Links are the building blocks of modern search engines, and every website needs plenty to make its way up the search result ranks.
But as an SEO practitioner, creating a comprehensive collection of external and internal links is easier said than done. Link building doesn’t need to be so daunting, though—with a robust set of link building tips, you can successfully learn how to build links, generate better search rankings and attract more visitors.
- How the Right Link Building Tips Can Benefit You
- Learn the Difference Between “Meh” and First-Rate Links
- Strengthen Your Outreach Skills
- Take the Time to Make High-Quality Content
- Encourage Social Sharing
- Make the Most of Local Listings
- Claim Image Credit
- Give Internal Links Some Love
How the Right Link Building Tips Can Benefit You
If Google hadn’t rocked the search engine world with its heavily link-based algorithm in 1998, you might not need to worry about links today. Instead, you may be able to achieve high search rankings through the use of keywords alone.
In reality, though, links are arguably the most important ranking factor—even if keyword optimization has helped you get a page to the top 50 search results, a well-rounded link building strategy may boost it to the top 10.
That’s why smart link-building tips are crucial components of your SEO toolbox. With a blend of high-quality external and internal links, both search engines and users can more easily find and navigate a site, and you can enjoy higher rankings and more visitors.
Learn the Difference Between “Meh” and First-Rate Links
No offense to the mediocre links of the world, but not all links are created equal: Those from trustworthy, high-quality websites carry much more weight than those from unestablished or disreputable ones.
Think of it this way: If you’re an actor trying to get your big break, you’ll probably land many more roles with a recommendation from Greta Gerwig than another actor who lacks such a high-profile endorsement.
The distinction between desirable and subpar links doesn’t end there. Google specifies that its algorithm doesn’t reward link schemes or unnatural links such as:
- links bought, sold or given in exchange for a product or service;
- automatically created links;
- excessive link exchanges;
- links required as part of a Terms of Service or other such contract;
- advertisements that pass PageRank;
- widespread links hidden in widgets, footers or templates; and
- forum comments with keyword-stuffed links in their signatures.
Bing has similar link building guidelines, so manipulative linking practices won’t do you any favors there either.
In the end, the only way to benefit from link building tips of any kind is to focus on quality over quantity. Doing so may take slightly longer than purchasing large quantities of unnatural links at once, but your search engine rankings will be better for it.
Strengthen Your Outreach Skills
New and high-tech strategies tend to get a great deal of attention among SEO practitioners. And yet, anyone learning how to build links can reap considerable rewards from some good ol’ outreach. With links built on genuine relationships with credible webmasters and respected sites, both users and search engines will view the site you’re optimizing as being higher-quality by association.
Start by implementing foolproof outreach methods such as:
- writing high-quality guest posts for relevant sites;
- inviting experts in your vertical to write guest posts for you;
- collaborating with respected influencers;
- asking other sites’ administrators to fix unlinked mentions; and
- offering a preview of new content to relevant journalists and influencers, no strings attached.
As you build relationships with outreach recipients, also remember to maintain those relationships over time. For instance, you might try occasionally sharing links to their sites on social media, connecting on LinkedIn or mentioning them in your own blog posts.
Take the Time to Make High-Quality Content
No matter how hard you work on outreach, you’re unlikely to see long-lasting results if you aren’t also providing site visitors with high-quality content to chew on. Doing so will take time, but we promise it’s worthwhile.
Unsure how to adopt top-notch content creation strategies that will pay off in links aplenty? Try:
- developing a detailed brand personality to incorporate into all content;
- establishing a consistent format;
- streamlining the content creation process;
- creating thorough reader personas to guide the content’s voice and purpose; and
- ensuring the site is equipped with modern and visually appealing graphics.
Also don’t forget to double (and triple) check each piece of content before publication—this is true for social media posts, emails and long-form content alike. Even the most experienced writers can inadvertently overlook typos, grammatical errors and awkward phrasing, so it’s always necessary to conduct multiple proofreading rounds.
Once you’re regularly producing truly standout content, you’ll be much more likely to earn natural external links from both visitors and peers. Remember, your content should be so exemplary that you’d be proud to share it—if it’s worth showing off, it will be worth linking to too.
Encourage Social Sharing
If you’ve spent a decent amount of time on social media, then you’ve already seen how people tend to share and discuss the same pieces of content for days, weeks or even months at a time. As an SEO practitioner, you’ve probably also wondered how you can bring that level of visibility to a site’s content and build a far-reaching network of external links in the process.
While there is no such thing as an infallible formula for online virality, it’s possible to increase your content’s chances of drawing more attention by facilitating social sharing. One of the simplest ways to do so is to add eye-catching social media buttons:
Colorful buttons are just the tip of the iceberg, though. A few straightforward techniques can help build more links across all major platforms:
- Add click to tweet links next to interesting quotes and statistics.
- Use Pinterest SEO to get more eyes on a site’s best images.
- Create original social media content users will want to organically engage with—resist the urge to just copy and paste blog post links and call it a day.
- Build an active community by responding to as many new comments as possible.
The more your content is shared by real social media users, the more people will see it, and the more search engines will view the site you’re optimizing as credible and rank-worthy, no paid advertisements required.
Make the Most of Local Listings
The internet has made more information more widely available than ever before, but that fact comes with a catch for SEO practitioners: The digital gold rush is over, and it’s now much more difficult to grab a piece of the pie than it was in the early days of the web.
If you’re struggling to compete with industry giants, try starting from the ground up by first capitalizing on local listings to generate more external links. This doesn’t just apply to brick and mortar businesses—even if a company offers services on a national or global scale, it can still gain a firmer foothold by targeting specific geographic markets.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking local search is small potatoes, either—a survey from Brandify revealed 74 percent of consumers make local searches at least once per week:
The survey also showed 51 percent of respondents use Google Maps to find information about nearby businesses, so learn how to optimize Google My Business listings to get the best possible results. And since a staggering 81 percent use their smartphones to conduct local searches, optimize the site for mobile too—as Google reports users are five times more likely to leave a non-mobile-friendly site, doing so will be worth your while anyway.
Once you’ve ensured a website is linked to on local listings, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of more external links while simultaneously drawing in local visitors and improving brand recognition.
Claim Image Credit
If the site you’re optimizing publishes original infographics, photos, illustrations or other types of images, chances are they’ve been republished elsewhere without a backlink. Perhaps the person who republished them thought including the watermark was adequate, or perhaps they mentioned the site’s name without adding a link.
Whatever the case, all uncredited images represent opportunities to gain new and potentially valuable backlinks. To track them down, try using Google’s handy reverse image search feature.
Take for example designer Juan Martinez’gorgeous infographic, History of Life:
Upon using reverse image search, we can see that this exact infographic has also been published on a number of sites including Infographic.tv, Lifehack and Pinterest, among others:
Using the same technique, you can find third-party uses of any image. Then, comb through the results and contact any credible sites that have used the image to ask for linked credit. With this technique alone, you can start building an impressive library of external links that will send strong signals to search engine bots near and far.
By the same token, you can increase a site’s opportunities for backlinks by creating or facilitating a steady stream of original images that both readers and other sites will find value in.
Give Internal Links Some Love
External link building tactics can certainly boost a site’s search rankings, but the power of internal links should never be underestimated. Internal links can improve a site’s SEO and user experience by:
- increasing rankings via the passage of link equity;
- making it easier for both search engine bots and human users to navigate the site;
- establishing topical authority; and
- encouraging visitors to remain on the site for as long as possible.
Before you start scattering internal links all over the place, remember to follow a few basic guidelines:
- Don’t link to the same page more than once on any given page.
- Only link to content that’s 100 percent relevant; just because you can add a link doesn’t mean you should.
- Regularly look for opportunities to link to previously published pages within new content, and vice versa.
- Use relevant and descriptive (but not keyword-stuffed) anchor text.
With a robust internal linking structure, any website can be transformed into a well-oiled machine that’s both easier to navigate and more likely to rank.
Build Links, Build Better Rankings
No matter how many high-tech SEO tactics you use, the site you’re optimizing won’t be able to achieve its full ranking potential without a solid foundation of links.
The solution? Implement a suite of proven link building tips to generate higher rankings, improve a site’s user experience and accelerate indexation, no advanced coding skills needed. What are you waiting for? Get out your (virtual) hammer and start building.
W3Schools / September 2020
Brandify / November 2019
Juan Martinez / September 2013
Screenshot by author / September 2020