The Sports industry has been increasing and expanding its online presence very significantly during the last several years. When the pandemic had people locked up in their homes with little physical activity, they started looking into online training sessions. This gave a huge rise to various sport-related businesses going online. In turn, it created a huge competition, so staying visible and reaching out to your audience if you are a sports business is a challenge. In this article we discuss various domain specifics that affect link building for the sports industry, successful link building strategies, and ground rules of purchasing links for a sports business.

Link Building Best Practices for Sports Websites

Sports domain is very diverse and even within it the rules could be very different. But regardless of whether you are promoting a local yoga studio or a fansite for a football club, there are best practices you can follow.

1. Keep in Mind the Competition

      Sports are extremely competitive. Chances are, what you are doing is far from unique, so if you want to stand out among your competitors, it will take extra effort. This means that you have to pay special attention to the quality of your content and be on the constant lookout for various trends, events and link building opportunities to seize them as soon as possible. The image below illustrates the engagement level of sports fans. As you can see, it is very high, so offering them content that they like will likely be difficult.

      2. Consider Seasonal Nature of Sports-Related Activities

        Seasonal could be the keyword  that describes almost any sports related business. People tend to go to gyms in spring before beach vacations. Most tournaments and competitions have their seasons. And we don’t even mention various sports equipment that also is strictly seasonal. Of course, such seasonality causes very direct correlation between ‘downtimes’ in related sports requests and spikes of search activities. This is why it is essential that you build your SEO activities around these seasonable schedules. 

        3. Don’t be Intimidated by Market Maturity and Content Saturation

          Sports industry is dominated by huge high-authority websites such as EXPN, Bleacher Report. And no matter what kind of sports business you have, there is already plenty of high-quality content out there about it. This means that local SEO and local link building will probably bring more effect. Also, making your content niche and unique becomes a complicated task, but targeting it more precisely might help a lot. 

          4. Get Very Interactive

            Leverage current events in your field, engage fans or sports enthusiasts around you, communicate with your followers and community actively. It is a great opportunity to get noticed, to build your following, to get organic traffic and backlinks. 

            Where to Acquire Links for Sports Websites?

            There are quite a few venues you can explore if you want to acquire quality links for your sports industry website.  And here are some insights about backlink acquisition:

            1. Guest Posting

            There is a huge amount of sports, fitness and healthcare blogs out there and plenty of them provide guest posting opportunities. This is an excellent method for you to spread the word about your business and engage new audiences. It also provides good backlinking opportunities. You can use platforms like Serpzilla to investigate the guest blogging landscape and create your own relevant pool of guest posting opportunities. 

            1. Collaborate with Influencers and Media

            Influencers happily do various integrations with sports-related businesses, so you should not let this opportunity slip away. Conduct outreach campaigns to connect with various opinion makers in your field, build partnerships and collaborations. This will have you access their loyal audiences and drive traffic to your website. 

            1. Local SEO

            Local SEO can be specifically beneficial for a sports-related industry since there’s a high chance that your best customers live nearby. You can get listed in local media, sponsor local sports or fitness events and have your link featured by multiple local sites with a very relevant targeted audience. 

            1. Use Professional Tools to Discover Link Building Opportunities

            SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic can give you a very detailed analysis of your as well as your competitors’ backlink profile. This will help you to make very informed decisions about link building prospects and gather a lot of useful insights about the potential backlink sources. 

            Pros and Cons of various Approaches to Link Purchase

            Link purchasing has long been a cause of much controversy in the SEO world. Google Webmaster Guidelines expressly discourage purchasing backlinks and indeed, it can do you harm. Especially if you buy cheap irrelevant link bundles and placements, use PBN networks or engage in other black hat link building activities.  However, if you do it properly, you’re safe. Use ‘nofollow’ attributes for obviously paid or sponsored links, purchase links from safe, high authority websites where you can have a lot of control over the relevancy of link placement, anchor text. Focus on investing in organic traffic generation strategies such as reclaiming broken links, content marketing, skyscraper technique

            Mistakes to Avoid when Building Backlinks for Sports Websites

            Link building can be tricky to navigate and purchasing links can be downright murky waters. Here are some things you should keep in mind when engaging in any link building activity for a sports website.

            1. Don’t overestimate high-price and high-authority websites. 

            The price for their backlinks can be steep, the link longevity short and the ROI quite uncertain. Better spend the time and effort on crafting high-quality content that you can market. 

            1. Do not ignore the relevance. 

            It is highly important that a website that links to a piece of your content is very relevant to what the content is about. It is okay if a site for new moms links to your article about exercises that improve women’s health and can be done at home. But if it links to betting on wrestling, it can be suspicious despite the fact that new moms can perfectly be interested in sports gambling. 

            1. Do not Neglect Anchor Text Diversity

            If you don’t want to raise a search engine’s suspicions, use diverse anchor text and try to integrate it smoothly in the source material. A better contextual fit also increases your backlink’s chances to be clicked on by readers.

            1. Do not Give the Paid Links a Primary Focus

            Organic links have better longevity, relevance and other perks that make organic traffic the most desirable. It’s best to make organic link generation your SEO priority and have a balanced backlink profile that features all kinds of links from diversified sources. Investing in paid links only can create a traffic boost, but it will be short-lived and will not give you a lot of benefits in the long run. For instance, the picture below illustrates the most popular link-building strategies today and it fully applies to the sports industry.

            5. Do not Focus on Quantity Only

              Google gives you extra SERP points when you are linked to by high-authority sites with a high degree of relevance. That is why purchasing huge bundles of shady links that feature irrelevant forum replies and PBN networks can do you more harm than good. High-quality links take more effort to obtain, but the payoff is much better.


              Link Building for the sports industry is all about maintaining a competitive edge, good reach out to your target audience and the use of less obvious and less straightforward link building tactics. If you grasp and capitalize on the unique dynamics of the sports domain, such as its seasonal nature and the high level of competition, you can tailor your strategies to create maximum impact. While paid links can offer quick wins, they shouldn’t be your primary focus or the larger portion of your links. Prioritizing organic link-building and maintaining a diverse, relevant backlink profile will ensure your long-term success.

              • Sergey Pankov

                Sergey is a seasoned SEO expert with 20+ years of experience, global link building opinion leader, he is a regular speaker at various SEO conferences and webinars dedicated to website optimization. As a CEO at, Sergey is responsible for strategic & operational management of business areas, business scaling, building first-class customer service, innovation & technology management, hiring & management of teams of talents. Sergey's Linkedin