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  • Writer's pictureMark A Preston

Social Media Link Building: The stupid simple SEO technique

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

As an SEO trainer, I’m always on the lookout for SEO techniques that are not widely used. I need to stand out when I’m hosting a seminar or speaking at a conference so I’m not just regurgitating information that is plastered all over the internet.

social media link building

Link building is always a hot topic within the SEO industry but it is getting harder and harder to secure quality links that won’t get you penalised, if Google webspam team decide to perform a manual review on your website.


No, I’m not talking about buying crappy social shares or even increasing your social signal metrics. I’m going to show you a link building technique that is so very stupid simple that you will just say to yourself – Now why didn’t I think of that?


In order for me to provide you with an actionable process that you are able to follow, I asked my good mate Sam Hurley if I could use his social accounts and website to demonstrate this link building technique. Why Sam? For one, he is the No.1 Global Digital Marketing Influencer but more importantly, he is one of the very few people I know that has the power to naturally generate a shit ton of high quality natural links to a holding page for his new site (OPTIM-EYEZ) that has nothing more than his picture and an email signup box.



Now this method will not work for everyone. The chances are, if you do not have any social media brand awareness, you aren’t going to benefit much but nearly every single digital marketer I know has some sort of active presence on at least one social media platform.

Step 1 – List all your social profile URL’s

The first thing you need to do is grab all your social profile links:




I’m just going to use three of the top social platforms but if you are active on other social platforms you can add the URL of your profile to the list.

Step 2 – Link Intersect

Personally, I am a massive fan of Ahrefs as it includes a set of fantastic easy to use tools that saves me so much time manually filtering all the data. Link Intersect is such a tool and just what you need for this next step. If you use a different link research tool, I have described the manual process below so you can still take advantage of this technique.

Ahrefs Link Intersect

  • Add the URL’s of all your social profiles into the top fields, making sure you select the ‘URL’ option. If you don’t select the URL option, you will start to think that your social profiles has millions of links.

  • Select ‘any of the below targets’ from the ‘Show me’ filter option.

  • Add your website domain into the bottom box, keeping the option at ‘* domain’.

  • Click ‘show link opportunities’ button.

Add target URLs

Step 3 – Export link opportunities

As you can see from the screenshot below, there are 199 different websites linking to one of Sam’s social profiles but not to his website.

Export link opportunities

Simply click on ‘Export’ on the right of the screen to download all your link opportunities into a CSV file.

Step 4 – Manually go through all linking websites

Although there are 199 sites that link to one of Sam’s social profiles. Not all of them will have the ability to also link to his website.

Using Ahrefs, you need to locate the actual linking pages (through Site Explorer) for each referring domain then take a look and manually see if it would be of benefit to you to have your website link included also. In Sam’s case, I established that 117 out of the 199 websites was a good fit.

This is now your red hot link opportunities list.

Step 5 – The outreach process

I’m not going to go into much detail here about how the outreach process works as Tim Soulo did a fantastic job at explaining that in his article, perfectly titled – I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading. And NO, I Don’t Feel Sorry (2017 Revisited).

The basis of this step is to reach out to all these sites by whichever means you find best and just say something like:

Hi Mark,

I’m honoured to see you linked to my Twitter profile from your post about [POST SUBJECT] at [LINK TO POST].

Here is a piece I have written, related to this very subject [POST URL]. It would be great if you could include it within your post also.



Think of this as a red-hot outreach email. They obviously already know who you are and must respect you or they would not have linked to your social profile. The chances they are going to also add your website link is very high indeed.


If you do not have access to at least the Standard subscription of Ahrefs, you will not be able to use the Link Intersect feature of the tool or if you use a different preferred link research tool that does not include such a feature, I have detailed the manual process below to replace steps two and three above.

i) Gathering your social profile linking domains

Login to your preferred link research tool. Gather and export the linking domains for all your listed social profiles.

ii) Collaborate and filter

Take all the referring domains (just the actual domains) from all the various export files and add them all into one single spreadsheet. Once you have got a list of all your referring domains from all your social media profiles, simply filter out all the duplicates.

Filter your links

iii) Gather Referring Domains for your website

You now need to export all the referring domains pointing to any page on your website.

iv) Bulk all Referring Domains together

Copy all the Referring Domains pointing to your website into the B column within the previous spreadsheet created above, so it looks something like:

Referring domains

v) The filtering process

What you now need to do is filter and remove all domains in column A (social links) that are also listed in Column B (website links) so you are left with a list of websites that link to one of your social media profiles but not to your website.


This is not a technique I have just plucked from thin air. I have tried and tested it many times over with companies I have trained and brands I have personally worked on. The average link acquisition success rate has been around 40% due to this being a red hot link opportunity. Now in Sam’s case above, taking this into consideration, which would generate him around 46 new quality natural links for about ten hours work. I would personally consider that a very good return.


I’m looking for case studies to add to this post. If you have run this technique on a live campaign and have received some great results, I’d love to hear from you.


About the author

Mark A Preston

Mark A Preston: SEO trainer & speaker with over 2 decades (since 2001) experience in the SEO industry. Host of 'The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast'. Author of 'The Business Side of SEO' and 'The SEO Freelancer Survival Handbook', SEO Business Books.


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