In this link building guide we’ll tell you how to improve your website’s visibility on search across the web by encouraging links to your site, engaging with your customers through good content, and promoting your site on others.
Why Link Building is So Important?
Now, creating great content isn’t just enough when it comes to ranking in search. Search engines don’t care how interesting your content is – it cares about how interesting other websites think your content is. And Google confirms that primarily through links to your website, or backlinks.
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in how search engines figure out how high they should rank your content. Why? Because backlinks are a signal to Google that your site is a high-quality and trustworthy site that people want to reference. That means the sites with more backlinks – and higher quality contents – tend to earn higher ranking in search.
What is Link Building?
In simple terms, this is the process of building links from another website to your site. Think of this like votes—if you have a lot of backlinks to your site, it means many other people on the internet believe your site has good content. It’s a vote of confidence.
Search engines might see these links as a signal that your site has high-quality content, and perhaps is a good option to show searchers. That’s because link popularity (the number of inbound links to a site/page) continues to have a high correlation with Search engines rankings.
On the other hand, building links from popular sites (such as newspapers) can also be an excellent source of referral traffic and increase future search traffic from Google.
Things You Should Remember, When Building Links
Before we dive into the step-by-step link building tutorial, it’s important to know what makes a good or bad link. That way, you can focus on building links that will actually improve your rankings in SERPs.
There are a number of factors which determine the quality of a particular link and how likely it will be to influence site rankings. These include:
Authority Of The Link/Site
As a site building links its own authority increases. It is then able to pass on more authority (votes) when it points out.
So a link from a high authority site will generally be more effective than a link from a low authority site (for example a new website with no inbound links of its own).
There are mainly two metrics which can help you determine the authority of a linking page or site:
- Domain Rating (DR) — DA refers to the overall strength (authority) of a site and is measured from 0–100 — with 0 being no authority (for example a new site with no inbound links) and 100 being the highest authority.
- URL Rating (UR) — On the other hand UR refers to the strength (authority) of an individual page and is measured from 0–100.
There are a number of tools out there where you can measure the authority of a website or page. What you have to do is – just enter any URL from the site into the tool and check out the site’s “Domain Rating”, “URL Rating” and much more.
Relevancy of the Site
When it comes to links, authority of the website matters.
But that site’s relevance still matters.
Links from websites within a niche-specific community are generally better than links from websites that aren’t relevant to your topic. If your website serves SEO services, a link from the Digital Marketing Company matters much more than one from the Hotel Booking Sites. Additionally, links from irrelevant sites can send confusing signals to search engines regarding what your page is about.
In general, you want to get links from authority sites…specifically, authority sites that are closely relevant to your site.
Nofollow .vs. Dofollow
Just like its name says, “nofollow” tells search engines not to follow the link. Some search engines still follow them simply to discover new pages, but these types of links never pass link equity. So they can be useful where a page is either linking to an untrustworthy source or was paid for or created by the owner of the destination page.
Dofollow links (ones that haven’t had nofollow attribute) look like this:
<a href=””>Learn Off Page SEO</a>
Nofollow link markup looks like this:
<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Learn Off Page SEO</a>
It’s natural for your site to have a balance between nofollow and dofollow backlinks. A nofollow link might not pass authority, but it could send valuable traffic to your site and even help in getting followed links in future.
Is your link embedded in a piece of text?
Is it pointed down in a page’s footer?
It turns out that your link’s position on a page is metter.
Naturally, links placed away in footers and sidebars aren’t worth nearly as much as links embedded in the middle of a page’s body content.
So You should try your links to appear within the main body of a webpage.
Link Anchor Text
Anchor text is the clickable text section with hyperlinks. As the time changes, Google uses anchor text as a ranking signal.
For example, let’s say you get a link to your site with anchor text: “link building course”. Google sees that anchor text and says: “Hmmm. That site used the anchor text: “ link building course ”. The page they’re linking to must be about “ link building.”
While it is clear from the data that keyword use in anchor text has a big impact in search engines rankings, it should also be pointed out that excess amounts of keyword rich anchors can have the opposite effect.
Too many anchor text links can be a sign of manipulation and may cause the search engines rankings.
In short, I don’t recommend building links with keyword-rich anchor text. But if you have a link with your keyword in the anchor text, then you are on the right track.
Your link profile is an overall assessment of all the backlinks your site has earned: the total number of links, their quality, their diversity (is one site linking to your site hundreds of times, or are hundreds of sites linking to you once?), and more. The link profile helps search engines understand how your site relates to other sites on the Internet. There are various SEO tools that can help you to analyze your link profile.
A healthy link profile is one that indicates to search engines that you’re earning your backlinks and authority honestly. Just like you shouldn’t lie, cheat, or steal, you should strive to ensure your link profile is honest and earned via your hard work.
Link Building Strategies
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the individual strategies listed below in our guide. We have decided to limit this section to tactics we either used, or that are proven to still be effective.
For each tactic we start with a brief overview, followed by ratings from our survey.
So let’s get started with the most popular and effective tactic from our survey — guest blogging.
As per our survey it’s pretty safe to say that building links through guest posting remains an effective way to increase your site’s organic traffic.
While low quality guest blogging has been squashed by Google and is certainly not as effective as it was, high quality guest blogging remains a preferred method of building white hat links.
Infographics have been counted for a while as a link building tactic, but after going out of trend a few years back, they have experienced somewhat of a renaissance today.
The reason why is that they remain a continually effective way to maximise return for your organic efforts.
Link building is always more effective when there is a value proposition for the host site, and offering to provide a high quality infographic with a customised introduction is one such value exchange. The host site gets some helping content — you get a backlink.
Adding ‘informational’ images to your blog posts (charts and graphs) and continually encouraging readers to download and share them on their own sites can be a very effective way to acquire new links.
There are several ways you can post custom images to get more backlinks to your site.
Submitting your link to directories can be both good or bad. It depends on which directories you want to submit, how you go about submitting, your purpose, and the approach you take.
Some directories cost money in order to be placed into their listings. While some of these are free.
Unlike niche web directories (like BOTW), only accept sites that cover a specific topic.
News sites refer to tapping into the slipstream of trending news and injecting your own brand, or ideas into the news.
It can be a very effective way to create high quality links from major news publications.
Timing is everything in news sites. As a major story comes, journalists will be eager to cover unique angles and gather quotes from experts who may be able to add insights. But you have to be fast and updated as today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper.
Press releases are still beneficial for organic outreach, but their power and their nature are in the middle of a transformative shift. If you’re going to include them in your link building strategy, you need to understand the current scope of press release sites, and find ways to link with.
If you have something newsworthy information, choose one channel to distribute your press release and make sure it is high quality and written in the third party. This will increase the chances of leading to more links.
Remember, your business listing is essential to your business identity, it reflects your business and for some potential customers it will be the first impression they have with your business. Make sure you give the time in creating a listing that best represents your company and what you do/offer.
It should be noted that not every business directory will include a link back to your site, however, many experts believe that a mention from a trusted directory may be counted by Google as an ‘inferred link’ and help in rankings.
Blog commenting is one of the best ways to get backlinks to a new or old website. In fact, a niche blog commenting strategy will make sure your backlink graph remains constant or goes up with time.
Google likes to actively participate in a niche and commenting on blogs is a good way to show you are a very engaged member of a community.
Commenting is also a good way to build new relations with other bloggers. This will help with future outreach as it is always easier to ‘known’ by the site you are reaching out to.
Relevant comments, which add insight and show expertise, can also drive traffic back to your own site and help to grow your audience. This could be an indirect ranking factor.
There is a saying in marketing ‘go where your audience is’ and most niches will have at least one forum where your potential customers hang out.
If you are an active participant in a forum, you can easily drop an occasional link back to your site — where that link adds value or answers a question.
These are good links for both traffic and rankings. Participating in a forum and showing your expertise will help to build your trust in the community and help in building high quality links.
Niche Community Sites
From special food, to fly fishing, there is a niche community site for pretty much everything.
Identifying sites related to your niche, participating, and sharing genuinely interesting and relevant content from your own site is the easiest way to build links that also drive traffic.
Note that once your postings achieve a certain number of upvotes they become dofollow — increasing their authority.
Ques & Ans Sites (Quora, Yahoo etc)
They can also be a great way to identify trending topics in your niche.
If you notice a particular question is being asked regularly, there is a good chance to build links through answers. Creating content on your own site that fills that information gap presents an opportunity for both bringing in search traffic and effective link building.
Getting reviews from bloggers and online content creators can make a big difference in how successful a new product or service is. In addition to bringing direct traffic from the sites giving you links, backlinks from high-ranking websites, especially if they include keywords, can help your rankings in search engines.
Another way which can be effective is to offer services in exchange for a write up on the charity’s site. For example, if you are a photographer you could offer to photograph an event for free, with the goal being that the charity includes some of the images on their site (with link attribution).
Other Paid Links
As buying backlinks is often the fastest way to build links, for lots of businesses it’s the most appealing option, especially so if the extra revenue generated by good rankings more than covers the cost of buying the links needed to achieve them.
What’s the problem?
Google clearly states that buying backlinks to improve your rankings opposed to their guidelines.Get caught buying links and your site could be penalised.
That being said, despite the risks, there continues to be a large market for both buying and selling these types of links for fast organic purposes.
Anything I Missed?
Now I’d like to hear your thoughts on:.
Did I miss one of your favorite SEO strategies?
Or maybe you have any questions, then please leave a comment below.
In the meantime… good luck with your own link building!
Now you should have a great baseline knowledge of how the search engine finds, interprets, stores, and ranks content. Armed with that knowledge, let’s move on to our next chapter (Search Engine Marketing).