Link Building: Definition, Importance, Qualities, & Ideas

Wondering if link building is still relevant in SEO? Out of the 200 ranking factors in the Google algorithm, link building is counted as one of the top 8 factors. This fact itself proves how vital link building is for your website. Now you must be wondering what makes link building so valuable for SEO. Let me explain. When a website links back to your site, it signals to Google that your content is valuable. This signal acts as a vote of confidence for your site from the other site. Google takes these votes very seriously when it comes to determining the relevance of a website. So having some high-quality backlinks for your site can make it easier for you to impress Google and secure a top rank in search results. But what exactly is link building? In this article, we'll tell you what it is, why it's important, and how to build quality backlinks for your website. So let's get started.
Link building is an important off-page SEO technique in which you acquire links for your site from other websites to improve your search rankings. In SEO, these links are generally called backlinks. Other sites will link their content to yours when they find it relevant and valuable for their readers. So when you have more backlinks from high-quality sources, search engines consider your website content valuable, too.
Google loves high-quality and valuable content that satisfies the users' search intent. That's why it prefers to rank sites with such content higher in search results. However, it's essential to know that not all backlinks will add equal value to your website. For example, getting a backlink from a publication like Forbes will add much more value to your site than a backlink from a newly built website. But the question is, how do you differentiate high-quality links from low-quality ones? How do you know what makes a quality backlink?
As mentioned above, not all backlinks are treated equally by Google. In the eyes of SEO experts, there are 2 types of backlinks.
  1. High-quality
  2. Low quality
High-quality backlinks are super relevant for users and can naturally send visitors to your websites from reputable sources. By reputable sources, I generally mean high domain authority websites that are trusted both by search engines and by searchers on the web. While Google does not take domain authority into ranking consideration, SEO experts speculate that such links pass the most value to your site. Low-quality links are irrelevant in helping search engines determine your site's authority and are harmful to your site. So make sure to avoid such links at all costs. Google considers these links as web spam created in a fake way to manipulate the system. So how do you determine the quality of your backlinks? The best way to know that is to consider a few important factors. Let's take a quick look at them.

1. Page Authority

One of the first things to look at when working on your link-building campaign is the Page Authority (PA) of the website from which you want the backlink. PA is the score that determines how well a specific page will rank on SERPs. This score can range from 1 to 100. The higher this score is, the better the website authority will be. A backlink from a high PA website is usually considered to be a high-quality link. Various tools help you identify the PA of a website. Small SEO Tools are one of them. You can use it to know the authority of a specific site. Just enter the URL of the page and click on the “Check page Authority” button. It'll show you the results in just a few seconds. Anything above 50 is considered to be a good score.

2. Domain Authority

Another significant factor to consider for your link-building strategy is the Domain Authority (DA) of the website linking back to your site. If you're unsure how the DA differs from the PA of the site, here's the difference. While PA is the ranking strength of a single page, DA is the ranking strength of the entire domain or subdomain. The metrics are, however, calculated using the same methodology, so in many ways, they're more alike than they are different. So what is a good domain score? Here's what MonsterInsights has to say -
  • Below 30 is poor
  • 30 to 40 is below average
  • 40 to 50 is average
  • 50 to 60 is good
  • 60 to 70 is very good
  • Above 80 is excellent
You can check the DA of a website with Moz.

3. Site Relevancy

The next important factor to consider when working on your link-building campaign is the relevance of the website. Just like search engines review the PA and DA of the website, it also focuses on the relevance of the site that's linking back to your site. According to Backlinko, Google considers a site relevant if its content closely resembles your site's content. For example, if you have a fitness site, and the backlink comes from a marketing site, then Google may not consider it a relevant link. So try to keep websites from your niche in mind when working on your link-building campaign.

4. Link Position

You may not consider the position of your link to be important. But your link position can also impact your search results. Google considers the first link on a specific page more valuable than the others. Also, the value of your links decreases if there are a lot of links on the same page. The fewer links the page has, the more valuable your link will be. So always consider the placement of your backlink too.

5. Editorially Placed

Editorially placed links are links that come to you naturally without asking for them. These links add value to your website because they are created to enhance the user experience on the site that links back to your site. These links are created because they find your content valuable and cite you as a source to back up their content. Getting such links can become much easier if you consistently create valuable content for your users.

6. Link Anchor Text

Anchor text is the highlighted text in a webpage, and clicking on it will redirect you to another webpage. These are the texts in which you add your links. Source In determining the quality of your backlinks, Google checks the anchor text too. Using proper anchor text makes the link more helpful and relevant for the user. So Google may assign more value to your links if the website that links to your site uses relevant anchor texts that closely resemble the content on your site.

7. Co-occurrences

According to Semrush, co-occurrence refers to the frequency and proximity of keywords appearing on a website and the relationship between them. Co-occurrences are one of the major ranking factors that shouldn't be ignored when working on your link-building strategy.

8. Dofollow

If you're a content marketer, it helps to be familiar with the terms dofollow and nofollow. When you link to an external website with a dofollow link, search engines consider that as a ranking signal, and they will pass a small portion of your authority (link juice) to the other website. According to Joshua Hardwick, nofollow links do not influence the search engine rankings of the destination URL because Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across them. In fact, Google doesn’t use links marked nofollow as a signal for its search algorithms. So although a nofollow backlink will take a user from another site to yours, it won't help your site's ranking. Some SEO experts believe that making external links nofollow can help their website rank higher. So they change the default dofollow link to nofollow. Always make sure to get a dofollow link whenever you're getting a backlink to your website. You can easily check if your backlink is a dofollow link or not. Just right-click on the link and select “Inspect.” Here you'll be able to see the link's HTML source code and the nofollow attribute. If it's a nofollow link, make sure to reach out to the website and request a dofollow link. Sometimes, we also backlink to what we determine are the most important pages on our site from all of our new posts. Many of the pages that get linked to all the time are now some of our highest viewed and best converting on the entire website. This method of linking is called internal linking. Internal linking is supposed to help search engines cruise around your site. If you have used this tactic on your website before, make sure that your links are dofollow links. That way, you help Google navigate through your site more easily. Now that you know how to determine the quality of your backlinks, let's move on to the next section and see how to generate organic backlinks for your site.
If you're unsure how to generate organic backlinks for your site, try the following techniques.

1. Publish Original Reference-Worthy Images

One of the most effective ways to attract organic backlinks to your website is to publish original reference-worthy images like the one below. Source Your image can be infographics, animated graphics, screenshots, hand-drawn images, or anything that can add value to your users. When other bloggers and marketers find your images helpful, they will want to embed them and link to your page as the source of the original information. You don't have to be a designer to create high-quality graphics for your site. Tools like Canva have made designing easy even for non-designers.

2. Publish Original Research & Proprietary Datasets

Another brilliant way to attract organic backlinks to your website is to publish original research and proprietary datasets. We publish a ton of them in OptinMonster, and the results are impressive. All good content marketers know the importance of well-researched and detailed content backed by research, facts, and case studies. By publishing original research and proprietary datasets on your website, you can encourage bloggers, content creators, and other publishers to include your research within their content and subsequently cite your page as the source of information.

3. Publish Ultimate Guides

Publishing ultimate guides can be another very effective way of generating organic backlinks for your website. It might be challenging to produce such guides, but they can help you get backlinks, generate traffic, and increase your website's authority. Also, when you publish a valuable ultimate guide, writers will cite your guide as the best authoritative source for relevant topics they create.
As mentioned before, building high-quality backlinks that add value to your website takes time and a lot of hard work. So instead of building them from scratch, many marketers strategically work on influencing backlinks for their website for faster results. But how do you do that? Let's find out.

1. Add Value To Existing Content

Imagine you want to be discovered for a keyword like "marketing tools." But Google already surfaces 2+ million results for that term. While you may publish a piece of content to rank for that term yourself, you may be well-served to get those existing pieces to list your "marketing tools" in their content with strategic links. All you have to do is to search the related keyword through which you would like your audience to discover your brand. Now look for the best-ranking post on Google and note the author of the post you want the backlink from. Next, use an email scraper tool like BuzzStream to find the author. You can even use LinkedIn to find the person most likely to be responsible for the content. Now draft a personalized email offering to add value to the existing content. Here's what you can say - Hi ABC, I just came across your post 'X Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools for Every Business' and found it super helpful. I am reaching out to you today to see if you would like to add our product (XYZ) to your list. You can check our tool here (link to the tool). It's a powerful drag-and-drop builder that allows you to create visually stunning opt-in forms for your website. So far, our tool has helped 200K businesses boost their conversions. And I am sure your users will benefit from it too. We would love your feedback on our tool and want to see if you could include it in your post. In exchange, we would share your post via our social media accounts to maximize exposure and referral traffic back to your site. Please let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. :) Regards, (Your Name & Designation)

2. Become A Podcast Guest

Being a podcast guest can be an excellent idea for influencing a backlink and gaining exposure for some easy referral traffic for your site. Just like blog posts, there may be existing podcasts in your niche. Many podcasts publish complementary blog posts and may be willing to link to your domain. Keep an eye on such podcast channels. Once you find them, you need to find the host's email address just like you did in the above point. Then pitch yourself as an authority on a topic that would be of interest to the podcast's audience in a new episode featuring you. If the hosts like your idea, they will definitely reach out to you. Here’s an example for inspiration. Source

3. Help Websites Fix Broken Links

You must have come across sites with outdated content and broken links. Such content can offer a wonderful opportunity to influence backlinks for your website. But for that, you first need to identify the website from which you'd like a link. Then use a tool like Ahrefs Broken Link Checker to identify any broken links for that website. When you find a broken link, determine a related source on your own site that is up to date. Now find the website administrator using the process from the first idea. Then email the site owner to let them know of a broken link and how your source is the best option to fix the issue. Creating a strong backlink profile can be challenging, but it's not rocket science. You can easily generate a strong backlink profile with the right strategy and supercharge your SEO strategy. So what are you waiting for? Get started now.
About the Author

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry.