Have you ever wondered how a website appears on Google’s search pages?
If you are new to marketing your business online and are curious about what link building is, how link building can help your website, and what types of link building there are, this article is for you.
Let’s imagine that you’ve just created a brand-new website for your startup. You’ve bought and registered your domain, hired a web designer to spice it up and have added some content on the pages. Now what? Should it just appear on Google right away?
Not necessarily. You see, simply searching for your website or its content probably won’t get it to show up unless you scroll through potentially hundreds of pages of results. This is because, in Google’s eyes, your website doesn’t currently exist or isn’t relevant enough to be pushed up to the first page.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in handy. SEO is comprised of several different strategies that can help your website not just appear on Google, but land on the front page for certain search terms. It involves focusing on specific keywords, improving the user experience and using meta tags. However, one of the biggest components of SEO is link building, and that’s what we’ll be explaining in this post.
Before we discuss link building strategies, it’s important to get a better understanding of what link building is.
Defining Link Building
Link building essentially means getting other websites to link to yours. This not only increases your exposure on other websites but also tells Google that you’re a trustworthy and reliable website that offers something positive to the internet.
Links that point to your website from another are known as backlinks and are incredibly useful at growing your website’s SEO ranking. Backlinks remain one of the biggest factors that help Google determine what your website is worth.
Why is Link Building Important?
Link building is a major factor in how Google ranks web pages. Think of it this way; if your website makes a lot of claims about a specific subject, then you might expect Google to rank you as an authority on the subject. For instance, if you’ve posted a detailed report about a popular subject, then you might expect to get a lot of hits and be easy to find on Google. However, if no other website cites you as a source of genuine or quality information, then Google will treat your website as an untrustworthy source and ignore you.
This essentially means that Google uses backlinks as a way to measure your website’s authority and trustworthiness. If lots of other websites link to your pages and cite you as a reliable source, then Google’s algorithms will pick up on this and push you up the rankings. This is why link building is so important.
There’s no rulebook to how you start building backlinks to your website. Link building is a constantly evolving skill that relies on your experience and current trends to take full advantage of. Before you start building backlinks for your website, you should first understand the two drastically different forms of link building; black-hat and white-hat.
- Black-hat refers to underhanded practices that could result in your website being banned or blacklisted by a search engine. This typically involves short-term link building strategies that are brute-forced. This includes paying for backlinks in a chaotic or underhanded manner or even manipulating Google’s search algorithm or other websites to achieve more backlinks.
- White-hat refers to organic link building methods. This is slower and doesn’t offer short-term gains like black-hat, but it’s more sustainable and doesn’t come with the risk of having your website banned. Think of white-hat as a long-term investment that requires a lot of attention.
In most cases, you’ll want to focus on white-hat link building due to its long-term sustainability and no risk of being blacklisted by Google. Black-hat SEO can be a short-term option to give your website a little boost, but many black-hat link building strategies tend to fail after a while and the risk of being blacklisted is too big of a gamble, especially if you want to build a long-lasting website.
Backlink quality is another reason why black-hat link building is not recommended. Not all backlinks give the same amount of authority to your website. Instead, websites that Google deems are high-quality will have a greater impact if they link to your website. For instance, backlinks from a random blog will likely not make an impact on your search rankings. However, if a well-known news source or high-traffic website links to your pages, then you can expect to see a dramatic boost in your SEO.
Since black-hat link building typically relies on manipulating Google’s algorithm with relatively unknown websites, the backlinks produced by black-hat methods typically aren’t worth much. Google may even pick up on the fact that you’re using underhanded or manipulative link building methods and blacklist your website. This is why focusing on white-hat methods is so important if you want to create a sustainable website.
Now that you should have a relatively good understanding of link building and why it’s important, now is a good time to learn some reliable link building strategies that can help your website grow.
If you are looking for a more in depth explanation of what makes a great backlink, be sure to read The A.R.T of Link Building
Guest Post Link Building
Guest posting is the practice of contributing to another website’s content with your pieces. This helps to build better relationships with other websites that cover the same subjects or are in the same industry as you.
How Does Guest Posting Build Links?
Guest posting usually leads to backlinks. For instance, there might be a comment at the start of your guest post that introduces who you are and links to your website, or you might have the opportunity to plug your own services in the body of the content. However, in return for placing your links on someone else’s website, you’re also expected to accept guest content from them and place it on your website.
This is more common for websites that have blogs attached to them, but guest posting can also include other types of content such as news format websites or even using YouTube videos and podcasts.
Advantages of Guest Posting
- Guest posting helps you build a better reputation in the industry or community related to your subject. This helps people associate your brand or website with a niche or subject and gives you exposure to another website’s audience.
- It’s an effective way of building links as you’re usually given the opportunity to plug yourself or your website in content that you create.
- Guest posting can help you target new audiences and get involved in different communities. This can be important for growing your social or online presence.
Disadvantages of Guest Posting
- Guest posting could lead to some unwanted association especially if the website turns out to be illegitimate or doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
- If you don’t choose the right website to build your links, it could result in low-quality backlinks that aren’t worth your time and effort.
- You could end up targeting the wrong audience if you haven’t done your research into the website you plan to guest post on.
Are Guest Posts Worth It?
While there are some obvious disadvantages, many of them can be mitigated by simply doing your research and getting to know the website owner and their content before agreeing to a guest post.
It can be a fantastic way to organically build links but writing up the right content for a guest post can be quite exhausting. Luckily, if you’re able to build a good relationship with other website owners, then they’ll likely be more than happy to assist you in future partnerships. Blogger outreach is another common name for this type of service.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves finding broken links on other websites and replacing them with your content. This means contacting the website’s owner, alerting them about broken links and offering your content to fill in the gap.
How Does Broken Link Building Work?
The first problem with broken link building is finding broken links. Websites don’t usually randomly go down, but there could be situations where a website changes their domain and forgets to set up a redirect, meaning that certain blogs could have a bunch of broken links in their content. Of course, in this situation, they might just find the new website and link to that content instead.
Broken link building does require a bit of luck to work correctly, and you need to be able to convince webmasters that your content is good enough to fill in the gap. It goes without saying that broken link building is time-consuming, but it can offer some major advantages if you get lucky.
Advantages of Broken Link Building
- If you’re lucky, you could land yourself a spot on a high-authority website that hasn’t updated their links.
- Your broken link building could lead to partnerships in the future such as guest posts or collaborations, especially if you make a good first impression and can offer good content to fill in their broken links.
- Website owners appreciate it when someone is ready and willing to replace their broken links with similar content, meaning it has a high chance of working if you find the right opportunities.
- The content you create for broken link building has a high chance of converting since it’s already proven to be good enough to be linked to.
Disadvantages of Broken Link Building
- Finding prospects is incredibly time-consuming and may require you to use paid tools to find broken links on websites.
- This typically only works in a niche that isn’t competitive since there are lots of people looking for broken link building prospects.
- The content you create needs to meet the standards of the website.
Is Broken Link Building Worth It?
This is a difficult one to recommend if you are new to link building or have a small budget to outsource your link building, due to how time-consuming it is. Not only do you need to search for prospects, but you also need to create content from scratch to fill in the content gaps. This could be something as simple as recommending your products instead of a competitor’s, or it could mean writing a 10,000-word article that goes in-depth with a particular subject.
However, if you find the right opportunities and prospects, broken link building can be an incredibly effective way to build backlinks. We won’t suggest spending all of your time finding prospects, but if the opportunity presents itself, it’s well worth the time investment. Remember, for this method to work, you need to have valuable content on your website.
Resource Page Link Building
Resource page linking involves finding a resource page on a website and emailing the website owner to ask them to link your website as a compatible or relevant resource. For instance, if there’s a resource page that links to royalty-free stock images, then you might suggest your website as a source of free images.
How Does Resource Page Link Building Work?
Resource page link building is a lot easier than both guest posting and broken link building because you only need to find resource pages that are relevant to your content. For example, if you operate a website that covers a topic such as nutritional information, then you should search for resource pages that cover fitness topics or healthy recipes.
Simply message the website owner and ask if they’d be willing to list your website as a resource. As long as it’s relevant and high-quality, you’ll likely be accepted.
Advantages of Resource Page Link Building
- It’s much easier than other forms of link building.
- It helps to build relationships with other webmasters.
- It can give you a lot of exposure if your website is placed on a well-known website.
Disadvantages of Resource Page Link Building
- It requires your website to be a reliable source of information for a certain niche or subject.
Is Resource Page Link Building Worth It?
Yes. It’s easy enough to find resource pages on Google and it doesn’t require paid software or tools to do so. You simply search for terms that are related to the content you want to use as a backlink and then email the website owner. It’s simple, it’s low-risk and is usually has a high chance of succeeding.
As you can see, link building is an incredibly important component of building your brand or online presence. It’s a huge factor when it comes to SEO and by utilizing link building correctly, you’ll shoot up the search rankings and quickly become an authoritative source of information in your chosen subject or niche.