Backlinks have been playing a pivotal role for search engines like Google to gauge the authoritativeness of a website. However, building links is not precisely a cakewalk, especially for non-technical SEO enthusiasts like yourself.
Even the most dexterous SEO professionals find it tough to build links for their brands regardless of the link-building tactics used. Today, authority, topical relevancy, and quality are increasingly becoming more prominent factors.
This has brought a shift to the kind of links marketers build for long-term SEO success. Even non-technical SEO enthusiasts can replicate the same modern strategy to help gain a competitive edge. In this article, we are going to dive into the link-building guide that helps you get started in the world of SEO.
Link-Building: What It is and Why It’s Important for SEO?
For the uninitiated, link-building is a practice to get endorsements or links from other websites to your website. These links are known as backlinks and are acquired from quality, authoritative, and relevant sources. Often the websites linking back to your site pass their authority too, which improves your ranking in search result pages.
Gene Fitzgerald, Head of Marketing at BOS believes “Link-building is the backbone of search engine optimization and simply the most powerful way to gain Google’s attention. This is especially true when your website is fairly new and hasn’t earned the trust of Google.”
For such websites, backlinks feel like a godsend thing since they act as votes of confidence. Backlinks earned through guest posting, image link building, creating link-worthy content, and others are some of the natural means.
The more backlinks from relevant and quality sites point to your site the better chance it has to rank higher. This makes backlinks one of the most prominent factors for improving your SEO.
What Qualifies for Good Backlinks?
There are three levels of backlink quality: High-quality, Medium-quality, and Low-quality. While most low-quality links are spammy and created against Google’s guidelines, medium-quality links are easier to get and impact little to some extent.
Sean Stevens, Director of Immerse Education adds “High-quality backlinks have three common elements, they are acquired Naturally from Relevant and Reputable sources. Such backlinks have some topical relevancy to your business’s niche. They pass the most value to your website and get you good traction on Google searches.”
How Many Backlinks Should You Create?
This is a bit tricky to answer since every marketer has a different opinion on the subject. Many believe the higher the backlinks you get the better it is for your website’s SEO even if they are from low or medium-quality sites.
However, the other side of the argument is to build only high-quality links from authoritative and relevant sources. Even if it means creating only a reasonable number of links, it’ll suffice to attain your goals of higher organic reach.
But since you are starting out, you should only focus on acquiring as many links from medium to high-quality and relevant sources as possible.
White Hat vs Black Hat Link Building Strategies
White-hat link-building strategies involve boosting your SEO through natural means. It incorporates building links by outreaching relevant sources or creating custom images and content assets that offer value to users and compel others to link to your site.
Derek Bruce, Operations Director at Skills Training Group says “Links acquired through the white hat and legal means boost your organic reach and increase the quality of traffic and leads you gain. Black hat, on the other hand, involves creating links through unnatural and illegal means. These are spammy links and easier to acquire in contrast to the time-consuming white hat link-building.”
While black hat tactics can give you a momentary advantage, in the long run, it’s not worth it at all. Such practices are frowned upon by search engines and may attract penalties or a permanent ban. Even though white hat link-building strategies consume a lot of time, it’s a sustainable model in the long run.
DoFollow vs NoFollow Links: Which Ones are Better?
Backlinks are primarily of two types: DoFollow and NoFollow links. DoFollow links are helpful for destination sites in terms of SEO as they pass the link juice from the originator. The link juice here means passing the authority of the source to the linked site. Acquiring more DoFollow links would improve your domain authority and domain ratings along with rankings.
Tom Miller, Director of Marketing at Fitness Volt suggests “A NoFollow link, on the other hand, does not pass the authority of the source. Such links do not offer any value in terms of SEO but they do offer some value. NoFollow links can bring potential high-value traffic and also diversify your link portfolio. Your backlink profile must consist of a healthy mix of DoFollow and NoFollow backlinks.”
How to Build Quality and Relevant Backlinks?
Ways to build quality and relevant backlinks have become saturated and limited to a few options as listed below. While you get on with link-building, keep the above-discussed points in mind.
- Do Guest Blogging: Guest posting is one of the white-hat ways to build high-quality, relevant, and DoFollow links. It allows you to build a link profile through your own resources. Additionally, many sites welcome well-written guest posts as it keeps the fresh flow of blogs coming up with little to no effort.
- Link-Building Through Custom Images: It’s one of the underutilized methods of link-building as publishers are looking for image assets. They need images that perfectly sum up their key points and demonstrate the concept easily. Through link outreach, you can ensure whoever uses your images links back to you.
- Create Link-Worthy Content Assets: Creating high-quality and link-worthy content assets or original research like surveys or ultimate guides would help accomplish your mission. Such in-depth content on a particular subject will attract publishers that naturally want to link to your content to improve their own.
- Build Citations: While citations may not have the same value as they had earlier but their benefits are not obsolete. Citations and business profiles with accurate information on different local sites like Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps, and others help you expand your backlink profile.
- Find Broken Links to Replace With: Broken links are another great strategy to build backlinks. To get on with this, you first need a list of relevant sites from where you want to acquire links and find pages with broken links or 404 redirects. You can simply notify them of the same and suggest replacing those links with yours.
- Link Insertion: Similar to broken link replacement, you make a list of relevant sites or content pages that goes well with your niche. Next, reach out to them stating how your intended page would add value to their website. The success rate of such a link-building approach is low, however, you can increase it with some incentive.
Link-building is one of the most challenging aspects of search engine optimization. Not many industry experts get it right even after years of experience. But following this guide, you would start your link-building journey on the right path.
By following the white hat link-building practices listed here, you can acquire as many high-quality and DoFollow links as possible. Also, you want to keep your backlink profile neutral by building a few NoFollow links from highly relevant sources to increase the potential traffic on your site. That said, good luck with your link-building ventures!