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What is link building in SEO? A-Z guide and strategies that work in 2023

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Published by Abhishek Raj

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Link building has always been an important part of Search Engine Optimization. The quality of your website’s backlink profile determines how well it performs on Google in the long run. Today, optimizing your website for search engines requires a thoughtful and strategic approach to link building that focuses on relevant, high-value links from trustworthy sites. In this blog post today, I will explain the importance of link building in SEO, why it’s so important for your business right now, and how you can optimize your site for links. You will also discover some time-tested link building strategies that have worked in the past and will continue to work in 2023.

As a business owner, you’d want your business website to have maximum online visibility. This is possible when the website is ranking on the first page of Google SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Positions) for the keywords you’re targeting. Link building, as a part of off-page SEO techniques helps you build up the authority of your website along with valuable content.

Nevertheless, it’s a perpetual process and there will be setbacks along the journey. But it’ll be worth it after all. I’m going to discuss the nitty-gritty of link building, different link building techniques, and outreach link building in this article. Let’s dive right in.

What is Link building?

Simply put, link building is the process of acquiring links back to pages of your website from other relevant pages out there on the web. What does it do after all? Let’s understand it with an analogy.

Suppose you’re a politician and partaking in an election. The person who gets the highest number of votes wins the election.

Your business website is a candidate and other candidates are your business competitors. Links you get from other websites on the internet are equivalent to trust votes. The more votes you get, the more the credibility of your domain increases.

link building in SEO - illustrative example

But there is a catch. In the case of websites, not all links (votes) are equal. Meaning, that a backlink (link back to your website) from a website with high authority is strikingly better than a website that is comparatively new and has less authority.

This also means that if your business website gets backlinks from some spammy websites, it will negatively affect your website’s reputation. This is how link building works in general. This raises another question: what is authority and how can one measure it?

Well, it’s quantifiable. Many SEO software tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, Ubersuggest, Buzzsumo, etc. offer metrics called Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), Domain Rating (DR), or URL Rating (UR). They use complex mathematical formulae to calculate these metrics based on the link building profile and other SEO factors.

The scales are mostly logarithmic that measure the authority on a scale from 1 to 100. Nonetheless, different tools have different approaches to calculating the authority of websites, so you can compare the metrics of two websites using the same tool.

Why is it so important to build links to your website?

  • Boosts your website’s organic search rankings in search engines. This means better online visibility
  • Brings free referral traffic to your linked web pages
  • Organic and referral traffic is targeted. It converts well and translates into more sales and revenue.
  • Establishes you as an expert in your respective niche

Shouldn’t link building be an organic process?

Ideally, if your business website is putting actionable, helpful content out there and provides excellent services and products, netizens would happily link to your page and talk about you. That way, you’ll be able to organically acquire good backlinks.

And in reality, some websites (with high authority) also get organic backlinks. On the flip side, when it comes to new businesses and websites, they have to invest their resources to do outreach link building in order to achieve their marketing goals.

Even top dogs in the market, despite having high authority, do not entirely rely on organic backlinks. In fact, they have more money, expertise, and resources that they could spend on making link building more scalable.

This means that whether your business is trying to make an online presence more effective, you should consider link building. You can hire experienced resources who will carry out different link building techniques. Or you can get help from link building services to get it done for you.

Time tested link building strategies that still work in 2023

Let’s now discuss some of the popular and time-tested link building techniques that work effectively.

1.) Outreach link building

All the link building techniques revolve around outreaching. Generally speaking, you are supposed to reach out to people in your niche to introduce yourself. In a broader aspect, introducing yourself includes introducing your content, services, products, or even just personality.

As the name suggests, link outreach is outreach done for link building purposes. However, outreach is not limited to only link building. A business website may outreach to warm their leads, promote their products, for branding, or to send newsletters too.

All in all, we will be focusing on outreach done for link building here.

Below are some ways in which you can do outreach:

  1. Email outreach
  2. Press outreach
  3. Social outreach
  4. Influencer outreach

Outreach done for link building aims at informing the targeted people about your product, services, or content and acquiring backlinks. However, as mentioned earlier in the article, all link building tactics revolve around outreach. So, it’s quite diverse pertaining to different link building techniques. The following are the different types of link outreach techniques:

Email outreach

People send and receive 300 billion emails every day worldwide. Being such a powerful tool for communication, you won’t want to miss out on leveraging emails as your weapon for achieving your marketing and outreaching goals.

You can send personalized emails using different mass email campaigning tools. That way, it gets quite easy for you to send emails at scale. What’s more? You can set up reminders and auto follow-ups to make the entire procedure more convenient.

Once you craft your best outreach email template, you can use it to send that email to multiple people at a go. But you should not randomly reach out to people. Do proper prospecting and then outreach. Here’s a guide for you to do email outreach link building the right way.

Press outreach

This sort of outreach is related to reaching out to journalists, editors, bloggers, social media influencers, and other business owners in order to partner with them for a mutual benefit. They can cross-promote brands, post content, etc. in exchange for value.

Press outreach potentially provides your business exposure to a wide range of audiences. This does not only provide you the value in terms of building authority but also increases the referral traffic to your business website.

Social media outreach

Any outreach done for different link building, marketing, or branding purposes on social media is referred to as social media outreach. Social media provides a gigantic platform that enables opportunities to interact with your customers, influencers, competitors, and other people related to your business.

You can follow experts in your niche on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram and try to interact with them and showcase your work. They may talk about it on their social media and link it from there or from their blog.

Another aspect of social media outreach is to engage with your followers by replying to comments regularly, solving their problems in the comments, DM them to promote your product or service, etc.

However, link outreach is only limited to achieving backlinks through social media outreach.

Influencer outreach

When you outreach to influencers, you’re asking them for a favor. You can genuinely ask them to review your product or services on their blog or social media with a contextual backlink. And in return, you may provide them with a free sample of your product or a free service trial. Some influencers also may charge money as paid promotion.

Influencer outreach is similar to press outreach. The only difference that makes it stand apart is you only reach out to influencers instead of editors, journalists, or business competitors.

2.) Guest blogging

This is one of the book’s most popular and oldest tricks to achieve link building goals. Guest blogging refers to writing a well-crafted article for another website in the same niche or in a relevant manner.

In return, the host website lets you promote your product or service contextually with a dofollow or nofollow backlink.

3.) Broken link building

This link building technique refers to finding articles in your niche that have broken links, publishing that content on your website, and asking them to link to your resource instead of the dead page.

While this technique might seem a lot to gain just one link, you can scale your broken link building using SEO tools.

4.) Unlinked mentions

When people in your niche talk about your product, services, or brand but do not link to you, that’s what unlinked mentions are. People mentioning you in their article means they already value your business. So, now your task is to ask them for a link politely and wisely.

Apart from that, here are some more tactics that a link building service usually offers:

  • Link reclamation
  • Steal links from inferior web pages
  • Content syndication and repurposing
  • Community site link building

What factors to take care of while doing link building for your website?

Even though your business does link building at scale, you should avoid making mistakes that may hurt your website’s ranking. Or worse yet, get penalized. Here are a few points for you to consider:

  • Always get links from credible sources
  • Disavow links from spammy websites
  • Maintain anchor text distribution
  • Don’t overlook texts surrounding your anchors

All in all, the entire process should not look unnatural. Moreover, before you start outreach link building, do an SEO audit to ensure your website is optimized for speeds and security measures.

For instance, your business website should have a DV SSL certificate. If not, Google will show a warning to your visitors that accessing your website is not safe. In addition, the host website wouldn’t want to link to such an unsafe website for their readers. Similarly, make sure that your website is responsive and optimized well for speed. Slow loading websites look unappealing to people you outreach.

How do you build backlinks to your website?

I hope that this post will help you in creating a solid link building SEO strategy. How do you build backlinks to your website? What strategies have worked well for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the author
Abhishek Raj is the founder of Budding Geek. He is an inveterate blogger with a decade of experience in the internet technology & online marketing industry. Abhishek takes pride on being featured in some of the top industry websites like Marketing Land, Social Media Today, LifeHacker & ProBlogger.