Link building is the process of acquiring a hyperlink from an external website that links to your own website. Think of this as another website or business referring back to you as a source for quality information.
When combined with other rich SEO strategies such as on-page SEO, and great content, link building tactics can be extremely effective at boosting your business.
Actually, 41% of SEO experts believe link building is the most difficult part of search optimization. That’s why it is vital to understand link building and what it can do for your company.
This expansive guide will help steer you through understanding link building, explain why you need it in your SEO strategy, and explore the best ways to put your knowledge to good use.
Ready to learn? Let’s begin!
Why Is Link Building Important?
There are multiple data-backed studies that show how backlinks have a strong correlation with ranking. Backlinks are one of the top factors for ranking in the search engines, so acquiring them is vital for SEO success!
Again, backlinks are a dominant ranking factor and have been since the 1990s. Actually, one of Google’s founders Larry Page created PageRank, which Google has used to measure the quality of a page based on the number of backlinks.
This metric was then used as a big part of the overall ranking system that is now used in Google’s algorithm today. By doing this, Google was able to display much more useful search results than other competitors such as Yahoo.
Having said that, it can be super easy to confuse the terms backlinks and referring domains, but don’t worry– I’ll explain. A referring domain is a unique domain that has at least one link to your site.
For instance, a study from Ahrefs proposes that the number of referring domains to a page is the highest correlating factor!
The number of unique referring domains is an important metric because it’s common for one domain to link to the same website more than once.
If search engines were to strictly use the number of backlinks, sites with a thousand links from only one referring domain would dominate the web.
A case study from Backlinko also confirmed the direct correlation between rankings and the number of referring domains. Link building strategies are crucial to build organic traffic and turning leads into qualified customers.
It’s clear to see that the more websites that refer back to you help the search engines algorithm see that you’re a source for trustworthy and valuable information.
What Are The Benefits of Link Building for My Business?
Not all links are planned and built by SEO experts or marketers. Many are created for a bunch of different reasons. For example, a blogger who just bought a new tool and loves it so much they link it back to the website that sold it to them.
Getting links that you didn’t ask for is one of the neatest and most helpful parts of SEO. It’s always something that webmasters or businesses strive for.
In fact, 59% of SEO experts believe that backlinks will be even more valuable for websites in the next few years than they are now, which is incredible considering a recent Moz study suggests that 90% of marketers use high-quality content pieces as their main source of generating more backlinks.
With that said, how do you accomplish building backlinks and why should you prioritize this practice? It would be best to put in the work to make your website respected, trustworthy, and link-worthy.
You can do this by creating informational content, selling great products, or providing services that your clients love. The point is to be good enough to be referenced by other websites.
Here are some benefits of link-building:
Building B2B and customer relationships
The best link building is often correlated with content marketing and outreach to other websites and blogs in your niche. This outreach is related to promoting something you’ve either just created or are about to release such as content, a service, or a product.
A shared goal of outreaching is backlinks. However, there’s more to it than that. Outreach helps you build relationships with key players in your industry, and these long-term relationships can mean that your business becomes respected and trusted. That in itself holds a ton of value!
In some cases, you can even build relationships with bloggers or even journalists who end up contacting you and asking for assistance in a piece for their own work.
B2B relationships and even random relationships with outside players can help you construct your links, your business, and customer confidence.
What is referral traffic, and what does that have to do with link building? Referral traffic is basically just the users that come to your website from other sites without searching for your brand on search engines.
A good link from a popular website can boost your traffic. If it’s a relevant site, the chances that traffic is also relevant may lead to increased conversion rates or even sales.
The value of a link isn’t just about search engine optimization, it’s about your audience. If you can put your links in front of the right people who are interested in your content, products, or services, then the chances of a click-through are increased which is fantastic for your digital marketing strategy.
Great link building can help to boost and build your brand and establish who you are as a business in your niche.
There are some really good link-building techniques that I’ll touch base on later, such as guest blogging and content creation which shows people the expertise of your business and can really go a long way towards working on your brand.
For example, if you write a piece of content based on industry data and then publish it, you run the chance of getting noticed for it.
When you do outreach and attempt to get links to that piece of content, you are basically just showing that you know what you’re talking about and you are just asking other people in your niche to help spread the word and show their audience your content.
In the long run, this practice helps to build your brand identity.
Link building vs. link earning
Link building is all of the work that goes into investing in backlinks, whether you are networking or buying them. Link earning is the reward you get after putting in all that hard work. You did everything right, and so you earned the link.
The concept of link earning is that if your content is good enough, webmasters will link to it naturally without any marketing on your end.
The problem with that idea is that SEO experts who preach that are usually involved with big-name websites with large budgets.
The small food blogger wouldn’t be able to earn those types of links naturally. They are considered little fish in a big pond. That is where link building comes in.
Just to be clear, you absolutely need good content for your website. It would be best to create information-packed blogs, infographics, and posts as much as possible. Actually, long-form content is best due to the fact that blogs with 3,000 words or more receive more backlinks than sites that produce shorter content.
With that said, link building is such an important part of SEO, because if you aren’t a huge company with a ton of high-authority connections, your content won’t be authoritative enough to earn the backlinks you need to succeed.
What Are Some Link Building Techniques for SEO?
As I’ve mentioned, backlinks are a vital aspect of SEO; however, they aren’t a passive method that you can expect to work for you long-term without maintenance. So, how do you get backlinks? Let me explain a few things first:
Backlinks can disappear or become less relevant as time passes. That means you have to continually find new link opportunities to keep your rank in SERPs high.
Using link builders such as HOTH Link Outreach to get contextual link building to help your site’s ranking in SERPs.
To be fair, you may have little to no backlinks at the moment. It’s fairly common, in fact, 95% of all pages online have zero backlinks pointing to their website.
With that in mind, here are some really great tips for link building:
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is an interesting process of finding backlinks that link to 404 pages. Basically, pages that are no longer in service. From there, you take note of these links and reach out to the webmaster of that site and report the broken link, and offer a similar page instead, such as your own.
It’s a good way to earn backlinks by building a relationship with relevant websites.
This method may sound strategic, so it is important to make it clear to the backlink prospects that you aren’t just trying to give them a helping hand. It would be best to make it clear that you are suggesting your relevant link as a replacement.
Being transparent with your link building campaign here can help you win the backlink and show the webmaster that you aren’t being a shady salesman.
Create images and infographics
Images are great attention grabbers, they also take up space so it’s understandable it’s a great idea to make them linkable and why people tend to click on them.
That is why it’s really worth creating images such as infographics, product pictures, and even comics!
That helps you promote your product, service, brand, you name it, and it also attracts your business with more backlinks.
If you use images as backlinks, it would be best to make sure that the link points to the broader page that the image stays on, and not the image directory.
Image directory links don’t work (ending in .png, .jpg. etc.) the way you want them to, they are a dead-end, and all the traffic that goes there is totally wasted.
Check your competitors
Finding out who your competitors are and who’s linking to them is a good place to start. Competitor backlinks will usually be on sites that are also relevant to your niche. Researching this can help you find high-quality links backlinks for your website that have high domain authority.
There’s a reason that competitor link analysis is one of the first steps to SEO strategies conducted by link builders.
Depending on your industry, some businesses will have to rely more on resource content or their products for link building, others may be easier to manage.
One really great tip for spying on your competitors is to extract competitor backlink profiles by using your preferred software program. you can extract backlink data, download it as a CSV, and go from there. It’s a fantastic way to keep track of where you need to improve in SEO link building.
In addition to getting fresh backlinks, it’s also a good idea to figure out which one of your previous backlinks and even internal links are broken or that may have gone missing.
Disappearing links are really common and there are many reasons your links may have gone missing such as:
- The link may have been replaced by the webmaster
- The backlink may have been removed
- The website itself may be down for maintenance or removed
- The page may have been restricted from indexing
So, what’s the solution? You may need to contact the webmaster or site owners to ask them for assistance.
Depending on what the issue is, you may need to ask them to put your link on a different page if the previous one has been taken down, or restore the backlink if it was deleted. You may also need to ask them to remove the noindex directives from the pages.
Guest posts are awesome and are a great way to boost your credibility with an audience that isn’t aware of your brand. If you can include links to your website within that content or even in the blog comments, that’s such a great SEO strategy and can increase your website traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates
Getting guest posts can be kind of a difficult method. It involves a lot of time, effort, and outreaching to earn those external links. Outsourcing to agencies or contractors is also a common practice among businesses. Actually, that happens about 60% of the time.
With that said, you could always use The HOTH’s Guest Posting Service to help you get high-quality, natural, white-hat in-content links to your website.
Connect with influencers
Talking, connecting, and networking with other people in your industry such as influencers, whether it’s through social media or events, can help you build your website and get your content seen by more people who may end up linking back to you.
Let’s use Facebook, for example, you could join some relevant groups, start conversations, join discussions and share some of your links if it isn’t against the rules of the group.
It would be best to watch out for looking spammy, but in the right context, link sharing can help you reach your goal. The point of sharing information is to share it if you think it may be helpful to other people. If you’re lucky, you may win a backlink.
Why Not All Links Are Equal
So by this point, you might be thinking, “Wow, I should just go out and create a bunch of backlinks!”
Not so fast!
Because links are such a powerful ranking factor, search engines have gotten much better at deciphering link quality.
There are many factors about links that search engines rankings consider including
- The strength of the referring domain & referring web page
- The trust of the referring domain & page
- The relevance of the referring
- The anchor text
Receiving high-quality backlinks can help your website rank higher than your competitors and receiving low-quality backlinks can hurt your rankings or even worse… get you penalized.
It’s essential that business and website owners spend the time that it requires building high-quality backlinks. A good starting point is to try out our FREE Backlink Checker Tool. It can tell you where other sites are getting their links.
Backlinks and Social Media
Social media is a great way to start your link-building journey. Not only does social media help you rank, but it can also make a difference between positions on search results.
Everyone who is involved with any type of SEO knows the importance of backlinks.
But, did you know that the form your content is created in totally matters? For example, formats such as entertainment videos and quizzes are more likely to be shared than linked to.
You may have hundreds of shares, but no one is linking back to your website. It would be best to be mindful of what form you choose to create your content in and what your goal is for that content before you dive into creative mode.
Consider this though, SEO professionals were actually surveyed by Neil Patel about what techniques were the most used for link building. The survey confirmed that the majority of efforts were through social media.
The survey concluded that it was the third most efficient way to build links. Just slightly behind paid ads and research.
Now that you have this information, where do you start? It would be best to use social media to get links by including your websites in your profiles.
Just entering your link in your social bios can make a difference in your rank, traffic, and sales. It may sound simple but it shouldn’t be underestimated!
Link building is a major ranking factor in SEO. It increases your traffic, sales, and where you land on Google’s search results. Link building is just a hyperlink from one website to another.
But, it shows Google and other search engines that your content is informative, helpful, and worth showing to its users.
The process of link building is easy to understand but hard to master, that’s why our SEO experts are here to help!