Link Building Basics: The SEO Skills
Every Marketer Needs to Succeed
In the ever-evolving world of SEO, few skills remain as important as link building. Like a digital endorsement, links to your website from external sources signal to Google that your content is valuable.
But link building is not just about racking up links - it's about forging meaningful connections and providing value to readers. Master this skill, and your website is sure to reap the search engine rewards.
This article will explore the fundamentals of link building, including why it's critical for SEO success, core strategies to build links, and how to identify the best link-building opportunities.
Whether you're an SEO novice or a seasoned pro, link building mastery will give your marketing efforts an unbeatable edge. Let's dive in and cover the link building basics every digital marketer needs to know.
TLDR; Link Building Basics
Link building is critical for SEO because it boosts rankings, provides direct traffic, and enhances brand visibility.
Effective link building strategies include outreach, guest posting, resource link building, skyscraping, and broken link building.
Identify link opportunities by finding relevant sites, using SEO tools, and connecting with influencers.
Optimize anchor text using keywords naturally, avoiding over-optimization.
Measure success via rankings, referrals, and domain authority metrics.
Link building takes effort but gives long-term SEO results if done strategically.
Why Link Building Matters
Few factors influence search engine rankings as much as the number and quality of external links pointing to your website. Here are three key reasons link building should be central to your SEO strategy:
Boosts Rankings by Improving Domain Authority
Put simply, the more high-quality sites that link to you, the more authority Google perceives your own site to have. This directly correlates with better search rankings. External links signal trust and authority in a way that no other SEO tactic can replicate.
Provides Direct Traffic from External Sites
Quality links don't just enhance your search rankings - they also generate direct visits to your website. Visitors will naturally click on relevant links they encounter while browsing other sites. This is essentially free promotion, directing new visitors who are already interested in your niche.
Enhances Brand Visibility and Awareness
Links on authoritative, well-trafficked sites provide amazing brand visibility to new audiences. Readers who learn about your business via links are also more likely to perceive your brand as trustworthy and influential in your industry.
Link Building Strategies
How exactly can you generate these valuable backlinks? There are a wide array of link-building tactics and strategies to choose from, but these five are especially effective for beginners:
Outreach Link Building Services
One of the most powerful ways to build authoritative backlinks is to utilize outreach link building services to connect with webmasters and editors and pitch guest posting opportunities.
Many link building agencies offer manual outreach services, but you can also do this yourself by identifying relevant sites and contacting their webmasters. Focus on providing unique value rather than asking for a link.
Guest blogging essentially entails creating content for another website in your industry. Include natural links back to your own site within these articles. Most webmasters will allow one or two links in a guest post, which should point back to content that's relevant to their audience.
Resource Link Building
Build a library of tools and resources for your industry, such as online calculators, guides, digital products and more. Reach out to webmasters and offer to let them share your resources with their audiences in exchange for a link. This provides value to their readers while getting valuable backlinks in return.
This tactic involves building links from content that ranks highly in search engines. Identify top-ranking pages for your target keywords and reach out to see if they are open to allowing you to reference their content and linking back to your site.
Broken Link Building
Find broken links on high authority pages that are relevant to your industry. Offer to provide these pages with updated and useful content in place of those broken links while including links back to your own website. It's a win-win for both parties.
Finding Link Building Opportunities
The strategies above give you the means to earn links, but you also need to identify the best websites and pages to target your efforts towards. Here are three tips for finding quality link-building opportunities:
Identify Relevant Websites in Your Industry
Make a list of authoritative and high-traffic websites related to your niche. Prioritize ones that already link out to other resources as they are more likely to accept guest posts. You can find industry-specific sites through Google searches, competitor research, and by exploring who influential bloggers are linking to.
Use Tools to Find Broken Links and Guest Post Prospects
Specialized SEO tools can automate much of the link opportunity identification process. For example, Ahrefs and Moz provide broken link data.
BuzzSumo and Sendible uncover influencer and guest posting prospects. Taking advantage of such tools saves time while uncovering hidden chances for quality link building.
Connect with Other Brands and Influencers
Explore if complementary yet non-competing brands in your industry would be open to cross-linking content or collaborating on co-created resources.
You can also build relationships with industry influencers and potentially get recognized with links from their authority site or social media. Building connections within your niche is key.
Optimizing Anchor Text
Anchor text refers to the visible, clickable text used for hyperlinks on other sites pointing back to your content. Optimizing your anchor text is crucial for sending the right signals to Google:
Use Variation of Keywords as Anchor Text
Incorporate your target keywords into anchor text links pointing to relevant pages on your site. This connects keywords to your content. But avoid using the exact same anchor text for every link - variety is key.
If all your backlinks use the same "money" keyword as anchor text, this raises red flags for unnatural SEO. Use your keywords sparingly across anchor text. Most links should use general descriptors, branded terms, or URLs instead of keywords.
Focus on Natural Linking Patterns
The anchor text distribution on your backlinks should match that of natural links between authoritative sites. This usually includes a mix of branded terms, URLs, descriptive phrases, and a small percentage of optimized keywords. Keep your anchor text profile looking natural.
Measuring Success of Link Building Efforts
How can you tell if your link building campaign is succeeding? Use these metrics to monitor your progress:
Track Rankings for Target Keywords
Measure if link building activities correspond to upward movements for your target keywords in search rankings. This is the clearest indicator that your SEO efforts are paying dividends in terms of visibility.
Monitor Referral Traffic
Analyze your Google Analytics to see what percentage of traffic is being referred from external links. More referrals, especially from authoritative domains related to your niche, mean your link building is working.
Check Domain Authority Metrics
Domain authority measuring tools like Moz and Ahrefs provide domain and URL strength scores. Increasing values signal that your overall link profile is growing stronger.
Local Citations Boost for Local Companies
Local citations play an integral role in the local SEO strategy for businesses. When local companies receive link citations from reputable local sources or directories, it strengthens their online presence within their specific geographic location.
This makes them more discoverable to potential local customers searching for their products or services. For instance, if a company is optimizing for the keyword 'charter bus rental Fresno', earning local citations will significantly increase its chances of ranking higher when users search for charter bus rentals in the Fresno area.
This not only enhances the company's visibility but also establishes a sense of local trustworthiness and authenticity. By focusing on local citations, businesses can effectively tap into their community and drive more localized traffic to their website.
Wrapping Up: Link Building Basics
After reading this article, it's clear that link building is no longer an optional aspect of SEO. For long-term success, link building is a required fixture in any digital marketer's toolkit. However, link building is certainly not a numbers game.
It's about forging connections, demonstrating authority, and providing true value to communities and readers.
While it takes effort, with the right framework link building can supercharge your SEO traffic and rankings.
At the end of the day, link building separates the men from the boys in the SEO arena. Like any skill, it takes know-how, effort, and determination. But armed with the fundamentals, digital marketers can make link building work for their brand and steer their websites to search engine success.
About the Author
With a renowned expertise in the eCommerce industry and an entrepreneurial spirit, Gordon is the CEO of Aztech, a leading eCommerce solutions provider.
Since launching Aztech in 2021, Gordon has transformed the company into a prominent player in the eCommerce industry, scaling its client base to 25+ businesses within a span of just two years.