The Importance of Link Building in SEO



Link building refers to the strategic acquisition of editorial backlinks from external sites to amplify a website’s search visibility and site authority. Prioritizing quality over quantity, these credibility-lending links remain one of the most effective methods for elevating SEO rankings, traffic, brand awareness and, ultimately, conversions.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for driving organic traffic to your website. And an important ranking factor in SEO is backlinks – links from other sites pointing back to pages on your site. Simply put, link building is the process of acquiring backlinks to improve your site’s search engine rankings.

In this article, you’ll learn what links are, what link building involves, different types of link building, why it’s important for SEO, and tips for doing effective link building. Let’s get started!

What Are Links?

When you browse websites, you likely click links regularly to navigate between web pages and sites without giving them much thought. However, within a website’s code, these links have a more complex anatomy.

A link has four main components:

  • Anchor Tag: The clickable text that users see that links to another page. This text tells users what the link is about or where it goes.
  • Link Referral Location: The URL or web address that the anchor text links to. This is the destination users go to when clicking the link.
  • Anchor Text: The words in the clickable anchor tag. This text describes or indicates where the link goes.
  • Closure Tag: The HTML markup that closes and completes the link, such as </a>.

High quality links not only help site users but also search engine bots crawling pages to inform search rankings. Carefully choosing descriptive anchor text and linking to authority domains boosts SEO.

What Is Link Building?

When other sites link back to your website pages, they generate backlinks. Link building refers to the active pursuit and acquisition of backlinks through various tactics.

As you build authority links, they start producing SEO value and traffic. Google’s search engine algorithms assign more weight and ranking boosts to sites with more quality backlinks from trustworthy external sites. This lends credibility, signals expertise in your content topics, and shows that influential sites find your pages useful to reference and link to.

By devoting effort to link building, you can steadily improve search engine rankings, grow organic visibility, and amplify your site’s authority over time. A small investment compounds into significant returns.

What Are the Types of SEO Link Building?

There are two main types of backlinks to build for SEO:

  • Internal Links: Links within your own website pointing from one page to another. These helps search bots crawl your site and pass authority between pages.
  • External Links: Backlinks from outside domains pointing back to your site. These lend credibility by showing other sites find your content valuable for their audience.

Building internal links between site pages and external links from industry publications or partners boosts search performance.

Why Is Link Building Important For SEO?

There are five key reasons why actively building quality backlinks should be a priority in your SEO strategy:

1. Links Are Used to Rank Your Site

Google’s search algorithm uses links as votes to assess page authority and relevance to determine higher rankings. Pages earning more backlinks signal greater expertise on topics. As you build links, search bots crawl them to inform where your site should rank for related keyword searches.

2. Link Building Helps Improve Site Metrics

Effective link building campaigns that earn authoritative links should subsequently drive more referral visitors to your site. As traffic grows, important metrics like lower bounce rates and longer time on site should improve as well.

3. Link Building Boosts Your Sales Opportunities

Higher organic traffic numbers and more interested, engaged visitors translate into more chances to convert them into customers. Quality links have a cascading impact, ultimately uplifting business metrics like lead generation and sales.

4. Link Building Makes You an Authoritative Brand

The more sites linking back to your content, the more it elevates your overall domain authority in search engines. High numbers of reputable sites referencing your pages cement your brand as an authoritative voice that industry leaders endorse.

5. Link Building Increases Visibility and Exposure of Your Site

Each new quality backlink taps into an extended network of readers and influencers, compounding the visibility gains. The aggregate exposure makes your brand more discoverable to untapped audiences.

How To Do Link Building For SEO

Here are five tips to build high-value SEO links:

    1. Guest Posting

      Guest posting refers to creating and publishing articles on other reputable sites in your industry to earn backlinks. As a link building strategy, it can generate significant SEO gains if done correctly.

      • Thoroughly research websites and blogs accepting contributor submissions in your industry. Prioritize ones aligning with your target topics, brand values, and audience demographics.
      • Pitch well-targeted ideas that provide educational value versus overly promotional guest posts that will likely get rejected.
      • If accepted to contribute content, ensure you receive an author bio section or links within the post to reference your site/services. This allows readers to click back to your website.
      • Craft a compelling headline that convinces readers the post will teach them something useful. Support it with insightful commentary and data.
      • Strategically link from the guest post content to internal pages on your own site. For example, linking key terminology to relevant glossaries or resource pages.
      • Include useful resources or recommendations of other high-quality sites. This demonstrates your guest post aims to add value for readers versus mainly self-promotion.

      For example, an electronics blog landing a guest article on CNET or Electronics Weekly linking back to product reviews or homepage drives more visibility and search authority. Securing recurring contributor positions multiplies the ongoing value over a single post.

    2. Creating Forums and Blogging

      Actively participating in forums and blog comments related to your industry is another link building approach generating referral traffic while getting links. Here are some top tips for building quality backlinks through forums, communities and blog commenting:

      • Start by identifying popular forums and blogs in your industry with an engaged audience that overlaps with your target demographics. Prioritize ones with high domain authority.
      • Spend some time reading and understanding the community before participating to properly grasp the tone, values and discussion norms.
      • Engage in discussions where you can add thoughtful expertise without being promotional. Build credibility first before dropping any links.
      • Pay attention to the forum or blog commenting policies on self-promotion and links. Some prohibit links entirely. Others manually approve based on reputation.
      • Your anchor text links in forum profiles/signatures or blog comments should use relevant keywords but don’t over-optimize with exact match commercial terms.
      • Embed contextual text links to related blog posts or resources naturally in the commentary rather than shoehorning in links.
      • Comment consistently over a sustained period to become a recognized community member before expecting moderator link approval.

      For example, a home services agency can link back to a ‘Tips for Maintaining Plumbing’ article in comments on homeowner forums around related discussions.

      Moderated forums often allow profiles with website fields to add links as well. Just ensure site links discuss add value versus blatant ads. Consistent, sustained discussion participation builds community recognition and prompts moderators to approve your links.

      The same concept applies to blog commentary on industry publications. Share lessons learned from your experiences in comments while linking for context. Blog owners generally allow links in discussion.

    3. Reciprocal Link Building

      Reciprocal link building involves exchanging backlinks with another site to mutually benefit one another. Here are some top tips for doing effective reciprocal link building:

      • Identify complementary sites serving a similar audience to yours to propose mutually beneficial partnerships.
      • Vet sites thoroughly before reaching out – assess their domain authority metrics, traffic numbers, content quality etc. to ensure value.
      • Target sites with an engaged, relevant audience that would genuinely benefit your own visitors rather than irrelevant sites or spammy low-quality domains.
      • Be transparent when proposing a reciprocal link exchange to build trust. Explain why each site’s audience would find value in the other’s content being linked to.
      • Suggest specific contextual page themes for placing links rather than blanket homepage links that appear artificial. The goal is editorially relevant links users appreciate.
      • Offer to link to their evergreen, most link-worthy content rather than over-optimizing to boost a specific underperforming page on their side.
      • Place the reciprocal links naturally within your content so they appear editorially relevant to readers versus forced.
      • Evaluate results over time and switch up page themes if certain reciprocal links don’t drive much referral traffic to merit the ongoing placement.

      For example, a marketing agency can propose adding each other’s links to their respective lists of top analytics tools. The additional link and referral traffic boosts both sites.

      Vet sites first to avoid poor-quality links from spam sites. Focus on relevant sites your audience would genuinely benefit from. Be transparent when proposing a reciprocal link exchange.

      Also, outline the page themes for placing contextual links and why each site’s audience would value the referral traffic. High-quality reciprocal links where both sites offer value to visitors can positively impact SEO.

    4. Creating Infographics

      Infographics visually simplify complex data or processes through graphs, charts, illustrations. As shareable link bait, sites readily embed them with attribution links. Here are some top tips for creating high-quality infographics that can generate valuable backlinks:

      • Identify interesting datasets and statistics in your niche that lend themselves to compelling visualizations. Simple comparisons and stats that surprise usually have the most impact potential. Catchy numbers help.
      • Prioritize data and research that communicates key insights people will want to share within your target audience and relevant verticals. Surprising, counterintuitive, or novel info has the highest viral potential.
      • Distill data points into the most essential, eye-catching graphs, charts, icons and minimal text to convey the information clearly and simply. Less complex is better for comprehension and sharing.
      • Maintain visual consistency and explore different layouts informed by the data story. Leverage visual hierarchy and contrast to highlight key points. Use color judiciously.
      • Publish infographics with your site name/logo, contact details and a link back, either embedded or in the attribution footnote for the easiest embedding.
      • Enable sharing capabilities and distribution across social networks, link aggregators and asset libraries like Pinterest and Slideshare to amplify exposure opportunities.
      • Promote new infographics on your blog, newsletter and social accounts, sharing why audiences will find it interesting or educational. Community building expands organic reach.

      For example, an HR technology company can design an infographic on remote worker statistics and trends. HR industry publications often embed such assets linking back to thought leadership content pages on the site.

      Infographics lend well to content amplification on social media. As audiences share them across platforms like Pinterest and Facebook, embedded links drive referral traffic while gaining more exposure for your brand. The visual nature makes infographics popular linkable assets.

    5. Adding Links from High-Authority Sites

      Earning links from industry-leading high-authority sites is a monumental vote of endorsement conferring immense SEO gains. But securing them requires producing truly exceptional, bookmarkable content worth referencing.

      • Thoroughly research the top media publications, portals, hubs, and influencers in your industry. Identify ones where your target audience actively engages.
      • Understand their editorial guidelines and preferred formats (e.g. contributor stories vs press releases) as well as link building policies.
      • Pitch well-targeted ideas aligned to their content pillars and audience interests. Don’t blanket spray irreverent pitches.
      • Recognize getting links directly on highly reputable sites has immense competition. It is often better to land links on niche industry resources they feature or reference.
      • Produce genuinely useful standout assets – eBooks, datasets, analyses – for their audience unavailable elsewhere to incentivize referencing your brand as the source.
      • Promote any brand mentions, references or links gained on social media to amplify visibility. But don’t over optimize anchor text – vary terminology.
      • Evaluate if certain site links drive higher exit traffic and conversions to inform future content development and link outreach.
      • Getting one tier-one authoritative site to link can often prompt others to follow suit in covering your brand. But quality over quantity remains key.

      For example, an HR consultancy can produce an original salary guide report for niche job roles. Positioned appropriately to leading industry HR sites, an exclusive asset earns backlinks while establishing thought leadership.

      Links from widely read sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, or industry-specific portals have exponentially higher SEO value than everyday sites. But focusing solely on tier-one giants is unnecessary. Simply getting links from any site more authoritative than yours boosts credibility. Compounding those incremental wins is how brands build a strong backlink profile.

Final Thoughts

Link building may be challenging and time-consuming, but it remains one of the highest-impact tactics for improving organic search performance. By actively pursuing quality backlink opportunities, you can enhance your SEO rankings, site metrics, brand authority, visibility, and customer conversion opportunities. Consistent effort over time compounds the link building benefits.

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