Link Building

Finding Links vs. Generating Links

Recently while preparing some thoughts on link building strategies, tactics and techniques I noticed something interesting about the way in which I was grouping them. Everything seemed to be falling into one of two buckets, either it was a link building method where you are finding links or a method where you would be generating links.

Finding Links
This was the first of the two buckets that I seemed to be placing link building methods. Finding links, as its name suggests, is all about methods and strategies that required link opportunities to be found.

Finding Links for SEO

Finding links may include such methods as:

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Brand Monitoring
  • Search Queries
  • Directories
  • Vertical Sites

Finding links may get lumped into what can be classified as “traditional” link building or link building 1.0. This is not entirely true as finding links has increasingly improved in sophistication over the years. Leveraging search queries and brand monitoring are two of the strategies that continue to evolve as search engines & social platforms have evolved.

Finding links also has the benefit of being able to strategically select where links are coming from, where they are going to and the linking text. Found links are placed meaningfully and purposefully on pages to build quality links that leverage on-page elements of the linking page with targeted linking text. These methods also have the advantage of being more tool oriented, most link building tools are geared toward finding links.

Generating Links
The second of the two buckets, generating links, are strategies, techniques and methods that once deployed should generate back links.

Generating Links for SEO

Generating links may include such methods as:

  • Corporate Blog
  • Guest Blogging/Article
  • Press Releases
  • Creative (i.e Inforgraphics)
  • Widgets, Gadgets & Gizmos

Strategies often tied to generating links have come to flourish in recent years as the Internet has continued to change into a more social and sharing environment. Corporate blogs are no longer just for company news but should be leveraged to share ideas and industry concepts to nurture the customer and grow authority within your industry. Generating links through creative ideas, such as infographics, helps to create a unique linking profile to help distinguish your profile from competitor profile.

Different but Important
Both finding links and generating links are important to the overall linking profile that you are trying to construct for your website. They both have great positive impacts in building links that will influence the ranking algorithms whether it is finely targeted links or diversification of your linking profile as to offset competitor similarities.

Keep in mind that link building, either finding or generating, can be a resource consuming process where short cuts should not be taken. A healthy linking profile that shows steady, consistent growth is one of the many elements that make up the linking factors evaluated by the search engine algorithms.


  1. Tad Chef

    Hey Matthew, this kind of differentiation is one of the most important parts of modern SEO IMHO. I divide into link building and getting links though. Here press releases would be link building unless of course they get picked up by some oher publications beyond the press releases sites and scrapers.

    • matthewdiehl


      It’s great that you have also noticed a defining line between link building strategies affirming my thoughts on it.

      I agree, press releases can probably fall into both categories depending on what you do with them. From a “finding links” perspective I would say press releases are useful if you have a list of industry sites that you have found and are willing to post your releases when contacted. From a “generating links” perspective, and exactly as you said, they are valuable as long as they are picked up by additional news outlets for syndication.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Jeorge Peter

    Understanding the differentiation of finding links and generating links, this boils down that link building is still a factor in getting your PR.

  4. Innes

    As you point out Jeorge, link building is no different to real life networking. In short, as a process, it gets your website “out there” and into websites, directories, blogs etc

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