Link building is one of the most challenging, but important SEO skill. In fact, it’s the culmination of several different skills-you’ll have to master original content creation, psychology, programming, sales, and managing online marketing campaigns. This is important if you want people from all sources to consistently link to your website.
If you’re interested in a more search engine friendly traffic, then link building is a way to go.
Building Links Has Evolved
Few years back, when search engine algorithms were lax, you could easily build thousands and even millions of spam links in one go and watch your website climb up to the first page. Now those days are gone forever.
Make no mistake: Some Black hat SEO techniques still work!
But these are not that effective as they used to be, and results are temporary and after few days things return back to the way they were before you used black hat SEO.
Today serious SEO requires, money, time and skilled labor for sustained and long-term link building campaigns.
WHY? Because almost all search engines now give priority to quality over quantity. And it’s very difficult to get links from authority, and relevant websites.
But in the end when you mange to get those top quality back links the rewards are huge. High converting traffic from search engines will flock to your site, resulting in more leads, sales and revenue for your online business. Read on to learn how to do link building properly.
Best Link Building Resources
From online content marketing to Google Penguin, this guide covers the following chapters.
- Link building fundamentals
- What is link building
- Link building basic
- Link building campaign
- Link building strategies
- Email outreach
- Content marketing
- Guest posting
- Google penguin updates
- Blackhat techniques
- Creative link building
- List of extra link building resources
Link Building Fundamentals
If you’re new to SEO, or are interested in learning the basics, then these valuable resources will definitely help you get your online marketing campaign on the right foot. You’ll learn ways to build your campaign from the ground up and with a winning mindset for ultimate SEO success.
What Is Link Building?
Search engine use bots that crawl the web to index web pages and their content. For them, the links are like streets between pages. With intensive link analysis, search engines can easily discover how web pages re linked to each other and in what ways.
Since mid 1990’s search engines are using links as a vote to ascertain which of the web pages are popular and more important. In fact, in the following years, top search engines such as Google and Yahoo have made suitable changes in their algorithms and now use link data to finely evaluate websites and their content. This helps them to present only highly relevant content to their users.
Though links are not everything in the SEO world, but many SEO experts attribute the working of most search engine algorithms on link-based factors. Though links, search engines can not only analyze the website’s popularity based on the popularity and number of pages linking to them, but also metrics such as spam, trust, and authority. Trustworthy websites usually link to other reputable sites, while spammy ones receive only few links from trusted sites. Various authority models, such as the ones postulated in the Hilltop Algorithm, amply suggest that links are indeed very good for identifying highly relevant content on any given subject. In SEO, link building is among the top tasks that should be accomplished for higher search engine ranking and to ensure more website traffic.
Before proceeding with your link building initiative, it is important to understand various elements of a link used by top search engines and how they factor into weighing those links in the search engine algorithms. Engines use links in different ways. While we don’t exactly know the link attributes are measured by search engines, through years of hands on testing and experience and analysis of patent applications, we can easily draw some intelligent assumptions that may hold up successfully in the real world. We’re listing some crucial factors that are worthy of consideration. These are the vital signals considered by SEO services when measuring a website’s link profile and like value.
Global Link Popularity
The more important and popular a website is, the more the links from that particular website matter. A website such as MayoClinic may have thousands of websites linking to it, which means it’s probably one of the most popular and important website. If you want to gain authority and trust with search engines, you will have to use other link partners. The more, the better!
Anchor text is one of the strongest signals used by search engines to rank a website. If hundreds of link point to a particular page with right set of niche keywords, that particular page have a high probability of ranking high for targeted phrase in that particular anchor text. Examples of this action are easily visible in action with searches, such as “click here”, where most results rank solely due to the efficacy of anchor text of inbound links.
Local or Topic-Specific Popularity
This concept of “local popularity” was first pioneered by Tehoma search engine. It suggests that incoming links from any topic-specific community matter more than links from off-topic or general websites. For instance, if any site sells muscle-building supplements, earning links from wwe.com matter much more than earning links from any off-topic, air conditioning repair website.
It’s a fact that there is tons of spam on the Internet. According to some estimates, as much as 63 percent of the web pages on the Internet are spam. In order to successfully weed out this irrelevant content, many search engines tweak their algorithms to measure trust, many of which are based on the site’s link graph. Your sites can rank high if you can successfully earn links from highly trusted domains. Government websites, universities, and various non-profit organizations are some examples of high-trust domains.
Links signals that point towards a site decay with time. So the websites that were once popular may go stale, and may eventually fail to get any new links. Therefore, it is important to continuously earn new links to your site. Referred to as “FresghRank” search engines also use freshness signals of links to judge the relevance and popularity of a website.
Spam links can go both ways. A site with links to spam may be spam itself, or may have number of spam sites linking back to it. So by understanding the links pointing to a website in totality, search engines can better analyze the “link neighborhood”. Therefore, it’s best to carefully choose the websites you link to and be equally selective with the websites you want to earn links from.
In the last few years, social media has grown manifold, with more than billion users sharing content on social media sites such as FaceBook, Google+ and Twitter. Although search engines such as Google or Yahoo treat socially shared content in a different way than other types of links, they do notice them. Currently there’s a raging debate among search professionals on exactly how search engines factor these social link signals into their algorithms, but there’s no denying about the rising significance of these social channels.
Link Building Basic
Link building is not easy. It’s an art and usually the most difficult factor of an SEO’s task. As millions of businesses around the world try to rank high on top search engines, link building is also one of the most critical elements of SEO that can guarantee success. It requires hustle, some creativity, and a good budget. It must be kept in mind that your link building campaigns remain unique, and much of the way you build links depends upon your website and your own personality. Let’s have a close look at 3 fundamental category of link delivery.
“Natural” Editorial Links
These are the links that are given naturally by the websites and web pages that may encourage other webmasters link to your site. These types of links do not require any specific SEO action, but to produce high quality, original and useful content and ability to spread awareness about its existence on your website. This can be done on forums, blogs, and social media.
Millions of websites allow you to crate links using forum signatures, guest book signings, user profiles, or simple blog comments. These types of links offer lowest value, but in aggregate they can still have major impact on some websites. Many search engines now devalue these types of links, and even penalize sties that pursue these types of links aggressively. In fact, now these kinds of backlinks are treated as spamming and we can’t encourage to use them.
Manual “Outreach” Link Building
The SEO service providers create these type of links by submitting website to directories, contacting webmasters for backlinks, or praying for listing on some sites. They try to recommend the site owners why it’s in their best interest to create a link. Some examples including persuading an educator that online content is trustworthy of inclusion in the curriculum or by filing out few forms for submission to any website award program.
Link Building Campaigns
Like in any business campaign, the first and most crucial step in any online link building campaign is the planning of strategy and goals. However, it’s difficult to measure any link building campaign. Although search engines weight each and every link using precise mathematical metrics, it’s still impossible for others to understand this data and analyze it.
SEO services rely on signal statistic to successfully rate the value of any link. Together with the information from link signals discussed above, some of these metrics are:
Ranking for Relevant Search Terms
The easiest means to resolve how a search engine give value to web page is to search for few key phrases or words that the page targets (especially in the headline and title tag). For instance, when you try to rank for a phrase “link building”, getting links from web pages that already rank this particular phrases would greatly help.
SEOmoz Domain Authority (DA) is a query independent measure to ascertain how a domain is to rank for any given query. It is calculated by detailed analysis of Internet’s domain graph and then comparing it to thousands of queries on Google.
mozRank (mR) indicates the popularity of any page on the Internet. Web pages with high mozRank scores rank much better on search engines. The more links a page gets, the more popular it becomes. Backlinks from famous and authority websites increases page popularity, and also its mozRank. It’s possible to improve the web page’s mozRank by getting many links from popular as well as semi-popular pages.
You can get valuable intelligence by examining the backlinks of a site that already ranks well for your targeted keyword or key phrase. This will help you achieve higher ranking. Using valuable tools such as Open Site Explorer, SEO’s can effectively discover all these links and can subsequently target these domains in their own link building campaigns.
Number of Links on a Page
According to the PageRank formula, the value that any link passes on is diluted due to the presence of other links on a web page. Therefore, getting linked-to a web page with few links is much better than getting linked-to a web page with thousands of links.
Potential Referral Traffic
Your link building efforts should never be solely for achieving higher rankings on search engines. Links that send in large amounts of direct click-through traffic not only provides a much better search engine value in terms of rankings, but also send highly targeted valuable visitors to your website. You can easily estimate this based on the number of page views/visits according to the site analytics. You can also use Google Trends for websites to get a rough idea on domain-wide traffic, although these estimates are not that accurate at times.
Link Building Strategies
If you have a well established brand that your customers love, or lots of partners you work with regularly, you can easily use this to your advantage by sending out graphic icons-partnership badges that link back to your website. This is similar to what Google does with its AdWords certification program. Just as you’d get lots of customers sporting your bumper stickers or wearing your t-shirts, links is the best way to accomplish this on the Internet. Check out this interesting post for e-commerce links to get more information.
Create a blog. Make it informative, valuable and completely entertaining resource
This unique and easy-to-understand link building strategy is so valuable and popular that it’s one of the few recommended personally by many engineers working at Google source: USA Today & Stone Temple). Blogs are updated on regular basis so they contribute fresh content on consistent basis. You can link to other blogs, including blog directories and blogrolls, participate in conversations, and earn listings.
Create original high quality content that inspires natural linking and viral sharing
In terms of SEO, it’s known as “linkbait”. Some examples include Compare the Meerkat, the funny How Not To Clean a Window, or David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors. Each of them leverages aspects of information dissemination, usefulness, or humor for creating a viral effect-one users see it they would want to immediately share it with their friends, and techs-savvy webmasters/bloggers who see it will often accomplish it through links. This editorially earned, high quality votes are really invaluable for building authority, trust, and ranking potential.
Getting the attention of bloggers, press and the news media is definitely a time-tested and effective way to earn large number of links. Sometimes this strategy is as simple as giving away something for free, starting sometime controversial, or releasing a promising new product.
Email outreach is solid strategy that can still works wonders. However, you can’t simply blast thousands of scripted emails recipients and expect to get instant results. Here are some useful resources that can help you write high-converting emails.
- How To Make Perfect Email (Without Being Annoying) by Gregory Ciotti
- Email Outreach Guide by Neil Patel
- Get Links on Resource Pages by Matt Gratt
- The 7 Principles of Bulk Outreach by Garrett French
- Examples of Outreach Letters by Peter Attia
Though content marketing cannot replace link building, but content is very important if you want to build highly relevant links that can make the right difference. You’ll also learn ways to produce original, high quality content that naturally generates social shares, back links, and referral traffic.
- The Advanced Content Marketing Guide by Neil Patel & Kathryn Aragon
- 9 Tangible Linkable Asset Ideas and How to Build Links to Them by Jason Acidre
- Real Company Stuff…It’s a struggle by Will Reynolds
- Linkbait & Infographics Guide by Ed Fry
- Content-based Outreach by Justin Briggs
If you think guest posting no more bring results, think again! Guest posting is not dead. It still works but you must ensure that you are posting on quality websites that are in your niche. Here are some amazing resources that will make this time-consuming process lot easier and effective for you.
- Guest Blogging Guide by Brian Dean
- How to Get Your Guest Post Published by Neil Patel
- Testing Guest Post Outreach Theories by James Agate
Interested in the dark side of SEO? Here are some of the best black hat SEO tutorials and guides even published online!
- Black Hat Techniques
- Black Hat Forum Black Hat SEO – BlackHatWorld
- How To Buy Blog Reviews by Loren Baker
- We Bought Links and It Worked by Scott Willoughby
- Paid Links That Work by Peter Attia
How to Successfully Recover from Google Penguin Updates
The recent Google Penguin updates have turned the traditional SEO techniques upside down and have forced people interested in ranking their websites top re-think their approach. Here you’ll learn ways to build links properly so that you can easily withstand the effects of this merciless algorithm update.
- Penquin Analysis by Alex Cardinell
- Experts Talking About Google Penguin by Razvan Gavrilas
- Where To Start in a Penguin Algorithm Analysis by John Doherty
- Penguin Algorithm Recovery Case Study by Ryan Clark
Creative Link Building
Following the masses is a sure recipe to SEO disaster. If you can think of a new strategy or can twist the exiting one you can easily get a huge leg up on your competition. In this chapter, you will read more on powerful out-of-the-box strategies.
For smaller websites, manual link building techniques, such as submission to web directories, link exchanges or link requests may work. For larger sites, these type of tactics tend to fall flat, so more scalable solutions are required. We are listing some sample strategies, though it is by no means an exhaustive list. Search for websites like yours by using key phrases and keywords that are relevant for your business. When you find out websites that aren’t competitive, use their online forms, email them, call them over a phone, or send them a snail mail to start a conversation about getting a link. Just check out this blog post on initiating link requests for more detail.
It takes some practice, time and experience to understand and build a comfort with all these variable as they mainly relate to search engine traffic. Using your website analytics, you can easily determine whether you online marketing campaign was successful.
Success will come only when you see real increase in your website traffic, more frequent search engine crawling, increase in referring link traffic and higher rankings. If these metrics fail to rise after a successful link building campaign, it’s important you seek much better quality link targets, or your on-page optimization.
Both Bing and Google do not give any importance to paid links on their search results. While it’s not possible for them to successfully detect and discredit all paid links, but they put in lots of efforts and time in detecting them. Websites that use them will see a significant drop in their rankings and they may disappear into oblivion.
- Ways To Get Quality Backlinks by Brian Dean
- Creative Ways To Get Backlinks by Jon Cooper
- 33 Ways To Get Backlinks by Justing Briggs
- 10 Ways to Use Images for Link Building by Jason Acidre
- Tested Link Building Strategies by Greg Shuey
- 36 Creative Link Building Ideas by Tony McCreath
- 12 Step Link Building Campaign by Dan Ray
The Best Ever Link Building Resources
Here’s the best link building content on the web.
- Complete List of Link Building Tactics by Jon Cooper
- Authority Building With HARO by Matt McGee
- Broken Link Building Guide by Russ Jones
- 10 Link Types That Really Matter by Jason Acidre
- Great Backlink Sources by Brian Dean
Here are some of the best case studies we have found.
- How To Get More Organic Traffic in a Week by Brian Dean
- Complete Guide For Public Relations by Ted Ives
- Guestographics Case Study by Brian Dean
- Backlink From CNN by Ken Lyons
- Offline Link Building Strategy by Matt Ridou
- Backlink From The NY Times by Ken Lyons
- How To Build Backlinks by Matthew Barby
Therefore, we recommend spending time and efforts in long-term natural link building strategies.