What is Link Building? Strategies & Examples

Are you curious about what link building can do for your SEO strategy?

Link building is the process of acquiring high-quality links to your site.

Link signals factor into Google’s ranking of websites. For this reason, supplementing any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign with link building strategies is a must.

If you are new to the world of SEO and link building, it can be difficult crafting an effective strategy. This is particularly the case given how much SEO changes every year.

In this post, we’ll answer that burning question all beginner marketers have: “What is link building, and what can it do for my SEO?”

Read on for insight, strategies, and examples.

What is Link Building? The Basics

The internet is basically a network of hyperlinks.

Links are the pathways between pages. Web crawlers and users alike rely on links to navigate from one site to the next.

For decades, the number of hyperlinks on other websites linking to your site has been a good indicator of page authority. The more links on other sites that direct to yours, the greater your credibility.

Think about these backlinks as support links. A user is likely to include a link to your site if they feel that your content is relevant, useful, and worthy of attention.

For this reason, backlinks establish a site’s authority, much like a bibliography or Works Cited page gives a shout out to notable sources in a research paper.

Backlinks are a way of “getting noticed” on the internet. The more opportunities users have to click on links to your site, the greater your online visibility.

Visibility, as you likely already know, is key when it comes to any marketing effort. This is especially the case for digital platforms in the internet age.

So what is link building? It is the process of acquiring these particular backlinks through non-organic means.

It is possible to acquire backlinks without any effort on your part. We’ll talk about that a little later in this post.

But most marketers craft a link building strategy that involves going out and snagging the links themselves. Think about link building, in this sense, as asking professors for recommendation laters when applying to graduate school.

Before we discuss link building strategies and examples, let’s look more closely at the relationship between SEO and links.

Link Building and SEO

What is link building’s relationship to SEO? This is a revealing question that every SEO marketer should ask (and answer) in their career.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing solution that involves optimizing online content for searchable keywords. Consumers rely on search engines to find information, make purchases, and locate businesses all the time.

SEO takes advantage of this. An SEO campaign is designed to boost the visibility of a business’s web content so that consumers are more likely to click on that content in search listings.

An effective SEO campaign is hardly arbitrary. SEO marketers have to do a lot of work to come up with a solid optimization strategy.

They have to research trending keywords for their service, product, or industry. Marketers may implement on-page SEO, to begin with, and consider other forms of SEO, such as local optimization.

Because keywords are always gaining and losing popularity, SEO marketers also have to keep tabs on every campaign. They are constantly weeding out low-value keywords and boosting the performance of high-value terms.

They may even explore Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, such as Google AdWords, as a means of supporting SEO efforts.

Most importantly, they will knit links into their comprehensive strategy. Arguably, this is the hardest part of SEO.

When Google ranks sites for certain keywords, it looks at a bunch of factors. First and foremost, Google ensures that sites follow its general guidelines for Google-friendly content.

It will also assess your optimization efforts themselves, site traffic, page loading speed, branding, and even content length. Most importantly, it will consider a site’s domain authority (DA).

Domain authority is a ranking factor originally crafted by Moz. It essentially represents a page’s authority based on the number of its backlinks. In general, a high DA means a high chance of a top Google ranking.

The conclusion? A large number of high-quality backlinks can boost your SEO performance for certain keywords.

Link building strategies, therefore, necessarily involve SEO. Both maximize ranking factors and content credibility.

Link Building Strategies and Examples

Now that we’ve gone over the relationship between link building and your optimization efforts, let’s talk strategy.

First thing’s first, it’s important to mention that not all backlinks are the same. It is possible to get low-quality links, for example, that can ultimately harm your Google ranking.

Low-quality links are often associated with online directories that hand out backlinks when pages request a listing. Sometimes, they can be “purchased” by companies.

Links likely to tank or limit your DA are also ones that aren’t relevant. For example, if a site selling Nike tennis shoes includes a link to your blog post about feminism, this link may not serve you well.

However, if a national woman’s organization includes a link to that feminism blog post, that’s a great high-quality backlink.

Avoid low-quality links at all times when crafting link building strategies, just as you would avoid low-quality or unpopular keywords for an SEO campaign.

Google is vocal about the types of links it likes and doesn’t like. Check out this page here to learn more.

In general, there are a few things you can do to get the type of high-quality links you need for SEO and domain authority. Keep these in mind as you are crafting a link building strategy that suits your marketing and content needs.

1. Build the Right Content

The most coveted kind of backlink is what’s called a natural or editorial backlink. These backlinks don’t require any manual effort on the part of marketers.

They arise simply as a result of having good content that other sites want to reference. Bonus points if an editorial link is on a site that is contextually relevant to yours.

The best way to snag more of these types of links is to build the right content. It seems simple, but content building can actually be the toughest part of marketing out there.

This is because consumers place a premium on high-value, relevant content. They are picky about the ads and web material that they respond to.

It can also be difficult building content that outshines your competition’s.

Nonetheless, it is possible to craft content that other sites may notice and find useful. A blog is a great place to start. Other businesses hire content marketers to ensure that website and social media content is up to par.

Including high-value, relevant external links on your site can also help. The more you create little neighborhoods with your content by linking to outside sites, the greater your visibility.

Make sure your website is functioning well and looking snazzy, too. Remember that Google inspects page loading time when assigning ranking. It also favors sites that keep mobile users in mind by choosing a responsive design.

2. Research Influencers

The most common type of high-quality backlink is a manual link. This type of link does require effort, much like networking requires communication and attentiveness.

In general, manual links come about when a marketer requests to have their content promoted, shared, or otherwise referenced on another site. These external sites are relevant to the marketer’s site in some way.

You can compile these “influencers” on your own. Roaming around the internet and performing various Google searches can help.

But there are tools for gathering influencers in a faster and more effective way. BuzzSumo, for example, is a link building tool that marketers can use to find other sites viable for linking purposes.

BuzzSumo basically compiles a list of influencers within your industry, based off of your content, SEO keywords, and more. You can use this tool to reach out to influencers and request backlinks.

The tool even enables you to keep track of these communications and influencer responses. Pretty cool, right?

Many marketers are curious about how to reach out to an influencer. One way to do this is to request contributor or guest blogger status on certain sites. In this sense, you earn a backlink by generating content on that other site itself.

3. Rope in Social Media

The content that you share on social media does have a lot to do with your link building strategy (and SEO efforts).

While Google has yet to acknowledge the role such “social signals” play in its ranking decisions, social media can fit neatly within the scope of your link building.

Think about it this way. If you are producing high-quality content on Twitter, your followers are likely to re-share that content on their news feeds. Re-shares can lead to clicks through to your website.

But they can also lead to links. If you write a blog post about veganism that’s a huge hit, you may earn a few natural backlinks from other food-oriented websites.

Pairing social media with link building can boost your chances of acquiring editorial backlinks.

4. Keep Tabs on Your Backlinks

The best link building strategies are self-aware. They are constantly keeping competitor performance in mind, for example, monitoring “stale” or redirected links, and weeding out spam backlinks.

The tool Ahrefs can be useful in this regard. Ahrefs gives you a comprehensive backlink index and even lets you take a peek at your competitors’ links.

With Ahrefs, you can see how many backlinks you currently have.

Keeping this data in mind no matter how you go about acquiring links is essential. It will enable you to keep one foot ahead of your competitors and point you in the direction of gathering more appropriate links.

Link Building Strategies: Example

When crafting your own link building strategy, be sure to start small. Refined marketing strategies are easier to implement. They also are more likely to have measurable results.

The best link building strategy is also specific and aligned with your overall marketing goal.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that a marketing goal for this term is to boost your Google ranking for the following keyword: “organic yarn.”

A link building strategy within the scope of this may be to compile ten influencers who could potentially link to your site. This strategy is likely to rely on popular link building tools.

The marketer may use Ahrefs to note competitors in the handicraft or yarn industry. She may then use BuzzSumo to compile a list of influencers, keeping her competitors’ backlinks in mind.

These influencers may include a high-ranking blog for women who knit, a state or national knitting organization, and a company that promotes sustainability.

Using the same platform, this marketer may reach out to these influencers within the span of a week, requesting guest post or contributor access. As she waits for responses, she may even craft content optimized for that one particular keyword (“organic yarn”) with these influencers’ sites in mind.

Over time, a link building strategy may get more comprehensive. It is likely to reference more keywords, influencers, and analytics. However, when link building with SEO in mind, it’s important to always keep optimization at the fore.

Link Building and Your SEO: Final Thoughts

So what is link building and what does it have to do with SEO? Link building involves acquiring relevant backlinks to your site.

The success of your SEO campaign hinges on your number of high-quality backlinks. If you’re seeking ways to leverage your optimization efforts, implement a link building strategy today.

While every marketer’s link building strategy is different, it’s important to craft one that has a clear and specific purpose. If you’re link building specifically for SEO, don’t forget about doing so with certain keywords in mind.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to effective link acquisition. Other successful link builders spend time crafting high-quality content and researching viable influencers.

At Marketing By Kevin, we have the answers you need to all of your marketing questions. Curious about how your SEO campaign is paying off? Get your free SEO score now!