In the ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), link building remains an indispensable component in impacting top-tier rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves the gaining of links from other websites to your own, which contributes to the credibility of your site and improves its ranking on search engines such as Google. Nevertheless, not all links are equivalent.
With diverse types of link-building strategies, from guest posting to broken link building, it’s crucial to understand which techniques are best suited for your SEO goals. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various types of links, their relevance, how to build them, and what practices to avoid for an effective, risk-free link-building strategy.
Different Types of Links in SEO
Mastering the art of link building requires an understanding of the various types of links. This section delves into the nitty-gritty of internal links, external links, and the crucial distinction between do-follow and no-follow backlinks.
A. Internal Links
A link that leads from one page on a website to another page on the same website is an internal link. They are predominantly used for directions, providing users and search engines with a roadmap for navigating your website.
Internal links connect pages within the same website, establishing a hierarchy and guiding the user’s voyage. For SEO, these links spread ‘link juice’ around your website, informing search engines about the most significant pages.
Internal linking has numerous benefits. It enhances the user experience, aids site navigation, and establishes an information hierarchy for the given website. Most importantly, it distributes page rank power throughout the site, affecting your search engine ranking.
A well-structured internal linking strategy can ensure all your web pages are crawled and indexed by search engines, thereby increasing your site’s visibility.
B. External Links
An external link, or an outbound link, is a hyperlink that relates a page on your site to a page on a different website. These links are pivotal in building authority, credibility and enhancing user experience.
External links are hyperlinks which connect to a domain other than the one where the link resides. They are a significant factor in how Google and other search engines assess the authority and relevance of your content, helping to build your site’s reputation and improve its SEO ranking.
External links can be divided into two categories: natural links and manually obtained links. Natural links are created when other website owners, bloggers, or users link to your content because they find it valuable. Manually obtained links are procured through deliberate link-building activities, such as outreach to bloggers, guest posts, or partnerships with other websites.
Google and other search engines view high-quality external links as a signal that your website provides valuable, trustworthy content. They can significantly enhance your site’s visibility and credibility, making them a vital part of a successful SEO strategy.
C. Dofollow and Nofollow Backlinks
Dofollow and nofollow links play a climactic role in link building, influencing how search engines perceive your backlinks. By default, all links are do-follow. This tells search engines to follow the link and transfer on link equity. On the other hand, a nofollow attribute mandates search engines not to follow the link or transfer on any link equity.
While gaining nofollow links from 3rd party websites may not directly improve your site’s PageRank, they can help diversify your link profile and earn traffic in other ways, such as through social media posts or forums. The key to a robust backlink profile lies in a healthy balance between do-follow and no-follow links. This reflects a natural and diverse link profile, which search engines tend to favour.
Types of Link Building Strategies
Now that we understand the basics of link types and their importance in SEO let’s delve deeper into the strategies you can use to build these valuable assets effectively.
A. Guest Posting
Guest posting, also known as guest blogging, is a tried-and-true link-building strategy that offers mutual benefits for both the host website and the guest. This approach involves creating high-quality content for another website, with the aim of building relationships, exposure, authority, and, most importantly, link juice.
The benefits of guest posting are multifold. It allows you to tap into an established audience, boosts your credibility by association with respected sites, and, most significantly, from an SEO perspective, enables you to acquire inbound links.
The process begins with finding reputable websites that accept guest posts. Identifying these opportunities requires research, preferably focused on websites with significant traffic, high domain authority, and content relevant to your field. After pitching your content idea and getting a nod from the host website, the next step is crafting an exceptional piece of content. Within this content, naturally incorporate a link to your website.
Note: There are times when costs are involved in Link Building using Guest Post strategy.
B. Broken Link Building
Broken link-building is a white-hat technique that transforms potential SEO losses into gains. As the name suggests, this method revolves around finding broken (non-functioning) links on other websites, creating relevant content that could replace the broken link, and then suggesting to the site owner to replace the broken link with yours.
The advantages of this strategy are substantial. You’re helping the website owner enhance their user experience by eliminating a broken link while simultaneously earning a backlink to your site.
The process entails using SEO tools to identify broken links on niche-relevant sites, creating content that would serve as the perfect substitute for the broken link, and then contacting the owner of the website or webmaster, indicating the broken link, and demonstrating your content as an appropriate replacement.
C. HARO Technique
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a unique link-building technique that provides a platform where journalists can find expert sources for their stories, and experts can earn valuable media coverage. By providing high-quality responses to HARO queries, you have the chance to be featured in major publications, resulting in high-quality backlinks.
D. Linkable Assets
Linkable assets are high-value, information-rich pieces of content on your website that naturally attract backlinks. This could be anything from in-depth blog posts, infographics, videos, and comprehensive guides to free tools and compelling data.
The creation of linkable assets revolves around developing exceptional content that is unique, valuable, and relevant to your audience. The following step is promoting your content to reach a larger audience, increasing its visibility, and making it easier for others to find and link to it. This could be done via social media, email newsletters, or even targeted outreach.
E. Resource Page Link Building
Resource pages are web pages which include appropriate links and resources for a particular subject. A well-structured resource page offers great value to its visitors and, thus, is a prime target for link building.
The preferable step in this approach is to explore resource pages relevant to your niche. The next step involves reaching out to the webmaster or site owner, presenting your high-quality content, and suggesting its addition to their resource list.
Types of Link Building to Avoid
While building a strong link profile is essential, it’s equally important to recognise the types of links that can harm your website’s reputation and SEO rankings. Here, we discuss several types of links you should steer clear of in your link-building efforts.
A. Paid Links
Paid links refer to those links you purchase to get a quick boost in your backlink profile. They may seem like an easy way to gain more backlinks, but Google and other search engines have become adept at identifying such practices. They see this as an attempt to manipulate the PageRank algorithm and may penalise your website as a result, negatively impacting your SEO ranking.
B. Low-Quality Directory Links
Directory links can sometimes help users find your website, but it’s important to differentiate between high-quality directories and low-quality ones. The latter are often filled with spammy links and provide little to no value to their users. Search engines can recognise these poor-quality directories and may associate your website with them if your links are included, leading to potential penalties.
C. Irrelevant Forum Backlinks
Getting backlinks from forum discussions can be invaluable if the forum is appropriate to your industry and the link adds value to the conversation. However, spamming forums with your links, especially those that are irrelevant to your industry, can lead to penalties from search engines. These links are often seen as an attempt to manipulate SEO rankings and do not contribute to a positive user experience.
D. Links from Link Farms or Link Networks
Link farms and link networks are groups of websites that interlink with each other to try and increase their SEO ranking. This is seen as a manipulative practice by search engines and is heavily penalised. It’s essential to avoid any association with link farms or networks to protect your website’s reputation and SEO ranking.
E. Over-Optimized Anchor Text Links
While anchor text can help search engines understand the context of the link, over-optimization of anchor text (using your primary keywords excessively) can lead to penalties. This looks unnatural and manipulative to search engines, so it’s crucial to maintain a natural and varied anchor text distribution.
F. Links from Suspicious or Spammy Websites
Links from websites that have been flagged as suspicious or spammy can harm your website’s reputation and SEO ranking. These sites often contain low-quality content and a large number of outbound links to unrelated websites. If you find such a link pointing to your website, consider using Google’s Disavow Tool to avoid any negative implications.
Best Practices for Successful Link-Building Campaign
As we traverse the diverse landscape of SEO link-building, it’s important to bear in mind a set of best practices and guidelines that not only enhance your link-building efforts but also ensure they align with ethical SEO standards. In this section, we’ll discuss some key link-building strategies and considerations, including white-hat vs black-hat techniques, Google’s guidelines, and essential link-building metrics and tools.
A. Focus on White Hat Link Building
In the realm of SEO, practices are often classified into two broad categories: white-hat and black-hat techniques.
White-hat link-building techniques adhere to search engine guidelines and prioritise the human audience. They involve creating high-quality content, fostering natural link growth, and building meaningful relationships within the industry. While these techniques may require more time and effort, the results they yield are long-lasting and risk-free.
Conversely, black-hat link-building strategies aim to trick search engines into awarding higher rankings through manipulative practices such as link farming, cloaking, and keyword stuffing. While these techniques might offer short-term gains, they are fraught with risk, as search engines are increasingly adept at identifying and penalising such practices.
For a sustainable and effective SEO strategy, it’s recommended to always opt for white-hat techniques.
B. Follow Google’s Guidelines for Link Building
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines serve as a comprehensive resource for best practices in link building. They discourage practices that are manipulative or deceptive, and that aim to outsmart the algorithm. These include purchasing links, excessive link exchanges, large-scale article marketing with keyword-rich anchor text, and using automated programmes to create links.
Compliance with these guidelines helps in avoiding penalties and securing a consistent and solid performance in the search results.
C. Utilise Link Building Metrics and Tools
Evaluating the effectiveness of your link-building efforts involves monitoring key metrics such as the number of backlinks, link quality (domain authority of linking sites), the relevance of linking sites, anchor text distribution, and the number of do-follow vs no-follow links.
Several SEO tools can assist with link analysis and tracking, including Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz. These tools offer comprehensive insights into your backlink profile, help identify potential link-building opportunities, and enable you to monitor your progress over time.
Link building is a complex yet rewarding facet of SEO. It requires strategic planning, continuous effort, and adherence to best practices and policies. However, with a deep understanding of different types of links, sound link-building strategies, and the knowledge of which links to avoid, you can navigate this path effectively and give your website’s SEO a powerful boost.
Need Assistance with Link Building?
In the ever-evolving world of search engine optimisation, building high-quality backlinks is crucial for improving your website’s visibility and ranking. Our team of skilled professionals at ACERO Digital understands the importance of diverse link-building strategies.
Whether it’s acquiring authoritative guest posts, securing contextual backlinks, or harnessing the power of social media, we have the expertise to boost your online presence. Our tailored approach ensures that we implement the most effective link-building techniques for your specific industry and target audience.
Don’t let your website get lost in the digital landscape. Trust ACERO Digital to provide you with the comprehensive link-building assistance you need to stay ahead of the competition. Contact us today, and let’s take your SEO efforts to new heights.
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Armen is an On-Page SEO and Content Marketing expert who is the CEO of ACERO. He frequently delves into subjects such as SEO, Link Building, Digital Marketing, UK Law, Finance, Music, Blockchain, Technology, and Lifestyle. His passion for research and his ability to articulate complex ideas in a clear and engaging way have earned him a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author and digital marketing expert.