Beginners Guide to Link-building for SEO
Link-building is the process of getting links from other websites to your website. These links are called ‘Backlinks’ in SEO. Link-building plays an essential role in driving traffic to your website from search engines.
Getting backlinks from high-quality websites can help to rank higher in search engines. According to Google, a way to identify what pages are relevant and trustworthy is to check the websites that link or refer to that page.
Pages with more backlinks often rank higher therefore you should create high-quality content that people will want to link to and earn more backlinks using link-building strategies. Earning backlinks from high-quality and credible websites helps to boost your page authority.
If you have many links from spam and irrelevant websites then it will not help you to rank better. You should not buy links as it is against the Google Webmasters Guidelines. You should not build links using black hat tactics. Build links using white hat methods only.
Your link position on the page is important. Links placed at the sidebars and the footers are not as worthwhile as the links placed in the middle of the page's body content. The links should be placed in the upper body of your content.
Anchor text is the little text that appears on the page that the users need to click on to open a link. Anchor text is formatted in a way to make it stand out from the surrounding text. Google’s algorithms use anchor text to indicate what a page is about and thus it can affect your rankings.
You should build links from websites that are closely related to your website’s topic. This ensures you are building the right links. Topically related websites are where your audience handbags out online.
The different tools available for link-building are Backlink Analytics, Backlink Audit, Link Building Tool, Bulk Analysis and more.
Types of links
The most important types of links are as follows:
1. Nofollow and follow
Nofollow links are used when you want to link to the other website but do not want to pass the PageRank. These links can provide you with brand recognition and referral traffic. Follow links are used when you want to link to another website and pass the PageRank. These links help you to pass authority to a trusted website.
User-generated links are created by users who want to promote their own work. For example, links from unmoderated comments, embedded infographics, profile pages of users, advertisements, guest books, forum signatures and press releases or guest post signatures with over-optimized anchor text.
Such links have low quality and it is not a good idea to spend time on these types of links. Links generated this way are not editorially given and carry low weight. Google was penalising user-generated linking in the past.
Natural links occur when readers come across your website and include a link on their blog or website without being asked. These links are the best ways to promote your blog or website.
How to build links?
You can use the following ways to build links:
- Find the websites that you are interested in getting a backlink from and then you can directly contact the owner and ask for it. You should request links from websites related to your niche. Check the credibility and performance of the websites before asking for a link. Create a well-crafted email to request a link.
- You can add links yourself manually in blog comments, press releases or guest posts on another website. Building links this way is completely in your control but these links are not considered of the highest quality. Google considers any link not placed editorially to be manipulative so you should place your links thoughtfully.
If someone links to you because your website is great then it is called an editorial link.
- You should try to earn links that are editorially placed by following a strategy. Earning links requires effort but gives higher rewards. One of the best ways to get high-quality and relevant links to your website is to create unique and relevant content that can naturally gain popularity.
According to Google Webmasters Guidelines (Link Schemes) “Links are editorial votes given by choice and the more useful content you have the greater the chance that someone will find that content valuable for their readers and link to it.”
When you earn a link because the third party decides to link to your website means that they have a reason to. This adds value to their content and your website.
- You can earn links through visual assets like images, diagrams, infographics, charts and other visual content. For example, you can publish a chart on your website and get a link when someone shares the chart on their website.
- You should create linkable assets like infographics as they are a good way to build brand awareness and social media attention. Infographics are more likely to be read than a full article. Therefore you should create accompanying linkable assets.
- List posts present the content in small bite-sized chunks. It can be a numbered list of tips, techniques, reasons and more. Such lists can generate more backlinks than any other type of content format.
- Content that provides statistics, surveys, original research and data from industry studies are highly linkable. When someone sees such data they link to you.
- In-depth ultimate guides that offer everything one needs to know about a topic work well. Because they offer a large amount of information in one place. They become the go-to resource for that topic.
- You can build links using email outreach. For this first find the ‘Likely Linkers’ these are the people most likely to link to you. To find ‘Likely Linkers’ you can enter your main keyword in Google and put the URL of the first result in a link analysis tool and hit ‘Backlink Analysis’. You will get a list of sites and these are your ‘Likely Linkers’.
Next, find their email address using tools like VoilaNorbert or Hunter.io. Create personalised emails and send them asking for a link.
- One of the link-building strategies is broken link-building. You can add value to someone’s website and get a link in return. You can use tools like Check My Links or LinkMiner to find broken links. Once you find a broken link, email the site owner and offer content from your website as a replacement.
- You can try guest blogging where you can approach a website and see if they are ready to publish the content you write on their blog. You can benefit from writing content for websites that your target audience visits online.
- You can try out the link reclamation where you can fix or ‘Reclaim’ the links that once pointed to your website or the links that point to your website but do not have SEO value.
- Find links on your website that point to pages that no longer exist. You can 301 redirect or fix these links and ask the Webmaster to change the link.
- Sometimes people write about your website without linking back to you. Find such brand mentions and email the authors to give you a link. Use tools like Mention.net or Google Alerts to find your brand mentions.
- A good way to start building backlinks is to post your content on social media. You can post news and updates about your brand on social media. You can engage with your audience on social media, respond to brand mentions and participate in social media conversation within your niche. This can lead to an increased opportunity for backlinks.
If you find people who practice social listening then there is a good chance that they will share your content or the link you shared on social media. This can help you create backlinks from other people’s profiles.
- You can replicate the same link-building strategies of your competitors who are doing well. You can use the Backlink Gap tool to find the website your competitor is getting backlinks from and you are not. You can pursue any opportunities you find.
Once you find your competitor’s link-building strategy you can improve upon the strategy by filling in the missed opportunities.
How to measure link-building efforts?
- It is important to judge the value of a potential link. You can check the Domain Authority as it gives an idea about how strong a particular domain is. It is calculated by Moz and has a score from 1 - 100. The higher the score the higher the quality.
- Another metric is Page Authority, which is also given by Moz. It is similar to Domain Authority except that it applies to a page rather than the entire domain. The higher the score the more helpful the link will be.
- The ratio of nofollow and follow links can help to decide the value of a page. The more follow links you have the better.
- If you have links from websites that are not related to your website then they will carry less weight.
- Getting links from different high-quality websites will have more value than getting many backlinks from a single high-quality domain.