A successful website requires a lot of work. To generate more traffic, appear more credible, and stay on the good graces of search engines like Google, your website needs to secure high-quality links through a process called link building.
For beginners, link building can seem intimidating. It requires a combination of skills, such as prospecting and outreaching to understanding how search engines analyze links. You must conduct white hat strategies when doing this.
Link building requires some study, time, and effort. Since you only want to implement the best link building tips and tricks, you have to do your fair share of research. We’ve compiled the best and proven ways so you can get started with the best link building strategies that will help you achieve the best results.
What Is Link Building?
Link building refers to the process of getting links from other websites to yours. Think of the link that bridges between you and another site. To get a visitor to get to your website, they must pass through (or click) to a link from an external website. The goal of link building is not just to secure that bridge, but to also make sure it’s high-quality.
Links are essential in web processes. The internet is also called the web because of the “webbing” or linking that takes place within. These links connect the pages inside a website, as well as bridges from one site to another. Links make the entire internet interconnected.
Why Build Link: The Importance of SEO Link Building
To help you understand why you need to build links, it is important to know how search engines work. Before Google, search engines ranked their search results according to the content of a page or a website. However, Google entered the picture and introduced the PageRank Algorithm. This program analyzes not only pages, but also the number of links that point to a specific page.
Links are essential “signals” telling Google the relevance of a website with regards to a search query. Google rolled out an update called Penguin that not only analyzed the number of links, but the quality of those links as well. This meant that your site can have a lot of low-quality links and still not rank, or have a few high-quality links, but get the top positions in SERPs.
The Business of Link Building to Your Business
With everyone vying for the top spot of search results, it is vital that every website owner to understand why effective link building strategies is a must-have in every SEO campaign.
High-quality backlinks make your site look more credible and authoritative. Who would want to buy or obtain information from a shady-looking website, right? To achieve your site’s goals, whether to increase traffic, build more followers, improve sales, etc., you must first improve the people’s perception of your website.
Search engines like Google crawl links inside and outside of your site to determine whether you offer relevant information with regards to a user’s query. You can produce high-quality content and use all the right keywords, but without links, your site doesn’t get that “vote of confidence” from Google. The more links that point to your website, the more Google thinks that your site is a trustworthy resource, and the more your website goes up in ranking.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
SEO Link building takes some consideration, especially when it comes to choosing a good, high-quality backlink. But what makes a good backlink? SEO experts may have differing opinions on the characteristics of a good backlink, but most, if not all of them, would agree that the backlink must have the following factors:
Search engines only want to provide relevant, helpful information to their users. The relevance of a backlink is a crucial aspect because it tells search engines that the content is a useful source of information that meets the needs of the user.
For example, if your content is all about women’s fashion, it doesn’t make sense to have backlinks from home improvement, or pets or gardening websites. You’d want to have backlinks from a hairstyling or apparel website. It must make sense that links are related to one another to increase the chances of getting clicked.
Authority is another telling factor whether you have a good or bad backlink. Links with high authority tend to get more votes from Google than links with low authority, so it’s best to strive to get backlinks from high authority websites.
Consider this: if your website revolves around the beauty industry getting a backlink from a person or company with high authority, like from a famous plastic surgeon or fashion editor, will make your website more appealing. There are several tools you can use to check the authority rating of a backlink, such as Moz’s Domain Authority and Ahrefs Domain Rating.
Many people overlook the traffic factor of a backlink, but it’s actually an important one. It’s easy to assume that link building is all about improving your ranking in search results. However, when considering traffic and the more traffic you get from your backlinks, Google will see your website as more relevant and reputable.
Furthermore, getting backlinks from a high-traffic website can be very beneficial. Simply because there are lots of people going over that website, and the chances of the backlink being clicked also increases.
Links’ Location on Content
Valuable backlinks are often placed in the body of the content as it signals the website’s “vote of confidence.” This is called ‘links that are editorially-placed’, and Google sees editorially-placed backlinks as much more valuable because the search engine thinks that your site is a fantastic resource.
Meanwhile, some backlinks are put in the footer or the author’s bio, which is often the case in guest posting. However, if it comes from a reputable and high-traffic website, then it would still be beneficial for your site. Overall, getting a link that is positioned high up in the content gives your website a better advantage.
Google’s Penguin Update regularly monitors backlinks and penalizes websites with spammy backlink practices. One of the first few factors they look at is the anchor texts for backlinks. Penguin favors natural-looking anchor texts because it tells people that the content is relevant and useful and not something that tries to sell.
Working with the right anchor texts can be tricky. First, you want the anchor text to be the same as your target keywords. However, be careful and not overdo it to avoid getting penalized. You also want to explore using partial match keywords, so they sound more natural. You need to make slight variations of the target keywords and incorporate them naturally into the content. Finally, consider using branded keywords which uses the brand name as the anchor text, as well as generic anchor texts like “click here,” “learn more” or “go here.”
The Best and Most Effective Link Building Strategies
When you start your link building campaign, you want to focus on white hat link building strategies and stay away from shady black hat practices. Google doesn’t appreciate the spammy link building campaigns, and it’s quick to penalize website owners who try to manipulate its algorithm.
There are a variety of link building SEO tips, but here are the top strategies that you can get started with right away.
Testimonial Link Building
Testimonials are probably the easiest and quickest way to earn backlinks. It’s essentially a win-win for you and the company.
With more than 90% of consumers being influenced by feedback and reviews online, a lot of businesses, especially B2B, opt to display testimonials on their website to close more deals. Submitting a testimonial is mutually-beneficial: your review impacts the brand’s image, while your name or website get displayed on the company’s testimonial page.
To start building backlinks using testimonials, create a rough draft of all the companies and brands you do business with. Visit their website and see whether they display testimonials. Narrow down your options to companies that display testimonials that also include the customer’s website. Reach out to them through email telling them that you’re interested in giving an honest testimonial about their product or service and if they’d be kind enough to include your website’s link.
The key to successfully acquiring testimonial backlinks is to be gracious, respectful, and honest. Even if there are aspects of the product or service that you didn’t like, you’d still want to highlight what you liked best. After all, the company is interested in improving their business, so a harmful testimonial might not earn you that coveted backlink.
There had been some assumptions in the past couple of years that guest posting is dead, specifically in 2014 when Matt Cutts declared guest posting as no longer an effective external link building strategy. Fast forward to more than five years, and here we are, and guest posting is still thriving, strong as ever.
Not all types of guest posting are effective today. Many years ago, a lot of people were hooked to low-quality guest blogging; which is when people would create an article and submit it to directories. Stay away from spammy guest posting techniques because you’ll never get the results you’re looking for.
However, there are ways to get high-quality guest posting, and it should be one of your best link building strategies.
Take Neil Patel for example. He has submitted over 100 guest posts each year and says guest posting is an incredible way to generate high-quality backlinks. According to Neil, marketers and website owners who are engaged in the B2B industry most benefit from guest posting.
If you want to explore guest posting as a link building strategy, you need to be very committed. You won’t see the impact of the guest posts overnight.
To start looking for guest posting opportunities, you need to look at websites that
- Accepts guest posts
- Has high domain authority, traffic, and social following
- Operates in the same niche as yours
- Credits you as the guest blogger.
If you’re able to nail these criteria successfully, start sending your pitch and making a high-quality guest post.
The challenge with guest posting is that a lot of website owners become inundated with spam requests for guest posts. So, when you’re pitching out to the site owner, make sure to do your research and craft a personalized message. Most importantly, make sure to create an outstanding, valuable, and high-quality content for the guest post
Link roundups are a collection of the best links site owners use in their content, often on a daily, monthly or weekly basis. Getting your link included in these roundups is an incredible way to build great backlinks to your site.
Now, to be able to build links through roundups, you must have winning content. Many people overlook the quality of their content and go about looking for roundup opportunities right away, only to get rejected later on. If you pitch your links to another website, make sure the content is relevant, original, and compelling.
Proceed to look for link roundup opportunities. You’ll quickly see most of them by typing a search query in Google like “keyword + roundup” or something similar. Go over the list and see where you can send in your pitch for a roundup. It helps to keep track of all the sites you want to send pitches to and update the status of your correspondences.
Afterward, start sending in your pitches to the person running the roundups. Most websites have general contact forms, but if you fail to get a response this way, try looking up the owner up on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. If your previous message got lost somewhere, you can send another on one of the social media platforms the owner is most active in.
At this point create a personal pitch, but it shouldn’t be generic and boring. You want to build a relationship with the site owner, so give them the impression that you know their content very well and that adding your link could bring them more value. Don’t send a long letter; keep it concise and straightforward, but still personal. When the site owner features your link in his next roundup, then you have just gained your site a fantastic, high-quality backlink.
One of the newest, but one of the most effective white hat link building strategies is by guest-starring in a podcast. Guesting in podcasts is a terrific way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, spread brand awareness, and generate links to your website.
Podcasting has exploded over the years, but it’s also one of the most underrated and overlooked SEO link building strategies. What many people fail to realize is that guesting on podcasts can have profound impacts on one’s website, especially where link building is concerned.
To build links through podcast guesting, it’s important to look for podcasts that are in the same industry. You may get invited to speak as a resource person in podcasts, or reach out to podcast operators and tell them how you can be a valuable speaker. The goal is to establish yourself as an expert, so make sure that your pitch sounds personalized and credible.
The great thing about building links through podcast guesting is that you get to have show notes after your session. Typically, the show notes contain a transcription of the interview and possibly accompanied by a blog post. The notes also carry links of your website and social media channels.
So, if you’ve always ignored podcasts as a way to build more links, then it’s high time you to start looking for guesting opportunities.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Getting links from authority websites can be very beneficial to your brand. But how does one get a mention and a link from sites like Forbes, The New York Times, or Entrepreneur? You might think it’s next to impossible to even connect with someone in these significant publications until HARO came into the picture.
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out, and it works like a dating site that connects reporters to sources. When link building with HARO, you’d want to be cited as a source, and then get a link to your website in exchange for your expert opinion.
When a journalist needs an opinion or expert advice, they turn to HARO and send in the summary of the content or story, qualifications they need from a source as well as the deadline for pitches. If you happen to spot one that matches your industry, skills, or expertise, you can send in your pitch. If the reporter likes it, they’ll create the content containing your opinion, along with a link to your website.
If you’d like to start building links via HARO, you need to create an account as a source in their platform and monitor your email every day. HARO sends out inquiries for pitches from Monday to Friday, three times a day. It’s important to act fast because a lot of people are also vying to connect with reporters from major publications, so ensure that you only send the best and fitting pitches. Also, make sure to follow HARO’s policies to avoid getting banned on the platform.
Broken Link Building
Ever encountered a 404 page when you click on a link on a website? That is called a broken or dead link. A broken link is unwelcome news because it leads to poor user experience. Any webmaster wouldn’t want a broken link, but it’s also something that happens every day to a lot of websites.
However, broken links are actually opportunities for link building. The psychology behind link building with broken links is that you tell the person about a broken link, and in return ask whether he’d like to use your link as a replacement for the broken link. Most times, it works because you offer value first before you ask for something in return.
If you feel like broken link building is perfect for you, you can get started looking at broken links right now. Doing it manually can be time-consuming and exhausting, so make sure to explore these tools that allow you to spot broken links quickly: SiteChecker, Online Broken Link Checker, Screaming Frog, Ahrefs Broken Link Checker, and Google Webmaster.
Once you’ve identified a broken link, you now need to connect with the website owner. It is crucial to craft a personal, friendly, and helpful pitch, so make sure you don’t sound too aggressive or pushy. You want to establish a relationship, and your pitch is the best shot to getting the broken link replaced with your very own link.
SEO Link Building Is Non-Negotiable For Any Successful Website
A website is your business’ online representation, and without the best SEO link building strategies in place, your website (and your business) will lag behind the competition. Link building strategies evolve, so you must stay up-to-date with the current trends and best practices. Make sure to employ not only the best link building tactics, but focus on white hat link building strategies to secure the top positions on searches without fear of getting penalized and losing everything that you’ve worked so hard for.