The Definitive Link Building Guide of 2021
The link building world is in a constant state of evolution. Strategies change, new tools are introduced, and companies continue the never ending fight to beat each other in the rankings and get to the coveted first page.
SEO is a make or break for a lot of businesses, and it’s no secret that link building is the most important factor to gain authority in a Search Engine’s eyes.
There isn’t just one skill you need to master to get good at link building. To be world class and get any notable position on competitive key words, you need to excel in a lot of different areas. A jack-of-all-trades, and master of everything.
In this guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know, learn and master to gain high quality links, and finally earn your place in the rankings.
Google themselves have admitted that backlinks are one of their top 3 ranking signals. I personally believe it’s the top, followed by the quality of your content.
But why are they so important?
I like to think of links as votes of confidence. The more sites that link to you, the more votes you have. Back in the early days of Google, the process was very black and white, whoever had the most votes had the top spot in the search results.
It was a pretty good system to determine which site best suited a visitor using the Search Engine.
Things changed a bit with updates like Google Penguin, now Google also focuses on the quality of your links, not just the quantity.
In a sense, higher quality backlinks give more votes.
So let’s discuss what makes a link good (or bad) quality, and how to build them.
Quality and Quantity
Penalizations hurt. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to get them.
If you focus on building high-quality links, you can sit back and watch your site rocket through the rankings.
But if you try to cheat and build bad backlinks, the only thing you’ll be watching is Google penalize your site faster than you can consider why cheating is bad.
So let’s make sure the latter never happens to you, and learn to identify sites and webpages worth getting links from:
Authority of the Page
From years of working in Content Marketing and testing, I’ve found that page authority matters more than any other factor in the quality of a link your site receives.
If the page linking to you is a PageRank powerhouse, it will have a big impact on your rankings.
You can check the PageRank of a page linking to you through the “PageRating” metric on Ahrefs.
Authority of the Site
On top of page authority, the site hosting on the webpage also has an overall Site Authority. This impacts the quality of a link almost as much as page authority.
Fore example, a link from Times Magazine is going to have a lot bigger impact than some no-name blogger linking to you. Though the latter will have some impact as well.
While links from high authority websites are tough to get, they are well worth the effort.
The “DomainRating” metric in Ahrefs gives you a good indication of a websites authority.
Relevancy to You
As much as you want a link from an authorative websites, you want a link from an authorative websites that’s relevant. If you blog about automobiles, a link from a website about Unicycles won’t count as much, if at all.
In Google’s own words:
“…getting a link from a high PageRank page used to always be valuable, today it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PageRank.”Google Engineer
Content is Still King
Creating content is great for keeping your site looking relevant. But creating content that drives attention is getting harder and harder.
Content is Still King, but that content has to stand out if you want to be linked too.
To create content that commands attention and attracts the links your website needs:
- Do in-depth research before writing a word – Your content needs to be more informative than your competitors
- Find unique data not offered elsewhere and post about it – If you offer information not available elsewhere you’ll be remembered
- Survey your readers and customers – Find out what they want and give it to them
- Create unique and attractive graphics – Infographics are easy to digest but any captivating image is better than no image
Before hitting the publish button always ask yourself, “is this something I would take the time to read?”
You may ask yourself: “Why would I help a competitor with great content?“
And the answer is, those that create value receive it in return.
Guest Blogging is still one of the most effective link building strategies there is.
Guest Posting is a simple concept:
- Create a high-quality piece of content
- Add a few relevant links back to your site
- Publish the article in a site preferably with high authority
Just be warned, guest blogging isn’t quite like it used to be; and Google now advises it against it.
But it is still great to attract a target audience that has an interest related to your site, and it still gives Google the metrics it’s looking for.
Just keep content high quality and always provide value.
Social Media tends to be regarded as a waste of time for SEO efforts. Social Media links are nofollow afterall.
But like most things, it’s not that straight forward.
The links themselves might not carry much weight, but search engines are definitely looking at your following on Social Media and the amount of attention your site generates, as part of an overall reflection of your website.
Additionally, any link profile should have a healthy amount of both follow and nofollow links. You don’t want to look too lopsided or Google may start to wonder if the links you’re receiving have been earned legitimately.
Listen to The Web
As your brand grows you’ll find people will start writing about you. Customers, Competitors, Industry Authorities, Bloggers covering your Niche. Two things can be achieved by keeping an eye on this.
If someone mentions you but doesn’t link to you, reach out to them! They’ll often see the logic in creating a hyperlink, and you just earnt yourself an easy link!
It’s also worth listening to those who have an interest in you. You can learn from them.
Find out what you’re doing well, what you can improve upon, and what people want to see from you next.
And if there’s a comment section, let people know you’re listening! Form a relationship with people and they’ll remember you and want to take the time to continue to follow you.