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9 Ways to Make the Best of SEO Link Building with SEMrush

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9 Ways to Make the Best of SEO Link Building with SEMrush

This post is in English
Maria Raybould updated
This post is in English
9 Ways to Make the Best of SEO Link Building with SEMrush

Backlinks are one of the top factors in Google’s organic ranking algorithm, so building and managing a successful backlink profile is a major concern for SEOs.

SEMrush team is proud that our database reached 4.5 trillion backlinks in 2017.

SEMrush backlinks database growth

And to help you make the most of our seo link building tools, we put together a list of the best “moves”, which will keep your backlink collection clean and growing.

In this list you will find suggestions on how to:

  • Gather ideas for link building and maintain the results of your efforts

  • Quickly get rid of harmful backlinks

  • Gain insight on creating the content that brings you relevant traffic from many sources, just the way Google recommends.

  • Speed up the process of getting new links.

Let’s take a look at how we can do it all using the SEMrush toolkit.

Move #1. Check Exactly What Is New in Your Backlink Profile

The first one might look like a control freak’s habit, but most of the experts recommend scheduling this check every 2 weeks, as that is typically how long it takes for Google to index new links. Time spent on monitoring will pay off for several reasons.

Let’s start with a nice one, which is tracking the results of your success. Type your domain into our Backlinks report. Choose the quick filter “New” backlinks, and as an option pick only the “Follow” type to check the most valuable ones first. This way you can see whether your previous outreach activities, viral PR campaign, affiliate program or any other kind of marketing cooperation ended in failure. Combine this data with the amount of referral traffic from your Google Analytics and send it to your client or boss to prove that you are doing great work.


At the same time, other link building tools like our backlink checker will be helpful. Monitoring new backlinks can help you quickly detect, and more importantly eliminate, the harm from the toxic links that you didn't expect to get. The latter could happen due to a rival spam attack, your contractor’s shortcoming, or a variety of other reasons.

Stay in the Backlinks report, click “All Links”, and choose ascending sorting by Trust Score, which is a good detector of an undesirable referring domain.


Once you find a suspicious link, add it to the Disavow list in one click. If you haven’t set up the Backlink Audit Tool for the analyzed domain yet, we will prompt you to do so or export your findings in a .txt file. If you do have one, then from the Disavow list you will be able to add it to the Disavow tab in your current project, so that you can send it to the Google Disavow Tool afterwards.

Move #2. Get Everything You Have Lost Back

Getting new backlinks each time is a big deal. So, what you might want to do is to make sure that you keep the valuable links as long as possible. When using the backlink checker choose the “Lost” backlinks from your profile and add the “Follow” filter and descending sorting by the Trust Score. This way you will find the biggest losses of all - backlinks from trusted domains. Try to reach out to their owners and get your backlink back.


Move #3. Sneak the Best Link Building Ideas From the Right Rivals

Stealing ideas is not a bad thing in a world where everything has already been invented. Let’s see how we can take advantage of this rule to boost our link building strategies. Our recent Ranking Factors study proved the fact that the number of referring domains has a high impact on the way Google evaluates your site. But how do you choose the right people to steal ideas from?

There are a few ways to pick out your most successful competitors. Our Backlinks Competitors report shows your rivals based on the number of your common backlinks correlated with the size of the websites’ backlink profiles (to avoid detecting Wikipedia-type giants, which you don’t want to analyze). These are companies who might be receiving referral traffic from the resources where your target audience are most likely spending time.

Domain Competitors report

Now we know whose referring domains we want to analyze and the ones that will be offered to you in the Comparison tab of the Backlink Gap tool. You could also use the Organic Competitors report if you wanted to look for more of your organic search competitors.

In the table based on the Referring Domains choose to see the sites that refer to one of your competitors and then use ascending sorting by a parameter of interest (say, Trust Score). Go through the list to put together your future “outreach” register, but don’t forget to pay attention to the Trust Score and Domain Score columns to only choose worthwhile domains.

Referring domains' trust score

Move #4. Find the Content Ideas that are Worth Your Efforts

If you have ever struggled with the issue of what content to create, you know how hard it is to make such decisions. It is a burdensome process in terms of both time and money. At the end of the day, you want your readers to convert into customers. But first, you need to get traffic. Earning visibility on Google might take time, but referral traffic is always an option. In our Indexed Pages report you can find ideas for such “backlink attractive” content. Type in your rival’s domain and see what pages attract the biggest number of links from different domains.


Move #5. Smartly Use Redirects for Previously Successful Pages

It is pretty common to do a great job earning backlinks to, let's say, a particular product page, but after that you get lost in new marketing campaigns and just miss the moment when that page stops working. Let’s take a look at Sephora’s case.


Almost 1000 domains linked to their awesome hair kit, but the product is gone, most likely along with potential customers.


What would be good to do here is to redirect users to a page with a similar product, or at least a category of the product:

It is important to pay attention to your top performing pages from a backlink perspective, not only because you don’t want to lose clients, but you also don’t want to ruin relations with people linking to you for future cooperation.

Move #6. Make Your Backlink Profile as Natural as Google Wants

Anchor text has never been a silver bullet with regard to links indexing, especially after a number of Penguin algorithm updates. But still, SEOs prefer to keep the right balance and build a diverse anchor profile. Since Google compares it to your on-site keyword optimization, it is good to reduce the number of money anchors (as we call them in SEMrush, which are simply the anchors that coincide with your target keywords in organic search) and maybe work on increasing the number of branded or compound (mix of your brand name and additional text) anchors. To find all the domains that link to your site with particular text, go to our Anchors report and type in the words you want to check. In the drop-down menu, you will see the suggestions which are taken from all the anchor texts that you actually have.


Put together a nice template asking to change the text of your anchors and speed up the outreaching process. This will help you to avoid a situation where Google considers your strategy spammy or manipulative or even penalizes your pages in SERP.

Move #7. Get Rid of All Toxic Backlinks, Like Really All of Them

Speaking of being penalized, luckily, waking up in a cold sweat and seeing all your ranking in a steep decline is a thing of the past. But all of the pros I have been speaking with allow time to check the “health” of their backlink profile every week as part of their strategy.

That got us thinking, what could possibly optimize this process? And the solution was to give you the opportunity to check all the backlinks you have in one place, which we called the Backlink Audit tool.

And once you set up the Backlink Audit you have backlinks from the SEMrush database, your Google Search Console, and any other third party data providers in one table.

All of the backlinks will be automatically merged and analyzed for more than 60 toxicity markers. You can choose to reach out to website owners asking them to remove the link, or add it to a Disavow list, if the link seems toxic, or keep the link as it is if it poses no threat to your rankings. But we decided not to stop there and added the option to send emails directly from the SEMrush interface. Add all suspicious links or domains to the Remove list and start outreaching; Backlink Audit will automatically track the progress for you.


I personally like this template as a polite way of contacting website owners, but you can always customize it just the way you want :)

Move #8. Set Up An “Alarm” For the Force Majeure

Even if you regularly check and get rid of unwanted links, there could be cases where you get an unexpected spike in the toxicity level of your backlink profile. In our Backlink Audit Tool you can turn on the notifications that help many users to quickly put a spammer’s attack out of action. Try not to miss them in your inbox.


Move #9. Automate Link Building Ideas Search

This one is not actually a ‘move’, but I want to tell you about our recently launched tool that was designed to accumulate several sure-fire ideas for link building which we gathered from our users. We simply called it the Link Building Tool.

It covers 3 main steps of the link acquisition process: ideas search, outreach, and progress monitoring.

We consider various sources of ideas, including:

  1. Backlinks that your rivals managed to get.

  2. Backlinks that you have lost.

  3. Mentions without any link (which is a great way of earning branded-type anchors).

  4. Automatic searches of good sources using advanced search operators.

  5. Your own ideas manually uploaded into the tool.

To start the research, just click on the setup button in the Link Building widget andenter up to 10 keywords that you wish to earn a higher ranking for. The subsequent outreach targets will be presented based on the backlinks that are helping other websites rank for your target keywords. You can also enter up to 10 competitors and SEMrush will determine which domains have backlinks pointing to your competitors.

As soon as all the ideas are gathered, we automatically estimate the quality of your future links, including potentially dangerous signs of the target website, the amount of traffic this domain gets per month from our Traffic Analytics report, the number of backlinks and referring domains leading to this website, and whether your competitors earned links there or not, just like on the screenshot below.


After exploring and filtering the prospects (by URL type, TLD or keyword), you will be able to send some to the In Progress section and have the others rejected.

But that’s not all! You can use a template from our list of the most common link earning scenarios to narrow your targeting:


Once you’re done analyzing, it’s time for you to contact this domain about adding your desired link. SEMrush’s automated wizard lets you do this directly from the interface. Just customize one of the provided email templates or save your own for future use.

And the fact that we automatically pull out the contact details of the website for you will save even more of your time.

Email template

After your email is sent you will be able to monitor the status of your inquiry, knowing whether your email was delivered, replied to or not delivered.

If fortune smiles upon you and you acquire a backlink from one of your prospects, it would be reasonable to keep an eye on it. Send this link to the monitoring section of the Link Building tool to be sure it’s not lost or broken.

Backlinks monitoring

Of course, you’ll need to carry out more than just 9 steps to build an effective backlink strategy and even more for successful SEO. But whatever advice or assistance you may need you’ll find it in the SEMrush SEO guide.

Successful SEO requires multiple interrelated activities on all fronts: competition, keywords, link building, on-page and technical optimization. It creates a need for diverse tools, which is expensive. SEMrush solves this problem with an award-winning all-in-one toolkit that includes 17 tools covering all SEO fields. We’ll walk you through your SEO workflow, explaining how to get the most out of our toolkit.

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Been there, done that, but nothing excites me more than writing. Slowly but surely grasping the ins and outs of inbound marketing.
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Marco Diversi
This is how I do it!
thank you very much,
But sometimes wee need some hints other than general avdices
Shakil Ahmed
Helpful article, thanks for sharing.
Excellent in SEO ranking
rudra singh
very nice article......sir
rudra singh
very nice article......sir
really helpful. keep posting stuff like that.
thanks !
Nice Article, thanks
Hey Maria, I hope you are doing great, this is a stunning post with loads of great information, I wanted to ask you something, I conducted the link audit for my blog and updated a disavow file for the toxic links.
The file was updated more than a month ago but both Semrush and Moz still show those domains in my linking domains, what can I do? Should I wait for the tools to recrawl the backlink profile? Should I re-submit the disavow file or what do you suggest?
Maria Raybould
James Dave
Hi James, thanks for your interest in the article!
By disavowing those harmful links you are basically asking Google not to take them into account when assessing your site, but this doesn't mean they'll disappear from the list of your linking domains. Google recommends that disavowing should only be done after you’ve attempted to remove all of your website’s bad backlinks manually by requesting link removals from the website owners of sites linking to you. The Remove tab of Backlink Audit will help you with removing links through manual outreach. This article will give you more information on this: Hope this helps!
nice article
nice article thanks a lot i learn a lot from it. i love it.
I am losing keywords from 350 to 77 in less than three months any idea how can I get good keywords my traffic from 551per day to 340per day any idea will help i am new to use seo semrush my site planationshuttersfla
very nice article thanks a lot i learn a lot from it,
realy best seo semrush
Umer Idrisi
great guide here
Thankx semrush and Maria! You people doing great job,I have a question is it possible to get backlink from totally different sites which doesn't have similarities. For example can ecommerce site get backlink from social worker, NGO bloggers. If we have content for them then how should we incorporate in ecommerce site?
this is nice
Saif Ullah
Thanks! but I have some questions like any other newbie learner. How I can make backlinks on high authority websites like (Wikipedia) and many other top blogs.
Maria Raybould
Saif Ullah
Hi Saif! Thank you for your question. Thing is, websites become authoritative and get to the top because they provide high quality content, not because they've invented some magical link building formula. I recommend you start by creating relevant content that your audience will love. You can use social media to try and get in touch with the editors of the websites you want to get backlinks from, or you can email them -- SEMrush's Link Building tool can help you find their contacts. Just be friendly and let them know that you have some great content, so that they know where to look for it when they need it. I'd say building your backlink profile naturally is the best way! Let me know how you get on, and if you have any questions, just ask.
Saif Ullah
Maria Raybould
Maria Raybould,
I am totally agreed with you. well defined. I think that's the best way to make a relation between bloggers or websites. thumbs up.
This article is really helpful for everyone. Thanks a lot for nice article.
It was of so much help.
thank you so much for this wonderful information on link building. do we need to really consider no follow links or just ignore it.
Hi, Can Anybody Explain what is good back-link and bad back-link
This is very good artical for SEO Work for tips
very good page and search in statusquote
very good article
Do you also own SEMALT web site ? Thx.
I have 225 sites in Google Search console's LINK TO MY SITE section. Are they considered as backlinks ? None is considered as backlink using SEMRush Backlink Audit. Thx.

[link removed by moderator]
Cal Phillips
Ha, i needed this help. Thanks so much Yulia putting this together! Now, i need to get busy! lol
Hi Yulia Shevy! Thank you
thanks for sharing. it is very useful thanks.
Thank you for the post...very nice
Yulia Shevy
My pleasure! Glad you found it good 💪
that is extremely true!
Is there a specific SEMrush feature that enables one to seek out backlinks that were broken? and that I simply shared a weblog post regarding you guys [link removed by moderator]
Yulia Shevy
Hi Jackson 👋 Good question and the answer is yes - we have them all 😌
We have two features that will work for you depends on what you mean by “broken”.
If you want to find the broken pages where you used to have a backlink, then you should open Backlink Audit, go to Lost and Found report and simply apply the automatic Broken filter.
In other cases, you might want to find your website’s pages that are broken, but someone already links to them. In this case please open Audit report and choose Target URL error in suggested advanced filters.

And thanks for the sout-out, we super appreciate it!
Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)

This is an interesting piece. But is it possible for a backlinks to get lost?
Yulia Shevy
Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
O sure, in many different cases. A website owner can simply has some page with your link broken due to tech updates, so it could be nice to inform him and thus warm up relationships a bit. Someone could delete your links on purpose, so might want to find out why. Some of your rivals could be occupied your place using different white or black methods. It won’t be a mistake to spend some time monitoring your existing backlinks, especially those ones that proved to be effective and bring you referral traffic. Hope that helps and thanks for the comment :)
Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
Yulia Shevy
Oh, that's really true!
Is there a particular SEMrush feature that allows one to find out a backlinks that was broken? And i just shared a blog post about you guys at

Keep the great job going
Yulia Shevy
Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
Yep, we do. You should go to Backlink Audit --> Lost&Found report --> choose automatic filter Broken.
And thanks a lot for the shout out :)
Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
Yulia Shevy
Oh, great!
Would check the tool ASAP!

And you're welcome. You guys should keep it up :)
Cal Phillips
Very informative article discussing links. Thought i knew everything, but just learned #8 setting up an alarm for the ''Force Majeure'' as this can and will show spikes in serp w/o ever knowing what happened if this goes unnoticed. Still learning something new everyday, Thanks!
Yulia Shevy
Cal Phillips
Learning new things every day - sounds like a good plan for everyone who wants to stand out as professional :) I'm super happy I gave you valuable heads up. Thanks for the comment!
We always use SEMrush to get link building ideas, its a great SEO tool.
Yulia Shevy
Thank you so much for this feedback 🙌 It made our developers sincerely smile :) We're always happy to know that our software makes your work more efficient. If you have any recommendations on how we can help you more please send us a note at [email protected]
Hi Yulia Shevy!
Very nice article keep up the good work. how to get free and good back link for Articles.
Yulia Shevy
Thanks :) We'll do our best.
This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technique Thanks Yulia Shevy for sharing it,

I am Diana technical support expert at garmin GPS Support [link removed by moderator].
good information but can you list out best website for good back link.
brendan botond
No such thing. Each genre will have different authority websites. So if you're in fitness you would want links from bodybuilding .com, popsugar etc.... Now if these same sites linked to you but your site was about finance these backlinks would mean next to nothing to search engines.
brendan botond
I want back link for my IT company [link removed by moderator] if you help me to get free and good back link for that.
How can I create semrush backlink ? When I check my backlink my tool says that you have 0 semrush backlink. What can I do now? please solve my problem. Advance thanks
brendan botond
It just takes time for semrush to find them. Remem ber they have to crawl the web and find them so that takes a bit of time. To make it find them sooner you can try connecting semrush with your google webmaster account.
Yulia Shevy
brendan botond
Brendan, thank you so much for this absolutely correct reply :) I vote +1 to the recommendation to connect GSC to Backlink Audit tool and analyse bigger part of your backlink profile. In this tool, we try to help users focus on referring domains rather than each particular backlink. The scope that you get here is enough to estimate if links from some website could be harmful to you. Thus you can simply reach out to the website owner and remove them all or send it to Google disavow tool.
If you still want to check as many backlinks as you can, then again our recommendation would be to connect GSC, Majestic, upload CSV file, and connect your Google Analytics to make our estimations even more precise.
Hope that helps!
Obat Wasir Berdarah
very good
Alexander Zagoumenov
Thanks, Yulia! Great post with loads of quick tips I can test and implement right away. I'll look forward to the way you develop this tool. I would love to see a better outreach functionality with scheduled / multiple-attempts outreach tools. Thanks again to you at the team at SEMrush!
Yulia Shevy
Alexander Zagoumenov
Hi Alex, super happy you like the article 👍 Yeah, outreach is a third and very important step inside our new Link Building Tool and we're working right now on improving it. So if you have any suggestions, please send them over.
Catherine Reinehr
This is all amazing, and I'm really mad at myself for not using SEMRush sooner. Thanks for the post!
Yulia Shevy
Catherine Reinehr
Thank you, Catherine! It's always better now than never :) Feel free to reach out to our team at [email protected] if you need our help to get the most out of different tools and features.
Andrew Su
@Yulia Shevy. Thank you for the post. A brilliant read!
Yulia Shevy
Andrew Su
Thanks Andrew! Glad you liked it 🙌
Matt Tutt
Great to hear about all of the new features that are being regularly added, especially based around backlink monitoring and ideas! It sounds like something like this already exists, but I'd love it if there was a "blacklist" whereby if you received a backlink from a particular domain you received an instant alert (eg domains which other SEMrush users have previously marked as being spam). Does that exist at present? I know there's a toxic link alert but I wasn't sure if that was just based on an unnatural action (large spike in backlinks for example).
Yulia Shevy
Matt Tutt
Hi Matt!

Thanks a lot for your feedback! We do currently send email alerts in case the overall toxic score of your backlink profile has an unexpected spike (with all the toxic markers considered). So if I got you right, you want to create your own list of “toxic” referring domains and receive alerts once you get new backlinks from them. That’s a great idea! I forwarded it to our Product Owner to consider for implementation in the Backlink Audit tool. Thank you!

And yep, there are several analogs of our Link Building tool on the market, but we’d be happy if you tested our version and shared your thoughts.
brendan botond
Yulia Shevy
it sounds more like he wants a community list. Whenever he receives a link from a site that another semrush user has deemed as toxic he wants to be emailed. I also think this is a great idea as it immediately tells you something could be fishy about the new link since other users are removing them. It would be even better to see the number of users who have marked the domain as toxic.
Matt Tutt
brendan botond
Thanks Yulia & Brendan - yes what I was thinking of was a kind of crowd-sourced list whereby if many people had marked domain xyz dot com as spam then it would be added to some kind of blacklist and any sites with links from that source would receive an email notification of some kind.

Realise it may not be possible, just wondered! Would save quite a lot of manual work looking through at Trust Flow type metrics when doing a toxic link audit.
Yulia Shevy
Matt Tutt
Hi Matt and Brendan,
Thanks for clearing things up! I’m not quite sure if we can alert you once some of our users identify a certain domain as spammy. But we do have a marker of the domain toxicity - it’s called “Community warning”. If you select this marker in the filters panel, you’ll see the list of domains that we consider harmful based on the community’s experience. (It is kind of a collective mind's decision). Hope it reduces the manual work.

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