Link Building: The Complete Guide to Level Up Your Link Acquisition Game

Link Building: The Complete Guide to Level Up Your Link Acquisition Game

Probably, the most popular and essential off-page SEO strategy is link building. While many argue that building links is no longer as effective as it used to be, there’s no denying that links are still a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. And this is for a simple reason: third-party links, or links that are not coming from your website, can add to your domain authority—which is one of the many factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking websites.

In addition, links are also a great way to increase traffic to your website. After all, if you manage to get a link on a popular website, you’ll automatically get more visitors. This is what we call Referral Traffic. Not only are you gaining link juice that impacts your site’s authority, but you’re also expanding your brand’s reach by tapping into another website’s audience and traffic.

Of course, link building is not as easy as it sounds. You can’t just go around asking websites to link to your content. Google knows when links are paid for or acquired through underhanded means (i.e., black hat SEO). That’s why you need to focus on earning high-quality links from websites that are relevant to your niche.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to learn about link building and how it can supercharge your rankings. We’ll also shed some light on how outsourcing your link acquisition requirements would be the best way to go about it.

In this Guide:

What is Link Building and Glossary of Terms

At its core, link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink is simply a clickable link redirecting users to a different web page. They usually appear in a blue underlined text and can be found in the body of a web page or blog post.

Here’s an example:

It’s a Writer’s World is a popular SEO and content marketing blog run by Maria Espie Vidal, which ranks highly on Google.

If you click on the link, you’ll be redirected to my website.

Of course, not all links are created equal. That’s why it’s important to focus on building high-quality links from authority websites in your own niche. Now, I’ve highlighted the terms ‘in your own niche’ for emphasis because, obviously, it’s crucial. Getting links from completely unrelated websites can do you more harm than good—regardless of how high the domain authority is of that website.

Think of it this way, if you get a link from a website about fashion on a blog post discussing the top 10 SEO agencies, it will look very out of place, right? Google will eventually catch on and may even penalize your website for it. This is called link-building spam and can get you into much trouble with Google.

The Google Penguin update is a perfect example. The aim of this update was to penalize websites that were violating Google’s guidelines by participating in black-hat SEO practices, such as link manipulation and building links from low-quality websites.

Back in the day, during the early days of SEO, it was all about the numbers game. The more links you have coming to your site, the better. This led to many webmasters and SEO agencies participating in all sorts of link schemes, such as link farms, link buying, and other black hat tactics, just to inflate their link count. But Google has long since caught on and has penalized websites that are found to be violating their guidelines.

Nowadays, it’s all about quality over quantity. A few high-quality links from authority websites are worth much more than hundreds of low-quality links from irrelevant websites.

I recall working with an SEO agency locally about 10 years ago that highly invested in blog commenting as a quick link acquisition strategy. It was working for quite some time, and we did get our clients to rank until one day, Google released the Penguin update.

Almost all of our clients have dropped out of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and it took a lot of time, money, and effort to get them back up. Some of them, unfortunately, cut ties with our company which resulted in retrenchment and downsizing on our end. This is a cautionary tale of why you should only focus on building links from high-quality websites that are relevant to your niche.

Before we dive in deeper, let’s discuss some of the most important terms you need to know about this SEO strategy.

  • Anchor Text

The anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a hyperlink. In the example above, the anchor text is “It’s a Writer’s World.”

anchor text
source: ahrefs

Links with descriptive anchor texts are more valuable because they give Google an idea of what the linked-to page is about, which can help with your rankings. On the other hand, links with generic anchor texts such as “click here” or “read more” are not as valuable but are still worth pursuing because they can also help drive traffic to your website.

  • Follow vs. Nofollow Links

A follow link is a link that passes link equity and allows Google to follow it to your website, which can help with your rankings. A no-follow link is a link that does not pass link equity and tells Google not to follow it.

no follow and follow links
source: wordstream.com

In the example above, the link to It’s a Writer’s World is a follow link because it passes link equity. This means that if the website It’s a Writer’s World has a high domain authority, it can help improve the ranking of my website on Google.

The link to Google, on the other hand, is a no-follow link because it doesn’t pass link equity. This means that even though Google is a very high authority website, linking to it will not affect my website’s ranking.

No-follow links are still valuable because they can help drive traffic to your website. A no-follow link from the New York Times, for example, is still valuable even though it doesn’t pass link equity because it can send a lot of targeted traffic to your website.

  • Domain Authority (DA)

Domain authority is a metric created by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. It is based on factors such as the age of the domain, the number of links pointing to it, and the quality of those links.

  • Trust Flow

Trust Flow is a metric created by Majestic that measures the quality of a website’s inbound links. It is based on factors such as the age of the domain, the number of links pointing to it, and the quality of those links.

Is Link Building Still Relevant to SEO?

Yes, of course. Link building is one of the many factors that Google uses to determine a website’s ranking. In addition, links are still one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website.

However, it’s important to note that link building is just one part of SEO. There are other equally important factors, such as on-page SEO, technical SEO, and content marketing. Link building should also be part of a holistic and sustainable SEO strategy. This means you shouldn’t build links for the sake of building links. Instead, your goal should be to build high-quality links from relevant websites that will drive traffic and help improve your website’s ranking.

How to Create a Link-Building Strategy?

As with any SEO technique, you need a solid strategy to make sure you’re doing it right. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Check your target keyword’s difficulty. This will give you an idea of how many links you need to rank for that keyword. You can use Ahref’s Keyword Explorer to check your keyword’s difficulty.

There is a SERP Overview feature in Ahrefs wherein you can see stats related to the top-ranking content for a target keyword, including the number of backlinks these pages have. Get an average of the backlinks count and use it as your benchmark.

In some cases, if the competitors have low backlinks count, it may be best to focus on other SEO tactics first and come back to link building later.

  • Do a competitive analysis. Check out your competitor’s websites and see how many links they have. This will give you an idea of how much work you need to do to catch up. You should also look into the types of links they’ve built and see if you can replicate their success.

For example, if you notice that most of your competitors are doing directory submissions and business citations, you should also highly consider those link-building techniques.

But of course, you need to be critical too. If you find that your competitor is doing black hat techniques or their link profile consists of spammy-looking websites, then you shouldn’t follow their lead.

Build relationships with other website owners and bloggers. A great way to get high-quality links is to build relationships with other website owners and bloggers in your niche. You can do this by guest blogging, leaving comments on other blogs, or even just reaching out and asking for a link.

  • Set realistic goals. Once you know how many links you need to rank for your target keyword, you can set a realistic goal.

For example, if you need to build 100 links to rank for a certain keyword, you can break down that goal into smaller tasks. You can aim to build 10 links per month or even 1 per day.

Of course, you shouldn’t stop there. Once you’ve reached your goal, you should continue building links to maintain your ranking and improve it over time.

Identify your target websites. Make a list of websites relevant to your niche and with high domain authority. These are the websites you want to get links from.

You can use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer tool to find relevant websites in your niche. Enter your target keyword into the Keyword Overview field, and you should see the top-ranking websites.

You can also use their Content Explorer tool, which gathers information on keyword-related articles published online that get the most social engagement and traffic. You can use this to find popular articles in your niche that you can link to.

Choose the right link-building techniques. Not all link-building techniques are created equal. There are a few that are more effective than others, such as guest blogging and business citations. You should also consider the quality of the websites you’re getting links from. In general, links from high-quality websites will be more valuable than links from low-quality websites.

Create great content. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating. If you want people to link to your website, you need to have great content that people will want to link to.

Your content should be relevant to your target keyword, and it should be something that people will find useful or interesting. The better your content is, the more likely people will link to it.

The 2 Types of Link Building

There are two types of link building: internal and external.

Internal link building is when you add links to your own website. This is often done in the blog section of a website, where you can link to other articles or pages on your site. This is a great way to keep people engaged and improve your website’s SEO.

For example, if you have a blog post about gardening tips, you could link to another article on your website about planting vegetables. This would help people find more information on your website, and it would also help improve your website’s SEO.

External link building is the most popular type and probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone hears link building. This is the type of link you get from other websites. It is often done by guest blogging or reaching out and asking for a link.

Both types of link building are important for SEO. Internal links help improve the structure of your website and make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site. External links help improve your website’s authority and can lead to more traffic from other websites.

Active Link Building

Active link building refers to the process of actively reaching out to other websites and asking for a link. This can be done in a few different ways, such as guest blogging, leaving comments on other blogs, or even just sending an email.

The key to active link building is to be personal and relevant. You want to make sure that you’re only reaching out to websites that are relevant to your niche, and you want to make sure that your message is personal and tailored to the website you’re reaching out to.

For example, if you’re reaching out to a website about gardening, you would want to talk about how much you enjoy their website and how you think your readers would benefit from reading it . You would also want to link to a relevant article or piece of content on your website.

Active Link Building Techniques

1. Guest blogging: This is when you write a blog post for another website in your niche. This is a great way to get your name and your website out there, and it can also lead to more traffic from the other website.

2. Leaving comments on other blogs: This is a great way to engage with other people in your niche and get your name and website out there. Just make sure that your comments are relevant and helpful.

3. Sending emails: This is a great way to reach out to other websites and ask for a link. Just make sure that your email is personal and relevant and that you’re only reaching out to websites that are relevant to your niche.

4. Business citations: This is when you list your business on online directories. This is a great way to improve your website’s SEO and get your business in front of more people.

5. Social media: This is a great way to connect with other people in your niche and get your name and website out there. Just make sure that you’re only connecting with relevant people and that you’re sharing interesting and relevant content.

6. Link roundups: This is when you find a blog post that roundups the best articles or blog posts in your niche. This is a great way to get your name and website out there, and it can also lead to more traffic from the other website.

7. Resource page link building: This is when you find websites with a resource page in your niche and reach out to them and ask to be included. This is a great way to get your website in front of more people and improve your website’s SEO.

8. Reaching out to influencers: This is when you reach out to people who have a large following in your niche and ask them to share your content or link to your website. This is a great way to get your name and website out there, and it can also lead to more traffic from the other website.

9. Broken link building: This is when you find a broken link on another website and reach out to them and ask them to replace it with your link. This is a great way to improve your website’s SEO and get your website in front of more people.

10. Infographic link building: This is when you create an infographic and reach out to other websites and ask them to share it. This is a great way to get your name and website out there, and it can also lead to more traffic from the other website.

11. Competitor analysis: This is when you look at your competitor’s backlinks and try to get links from the same websites. This is a great way to improve your website’s SEO and get ahead of your competition.

As you can see, there are several different ways to build links. The key is to be personal and relevant and to only reach out to websites that are relevant to your niche. If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to building high-quality backlinks that will improve your website’s SEO and help you get more traffic.

Passive Link Building

Passive Link Building, on the other hand, is a bit more hands-off. You’re not actively reaching out to websites and asking for links, but you’re creating content that is so good that other people will want to link to it.

To do passive link building, you must first create great content. This could be in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, or anything else that is interesting and relevant to your niche. Once you have created this content, you need to promote it. You can do this by sharing it on social media and emailing it to people who might be interested in it, or simply by waiting for people to find it on their own.

If you create great content and promote it effectively, people will naturally want to link to it. This is a great way to get high-quality backlinks without having to actively reach out to websites and ask for them. And, as an added bonus, it can also lead to more traffic from people who see your content and want to learn more about what you offer.

Personally, if you do not have the resources to invest in link building, you can focus your team’s attention on producing great content and your on-page SEO. Creating highly linkable content such as guides and how-to’s are link generators that can attract links without you having to actively pursue link-building opportunities.

But if you do want to supercharge the results, then go ahead and start looking into outsourcing your link-building strategy.

How Great Content will Help You with Link Building?

If you want to get more links, you need to have great content. That’s because people will only link to content that is interesting, relevant, and useful. If you create great content, people will want to link to it, and this is a great way to get high-quality backlinks.

So how do you create great content? There are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Your content must be interesting and relevant to your niche. People won’t want to read or link to it if it’s not.

Creating ultimate guides and how-to articles are excellent ways to generate links. This is a very linkable type of content since many people will want to link to it when they are writing about the same topic.

You can also make your content interesting by adding statistics, which show that you have done your research, or by adding personal anecdotes. You can make it relevant by writing about topics that are trending in your industry or about specific problems that your target audience is facing.

Another way is to add quotes from experts in your industry or to include data from research studies. This will show you are up-to-date on the latest trends and know what you’re talking about.

  • Your content must be well-written and free of errors. People will only link to content that looks professional and is easy to read.

Remember, you want to be seen as the authority on the topic. Therefore, your content must be well researched and well written. Make sure to edit your work and have someone else proofread it before you publish it. This will help to ensure that there are no errors and that your content looks its best.

Otherwise, poorly written content will be seen as unprofessional, and your readers will lose interest quickly.

  • Your content must be unique and original. With so much content published daily, you must make sure yours stands out.

To do this, you should focus on creating original content that is not only well written but also adds something new to the conversation. This could be a new take on an old topic, original data or research, or a new perspective on an issue.

To make your content stand out, you need to add your own voice and perspective. This will make it more interesting to read.

  • Your content must be shareable. Write edgy and shareable content on social media to get more people talking about it.

To make your content shareable, you need to add elements that will make people want to share it. This could be an interesting headline, a stunning image, or a quote from the article. You can also add social sharing buttons to make it easy for people to share your content.

You can also post intriguing questions on social media to get people talking about your content. For example, you could ask people what they think about a controversial issue you write about in your article.

Keep these things in mind when you’re creating content, and you’ll be well on your way to getting more links.

Related Reading: Case Study: Content Marketing Outreach Boosts Organic Traffic and Conversion to Blog Content

How to Find Keywords for Link Building

When you’re trying to build links, it’s important to find keywords that will help you target the right audience. This will help you create content that is not only relevant to your niche but also likely to catch the attention of people who are interested in link building.

There are several types of anchor texts: exact match, partial match, brand, generic, naked URL, and phrases.

  • Exact match: This is when the keyword you’re targeting is an exact match for the anchor text. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “link building,” then your anchor text would be “link building.”
  • Partial match: This is when the keyword you’re targeting is a partial match for the anchor text. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “link building,” then your anchor text could be “link build.”
  • Brand: This is when you use your brand name as the anchor text. For example, if your brand name is “LinkBaitCo,” then your anchor text could be “LinkBaitCo.”
  • Generic: This is when you use a generic word or phrase as the anchor text. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “link building,” then your anchor text could be “click here.”
  • Naked URL: This is when you use the URL of the page you’re linking to as the anchor text. For example, if you’re linking to https://www.linkbaitco.com/, then your anchor text could be “https://www.linkbaitco.com/.”
  • Phrases: This is when you use a phrase as the anchor text. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “link building,” your anchor text could be “link building tips.”

To find the right keywords for link building, you can use various tools, including Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends. You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo to see what keywords are used in popular articles.

Relevance is the most important factor when choosing keywords for link building. You want to choose keywords that are relevant to your niche and the content you’re creating. You cannot use just any keyword and expect to rank in Google. The keywords you choose must be relevant to the page you want to link to.

Avoid using the same keywords as anchor text as well. This saturates your link building and makes it less effective. Instead, use various keywords and phrases to make your link-building more diverse.

You can also use brand + exact match keywords especially for service pages to diversify your anchor text. For example, you’re trying to get a link for the keyword “women shoes for sale”. You can diversify this keyword by adding a brand name like “Nike Women Shoes for Sale”.

Naked URL and generic anchor texts are okay to use but only for specific types of links such as business citations, profiles, and press releases. These links are more about getting your brand name and website URL out there rather than trying to rank for a specific keyword.

The Best Link Building Tools

There are a number of link-building tools available that can help you with your link-building campaigns. Here are some of the best link-building tools:

Monitoring Backlinks

  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that includes a link-building feature. With this tool, you can find link opportunities, track your progress, and measure your success.
  • Majestic: Majestic is a link-building tool that provides data on backlinks. This data can help you analyze your link-building progress and find new link opportunities.
  • Moz: Moz is an all-in-one SEO tool that includes a link-building feature. This tool allows you to find link opportunities and track your progress.
  • SEMRush: SEMRush is an all-in-one SEO tool that includes a link-building feature. This tool allows you to find link opportunities and track your progress.
  • Linkody: Linkody is a link-building tool that allows you to track your backlinks. With this tool, you can monitor your link-building progress and receive notifications when a backlink is removed.
  • Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to track your website’s performance in Google search results. This tool also provides data on backlinks, which can be used to analyze your link-building progress.

Finding Link Opportunities

  • Google: Google search is your best friend. By simply typing the keyword you want to rank for, you can find a list of potential link opportunities.
  • Google Alerts: Google Alerts is a free tool that allows you to receive notifications when new content is published that contains your chosen keywords.
  • Ahrefs Content Explorer: Ahrefs Content Explorer is a tool that allows you to find popular content in your niche and reach out to them for a potential link.
  • BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo works the same way as Ahrefs, but it mostly highlights which content is most shared and engaged with on social media.
  • Ahrefs Site Explorer: Ahrefs Site Explorer allows you to reverse engineer your competitor’s backlinks. If they are actively linking to your competitor. there’s high possibility they’ll link back to you.
  • LinkedIn News Feed and LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn can be a great place to find link opportunities. The news feed is constantly updated with new content, and LinkedIn groups are filled with professionals in your niche who are likely to be interested in your content.
  • Slack Communities: Slack is a chat application that can be used for networking and collaboration. There are many different Slack communities you can join that are relevant to your niche. These communities can be great places to find link opportunities.
  • Help a Reporter Out (HARO): HARO is a service that connects journalists with sources. By signing up for HARO, you can receive daily or weekly emails with opportunities to be featured in the media. These opportunities can also lead to links back to your website.

Email Outreach Management

  • Buzzstream: Buzzstream is a tool that allows you to manage your email outreach campaigns. With Buzzstream, you can automate repetitive tasks, such as sending follow-up emails and scheduling meetings.
  • Ninja Outreach: NinjaOutreach is an all-in-one tool that allows you to find influencers, contact them, and manage your outreach campaigns.
  • Pitchbox: Pitchbox is a tool that helps you automate your link-building outreach. With this tool, you can find link opportunities and contact the website owner with a customizable message.
  • Tomoson: Tomoson is a tool that helps you find products to review. You can contact the product owner and offer to write a review in exchange for a link back to your website.
  • Mailshake: Mailshake is a tool that allows you to automate your email outreach campaigns. With Mailshake, you can send personalized mass emails, track your results, and schedule follow-up emails.

Outsourcing Link Building Campaigns

Link building can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but it’s worth it if you want to rank higher in search engine results. If you don’t have the time or resources to do link building yourself, you can always outsource the task to a professional SEO agency like It’s a Writer’s World.

We provide high-quality link-building services that will help you improve your website’s search engine ranking. We only use white hat techniques and follow Google’s guidelines to ensure that your website is not penalized.

For more information on our link-building services, please contact us.