Link building is vital to the success of your website, yet there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there on the topic.
If you aren’t properly informed about link building, you can easily end up hurting your online presence, or worse yet, get penalized by Google.
The fact is backlinks from high authority sites to your website are one of the top search engine ranking factors. We want to help you learn how to do link building the right way, so your business will thrive.
Below we’ve broken down the top four things you need to know about link building and buying backlinks. These are based on what clients regularly ask us.
Ready to get started?
Do I Really Need Backlinks?
When we meet with new clients they typically ask us: do I even need backlinks? The answer is yes.
Backlinks aren’t a big secret. Most clients have heard of them, they simply don’t know what they can do for their websites. And if you don’t work in SEO, that’s okay.
We know with certainty that backlinks will always play a huge role in how websites are ranked. Although Google never reveals its algorithm, it always emphasizes backlinks in ranking.
This has been proven time and time again by us, and studies performed by big-name sites like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
Here’s an easy way to think of backlinks. Google’s role is to rank authority websites and each backlink is a vote for that site. The more backlinks you get, the more votes you have to show you’re a reputable source.
Ultimately, this will get you higher up in search results.
If you want to rank on Google, especially against big businesses, you can’t do it without backlinks.
Won’t I Get Penalized For Link Building?
Some of our clients have heard horror stories about other businesses purchasing a ton of links and getting penalized by Google. They ask us if they’ll be penalized link building too?
In general, Google only penalizes websites that do unnatural link building. These are things like Private Blog Networks (PBNs) or getting backlinks at a crazy fast rate.
For example, if you get a few backlinks in one month that looks natural. But, if you get hundreds of backlinks in one day from a questionable source, they’re going to know something is not quite right.
Another aspect of link building and not getting penalized is making sure you keep anchor texts natural. What are anchor texts? These are the group of words hyperlinked on a webpage.
We’ve boiled it down to three types of anchor texts: exact match anchors, key phrases mixed into anchors, and finally brand or natural anchors. Only a small percentage of anchor texts should be exact matches.
Too many times people try to put all of their “money” keywords in the anchor text thinking it’ll result in higher rankings. Here’s the problem. If you overdo it, Google will notice and penalize you.
We recommend that clients focus on using a variety of different anchor texts: natural phrases, click here, learn more, or your brand name.
If you keep things looking natural, you will avoid Google penalties.
What Type of Backlinks Should I Get?
Now that you better understand backlinks, you’re probably wondering what type is the best for your website? There are many to choose from and you don’t want to be penalized.
The HOTH has tested many different strategies over the years, but we believe there are two types that can safely help you out: foundational links and in-content links.
Foundational links are just as they sound. They help build the foundation of your website and they’re pretty easy to acquire. They come from creating social media profiles, making blog comments, and adding your business to directories like Yelp or Google My Business.
These types of links won’t directly drive your rankings for keywords, but they’ll show Google that you’re a legitimate business and drive that authority.
In-content links are links to your website that are found in the content of other sites. If, for example, you get mentioned in an article with a link to your website it’s considered an in-content link.
Then, if you get an in-content link with generic anchor text, Google will be impressed that you’re being referenced and boost your rankings accordingly.
One of the easiest ways to get in-content links is through guest posts.
To summarize, the foundational links are a great way to diversify your link building and establish your website. Whereas, guest posts are great for driving your rankings for very specific keywords, and should typically be used for your “money” keywords.
Where Do I Start With Link Building?
Are you ready to start link building? We hope you’re as excited as we are.
The most important part of building links is getting started! If you’re not actively building links, your traffic is probably plateauing.
No matter what link-building approach you start with, as long as it looks natural your website will gain authority.
Of course, if you’re buying links you need to be strategic in order to maximize your return on investment (ROI). If you have a smaller website or you’re in a lower competition industry, foundational links can be affordable and effective.
But, if you’re competing with bigger businesses for more competitive keywords, you’ll need to focus on building strong in-content links. The best way to do this is with guest post links from high-authority websites.
Use tools like our Free Backlink Checker to see what backlinks are pointing to websites like yours. Then, you can try to get links from the same source.
If you’re going to build links or buy links, it’s important you do it the right way. One of the best things to do is let someone who has a ton of experience take a look at your site and your competition.
Need some help with that? We’d love to chat.
We have access to the best SEO tools in the world. With those tools, we can take a quick look at your site and give you a personalized plan about how you should approach link building.
If you’re interested, book a call with us now to discuss strategy.