What Is Link Building – A Comprehensive Guide & Examples
Are you looking to create content that’s both high quality and enticing but will also drive more traffic and eventually enable you to thrive online?
High-quality links will bring you a lot closer to online success. In 2019 and going forward, proper link building is one of the most important skills you can have in SEO. But exactly what is link building and what role does it play in driving online traffic?
We put this text together as a detailed guide to link building, which both newbies and seasoned marketers can use to learn everything they need to know about this critical topic.
After reading our guide, you will have all the knowledge it takes to fill your content with high-quality links that will increase your site’s ranking and bring you more traffic.
Image Source: Ahrefs
What Is Link Building?
In simple terms, link building is a process in which you acquire links on other websites that point to your own.
Most SEO specialists will tell you that link building is one of the hardest aspects of the job, which isn’t surprising since there’s so much to it. Everyone uses different methods, but no one can tell you which one is the best. Needless to say, this link building definition sounds simple enough, but the reality is a lot more complicated.
Creating high-quality links is basically an art, and we are here to teach you this artform so you’ll be able to find your own ideal link building method, eventually reaching the point where you’re miles ahead of your competitors. So let’s begin!
Why Does Link Building Matter?
Google has already stated that backlinks are one of the top three ranking signals they employ. Thus, it’s important to note in this link building tutorial that they form the backbone of their algorithms.
Some 20 years ago Google changed the game by ranking pages based on how many people linked to them. Yahoo and other search engines didn’t do that, but they have a great deal less impact when you compare them to Google.
However, the game has advanced a lot, and Google now cares for link quality as well, which is precisely why we will talk about high- and low-quality link building later in the guide.
White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
When talking about SEO link building, it’s imperative to explain the difference between white hat and black hat link building. Google won’t penalize you for white hat link building, which is why it’s the type we’ll be talking about in this guide.
Black hat incorporates all the spammy links Google doesn’t want to see and will penalize you for them. The best way to avoid creating any black hat links is to be trustworthy—in translation, your links can’t be shady but must instead be from another credible site.
Image Source: Neil Patel
Low-Quality vs. High-Quality Link Building
In essence, low-quality links will shatter your hope of achieving a better ranking while high-quality ones will boost to your chances of reaching one.
But what’s the difference between the two? Here are the things you need to look for to find a quality link:
The Authority of the Website
A page’s quality is one thing, but the quality of the website on which the page is located still needs to be authoritative. This part is much easier. You’ll know an authority site by the very fact that its name is recognizable within its niche.
The Relevancy of the Website
Link building in 2019 also needs to include how relevant the site is. This has been true before, but it’s far more important now. You can’t use just any quality link; it must be relevant, i.e. it needs to be related to your site.
The Authority of the Page
The page you’re linking to needs to have a higher ranking. PageRank is still an important algorithm Google uses to determine the quality of a page, even though it’s not public anymore.
The Anchor Text of the Link
Anchor text is the clickable part of your link. Google only considers your link high quality if the anchor text fits within the context of the page the link takes you to. Keywords help here, but you can’t always use keyword-rich anchor text since that’s considered spam. Moz is your best source when learning just what is link building in relation to proper anchor texts.
The Position of the Link on the Page
Moving forward, the position of your link within the page also matters. Most importantly, it should be embedded in the page and not located in the footer or the sidebar.
The Text Around the Link
The text around your link also matters because it, together with the anchor text, gives clues to what the link is about.
Nofollow and Dofollow Links
These two tags are added into the page’s code. Nofollow links are the ones that don’t count as an endorsement. Clearly you want dofollow links.
Image Source: PrepostSEO.com
Types of Link Building
There are only two main types that will make a big difference in your strategy.
1. Editorial Links
These are the so-called natural links, and they are the best types of links you can get. You don’t even have to ask for these as other website owners may choose to simply give them.
To get these links, you need to give something in return, which usually boils down to having a quality piece of content.
Essentially, delivering quality content should definitely be among the best link building strategies in 2019 because that’s precisely what will get you the very best links.
2. Manual Links
Manual link building is the most common type of link building as it involves manually obtaining links. You will have to contact other website owners and bloggers to convince them to link to your site or page.
The key here is to give them a good reason to do so—this is where you’ll have to be creative and learn what they might want from you.
The Best Link Building Strategies
To get editorial links, you’ll have to work on your content marketing or producing high-quality content because that’s precisely what will get others to notice and link to your site. But we’ll make this simple for you by telling you the type of content that generally produces the most links.
Just like this post, here. Essentially, any piece that acts as a comprehensive resource on a subject is considered an in-depth guide. These are, naturally, very linkable—everyone interested in the topic will love to have a comprehensive guide where they can find all the information they need.
Sites with lots of visual content are perfect link building sites. By visual content, we mean images, infographics, diagrams, charts, or any other visually oriented pieces of content. Visual content works because it’s easy to link to, much more than text content is.
Original Data Content
This type of content includes anything that reveals new data from research, studies, and surveys. These work because they’re easy to link and easy to cite in other content.
List posts include any type of content that’s list-based, like top tips, techniques, methods, etc. These are among the most popular forms of text-based content pieces. They work because they’re easy to digest and most people will gladly read them precisely for that convenience.
Image Source: State of Digital
Besides content marketing, there are many other link building and SEO linking strategies that you can use. Ahrefs offers a great list of several useful strategies that you should check out if you want to see the more tried-and-true techniques other successful marketers have used.
However, we feel that making high-quality content is the best way to get others to link to you, together with contacting some prominent bloggers.
Advanced Tips and Advice on Link Building
All of the following tips and advice have been used by successful marketers over time. If you hope to start off with some strong link building, consider these hints an extra service.
“Enforce” Those Links
It often happens that people don’t link to you even when they’ve mentioned your site or page. You can always use BuzzSumo to find these cases and ask the owners of the sites to provide a link to you. You can do the same for all the visual content you’ve made; you only need to use Google’s image search option to find the places your content has appeared without a link.
Turn Your Content Ideas into Visual Content
If you really want to learn how to link build, you should turn your content into easy-to-digest images. We can’t stress how useful this is. In order to do this, you simply need to put what you’ve already written into an image-based format where everything is simplified and easy to understand. Visual content always interests people more and gets them to read what you’ve written. Keep your audience’s needs in mind since link building is, by definition, like a form of marketing.
Perform Email Outreach in the Afternoon
Why? Because that’s the time the least emails are being sent. That way you won’t be a part of that overcrowded inbox most people have in the morning. Naturally, you should be careful that it’s not your afternoon, but the afternoon of the person you’re sending your email to. You can use Boomerang to schedule emails if you want to.
Find List Targets
It’s simple; if you can’t find quality link targets, you can find lists of them online. For example, if you’re looking for some good travel blogs, just Google “best travel blogs” or something like that. There are lists of everything online, and you’ll probably find a list of what you need there as well.
Examples of Link Building
One of the best link building examples is email outreach, where you can get some of the best links in 2019 and on. But how do you do that without ending up in the spam folders of most of the bloggers and journalists you reach out to?
You need to make sure you’re finding the so-called “likely linkers,” i.e., people are very likely to link back to you. You can easily search for them on Google. Once you find them, all that’s left for you to do is find their email address (Hunter.io is an excellent tool for this) and reach out to them with a personalized script.
We have one more example to help fully answer the question, What is link building?
We are talking about the so-called Skyscraper Technique. Many people using the technique have seen a good amount of online success because this link building method is so effective.
The technique was first developed by Brian Dean from Backlinko, and many people have already used it and proved that it’s a useful example of what some of the best link building techniques can do. You can read everything on how it works on Backlinko, but the gist is that it includes email outreach, not just creating quality content.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it, this article lists everything that you need to know about link building in a straightforward, easy-to-read manner. From the very basics to the most advanced, it gives detailed answers to the question, What is link building?
We hope that this was as helpful and fun to read as it was for us to compile and write!