It’s a common fact that link building is an essential skill in SEO.
If you want more people to see your site, link building is necessary.
According to a survey carried out by Google Search Quality Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, the two most important signals for ranking websites during searches are link building and high-quality content.
Whether you’re new to link building or you’ve been doing it for a while now, this guide provides fresh insights on link building strategies you’ll need going into the new year.
This guide has been broken down to answer your questions on what link building is, the types of links, and the best link building techniques for your site.
So stick around, we bet you’ll enjoy the ultimate link building techniques we’ll share with you.
First of all, we should start with what backlinks are.
A backlink is a hyperlink on another website that points to your site.
Backlinks are, for most search engines, the primary determinant for ranking a website, because the more links pointing to it, the more popular the site is.
Your ranking determines how much organic traffic your site will get.
Studies have shown that the top 5 search results on Google get the most clicks (70%).
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites or blogs to your own to improve your search engine rankings.
A hyperlink (or link) is for users to navigate from one page to another on the internet.
Search engines crawl the web looking for links between individual pages on your websites and other websites to decide how accurate your content is – this is how your page ranks in search results.
Google, in particular, keeps changing its ranking optimization factors and algorithms to ensure sound SEO implementation.
This is unlike previous techniques which used content as the sole factor for ranking sites, and the number of people linked to a particular page or the backlinks generated to determine the quality of a webpage.
Currently, updated algorithms like the Google Penguin Spam Filter have been designed to analyze the quality of the links rather than the quantity.
There are many ways you can use to build high-quality links, some of which are more difficult than others.
Most SEOs particularly find link building a daunting task and spend most of their time trying to get it right.
But you can gain a significant advantage over other SEOs and your competition if you can master how to create high-quality links.
Note that we’ve mentioned “high-quality” more than once, and there’s a good reason: the importance of high-quality links is crucial in ensuring a page ranks higher on Google.
Types of Links
We will continue to reiterate the importance of high-quality links.
Correlation studies from Moz and Searchmetrics have shown that more links are the essential prerequisites that lead to higher search rankings, as well as increased brand visibility and referral traffic.
Knowing the difference between high-quality links (ones that can verifiably increase your ranking) and low-quality links (ones that can likely earn you a penalty), can make all the difference in improving your SEO rankings.
“Natural” Editorial Links
An editorial link is a one-way link placed within the body of a content that is given naturally (because you didn’t have to ask for them) by other website owners to specify a resource.
Simply, it is a type of citation on the internet, which indicates that the destination of the link is the source of the content, idea, or statement that was used by the website.
Search engines quite value editorial links, as these links signal to search engines that particular content has so much value that it should be made available for users to see when they search for something related.
However, you must have a compelling content backed up with a solid SEO strategy if you want influential websites to backlink to your content.
Manual “Outreach” Links
This is the type of link that the content creator has requested for from another website via interaction or by email.
For startup SEOs that are just growing and are relatively unknown, this type of link is one of the most common types that you’ll struggle to get to push your content to larger audiences.
Unlike “Natural” editorial links, you need to manually contact influential website owners and bloggers, requesting them to link to you.
Again, you have to give them a good reason to link to you by creating well-researched and unique content.
Also, you have to contact bloggers and webmasters who are relevant to your niche.
Backlinks from sites who have no connection to your industry won’t give you high ranking points.
Below are the types of links that can earn you a penalty:
Links on Bad Sites
These are links built on known spam sites or other low-authority sources.
The value of a link depends on the authority of the site it came from: so if you build links on just any site with low authority or those considered to be spam, it could cause your website to be flagged as a spam site.
The anchor text is the clickable text section of a link. It is the wording where a link is embedded in.
Google uses anchor text as a ranking signal.
Here’s how it works: when Google sees an anchor text containing a keyword on your site, it begins to associate those keywords with your website.
However, like most things in SEO, this tactic has been abused such that building too much exact-match anchor text links into places they don’t belong is now flagged as spam by Google.
Although building links with keyword-rich anchor text is not recommended, but you can optimize your anchor text if it’s contextually appropriate for the link.
Contextually Inappropriate Links
These are links added to a website that has nothing to do with the content or topic being discussed.
Google’s algorithms are advanced enough to understand the natural use of language, and how content fits to serve an audience.
If a link is deemed contextually inappropriate, it may be flagged as a “bad” link.
Apart from this, the publisher hosting the link may be inclined to remove your link and prohibit you from publishing on their site in the future.
Link spam includes URLs or excessively-optimized links posted in comment sections of random and irrelevant blogs and forums.
This type of link may contain a short, pointless comment which adds no value to the content being discussed.
Webmasters engaging in the practice sometimes use automated software to post these sorts of comments.
These links would raise some spam-related red flags as it is evident that the objective of the link is to generate cheap traffic.
Also, posting multiple links to the same pages of your site on different websites can cause you to be flagged for spamming.
Any Other Clear Attempt to Manipulate Rank
Google’s primary goal in its link penalizing efforts is to reduce the chances of webmasters to manipulate their site rankings artificially.
Once you’re using links appropriately and in ways that benefit your audience, you do not need to bother about being penalized by Google.
However, engaging in practices that involve buying links, loading them in contents where they don’t belong, and building links from schemes would earn you a penalty from Google sooner rather than later.
Features of Links That Are Worth Building
Authority of the Page
A link from a high authority page is more likely to get you a higher ranking than a link from a low authority page.
The authority of the page ranking to your site matters a lot, possibly more than any other factor.
Enter a URL into Ahrefs to check out its “URL rating.”
Authority of the Site
The quality of a link is also determined based on a domain’s sitewide authority.
Links from well-established and influential sites will have a much more significant impact on your ranking than a link from a site that has little or no influence.
You can check the authority of a site by also using Ahrefs.
Enter any URL from the site into Ahrefs to check out the site’s “DomainRating.”
Relevance of the Site
The relevance of the site determines the power of any link you establish, or how much weight search engines attribute to it.
For example, if your site is about selling sports equipment and you get a link from a blog about sports, the link will be more useful than a link between a sports blog and a site that sells cars.
Search engines give value to relevant links connecting two sites.
Link Position on the Page
The position of your link on a page is important.
Links placed closer to the top of a page, or those found in the middle of page’s body content are considered more valuable than links included in headers or footers.
Link Building Techniques
Are you curious about how to create backlinks? This section explains all you need to know.
There are many ways you can get links.
It depends on the resources you have at your disposal and your type of industry.
More established industries might often require you to be more aggressive with your link building tactics, and you might still find it difficult to get quality backlinks.
Newer industries are less competitive than their established counterparts because they are still growing and thus, you will have many opportunities to engage with bloggers and build a community.
With this in mind, here are link building strategies that you can use to get high-quality backlinks to your site regardless of your industry.
Content-Based Link Building
Content-based link building is a process of getting inbound links from different websites to your site based on the relevance of your content.
The process of content-based link building involves creating content, finding a unique angle, doing outreach, and finally follow up.
The primary goal of this type of link building is that you create an asset which you can use to get links to drive traffic to your website.
These types of content include infographics, data visualization, white paper, how-to guides, videos, and image galleries.
You create these assets to get links from other people in your industry who share a similar piece of content or those that may find your content relevant or informative.
Then start reaching out to them by commenting on their blog, signing up for their newsletters, or by sending them a DM on Twitter, to begin building those links.
Over time, with continued progress, you’ll reach a stage where you don’t have to request a link from other people.
Instead, you should be able to seed the content with some influencers in your niche who can help you spread the word on about your work.
Steps to take for link building with content
- Create high-quality content that is relevant, accurate, updated, and most importantly, more than 1,000 words.
- Include detailed research, expert opinions, and resources in your content.
- Reach out to people in your industry who share similar content and are likely to link to yours.
- Create links by answers questions and passing relevant comments on other blogs, forums, and social media groups.
Link building with content takes time to achieve, but when correctly done, it will help you gain more exposure for your content, and ultimately more links.
You can use this method to increase traffic to your site.
Guest bloggers receive links to their blogs and a chance to promote their names and sites in exchange for creating content for a well-established website in their chosen industry.
Note that search engines penalize poorly written guest posts that are solely created to deliver backlinks and have no benefit to the reader.
How to Become a Guest Blogger
- Identify your niche and stay in it
- Let your blog have enough quality content first (reputable websites won’t be interested in your work if the content on your blog is of poor quality)
- Stick to blogs that have good reputations in your industry as well as a high volume of search traffic, social shares, and quality content
- Write the guest blog post and add backlinks to your content when necessary
- Add a byline at the bottom of your guest posts that can entice readers to refer back to your website (this may include a call-to-action, link to a downloadable PDF or eBook on your site)
- Answer questions and respond to comments from readers.
- Promote the guest blog post on your social media channels.
The Internet is filled with broken links, and sometimes, these links can be found on valuable, high-quality pages.
Broken link building is when you find resources in your niche that are no longer live, recreate a version of the content and contact webmasters who link to that content asking them to replace the broken link with better alternatives including your newly created content.
Because you are providing value to the webmaster by helping them fix their broken links and cleaning up their website, the chances of getting backlinks to your site are high.
Broken link building in three steps:
- Research relevant broken links and find good targets
- Create content similar to the broken resource
- Reach out to the webmaster or anyone linking to the dead resource and request them to link to your working resource.
To find broken links on pages, download and install the Google Chrome plugin – Check my Links.
Link reclamation is the process of fixing or “reclaiming” links that once pointed to your site or links that lead to your site but do not have any SEO value.
Unlike broken link building, Link reclamation has to do with links that are yours.
Common types of link reclamation strategies include
These refer to links that point to pages on your website which do not exist anymore.
An excellent tool to search for these types of links is the Site Explorer (all you need to do is to search for “Top Pages” and filter for 404s).
You can either fix these links, redirect them to another site or request the webmaster to change the link.
It is a common occurrence for other people to write about your site without linking to it.
In order cases, you can lose links if the author updated the content on his site and your link got removed, or maybe a page containing your link was deleted.
Whatever the case, reaching out to the site owner and suggesting they add the link back can do the trick.
Build Internal Links
Strategic internal linking is integral to the success of any blog.
Neil Patel defines an internal link as a link that connects one page of a website to a different page on the same site.
The source domain and target domain remain the same in an internal link.
A good internal linking structure can help users navigate your website easily. It can also distribute page authority and ranking power throughout the site.
- Create enough content as this leads to more internal pages and lots of clickable content
- Use anchor text for your internal links rather than linked images
- Link deep into your content instead of linking to your homepage or your contact us page
- Use links that are relevant and provide value to the reader.
Many tools can automatically create internal links on your site, particularly for WordPress users.
However, building internal links should be done manually.
Concerning the number of links in your internal content, Google stipulates that links on a given page should be kept to “a reasonable number.”
It is true that getting quality backlinks can be challenging and there aren’t any shortcuts to link building for blogs or websites.
However, by prioritizing the link building techniques we’ve shared in your marketing strategy for 2019, and not shirking on your focus for quality, you’ll achieve long-term online success.
Which of our link building strategies would you be implementing in 2019 and why? We’ll love to hear from you in the comments.