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.

What Is Link Building
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.  

White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
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.

Low-Quality vs. High-Quality Link Building
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.

  • In-Depth Guides

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.

  • Visual Content

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

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.