The Definition Of Link Building
Backlinks - also known as inbound links - are incoming links to a website or web page. The quantity and ԛuаntitу of ѕuсh inbоund linkѕ affect directly your rankings in search engines. There are twо main tуреѕ оf backlinks; one-way bасklinkѕ and rесiрrосаl backlinks. The оnе way bасklinkѕ are far much more important than reciprocal backlinks.
Link Building - is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink (or simply a link) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet. Search engines use links to crawl the web; they will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website, and they will crawl the links between entire websites.
The nature, number, and quality of your backlinks massively contribute to your search engine organic rankings. This is one reason why many webmasters and internet marketers take the topic of link building very seriously.
Types Of Backlinks (Good & Bad)
Type #1 - Natural Editorial Links:
These links are considered among the best types of links you can get as they are editorially given by other bloggers and websites. To acquire those links, you need to give the reader a good reason to do so and make bloggers aware of that reason. The content of your website must always be relevant, useful, original, engaging and even creative. Your content must include images, infographics, videos, and even audio podcasts when the industry allows. Ultimately your high-quality content determines how much is your chance of getting those natural editorial links.
Type #2 - Links Acquired Through Manual Outreach:
These links are popular and highly recommended. It involves outreaching and contacting the bloggers and websites in your industry asking them to link to you. As with most types of links, you need to give them a good reason and high-quality content. Your website must be professional, relevant to their industry, and your content needs to be clear, useful, specific and simply top-notch.
Type #3 - Self-Created, Non-Editorial Links:
Self-created links fall in the area of gray and black hat marketing depending on their type. Many of them are not recommended and you need to be very careful when considering them as they attempt to trick the search engine into considering your content as relevant and useful. The Penguin algorithm updates that rolled out in 2012 and beyond, rendered those links as useless and sometimes harmful depending on how they are built.
As these links are not editorially given, they have less impact on your marketing and rankings than other types of links. The most common ones are listed below:
- Blog comments that originate from blogs without moderation.
- Directories that originate from blogs without moderation.
- Press releases with specific optimized anchor text.
- Article directories.
- Guest post signatures.
- Embeddable widgets.
- Infographic embeds.
- User profile pages.
- Forum signatures.
Ultimately, you need to focus on editorial links and on the digital marketing strategies that allow you to acquire them. Be careful when considering the non-editorial ones and seek professional help when you are in doubt.
The Elements Of Perfect Backlinks
A perfect backlink must have the following features:
- Quality: It must be coming from a high-quality website. Quality is generally determined by specific quality metrics. The ones mentioned below are the most popular ones.
- Relevancy: It must be coming from a relevant website to your industry or niche.
- Contextually: Natural contextual links within the content of the web page are much better than other kinds of links like (footer links or links from banner ads and such).
Note: Google's PageRank (PR) is not a useful metric anymore as Google stopped updating it with no future interest in maintaining it since the 5th of December 2013. You should stop checking it and avoid any website that is still considering it as a metric.
Best White Hat Link Building Strategies
Strategy #1 - Content-based Link Building:
Content-based Link Building involves creating amazing engaging high-quality content for you to share, rank, and get links to.
Examples include a combination of the following:
- Data Visualization & Charts
- White Papers
- Guides, Tutorials, & Manuals
- Images Galleries
Strategy #2- Guest Blogging:
Guest blogging is the process of contacting other bloggers and influencers to ask them if they would publish an article or a piece of content that you write on their website. It is a good technique but search engines do not credit webmasters that try to abuse it or apply it with low-quality content or over-optimized anchor text. Use it properly, intelligently and carefully.
Strategy #3 - Ego Bait:
Ego bait is a piece of content that ignites the egos of bloggers and webmasters that are featured within this content. The point is that by including them, they might feel inclined to link back to your piece of content or even share it with their list of fans. This technique involves researching, writing, and outreaching in the right way.
Strategy #4 - Broken Link Building:
Broken link building is the process of finding and informing webmasters about the broken links on their site while providing them with a better alternative for them to link to.
The stages are as follows:
- Stage #1: Researching & Identifying.
- Stage #2: Content Creation.
- Stage #3: Outreach
Although the specifics can vary, the basic process looks like this:
- Researching and finding broken links
- Content creation
Strategy #5 - Link Reclamation:
It is the process of fixing or reclaiming the links that once pointed to your website. That includes the following:
- Links leading to 404-page errors.
- Non-linking brand mentions.
- Non-linking images that belong to your site.
More inspiring techniques can also be found at https://backlinko.com/link-building-strategies
The Art Of Link Baiting
A Link bait is a content on your website that other websites link to because they found it useful or important. It is good to note that link baiting is all centered around the idea of building great engaging and compelling content for your website.
Click on the below image to view it in full size:
Gray Hat Link Building Strategies
- This is the 1st item
- This is the 2nd item
Strategy 1 - Tiered Link Building:
Tiered Link Building is a strategy that involves building backlinks in tiers or layers to increase the power of those links that points directly to your website. Usually, gray hat marketers create two to three tiers or four in some rare cases. Tiered link building can be extremely dangerous and harmful if it is misused or done the wrong way.
3 Useful Tips:
- Never use automated link building programs directly on your website.
- Never buy mass link building packages or blast your website with thousands of links that take the shape of a pyramid or a wheel. Those old techniques do not work anymore and have no future in modern search engines.
- Never use unreadable content in any tier or link building campaign you make.
Note: Check the next section for more details about this strategy.
Strategy 2 - Private Blog Networks (PBNs):
A Private Blog Network (PBN) is a group of blogs on aged domains and hosted on different servers with different IPs. These blogs are created to simulate natural quality backlinks to the owner’s money site.
Setting up the right PBN require resources, deep knowledge, and high-quality content. For this reason, we have dedicated a whole section for it in this guide. Please note though that the effectiveness of this method has greatly decreased several years back. It is harder to set up, more expensive, and less effective. We highly recommend following white hat proven to work strategies instead.
Tiered Link Building
Tiered Link Building is a gray hat technique. It can be easily misused which can lead to terrible results.
Part 1 - Elements Of A Robust Tiered Link Building Campaign:
- The 1st Tier must be high-quality backlinks that are coming from relevant trusted sources. (Examples Include: High Authority Domain Names and High-Quality Web 2.0s).
- The 2nd Tier must also be a set of quality backlinks that can strengthen the power of your first tier.
Part 2 - Formula For Tiered Link Building:
- Tier #1: Manually created contextual links from authority blogs using high quality, relevant, and unique content.
- Tier #1: Manually created Web 2.0 blogs (e.g. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr) with relevant unique content, custom images, and videos.
- Tier #2: Manually created contextual links from high-quality PBNs with unique content, images, and videos.
- Tier #2: Diverse links from high-quality web 2.0 articles, social bookmarks, and profile links.
- Tier #3: Can be similar to Tier #2 backlinks.
Note: Between each tier, there must be a natural wave of social signals for best possible results.
Part 3 - Generating Content For Your Backlinks:
At all times, your tier #1 and tier #2 backlinks must be original, unique and hold real value.
Building Private Blog Networks (PBN)
Private Blog Network (PBN) is a technique derived from the concept of "Marketing By Acquisition". It is the process of buying websites or domain names and converting them to properties that relate to your niche. Thereafter, those websites can be served as marketing tools for your main website.
This also exists in real businesses, when one company acquire another company to strengthen its position in the market and improve its sales. In the following paragraphs, we will highlight the main steps for building your own private blog network.
Please note that our team does not recommend this method as it risky, expensive to set up, and less effective than how it used to be. It is good to be aware of it. Note that the white hat strategies are the best choice to pick for your business.
Part 1 - Elements Of A Strong PBN:
- All the websites that you acquire or buy must be of high quality and not penalized.
- You must always add unique, original and useful content to your newly acquired websites.
- All the websites must be hosted on different A-Class IPs. C-Class IP diversification is not enough anymore.
- All the websites must have a proper decent design with clear navigation and proper on-page optimization.
- Preferably if those sites or expired domains were previously related to your niche.
- All the backlinks that are coming from your private blog network must be natural, within the context of the articles and not overly optimized. 95% of your hyperlinks must have your brand name, website name, website URL and other generic terms - as in "click here", "here", "this link" and such.
Part 2 - Finding, Bidding, and Buying Domains:
There are many tools, services, brokers and websites up there to find, bid and buy expired domains from. GoDaddy provides various options for domain auctions but you need to analyze every domain very well before bidding on it.
Part 3 - How To Find The Right Domains?
Finding the right domain can be a tedious task among millions of available domains. However, if you follow the tips below, you will be able to sort them properly.
- The domain names must have a Citation Flow of at least 20.
- The domain name must have a Trust Flow of at least 20.
- The domain name must have a Domain Authority (DA) of at least 20.
- The domain name must have a Domain Rank (DR) of at least 20.
- You need to check the backlinking profile of the domain before bidding on it or purchasing it. You can do that easily using SEMrush, Moz Link Explorer, Ahrefs, or Majestic.
- The domain name must not be penalized and it must be listed as the first result when typing its full name or URL in Google's search box.
- Preferably if the domain name is at least 1-year-old.
Note 1: The "Citation Flow" and "Trust Flow" are two metrics used by Majestic-12 Ltd.
Note 2: The "Domain Authority (DA)" and "Page Authority (PA)" are two metrics used by Moz, Inc.
Note 3: The "Domain Rank (DR)" is a metric used by Ahrefs Pte. Ltd.
Part 4 - Building and Hosting Your Domain Names:
After acquiring your domain names, you need to host them on different Class-A IPs. The best way to do that is by hosting websites under different hosting companies that operate their services in different countries. SEO dedicated hosting services are not safe anymore so be careful when registering in any of them.
Part 5 - How To Build Your Backlinks From Your Private Blog Network?
For building your backlinks, try following the guide below for best results:
- Your anchor text must be a combination of your money keywords and niche related keywords. Always use different keywords on different domains to maintain a natural link building profile. Mix those up with the image type of backlinks.
- Every domain in your PBN must not link to your site more than 3 times at most. Ideally, two times is enough.
- You should not link from every page of your domain to your site. 1 to 3 links at most from the homepage will be more than enough.
- You should not link to the same page over and over again. Target different pages across different domains in a logical natural way (e.g. home page, product pages, service pages, and blog posts).
- The vast majority of your PBN backlinks must be contextual coming from high-quality articles with images and videos.
- Always follow our complete on-page optimization guide to fully optimize all your pages and posts.
- Always have an external link to authority websites like Wikipedia in all of your domains.
- Never connect or link your blog network sites together in any way, shape or form.
- To hide your track and marketing plan from your competitors, you need to block all SEO analysis programs, bots, and services.
- Make sure all your posts and articles are readable, useful and of high quality.
- Always maintain and update your blog network websites and keep them fresh and useful.
Part 6 - How To Choose The Right Anchor Text
Keeping your link building profile natural is mandatory when building backlinks. A common mistake among many marketers around is that they use certain percentages when deciding on their anchor text. A better more natural way would be to pick the right anchor text for every specific type of link you are building. A detailed guide is listed below:
- Profile Links, Citations, and Directories: Those type of backlinks must have either Branded or Naked URL anchor text.
- Blog Comments & Social Shares: Those type of backlinks must have Naked URL anchor text.
- Media Coverage, Outreach, and Press Releases: Those type of backlinks can have a variety of anchor text including Branded, Naked URL, Generic, and niche related ones. The most popular choice would be Branded and Naked URL, followed by Generic.
- Private Blog Networks (PBNs) and Blog Posts: Those type of backlinks must take various anchor text variations for best results. That includes your money keywords and other niche related keywords.
[ New update for 2017 and onward ]
Expired domains have now less effect in PBNs than the previous years especially when you completely change the original niche of your purchased expired domain. The best you can do in respect to that is to find highly relevant expired domains that used to feature content related to your current niche.
[ For Reference ]
- Branded Keywords: Keywords that contain your brand name (e.g. Labinator, Labinator Solutions).
- Naked URLs: Keywords that contain your full URL (e.g. labinator.com or https://labinator.com).
- Generic Keywords: General keywords that can be used for anything (e.g. click here, learn more, visit us, more details, more information).
- Money Keywords: Keywords that include your list of targeted phrases that you want to rank for. This also includes your long tail keywords.
- Niche Related Keywords: Keywords that are highly related to your niche and your money keywords.
Note 1: It is a good practice to target different pages depending on the type of backlink that you are building. You can link to your home page, product pages, service pages, and your blog posts. For example, branded and naked URL type of keywords should logically lead to home pages rather than product/service pages or blog posts. Long tail keywords and niche related keywords are more logically to be leading to product/service pages or blog posts rather than home pages. There is no precise rule that covers that, but the idea here is to keep them natural and user-friendly as much as possible.
Note 2: Always add good value when building backlinks. Write unique useful articles and keep your readers and visitors in mind above all. When your visitors are satisfied, your conversion rate will increase along with your authority level.
Social Signals and User Interaction
Starting from December 2014 and onward, Google started paying more attention to metrics like bounce rates, user interaction, social signals and other related user-based behaviors. That is extremely important to keep in mind when building backlinks. Google became more intelligent than before at analyzing user behaviors and measuring popularity and bounce rates.
To strengthen your backlinks, you need now to improve your visitor's experience by providing high-quality engaging content and interacting with your fans on social media networks. It is also advised to get social links to your existing backlinks as that helps your rankings and current authority levels.
Outsource Your Digital Marketing
If you are running a business and simply don't have the time or the right team for marketing, then you can outsource the process to our experts to handle all the marketing tasks for you.
Our company can cover all your digital marketing needs. Get started today by checking our complete digital marketing services that cover everything you need to rank online and drive real targeted traffic to your website.