To answer this, let’s take a step back to understand what link building even is.
Link building is the process of receiving promotions from external sources, either other websites or social media, in the form of backlinks (also known as inbound links or hyperlinks).
The goal is to increase traffic from other websites to your own as a form of advertising.
But that’s not to say that you just need an absurd amount of links directed towards your website. Google focuses on the quality of the link, not the quantity. Quality links provide the best indicators that your website will provide the information people are searching for.
This seems a little vague though. What makes a link high quality?
We’ll answer this in the next chapter.
2. What are High-Quality Links?
Link building can result in one of two things happening:
You build a high-quality link and watch as your ranking goes up and up and up, or
You build a low-quality link and watch as your rank plummets.
This doesn’t leave much room for mistakes. It’s important to know what makes a link “high quality” in the eyes of Google…especially when the website is linking to you.
So what makes a backlink high-quality?
On a page with PageRank
Is the page that’s linking to you highly ranked on PageRank? If so, then it’ll have a huge impact on your own rank, especially if you’re a smaller page.
PageRank is an algorithm developed by Google that evaluates the quality and quantity of the links to a specific webpage. It measures the importance of the website’s pages, therefore influencing your rank. This information isn’t shown publicly, but it has a great impact on the search engine algorithm that Google uses today.
There are workarounds to finding information regarding your own PageRank or the pages that backlinking to you. Ahrefs can be a good indicator of the URLRating of the backlink.
From a relevant and trusted source
This is you. You need to have content that is of high quality and provides accurate information.
But it is also important that the website that is linking to you is relevant to your business or industry. According to an interview from an ex-Google engineer: “Today it’s more about relevance to the site’s theme in regards to your, relevance is the new PageRank.”
Not only do you need to have accurate information but the people linking to you also need to be related to your industry.
Non-misleading anchor text is used, the exact phrase is best
One thing that makes a link more clickable is knowing what exactly it is you’re clicking on.
When anchor links indicate exactly what the viewer is clicking on, the customer’s expectations are met. If you see an anchor link that says cute puppy video, you’re expecting that when you click on it.
The issue with anchor links is that they can to be anything. If the text says one thing and the link turns out to be something else, you’ll feel misled. That results in an unhappy customer.
Google sees anchor links using keywords and notes that the link was useful regarding that specific keyword. While it does help your SEO ranking, it’s important that the anchor links aren’t spammed because that will end up hurting your rank.
While there are a few different ways for a website to link to your page, editorial links are one of the most effective ways of generating leads and traffic.
Google puts a lot of weight on editorial links. This is because the algorithm sees that someone else find your article useful enough to spread the information you’ve posted.
3. How to Get Backlinks using Content Marketing
Simply publishing content isn’t going to get you very far when it comes to obtaining backlinks.
Not all content and copy are viewed the same. Certain types of content are more likely to become backlinked than others.
In order to determine what kind of content will get a backlink, ask yourself: “What have I linked to in my own articles?” You’ll find it’s likely one of the following:
This includes images, diagrams, infographics, and other charts or graphs.
These are linked to most because they are extremely useful for people and they are convenient to link to. Anyone that shares or uses your graph within their article to help confirm their message will provide a link to your website.
Visuals are a powerful tool that helps visualize information in a creative way while also making it easier and more interactive for viewers.
ii. List Articles
List posts are typically articles that condense information into little chunks. This can be tips, reasons why, myths, how-tos, and the list goes on. They can be just about anything
They are clear and concise pockets of information that are easy for viewers to read and easy to take information from to help prove the point of the article that’s linking to it.
When a business reveals game-changing research and data, the industry goes wild.
Why? Because people need to know about the latest and greatest industry-related statistics, research, studies, and surveys in order to stay on top.
When new research is released, people will source the original material when spreading the word. The backlinks add up fast.
Guides provide the ultimate insight.
A great guide will provide comprehensive information about everything you need to know on a given topic. Everyone, from beginners to industry specialists, can benefit from it.
The ultimate guides pack a lot of extremely useful information all in one place, making them the go-to.
4. The Penalties of Black Hat SEO
If the links aren’t following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, they’re likely following black hat SEO practices, which can result in serious consequences to your ranking.
Google Penguin is an algorithm designed to detect and dish out penalties of spammy link building techniques. The only way to avoid its wrath is to build quality links and avoid any linking that seems fishy.
Additionally, Google can give you manual penalties based on unnatural links.
Unnatural links are intended to manipulate search engine results through the PageRank algorithm.
There are countless strategies for link building. We’ll go over some options in depth.
i. Resource Page
For those unfamiliar, resource pages are purely dedicated to linking out to other sources and providing valuable resources on a topic. You need to find content that other people can’t find very easily, and then make accessible through your site.
ii. Guest Blogging
This is one of the oldest link building strategies in the book.
How it works is simple: write an article for another website in your industry. Once that is complete, have the article link out to yourself since you’re the author.
iii. Other Techniques
Here’s a resource page dedicated to other link building strategies if the two examples above don’t suit your current needs as a business.
6. Tips for Advance Link Building
Once you have the basics down and websites are backlinking to your articles, it’s time for some tips that will help gain even more links.
In a perfect world, everyone would credit everyone. However, this isn’t always the case. When someone mentions your website or business, they should be linking to your website, but they don’t always.
With a kind message asking for them to provide the link, most people are happy to accommodate you for this request.
The real struggle is finding them. BuzzSumo is a great option for uncovering. They will find the unlinked mentions of your website.
Another way of discovering some unsourced content is through reverse image sourcing. Similarly to name mentions, a quick nudge towards a link will straighten that right out.
Link building is a very complicated process and it takes a lot of trial and error to get right. This guide is meant to set you up for success and help you grow your backlinks to gain traffic to your business.