LINK BUILDING

How to increase traffic and conversions

What is Link Building and how to create a successful Off-page SEO strategy are topics we will discuss on this page.

For all those who write on the web, manage websites, and build search engine positioning strategies (in other words, SEO), link building, also known as link gaining, is a daily application and theme.

With this guide, you can better understand what link building is and delve into:

  • it’s meaning in the context of SEO techniques;
  • what a link is and how to create one;
  • how to build a link building strategy;
  • what are the most suitable SEO activities for getting free link building through backlinks?

By assimilating the concepts we will address later, you will be able to analyze and plan your link building strategy. You can also work independently to improve search engine ranking and increase traffic to your website, and conversions.

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What is Link Building?

Let’s start with a definition of link building, which refers to a set of actions and tactics aimed at increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a specific webpage.

The main purpose of this strategy is to improve the ranking of the page on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), in other words, on the main results page that users see after a Google search.

It means getting more visibility, authority, inbound traffic to the site, better conversion opportunities, and achieving online business goals.

It’s important to be on the first page of results because users rarely consult the second page or subsequent pages.

Google’s crawling activity, performed through crawlers, spiders, or robots, is used to scan all pages on the web and pass through links.

Come and do Link Building

To understand how to do link building, you need to know how the search engine works.

link building spider

The web can be compared to a large system of cataloging all available resources online. Imagine it as a huge library.

The spider used by search engines analyzes all these resources and creates a precise map of all existing online content and the relationship between them. Thanks to links, all pages on the web are connected and form a web where the search engine’s spider moves.

Even if link building is not the only card to play to increase a site’s visibility in search engines, a site without internal and/or external links is as if it were invisible to Google, as if it did not exist. Also, get informed on what anchor text is.

 

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Why to do it?

Why do link building? First of all, it is a good SEO tactic to become influential, generate traffic to your site or your clients, make content visible, and help with brand awareness.

The fundamental starting move is to produce useful and relevant content and offer a quality service, possibly aimed at a niche market where you can excel in specialization and competence because the more generic you are, the more competitors you will have to compete with.

The best way to encourage the inclusion of quality links on other sites is to create unique and distinctive content capable of naturally gaining popularity in online communities. Creating valuable content has its reward: links are editorial votes given by choice. The more useful your content is, the more likely it is that another site/author will consider it valid for their readers and include a link to your pages.

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Link Building Strategies

Here are some practical tips to implement your link building strategy. This is important, especially if you’re just starting your online activities:

link building strategies

  • actively participate in forums, industry-specific social groups, and as many vertical ones as possible on your topic. Create opportunities to include links to your site, no matter if some of them will be nofollow (I’ll talk about it at the end of the article). They can generate interest in you and bring natural links and traffic;
  • produce content on third-party platforms, such as Storify, and Wikipedia, or by having your posts published on blogs and sites with a good reputation. Pay attention to what Matt Cutts recommends! It’s more relevant to receive a link from an institutional site or with a good reputation, possibly relevant to your industry, rather than many links from unknown and low-quality sites;
  • if you can choose between two or more sites to get linked to, evaluate the Page Rank and Domain Authority, which is the age and authority of the domain and who links to those sites (I will suggest some tools for that later);
  • use link directories suitable for your industry to enter a thematic consultation circuit;
  • utilize your offline network to have your content shared, trying to always stay on-topic. Don’t spam links on the sites of relatives and friends if they don’t relate to your core business;
  • you can submit your site to DMOZ in the right section. This would become a direct link building activity, as in other social news sites like Reddit or OkNotizie;
  • transparently propose your content to entities you believe may be interested, even via email. A direct question is perceived more favourably than link exchange proposals and mutual benefits. A good use of email marketing can help here.

Link Building and SEO

From an SEO perspective, I suggest some useful tips:

  • ensure your links are at the top of the document and before others, if any;
  • remember that having too many links in the same content negates its effectiveness;
  • use different terms to create anchor text to which you can link, also based on synonyms of the keyword for which you want to rank. For example, “how to do link building,” “link building strategy,” and “link building strategy.” Or insert it in a broader sentence: “developing link building tactics”;
  • or indicate the link in full https://www.yourwebsite.com/blog/link-building, or make a simple mention of the site name, even if it doesn’t have a do-follow effect, it can be an action that drives traffic and generates interest;
  • use well-referenced images to which you can link, alternating with textual content;
  • your original images can become a potential source of links to your site if used or made available to other webmasters. Some SEO tools offer the possibility to find who uses your copyrighted images without your knowledge (in the Tools section, we will see some of them);
  • try to use the best position within the page to not force the presence of links but to make it natural and obvious.

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Become an expert

Here comes the fun part: how to learn to do all this? Firstly, with an insatiable curiosity and a desire to experiment. Then with a solid foundational education that helps you understand the complexity of the online world and its rules.

In the last decade, new digital professions have been offering excellent employment opportunities, and companies are looking for experts and competent personnel to complement external consultants and bring new skills into their organizations.

Doing SEO, link-earning activities, and link building campaigns are becoming more common in step with the digitalization of companies themselves.

As you may have understood, Digital Coach offers the broadest range of opportunities for training and certifications in marketing to develop your skills in the digital world. Through direct practice, starting with the front-end training you receive, as I’m doing while writing this. This article also provides you with the opportunity to test your learning level.

All you have to do is check the link I suggested to discover the best training solution and become an expert.

How to avoid penalties

Here are some actions to pay attention to avoid penalties:

  • if you have a new website or blog, or a relatively new one, try to do sensible link earning. You can’t expect to have a ton of links to your site in a short amount of time, or you’ll look suspicious from the start. You need to be patient and build your authority naturally.
  • pay attention to the quality of the sites from which you receive links: spammy, illegal, adult, pirated, or low-quality sites won’t work in favour of your credibility and reputation. Plus, Google doesn’t like them.
  • links should be distributed throughout the content of your pages, not just to the homepage, to give strength to all the posts in a relevant manner.
  • avoid joining a flood of directories quickly and use a variety of titles and descriptions.

onsite natural links

Tools to use

Engaging in link building for well-known brands and major corporate entities after working on organic growth means making some investments. You can hire a professional or use the services of qualified web agencies.

If you’re going to handle it yourself, you’ll need to be very careful in choosing services offered on the web and subscribing to platforms promising miraculous results with the acquisition of thousands of qualified and selected links for your SERP climb.

It’s better if you learn to use some analysis tools and then decide on the strategy to adopt for your link building campaigns.

Free tools

Below is a list of tools that may be useful to you, some are free, and others are paid:

  • the “Highlight Nofollow Links” feature of the SearchStatus plugin for Firefox. It helps identify all nofollow links and provides other information about site rank positioning, link importance, and traffic (using Alexa and Compete data), providing a fairly clear overview.
  • DomainTools helps you determine the age of a site to understand its reliability.
  • Open Site Explorer, a feature within Moz.com, partly free, allows you to search for backlinks, find link building opportunities, and discover damaged links. Access to other features requires a subscription.
  • SimilarWeb and Ahrefs, partly free and partly pro, are used for backlink checks, keyword analysis, brand mentions, and competitor analysis.
  • Majestic works with its algorithm based on Citation Flow and Trust Flow. Citation Flow predicts how influential a URL could be based on the number of sites linked to it. Trust Flow is a quality-based score rated on a scale of 0-100. Sites closely linked to a reliable initial site can have higher scores, while those with ambiguous links have much lower scores. This allows for a very precise analysis of the quality of inbound links, potential correction activities, and improvements.
  • SeoZoom can help you understand if you receive backlinks from sites that have been penalized and do not benefit your reputation. It has an excellent interface for creating reports on link quality.

An effective link building strategy involves the combined use of various tools, necessary to manage the data treated in the final analysis and in operational phases that also extend to offline, PR, and direct contact.

Organizing a Link Building campaign

The organization phases of a link building campaign can be summarized in 5 points:

  1. link audit to learn the history of links to the site, the sites of origin, their reliability, the relationship between the number of domains and IPs, and trust flow/citation flow.
  2. analysis of anchor text to understand the use of keywords used for linking and how to change their use if necessary.
  3. geographical and linguistic mapping, choosing the most suitable places for brand objectives.
  4. page analysis, which receives the most links (link juice) and how they are distributed on the site. There must be harmony in the distribution of links that offer a natural effect.
  5. campaign organization by doing scouting (targeted selection and profiling of sites suitable for our link building), choosing appropriate anchor text, posting strategy (content, link placement, and distribution within posts), contact activities, and collaboration methods.

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Practical application

Let me summarize a practical application case of using SEO tools and implementing link building campaigns that I read on Matthew Barby’s website:

  • I use Scrapebox to post blog comments for a somewhat white hat purpose (we will delve into this later): I search for potential link opportunities in a specific niche through its search feature, filtered based on the topic of interest and certain criteria like “guest,” “write for us,” and “guest post.” I make sure to understand which prospects are the most relevant by screening their PageRank, also done using Scrapebox.
  • I use ScreamingFrog/SEO spider to go through the obtained list, imported as a .csv file. I select possible filters like “write for us,” “contribute to our blog,” a type of increasingly relevant site.
  • I use BuzzStream to upload my list and quickly get all the contact information and social media profiles of my potential link co-builders. From there, I initiate contact and interaction proposals. However, it’s worth noting that this is a fantastic link-building tool that’s free for only two weeks, after which you’ll need to pay.

Glossary

How many types of links exist?

The main categories of links that we come across include:

Editorial links: these are links that arrive spontaneously to pages, generated by the interest in the content, and relevance within a particular industry, and considered valid for enhancing the information provided by the linker. They are links that weren’t requested but offered for relevance within the context of the resource referencing us.

Resource/information links: often found in site navigation bars or sidebars, these links, also known as hyperlinks, direct to websites or specific webpages considered of interest to site visitors and, therefore, valuable for the browsing experience.

Paid links: in this category, you find various types of links obtained through payment or reciprocity of benefits.

In the last category mentioned, which deserves further exploration, we can find:

links for seo

Reciprocal links: between two sites that cover the same topic or related themes, which, by agreement, exchange links to improve ranking. To prevent false attribution of value to links, search engines have devalued the significance of these exchanges.

Forum subscriptions: can effectively lead to backlinks to your site/blog, based on rules established within the forums themselves. It’s a formula often used to drive traffic and create links from an SEO perspective.

Blog comments: leaving comments on other blogs’ posts related to the topic of your site or blog for link building purposes increases the likelihood of other readers coming to your pages, even though the generated link will be nofollow (I’ll explain what this means in the next paragraph).

Directory links: dmoz.org, the spider.it, mrlink. it, for example, are directory sites where you can free submit your sites or blogs by topic; users can find hundreds of sites, somewhat like searching the Yellow Pages. Of course, these sites require registration because you represent a potential customer, as in the next two cases.

Social bookmarking: how many times have you found an article or a site of interest but didn’t have the time to read it? Getpocket.com, feedly.com, bumpzee.com and del.icio.us. These are examples of free social bookmarking where you can archive articles, documents, and landing pages. These so-called bookmarks have an anchor text and are stored publicly. They are found during search engine crawling and indexing.

Image links: properly named and tagged image files can be placed in specific directories, for example, infographics or available image stock, and redirected to a specific URL.

Dofollow and nofollow links

Effective links for ranking must be dofollow, which means they are traceable and indexable by the search engine to score your site on the SERP.

In some cases, it’s preferable to add the rel=nofollow attribute to the link, which is an HTML tag that tells search engines not to follow the linked resource and not consider it for ranking. However, it still holds value for SEO purposes in at least three cases:

  • commenting on related blogs: relevance and active participation in a conversation can generate curiosity about your expertise, still drive traffic to your site, and potentially lead to backlinks to your discovery.
  • being hosted as a guest post on a well-known and authoritative blog may have an even greater effect than the point mentioned above, despite the nofollow attribute (taking advantage of dofollow in this case would be almost impolite).
  • creating valuable content on social-based platforms, such as Storify, to get known and appreciated.

Black hat and white hat: two ways of doing link building

Any link intended to manipulate the PageRank or the positioning of a site in Google’s search results can be considered part of a link scheme and constitutes a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to/from your site.

Black hat refers to all indiscriminate activities of backlinking, whether through purchase, exchange, or structuring multi-level links that always point to the same site. These unethical and non-compliant tactics have long been condemned to the point of generating penalties from major search engines, with Google leading the way. Those who use black hat strategies end up at the bottom… of the SERP.

seo link farm

The link farm is a particular type of black hat SEO activity in which a group of sites, manually and automatically generated by software, reciprocally links to each other (the Wikipedia entry explains the scheme well), simulating a backlink reference to deceive the search engine. These activities are heavily penalized.

White hat, on the other hand, encompasses all strategies for obtaining (hence link earning) links to your site that aim to earn your online professionalism, always to provide effective service to your users, combined with traffic growth, authority, and recognition for your site, along with the potential for monetization if done well. I always recommend wearing the “white hat”; not only is it fruitful but also elegant!

Conclusion

As you have understood during this reading, Link Building is extremely important for your site’s positioning. Ignoring this aspect would devalue your work, which would be a shame, don’t you think?

Through this guide, I have tried to be as clear as possible, addressing the most important and useful topics.

I hope you found this in-depth guide useful and interesting. Thanks for reading, and good luck with the future of your business.

 

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