Link Building in SEO: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

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Link Building in SEO: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

Link building plays a critical role in driving organic traffic to a website. Websites that have more high quality backlinks will be deemed “authoritative” by Google and other search engines.

So if you want to generate traffic via search engines to your website, you need to build a solid backlink foundation.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build backlinks to your website.

Needless to say, certain link-building strategies are considered unethical or “spammy” and practicing such methods can – or most certainly will – eventually result in a Google penalty.

In this guide, we will explore what is link building, some timeless strategies, and link-building dos and don’ts you need to keep in mind for 2023.

What is Link Building and Why is it Important?

Link building has been misinterpreted and maligned so much that it’s necessary to revisit its definition every now and then.

Link building is simply the process of acquiring one-way hyperlinks from other websites for the purpose of increasing your rankings on the Google search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google was built on the back of an algorithm called PageRank, which considers the number and quality of backlinks as an important factor in determining which site rank for which keywords. In layman’s terms, backlinks are a vote of confidence signaling that your website is a trustworthy and known resource.

In Google’s own words,

PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

This is precisely why link building is still one of the most important tactics used in SEO.

Will Link Building Remain Relevant in 2023?

2022 has witnessed a lot of Google algorithm updates. However, the value of backlinks hasn’t changed yet. This means link-building will definitely remain relevant in 2023.

Here are five timeless link-building strategies that work like a charm and will continue to do so in 2023 and beyond.

5 Timeless Link Building Strategies That Still Work

There are plenty of link-building strategies you can leverage to build high-quality backlinks for your website – some good, some bad.

Here are my favorite link-building strategies that I’m betting will work well into 2023 as they have been all these years.

1 – Guest Blogging

Guest blogging has always been and will remain the easiest and timeless way to build high-quality backlinks in 2023.

For the uninitiated, guest blogging is the practice of contributing a high-quality article to a third-party website in order to build relationships, gain exposure, and build backlinks to your website.

If you decide to go this route for building backlinks to your website, you need to keep in mind the following rules:

  1. Approach websites that are highly relevant to your niche and have good domain ratings and trust. While Google doesn’t measure site authority directly, all the major tools do. Moz was one of the first with Domain Authority (DA). Ahrefs and Semrush followed suit with Domain Rating (DR) and Authority Score respectively.
  2. Offer to write on topics that are relevant to the website’s target audience.
  3. Write a unique piece of content that delivers value to the readers and fulfills their search intent.
  4. When writing a guest blog, include a backlink to your website contextually.

Point #4 above is perhaps the most important part of this process. You need to make sure that your link is relevant to the topic as well as to the website. If the text around the link seems disconnected or out-of-context in the article, Google will be quick to impose a manual or algorithmic penalty on your site for that keyword/page.

Following these rules will drastically improve your success rate of acquiring backlinks via guest blogging.

2 – Share-Worthy Content Assets

A content asset is basically any kind of content that helps to achieve a specific marketing goal – such as get more people to view a product demo.

A content asset can be a high-value blog post, long-form guide, whitepaper, infographic, video, and so on.

Publishing unique & share-worthy content assets on your website can help to win backlinks without any effort.

Here are the types of content assets that are most effective and will remain in 2023:

In-Depth Guides

In-depth guides tend to generate more results compared to most other types of content. This is because such type of long-form content gives readers all information about a topic in one place. Not long ago, Semrush conducted a study on top-performing articles and discovered that articles over 7,000 words tend to generate 4 times more organic traffic and 1.5 times more shares compared to articles with 700-1200 words.

Source: https://www.semrush.com/blog/anatomy-of-top-performing-articles/

Visual Assets

Visual assets are highly link-worthy. A visual asset can be a chart, graph, diagram, GIF, or infographic. Visual assets are extremely popular because they help to consume complex concepts quite easily.

So when you create an eye-catching visual that is both engaging and helpful, you’ll have more chances of acquiring new backlinks. This is because publishers often like to use graphic representations – these enhance the readability of text content. And of course when they use your visuals, they’re highly likely (and obliged) to link back to your website as the original source – see what we did with Semrush above!

Industry Statistics

Industry statistics such as research studies and survey reports get the highest backlinks on the web.

Statista, for instance, regularly conducts various research studies in almost every industry and publishes their findings in reports. In return, they gain thousands of backlinks from all kinds of authoritative websites naturally.

Did I say thousands? Statista.com has 38 million backlinks from nearly 400,000 domains.

Similarly, you can conduct a survey within your niche and publish it on your website. Over time, it will naturally start acquiring new backlinks.

3 – List Posts

List posts are another timeless link-building strategy you can consider adding to your arsenal.

List posts divide content into small chunks of easily skimmable & digestible format that make it simpler for readers to consume.

Here are some of the most popular types of list posts you can consider publishing on your website:

  • 10 Actionable Tips to [do something]
  • 15 Must-Have Tools for [some business function]
  • 7 Ways You Can [achieve something]

Publishing such list posts can help to acquire more backlinks compared to some link-building techniques.

A study conducted by Moz and Buzzsumo found that list posts generate more backlinks compared to other types of content such as how-to, why, quiz, infographics and even video!

Source: https://moz.com/blog/content-shares-and-links-insights-from-analyzing-1-million-articles

An interesting side-find is that backlinks to list posts are also correlated with more social shares.

4 – Mirror Competitors’ Best Backlinks

Mirroring your competitors’ best backlinks is exactly what it seems.

The idea is to find your competitors’ highest authoritative backlinks and acquire backlinks for your website from the same resource.

Most of your top competitors may already be building backlinks. Your job is to spy on your competitors and see which backlinks they have recently acquired.

To do this, you need to create a list of your top competitors. Once you have the list, use a backlink analysis tool to find their recent backlinks from high-authority websites.

Next, you need to reach out to these website owners and offer to write a guest post or participate in a triangle backlink exchange.

This brings us to our last strategy…

5 – Triangular Link Exchange Strategy

Link exchange is a tactic that Google forbids.

The triangle link strategy or 3-way link exchange, on the other hand, is still authentic and can help to create high-quality backlinks relatively fast.

To leverage this strategy, you’ll need to convince a website publisher to give you a backlink in exchange for a link back from a third site altogether. You in turn link to the third site.

What makes the triangle backlink exchange strategy unique is that the exchange of links is non-bi-directional or non-reciprocal. So, it does not violate Google’s guidelines. It’s not technically an “exchange.”

Plus, I have personally experienced that the triangle backlink exchange partnership improves the likelihood of getting a “yes” significantly.

Do’s & Don’ts of Link Building: A Checklist

Now that you’re armed with some of the best link-building strategies, it’s almost time to put them in practice.

But before you proceed, I highly recommend learning the dos and don’ts of link building to avoid making costly mistakes.

Dos of Link Building

  • Acquire Backlinks from Relevant & Authority Websites — This is particularly important because when you acquire links from highly relevant & authoritative sources, it makes the biggest impact on your SERP rankings.
  • Produce Link-Worthy Content — The best way to acquire high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites is by producing link-worthy content. That means creating content assets, publishing list posts, contributing high-value guest posts, and so on.
  • Disavow Harmful Backlinks — As your website gains authority and traffic, it is likely to attract harmful backlinks at some point. What you need to do is to learn how to identify harmful backlinks to your website and disavow them using Google’s Disavow tool.

Don’ts of Link Building

  • Don’t Acquire Backlinks Only to the Homepage of your Website — If you only acquire backlinks to the homepage of your website, it will look spammy and unnatural. Plus, the other pages won’t gain any authority. Ranking factors are mostly calculated on a per-page basis. So it’s best to acquire backlinks to a good mix of your blog posts and product/service pages with different variations of anchor text.
  • Don’t Use Any Black Hat Link-Building Tactics — Black hat link-building strategies such as cloaking, link injection, link trading, etc. are designed to manipulate Google’s search engine rankings. But Google has gotten smarter over the last decade and can easily identify when a website is engaging in such tactics. This is asking for trouble.

Over to You

If you’re new to link building, you now have significant knowledge to plan and run link building campaigns on your own. SEO in general and link building in particular is a constantly moving target. If you have any questions or tips from personal experience, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

  • Amit Panchal

    Amit Panchal is Digital Marketing Consultant with more than 15 Years of experience. He is the Founder of Digicobweb and also known for creating exceptional branding and marketing solutions for various brands. Apart from creating effective digital marketing strategies, he is also a Mentor at GUSEC, Ignite Incubator at Silveroak College and invited faculty at EDII, Gandhinagar.
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