The Ins and Outs of SEO Link Building
by Alex Cosper, January 5, 2020

Every website owner should understand link building, which includes what to do and outdated practices to avoid. At one time search engines allowed excessive link swapping until Google decided that irrelevant links were spam. At the same time links heavily influence rankings, along with strong quality content. Another reason to pursue linking is that it can drive new referral traffic to your website.

Top Strategies for Link Building
  • guest blog for thought leaders
  • social media engagement
  • create sharable content like infographics
  • help similar sites by reporting broken links
  • provide natural links to sites that provide deeper knowledge
  • study links of competitors
  • develop a resource page with relevant links
  • only link to trusted sources
  • give positive reviews to insightful blogs
  • build an email marketing list
Finding Relevant High Ranking Sites

The most important key to link building is to not overdo it and focus on quality over quantity. A lot has changed since the pre-broadband days of SEO when any type of links were considered by search bots to reflect webpage popularity. Overuse of irrelevant links led to Google tightening its policies on search rankings, as it started penalizing sites that were full of low quality random links and not much other content. Link farms and undisclosed paid links are also penalized.

The best sites to link to or receive backlinks from are content rich authoritative sites with high traffic. It's very advantageous, for example, to get a backlink from a major news source for a review or interview, which Google rewards. You can find out how any website ranks online from resources such as Alexa or SEMrush, which serve as indicators of online popularity. You can also use these traffic measuring sites to analyze your backlinks. Another indicator of popularity is the amount of responses posted following a blog. Interacting with high profile and authoritative bloggers often helps get attention from like-minded followers.

Adding infographics to a blog may also help generate more organic backlinks. Don't forget about link roundups, which are weekly or monthly summaries of top industry or niche content with deeper links that attract interested visitors. You can create your own roundups with weekly top 10 lists of links or other ideas that empower your audience with quick answers they seek.

Top Strategies for Link Building

Blogging has grown exponentially over the past decade due to many businesses taking the advice of countless digital marketing professionals. Not only does a blog showcase your expertise, it allows for link building through engagement with readers. HubSpot has reported businesses that offer online blogs generate nearly twice as many inbound links as those that don't. Furthermore, it can lead to 55 percent more traffic. Once you develop a relationship with a credible online thought leader who commands a significant following, send them a brief private message offering to do a guest blog or cross-promotion that helps them.

Value of Videos

One of the best ways to present content is through videos, which have the power of delivering information quickly, better than text. Most people enjoy watching videos more than reading because it's easier on the eyes. Videos also make content more personalized and are excellent for product demonstrations. Engaging with video viewers is a great way to establish reciprocal links, especially on YouTube. Adding an explainer video to your site helps followers and potential business partners learn your brand faster.

Avoiding Spam and Bad Links

While it's certainly exciting to build links with the goal of increasing traffic to your site, beware of linking to poor quality sites that have the following flaws:
  • copyright infringement
  • illegal activity
  • malicious links
  • thin content with mostly ads or links
  • black hat content schemes such as keyword stuffing
  • duplicating content from other sites
  • multiple outdated or broken links
The highest quality sites that Google rewards are those that contain comprehensive useful original content. In other words, it's better to link to a well known trusted brand in your industry than a new site outside your industry made by kids in a garage. But don't be afraid to add or swap links with similar companies that complement your brand. Digital marketer WebpageFX says 46 percent of high search rankings is due to relevant links. If your competitor attracts impressive backlinks, consider engaging with those sites to steer them in your direction. If these links work for them, they may work for you. Be sure to track your links with a tool such as Monitor Backlinks so that you don't overlook several broken links over time.


Search engines are the gatekeepers of online traffic, so it's important to follow Google's search guidelines. These days quality is far more important than quantity, although a high quantity of high quality links is ideal. So make every link count and remember the first step to recieve is to give.

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