Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the backbone of the internet; it’s how websites show up in organic search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific queries. When you are crafting an SEO strategy to help your site rank well in SERPs, you absolutely need to include link-building efforts. With the right link-building services, you can reach your target audience easily, helping your organization achieve your business goals.

The Basics of Link Building (and Why It Matters)

Links are an important aspect of technical SEO, or the technical aspects of SEO that help your site rank well and bring in organic traffic. The 4 most important aspects of link building to keep in mind for your site are:

  1. Type of links
  2. URL structure
  3. Keywords and anchor text
  4. It all works

Let’s go over each in a little more detail.

1. Type of Links

There are three primary types of links that you will need to consider for a robust link-building strategy: internal links, outbound links/external links, and inbound links/backlinks.

Internal Links

Internal links are links that connect one page on your website to another page on your site. When your site is well-connected, or interlinked, it tells search platforms that your site is healthy and that certain pages are related topic-wise to each other. This information helps search platforms better understand what your site is about and can help your website rank better in SERPs.

The number and relevancy of links on your page is incredibly important to search platforms.

  • For starters, make sure that no page on your site is an orphan page, or a page that has no internal links going to it. Orphan pages make your site seem weaker to search engines.
  • Secondly, ensure that you have at least 5 internal links on a page that is roughly 2,000 words long. These internal links should be to pages that are relevant to the original page you are linking from; this practice helps search platforms better understand what each page is about.
  • Finally, while having internal links is important, it’s also important to not have too many links on a page. In the past, Google recommended not having more than 100 links on a page and, although that rule has since been rescinded, it’s still considered best practice in the industry to keep links around or under this limit. Bing currently recommends a link limit, although that number is “no more than a few thousand links per page.”

External Links

External links, or outbound links, are links that connect one page on your site to a page on another website. They show both search engines and human users alike that you have done your research and are citing your sources, making you appear more trustworthy. Outbound links also help Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search platforms better understand what your page is about. For example, if you have an outbound link going to a Purina Puppy Chow page, Google will likely think that your page is related to pets.

As is the case with internal links, the number of links you have going to other sites also matters. The industry standard is often a few external links for every 500 or so words of content.

Backlinks

Inbound links, or backlinks, are links that connect a page on another site to your site. In other words, it is a link coming to your site rather than from it. Backlinks from relevant sites tell search platforms and users that your site has authority, helping your page place better in organic search engine rankings.

Google and other search engines will create a backlink profile for your site. A serious ranking factor, backlink profiles (as the name suggests) are profiles of the quality and quantity of links to your site. A healthy backlink profile includes a blend of the following:

  • High-quality links – High-quality backlinks are relevant links from sites with high authority.
  • Medium-quality links – These links are from medium-quality websites. They host good content, but do not hold as much weight in ranking factors as more authoritative websites.
  • Low-quality links – These links are from sites with little to no domain authority. Having too many links from these types of sites can come across as spammy, and it can tank your SERP rankings and rightly turn off human users, too.

Obviously, you want far more high and medium-quality links than low-quality ones, but a few poorer-quality backlinks won’t take your site’s SERP ranking.

TIP: Want to know the quality of a site linking to your page? You can use Ahrefs to find out! Ahrefs lists the domain authority (DA), also known as domain rating, of each site in their database.

An interconnected web of string to symbolize the concept of interlinking on the internet. Image has a red tint.

2. URL Structure

How your links are structured is important for two primary reasons. For starters, it helps search platforms better understand what your page is about (and what keywords it should rank for) and it improves user experience.

Let’s use an example.

Say you have a page about the best dog treats; you want this page to rank for the keyword “best dog treats.” Your URL structure should be something along the lines of “https://www.awesomedogstuff.com/products/25-best-dog-treats/” rather than “https://www.catsrule.com/cat-litter-boxes/1jeghabdkjuh27i3rijsdf/”. Notice that the first URL here is totally optimized for our chosen keyword. It contains the exact keyword in the URL, and the structure of the URL is organized. In other words, the placement of this page (under Products) makes sense. The second example URL, on the other hand, is completely wrong as its placement on this site (and the location on this site) make no sense. Furthermore, the actual permalink doesn’t contain the keyword (or anything coherent, for that matter).

3. Keywords and Anchor Text

No link-building practice is complete without a little keyword research. Keywords should be related between the two pages that are linking together. For example, a page ranking for “best dog treats” that links to “best dog food” will look healthy in the eyes of search platforms and human users; the connection and relevancy between the two pages (and their content) is clear. By contrast, a page ranking for “best dog treats” linking to a page ranking for “top 25 monster trucks” will likely raise real human eyebrows and metaphorical search algorithm brows as well. There is no clear connection between these pages, and links between them may look spammy.

It’s not just keywords that are important in this equation, either (yeah, we know: boooo, math). You also need to consider anchor text when building links. Anchor texts are the literal pieces of text that hold links. Your anchor texts should be your keywords or close to them. Let’s say, for instance, that you have a page about dog treats and you want to link it to another page on your site about dog food. Your anchor text in the dog treat page should be something like “supplement your dog’s food,” not “go here.”

4. It All Works

Video game developer Todd Howard once said, “It just works.” Can you say the same about your links? When you have any kind of link, ask yourself the following:

  • Does the link actually work, or does it take users to an error page?
  • Do your redirects work?
  • Do you have too many redirects?

Having broken links of any kind or too many redirects can harm your site’s position in SERPs, so always ensure you closely monitor your links so you can catch and correct issues right away.

Black Hat vs White Hat Link-Building Practices

Not all link-building methods are equal. In fact, some practices are so frowned upon by Google, Yahoo, and Bing that they will actively penalize you for using them.

So, just what practices are good, and which ones should you avoid?

White Hat

White hat SEO refers to SEO techniques that are over the table, so to speak. In other words, they are techniques and strategies that fall within the guidelines of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other platforms.

White hat link-building tactics include:

  • Niche edits (adding links to existing content) via proper outreach to other sites
  • Blogger outreach to invite guest bloggers onto your site
  • Guest posting top-notch content on other websites
  • Creating high-quality content that organically invites backlinks

Black Hat

The opposite of white hat SEO is black hat SEO, or SEO techniques that violate a search platform’s rules and guidelines.

Black hat link-building techniques include:

  • Hacking into a website and placing backlinks without the webmaster’s permission
  • Spamming links to your own content in comment sections
  • Relying on PBNs (private blog networks, or sites whose only function is to link out to other sites rather than providing anything meaningful to human users)

Black hat techniques will penalize you in SERPs at best and get you into legal trouble at worst. So, why do so many people and organizations still grab a black hat when creating a link-building campaign?

The two primary reasons are time and money. When executed correctly, link-building tactics are time consuming, and many bad actors on the internet are impatient, so they will resort to black hat strategies to cut corners and save time in the short term without thinking of the long-term consequences. Additionally, white hat techniques cost more money upfront, which can dissuade many people from choosing white hat SEO at first. Over time, however, the penalizations from black hat SEO can add up, making it potentially more expensive in the long run than white hat tactics anyway.

Our advice? If you do any in-house link building, avoid black hat techniques at all costs. If you outsource link acquisition to a third-party link-building company, exercise caution. Specifically, be wary of link-building agencies that promise quality link-building packages with unreal pricing. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Grey Hat

Grey hat, or gray hat, SEO link building refers to a blend of both white and black hat strategies. Many companies practice grey hat strategies, but we recommend straying away from anything black hat-related. After all, it takes just a few penalizations from search platforms to tank years of effort and thousands of dollars of investment. Why risk it at all for a shortcut?

A woman makes a choice between a white hat or a black hat, symbolizing the concept of white hat SEO link-building practices vs black hat link-building SEO practices. Background has a red tint.

Link-Building Services We Offer

When you want to outsource manual outreach services, why not do so with an SEO agency who specializes in SEO link-building services? We pride ourselves on being a digital marketing agency that offers a robust range of link-building services that build high-quality backlinks and improve clients’ backlink profiles, including:

Concept of blogger outreach. Icon has two people with speech bubbles and arrows pointing between them.

Blogger outreach

to relevant website owners directly for on and off-site guest posting.

Anchor text concept art. Clipart of a page with text. Bubbles next to text with images of anchors.

Choosing the right anchor text

and keywords for each link.

Concept creation icon, represented by icons for text, videos, word-processing documents, and images.

High-quality content creation,

including creation of in-depth case studies.

Megaphone icon.

Spreading brand awareness

through organic brand mentions.

Speech bubble icon with an @ symbol inside. Represents concept of online mentions.

Scoring local citations,

or mentions, in local directories.

Clipart of a chain link with a cog, symbolizing SEO link building.

Fixing broken links

and redirect issues.

YOUR SUCCESS STORY STARTS WITH A FREE CONSULTATION.

Fill out the form or drop us a line to get started today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.