Knowledgebase Article
The link building guide.
Knowledgebase : Link Building Guide

July 11, 2021 at 12:45 by Selim Koch

The Link Building Guide: How to Build High Quality Links to Boost Your SEO

What Is Link Building?

Link building is the process of creating links to a website to increase its rank and visibility on search engine pages. These links are commonly called backlinks because they come from other sites linking them back to yours. They are one of the essential SEO factors since they improve your site’s SEO, search engine visibility, and drive organic traffic.

To make the most of your link-building efforts, it’s best to use link-building strategies (we’ll look more at them later) such as guest posting, email outreach, and content marketing.

Why Are Links So Important?

We can answer this question in one word: Google. Their PageRank algorithm was created to measure the quality of pages based on various factors, including the number of links leading to it (a.k.a. backlinks). So instead of analyzing only the content of a page, Google started looking at how many sites linked to that page. The number of backlinks was seen as a factor showing how useful, relevant, and of which quality a page is. And, to prevent misuse of backlinks by adding too much of them, Google also looks at their quality, the authority of the site linking back to a certain page, and more.

By using backlinks, Google was able to show pages on their SERP that are relevant, contain quality content, helpful, and high authority. That said, the more high-quality websites link to your page, the higher your page will be on SERP.

What Else Can Links Help You With?

Apart from improving your search engine rank and visibility and drive more organic traffic to your page, links can also help you with your business. This goes for businesses like e-commerce businesses and those that sell some services (e.g. digital marketing agencies, software companies, consulting agencies), and individuals like freelancers. By using backlinks, you establish your business and/or yourself as an expert in the field because backlinks mean your content is valuable and seen as a credible source.

Therefore, link building helps you with much more than just boosting your search engine rank, including:

Brand Building

By establishing you as an expert in your field, link building helps you build your brand. Some of the best examples in digital marketing are the websites of Semrush, MOZ, and Neil Patel. They are credible, offer valuable and helpful content, and are used as sources in a lot of topic-related articles. No wonder they appear in the first few results on the first page.

Driving More Referral Traffic

By having a highly-visited site linking back to your pages, the traffic to your site will increase. It’s because thousands of people visit those sites, read their content, and usually click on the links place throughout it because they’re interested to find out more.

Building Relationships

Link building usually involves outreach to other relevant high-authority sites and influencers. With that, it allows you to develop good communication and even a lasting relationship with the website owners and influencers. And, these relationships can mean that your business is credible and highly regarded.

How to Find High-Quality Links?

To find high-quality links, you need to take into account several factors. Those are:

The Page’s Authority

Is the page linking to yours ranked on the first page? That’s awesome because it means that you are linked to a highly-authority website. And, being linked to a high-authority page means higher authority for your page, which is one of the ranking factors.

The Website’s Authority

Related to the abovementioned, the authority of the website that links to you is also important when it comes to link quality. It’s not the same to have neilpatel.com and an unknown, spammy-looking website linked to your page. A high authority website like neilpatel.com will add credibility to your site and increase its authority. To find such sites, you can use tools like Ahrefs to check a site’s authority.

The Website’s Relevance

This is another ranking factor you need to keep in mind when planning your link-building strategy. If a site linking to yours is irrelevant to your topic/niche, the link isn’t valuable and vice versa, if a site linking to yours is relevant to your topic/niche, it’s good. For instance, if your website is about health and wellness, a link from neilpatel.com is totally irrelevant. On the other hand, a link from healthline.com works perfectly.

The Link’s Position

Is the link leading to your page placed at the beginning or somewhere throughout the text or is it in the website’s footer? Believe it or not, this is important. Namely, if the link is somewhere throughout the content, it’s valuable and will probably drive traffic to your site. On the other hand, if the link is in the website’s footer or sidebars, it’s not valuable as people may not even notice it.

Editorial or Non-Editorial Link

Editorial links are links that are used because the writer or editor thought your page is valuable to their content and they liked it. The links created unnaturally, for instance by sharing a link to your page in a forum or another site, are non-editorial links. They are considered to violate Google’s rules and guidelines.

Anchor Text

The anchor text is the keyword (keyword phrase) to which the hyperlink is attached. Google uses this text as a ranking signal, which is why it has to be relevant to the page it links to. For example, if a site links to your page about “How to Start a Keto Diet?”, anchor text could be “keto diet” or “keto diet basics”... or whatever is relevant. If the anchor text is not relevant and contains too many words, it looks spammy.

Link Co-Occurences

These are the words or phrases located around your link. Google considers them as baby anchor text since they tell what the page is about.

Link Building: How to Do It?

There are two main ways to find websites that would like to link to yours: through content marketing and outreach. To get a better understanding of both, let’s take a deeper look at them.

Link Building Through Content Marketing

Content is and always will be the king. Apart from the classic goal of content marketing, to promote your business, it also helps you find websites that will link to yours. But, simply creating, publishing, and sharing content won’t do the trick. You need to know which type of content to create.

As it turns out, there are 4 types of content that build the most links:

  1. Visual content - Images, infographics, diagrams, charts, and other content with visual elements. This type of content works because people love visuals. They prefer looking at an infographic over reading the same content in the form of an article. The visual content is appealing, interesting, and easy to read and understand. And, it's perfect for linking to because it works as additional information.
  2. Listicles - Everyone loves listicles! Be it “the top 10”, “the top 5”, or something else, this type of content drives a lot of traffic and, as it turns out, it builds more links than other content formats.
  3. Ultimate guides - “Keyword Research: The Definite Guide (2021)”, “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing”, “The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping”... these are just 3 of the much-beloved “ultimate guides” found online. Why we love them? Because they offer a ton of in-depth, well-researched, and valuable content about a certain topic. They cover everything there is to know about a topic in one place, so you don’t have to look for multiple resources.
  4. Studies, research, and surveys - No matter what are you looking for (how to do keyword research or is dropshipping a good idea), you want to know past results. Studies, research, or surveys are the best way to provide an original and credible source of information to your readers. That’s why bloggers and freelance writers usually add one or more of these into their content. For example, if there’s an article about dropshipping, adding a link to recent research or study about the profit dropshippers made in a specific period will add a lot of value to the content. So, yes these types of content are link magnets because they are highly valuable and linkable.

Link Building Through Outreach

The second link-building method is referred to as outreach. It involves reaching out to website/blog owners, editors, and anyone related to a popular, high-authority website. Also, it can go in the form of you mentioning them in your content.

There are several ways to outreach, including emails, social media, PR, and influencers.

Email Outreach

This method involves sending emails to specific people (website owners, bloggers, editors) asking them to link back to your website. Of course, first, you need to have a website with valuable content; otherwise, don’t bother asking for a link.

However, when doing email outreach, you need to know how to do it without your email ending in the Spam folder. The first thing is to know whom to email. You can just randomly pick people and send them an email. Hence, you need to find the right people by doing some research online.

Then, you need to create a personalized email in which you will include a valuable offer. For example, your email can be about the broken links on their website. In return for your information, you can ask them to link back to your website.

PR Outreach

PR, also known as Press outreach is more or less the same as email outreach. It focuses more on reaching out to bloggers, journalists, and other influential people in your industry. Instead of pointing out broken links or other technical stuff, PR outreach promotes your products and tells people why they should share/mention them on their website.

Social Media Outreach

This method involves connecting with people via social media to promote your content. Use social media to share your website content, tag other brands to reach out to them, follow brands and other people relevant to your business, participate in discussions, etc. Social media is the most popular and easiest way to connect with people and get your content exposed to a wider audience.

Influencer Outreach

And, last but not least, we have influencer outreach. This method involves reaching out to influential people, high-authority websites, and communities to offer them a deal of writing content on their site in return for a link to your website and/or social media profile/page.

One of the most common ways to do influencer outreach is through guest posting.

Also known as guest blogging, this method can really help get other sites to link to yours. And, it works like magic because you do the job. How?

You find a website/blog that accepts guest posts, contact them, get the deal, and write a compelling, authentic, and valuable piece of content. Your job here is done. BUT, you get your name published right under or above the article. With that, you gain exposure, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and, most importantly, there’s a link on the page to your website. And, that’s exactly what you want!

Guest posting is very important for businesses and individuals who want to promote themselves (for free). There are many guides online about it. Semrush have even written a guide about guest blogging for link building.

Link Building Strategies

While the above mentioned methods work like magic when it comes to link building, there are two amazing strategies you should use for building links: broken link building and resource page link building.

Broken Link Building

This is one of the most common link-building strategies. It involves sending emails to specific, relevant people like website owners, editors, or bloggers telling them that you’ve found broken links. Of course, this means that you must first check the chosen websites/blogs with a broken link checker, find broken links, and then email the people concerned. In the email, apart from telling them that you’ve found x broken links on their site, you also need to offer your content as a replacement for those pages.

Resource Page Link Building

Resource pages are pages that contain external links to websites with great content. That’s what makes them the perfect link-building targets.

To find resource pages, you need to do some research on Google. To google them, use a keyword + “useful links”/”helpful resources”. Then, check their rating. If their rank is good, find relevant content you’ve created.

Once you do that, email the person concerned telling them that their page is very helpful and valuable. Then, tell them that you’ve written an article/guide on that topic, along with its URL, that would be a great addition to theirs.