With paid and social media marketing increasing the cost and effort needed to reach the right audiences, search engine optimization (SEO) is becoming more of a focus to drive traffic. SEO comes with a variety of challenges, and in general, a lot of outside of an SEO manager’s control.

One of the areas of SEO that continues to come up as difficult to master is link building. Gone are the days when you could buy links–Google caught on quickly to that one. Now you have to earn links through unique strategies. We’ll go over some of our top tips and tricks to include in your link building strategy to achieve success in this difficult digital space.

Tip #1: Focus on Quality

This tip is important in two areas. First, make sure you’re creating quality content on your blog that will make publishers want to link to you. Asking for links will be much easier if you have something that people actually want to link to and share.

Create engaging content by making use of content marketing tools like Outgrow and GoAnimate. Second, make sure you’re reaching out to high-quality websites that will pass along a stronger signal. The value of a link from one site with a high DA is much greater than the value of multiple links from sites with low DA.

Tip #2: Set the Right Goals

Of course your main goal is to get more links to your site, but with this as a goal, you may get stuck in a trap of never really being able to achieve your goal. Think about the overall business impact that your links will have, and set a goal based on that. One common goal is to move up from below the fold for a specific SERP.

While other SEO strategies (and competitors’ actions) can impact this as well, it’s a good way to determine if your backlinking strategy has helped you achieve something that will increase your bottom line. Use an SEO tool to track both backlinks and rankings. SEMRush and Ahrefs are two of the industry leaders, but there are others that can do one or the other as well.

Tip #3: Focus on Personal Outreach

You can use outreach tools like Buzzsumo to reach out to influencers, bloggers, and publishers. Outreach tools make it easy for multiple team members to keep track of where the conversation is at.

No matter how you tackle your outreach though, you should always make sure you’re keeping things personal. It takes a lot more time and effort, but especially when you’re going after high-quality links on high authority websites, it’s important to put 100% effort into the outreach. Take the time to find the right contact, consider using Twitter to build a relationship with contacts, and make sure to share only relevant content that publishers’ audiences will actually want to read.

There’s a lot that goes into a link building campaign, and these three tips and five tools mentioned will help you take the right first steps to find success in earning backlinks.

Written by Kelsey Reaves. Kelsey Reaves is a content-focused Marketing Manager at TrustRadius, a trusted site for B2B software reviews. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on the latest trends in software and B2B news, she nurtures her passion for travel by exploring new cities and binge watching Anthony Bourdain.