October 19, 2023
October 19, 2023
Link building is one of the most important aspects of SEO that often gets overlooked. Having a strong backlink profile will make ranking for keywords easier and allow you to rank higher against stronger competition. But what is link building?
Link building is the process of acquiring links to your website from other high quality websites. This is important to increase your website’s domain authority and allow it to rank easier on search engines. This can be done by writing high quality content or finding guest posts and linking opportunities.
Read on to find out more information about what link building is, why link building is important, what a good backlink is, what strategies you can use, and what the best resources are for link building.
The process of link building is one of the most important aspects of SEO that often gets overlooked. Link building is a way to increase your site’s search rankings by receiving links from other high-quality sites.
By receiving links from higher ranking sites, you’re essentially receiving a tick of approval from a well respected website. Google sees this and may rank your site higher because a well respected site has considered you respectable or helpful enough to link their users to.
The way that Google ranks sites is through domain authority (DA). Domain authority is a rating that Google gives each site to judge how much authority it has. A higher DA will allow you to rank easier on search results and a low DA will struggle to compete for keywords that have a lot of high ranking competition.
By receiving links from high DA sites, you’re receiving a “vote of confidence” in your site’s quality and content. This shows Google that your website is valuable to users and increases your own domain authority. Because backlinks are so essential to increasing your domain authority, you’ll have to do some form of link building on your site if you want to rank effectively.
For more information on domain authority, read our guide on what domain authority is and how to increase it.
Backlinks, often called “inbound links” or “incoming links”, are links that go from one website to another website through anchor text. These links are considered votes of confidence from one website to another, as search engines such as Google will see links to a page and consider it relevant, high quality, and authoritative.
Find out more in our guide on how many backlinks you need to rank.
Understanding what makes a good backlink will help you find the best opportunities, and save you time that you could waste chasing poor links. Here we break down what to look for in a good link, as well as what to avoid.
A good backlink will always be from a high DA website. The higher the DA the better here, although you’ll be lucky to start out with a link from a high DA site like BBC News. Therefore it’s important to compare it to your own DA and be realistic. If your site has a domain authority of 6, then a 37 is still good. However if you’re already at a DA of 54, that same 37 might not be worth putting too much effort into.
How relevant the referring site is to your site has a big impact on how much ‘link juice’ is passed across. This means that you should always vet websites before investing time into receiving a backlink.
This also means that paying for links from random sites isn’t the way to go. Aiming for high quality, relevant links is essential to maximising the amount of link juice you receive and increasing your domain authority.
How a link to your site shows up on the referring website’s domain is another important factor to how much authority will be passed across. This includes both the physical position on the page, as well as the anchor text that’s used to describe the link.
Google uses specific algorithms to decide the probability of a link being clicked on a site. This means that if your link is placed in a sidebar or all the way at the bottom of the page, it’s much less likely to be clicked than at the top of the main body of content. The more likely your link is to be clicked, the more link juice that’s passed across.
Anchor text is the text that’s included in the clickable link. This is important because both Google and users read this to understand what the link will take them to. The more relevant this anchor text is, the better Google will understand why it’s included in the content and why it’s relevant.
Many website owners that don’t understand the points above will pay for cheap backlinks that don’t actually affect your domain authority at all. These are often spammy sites that place hundreds, if not thousands, of spammy links from one low authority site.
While these don’t actually lower your authority, they also provide absolutely no benefit because the site won’t be relevant, the positioning and anchor text will often be wrong, and the authority score of the site will be low.
Sites with a low domain authority won’t offer much link juice for your site. While it’s important not to ignore medium-low links if you have a fresh site with an extremely low DA, don’t waste too much time on receiving links from low DA sites as it won’t be worth investing a lot of effort into.
“Nofollow” is an attribute that you can give to a link that tells Google and other search engines that they shouldn’t follow the link. These are generally used to link to another site without providing a stamp of approval.
While these will still provide brand recognition and potential traffic to your site, they won’t pass authority, so it’s not worth targeting if you’re looking to increase your own site’s domain authority.
Learn more about Nofollow links in our dedicated blog where we go into more detail about the difference between Follow and Nofollow links.
There are multiple ways to find high quality backlinks for your website. While many of these will take a lot of time and effort on your part, this will pay off in the long run. We recommend dedicating a small amount of time to link building each month to slowly build this up over time.
This technique involves contacting journalists, website owners, and relevant sites and asking them to provide a link to your content. This can be done as simply asking them to link to a blog, asking if you can write a guest post for their site so that they’ll link to your site, or providing guides and assets that they can use and put your site as a source.
You can be as creative as you want here. Some sites will pay for surveys to be completed on a newsworthy topic so that they can send the data to a journalist and receive a link. Alternatively, you can create infographics that will provide value to a blog and send it around to get other sites to post it.
For more information, read our blog on how to find guest post opportunities.
Earning links refers to gaining organic backlinks without asking for them. The easiest way to do this is by creating high-quality, valuable content that people want to link to. The reason this is the easiest is because this is something that you should always be doing anyway if you’re working on SEO!
When you create useful content, other sites will link to it within their own content as a source. You can also create useful infographics, research, tools or calculators, and tutorials that websites can link to in the same way.
Manually adding links is the least effective of the three link building strategies. This includes manually adding links to:
Despite the fact that many of these options will come from high DA sites such as Facebook or Quora, you’ll get very little link juice from these links. Often, links from sites like these are also Nofollow links, so you might not receive any link juice at all.
Having high quality resources to help you through the link building process is essential to save you time and effort on your link building journey. Here are the best link building resources that we’ve found for each step of the process.
If you’ve been looking into SEO for a while, you’ll undoubtedly have at least heard of Semrush before. This tool is exceptional for keyword research, competitor analysis and more. However, it’s also a great tool for link building. On Semrush, you can complete backlink audits and analytics to see how your current backlink profile is performing and what your current authority score is.
Where Semrush really shines is its link building tool. Here you can find a list of link building opportunities for your website so that you can run outreach campaigns and find potential backlinks that would work well for your business.
Respona is a very powerful link building tool which allows you to view URLs linking to competitors and find blogs that reviewed your products. Where the real strength of Respona lies is in its link finding.
You can input topics for guest posts and it will give you a list of websites accepting guest posts in that area, input keywords, and receive a list of resource articles that you could be linked in, and input a person in your industry to find podcasts that they’ve featured on.
Overall, Respona saves you time and effort trawling the web for potential links by providing lists of websites that may be relevant or already accept guest posts, it’s definitely worth a try.
Hunter is one of the best tools for finding contact information to help with your outreach campaigns. Hunter pulls in data from multiple sources across the web to find accurate, verified contact information and provide it based on relevancy to your topic and whether they’re allowing guest posts and backlinks.
At Wildcat Digital, we specialise in all forms of SEO, from creating high quality content that earns organic backlinks, to detailed digital PR campaigns backed by creative link building strategies. Visit our digital PR page to see our full link building services, or read our guide on how many backlinks you need to learn more about link building. Check out our SEO page for more information on how we can help your website rank online or get in touch with a member of our team.