The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building
The process of getting other websites to link to pages on your website is called “link building.”
In simpler terms, it is a practice where you promote your website to other website owners because you wish to secure a link (hyperlink) on their website to your page.
No, you may think — why invest your resources and time in link building?
The answer is simple — the higher the number of links you have from authoritative and relevant websites, the better your site will perform in the search for relevant queries. As per the latest statistics, the 1st ranking website on Google’s SERPs typically has 3.8x more backlinks as compared to positions 2-10.
Note: In case you don’t know the term backlinks, let us define it for you. The links from a page on one site to another are called backlinks. If a site links to your website, this means you have a backlink from them.
If you want to boost your website traffic from search, you should consistently secure good links from relevant sites. In other words, you need link building. However, there are some prerequisites for link building. These are brilliant communication, strong social skills, creativity, and persistence.
Why Your Business Should Include Link Acquisition in Your Marketing?
Read on to know the reasons why link acquisition is crucial for your business:
- Links are a strong ranking factor in the search algorithm of Google as well as other search engines.
- Links are helpful in audience development.
- A link is like a vote of confidence from one site to another.
How to Build Links?
Let’s take a detailed look at the categories in which most of the link building strategies and tactics fall.
1. Adding Links
If you visit a website that isn’t yours and manually place your link there, that is known as adding a link. Some tactics that fit into this type of category are:
- Social Profile Creation
- Business Directory Submissions
- Blog Commenting
- Creating Job Search Listings
- Posting to Q&A sites, Communities, and Forums
Building links through these tactics is an extremely easy thing to do. And because of this, those links have a very low value in Google’s eyes (can even be flagged as SPAM in some cases). Moreover, such kinds of links merely provide you a competitive advantage. If you can visit a site and manually place your link there, your competitors can easily do the same.
But, we advise you not to ignore these tactics completely. These can be advantageous for your online business for reasons other than link acquisition.
2. Asking for Links
This is when you get in touch with the owner of the site you want a link from and provide them with a compelling reason to link to you. Giving a “compelling reason” is vital in this case. This is because the people you are contacting don’t care about you or your website. They wish to know what’s in it for them. Don’t worry, we have got you covered here as well. Let’s discuss some of the link building strategies and tactics that come in this category, along with the “compelling reason” you can give to the website owners:
- Guest Blogging: Write useful content for their site.
- Testimonials and Case Studies: Provide positive feedback about their service or product.
- Ego Bait: Mention their work in your content in a positive light.
- Link Inserts: Show them a resource with more information on a thing they have mentioned briefly.
- Skyscraper Technique: Show them a better resource as compared to the one they are linking to.
Right now, these strategies may seem a little exciting to you. However, after you send your first email request, you come face to face with a bitter reality — your “compelling reason” looks not so compelling to them. For instance, they may find your guest post not good enough or your resource not unique enough.
So you may note a fact here. For these tactics to be effective, you should create an excellent page that individuals would themselves want to link to. Or, have a lot of credibility and authority in your space.
As it is hard to convince random individuals to link to you, a lot of SEO tactics aim to sweeten the deal by:
- Offering to share their content on Facebook and Twitter
- Offering a link in exchange
- Offering free access to a premium product
However, offering these “extra advantages” gets you into the grey area of what is known as a “link scheme” as per Google’s guidelines. In other words, when you use these ways, you end up breaking Google’s guidelines.
Note: After going through this section, you may think we are dissuading you from using the strategies and tactics that fall into this category. That’s not what we are doing. We simply wish to set the right expectation here. We want to tell you that you must not give up after sending your 10th outreach email with no response in return. It takes extreme effort to get links with the help of these tactics without breaking the guidelines set by Google.
3. Earning Links
You earn links if other individuals link to your website’s pages without “you” asking them to do so. This only happens if you have something outstanding that makes other site owners want to mention it on their sites.
Tip: Website owners can only link to things they know exist out there. Hence, you need to promote your page for them to see it.
A few tactics and strategies that fall in this category are creating linkable assets such as infographics, surveys, maps, and data studies. (A linkable asset is a content piece crafted to attract links — typically from other sites in your niche.)
All in all, we recommend that you invest your money and time into creating valuable and outstanding pages. It will result in good word of mouth and high-quality backlinks in a natural way.
Tip: Even if you are starting out and have a tight budget, you can still create noteworthy content and earn links organically. At this time, you will have put in much more effort than your competitors.
What Makes a Good Link?
No one is aware of how Google measures each link’s value. But a few general concepts of evaluating links do exist. Let’s discuss two of these important concepts in detail.
Let’s suppose you own a blog that is about coffee. You post a review of a coffee grinder you think is the best in the market. At a later stage, two friends of yours express a desire to link to it. One from their “15 Tips to Save Money” article and another from their “12 Top Coffee Recipes” article. Both the pages have equal authority.
Now, which one of the two pages do you think will cast a stronger vote in Google’s eyes? The answer is simple — the page that is more relevant i.e. “12 Top Coffee Recipes.”
2. Anchor Text
Anchor text is defined as the clickable text in a hyperlink. In a lot of cases, it describes the linked page. Google notices the words in anchor text to better understand the keywords the referenced page deserves to rank for.
Best Link Building Practices
Although we have already discussed some link building strategies and tactics, let’s discuss two of the most effective ones.
1. Creating Linkable Assets
As mentioned before, a linkable asset is a content piece created to attract links — generally from other sites in your niche. Examples of linkable assets include case studies, infographics, list posts, etc.
We recommend that you visit your competitors’ websites to check the dominant type of linkable assets in your industry. After you find out the linkable assets that attract links in your industry, we recommend you start creating them.
Tip: As per the latest statistics, infographics are famous for attracting links. Ideal for condensing complex information, 53% of SEO specialists produce them for the purpose of earning backlinks.
2. Checking Competitors’ Links
Pursuing your competitors’ links is another link building strategy you can follow. If you get to study the links of the top-ranking page for your search query, you can figure out which tactics to use to get similar links and outrank that page.
So, how do you check your competitors’ links? We recommend that you use an SEO tool called Ahrefs. All you need to do is enter the keyword you wish to rank for in the Keywords Explorer and check out “SERP Overview.” It tells you the number of backlinks and linking websites the top-ranking pages have.
When you click on the numbers, you get to view a report listing each one of the links.
Now, with this information, we recommend you do the following:
- Check how the links were acquired and use those tactics to exceed the number of links of your competitors.
- Try to get links from those pages that have linked to your competitors.
If you want to dive deeper into link building, these resources can help:
- Technical SEO Implementations to Increase the Impact of Your Link Building Campaign
- 9 Easy Local Link Building Tactics
Now that you know the basics of link building, its importance, and different link building tactics, it is time to get cracking!
If you have never built links before, you can start as soon as possible to be able to land your first link. If you have been link building for some time now, we hope you try out a tactic or two from our list to see the differences.
As we have already told you, link building is not that easy and the tactics continue to evolve. But we do hope that you get to know some approaches from this article and become an even better link builder.
Always remember, link building is both an art and a science – analytical skills and technical knowledge is necessary, but our creativity is definitely the defining element.
Happy link building to you!