relations go hand-in-hand. Link building is about exactly that – relationships – and negotiation is an essential part of that.
Convincing and cajoling a journalist or publication into accepting a pitch or collaborating on a campaign is a delicate dance. In Never Split The Difference, Chris applies his hostage negotiation skills to the everyday to show what it takes to persuade.
While his skills and strategies can be used in all walks of life, they are especially pertinent when you’re building links. Winning a link in digital PR is as much about your negotiation skills as it is your pitch idea or campaign asset, and this book will help you nail yours.
“Negotiation is an essential skill when it comes to link building, but it’s often overlooked. Successful outreach is all about the value proposition and how this is communicated to an external website, so negotiation training is a great way for an outreacher to upskill. Never Split The Difference offers a field-tested approach to negotiation and presents plenty of actionable techniques that can be directly translated to your outreach campaigns.” – Gareth Simpson, Managing Director
Link Building Guide: How To Acquire & Earn Links That Boost Your SEO – Search Engine Journal
You’re probably already familiar with Search Engine Journal. As a leading industry publication, it’s a bastion of SEO knowledge and a staple of SEO discussion online.
Consequently, its link building ebook would only ever be well-informed and on-point.
SEJ’s Link Building Guide covers everything from link building via affiliate sites and competitor analysis to using targeted directories and content marketing to win big links. Other chapters include such tactics as link reclamation, podcast link building, image link building, and even ego bait content – this is clearly a comprehensive and far-reaching text.
Link Building Guide is simple, straightforward, and concise, making even the most complex link building strategies accessible and, crucially, actionable.
With almost 500 pages of effective and practical link building tactics, Search Engine Journal’s Link Building Guide is an essential addition to your link building library.
“Building an outreach strategy or upskilling a link building team? Look no further. I have scoured this resource from top to bottom, paired the tactics against current and prospective clients, and built out the training plans for Seeker’s outreach department, using this ebook as a guide.” – Laura Slingo, Senior Campaign Manager
Link building is an art – consider the books above your palette. Whether you’re new to link building and curious about how it can help your brand, or you already know its value and want to take it to the next level, these books will help take you where you need to go.