Link Building Guide

The Only Link Building Guide You’ll Ever Need

More than 80% of web users rely on search engines when looking for local retailers and service providers. SEO helps businesses garner the online attention they need to remain afloat. Link building is an important part of technical SEO that can both boost your position on search engine results pages (SERPs) and add credibility to your business. With link building, web users are given an easy and time-efficient way of accessing related information from valuable sources.

Moreover, search engines themselves can use the hyperlinks created through link building to crawl the web and determine the authority of individual platforms. Valuable for both search bots and human users alike, link building offers an inexpensive and relatively easy way to gain more traffic and achieve a desirable page rank.

The Basics of Link Building

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to master the art of effective link building. However, it is helpful to be good at networking. With link building, you’ll be inserting or requesting the insertion of hyperlinks, or links to your website from high-quality, high-authority platforms that are related to your niche. These links are often referred to as backlinks.

For instance, if your company produces or sells carpet cleaning shampoo, you might want backlinks on websites that sell carpet cleaning equipment, new carpeting, or general indoor cleaning supplies. When people visit a website that has backlinks to your web pages, they’ll already be looking for information about what you have to offer. Quality backlinks can be mutually beneficial in that both you and the website that hosts your links will benefit from increased traffic, better search engine ranking, and increased sales, among other things.

Why Link Building Matters

The process of optimizing websites for search engines has evolved significantly throughout the years. More importantly, it continues to evolve each passing day. At one time, filling your web pages with keyword-rich content was enough to land a spot at the very top of SERPs. Now, however, major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are also considering many technical factors such as general website fitness, bounce rates, uptime, page loading speeds, and more. When it comes to technical SEO, link-building is consistently ranked among the top factors considered. Websites that have a diverse range of backlinks from high-value platforms rank far better than those that do not.

When a website is brand-new, it has yet to gain any real authority of its own. Building backlinks from websites that have already established authority allows you to capitalize on this existing goodwill. Their trustworthiness reflects well on your own business and expedites the process of establishing your website’s credibility.

Finding reputable businesses that are willing to put your links on their web pages is often the biggest challenge of link building. Thus, to accomplish this, you’ll need to focus on creating plenty of value-rich, relevant content that people want to read. Establishing backlinks as a guest blogger is a popular way to organically build links. However, you can also:

• Pursue the backlinks that your competitors have established
• Build links through social media promotions
• Manually reach out to companies that are related to your industry
• Use web directories to build links

The Importance of Link Building Done Right

Certain link-building strategies are both faster and far easier to leverage than others. However, faster is rarely better when it comes to link building. Just as Google and other major search engines consider robust link profiles as an indication of website value and trustworthiness, they also frown upon links that are built too fast and in the wrong ways.

Although you can build hundreds of backlinks to your web pages within a matter of days or even hours by leveraging online web directories, this method can actually work against your business rather than for it if you overuse it. A solid link profile is one that’s built with a balanced blend of organic and inorganic links. Link building that takes time generally provides the most desirable and worthwhile results. Link building that’s accomplished within mere minutes can lead to painful penalties and other setbacks.

Three Types of Links to Include in Your Link-building Strategy

There are three different types of links that your link-building strategy can include, but only one of the three is guaranteed to move you in the right direction with both human users and search engines. Understanding how different link types are classified and the benefits and drawbacks of using each one will help you avoid wasting time on strategies that don’t drive you closer to your targets.

Backlinks From Users

Getting or creating backlinks from users is one way to build up your link profile, but it should never be a sole or primary source of new links. This can include adding links to unmoderated comment sections, adding links to users’ profile pages, adding links to ads, and adding links to press releases via optimized anchor text.

No-follow and Follow Links

No-follow links link to other websites but use rel=nofollow within their code. As a result, Google doesn’t crawl to the sites that have been linked to. There are no immediate SEO benefits from no-follow links in terms of technical optimization, but there are long-term gains in this area. With a number of no-follow links, you’ll get more organic traffic to your web pages, and having increased visitors will help you establish authority naturally.

Backlinks From Industry-specific Websites and Blogs

Linked brand mentions and links within guest blog posts can provide impressive benefits in terms of both SEO and increased web traffic. However, these are benefits that you’ll only enjoy when the links that you build are on websites or blogs that are actually related to your industry and host relevant content. The platforms that you use must have high levels of authority as well.

Surefire Strategies for Successful Link Building

Given that the long route is often the best route with link building, it’s important to have a few strategies so that the time you invest pays off. Among some of the most effective methods of building high-quality, organic links are requesting links, manually adding links on your own, and earning backlinks.

How to Request Backlinks

To request backlinks, you’ll need to connect with the owners of websites directly. Before doing so, make sure that the websites you’re pursuing tick all of the right boxes. These sites should be credible and high performing with minimal downtime, easy and intuitive layouts, and rapid page loading speeds, and they should be relevant to your niche. Link-building tools can be used to expedite the process of verifying these things or to identify websites that are worthwhile prospects in every respect.

Manually Adding Links

Manually adding links should not be done in lieu of requesting backlinks. Instead, both strategies should be used together to beef up your link profile. With manual link building, you’ll be placing links on your own. This can be done by guest posting on other high-value platforms, inserting links in press releases, and publishing links in blog comments. Manual link building via press releases and unmoderated blog comments should be kept to a minimum.

Of these three techniques, manual link building via guest blogging will add the greatest value to your link profile and give you the lowest likelihood of being penalized by search engines for building links too fast or in questionable ways. Per Google and other search engines like it, links that aren’t placed editorially are often viewed as manipulative, particularly when this is done in large volumes, which is otherwise known as link spamming.

Earning Links

Earning links that are editorially placed will give you excellent value. This is the link-building technique that requires the greatest investment of energy, but it also provides the highest rewards. Earned links are not easy for competitors to replicate.

According to Google itself and nearly every other reputable source, the absolute best way to organically build high-quality links is by creating and publishing fresh, relevant, and high-value content that people want to read. When you do so, there’s a very high likelihood that other website owners will appreciate the value of your content and link to it so that their users can benefit from it as well. Earned links occur when website owners actively and independently choose to link to your web pages. Earned links provide benefits for both parties.

Additional Link Building Strategies Worth Leveraging

Techniques for building quality links are not limited to link earning, manual link building, and submitting backlink requests. There are actually many methods that you can leverage. Moreover, the more diverse your link-building plan is, the more likely you are to succeed.

Create Online Assets That Are Worth Linking To

When it comes to earning links, don’t limit yourself to blogs alone. You can earn links by publishing infographics, videos, and other online assets. Not only will having a diverse range of linkable assets bulk up your link profile, but it can also incite increases in social media attention and bolster your brand-building efforts.

Make Use of Social Media

Use social media to gain more attention for your high-quality content and other linkable assets. Social media is great for keeping your audience updated about your brand, establishing a personable image for your business, and more. Use social platforms to engage with your market in comments, take part in niche-specific conversations, and respond to brand mentions. Doing these things in addition to sharing posts will increase your likelihood of earning quality links.

Be Strategic When Guest Posting

Guest posting absolutely everywhere you can solely for the sake of link building is a thing of the past. Notwithstanding this fact, guest posting remains a very viable and effective way to organically build solid, high-quality links. It must be done on websites with high authority and in a mutually beneficial way. For instance, you and a related business can partner to perform a case study.

Fix Broken Links

You don’t have to create fresh content in order to earn new links. If there are websites linking back to yours with broken links, simply contact their owners with new links leading to existing, relevant content.

Add Links to Unlinked Brand Mentions

Search for brand mentions on high-authority websites. If these mentions are unlinked, reach out to have links added. As your own website authority increases, these efforts will gradually become easier.

Reverse Engineer the Backlinks of Your Competitors

Reverse engineering, or replicating the backlinks of your competitors, is a complex yet highly profitable tactic. After all, if your competitors are already succeeding in their own link-building campaigns, mirroring their footsteps can’t hurt. With high-quality link-building tools, you can gain more insight into the linking campaigns of other businesses and can then use the identified tactics to refine your own link-building plan.

Get Back the Backlinks That You’ve Lost

Savvy site owners regularly refresh their web page content. When web pages or blog posts are rewritten or replaced, backlinks are often lost. If the opportunity to do so exists and if the replacement or rewritten content is still relevant to your niche, reach out and ask whether your backlinks can be put back in.

How to Distinguish Good Links From Bad Links

The authority, trustworthiness, and relevance of websites are three important things to consider when deciding whether or not backlinks from their pages are actually beneficial. However, it’s also important to consider the anchor text that’s being used and the placement of links as well.

Why Anchor Text Matters

The text that’s used to link pages is the anchor text. When readers click on these words or phrases, they either travel directly to the linked website, or another tab opens and the linked site is revealed. Optimizing anchor text by using commercial terms or main keywords will rarely elicit a positive response from Google. When building your link profile, you want a balanced blend of anchor text that’s been optimized and anchor text that has not.

How Link Placement Can Affect the Value and Efficacy of a Backlink

The visibility of backlinks matters. Links that are high up on a page and easy for readers to see are more likely to be used. Backlinks that are at the bottom of the page or in the footer have some value in terms of technical link-building benefits, but they won’t necessarily boost your site traffic.

Things You Should Never Do When Building Links

Don’t waste your time registering with countless web directories to build links the cheap and easy way. This is one of the fastest routes to painful SEO penalties.

Also, one of the biggest mistakes in link building is to buy links. Despite what link sellers promise, this tactic does not produce desirable, long-term outcomes. Inorganic links won’t give your site the authority you’re seeking. Purchased backlinks are often referred to as toxic backlinks, and they can essentially kill your efforts to optimize for search engines. As per Google, backlinking schemes that garner penalties include bartering for links, paying for links, and offering free products for reviews that contain links.

Measuring the Success of Your Link Building Campaign

As you gradually build a diverse range of organic links, following several metrics will keep you informed of how your link-building campaign is going. These include:

• The ratio of follow to no-follow links that you’ve built
• The authority scores of the websites that are hosting your links
• The relevance of the content on sites where your backlinks exist
• Whether or not you have any toxic or otherwise harmful backlinks

Link building is an important and ongoing part of optimizing your website for search engines, building authority, and promoting your business and brand. At Unique Visitors, we use evidence-based strategies when building links for our clients. We leverage the latest and most innovative tracking tools and take a data-driven approach to determine which techniques and which platforms will provide the best possible returns. If you need help with your link-building campaign or need PPC management or web design services, call us today.