The Beginner's Guide to Link Building
Table of contents
What is Link Building?
Why is it Important?
Links are not always the solution
What characteristics define a strong link?
Link Building Strategies
Tools for Back-linking
In the past, link building was often seen as a purely technical endeavor - the domain of SEOs and webmasters. However, it has become more evident in recent years that link-building is fundamentally a marketing activity. The best link builders are those who understand this and approach their work with a strategic mindset. When used combined with solid technical SEO foundations, excellent on-page SEO, wonderful content, and a positive user experience, link building may be highly effective in increasing traffic.
It is more crucial than ever to focus on quality, relevance, and authenticity. Although low-quality, spammy link-building techniques can be successful, a business striving for long-term success in organic search should not include them in its strategy.
Today, link building may be compared to smart marketing, and companies who understand this are more likely to prosper in the long run. However, this does not imply that link-building strategies must always be technical or that they must be centered on your product. As we proceed, it will become clear that there is much more to learn and that there is much more to understand.
This guide aims to get you moving swiftly and effectively. There is obviously a lot to learn, but we'll break it down into small chunks and include a number of examples along the way. So you'll have a firm idea of link-building after reading this post.
What is Link Building?
A backlink or a link from another website to your own is created through the process of link building. Link building is an important part of what we call "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO), as it helps to improve your website's ranking in SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages. Links are used by search engines to crawl the web. They will crawl both the links between your website's individual pages and the links between different websites.
Not all links are consciously made by SEOs or marketers. Many of them will be created for a number of different reasons, such as when a journalist covers a news story and connects to a source or when a blogger links to the store where they purchased their new coffee maker because they love it so much.
The peak of SEO is getting links that you didn't ask for. It's something you should always be aiming for and building over time. By attempting to make your website link-worthy, whether through a spectacular product or service feature or by producing excellent content that is used as a reference by other websites, you may accomplish this.
In addition to this long-term plan, you may employ a variety of link-building techniques to develop your authority, increase your chances of ranking highly, and get traffic from organic searches.
Why is it Important?
In spite of the difficulty and time commitment of the link-building strategy, 94% of marketers still think that it will continue to be important for search rankings in the years to come.
As long as Google continues to encourage websites to establish links, many businesses continue to devote time and resources to this SEO approach, which we must consider seriously.
Examples of what it can accomplish for you and your website are as follows:
Increase your visibility in search results
Your website will be ranked higher on SERPs if other websites connect to it, which tells search engines that you are a reliable source of information.
Become an authority in your niche
Backlinks are a clear indication of how successfully you are building trust within your business. A large number of high-quality backlinks can help you establish your authority in your field and convince others that you are a true authority.
A strong foundation of trust is the key to a successful link-building strategy. You must first understand how to engage with web administrators and establish a mutually beneficial relationship if you want them to agree to link to your website. Gaining more backlinks will be simpler if you've built the necessary trust. Additionally, building relationships online leads to more advantageous prospects off of your website.
Improve the trustworthiness of your website
Although a website's content quality contributes to trustworthiness, it is insufficient to drive traffic. Therefore, to be a useful resource and a worthy addition to other websites' audiences, you need their support.
Drive more traffic to your website
You can increase the search results by using links. Additionally, you may share your links across a variety of channels to increase readership and encourage return visits. Even while sharing your links in forums, blog comments, or social media doesn't really count, it's still a fantastic method to interact and promote your website.
Generate more sales
If your website appears at the top of search results pages, more people will click on it to learn more about the products and services you offer. By doing this, you can reach more potential customers without spending money on advertising.
Links are not always the solution
It may seem from this introductory chapter that all it takes to rank #1 in Google is to accumulate more backlinks than the pages that are already there. Although it is true to a certain extent, the reality is a little bit more difficult.
Search engines take into account a wide range of other factors, in addition to the fact that not all links are created equal. According to the type of search query you want to rank for, the combination of these variables may also change. So, let's find out How to build links on your website in the best possible way.
Most link-building approaches and strategies conceptually fit into one of the following four categories:
- Add. Adding links manually to websites.
- Ask. Ask for a link by contacting website owners directly.
- Buy. Link exchange for cash.
- Earn. Obtain natural links from website visitors.
- Adding links
If you can manually post your link on a website that is not your own, that is referred to as "adding" a link. Most typically, the following tactics fit within this category:
- Submissions to business directories
- Creating a social media profile
- Blogging comments
- Posting in forums, communities, and question-and-answer websites
- The creation of job postings
These strategies make it relatively simple to build links. And for precisely that reason, Google tends to give those links very little value, and in certain situations, it may even mark them as SPAM.
Other than that, you hardly gain any competitive edge from these linkages. If you can manually add your link to a website, nothing prevents your competitors from doing the same.
You shouldn't, however, completely disregard this group of link-building strategies. In fact, each of them can be very helpful for your online business for reasons other than link building.
I'll explain a few instances:
To obtain more links, you should resist the desire to submit your website to every single business directory. Focus instead on those that are well-known, well-liked, and could actually bring visitors to your website.
For instance, if you own a small business and you learn that other business owners get their leads from a local business directory, you should definitely add your business there. And that one link would likely provide you with much more "SEO value" than submitting your website to a list of generic business directories that you located at an unrelated SEO forum.
Claim your brand name as soon as you can on all major social media platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and others. Otherwise, they might take them once squatters become aware of your brand.
It makes sense to invest time and effort in using relevant social media channels to grow your fan following and market to them. But regrettably, the links from social profile pages themselves offer very little to no direct SEO advantage. Therefore, don't assume an instant ranking boost after signing up for a few dozen social networking sites.
Leaving intelligent comments on other people's articles is a great way to get their attention and start a conversation. To shoehorn a link to your website into comments, though, will only annoy blog owners.
Furthermore, links from blog comments are frequently nofollow or might not be considered "votes" in some cases. Therefore, avoid commenting on someone's post just to include your link.
These three illustrations should make it clear how to "add" your links to different websites without being spammy.
- Asking for links
As the name suggests, this is the procedure when you contact the owner of the website and convince them to link to you.
The people you reach out to aren't interested in you or your website unless you're a celebrity. This category of link-building tactics clearly requires "compelling reason." They, therefore, have no motivation to help you.
Therefore, think about what would be beneficial for THEM before you ask them to connect with you.
Here are a few link-building techniques and methods that fit into this category, along with a succinctly stated "compelling reason" on which they are entirely based:
- Guest blogging- Publish informative stuff on their website
- Skyscraper method- Show them an improved source compared to the one they are linking to.
- Link inserts- Show them a source that contains more details on a subject they have only briefly mentioned.
- Ego bait- Mention them or their work favorably in your own writing.
- Case studies and Testimonials- Describe their goods or service favorably.
- Link exchanges- If they consent to you, offer to link back to them.
- Resource page link building- Show them a useful source that complements their current list.
All of these tactics seem very intriguing, don't they? However, as soon as you write your first email request, you're probably going to realize that your "compelling argument" isn't strong enough:
- It's not good enough for a guest article.
- Your resource isn't sufficiently distinct.
- Your "Skyscraper" is not sufficiently "high."
You see, to make these link-building techniques effective, you need to create a page that is truly exceptional and that others would want to connect to. Or, if you are well-known and well-regarded in your industry, this may help to make up for the lack of attention your page receives.
Given how challenging it is to obtain links from unaffiliated parties, some SEOs started looking for strategies to make the offer more alluring:
- Offer to share their content on Facebook and Twitter.
- Offer to use your email newsletter to promote their material.
- Provide unrestricted access to a pricey product or service.
- Provide a link in return.
- Offer to pay.
There you have it. Legal link requests rarely succeed, but the second you try to "sweeten the deal," you step into Google's minefield.
It might seem at this point that I'm trying to talk you out of employing the methods and techniques in this compilation. I'm not. I'm just trying to set the right expectations so that you don't give up after sending your tenth outreach email and getting no response. Obtaining links using these strategies and adhering to Google's rules requires a lot of work.
3. Buying links
In the best-case scenario, you'll probably waste a ton of money on useless links that won't improve your results; in the worst-case scenario, your website will be penalized.
However, if we didn't let you know that many people in the SEO field do "purchase" links in various ways and manage to get away with it, we'd be putting you at a disadvantage.
Therefore, if you're prepared to take a chance with the health of your website and buy links, you can consider buying quality backlinks at Winterplay Studios. They guarantee to give you the highest quality backlinks to improve your website rank.
- Earning links
You "earn" links when other websites link to the pages on your website without your permission. This certainly doesn't happen unless you have something genuinely amazing that other website owners would actually want to publish on their websites.
But people are unable to cling to things they are unaware of. No matter how wonderful your page is, you will still need to invest in marketing it. Therefore, regardless of how wonderful your page is, you must invest in promoting it. Additionally, it is more likely that some visitors will choose to connect to your page the more people that visit it.
Here are a few examples of techniques and plans that fit this description:
- Linkable assets or Linkbait- studies of data, infographics, maps, polls, and prizes.
- Interviews, expert roundups, and podcasts.
- Promotion of content.
Without a doubt, earning links is the most effective way to get them.
There are still ways to create high-quality content on a tight budget and build links naturally, even if you're just getting started. The "secret" is to work 10 times harder on your content than your competitors do.
What characteristics define a strong link?
Nobody is certain of the precise process Google employs to calculate the value of each connection. The SEO community, however, believes that a few generalizations about link evaluation are accurate. So let's split it into smaller parts.
There are two different kinds of "authority": that of a single page and that of a whole website.
This is connected to Page authority. The original Google PageRank algorithm's core principle states that the page with more links pointing at it has a more meaningful vote.
Because of this, many SEOs attempt to establish links with out-of-date pages that have strong backlink profiles. Links from these pages are seen as having greater value than links from recently published pages without any backlinks of their own.
On the other hand, a newly published page may eventually accumulate a few links of top quality. Consequently, a link from such a page may actually increase in value over time.
Therefore, the overall strategy is to try to establish connections with prominent pages that have a high likelihood of garnering backlinks over time rather than particularly hunting for old pages with strong backlink profiles.
Website authority - An SEO concept known as "website authority" describes the overall "strength" of a specific domain. Strength in this context refers to a domain's potential to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs) and disperse its "link juice" to other websites.
Sadly, Google staff members have consistently denied the existence of any kind of system-wide website authority metric. But many SEO professionals, who think this is extremely rational, think that a link from the New York Times should be worth more than a link from your neighbor's website.
Consider writing a review of your preferred coffee grinder for your blog on coffee. In the end, two of your friends decide to link to it. The first comes from their post on the "10 Best Coffee Recipes," while the second comes from their article on the "10 Money-saving Tips."
Which of these pages would Google perceive to be making a stronger vote if they both had equal authority?
It seems to sense that you'd prefer to seek coffee advice from a fellow foodie than from a personal finance professional.
Experts in SEO claim that websites are also subject to relevancy. There is really some supporting information for that on Google's "how search works" page:
If there are links on the page to other well-known websites on the subject, it is a sure sign that the content is of very high quality.
This suggests that you should focus on obtaining links from websites that are somehow connected to your own rather than pursuing every link opportunity that arises.
- Anchor text
If you're not familiar with the term "anchor text," it refers to a section of text that can be clicked to open a link to another page. The words used in the anchor text have the potential to affect how well search engines rank the linked website. Some web browsers featured the option to show a hyperlink tool before it was clicked in 1998.
You shouldn't be shocked, then, that Google looks at the terms in anchor text to determine which keywords the cited page should rank for.
So how can you use anchor text to its full potential when creating links?
You don't; that is true. However, the more you try to manage which websites link to you and pack all the "correct terminology" into the anchor texts of your backlinks, the more probable it is that Google will penalize you.
Additionally, with the majority of white-hat link-building techniques, you have limited to no control over your anchor text, which only prevents you from unintentionally shooting yourself in the foot.
- Nofollow vs. follow
When a link has the "nofollow" property, Google is informed that the connecting website does not want to support the page being referenced.
Google used to ignore "nofollowed link" votes when calculating rankings. Then, in 2019, they made the switch to the hint model, which now allows some "nofollowed" links to have an impact on your search ranks.
Building "followed" links is generally a good idea because these are the links that are expected to cast votes. But if you are able to obtain a nofollowed link from a pertinent, high-authority page, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity.
Wikipedia is a nice example where all outbound links are nofollowed. Many SEOs believe that Google views these links highly because of how difficult it is to get a link from Wikipedia.
Google's patent on "reasonable surfer" describes how a link's authority transmission may be affected by the possibility that it would be clicked. The position of a link on a page is another of the few factors that can affect its click-through rate (CTR).
Let's imagine a webpage has three sections: the content, the sidebar, and the footer. Because readers concentrate primarily on the content block, links within the content often receive more clicks.
A link's placement on the page can have an effect on how many people click on it (CTR). For instance, readers are more likely to click on links at the beginning of the article than links near the end.
Finally, the more links you have on a page, the more they will compete for clicks, and, as a result, less authority will be given to other pages.
The majority of white-hat link-building strategies give you little to no control over where the link is placed, much like anchor text does. If you're writing a guest post for another blog, you should surely make an effort to get readers to click on your links. It will boost the links' SEO value in addition to driving you some top-notch referral traffic.
There are three places you can direct links when developing links to your website:
- Your homepage
- The assets you can link to
- The pages that are genuinely necessary for top Google rankings
Additionally, the pages you need to rank highly are typically the hardest to get links for. This is because people prefer linking to educational pages to commercial ones, where their audience is more likely to spend money.
So, among the most often asked questions in SEO is:
"How to rank dull pages?"
And while there isn't a single right answer to this question, everyone agrees that internal linking should be used to improve the rating of your "dull pages."
In other words, build as many links as you can to your linkable assets, then use internal links to channel all of that "link juice" toward the websites that you actually want to rank.
Also, keep in mind that placement, relevance, and anchor text are all elements that affect the value of your internal links.
There are countless ways to obtain links. The best strategies for you will rely on the tools you have at your disposal and the sector you work in. You sometimes need to be extremely aggressive with link development in more established and competitive industries, and you might discover that obtaining those links is more challenging. On the other side, there are many chances in other industries, typically the more recent and quickly growing ones, to engage with bloggers and build communities. In light of this, a few link-building strategies generally apply to all kinds of websites.
Content-based link building
The main principle is that you produce an asset that you utilize to attempt to gain links. This takes the form of content and might contain the following:
- Guest posts
When creating these assets, keep in mind that you want other websites to connect to them because they are fascinating, funny, or relevant. Then you get in touch with them in an effort to forge ties with them. You want to eventually get to the point where you don't need to request each and every link you get. Instead, you should be able to distribute the material to a select group of significant community influencers who will work to promote it on your behalf. It can take a while to accomplish this and demands a significant investment in top-notch material, but it is definitely feasible.
The process of approaching other websites to ask them to post a portion of your writing on their blog is known as guest blogging. Although employing high-quality material to acquire links is frequently successful, Google has clamped down on advertisers who take advantage of this strategy by using low-quality content and excessively optimized anchor text.
As guest blogging became a more popular strategy, it also grew more automated, and the postings' quality significantly decreased. Google took note. We could "Stick a fork in it: Guest blogging is done," ex-head of Google's webspam team Matt Cutts stated in a piece in 2014; this still holds true today. If you're producing material at scale and pitching it as guest posts at scale, you're unlikely to experience long-term success.
At the same time, it's beneficial to concentrate on quality and give yourself plenty of time to create content for external websites that your target audience frequents. If you perform guest blogging in this manner, the benefits may extend beyond the link itself and may include things like brand visibility and website click-throughs.
Broken link building
There are many broken links on the Internet. Unfortunately, these broken links are frequently seen on important, excellent pages. The idea behind the very common practice of "broken link building" is to assist webmasters in fixing their broken links by offering a better alternative for them to link to.
Although the details can change, the fundamental procedure is as follows:
- Find a site that links to broken pages.
- Find existing pages or create new content to replace the broken link.
- Conduct outreach to persuade the owner to replace the broken link with your link.
Here's an illustration. You wish to increase the number of backlinks to the scientific resources pages for your dairy testing business. There is an older website on dairy resources at a nearby university, but many of the links are broken. You politely get in touch with the website administrator to alert them to the broken links and generously offer your more recent and relevant resource as a replacement. Afterward, the webmaster of the university links to your dairy resource page.
The technique of link reclamation differs slightly from broken link building in that it involves fixing or "reclaiming" links that previously pointed at your website or point to it but don't offer any SEO benefit.
Link reclamation tactics come in a variety of forms.
There are links on your website pointing to pages that are no longer there. A useful resource for locating these is Link Explorer. (Search for 404s using the "Top Pages" filter and sort). These links can be 301 redirected, fixed on your end, or the webmaster can be asked to modify the link.
To find the most broken links on valuable 404 pages:
- Visit Link Explorer
- Once you've logged in, go to the Top Pages feature.
- Go to the website you want to study. Select "root domain" metrics only, please.
- The Status Code should be set to "4xx - Broken."
- The number of broken links pointing to each page will now be listed alongside the top 404 pages on the website.
- To view all of the broken links pointing at each URL, click the "View Links" search icon next to each URL.
Non-linking brand mentions
It can be frequent and simple to find articles about your website without any links to them. A simple email to the author is frequently sufficient to obtain a connection. Finding mentions is made easy with the help of tools like Google Alerts and mention.net.
You can frequently locate websites displaying your images without providing any credit. This is a great chance to obtain a link rather than submitting a copyright or DMCA takedown notice.
In order to do this, you need to get in touch with the website that has used the image and asks them if they would mind providing you with a credit link in exchange for their use.
To find other websites that have utilized your images, use Google Reverse Image Search.
These are just a few of the numerous link-building strategies available to you. Of course, the precise strategies you go for will depend on your time limitations, inventiveness, audience, and specialization.
Tools for Back-linking
Because backlinks are more important than any other element, you'll require backlinking tools to successfully automate the process. Here are some:
- SE Ranking
One SEO software tool is SE ranking, which enables you to create an efficient SEO and marketing plan that will help you rank your website and draw in more clients through organic traffic.
A website audit, keyword research and suggestion, backlink checker, backlink monitor, keyword rank tracker, backlink checker, and on-page checker are just a few features offered by the backlinking tool SE Ranking.
It assists you in organizing or filtering all of your backlinks and analyzes them in relation to SEO criteria.
Their pricing ranges from $31 to $150 each month. You may also choose a custom plan where you can list the services your company requires and get an estimate of the costs.
One of the most effective backlink tools is Ahrefs, which analyzes all of your site's backlinks at a rate of 4.1 million pages every minute. Of course, that's too quick for a backlink tool, but it can help you successfully assess and enhance your website with its all-inclusive SEO features.
Backlink tracking, website audit, site explorer, rank tracker, and content explorer are among the capabilities they offer. By assisting them in placing its website at the top, it provides value-packed features to all of its clients throughout the world.
Ahrefs features a pricing structure that ranges from $99 per month to $999 per month, and if you choose an annual subscription, you'll receive two months for free.
Semrush is a comprehensive SEO toolbox that aids in backlink optimization, analysis, and management. By using SEO, content marketing, keyword research, backlink tracking, and social media marketing, it assists you in obtaining quantifiable outcomes from efficient online marketing.
With its comprehensive and efficient SEO tools and workflow, Semrush is a backlinking tool that aids in the growth of organic traffic. With the software, you can access more than 20 million keywords from more than 130 countries.
For you to acquire the plan that best suits your needs, they have provided various price plans for various enterprises. Their monthly cost ranges from $119 to $449.
Hunter can support organic business growth. It is a wonderful approach to inform yourself about and find the email addresses of the people who are important to your company. It also helps you identify the people who matter to your company's email addresses.
Hunter offers capabilities like domain search, email finder, email verification, and author finder and plays a crucial role in prospecting.
Their entry-level pricing starts at $49 per month and goes up to $399 per month for the enterprise plan.
Businesses worldwide can get SEO tools from CognitiveSEO, which also suggests an efficient SEO plan and naturally assists businesses in increasing website traffic. It has aided companies of all kinds across numerous industries.
With capabilities including content optimization, website audit, backlink analysis, penalty recovery, rank tracker, SEO dashboard, marketing reports, and SEO API, CognitiveSEO is the only SEO toolkit a business could ever need.
Their starting plan, which starts at $129.99/month, is fairly straightforwardly constructed, and they also provide a business plan that can be tailored to your specific business needs.
These backlinking tools make it simple to automate the process of creating backlinks, and selecting the best one for your company will rely on the sector of business you are in as well as your budget.
By utilizing all available strategies, you may increase organic website traffic, establish your brand, and foster relationships with your target market and clients.
In order to increase the chance of your website being ranked higher, make sure you are providing your audience with high-quality content. Backlinking is a benefit to a company website that results in a higher rating on search engines.