There is no doubt quality content is one of the top drivers of your search engine rankings. However, great content alone doesn’t guarantee your site will beat the rest to emerge at the top. Notably, you have to establish authority if you are looking to outrank other sites in a similar niche. You can achieve this by earning links from authoritative websites that amplify your content while helping you establish trustworthiness. Google reveals combining links and quality content is one of the most effective techniques to achieve a better site SEO ranking. This guide provides all crucial information on link building.

Link building statistics to ponder:

What Is Link Building, and Why Is It Important for SEO?

Link building refers to the process of getting other websites to link back to your own site. The link-building process is based on constructing a network of links across your pages to showcase your authority in a given field to search engines like Google. Link building increases the number of high-quality links that point to your website, thereby increasing the likelihood of your site ranking highly in search engine results.

The other benefits of link building include:

Enhances credibility and trustworthiness: External links are important to show Google that you are a trustworthy site. Links from high-ranking, trusted sites go a long way towards promoting the credibility and reputation of your own site by providing a visitor with a reference. Notably, an external link is more valuable if it links to a popular and relevant page that ranks highly and relates to the content on your website.
Better search engine results: Besides improving your site traffic, link building also leads to better search rankings in relation to web traffic. When relevant or authoritative sites link back to your site, it provides valuable content for Google and other search engines to use when ranking your sites. Notably, the more relevant and authoritative the site is, the better the search rankings for your site.

Drives organic traffic: In the world of SEO, link building plays an integral role in driving organic traffic through search engines. When you combine link building with other SEO strategies, such as high-quality content, good page experience, great on-page SEO, and other strong technical SEO foundations, you achieve an effective technique for driving more organic traffic to your site.

Boost relationships and networking: Additionally, link building also helps enhance relationships and networking within your niche. You should never overlook the benefits of building robust relationships and networking within your industry. In the world of digital marketing, external links offer great opportunities to reach out and make connections that get your content amplified out there. Often link building succeeds best when done as a reciprocal relationship. Consider partnership with sites in the same niche to exchange links with each other, so you both reap the rewards of enhanced authority while generating more traffic and sales.

Link Building Definitions

What are links?

A hyperlink or link on a website is a reference like a word or button pointing to another location. Hyperlinks provide an effective way for people to navigate between related pages on websites. When a user clicks on the link, that link takes them to the intended target location, a web page, a document, or other online content. Search engines such as Google leverage links to crawl the web using the different links between websites. The following are the different types of hyperlinks to be familiar with:

External Links: External links are links from one website to another. They are hyperlinks that point at or target other domains other than the host domain. External links have more impact on search engines than internal links as they are used to build your site’s web reputation.

Inbound/Backlinks: Inbound Links refer to the links from another website to yours. Inbound links or backlinks help websites to rank higher in search engines. The inbound links tell site crawls that your website is an authority on a specific subject. Notably, the more inbound links you get from high-quality, high-authority sites, the better your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Internal Links: An internal link links from a page on your website to other pages. It allows navigation from one page on a website to another. Although they are mostly used to ease navigation in a site, internal links can also help visitors access more information through the related articles or pages. Overall, internal links help increase page views and internal page rank.

Notably, all types of links send signals to Google about the importance or relevance of your website or page. Some metrics to determine the value of your external links include the page’s trustworthiness, the external link’s popularity, and the link’s relevancy to the content on your website.

How to Link build?

If you have a larger, well-established website or you are an industry-mover, you will get inbound links without doing anything. However, for us mere mortals though, it’s likely that we have to ask for it politely or sweat it out before earning the links.

 

The following are our recommended steps to link building:

In the current crowded market, people naturally gravitate towards the best. Your first step is to generate awesome pieces of content that other sites would want to link to. In a nutshell, you should have linkable content that a website owner would think could add value to their website and to their readers. Luckily, you can take steps to ensure your content stands out.

Here are the tips for creating valuable content that other websites will want to link to:

Get your own data: unsourced data doesn’t offer much value in the blogging world anymore. People are obsessed with authority and solid research, and when you write content with valuable data, anyone who wants to refer to it has to link it. A Moz and Buzzsumo’s report on the correlation between links and shares found out that people prefer to link to content that is evidenced or data-backed, specifically research content that provides new insights. 

 Pay more attention to your headline: Studies reveal that for every 100 people that see your headline, 20 will read more. This means that getting more exposure and introducing your content to the people who are likely to link, improve the conversion rate of your headline. Draft and redraft your headline while including words that elicit emotions from the reader. Try out as many headlines as possible to increase your chances of writing a kick-ass headline.  

Make it interesting, unique, and actionable: There are the three basic elements that make your content rise above the rest: interesting, unique, actionable. To make your article interesting means using the right tone and having a fresh take on the subject matter. If you are writing on a topic that has proven popular, tell your story or opinion from another angle to avoid being a bore. A unique article should have some original data and your personal side of it. An actionable article tells the reader what to do with the information you are providing them with. When a reader feels the techniques you are providing will help them realize positive change, you will get more attention, shares, and links.

Make it authoritative and well-sourced: The biggest part of generating content that deserves linking is by providing authoritative sources for your information. Outbound links undoubtedly form the basis of a successful SEO strategy. When you link back to other bloggers and websites, they are likely to return the favor. 

Write longer content: One of the most effective ways to generate links is to create longer and more authoritative content. People value longer, more comprehensive content. Studies reveal Google gives ranking priority to writings with over 2,000 words in length. Building the tallest skyscraper with your content means creating content that is more helpful than existing options. Consider turning a complex, text-heavy blog post into a more sharable and engaging infographic.

The most effective technique to get backlinks is to send an outreach email asking the recipient to link back to your site. However, creating email outreach emails takes sound strategies to ensure your emails are getting read. With the revelation that an average person receives over 90 business emails each day, you need to make yours stand out. Obviously, the trade-off between customizing emails and sending enough emails to increase your link prospects is a real thing, so you must find the most productive balance. With the right strategy, you can create an engaging copy that will get your prospects to take action and boost your link-building efforts.

The following are a few actionable tips to help you write better outreach emails.

Personalize and make it relatable: Keep in mind the target of your email doesn’t know you. Essentially, you have no more than 15 minutes to hook a stranger, arouse their interest and curiosity, and establish a connection with them. To achieve this, you must write a personalized email. Writing a generic copy that addresses everyone else may not incentivize the target audience to read it. Studies reveal creating highly personalized emails improves the likelihood of getting a higher response.

Make the pitch less than 80 words: After introducing yourself and building a connection with your recipient, ask for a backlink to improve your site’s SEO. Remember, your recipient is a busy person, so keep your pitch short and to the point. Experts recommend that your pitch should be less than 80 words. The longer your pitch is, the higher the chances of being ignored or the recipient reading it halfway.

Include a CTA: You should ensure you include a call to action on your email to drive results. State clearly what you want the recipient to do after reading your message. The ideal CTA should prompt the email recipient to link back to your site. An example we have used follows:
“We put a ton of work into this guide. If you think this guide could be helpful for your readers, would you consider sharing a link to this somewhere on your page?”

SEO research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines. Keyword research offers valuable insights into the queries that your target audience is searching for on Google and helps to find potential sites that could add your link. Keyword research helps you determine the topics that people care about and how popular the topics are among your target audience. These insights ultimately inform your content generation strategies. Once you know the keywords that enjoy a high volume of searches per month, it becomes easier to identify and sort your content into high-value topics that generate higher traffic and backlinks. To kick off this process, find sites within your target group and use Google Search and other Best SEO tools to come up with the topics, subtopics, and specific keywords you think are important to rank in the SERPs.

An important step to any link-building strategy is to find websites that are likely to link back to your site. You can start your process by finding the top content in your niche or industry currently ranking for your target keywords and target the sites that have linked to it, by using tools like Ahrefs. Create better all-around content than the page they are already linking to, this is known as the skyscraper technique. Afterward, send an outreach email to all those sites and persuade them to link to your article. 

The best way to find sites linking to your competitor’s content is using SEO tools to check competitor’s backlinks. The ideal tool will likely generate a massive list of websites linking to you and your competitors. Narrow down these results to a few websites that are likely to present the best link opportunities, making sure the sites are relevant, authoritative, and not spammy.

As mentioned earlier, email outreach is an important step in the link-building process. When sending cold emails to sites asking them to link back to your site, it is important that you use the right email address. Most tactics tell you to conduct lead research and compile a list of prospects to email. However, simply researching a lead won’t result in a perfect list of emails. Currently, finding a person’s email is harder than ever due to the fear of spam. Using an info@example.com email might get read, but it’s difficult to customize without knowing who will be on the other end reading it.

Here are a few ways to find your prospect’s email address in no time:

  • Scan the site for the contact information. Also, if there is a page about the organization’s team or staff, be sure to check that out.
  • Start with a basic LinkedIn search: Some prospects will put their emails directly on LinkedIn. Consider looking for a person via LinkedIn rather than just the website’s “info” email.
  • If you can’t find an email on the website or LinkedIn, then you can also try the Facebook page for the organization. Oftentimes, you can find an email in the ‘About’ section of a Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to a prospect’s newsletter for insights and real email

Once you have generated your prospect’s email address, send the email, being sure to customize each pitch accordingly. The best industry practice for customizing your email pitch includes:

  • Scan the prospect’s LinkedIn, Github, or Twitter profile to find out if there is anything you can relate to. Highlighting these in your first message could make all the difference.
  • Use a prospect’s name more than once: hearing or seeing our name sparks a chemical reaction in our brain. To get improved results during your email outreach campaigns, add a recipient’s name multiple times. Ensure you mention them in the body of your email casually.
  • Send an email at the perfect time: send your email when it is most likely to be opened. Studies reveal Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send emails.
  • Congratulate the recipient on their most recent achievement. This could include a new product launch or a successful marketing campaign. Mention the specific milestone in your email

To maximize the customization of your outreach, but also to minimize time spent crafting an email, we recommend using tools like BuzzStream or Pitchbox. These tools allow you to use placeholders that will autofill for most values, like names and URLS.

Relationships are undeniably the new cornerstone of a successful backlinking strategy. The best links are those from a related authority site. The most effective way to get a link from a high-ranking site is to establish a legitimate non-transactional relationship with the owners or the person running it. Identify the leaders and offer them something of value. It could be an expert opinion or a social media post from your social profiles. Though reciprocal linking is commonplace (I’ll link to your site if you link to ours), we recommend against doing it in most cases as recommended by Google in their webmaster guidelines.

The following are our recommended steps to link building:

In the current crowded market, people naturally gravitate towards the best. Your first step is to generate awesome pieces of content that other sites would want to link to. In a nutshell, you should have linkable content that a website owner would think could add value to their website and to their readers. Luckily, you can take steps to ensure your content stands out.

Here are the tips for creating valuable content that other websites will want to link to:

Get your own data: unsourced data doesn’t offer much value in the blogging world anymore. People are obsessed with authority and solid research, and when you write content with valuable data, anyone who wants to refer to it has to link it. A Moz and Buzzsumo’s report on the correlation between links and shares found out that people prefer to link to content that is evidenced or data-backed, specifically research content that provides new insights. 

 Pay more attention to your headline: Studies reveal that for every 100 people that see your headline, 20 will read more. This means that getting more exposure and introducing your content to the people who are likely to link, improve the conversion rate of your headline. Draft and redraft your headline while including words that elicit emotions from the reader. Try out as many headlines as possible to increase your chances of writing a kick-ass headline.  

Make it interesting, unique, and actionable: There are the three basic elements that make your content rise above the rest: interesting, unique, actionable. To make your article interesting means using the right tone and having a fresh take on the subject matter. If you are writing on a topic that has proven popular, tell your story or opinion from another angle to avoid being a bore. A unique article should have some original data and your personal side of it. An actionable article tells the reader what to do with the information you are providing them with. When a reader feels the techniques you are providing will help them realize positive change, you will get more attention, shares, and links.

Make it authoritative and well-sourced: The biggest part of generating content that deserves linking is by providing authoritative sources for your information. Outbound links undoubtedly form the basis of a successful SEO strategy. When you link back to other bloggers and websites, they are likely to return the favor. 

Write longer content: One of the most effective ways to generate links is to create longer and more authoritative content. People value longer, more comprehensive content. Studies reveal Google gives ranking priority to writings with over 2,000 words in length. Building the tallest skyscraper with your content means creating content that is more helpful than existing options. Consider turning a complex, text-heavy blog post into a more sharable and engaging infographic.

The most effective technique to get backlinks is to send an outreach email asking the recipient to link back to your site. However, creating email outreach emails takes sound strategies to ensure your emails are getting read. With the revelation that an average person receives over 90 business emails each day, you need to make yours stand out. Obviously, the trade-off between customizing emails and sending enough emails to increase your link prospects is a real thing, so you must find the most productive balance. With the right strategy, you can create an engaging copy that will get your prospects to take action and boost your link-building efforts.

The following are a few actionable tips to help you write better outreach emails.

Personalize and make it relatable: Keep in mind the target of your email doesn’t know you. Essentially, you have no more than 15 minutes to hook a stranger, arouse their interest and curiosity, and establish a connection with them. To achieve this, you must write a personalized email. Writing a generic copy that addresses everyone else may not incentivize the target audience to read it. Studies reveal creating highly personalized emails improves the likelihood of getting a higher response.

Make the pitch less than 80 words: After introducing yourself and building a connection with your recipient, ask for a backlink to improve your site’s SEO. Remember, your recipient is a busy person, so keep your pitch short and to the point. Experts recommend that your pitch should be less than 80 words. The longer your pitch is, the higher the chances of being ignored or the recipient reading it halfway.

Include a CTA: You should ensure you include a call to action on your email to drive results. State clearly what you want the recipient to do after reading your message. The ideal CTA should prompt the email recipient to link back to your site. An example we have used follows:
“We put a ton of work into this guide. If you think this guide could be helpful for your readers, would you consider sharing a link to this somewhere on your page?”

SEO research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines. Keyword research offers valuable insights into the queries that your target audience is searching for on Google and helps to find potential sites that could add your link. Keyword research helps you determine the topics that people care about and how popular the topics are among your target audience. These insights ultimately inform your content generation strategies. Once you know the keywords that enjoy a high volume of searches per month, it becomes easier to identify and sort your content into high-value topics that generate higher traffic and backlinks. To kick off this process, find sites within your target group and use Google Search and other Best SEO tools to come up with the topics, subtopics, and specific keywords you think are important to rank in the SERPs.

An important step to any link-building strategy is to find websites that are likely to link back to your site. You can start your process by finding the top content in your niche or industry currently ranking for your target keywords and target the sites that have linked to it, by using tools like Ahrefs. Create better all-around content than the page they are already linking to, this is known as the skyscraper technique. Afterward, send an outreach email to all those sites and persuade them to link to your article. 

The best way to find sites linking to your competitor’s content is using SEO tools to check competitor’s backlinks. The ideal tool will likely generate a massive list of websites linking to you and your competitors. Narrow down these results to a few websites that are likely to present the best link opportunities, making sure the sites are relevant, authoritative, and not spammy.

As mentioned earlier, email outreach is an important step in the link-building process. When sending cold emails to sites asking them to link back to your site, it is important that you use the right email address. Most tactics tell you to conduct lead research and compile a list of prospects to email. However, simply researching a lead won’t result in a perfect list of emails. Currently, finding a person’s email is harder than ever due to the fear of spam. Using an info@example.com email might get read, but it’s difficult to customize without knowing who will be on the other end reading it.

Here are a few ways to find your prospect’s email address in no time:

  • Scan the site for the contact information. Also, if there is a page about the organization’s team or staff, be sure to check that out.
  • Start with a basic LinkedIn search: Some prospects will put their emails directly on LinkedIn. Consider looking for a person via LinkedIn rather than just the website’s “info” email.
  • If you can’t find an email on the website or LinkedIn, then you can also try the Facebook page for the organization. Oftentimes, you can find an email in the ‘About’ section of a Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to a prospect’s newsletter for insights and real email

Once you have generated your prospect’s email address, send the email, being sure to customize each pitch accordingly. The best industry practice for customizing your email pitch includes:

  • Scan the prospect’s LinkedIn, Github, or Twitter profile to find out if there is anything you can relate to. Highlighting these in your first message could make all the difference.
  • Use a prospect’s name more than once: hearing or seeing our name sparks a chemical reaction in our brain. To get improved results during your email outreach campaigns, add a recipient’s name multiple times. Ensure you mention them in the body of your email casually.
  • Send an email at the perfect time: send your email when it is most likely to be opened. Studies reveal Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send emails.
  • Congratulate the recipient on their most recent achievement. This could include a new product launch or a successful marketing campaign. Mention the specific milestone in your email

To maximize the customization of your outreach, but also to minimize time spent crafting an email, we recommend using tools like BuzzStream or Pitchbox. These tools allow you to use placeholders that will autofill for most values, like names and URLS.

Relationships are undeniably the new cornerstone of a successful backlinking strategy. The best links are those from a related authority site. The most effective way to get a link from a high-ranking site is to establish a legitimate non-transactional relationship with the owners or the person running it. Identify the leaders and offer them something of value. It could be an expert opinion or a social media post from your social profiles. Though reciprocal linking is commonplace (I’ll link to your site if you link to ours), we recommend against doing it in most cases as recommended by Google in their webmaster guidelines.

Write Content with Linking Opportunities

If you have a larger, well-established website or you are an industry-mover, you will get inbound links without doing anything. However, for us mere mortals though, it’s likely that we have to ask for it politely or sweat it out before earning the links. The following are our recommended steps to link building:

How Do I Build a Healthy Link Profile?

Finding high-quality links involves knowing the difference between a good and a bad link. To improve your Google ranking, you’ll want to find websites and pursue linking opportunities that are high-authority. Notably, a good link profile doesn’t attract the attention of Google as being potentially spammy. The following are the three things that can help you build a healthy link profile:

Relevance

Relevance is the cornerstone of a successful link-building process. Ensure the sites that provide a link back to you are within your industry, and their content is highly relevant to your audience. Similarly, ensure the anchor texts are natural and highly relevant to the page you are linking to. Even though we don’t often have any control on the anchor text a webmaster uses with our link, forcing anchor texts won’t give the best results.

Diversity

Diversify links from multiple relevant and high authority sites, industry directories, comments, and forums. Although diversity is important, you should not overdo it. Spending too much time commenting on blogs or forums with your link can make your blog unnatural. Importantly, exercise a lot of care with reciprocal links, too, as these are often viewed suspiciously by Google.

Velocity

Velocity refers to how fast your link profile grows. Notably, a healthy link profile takes time to grow. Consequently, avoid a profile that shoots up suddenly as it gives an impression to Google that it was acquired by nefarious practices. However, if you have a popular brand, you will likely attract several backlinks without much effort.

How to Determine Link Value or Authority

Ideally, the higher the domain authority of the referencing website you are using, the higher the chance of getting more valuable links. The value or mention of a link varies depending on the authority of the referencing website. As you try to acquire links for your site, ensure you get them on high-authority websites. Some of the ways to measure the value of links include:

Tracking backlinks to content

You can effectively measure the authority of your content links by pulling backlinks to the content with the help of third-party backlink tools. Examine the data provided by each tool to evaluate its value. Some party backlink tools to leverage include:

Leverage website analytics

Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics provide trackbacks to help you discover valuable links. Don't just evaluate the value of a link based on the traffic it generates. Find out what those visitors are doing while on the site. Google analytics tools can help you gain insights on visits and unique visitors, conversions, time on page, in page clicks.

No-Follow or Do-Follow?

Notably, there are two ways the website can be linked: No-Follow or Do-Follow. Although both links achieve the same goal of linking from the origin site to the destination site, they relay different information to the search engine. The do-follow link is a link that passes the authority of the origin site to the destination site, thus helping in terms of SEO. Do-follow backlinks help improve your website’s domain authority or domain rating, which ultimately leads to improved keyword ranking.

On the other hand, a no-follow link is a link that doesn’t pass authority on the website it is linking to. These links are not valuable in terms of SEO and are not desirable if you’re trying to build or analyze domain authority. However, it will still pass some organic traffic to your website.

Pro tip

Pro tip You can use a no-follow link when you don’t want to pass authority to or endorse the linked website. You can also use a no-follow link for sponsored links, affiliate links, or user-generated content.

Anchor Text

Link building is undeniably a complex subject that consists of thousands of small details. In website copywriting, anchor text is the most important of these details. An anchor refers to a text that a visitor clicks to move from one internet destination to another. The texts you choose are important because they tell the readers what to expect before clicking a link. Anchor texts are, therefore, the promise of what is on the other side of the link. An anchor text also tells the Google algorithm what your content is all about. Google algorithms leverage your anchor choices to understand the topics you link to and make sure you are not engaging in spammy practices.

A few best industry practices to keep in mind when choosing anchor texts or earning links include:

When we are conducting outreach and earning backlinks, we can’t always tell the person editing their website how we want our link displayed. Each webmaster will usually put enough tweaks into the anchor text, so that anchor text differs enough and it isn’t always exactly matching, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Backlinks are Relevant

Link relevance means the backlink coming to your website is closely related or appropriate to your page or website. As mentioned earlier, you should ensure that the websites you are requesting links from are relevant to your topic. You wouldn’t want to request a link from a pet supply website to your financial management page. Relevant links show Google what your site is all about and the terms to rank your pages for. Relevant links also show Google that your pages are more relevant than your competitors’ pages. Using too many irrelevant links can attract harsh penalties from Google.

Industry Experts in Link Building

Want to learn more about SEO link-building strategies? Then you should learn from the top SEO experts. These experts share link-building strategies, tactics, tips, tools, data, and so much more on social media, conferences, and individual websites. The following are some industry experts that SE refers to for link building and SEO resources.

Link Building Don'ts & Tactics to Avoid

Black hat SEO refers to illegal tactics used to rank a website. These tactics violate search engine guidelines by attempting to manipulate search engine algorithms to increase a site’s rankings on the SERPs. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have outlined the types of practices going against their terms. They have also stated the potential outcomes if you violate these guidelines. This ultimately leads to a lower ranking and a decline in organic traffic.

Some of the black hat tactics to avoid include:

Avoid buying links

Building backlinks takes time and effort. Some marketers can get impatient with white hat link-building processes and look for shortcuts by buying links from a link seller. However, buying links violates the Google Quality Guidelines. Remember, Google has myriads of effective ways to detect unnatural links and link patterns are penalized. Google typically doesn't play around when it comes to link schemes. Incorporating a black hat SEO tactic in your link-building strategy can lead to your website being downgraded.

Don't use spammy or exact match anchor text

Anchor text spamming refers to the practice of gaining links with a specific anchor text in mind. Using the same words for every link to your website makes it unnatural. For example, if you have 60 links pointing to your website and 55 of these links have the same anchor text, it gives a strong signal to search engines that there are black-hat practices in place. If you are practicing anchor text spamming, there is a high chance your website will be penalized by Google. As long as you are doing white-hat link building, then this isn’t something you will likely have to worry too much about.

Excessive link exchange schemes

Don't participate in any link exchange schemes. Google typically flags an unnatural number of links being exchanged by two domains. There are cases where the link exchange makes sense and the other site has a high authority to make it worthwhile, but these are usually rare

Don't suggest a specific anchor text

Suggesting a particular anchor text to a webmaster is unhelpful to your SEO efforts. Google favors websites that feature a healthy combination of anchor texts in their site's backlink profile. The best practice is to allow webmasters, editors, and writers to choose the natural anchor texts to use when adding links to the site.

Need Help-Link building?

There is no doubt that link building is hard. That’s why so many agencies and companies resort to bad strategies against Google’s guidelines that also put your website at risk of being penalized. In addition to using a carefully crafted outreach strategy, the most crucial part of link building is the content. Without good content, a website owner will be reluctant to want to link to your site. Second Eclipse is here for your content creation that is both SEO-friendly and ripe for links. After creating the quality content, we go the extra mile to promote your content and let others know where to find it. We use our expertise and experience to build links to your new and engaging content. Contact us today for the best content creation and link building services.