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What Is Link Building? A Comprehensive Guide

Last updated November 2022

As a business owner, you know how much goes into creating and managing a website. Writing content and working out technical issues can be overwhelming, but there is another, even more monumental task you must undertake if you want your website to be successful. That is link building. 

What is Link Building?

Link building is simply getting another website to put a link on their site to your own site. This is called a backlink because it “links back” to your site. They are also known as “inbound links, “incoming links, or “one way links.”


Why are Backlinks Important?

While backlinks are great at driving referral traffic to your website, there is another very important reason to have backlinks coming from other sites. It increases your domain authority, which is how relevant your site is to your specific subject matter. 

These backlinks are essentially upvotes telling search engines that this is trusted, relevant information. And the more backlinks you have from highly accredited sites, the higher search engines like Google will rank you in their search results. 

While Google doesn’t spill the beans on much, we do know that Google considers backlinks to be one of their main ranking factors. In fact, backlinks were the foundation of Google’s first algorithm known as PageRank. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher you will get in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

With that said, high-quality backlinks are the key, as low-quality, spammy backlinks can actually hurt your site. Surprisingly, Google’s John Mueller, Search Advocate and senior analyst for the company, went on the record about the value of quality backlinks last year. Basically he said that it doesn’t matter how many backlinks you have but that the quality and relevance of the links is what matters. 

“We try to understand what is relevant for a website, how much should we weigh these individual links, and the total number of links doesn’t matter at all. Because you could go off and create millions of links across millions of websites if you wanted to, and we could just ignore them all.

Or there could be one really good link from one website out there that is, for us, a really important sign that we should treat this website as something that is relevant because it has that one link. I don’t know, maybe from like a big news site’s home page, for example. So the total number essentially is completely irrelevant.”

John Mueller (via Search Engine Journal)

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There is another aspect of link building to consider. When inserting a link to your website, the author or webmaster can choose to label it as a “dofollow” or a “nofollow” link. A dofollow link tells the Google web crawlers to follow the link back to your website. 

You see, Google is constantly sending out their web crawlers (spiders) to analyze the internet every second. When they come to a dofollow link on a website to your website, it is like an open door they can go right through and “follow” to your site. This gives you more “link juice” (authority), especially if it is from an accredited website. A nofollow link is like the door is closed, and the spiders can’t go past it, which diminishes the value of the backlink.

How to Build Backlinks

So how to you get people to put your links on their websites? Well, you have to give them good reasons, something of value that will enrich their own site. And while Google holds backlinks as one of it’s main ranking factors, it is very strict about how those links are acquired. This is where link building gets tricky.

If Google detects “unnatural” links to your site, you will drop in rank and even risk a manual penalty, where an actual human reviews your site and may deem it not in compliance with Google’s guidelines.  There are a lot of black hat (deceptive) link building tactics that people employ to manipulate the SERPs. 

Best Ways to Build Backlinks

  • Guest Posting
    Guest posts are where you write a blog post for another website, then they publish the piece and link back to your site. It’s a win-win as you are getting a backlink and they are getting quality content. One of the most affective link building techniques.
  • Broken Link Building
    Large websites sometimes have thousands of web pages and even more links on those pages. Lots of times a link will be broken, whether it be because the content it linked to moved or the website went out of business. If you can find those links, it is a perfect opportunity to insert your relevant link and fix their webpage. Another win-win! There are many tools that will search a site for broken links for you.
  • Create Infographics
    Infographics, a visual image that represents some type of data, is a great way to build links. Many people will freely insert an infographic on their post if it adds value to that post. And they will link back to you because you are the one who created it.

All these methods require a lot of time and effort, and a good deal of technical knowledge. This is why some website owners choose to employ SEO companies to create link building campaigns for them.

Quality backlinks to your site can improve your rankings.

Worst Ways to Build Backlinks

  • Creating Private Blog Networks (PBN)
    This a network of sites that are solely used to “link out” to your targeted site. These websites usually have a lot of random content (think “directories”) which is only used to house the backlink targeting the “money site.” While these sites used to work in the past, Google has cracked down on them in recent years.
  • Purchasing Low-quality Backlinks
    Anyone can create a website and throw some content on to it and sell space in that content for your backlink. The problem is these websites are often low authority and may not even be related to your own topic. Google sees these as “spammy” links and will not give these links “juice”.
  • Spamming Blog Comments
    This is when someone leaves a comment on a blog post with a link to another website for the sole purpose inserting a backlink. Sites can be bombarded with 100s of these daily which is why plugins like Akismet Anti-Spam are used to blog spam comments.

What is a Link Building Campaign?

If you want to build links using white hat methods (approved by Google) you will need to formulate a plan and build a campaign. This would include identifying and targeting high authority websites, tailoring enticing emails and writing customized guest posts and creating inforgraphics. As stated in the beginning of this post, it is a monumental task and the statistics are not in your favor. To implement a successful link building campaign, you need to send out 100s, even 1000s of emails to get maybe a 1% return. As a business owner, you probably don’t have time for all the research, planning and implementing that goes for a campaign like this.

We are here to help. Companies who manage SEO services, like Neur, can created and implement a plan to get you high-quality backlinks for your website. We have SEO professionals who specialize in finding and targeting high-authority websites in your niche, customizing an outreach plan that is done personally, not automized, and writing and creating the content that will go onto these websites with your backlink. 

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Hiring an SEO expert for your business is a great way to increase the traffic to your website and help you win more opportunities to create leads.

Neur offers experienced, professional SEO services with right-sized packages that can fit any budget.

To get started, call us at (630) 557-6387 or send a message today.