impotance of link building in SEO

The Importance of Link Building in SEO | Top Tips & Tactics

At the recent SERP Conf, Gary Illyes of Google stated, “We need very few links to rank pages…Over the years, we’ve made links less important.” That’s quite the statement to be made, but low and behold, in Google’s 2024 March Core Update, they updated their spam policies to reaffirm this comment.

Despite what Google may be saying, from our experience, search engines still tend to prioritise websites with a powerful backlink profile. So, this begs the question: What is the importance of link building in SEO as we know it?

Don’t get us wrong, the impact of links isn’t quite what it used to be. That said, it is still a crucial part of any successful SEO campaign, even in 2024.

With that in mind, this post will uncover why links from other websites are still essential and how to earn backlinks with white hat techniques.

backlinks as the final piece of the SEO puzzle

What Are Links in SEO?

Put simply, a link is a hyperlink connecting two web pages on the internet. They help make the navigation to relevant, helpful content easy and efficient, and while this is their main goal, they are far more than just that.

While internal links are great for creating a content web and showing relevance between pages, external links have another unique function. Generally speaking, external links help showcase the trustworthiness and authority of a website. This is especially the case if trusted education and large newspaper websites link to you.

That said, spammy links from untrustworthy websites can also have a negative impact on your website’s SEO. In other words, links present positives and negatives, and if done correctly, your website can soar to new heights.

Note: Link Building can also prove to be a great way to earn referral traffic, which is a fantastic lead generation opportunity.

graphic of link types in SEO

What Factors Make Quality Backlinks?

Now that you know what links are, it’s time to look at what determines if a backlink is good for your website.

The Site’s Authority

A website’s authority — also known as domain authority — helps indicate if the site you are earning links from is worthwhile. Authoritative websites tend to be trusted by other domains in the industry, as well as search engines.

If these high-quality sites link to your website, it showcases that you are trustworthy as well.

The Link’s Relevance

There’s no point in earning a link from an electrical company if you are in the travel business. Think of it this way: if you’re reading a post about things to do in Paris, and there’s a link that takes you to a plumbing company, you’ll most likely leave the site straight away, right?

In other words, always look for relevant websites. If your website is a tour agency, look for companies, bloggers, and brands associated with your niche; these make the strongest links.

backlinks and press releases

The Links Placement

Having a website with great authority that is relevant to your niche is one thing, but ensuring the link is placed correctly is yet another element to think about. Based on the patented “reasonable surfer model”, Google could consider the likelihood of a reader clicking on a link being related to its placement.

So, as a general rule of thumb, try to get your link featured before any other external link in the main body of a post or page. These generally offer the best results and can help ensure the link juice transferred to your site is higher than that of other external links on the same page.

The Anchor Text

Anchor texts are an essential aspect of any link-building process. They can help show search engines and readers how the referring page relates to the linked page. It also helps indicate what type of keywords the linked page is most likely ranking for.

It’s important the anchor texts used on your site and the ones you aim to target for your link-building campaign vary.

example of good use of anchor text

A good example of how to use anchor text

Nofollow Links, Dofollow Links, Sponsored, & UGC Attributes

The buzzwords you see in this heading are often used within our SEO vocabulary. Each of these tags can be added to a link to help the search engines understand how and why the link has been added to the page.

As such, here’s the basic rundown of what each tag means and which one to use for your link building campaigns:

  • rel=”dofollow”— These are links endorsed by the linking site, allowing search engines to crawl the linked page. They are used for link builds.
  • rel=”nofollow” — These links aren’t supported by the linking domain, ensuring search engines don’t crawl the linked page.
  • rel=”sponsored” — These state that the linking page receives money for adding the link to their site.
  • rel=”ugc” — This tag states that the link added was done so by users through things like comments sections. As such, search engines won’t crawl these pages.

Tip: During your link building campaigns, always aim to ensure your links are dofollow to ensure the link juice is passed on correctly.

The Importance of Link Building Strategies in SEO

As you can see, links will always be present in SEO, from building brand authority to improving website traffic. So, let’s take a deeper look into the benefits of building links systematically.

They Influence Your Search Engine Rankings

While Google is trying to make the search engine results pages more adaptable, your backlink profile certainly still has some effect on your rankings. The stronger your backlink profile, the better the chance of your organic traffic increasing.

Note: A strong backlink profile doesn’t mean having more backlinks than your competitors; you need quality links that reaffirm your expertise and authority.

They Can Help Improve Your Website Metrics

Many people love metrics, and if you’re looking to improve your Domain Authority (DA), Domain Rating (DR), or PageRank (PR), links are here to help. Many SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs provide these metrics to showcase your site’s SEO performance.

While these aren’t guaranteed measures of success, they can help provide direction and guidance about your site’s strengths and weaknesses.

links and sales revenue potential

They Can Help Your Website’s Visibility

Your online visibility is yet another great example of how links prove helpful. While they can help you rank higher in the SERPs, they also mean you’re reaching a wider audience. You can gain referral traffic from sources other than Google and the usual search engines.

It’s great for your business as it showcases a level of trust between the two brands.

They Can Improve Your Sales & Revenue Potential

While links are great ways to improve your website’s rankings in the search results, they can also prove to be extremely lucrative. The clicks and site visits you earn from your referring domains can result in improved sales and revenue earnings.

Top Tip: Have a look at our tips on how you can use SEO to get more direct sales on your website.

links and website visibility

SEO Link Building | Tried & Tested Ways to Build Links

Let’s have a quick look at the top link building techniques, which are most effective, and which you’re best avoiding.

1. Earning Links

This occurs when external websites link to your site naturally. It usually happens when you have beneficial information that the website uses, and they reference you with a link. These are great as they are naturally earned links and steer clear of black hat tactics.

Note: While these are great, it’s always important to do a backlink analysis through SEO Audits to ensure there are no spammy links that could harm your site.

2. Reciprocal Link Building

These are some of the most effective ways to earn high-quality backlinks. They usually occur when you and another site agree to trade links. In other words, you add a link to their site on your website, and they do the same on theirs.

In some cases, high-quality links can refer to your site without a link swap, but some form of monetary compensation will occur.

The most common ways to do this include:

  • Guest posting
  • Link inserts
  • Link swaps
  • Submission links
  • Press links

3. Forum & Add Links

These links are earned by contributing to open forums. Generally, these can be fairly easy to earn, but they aren’t as high-quality links. These can also be seen as manipulated links, as you’ll most likely be adding themself through comments and responses to queries and forum threads.

If anything, these are somewhat seen as spam links, and could actually have a negative effect on your site if done at a mass scale.

8 Best Link Building Tactics

Are you looking for a company like ours that provides link building services or looking to do the campaign yourself? No matter the case, here are our top tactics to earn valuable backlinks to your site:

8 top backlink tactics infographic1. Email Outreach — Still one of the most effective ways to earn backlinks is through email outreach. This entails contacting a targeted list of website owners who relate to your niche. Other great tools you can use in Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, but emails tend to be the most successful.

2. Broken Link Building — This process helps you identify great linking opportunities from high authority sites that are currently linking to broken links. A quick email later, and you could be getting linked to by a relevant, high authority site. Not only is it good for your site, but it also helps theirs.

3. Become a Source — One of the hardest but most successful techniques is to become a source. If you provide accurate information about your niche that others don’t, sites may begin linking to your pages.

4. Discover Unlinked Brand Mentions — This tactic also requires analysis, but more so of your brand. Identifying areas where your brand is mentioned but not linked to can prove to be an easy and effective way to earn a great link.

backlink gap analysis

5. Assess Competitor Backlinks — This process helps you identify the type of links your competitors are earning. This can be great, as it gives you a better understanding of what a referring domain is looking for, i.e., if your competitor’s page has videos, informative pieces, etc.

6. Complete a Backlink Gap Analysis — Utilising tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you assess your competitors backlink profiles in comparison to yours, helping you identify site’s linking to them and not to you. While this is a bit of a low-handed tactic, it can be effective.

7. Recover Lost Backlinks — Losing backlinks can happen all the time, so utilising powerful SEO tools to identify when you lose a backlink is really handy. It also allows you to know which links you want to recover and who to contact.

8. Promote Press Releases — A great way to earn brand recognition and showcase your company as legitimate and trustworthy is through press releases. They are fantastic for sharing details on collaborations, awards, and any other details that showcase your company in a good light. 

ranking without backlinks

Final Thoughts on SEO Link Building Efforts

Google may be looking to make backlinks more and more obsolete, but they still serve a very important function in the performance of your website. From website visibility to increasing sales and revenue potential, a powerful backlink profile still has its place in SEO.

Now that you have the tools at hand, you can make a conscious decision on which SEO company to use for your next link-earning campaign.

Picture of Brishan Jordan
Brishan Jordan
Brishan has been in marketing for travel and tourism for many years now. With a deep passion for SEO and project management, he is always looking for ways to improve. When he's not planning his next trip, you'll find him on the football field, cooking new meals, or diving deeper into marketing.

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