Link Building: The Definitive Guide [2021]

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In this competitive world of SEO, everyone is creating awesome content and trying to rank on Google. But there is no secret that backlink stands still at the top of the ranking factor. This is where link building comes into play.

Search Engines have evolved a lot and consistently changing their algorithms to rank pages. Although there is no official ranking factors checklist released by Google, the SEO community knows most of them.

In this article, we are going to cover the most important factor of Google, i.e Link Building.

So, let’s dive into it.

What Is Link Building?

Link building is the process of getting hyperlinks (outbound links) from other websites to your website. This practice of acquiring links is for improving Search Engine visibility.

There are various methods and techniques to build links from other websites. We will discuss some of the latter in this article.

link building

Why Link Building Is Important?

Let’s know why link building is important for SEO and why the world is running after this.

As we know Google consistently changes its algorithms to rank pages. Some changes are minors and some are major. But backlinks are the most important factor that won’t change over time.

In some official Press release, Google also agreed that links are important for them. After the release of Google PageRank algorithms, links are so important than ever.

After that people use the method wrongly and build hundreds of links from spammy sites. To punish these types of activities, Google then released the Google Penguin algorithm update that focuses on link quality but not just link quantity. Many sites wiped out from search results and no longer getting organic traffics.

The days of building backlinks through submitting a website to web directories and getting a link from blog comments are over. Then site owners and webmasters realize the importance of link quality. We will discuss the quality of a link later in this article.

Search Engines use links to discover new web pages and it also helps determine where a page should rank in their results.

Although there are several other On-Page and Off-Page SEO factors affect the ranking of a page, links are still in the top spot.

Internet is vast and Google uses hyperlinks to discover new pages in this infrastructure. When crawling a webpage if Google found a webpage hyperlink. That doesn’t in their index, then it adds it. Hyperlinks help search engines to discover new pages and resources on the internet in fracture.

Similarly, a link from a page shows Google that the page is trustworthy and has some potentials. Simply, backlinks considered as votes. The number of links means more votes to a page.

Generally speaking, the more high-quality websites giving the link to a page, the more likely that the referred page rank well in search results.

Link Building Strategies For 2021 & Beyond

Here are some recommended link building strategies you can use to build quality links.

1. Guest Blogging/Guest Posting:

Have you heard that guest blogging is dead? You must have come through this line if you are from a while in this space.

Google’s  Matt Cutts, Formerly Head of Web Spam Team, tweeted in 2014 about guest blogging.  

This is one of the biggest SEO myths. Is guest blogging dead?

Well, not at all.

Then what about the Google statement? Google had said that to stop the spamming. People just take it wrongly.

Thousands of people still using this technique to acquire high-quality backlinks. In-fact authority sites use this technique to gain links.

What is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging also called “guest posting”. This is the process of writing content for another website for links or brand awareness. Generally, guest bloggers write in similar niche blogs within their industry.

This is the most trusted and recommended way to get backlinks from high authority sites. The process starts with finding guest blogging opportunities. There are various ways to find these opportunities. I will show you some of my favorites below.

1.1 The Google Search Method:

You can use some Google search tricks to find guest blogging opportunities. The blogs that allow guest posts must have a dedicated page containing some guidelines or something like that.

Usually, the name of the page is like “write for us” or “guest post”.

So you can use the following search operators to find them.

[your_topic] “write for us”
[your_topic] “become an author”
[your_topic] “guest post”
[your_topic] “blogging guidelines”
[your topic] “contribute”
[your_topic] “guest article”
[your_topic] inurl:contribute

Then Google will show you different blogs having these types of pages. You can check each of the search results and find the appropriate one.

1. 2 The Influencer Method

Another method is to follow the footsteps of an influencer. You would find influencers and guest bloggers in every niche.

  1. First, you need to find influencers and guest bloggers in your niche who publishes guest posts frequently on other blogs.
  2. In the next step, use the Google search to find those sites.
    “Guest post” + “[influencer name]”
  3. This will show you the list of sites where the influencer or guest blogger has published articles.
  4. Then make a list of the sites and the posts they have published in other blogs.
  5. All those sites and these would be your targeted sites.

1.3 Competitor Backlinks Method

You can check the competitor’s backlink to find where they have posted guest posts. The changes are they also give you backlinks.

You can use paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush or freemium tools like Ubersuggest. Both are good for backlink analysis.

  1. Just put your competitor’s website URL or individual post URL to check the backlinks.
  2. Then you will get the list of blogs where they have posted guest blogs and got links.
  3. List all the blogs with the post URL also.
  4. Then you can pitch them and ask them to give a link to your blog.

Competitors have done all the hard works like finding the blogs and posting articles on them and get links. You are just taking the shutouts and getting the sites directly. This is also an effective way to get guest posting opportunities.

As of now, you have the list of sites where you can get backlink opportunities. Before you start sending pitch emails to different sites, first find the right person to target.

Now you need to find an email address.

Thanks to a number of email finding tools that make it easier to find anyone’s email address of a blog. I use Hunter to find the email address of a blog.

It shows you all the email addresses associated with a blog. Pick the right one who is closely associated with content editing and publishing. These are the peoples who can give link your blog.

Rather than just pitching emails every day, try to build a relationship with them. This might help you in the long run.

Once you got the email address, now it’s time to give them some guest post ideas. Pick some blog post ideas and let them know. Come up with at least 3-4 ideas for each blog.

Email Subject Lines For Requesting Guest Posts:

“Request for a Guest Post”
“Guest Post Inquiry”
“Contributing to [Blog Name]”
“Guest Post: Headline”
“[Catchy blog headline]”
“Writing for [Blog Name]”
“Become a Regular Contributor to [Blog Name]”

Instead of using general email subject lines like “Submit an article” or “Write for Us” you should play with these subject lines in your pitch email for a guest post.

On the final step, send an email to the blogger/editor of that blog and pitch your guest post ideas.

Here is a cold email template:

Hi [Name],

[Write some personalized texts]

I’m writing to you because I’m interested in contributing a guest post on your site.

Based on what has worked for [Site name] in the past, I feel that your readers would love these ideas:

[Idea Title #1][Brief Description]

[Idea Title #2][Brief Description]

[Idea Title #3][Brief Description]

In case if you don’t like the topics, we can always switch to something more suitable.

To give you an idea of my writing style and quality, here’s a guest post I recently wrote for [Guest post link]

Do you think these ideas would be a good fit?

I’m excited to hear back from you!

Best,

[Your name]

You can use your own creativity to make the pitch letter more personalized and make it awesome. Otherwise, you can check some email templates from other sites as well.

Just send the email and wait for a week at least. If you don’t get any response to your initial pitch email, then follow-up with another email.

Once you get any response, discuss with them about the topic and let them know that they have to give a link to you. Based on your conversion, they might give you a backlink inside the article or in the author bio section.

Create a high quality article matching to their blog and send it to them. Some blogs might take time to publish it. So keep in touch with them and also grab follow-up. Once they publish your article, you would get a backlink from them.

2. Resource Page Link Building:

Resource pages are also a good source of getting quality backlinks. You may be wondering what is resource page?

Resource pages are the pages that are made to give links to someone else on the same topic. These types of pages don’t have their own content. They only link to third-party resources.

Resource page link building starts with finding relevant resource pages. You can use advanced search modifiers to pull specific results from Google search.

Let’s say you have a blog in the pet niche. So you can type the following queries in Google search.

pet intitle resources inurl:resources.html

pet intitle resources inurl:links.html

pet intitle:links inurl: resources.html

pet inurl:.com/resources

pet inurl:resources intitle:resources

You can always use simple search operators like below.

“Keyword” + inurl:links “

Keyword” + “useful links”

“Keyword” + “helpful resources”

“Keyword” + “useful resources”

Please note that always try to search for broad topics. This way you will get many relevant results.

After the search, you will have hundreds of resource pages. Make an Excel sheet and note down all the sites with the URL. You may check the domain authority of the website to get some idea.

Then find a resource page that best fits you. Your content might have the best piece of on that topic, but it should fit that resource page.

Once you figure out the page, then send a pitch email to the site owner. You can customize the email according to your needs and let them know that you have an article that best fits their resource page.

If they found your page is valuable and worth them, then they would be happy to give you a backlink.

3. Broken Link Building:

Broken link building is one of the favorite link building strategies of many SEO experts. Now you might be wondering what is broken link building?

Broken link building is a technique where you find a broken or dead link and recreate the same content as on the referred page. Then tell the site owner that linking to the dead page and tell to link your recreated content instead.

This works quite well because no one wants to link a dead page. They will happily replace the dead link with your working ones.

This process starts with finding broken links. You can do this process manually. But it takes a huge amount of time and you never want to spend much time on this.

Check My Links Chrome extensions can make your life easier and quicker the process. This extension shows working links in green color and dead links in red color.

Steps To Find Broken Links:

  1. First, find a page having many outbound links. One of the best examples is the Wikipedia page. You can find blogs that give backlinks to other pages in your niche.
  2. Once you land on the page run the extension and it will show you a dead link if any.
  3. You can use resource pages as they are created for giving outbound links You can follow the above method (resource page link building) to find resource pages in your niche.
  4. Once you find any broken link, then try to create awesome content on that topic and publish it in your blog.
  5. Then head to the blog that contains the broken link and let them know about it. Write a pitch email and tell them that the link was dead and you have created similar content.
  6. Once they figure out and check your article, they will more likely give you a backlink in the place of the previous link.

I am a bit curious to know whether it’s working or not and wanted to try this one once. In this case, I used Wikipedia for test purposes. I just randomly choose a page and run the Check My Links Chrome extensions.

broken link building

This is what I got from the test. As you can see in the screenshot, there are 16 broken links on this page.

4. Creating Linkable Assets:

Unlike other link building strategies, this strategy earns links. You don’t have to reach out to other blogs and convince them to link you. Linkable assets are certain pieces of content that earns links.

Few examples of Linkable Contents are:

  • Tools
  • Online Calculators
  • High-Quality & Informative Blog Posts
  • Step-By-Step Tutorials
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Memes etc

If you have a tool on your site then you can drive more links than any other format of content. If it is free and provides value to your audience then other bloggers and editors in your niche would be happy to link you.

You can take Ubersuggest as an example. Neil Patel has merged the tool with the Neilpatel.com root domain. This is why the tool is driving thousands of links for free.

Ubersuggest backlink profile link building
  • Another one is the in-depth blog posts. Have you ever come through a blog that describes everything on a topic? Yes, you already have. These types of content also drive links for free. This is the same technique that is used by Backlinko. Every post on that blog is in-depth and visually rich.
  • Another newest way to create a linkable asset is infographics. Infographics are graphical representations of information and data so that users can quickly and clearly understand the topic.

A quick Google search on “Infographics” you would find this. You can create a similar piece of content for your blog and embed them in your blog post.

Infographics search query link building

Many Pro Bloggers are using this method to earn links and recommend to use the same.

People went to the next level and created some awesome infographics. You might have seen hundreds of infographics before. But you have not seen this yet.

An animated infographic made by Animagraffs on how a car engine works is the best I have ever seen.

engine 01 link building

You can accelerate the process through ads. You may run a Facebook ad and let people know about your valuable (linkable) asset.

In this valuable asset content creation, you might have created some cool graphics or charts on your blog. What if someone uses your images, infographics without linking to you?

Well, you can find them with a reverse image search. Just head to Google image search and upload your image and hit the search icon.

You will find a list of all the sites using your images. No need to worry about this because you have link opportunities from them.

Just send them a friendly email and ask them for a link.

Linkable assets are a great way to get hundreds of links for free. So rather than focusing on the quantity of content, focus on producing quality content.

5. Unlinked Mentions:

Some people have not given a link to you but mentioned your website or business name. If you are a blogger, then you might have done this hundreds of times.

This type of mention only contains plan texts without any hyperlink to your page.

This type of unlinked mentions is halfway towards getting a link. First, you need to find such mentions. If you have seen this before then you can directly jump to the site. Doing this process manually takes a lot of time.

To accelerate the process you can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool. Just put your website or brand name on the search box and hit enter.

It will show you all the sites that mention your name. After that, you can use some filters to distinguish the unlinked mentions. Then export them into a list.

Open each site and find the contact person (that closely associated with content editing and publishing) and let them know about the mentions. Ask them to give a hyperlink to your website on the mentions.

You can send an email like this.

“Hey, [Name of the editor/author]!

I noticed you [Mentioned by brand name/used my infographic] on your site, here: [URL].

Thanks so much for covering it and taking interest in it! I’m so glad you think your audience will find it useful.

However, would you consider adding a link to my site as a credit? The landing page for this [Post/infographic] is here: [URL].

Our team put a lot of time and effort into creating this resource, so I’d really appreciate it if you could update the article with this link.

Thanks again for including my brand!

Best,

[Your Name]

6. Podcasts Link Building:

Nowadays Podcasts are everywhere. This is the new form of content that has been for a while but recently go on-trend.

Now Google also started showing podcasts on the SERP directly. Here’s an example of this feature.

Linkbu1 link building

You can get backlinks from podcasts. The best thing about this is, you will get podcasts on almost every topic.

Podcasters would invite you to their show. If you are not getting invitations, reach out to them and let them know that you are the best fit for their show.

Once you get interviewed on their podcast show, they will mention your name and website on their site. This is how you will get a backlink to form their site.

Podcasters also promote their episodes on social media sites. So you will get popularity through them. More and more people will be intended to visit your website and consume your content. You may get some extra links in this way as well.

7. Link Reclamation:

On course of time your site has earned hundreds of links let’s say. You have done so many things to get links from here and there.

How you react to this if I say you are losing links every week? Yes, it’s true and proven.

Put your website URL in any backlink checker tool like Ahrefs. You would found that many links have been removed in the past.

lost backlinks link building

This is where link reclamation comes into play. In fact, it is easy to get the lost link than creating new ones.

Because they have linked to you already and you just have to ask them to re-link you again.

Most of the time the site editors remove backlinks at the time of re-editing content. If they think the referred page is no longer valuable for them then they removed it.

In other cases, the links were removed because the page was deleted. In this case, you can’t do much.

First, you need to find the lost links and reach out to the sites. Send them a friendly email and ask for the reason why they have removed the link. Meanwhile, you can ask them to link back again.

8. Divert Links From The Inferior Post:

You must have come across a thin piece of content having 200 to 300 words. Surprisingly, they have also many backlinks.

As an SEO professional or blogger, you suddenly start thinking that why someone has linked to a 200 words article where your 5000 words in-depth guide is available?

This is because the linking site probably doesn’t know that a better piece of content already exists.

Here you need to email them, show your in-depth guide and ask them to link to you instead.

First, you need to find this type of thin pages having some backlinks. To accelerate the process, you can use Ahrefs’s Content Explorer tool.

This method works because the sites are linked minded and have already given backlinks to someone else. But the referred site doesn’t contain much information. As your post is in-depth on that topic so better to give you a backlink instead of that site.

9. Steal Backlinks From Competitors:

This is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks quickly. Steal backlinks from competitors is also a great way to get quality backlinks.

No matter which industry or niche you belong to, there would some competitors already. As they have been here for a while, they must have acquired some backlinks.

They have done all the hard works like searching sites that are intended to give an outbound link. You just have to copy all the links (or a portion).

For this, a backlink analysis tool helps you. You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest or paid tools like Ahrefs.

Put your competitor’s URL or domain to the tool. The tool would show you all the sites that link to your competitors.

You can reach out to those sites and let them know about your content. Before reaching out you need to create valuable assets that one should not ignore.

As someone has given a link to your competitor the site links minded and can also link to you. Your pitching email would be important.

Here’s an example:

“Hey, [Name of the editor/author]!

I noticed you have linked to [URL] on a post.

I have a similar piece of content cover XYZ topics that the linked page has not.

[Describe something about your post and Give URL]

Your audience will find it useful if you link to us instead. Our team put a lot of time and effort into creating this resource, so I’d really appreciate it if you could update the article with this link.

Feel free to check the post.

Best,

[Your Name]

This is also an effective way to build backlinks through competitor analysis.

10. Community Sites:

Most of the SEOs and bloggers are running after “high quality” links. This is a good thing as well.

But building high quality links genuinely takes lots of time and also hard. You should not rely on this type of process.

So you can focus on building links from community sites. Quora, Forums, message boards, Reddit, niche forums are also a good place to build links.

Suddenly you might ask me “Bibhu, aren’t such links no-followed?

Yes, many of them are nofollow by default.

The natural backlink profile of a site is a mixture of do-follow and “no-follow” links.

In fact, the recent Google algorithm update states that the no-follow link attribute will be also treated as a hint. This means Google will not ignore the hyperlink marked with a “no-follow” tag.

In addition to getting backlinks, you can expect some targeted traffics from those community sites.

What Defines a High-Quality Link?

Throughout this article, I have used the phrase “high-quality link” many times. Now it’s time to define what is the actual meaning of the high-quality link.

1. Authority of the Site

The Authority of the site matters a lot when defining the quality of a link. A backlink from a high authority site like Entrepreneur.com has a bigger impact than a link from the one-month-old website.

Different SEO tools use different algorithms to measure the authority of a website. So there is no universal authority of a website.

Two famous SEO tools Ahrefs and Moz authority is considered among the SEO community. Ahrefs named it as “Domain Rating”. Here is the Domain Rating of Entrepreneur.com.

Linkbu2 link building

Moz named it as “Domain Authority”. Here is the Domain Authority of Entrepreneur.com.

Linkbu3 link building

By checking this authority you will ensure the quality of backlink you are getting.

2. Authority of the Page

Like domain-level authority, every page/post of a site has its own authority.

If a page has more authority and gives a link to you, then the quality would be good. You can use the page authority using Ahrefs. Ahrefs called this “URL Rating” or UR.

3. Related To Your Site

Rather than posting links here and there, try to get backlinks from sites similar to your niche.

Linking the site’s relevance also matters a lot when it comes to link quality.

Let’s say you have a site on the pet niche. There is no sense to make a backlink from a site that only posts about bicycles. These two niches are nowhere related to each other. So links like this do not have a great impact on your backlink profile.

That’s why all backlinks are not the same. So try to build links from similar sites in your niche.

4. Link Anchor Text

Anchor text is the text that is a clickable section of a link.

Let’s say someone gives a backlink to you with the text “dog trainer”. So Google will think that the page is about dog trainers and treat according to this.

Keyword-rich anchor text is not good for SEO always. So “Anchor text diversity” is there.

So when you are out for creating backlinks, take care of the anchor text.

5. No-Follow vs Do-Follow

Nofollow and do-follow are two link attributes of hyperlink. All the outbound links are do-follow by default. No need to add a do-follow attribute on a link. Nofollow link contains rel=”no follow” tag.

 Example:

<a href="https://example.com">This is a dofollow link example</a>
 <a href=https://example.com rel="nofollow">This is a nofollow link example</a> 

Dofollow links are always good for SEO. But the natural backlink profile of a site is a mixture of dofollow and “nofollow” links.

Google recently changed the way it has been treating the no-follow link. Now Google uses it as a hint. If you get a quality do-follow backlink then it’s time to celebrate.

Conclusion

So these are some of the things you need to know about link building. This is not rocket science. It takes time to get results. You need to keep it up. The above strategies work for all websites. Now its time to execute it.

Bibhu Prasad Bal is a content writer at BloggingForge and a tech-savvy guy. In spare time you will find him watching Ancient Aliens and exploring the web. Contact - bibhu@bloggingforge.com

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