In this era of digital marketing, companies want to drive more and more traffic to their websites and increase their online visibility in any way possible. In order to make a distinct place for itself in this competitive space, a brand needs to employ certain strategies to remain on top of its marketing game. SEO link building strategies are a time-tested way to drive traffic via search engines.
What Is SEO Link Building?
Link building is the process of building hyperlinks (also known as backlinks) from other websites to your own. Hyperlinks are used to navigate pages on the internet. Search engines like Google use these links to crawl the web for quality websites. Link building is a wide term that encompasses various strategies, such as email outreach, broken link building, and more.
SEO links are not always deliberately built by marketers. Many times, they are created organically (or, in other words, earned). For example, a food blogger who is really impressed by a restaurant might post a link to its website in their review, or a journalist covering a news story may link to another source for facts. Acquiring links you do not deliberately build or ask for determines your success over the long term.
You can achieve this by making your website link-worthy or creating content that other websites would want to visit for reference. You have to put in effort to deliver a good product or service, which the users will find worthy to link. In order to improve your ranking and increase traffic from organic search, you can employ a number of SEO link building techniques.
Why Is Link Building Important?
Link building strategies are important because they are one of the primary factors used by search engines to determine rankings (which means, who gets to be on the first page of search results).
When deciding the rank of your website, search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., look at the number of high-quality sites that link to your pages. Thus, high-quality backlinks are essential for improving your search rankings. This strategy, however, is effective only when authoritative and trustworthy sites link to you.
According to a study by Moz, external links play an important role in determining higher rankings in competitive searches. Higher rankings were also connected to the volume of websites linking back to your site. However, keep in mind that the quality of websites matters a great deal. If the websites linking to you (also known as referring domains) are low-quality or not authoritative enough, then your website may be demoted by the search engine.
There is an ideal and a not-so-ideal way to build links. Most marketers choose the latter, since it is the easy way out. However, for long-term viability and success of your business, you should strive for the ideal way, which is natural or organic link building. It is the process of earning links rather than buying them. It is a tedious and time-consuming process, but totally worth the effort.
9 Link Building Strategies That Work
There are many ways to get links to your website. The type of link building strategy a company needs to adopt depends on the resources it has and the industry it is part of. Some general link building strategies that can be applied to most types of websites are as follows.
1. Content-based link building
Content is the backbone of digital marketing. By creating high-quality content, you will give users a reason to publicize you. This content can be in the form of an infographic, video, how-to guide, image, report, or more.
People should find your content relevant, funny, interesting, informative, or useful in any way in order to link to it. You should also be mindful about when and how often you need to post, as bombarding users with content might be counterproductive. So, come up with an effective strategy by analyzing your users’ responses to the content you’re putting out.
2. Guest blogging
Guest blogging is another form of web content writing. the practice of requesting other websites to publish your content. It is an effective link building strategy. To reap the benefits of guest blogging, focus on creating unique and authentic content for websites that attract your target audience. Through guest blogging, you will be able to direct the host platform’s traffic to your website. However, keep in mind that in order to position yourself as a guest blogger, you need to prove your expertise in the field.
3. Broken link building
This is a highly popular link building strategy, wherein you look for broken links (links that no longer work) and fix them or replace them with a link to new and updated content. You can use existing content or create new content to fix broken links. In order to detect broken links, you can use tools such as Google Search Console and ahrefs.
4. Link reclamation
This is similar to the broken link building strategy. Here, you fix or repair the links that once led to or still lead to your site, but don’t provide any SEO value. Link Explorer is a good tool for finding backlinks that point to pages on your website that no longer exist. You can also ask to insert a link to your site if someone has written a blog post about you. Tools such as Google Alerts and Mention can be used to find brand mentions. Sometimes, websites use images that belong to you—this is a great opportunity to earn a link in exchange.
5. Resource pages
Resource pages contain comprehensive lists of links to various websites across industries. They essentially link to content that people might be interested in. It is advisable to get resource links from trusted sites, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Copyblogger, etc. The ideal way to go about it is reaching out to the page of your choice via email.
6. Grow your brand
Focus on growing your brand and connecting with your audience. As your brand evolves, more and more people will naturally link to you. It means, such links will not be paid, but will appear organically. A natural link gives credit where it is due, and only high-value content can earn natural, quality backlinks. Consistent blogging is one of the best ways to grow your brand. A HubSpot survey revealed that blogging regularly can get you 97% more inbound links and 55% more visitors, thereby improving your search engine rankings.
7. Check competitors’ backlinks
This is an effective SEO backlink strategy. If your competitors rank higher than you in search engines, you need to know where their links are coming from and what they are doing differently that is helping them succeed. This is called competitive analysis. Once you know about your competitors’ backlink strategy, try to replicate their success.
8. Get social
Leverage social media by sharing posts and images that your target audience would want to see. It can help improve engagement and increase brand awareness. More people will get to know about your website through social media promotion, which, in turn, will increase its visibility.
9. Keep track of your backlinks
It is important to monitor your own backlinks to decide whether to build more of such links or stop. Site owners can remove your link from their blogs without your knowledge. Thus, you should always know the number of links your site currently has and develop a backlink strategy accordingly. You can check your backlinks using tools like Moz and SEMrush.
Expert Advice on Link Building
Here is what these experts have to say about link building.
1. Brain Dean, Backlinko
“I recommend focusing almost 100% of your outreach on broken links. Or other creative ways to make someone’s page better. Reaching out to ask someone to add your link can still work. But it’s tough. Pitching your link as a replacement for a dead link has a much higher success rate right now.
In fact, I recently ran a broken link building campaign that converted at nearly 10%. And it’s all because replacing the dead link with a working link to my site made that page better.”
2. Bibi the Link Builder, BibiBuzz
“We’re so stuck in a box about all aspects of link building. Who we should reach out to, what to write, which type of content to create.
When everyone operates within the same limits, they just repeat the same thing, and results will diminish. One way to get ‘unstuck’ is to disrupt the expectations that bloggers and other prospects have of link builders. As soon as you start to sound like a link builder, most people stop reading your email… This can be done with hyper-personalized emails, but also with creative, unexpected generic ones. Or change it up with non-text elements or through channels other than email.”
3. Garrett French, Citation Labs
“In broken link building, you’re offering ‘visitor experience improvements’ to a webmaster or page curator who’s dedicated to a particular audience. With this in mind, your subject line and offer (a fix) must demonstrate value to the target audience—as well as mention the impact the broken link could have on an expectant visitor in need.”
4. Shannon McGuirk, Aira
“My favorite type of link building is digital PR/creative content. We work hard to understand a brand’s audience and fuse their interests with what’s relevant and resonant in the news.
For example, in travel, it’s important to keep your creative content campaigns destination and metric focused, such as one we created for Alpha Travel Insurance that blends a topic their younger adventurous audience are interested in with one of their key products and resulted in 37 followed links.”
A link building strategy results in getting other websites to link back to your website. It has immense benefits for your online business. Link building is an essential part of your SEO efforts, so make sure you dedicate a considerable amount of time and effort to it. Once you have the basics in place, you’ll be on your way to building a bank of quality backlinks that will widen your online presence.
- Link building is used in SEO, as backlinks are proof to Google and other search engines that your website is worthy of citation. Therefore, more backlinks lead to higher rankings.
- Link building tactics depend on factors, such as financial resources at the company’s disposal and the industry it is a part of.
- Some of the most popular SEO link building strategies include high-quality content creation, guest blogging, broken link building, link reclamation, and monitoring your and your competitors’ backlinks.
It is the practice of gaining links from other websites to your website to improve its web authority and search engine rankings. Popular link-building strategies include creating quality content, broken link building, and guest blogging, among others.
No, seeking permission is not required to link to another website.
No, it is still a popular means to increase traffic to a site and improve its search engine ranking. But the focus has now shifted from the number of backlinks to the quality of backlinks.
There are many effective link-building strategies that you can employ. But one of the most popular ones is guest blogging. Ensure that you create quality content that people would want to link back to.
Organic or natural links are the most effective. Such links are earned. It means the sites that link to you consider your content valuable and credible. So, your focus should be on creating link-worthy content, and it will naturally increase your popularity among your audience.