What is Tactical Link Building

  • Aaron Gray
    Aaron Gray
  • Blogs
  • calender calendar-blackSeptember 02 , 2022
  • calendar-black 11 min read

In his book “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu talked about strategy and tactics and how inextricably linked they are. He sums it up in one quote, which many business leaders love to cite. 

These two aspects are so inseparable that many scratch their heads about how much they differ. But there’s no need to think too deep into it. Think of strategy and tactics as how you play chess. Strategy entails your overall plan to best your opponent, while tactics involve the moves required to realize that plan. 

These definitions don’t vary too much when applied to marketing. The tactics a business needs depends on the strategy it decides to go with to be steps above the competition and vice-versa. For example, in the case of search engine optimization (SEO), link building is a strategy with various tactics to choose from. One of which is known as tactical link building. 

What Is Tactical Link Building?  

Tactical link building is the process of building links to other websites but doing it in a tactical way that helps drive the right people to your website.  

Let’s look at an example on how you can do this.

Let’s say we want to build links to this service page: https://nobsmarketplace.com/link-building/guest-posting/ 
It’s about guest posting services and this page’s organic keywords also cover different variants of the words guest posts/posting.  

Say we want to add this link to an already existing page on the web, but not just any page, a page that also ranks for similar keywords to what our page ranks for. What we’d do is find an authority website or a website which is already showing on higher SERP pages and find a blog that’s already existing on the website. Here’s an example  

We searched for ‘Guest Post’ and these are the top 6-page results. As you can see hypothetically, we could attempt to contact the website entries 4, 5 and 6.  

Why you may ask when there’s higher results? Well, there’s a few reasons for this:  

  1. Getting a link into a Neil Patel article is difficult. No point trying to do it when there’s easier ones to score from – pick your battles.  
  2. The 2nd entry is about guest blogging sites you can use, we’re looking for articles more around guest posting as they’re more relevant to the link we’re trying to use.  
  3. The 3rd one talks about how to write guest posts which is close but our link talks about guest posting, not about how to write content.

You also want multiple choices, as the first one you reach out to may not be the one you gain a link to. The next thing to look into is the organic keywords the ranking sites have. As you can see here with one example of the 3 ranking sites, the organic keywords it ranks for is similar to our own link. This means we’re utilizing a link from a site that targets the same audience as ours.   

Linking to content that is not only relevant and ranks for the same and/or similar organic keywords that are being searched for means you’ll have a better chance of gaining new leads and authority. This is tactical link building at its finest.  

Like any link building strategy, tactical link building only happens once the content is ready. After all, Google can’t crawl on content if there’s no content to crawl on. This approach uses either, or both, of the following methods in order to be successful:

1. Partnerships and Collaborations

One of the benefits of link building is establishing long-term partnerships with influencers or industry professionals. Getting linked by these parties go beyond securing a slot on the first page of SERPs. It also shows confidence in the business and its work ethic, resulting in long-term trust between the company and the industry. 

As a business owner, you might think you understand the value of trust. But studies show that many companies often miss the aspects of trust that matter the most to consumers (and, to an extent, employees). Tactical link building can help in that regard, and there are three ways of doing so.  

  • The first method is what experts call “one-to-one outreach.” Basically, it involves contacting content creators and websites—via phone, email, or social media—and convincing them why they’d want to share the content you made or add your link in their current article. Maybe you have information in your link that can be used as a credible source.

  • The second is known as “broadcast outreach,” which entails publishing content on existing onsite media such as newsletters or onsite blog pages. This method is most effective if you already have a substantial following. 
  • The last one is “paid outreach” however this one is most frowned upon by Google and shouldn’t be the first choice. As the term implies, you’ll have to pay the publisher a fee to get the content published on their website. Paid outreach is more targeted toward the correct audience than organic outreach but may carry a hefty price tag.

For all its advantages, partnering with creators and industry leaders requires a lot of effort as some don’t accept just any written content. Additionally, in the case of paid outreach, some partnerships might not come free of charge. 

2. Guest Blogging 

Given the difficulty of establishing partnerships, a businesses’ link building strategies tend to lean toward the second method: guest blogging. It’s also the same practice that Google’s Matt Cutts declared “dead” in his post published in early 2014. Yet, several years later, guest blogging’s as alive as SEO. 

Experts say the reason for guest blogging’s continued existence is because of the change of ethics. Gone are the days of guest blogs packing keywords like a can of sardines, let alone favoring links over quality when writing content. The algorithm updates over the past decade have shown how much Google despises such practices. 

By publishing content or your link on other websites, namely authority websites, the information presented can appear more legit. Determining a high-quality website can be done by considering a few factors. These are:  

  • Domain Authority – Using Moz domain analysis tool  you can check a website’s DA. DA’s above 40 signals the site is an authority site. Sites above DA 60+ are classified as high authority websites.

  • Domain Rating and Traffic – But that’s not the only metric that helps determine if a site has authority. Its traffic and DR or domain rating can signal the signs of an authority website. This can be found on ahrefs.com. As you can see here the forbes.com website has 94 DR and 67 million in traffic. This is a very high authority website. However, traffic numbers over 10,000+ with decent DA and DR still mean the site is an authority in its industry. You don’t need to aim for Forbes level sites to still get links on quality authority websites. 

It’ll also help if the writer works for, or is heavily involved in, a specific industry.  Let’s use someone from our own team. Let’s say our Technology Officer, Ricardo, writes and submits an article about content marketing to a publisher site which covers this subject.  


Those viewing the article, knowing Ricardo is the Technology Officer may not take what he’s written as sound advice. Why? Because his specialty is in IT not Content.  Now let’s try the same scenario but put Stefano, our Head of Marketing as the author instead.


Now the article feels like it has more credibility because the article is about content marketing and the head of marketing is the author. Do you see the difference?  Despite being a common tactic, guest blogging doesn’t—and shouldn’t—exist solely for link building. Industry leaders have encouraged everyone to change this age-old mindset; quality links should come as a bonus instead of a primary resource. If you plan to work with bloggers, do so to establish authority.

‘Strategic’ link building

Since tactical link building is a thing, it stands to reason that strategic link building also exists. Going back to Sun Tzu’s famous quote, having well-thought-out tactics won’t matter if there’s no strategy to utilize them.  

Not only does strategic link building exist, but some SEO experts actually favor utilizing it more than tactical link building. However, it doesn’t mean ditching the latter the first chance they get. Strategic link building implies seizing opportunities beyond quality links and never depending on tactical link building alone.  

The first one has already been explained in detail. Beyond earning quality links, content driven link building techniques can foster trust among consumers and industry leaders. Get the brand mentioned in content enough, and people will start being curious about it, if not view it relatively positively.

For this, content creation is the key. However, strategic link building takes it one step further by asking, “Does this content seem right for my business?” Would a wedding business’s campaign benefit more from an infographic or an extensive photo gallery? Would making a short-form video explaining credit card industry data be enough to promote a credit card service? 

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all kind of content. In fact, the term “one-size-fits-all” is a misnomer; people come in more shapes and sizes than a one-size-fits-all piece of clothing can fit. The same goes for content: some types of content work better in some situations than others. That’s why it pays to ask the right questions before getting started on the content.  

One of the main ways to work out what content works best with your audience is breaking down your audience into different groups. This can be done by breaking down your audience into the following categories: 

  • Age 
  • Sex 
  • Location  
  • Interests 
  • Income  
  • Behaviour 
  • Possible content types

Plus anything else you feel that is relevant to your business. Let’s give an example of this below based on a hair care company:


Age  Sex  Location   Interest  Income   Behaviour  Possible Content Type 
25  F  New York  Fashion, make up, wants to be a beautician   $60,000 annually  Wants to look good all the time  Makeover Videos, TikTok make up videos, Instagram make up images 
50  M  New York 


Fishing, slowing down in their job, wants to be in the sun more.   $50,000 annually  Wants to avoid hair falling out and is looking for more information  Articles on hair loss, 

Videos on hair loss  


 As you can see a single company can have different audience types. This is why it’s important to identify your audience groups, so you have the most effective ways to market to your target audience.


Tactical link building knows well enough that it can’t do the job on its own. That’s why it works well with the more comprehensive link building strategies, namely: 

  • Authority link building: This approach demands picking out your content publishers more carefully. You’d still want one that caters to the content’s niche but with better authority to discuss that niche. You also want to deliver a good enough pitch to convince them to link your content.
  • Pair-up link building: Designed for highly specialized content, pair-up link building involves pairing the content with specific but low-difficulty keywords and tactical link building methods. However, this approach needs in-depth keyword research. An example of low difficulty keywords can be found in Ahrefs. As you can see in this screenshot for the keyword ‘hair growth’, it shows alternative keywords which offers low keyword difficulties of under 40. These also have high traffic volumes which gives better opportunities for easy win’s when it comes to ranking with these keywords.
  • Digital PR link building: This technique is more akin to traditional marketing than link building, as it isn’t as focused on keywords as the other two. The content must reach big-name publishers like news outlets or popular influencers to promote the brand.

    Image Source: The Washington Post

For its simplicity and flexibility in providing quality links, tactical link building is just one part of a comprehensive link building strategy. It doesn’t want to work alone, preferring to work with other methods to make the most out of the overall benefits. Whether it does its job by building partnerships or getting guest bloggers, tactical link building can be invaluable to businesses. Are you going to try tactical link building?

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