Link building is the process of increasing the amount and quality of inbound links to a webpage. This action aims to improve a page’s or website’s search engine rankings and is a search engine optimization (SEO) practice.
It is essentially the process of developing useful, external hyperlinks (also known as links) to a website.
Link building is mainly aimed at increasing the number of high-quality links that are pointing to your website. As a result, you boost the chances of it ranking well in search engine results.
Additionally, link building is another tried and true marketing strategy for raising brand exposure. It can also involve linking your pages to each other or to another website or source of information.
If you are looking to improve your link building or are trying to learn more about it, this article is for you.
This complete guide talks about the following crucial things you need to know about link building.
Part 1 | What is link building?
Part 2 | Why is link building important?
Part 3 | What are the different types of links?
Part 4 | How do internal links work?
Part 5 | Why are internal links important?
Part 6 | How do external links work?
Part 7 | Why are external links important?
Part 8 | How do backlinks work?
Part 9 | How can you get great backlinks?
Part 10 | FAQs
What is link building?
In the world of SEO, the process of finding other websites to connect to a page on your own website is referred to as link building. The more connections to your page, the higher your potential rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
It can include creating inbound or outbound and internal (and sometimes external) links to and from your web pages.
So link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your content and vice versa.
When you choose anchor text or images and add a hyperlink that leads somewhere else, you’re link building. This type of link is outbound.
When you can convince another website to anchor its text or graphics to information on your website, you’re also link building. These are referred to as backlinks or inbound links.
We will discuss all types of links in-depth later in this article, including how they can be helpful to your link building.
Before that, let’s talk about why link building is vital to your website.
Why is link building important?
When Google sees that other websites link to your content, it recognises that your brand is deserving of further attention. As a result, your website will appear higher on SERPs.
So link building is primarily for search engine optimization.
In a 2019 poll by BrightLocal, marketing researchers found that 89% of local SEO experts use link building as their primary strategy for their clients. And 100% of SEO professionals agree that link building can boost local search rankings.
The main goal is for you to get inbound links from other places on the internet to your pages. You want people to point to you.
You want to be seen as an expert in your field. And the more people are talking about you, the better.
And you have to actively make an effort to get the correct links because not all of them are made equally.
What matters in link building is quality over quantity. Getting a backlink from a website that consistently receives hundreds, preferably thousands, of unique visitors each month will produce more of a buzz than having your content shared in a post with only two or three views.
So, for example, if your business is in the gaming niche, a shoutout from Pewdiepie or a backlink from any of his content will get you noticed faster, enabling you to rank higher.
Outbound links, on the other hand, make your content more helpful to readers. This potentially increases the number of page visits which can positively affect SEO.
And sometimes, you trade an outbound link for an inbound one. For example, you can do this when campaigning for guest posts (more on this later).
So link building can help improve your ranking in SERPs. And internal links, backlinks, and outbound links all contribute to your website’s search engine rankings and navigation.
What are the different types of links?
There are different types of links you need to know how to use.
Internal links are links that bring a person from one page to another on the same website.
- Inbound internal links are links anchored on another page in this website that brings you to this page you are reading when you click it.
- Outbound internal links are links from this page that you are reading to another page on this website. For example, clicking this brings you to our link building services page.
External links are links that bring a person from one website to another.
- Inbound external links or backlinks are links that bring you from another website, social media, search results, etc., to this page. These are the most valuable links you want to get – backlinks are the primary goal of link building.
- Outbound external links are links anchored on this page that brings you outside of our website. For example, clicking here brings you to our favourite thing to watch on YouTube.
How do internal links work?
Internal links are links on a page that brings you to another page on the same website. They are embedded on an anchor text or image that, when you click, brings you to a target page within the website.
For example, if you click this anchor text, you’ll land on our portfolio page. That page is IN our website; hence, it is internal.
That link is also an example of an outbound internal link of this page. This means that clicking it would bring you OUT or away from this page or article – still on the same website but simply a different area.
On the other hand, all links on any page of this website on that point to this page or article are inbound internal links of this page.
Essentially, the blog directory of our website will have at least one internal inbound link for this page. Also, some of our own articles and other pages that point to this page are inbound internal links of this page.
So whether the internal link is outbound or inbound is subjective to the page you are talking about. An outbound internal link of a page is an inbound internal link of another.
Internal links are the most natural links you will have. They come as a standard with your web building.
There’s no other way for someone to move from your home page to your shopping page or other pages on your website except through internal links.
For example, when you go to tabasco.com, the header menu has HOT SAUCES, RECIPES, ABOUT, etc. These are all outbound internal links of their home page, anchored on text.
By connecting your content through links in a certain way, you offer Google and other search engines a sense of your website’s structure.
For example, your internal linking can follow something like this organisation or site map.
By giving the most important pages and articles greater link value than less important ones, you can give search engines a sense of your website’s page hierarchy.
The Home page has the most links and link value in the example above, while the sub-pages have the least. So Google will know to link to your Home page when someone searches for something like your brand name.
As a result, having an excellent internal linking strategy can help your SEO. And internal links are valuable for more than that.
Why are internal links important?
Internal links tell Google, and other search engines which page on your website is more important than the other. They give search engines data on how your website is structured.
But these benefits to SEO are simply side effects of internal links.
Internal links are a natural and vital part of web building. They are the only entrances and exits for your web users to go from one page or content to another when navigating your website.
Internal links are what allow your website’s flowchart or site map to work. And they implement the organisation of your web pages.
They essentially build the structure of your website.
As a result, internal links are a vital part of how you funnel your website visitors towards conversion. This means that an excellent internal link building strategy can have a significant impact on your conversion rate optimization or CRO.
CRO is the process of improving your website so that you can drive users to do what you want them to do on it.
Excellent CRO calls for seamless website navigation for a convenient user experience (UX). And your website’s navigation is built on internal links.
So you have to be smart in linking pages to the right flow of content that will help lead users to the conversion you want.
Your internal links are what you use for your CTAs (Call-to-Actions).
For example, if your website is a retail site, you probably have content on your home page that entices visitors to click on a button that leads them to your shopping pages.
Or you can have a button or link that leads to a contact form or subscription page, like the Book a Call CTA in the image below.
Additionally, your internal linking is essential in leading people to and through your content. It is essential in leading people to consume one piece of content after another on your website.
And, of course, when users go down your content’s rabbit hole, they get to know your brand and expertise better, and you can influence them more.
For example, the CTA in the above image is VIEW ALL RECIPES. Click it, and you will land on a recipe directory where you will find pieces of content you might be interested in.
And with one recipe internally linking to a “related recipe” or “people who cooked this also tried…”, you can essentially become indoctrinated to cooking food with Tabasco permanently. And of course, they will link recipes to product pages and shopping pages too.
Internal linking is unquestionably an essential part of web building and eCommerce building. It is also vital in content marketing and, of course, SEO.
But no links affect SEO and your overall website’s ranking more than external links.
How do external links work?
External links are links that bring people from one website to another. They are embedded in anchor text or images that, when you click them, they get you to a target page on another website.
An inbound external link brings someone from website X to your website.
On the other hand, an outbound external link brings someone from your website to website X.
Inbound internal links or better known as backlinks, are what marketers mostly mean when they talk about link building. This is why link building, while it can mean covering both internal and external, is more synonymous with the process of getting backlinks.
Backlinks are vital to your SEO efforts. And outbound external links can also aid SEO while mostly adding value to your content.
Why are external links important?
The most useful external links, SEO and marketing-wise, are backlinks. They are links that are anchored on images or text on another website that, when clicked, brings a user to your website.
Search engines will understand that your website’s authority in your niche is high when you have many websites pointing or backlinking to you. So Google and other search engines will learn that your content is the most reliable because other websites are pointing to you as a source.
Here’s an excellent infographic about the value of backlinks from 10x Digital.
Of course, more than quantity, the quality of your backlinks is most impactful. Getting a backlink from Forbes or Time Magazine can do more than 10 backlinks from amateur bloggers.
For example, one of the internet’s most trusted sources of information is Wikipedia.
And if Wikipedia backlinks to you, it effectively means that the world can trust your website about this particular topic.
This is major for your SEO.
But aside from SEO, backlinks and external links, in general, are excellent for your content value.
When a user from another site lands on your page via a backlink, they already have a certain amount of trust that your content is reliable, as it is cited as a source.
And when you include outbound external links on your content, you are telling your users that you are simply providing them with information – that you want to help them more than simply selling to them.
Conversion Rate Optimization practices usually go against leaving links on your content that lead people away from your site, as this can reduce the probability of conversion.
However, the underlying principle of customer service calls for content to be helpful. And giving people links to your sources helps users verify what your content is saying.
So implementing outbound links to add value to your content can make your users trust your website more with the information that they get. Of course, that happens if you do your link building smart without reducing your conversion potential.
And it would be best if you actively get quality backlinks for your pages.
How do backlinks work?
Search engines use backlinks to judge how authoritative, and relevant your site is for the keyword or topic for which you are currently ranking for.
Furthermore, backlinks to your website indicate to search engines that your material has been endorsed by other websites.
Backlinks are like votes. Each website backlinking to you is like voting you as a reliable source.
When a large number of websites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can deduce that the content is worth connecting to. And as a result, the page or site deserves a higher ranking on Google’s search results page.
For some time, the number of backlinks to a page was considered more vital to SEO. Today, however, the emphasis is now on the quality of the backlinks.
How can you get great backlinks?
Relationships are at the heart of a lot of link building. People who have a genuine connection to your company are considerably more inclined to include a link to your website on their own.
So here are some things that you can do to build your connections.
- Collaborate with other small businesses in your area.
- Sponsor local organisations and events.
- Join organisations in your niche.
- Build a relationship with influencers.
- Leverage round-ups.
- Create guest posts.
- Do broken link building.
- Get awards and create awards.
- Provide quality, authoritative content.
- Get excellent public relations or PR.
Tip No. 1 | Collaborate with other small businesses in your area.
Look into other local brands that do something similar to what you do.
If you sell office and school supplies, for example, your customers could include offices and schools. Make contact with the proprietors of these businesses to see how you might support each other.
For example, you might give referral discounts to clients who refer to each other. Or you could organise activities together.
Tip No. 2 | Sponsor local organisations and events.
Look for organisations, clubs, charities, conferences, festivals, or professional events in your area and think about which ones are likely to draw potential clients.
Any of them with a relevant audience of participants could be a suitable fit for sponsorship. In most cases, your sponsorship will include a link to your website on the event’s website.
Tip No. 3 | Join organisations in your niche.
For example, if you are a dentist in the UK, you can get accredited as a member of the British Dental Association. Being a member, you can become listed on their online and offline directories.
Tip No. 4 | Build a relationship with influencers.
When you foster a relationship with bloggers, YouTubers, social media celebrities, and others, you can get mentioned and acquire quality “popular” backlinks.
For example, when you send an Instagram model your new bikini set, they can post pictures of them wearing your product and put a link on the description that leads to your website.
Tip No. 5 | Leverage round-ups.
A roundup post can be “20 books you must read” or “10 pizza places you must go to in London.”
Consider which categories your company might fit into and whether you’d be a good fit for any local round-up blog pieces. If you come across any, contact the author to see if they’re aware of your company and willing to add it to the list.
Tip No. 6 | Create guest posts.
Guest posts deliver benefits to both you and the other website. Rather than asking a stranger with no interest in your company to do the labour of putting a link to their website, offer to do something for them that will benefit both them and their audience.
One thing you can do is offer another website an exchange deal. Ask if you can do a guest post on their website in return for them doing a guest post on yours.
You can also find sites for guest blogging by searching using the following keyword templates.
- “niche” + “submit an article”
- “niche” + “contribute”
- “niche” + “write for us”
Tip No. 7 | Do broken link building.
Find broken links that your content can replace. Then email the website’s owner to inform them that a link on their site is broken and to suggest yours as a suitable substitute.
It’s informing them about a problem with their website that they may not be aware of, as well as providing a simple solution (that just happens to benefit you).
Here’s a broken link strategy from Backlink.io.
The first thing you need to do is install the CheckMyLinks Chrome extension.
When you’re done installing, scan a page for a dead link.
When you find an invalid link or broken link, you can go ahead and offer your content to replace what the page owner lost.
Tip No. 8 | Get awards and create awards.
When you bid for awards, your brand can get into a list of nominees on the awardee’s page. And you get to be on a winner’s list when you get the awards.
For example, KAMG has been awarded as one of the TOP 100 EMAIL MARKETING FIRMS IN LONDON by Manifest.
Being included in a list of awardees also works like being included in a roundup but with the added value of being awarded.
On the other hand, when you give away awards, the entity you awarded will link back to your site whenever they display the badge or medal you gave them. They do this as proof that they got the award, giving you a backlink as a result.
Tip No. 9 | Provide quality, authoritative content.
Blog writers and digital content creators are constantly looking for statistics that prove their ideas correct or products worth buying. And they are looking for the most reliable information to back up their content.
Suppose you want to target backlinks from content creators. In that case, you can attract them with RICH CONTENT that includes breakthrough information, in-depth guides, complete lists, new and expansive statistics, high-value infographics and other high-quality content.
One thing you can do is run a survey or do a study about a topic that people around your niche talk about. You can build an email list and run an email survey campaign to do your research.
You can create charts, graphs, and other digestible content like an infographic and compile them on an article with the data you get.
And when you post the results, people will use your content on their own pages or posts, giving you backlinks.
For example, simply because we know that this infographic from NeilPatel.com can be helpful to you, our reader, we are putting it here, and they get a backlink from us.
Tip No. 10 | Get excellent public relations or PR.
PR is one of the most effective strategies to get backlinks, and it can help you improve your search ranking and increase how many visitors you get from search engines.
This is partly due to its one-of-a-kind capacity to create high-quality, earned content while also obtaining valuable backlinks from reputable sources.
For example, getting mentioned by Forbes via your PR strategies can get you an excellent backlink from a high authority site.
In the image, you can see that our website has been linked to by Forbes via the article “Relationship Goals: Luxury Retail And Technology Make A Perfect Combo For Customers.”
This backlink has brought us excellent traffic. And with the right PR, the same thing can happen for you.
Does link building affect conversions?
Yes, link building, in general, can also make an impact on your conversions.
When it comes to internal link building, the way you organise your links will affect how users navigate your website. The more seamless and logical you do your internal linking, the better the UX or user experience, and the more potential you have for conversions.
When it comes to external links, backlinks bring you users from other websites who you can convert. And your external outbound links bring more value to your content, indirectly influencing how people trust your brand.
Are paid links okay to do?
For many, purchasing backlinks is the most enticing choice because it is frequently the quickest method to get them. This is especially true if the additional money earned by strong rankings more than compensates the expense of buying the links required to attain them.
What is the issue? Buying backlinks to increase your results is definitely against Google’s standards.
They regard links as votes and believe that paying for a vote is unethical, much like a politician paying for people to vote for them in an election.
Penguin is a Google update that penalises web admins that buy backlinks. In the end, Google will find out, and your SEO will suffer.
Should I outsource my link building?
Link building, while seemingly straightforward, can have demanding technical challenges.
There’s research that includes site analyses, outreach which takes time, and more.
So the best way for you to get your website optimized and have the best backlinks is to have a focused team like KAMG doing your link building.