Link building is one of the most important disciplines in search engine optimization (SEO). It’s completely unavoidable if you want to be successful with your SEO work as search engines has a huge focus here.
However, there is a big difference between good and bad link building. Therefore, we give you the guidelines to follow if you want success with your strategy.
What is link building?
Link building is a discipline where you purposefully go after building authority on your website with links from other websites. This is also what is called backlinks.
In this context, people often talk about building links. When we write “build links”, it means completely impractical to convince websites to link to one’s website with the goal of higher rankings. It is absolutely fundamental in order to achieve great SEO results.
With this, link building is based on the idea of what I would call the “virtual” like. In other words; a way in which others will recommend your content above others. Therefore, link building is based on great content.
Like everything in the world, we as consumers are more likely to choose a product or service, the more credible sources that recommend it. The same applies in the SEO landscape.
The more authoritative and relevant sites that links to your services, the higher search engines like Google will agree to rank your company’s website – and as you know, this is the way to digital growth in 2021.
Internal link building
Once you have created authority on your website, it is important that you also have a good internal link structure. This is because it is important to link internally to the most important pages that you want your users to find.
This will make it easier for search engines like Google to understand how the ‘landscape’ of the content is related. This is also called internal link building.
Where can a link come from?
A link may come from a media outlet that has written something about a topic where they use material from your site. It could be a study, a guide or something completely third. In this context, they can link to you as a source reference.
It could also be a product review, where you could again link to the product on your website or a direct recommendation.
The goal, of course, is for potential customers to go through the link and end up on your particular page. The stronger the link, the more value it gives in Google rankings – what a strong link is, I will come back to.
So it is this process that many go through when doing link building, and it can then eventually be summed up in various indices.
At Bonzer, we work in various SEO tools that use “DR”, which stands for Domain Rating. This is not a Google metric, but it is still based on Google’s guidelines for the value of a link.
Domain Rating is one of the numbers we use (unit of measurement) when we need to measure how strong and credible a domain is. It goes from 1-100, where 100 is the highest value (the most authoritative page you can get a link from based on the number and strength of the links that point to the page).
Development in “Referring domains”
Below you see a development of referring domains (linking domains) for a given page. This is an expression for all domains that link to a given page:
Back when link building did not matter
Let’s take it back a bit, to the time when link building did not matter and rankings were based solely on content.
That was when Yahoo was bigger than Google (yes, that’s hard to imagine). Through the 90’s, a lot of new search engines started to appear, and despite the fact that they were all revolutionary, they still indexed only on content, and not in the same way as Google does today.
PageRank joins the landscape
Google significantly revolutionizes the search engine industry when they come up with PageRank, which is part of the larger Rank Brain, which uses Machine Learning to decide how to rank the various search results.
PageRank thus creates the discipline of link building in a way.
You can (perhaps) in the picture below get an overview of how it is screwed together. If not here’s a new product just for you!
What is fun to show as an example is the circle “C” in the image above. Try to notice how big it is compared to “E”, which has many more links. It is about 4 times larger, and has only 1 link. This is because the one link it has comes from “B”, which is extremely strong, and only links to one other page, ie “C”.
What I am trying to come up with is that it is no longer the quantity of links that is important, but it is the quality, and that is how it has been for some time.
Marketers and website owners are just as quietly beginning to understand how this is related, and those who were quick to crack the code and create a strong domain could really generate a lot of traffic to their site.
That is certainly still the case today. We still find that very few understand how it all comes together and how to best create synergy between the many different elements.
Google Penguin Increases Relevance
Now that PageRank is in place, of course, you started to see a lot of positive changes in search results, but there was still an overall problem.
There were still many websites that “cheated” themselves to good rankings by getting links from large generic pages that had no relevance to the given page, or that were paid links.
So as a webshop that sells clothes, you could get a link from a major car manufacturer, and it made no difference. That all changed when Google Penguin was introduced. Google Penguin’s most important task is to look at the relevance of the links you build. So not only do your links need to be strong, they also need to be highly relevant.
A good example could be a webshop that sells high-end clothes for men, and this webshop is suddenly featured in Euroman with a link through good outreach. It is a super strong link with huge relevance.
You can see Asos’s link profile and DR in the image below.
We usually say that a good backlink in article form has a DR of min. 20. 67 is therefore super good, and it is the type of link that will really give your webshop a boost.
Bad link building
Just before I get to what good link building is, it’s important to clarify all the bad link building tactics that, over time and to this day, still try to cheat Google’s algorithm – thankfully Google is getting smarter and smarter, which is why they “smart Tricks become less valuable.
Although there is no official reference work with bad links, I will still try to come up with a list that, through experience and announcements from Google, still forms an image.
Links from unknown pages with no traffic
Links from pages with no visitors almost give themselves – if no one sees the link, there are not many to click on it. There is typically also a fairly large correlation between low traffic and weak link structure. So pages with low Domain Rating and URL Rating, which is why there is not much link juice to continue.
Links from sites that are untrustworthy, you should not want to build your link structure around. Again, one can put context to reviews – if a source is unreliable a good review is not worth much. It can e.g. be pages from insecure pages that are an “http” (secure pages are “https”).
Unbelievable links I would also choose to call purchased links. This is because if one company can buy into a link, then any other company can do the same, and then the idea of mentioning and linking to relevant content is a bit lost.
Links without relevance
If the link has no relevance and is completely out of context, it is also without value. This could be if a clothing store gets a link from a car dealer without the big deal. It might provide value in the old days, but in 2021 it will logically not carry on very much value as it has nothing to do with each other.
Good link building: “The Triangle of Link building”
Many have tried to find the perfect model for link building in continuation of PageRank and the relevance behind links. For anyone with a knowledge of SEO knows that without the strong link building, one’s page will not get far.
That’s why we introduce the term “The Triangle of Link building” – to set it up in a homemade structure. This is the structure that you should follow if you want to constantly provide the absolute strongest links that help your site rank in the right places – while avoiding the costly penalties from Google.
Good link building consists of links such as:
- Comes from sites with high domain authority (Domain Rating)
- Comes from a credible site
- Comes in a relevant context
1. Links from sites with high domain authority (Domain Rating)
The higher the domain authority (also the same I refer to as Domain Rating), the more value there is to carry on. This is because Domain Rating is based on the strength of links. So in order to pass link juice on, it requires something to give.
2. Links from trustworthy sites
Links that come from trustworthy sites can be any site that 1) is secure and 2) is respected for the content they bring. They can e.g. be respected news media or the like. One can also look at it in a different way; the harder it is to get a link from the page, the more credible it is when you finally get a link.
3. Links that come in a relevant context
The last part of the link building triangle is relevant links. When you get a link, you want it to come in a relevant context, where it will also make sense to get publicity. If a blogger writes about summer fashion, it will make very good sense to link to summer dresses – hence a relevant context.
Summary of “The Triangle of Link building”
Your link building strategy meets the three golden points; high domain authority, credibility and relevance, you will always be ahead of your competitors – or to put it another way; you will never be behind as your link structure will build on natural links.
See it this way – would you rather have 10 good reviews of your business from anonymous sites without traffic? Or would you rather have a good review from Politiken or Berlingske? Yes, the answer probably gives a little itself. And that’s exactly how Google thinks – what is logical thinking is also the way Google views your digital profile.
So to check the value of a link you should ask yourself the question: “Would I want this link if Google did not exist?“
How do I get started with Link building?
As it may appear above, there is a lot of knowledge that one must possess before going out and doing link building. Unfortunately, this is not something you just read about for 10 minutes, and then you can otherwise just get started.
Firstly, it requires a lot of knowledge, but secondly, it also requires a strong network or a back catalog of good links. If you know someone who has a news outlet that writes about something within your niche, then it is obvious to give them a call, but it is often limited how many of these relationships one has. Therefore, good outreach is essential, as good link building is basically about PR.
If you want to do your own link building, then you can b.la. start with outreach. When you do outreach, you go out and contact a lot of different people and companies who have a page, a blog or something third that you would like to have linked to your page based on your content on the page.
Outreach can bla. consist of guest posts. Ie. that you offer a page that is within your niche to write a post on their blog that can give them traffic, in exchange for you getting a link from their page to your own.
It can also consist of adding a link in the form of a source reference to you based on relevant content. It can e.g. be a company that has written an article on Online marketing and they in this article mention link building. Then I can reach out to them and mention that I have written this article if they want to use it as a reference to their readers to learn more about the subject.
There are many ways to do this, but it is not easy.
You can also choose to outsource your link building to an agency such as Bonzer. We have a very large network, which we work every day to expand through our passion for outreach.
So that means you often end up going out and investing 50-100 hours in something that you could have paid a few thousand for?
In any case, we often see that you end up with a large sacrifice cost by starting from scratch yourself, rather than focusing on what you are best at, and outsourcing something as difficult as good link building. One must at least make sure to take the easy link options that everyone can provide.
What is the price of good Link building?
It’s a bit like asking “how much does a car cost?”. How strong a domain do you want to achieve, and what industry are you in?
We therefore always tend to talk about a given company’s needs prior to pricing.
Otherwise, I hope it has made some sense all along, and if nothing else, that you have learned a little bit.
Can I buy links?
At Bonzer, we are often asked this question; Can I buy links online? And the answer is twofold. You should not buy links from websites that sell links. These are typically PBN links (Private Blog Network), which are based on pages set up in the world to link back and forth to each other.
This is directly against Google’s guidelines, as it is considered a manipulation of Google’s algorithm. Something that Google often focuses on in its webmaster guides.
As I mentioned above, Google has implemented a number of algorithm changes that make quantity not the solution – always think quality over quantity. On the contrary, Google can see the relevance of your links, and the strength of the domains from which you link.
Not only do you not get any value out of these links, you will actually damage your domain and potentially end up losing large portions of your traffic.
Okay, so I can not buy links, right?
You can technically buy links, but it must be in the form of sponsored articles – however, this is not good link building, as it is direct payment for a link. It is also seen in several places that people buy links directly, without it being stated as “sponsored content”. On the other hand, this is illegal, cf. the Marketing Act.
You can also buy services from an SEO agency that, through outreach, provides strong and natural links – links that can really make you rise in Google rankings. Links based on outreach are based on natural relevance.
Linkbuilding is one of our standard services at Bonzer, which means that we lift our customers’ domains with organic strategies, and we always follow the latest guidelines from Google.
How natural link building results affect
Below you can see an example of a domain that has built a good DR with organic link building.
Unlike many other sites, New Nordic in the example below has “only” 100 referring domains, and that is more than enough to get a super strong domain.
The increase in DR has resulted in a subsequent major increase in organic traffic.
To highlight another example, in the example below we can also see a clear correlation in the development of links over a month compared to the development in organic traffic for Artland.com:
As can be seen above, Artland took a big jump in rankings in pace with the development of new links. Although one can never be 100% sure of Google’s algorithm, experience shows that relevant and natural links from authoritarian sites can move mountains in the search engines.
You can read our Case about Artland here and see which links helped push Artland’s growth into the air.
conclusion is that link building will continue to be one of the most difficult disciplines within SEO, and it is unfortunately not something you just do in a few days.
It requires resources, time, and networking.
In our optics, the cheapest solution is to ally with someone who is in control of it, and due to economies of scale, it actually often ends up being cheaper to outsource link building.
What is link building?
Link building is a discipline within search engine optimization (SEO), which is based on creating authority for websites via links. A link is seen as a ‘recommendation’ of content, which search engines like Google use in their search results considerations.
How do I get links?
You get strong links by continuously producing quality content. In addition, content must be promoted by outreach, so you ensure the desired channels watch it. This is because it will increase the likelihood that other sites will see the content – and hopefully will link to it.