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The Ultimate Guide to Link Building

Search Optimization

Link building is one of the most critical SEO strategies out there.  

As with keywords, links serve as an essential ranking factor used by Google and other search engines. In fact, any website with a healthy link profile is viewed by Google as a worthy candidate for a top-ranking position.  

Think of good links as votes; they tell crawlers that a website is reputable and offers valuable content. By good links, we’re referring to those that come from sites that are reliable, relevant, and authoritative. These links should be earned through organic means.  

With Google getting smarter and smarter each day, however, it’s not surprising to see that it has improved its ability to detect unnatural link building patterns. It can distinguish what kinds of links are and aren’t useful for searchers.  

For instance, outdated tactics like spamming and posting in forums won’t work anymore like they used to.  

Whether you’re new to the world of link building or you’re struggling to drive quality traffic despite your best linking efforts, this post is definitely something you’ll find extremely useful.  

Here, you’ll be learning what exactly link building is, how it can help your business stay ahead of the competition, the best practices to implement, and more.

Ready to expand your knowledge and customer base? Here’s our Florida SEO company’s ultimate guide to link building to kickstart your journey to success!

Table of Content

  1. What Is Link Building?
  2. Why Does Link Building Matter?
  3. Qualities of a Good Backlink
  4. Link Building Best Practices
  5. Common Link Building Mistakes to Avoid
link building concept

What Is Link Building?

As the name suggests, link building is the practice of building quality backlinks, which are essentially links that point back to your website.  

The goal is to improve your search engine ranking because higher rankings mean more traffic, more leads, and eventually, more conversions. That’s why many businesses today have incorporated link building into their digital marketing efforts.

Why Does Link Building Matter?

As a Florida SEO company with years of experience in link building, we can honestly say that it’s a major contributing factor in the online growth and success of a business.  

Take a look at seven of the biggest benefits it brings below, and you’ll see why!

1. Boosts Search Rankings

Google loves high-quality backlinks. In fact, the attention that it pays to backlinks was one of the key factors distinguishing it from the competition when it first entered the market.

Backlinks are seen as an indicator of quality and, given Google’s desire to provide users with nothing but the best results, it makes sense to rank sites with good backlinks higher than those that have few or low-quality backlinks.

When many relevant and authoritative websites link back to your website, Google will assume that your content offers value, leading it to position you at the top of its results page. Your name will be among the first to pop up to users who are searching for brands similar to you.  

As long as you’re getting your links from well-established sites, you can expect your ranking to soar. Backlinks coming from less recognized sources won’t do you any favor.  

If Google were to choose between a site that only has five good links and another with over 10, most of which are meh, guess which will one it choose? That’s right – the former.  

2. Builds Credibility & Reputation

Good backlinks are basically votes of confidence from websites related to your niche. They’re telling readers (which pretty much could be your target audience) that your site provides engaging and relevant content.    

Let’s say someone’s reading a blog post from a website they trust and comes across a link that takes them to your web page. Since they’ve always relied on the site for information, odds are, they’ll also find you to be just as credible.  

Appearing on top of search engine results pages (SERPs) can establish you as a trustworthy brand too. People tend to equate high-ranking sites with credibility and outstanding reputation, and they’re not wrong.  

Why else would 75% of users not bother to scroll past the first page on a Google search?

3. Increases Web Traffic

Link building is one of the surest ways to attract quality traffic from authority sites. Having your business website mentioned by an industry leader will get potential customers landing on it the moment they click on the link.  

And, if they find themselves enjoying your content, there’s a huge chance that they can convert right there and then.

4. Generates More Sales

More traffic translates to more opportunities to generate more revenue.  

It’s not that complicated, really. With your website showing up higher in search results, more prospective customers will learn about your business.  

And, since users who are searching for brands online are usually those who are planning to buy, you’ll notice your sales going up in a matter of time.  

5. Positions You as a Brand Authority

In this dog-eat-dog world we currently live in, you want to be at the forefront of your industry. And guess what? Building good backlinks can actually help you do just that.  

The fact that highly-regarded sites are linking to you is already enough to make you a brand leader. Consumers will perceive you as a dominant brand, thus increasing the likelihood of them choosing you over your competitors.  

6. Raises SEO Score & Site Metrics

An off-page SEO tactic, link building has a huge role to play when it comes to improving your site score and key metrics like domain authority, domain rating, URL Rating, and PageRank.  

Scoring high both in SEO and metrics with the help of your backlinks will push your website higher on SERPs and keep you there for a long time.

7. Provides a Continual Flow of Referral Traffic

Many digital marketing strategies tend to run their course or require regular updating to be successful.  

Take Facebook Ads, for example. If you run your ads for 30 days, you’ll need to take action by the end of those 30 days. Either you tweak and set them up again, start fresh, or stop your campaigns altogether.  

This isn’t the case with link building. You’ll still be able to generate continued and sustained referral traffic without having to constantly check and update your link at its permanent spot on an authoritative site.  

Qualities of a Good Backlink

Now that we’ve explored the top seven benefits of link building, let’s move on to another important topic: the qualities of a good backlink. Because not all backlinks will work to your advantage, it’s crucial to know what makes a quality backlink.  

Here are five features you should pay close attention to:

1. Domain Authority (DA)

Domain authority is a metric invented by Moz to score websites and web pages based on the quality and quantity of their links. Although not a ranking factor, it makes a great proxy for measuring backlink authority.  

Keep in mind that websites with higher DA correlate with higher rankings, and those with lower DA are highly unlikely to take your site to the top of search results.  

There are numerous tools available online that you can use to measure a site’s authority, including Moz’s Domain Authority Checker, SEMrush’s Authority Score Checker, and Ahrefs’ Website Authority Checker.

2. Relevance

Google is committed to providing the most relevant search results to its users. It finds a backlink to be more valuable if it comes from a relevant source, as it helps it better understand what your website is about.  

So, it makes perfect sense to consider relevance as a measure of link quality.  

Not to mention, relevant links tend to attract web visitors more than links that are completely unrelated to the niche. Let’s say you have a website about health and fitness.  

A certain blog post of yours has two incoming links: one from a sports apparel site and the other from a celebrity gossip site. Obviously, folks who aim to get into an active lifestyle will be more inclined to click link A.

3. Trustworthiness

It doesn’t take a Florida SEO company to recognize how trustworthiness makes a quality backlink.  

As with a site’s domain authority, any link from a reputable site is telling Google that your website is a reputable source as well, thereby rewarding you with a good ranking.

So, what sites are considered unreliable? Those that possess the following characteristics:  

  • Plagiarized content
  • Poorly written content
  • Outdated content
  • A very small amount of content on each page
  • Overoptimized content (ex. stuffing keywords)
  • Intrusive ads
  • Exist solely to post affiliate links
  • Spammy appearance
  • Anonymous authors

4. Organically Earned

Buying backlinks is a mortal sin in Google’s eyes. If it catches a website that’s doing this, it will hit the site with a penalty, hurting its rankings and resulting in a heavy loss of traffic.  

The point is, all backlinks pointing to your site must be earned naturally. We’ll be exploring some of the best and most effective ways later in this post, as well as the bad practices to avoid.  

Yes, there are other link building no-no’s aside from paying for links, so be sure to stick around.  

5. Uniqueness

A unique link is more difficult to earn, which makes it more valuable since not everybody has the chance to obtain one. This makes uniqueness another characteristic of a great backlink.  

The more unique backlinks you have, the better. Don’t forget to take the site’s DA score and trustworthiness into consideration.

Link Building Best Practices

As a Florida SEO company that wants to see businesses like you grow, we’ve rounded up the best tips and tricks that will make link building seem like a piece of cake to you. Let’s dive right in!

Fix Broken Links

Broken link building is a time-tested strategy that can be highly effective if done correctly.

The basic idea is to find websites in your industry that have broken links on their pages. You then reach out to the site owner and let them know that you have a similar piece of content that could serve as a replacement for the broken link.  

If they're interested, they'll add your link to their page.

One of the simplest ways to look for broken links is by Googling “(your target keyword) + resources.” If you’re in the medical industry, for instance, you can type “medical resources”. Google will then provide you with a list of websites that contain resource pages.  

Next, use a link checker tool like Broken Link Checker or Screaming Frog to scan each of those sites for dead links. Once you have all the websites jotted down, reach out to the respective webmasters via email and inform them of your desire to replace their broken links.  

Do Guest Blogging

female blogger working on laptop

If you want to get your name and content in front of new audiences in the quickest possible way, guest blogging is your best bet.  

Here, you’ll write quality and engaging content for another site in your industry, ideally one with a larger following than you.  

In exchange for your piece, the website will include a link back to your own website. They get to publish a well-crafted article for their audience, you earn a good link in return – it’s a win-win!

Convert Unlinked Brand Mentions into Backlinks

Chances are, there are websites that have mentioned your brand without linking to your site. Trust us, it happens a lot.  

The good news is, you can still find these unlinked mentions. Here are three quick solutions:  

  • Use Content Explorer, a mini search engine within Ahrefs that allows users to discover existing unlinked mentions of their websites.
  • Get notifications from the SEMrush Brand Monitoring Tool each time someone references you0
  • Reach out to writers who have previously cited your brand in a positive light and ask them if they can link to your site.

Connect with Other Experts in Your Industry

Engaging with other people in your industry is another effective tactic to help spread the word about your website and business. Establishing relationships with them can open the door for link building opportunities.  

There’s no better way to meet fellow business owners in your area than by attending local networking events.  

There’s always a chance of you bumping into someone who’d be open to the idea of teaming up with you. For instance, you could run a joint contest or giveaway that will benefit the both of you.

Offering testimonials also works. Companies are constantly looking to add social proof to their websites, so you better grab the opportunity by leaving them with positive reviews. Have them return the favor by simply linking to your website.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

If this is your first time hearing of HARO, then you should know that it’s the place to be if you aim to generate backlinks on authoritative news sites.  

Short for Help a Reporter Out, HARO is an online platform where journalists turn to if they seek tips and quotes from the public to use in their articles. For businesses who are hunting for quality backlinks, those who intend to increase their online visibility and traffic, it’s an answered prayer.  

Signing up is 100% free of charge. The catch is, you’ll need to write a pitch that truly stands out. Remember, hundreds or perhaps even thousands of others are also trying their luck to get handpicked. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be on your way to writing a successful pitch:  

  • Subscribe to the right industry feed when signing up for HARO alerts
  • Make your pitch short and sweet, but full of useful and relevant content
  • Write a compelling subject line while making sure that it aligns with the query subject
  • Address the contact by name (if provided)
  • Use bullet points for easy skimming
  • Feel free to brag (humbly) about your achievements. Namedrop the biggest outlets you’ve been featured in so the journalist sees you as a sought-out industry leader
  • Add hyperlinks to your website and social media accounts
  • Avoid attaching anything to your pitch
  • Always, and we repeat, always, follow the instructions
  • Send your pitch as early as you can (preferably within 12 hours of receipt)

Post Link-Worthy Content

They say content is king, and our Florida SEO company wholeheartedly agrees. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that our next pro tip is to create content that entices readers to build links to.  

The question is, what qualifies as one? Simple: it should be able to answer common queries and solve problems. Think how-to guides, listicles, and infographics. Inspirational and evergreen content will do as well.  

Just make sure that you showcase your expertise by focusing on your niche. You want to keep your content as relevant and valuable as possible. That way, you’ll boost your odds of your audience linking to your page.  

Legitimize Your Website

Let’s be real, no business would be willing to link to a site that looks shady, as it can hurt their credibility if it did turn out to be a compromised site.  

Your website should appear professional and legitimate to give your visitors a reason to stay longer, explore further, and trust you enough to link it.  

Add your contact number and complete address on your contact page, and photos of your entire team.  

Keep your content up to date by posting regularly and updating outdated ones. Most importantly, display trust badges to reassure your visitors that you’re a reputable industry expert.  

Common Link Building Mistakes to Avoid

male digital marketer making an x gesture

Especially if you’re a newbie in the world of link building, you might find yourself wondering why you’re not seeing results despite the efforts you’re putting in. You might even get caught off-guard when you notice a drop in your site traffic.  

Well, this Florida SEO company will tell you that just as with any other marketing strategy, link building doesn’t come without setbacks. There’s always the possibility of committing errors that could hurt your overall search engine optimization strategy.  

And so, to help you stay on the right track, we’ve compiled the most common link building no-no’s along with fast solutions for each:  

1. Building Irrelevant Links

If you’re building backlinks to a web page with content that has zero relation with your site whatsoever, you’re doing link building wrong. Such a blunder can bring your rankings down, and you certainly wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

Remember when we said how Google is all about providing the most pertinent search results to its users? Where do you think it will rank you when it finds out that you’re building irrelevant links? Nowhere near the first three pages, that’s for sure.  

2. Not Checking the Quality of Your Links  

It's not just the quantity of links that matters – it's also the quality. A single high-quality link is worth more than a hundred low-quality links.

When you're building links, take the time to check the quality of each site you're linking to. Make sure it's relevant to your industry, has a good reputation, and isn't likely to spam your site with low-quality content.  

3. Not Diversifying Your Link Sources

Acquiring links from multiple sources is a huge must if you’re on a mission to rank high in SERPs.  

If all your links come from the same place, it can look suspicious to search engines, making it impossible for you to turn your goal into reality. Try to get links from various authority websites, as well as directories, blog posts, social media, and press releases.

4. Ignoring No-Follow Links

No-follow links are links that don’t pass link juice to your website. In other words, you can’t count on them to improve your search rankings.  

Nevertheless, you still need to include these links for two reasons: to avoid being penalized by Google and to diversify your link profile, which, as just explained, can bolster your SEO efforts.  

5. Copy-Pasting Your Outreach Emails

As much as we’d love to agree that crafting personalized emails can get pretty exhausting, we’d still say no to copying and pasting an outreach email template.  

High-traffic websites are no strangers to copy/paste messages, and they can spot one from a thousand miles. Your credibility will be gone in an instant.  

So, from now on, make it a point to personalize your outreach emails so your recipients will respond to your link building requests. Be concise and get straight to the point. Reveal what’s in store for them when they link to your site or mention your brand.  

6. Linking Repetitively to the Same Web Page

Just because your landing page does an impressive job at improving traffic doesn’t mean that it’s the only page you link to. More often than not, businesses are guilty of linking to the same page over and over again.  

Mix things up instead. Take your visitors to the other parts of your website – be it your blog, FAQ page, company bio, or underutilized pages. Besides, what’s the point of setting up those pages when you have no plans of directing visitors to them?  

7. Using Low-Quality Link Sources

There are countless low-quality link farms out there. These are typically websites that will sell you links for a certain fee.  

Don’t be fooled, though, as these links can actually do more harm than good. For one, it could result in Google penalizing your website as soon as it catches you, so it’s best that you stay away from them altogether.

8. Neglecting to Monitor Your Link Profile

Another link building mistake frequently made by businesses is not monitoring their link profile. If you’re wondering, your link profile refers to the collection of all links pointing to your site, and it’s something you must keep an eye on.

If you fail to check your link profile, you’ll never know if someone’s trying to manipulate it. This can happen if someone is trying to spam your site with low-quality links, or if a competitor is trying to sabotage your SEO campaign.

Additionally, link profiles change over time, which is why you should be aware of these changes so you can adjust your link building strategy accordingly.  

Ready to Grow Your Business with an Effective Link Building Strategy?

Now that you understand how vital link building is to any SEO strategy, you’re probably excited to get started. However, you might also be hesitant knowing that it can be time-consuming and difficult to do on your own.  

That’s where Digital Resource comes in. Our team of experts here at our Florida SEO company can help you create a comprehensive link building strategy that will improve your website’s search engine ranking and drive more traffic to your site.  

Book a free consultation with us now and learn how we can help you grow your business online.

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