Link building is one of the most difficult aspects of SEO but also one of the most rewarding. This guide will explain what link building is, why link building is important, and tips on how to obtain high-quality links.

What Is Link Building?

Linking building is the process of getting other websites to insert a link, also known as a hyperlink, back to your website. It’s important that many of the links back to your website are follow links instead nofollow links because nofollow links do not impact the destination website’s ranking.

Common examples of nofollow links include those placed on:

That being said, don’t be afraid of nofollow links – every website should have a healthy mix of follow and nofollow links!

Why Is Link Building Important?

Google, and now other search engines, use backlinks as one way to determine a website’s quality. Not only is the number of links to a page or site noted, but also the quality of those links. Links from a website with a high domain authority to your webpage can seriously boost your ranking. Essentially, quality links show that your website is trustworthy.

Links can also help to communicate that a page should rank well for a specific keyword.

The Anatomy Of A Hyperlink & The Importance Of Anchor Text

The code that creates a hyperlink is written in HTML and looks like this:

Sample of hyperlink written in HTML

The “a” opens the link tag and sends a signal to search engines that a link to another website or webpage is about to follow. The “href” stands for hyperlink referral and is followed by the URL of the destination. The link doesn’t necessarily have to be a webpage, it can also lead to an image or a document. If the link contains the # sign, then it is known as a local link and when clicked, will simply cause the user to be taken to a different spot on the same page.

The anchor text is what becomes visible to the visitor, in this example, the anchor text is “Rank Wranglers Digital Marketing”.

The text chosen to be the anchor is very important because it tells visitors what they can expect to see if they click on the link and it also tells search engines what the content is about. Anchor link text should be descriptive without being spammy. A good combination of branded links, keyword-optimized links, and even naked links should be used.

If a hyperlink is a nofollow link, it will include the “rel=nofollow” tag, like the one below.

Example of HTML for a no follow link

Link Building 101: Tips That Can Help You Secure Quality Backlinks

The truth is that link building is hard. 

White hat link building techniques take time and effort but when quality links are obtained that effort is well rewarded. The following are tips that can help you design your link building strategy.

Create Content Worth Sharing

Great content attracts attention and the reality is that people love sharing great content. However, some forms of content are more enticing than others. The most widely shared forms of content include:

  1. Images: Pictures, memes, charts, and infographics are popular! Whenever an image is shared this creates a backlink to your site.
  2. List Posts: What is a list post? It’s a post that divides written content into valuable bite-sized pieces for readers to digest. Think “The Top 10 Link Building Strategies For 2020”.
  3. In-Depth Guides: An example of an in-depth guide would be “A Beginner’s Guide To GitHub”.  Or the very article you’re reading!

Write Guest Posts

Guest posts can be wonderful assets if done correctly. Here are a few things to remember when determining if you should write a guest post for a site:

  1. Don’t write guest posts for sites that exist simply to publish guest posts.
  2. Only write for websites that are relevant to your industry.
  3. Don’t write for a website that requires payment in order for the article to be posted.

A popular way to find the right websites to write guest posts for is to perform a Google search. Google has search operators that make this type of search relatively easy! Simply type in the topic + intitle:”write for us”. The results will include sites that are relevant to the topic and who are looking for writers!

See Where Competitors Have Obtained Backlinks

After all, if your competitor has obtained a backlink to a certain site, there’s a good chance you could as well!

Create A Contest

If possible, create a contest that will be shared across numerous platforms. For example, if you have the opportunity to sponsor a scholarship for a college student, this could result in the highly coveted .edu backlink!

Perform Outreach

Outreach might mean speaking to family and friends, emailing others in the industry, or simply finding and contacting those who are responsible for the content on a relevant website. Remember that any pitch made should be personalized!

Find Broken Links – And Offer A Replacement

There are several Chrome add-ons that identify any broken links on a webpage. If, during your review of a site, you find a broken link and you have matching content that could be used to replace that link, offer it to the website admin! A quick personalized email letting them know that they have broken links is a great form of outreach. Not only are you letting them know there is an issue on their site, but you’re also providing the solution to that problem.

Get A Link From Being Interviewed On A Podcast

Think of podcasts as a verbal guest post! Not only will you be able to spread your knowledge, but you’ll also obtain backlinks from the podcast website.

Why Can’t I Just Buy Backlinks?

You absolutely can buy backlinks but this practice is a black hat form of SEO and should be avoided. In fact, Google has specifically stated the following about buying links:

“The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link…”

You don’t want to ruin any white hat SEO work that has been performed on your website by violating the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Final Thoughts On Link Building

Link building is an ongoing process during which you’ll likely become frustrated. You’re not alone. This process is difficult but with time and hard work, your website can experience a great increase in search engine results rank.