If backlinks are “the currency of the Internet,” then link building is like getting money out of a tree.
If you’re looking to grow your organic traffic and SEO, your strategy needs to include some form of link building. Even marketers on a budget can achieve tremendous results, as link building done correctly will indicate to search engines that your site ranks as well as the sites linking to it.
Link building is a pillar of SEO. Without quality links, you don’t rank in search engines, and therefore organic traffic stays low as well.
With this in mind, we have created this beginner’s guide on link building for you! Read on to learn what link building is, why it’s important, what a quality link looks like, and five link building techniques you can use to build a robust backlink portfolio.
What Is Link Building?
Before we can define link building, we need to take a moment to understand what links are.
An external inbound link (often referred to as a backlink or external link), is an HTML hyperlink that transports Internet users from one website to another. In MOZ’s wise words, inbound links are the “currency of the Internet” because they help define your site’s reputation.
Link building is the process of generating hyperlinks that point to your own website. There are many ways to do this, which we will discuss in a later section of this article. But first…
The Benefits Of Link Building
What is the problem? It’s just a link, right? The internet has billions (trillions?) of them…
The truth is, links are incredibly important to your site’s SEO because they signal to search engines that your site is reputable, and in search engines, in turn, they will drive targeted traffic to your content. free.
Search engines rely on links to determine the quality of a web page. For example, if only spammy websites link to your site (toxic backlinks), search engines will think your site is spammy too, and your search engine ranking will be atrocious.
Links also help search engines rank content in search results. Have you ever wondered why Google shows some web pages and not others when you type a query in its search bar? This is because Google decided that those specific web pages provide reliable answers.
Okay,” you’re thinking, “But how does Google determine reliability?”
There are many factors that search engines like Google look at when determining the trustworthiness of a page, but links are definitely one of them. Google figures that if a group of reputable sites link to specific content, there must be a good reason.
Links can also help you drive traffic to your website.
Let’s say you’re reading the Whiz Widget blog content. You’re blown away by the quality of the writing and think, “If only Whiz Widget wrote about [Subject]. I would definitely read it!”
Suddenly, you notice some orange text signifying a link to the exact content you’re interested in. You click on it immediately. After all, your favorite content creators (Whiz Widget) linked to the post, so it must be valuable, right?
You are now on a website that you have never visited before, reading a blog entry on a topic that interests you very much. As long as the post is well written, there’s a good chance you’ll check out the company that wrote it, see their website, download a free ebook…
This is what we mean by targeted traffic. By acquiring backlinks, you can drive traffic to your website that is already interested in what you have to say and offer.
Prospects are much more likely to buy when they’ve heard of you before.
What Is A Quality Link?
Here’s the thing: not all links are created equal. In fact, links from disreputable websites can hurt your SEO efforts. So, the question is, what does a quality link look like?
Quality, in our opinion, boils down to three things: trust, reach, and relevance.
- Trust: Trust refers to the website that links to yours. Is it a website that search engines respect? If not, the link is likely to be of no benefit to your site. It can even negatively impact him.
- Rank: Rank refers to the number and type of sites linking to yours. Search engines don’t want to see 1,000 web directories pointing to your site and nothing else. You will want to build a linking profile that has a wide range of linking domains.
- Relevance: Relevance refers to the anchor text that links a web page to yours. If search engines can’t accurately determine the content of your page based on the anchor text of a backlink, they won’t value the link as much.
When building a strong backlink portfolio for your site, you need to acquire links from a wide range of trusted website types whose anchor text reflects their linked content.
5 Link Building Techniques
A strong backlink portfolio is like a first-class ticket to the top of Google search results. But how do you really acquire quality links? Get started with these five link building techniques.
Create Great Content
Mr. Bill Gates named it in 1996 when he wrote “Content is King.” To acquire links, he starts by creating amazing content that people want to link to.
Now amazing content comes in a variety of flavors…
For example, you can create visual assets like diagrams, infographics, and memes, which often work well because they are super easy for internet users to link to.
You can also write in-depth blog posts, definitive guides, and original research papers for your website. These types of content are popular because they are highly valuable to readers and cost no money to produce, assuming you can write the content in-house.
What about video content? Yes, videos can also be used to create links! According to Google, 60% of people would rather watch online video than TV, which makes video marketing a fantastic way to promote a website and get backlinks.
There is no shortage of types of content that you can use to build a strong link portfolio. The trick is to create the kind of valuable content that your target audience really wants.
Don’t skimp on this, as the success of your link building efforts largely depends on your ability to create amazing things for the world to read, watch, listen to or consume.
Quality content is essential, but it takes more than just great blogs and videos to build a stellar link portfolio. If you want your competitors to turn green with envy at the staggering number of links your website has, you need to promote your content.
The Internet is a very busy place. More than 4.4 million blog entries are published daily, and more than 300 hours of material is uploaded to YouTube every minute.
No matter how amazing your content is, without a little promotion, no one will see it, let alone link to it. There is already too much stuff on the web. Fortunately, there’s a perfectly straightforward way to market your content: reach out to influencers.
By connecting with people who have an audience that looks like yours and giving them a compelling reason to link/share your latest creation, you’ll be able to build links quickly.
Here is the simplified three-step process for reaching influencers:
- Find an influencer in your niche
- Discover the contact information of said influencer.
- Contact them with a compelling reason to link to their content.
Brian Dean (from Backlinko) recommends the following script when searching for links. Just customize it for your recipient and hit send!
To acquire a significant number of links, you are going to have to reach a significant number of people, which can easily get out of control. Fortunately, a CRM like Stealth SEO Solutions can simplify the process by giving you top-notch organization tools.
We suggest adding all influencers you contact to your CRM so you can track them and their responses.
Broken Link Hunting
A broken link is exactly what it sounds like: a link that no longer works.
It turns out that the internet is full of broken links, which is awesome news for all you, wannabe link builders out there. Why? Because it will allow you to contact an influencer or site owner, notify them about the broken link, and suggest your, content as a replacement.
This is how broken link building works:
- Sign up for a broken link checking tool like Ahrefs. The software costs upwards of $99 a month, but if you’re serious about link building, it’s definitely worth the investment. Free options include Check My Links and LinkMiner, though they aren’t as powerful.
- If you use Ahrefs, create a list of authorized sites in your niche and add them to the tool’s Site Explorer. If you use one of the free link checkers above, you will have to visit individual web pages to check for broken links.
- Choose a site from your list to investigate and set your results in Ahrefs to only show HTTP 404 errors. Then see how many broken links the site has. Or visit individual web pages and use a free link checker to locate broken links.
- Contact the site owner using the email template above and ask them to fix their broken link by linking to your awesome content.
This process is fairly straightforward once you get the hang of it, though it takes time and isn’t always successful. In fact, you will probably only get 5-10% success with this tactic. But if you contact enough sites, the backlinks will start piling up!
Recover Lost Backlinks
Just because you get a new hookup doesn’t mean you’ll have it forever. Unfortunately, important backlinks can disappear at any time due to a variety of reasons. Hey, no one said SEO was easy… The good news is that you can work to get back those lost backlinks!
First, you have to find out which links you have lost. Once again, this can be done with Ahrefs, though there are plenty of other tools that can do the job as well.
Now that you’ve identified your missing links, you need to learn why you lost them. Has the referring site issued a new linking policy? Was the site content recently updated and your site is no longer relevant? Maybe they found better content to link to.
It’s time to try to recover your lost links! How you do this will depend on the reason you lost the link in the first place.
Obviously, the three steps listed above are just a general outline for reclaiming lost links.
Syndicate Your Content
The last link building technique we will mention is content syndication.
Content syndication is the practice of publishing one piece of content on multiple websites. If every site that publishes your blog, for example, links to your website, you can quickly add multiple links to your backlink portfolio in one go.
Just to be clear, content syndication is not the same as guest blogging, which is when you create a new post for a website that is not your own. (Note: Guest blogging can also help you build backlinks, as long as you’re allowed to link to content from your website on the blog and as long as the guest post blog is not a link farming guest post site – watch out for those!)
Now that we have the definitions out of the way, let’s talk about how to syndicate your content.
The first step is to create amazing content. We told you this would be a recurring theme, right? If your content sucks, why would anyone want to republish it on their own site? Do the work, do something amazing, and then try to get it published again.
Next, find websites that might want your content. A free way to do this is to simply type phrases like “Republished with permission” + “The subject of your article” into Google and browse the results.
When you find potential republishers, reach out to them with a respectful email that clearly explains the value they will receive by publishing your work.
We should also mention that it is entirely possible to syndicate your own content by republishing it on sites like Medium, Reddit, and LinkedIn.
Quality backlinks will boost your business and get you to the top of Google search results, driving quality traffic to your website on autopilot. To build a strong link portfolio, simply implement the five techniques listed in this article:
- Create Great Content
- Reach Out To Influencers
- Hunt For Broken Links
- Recover Lost Backlinks
- Syndicate Your Content