Link building is the technique that consists of creating external links for a domain to generate web authority and thereby improve the organic ranking in search engines.
Do you know what it is to carry out a link building strategy? If you are one of those who are still skeptical about the different techniques that you can apply to position yourself above your competitors, it is because you have not yet decided to take the leap with your own link strategy.
In reality, if there are many businesses that are reluctant to invest in SEO or an SEO consultant, it is for two reasons; either they are unaware of all its benefits or they do not have the tools to take advantage of it.
It is true that, as with any strategy, link building requires a period of time to give results, but once it has been planted, all work pays off.
One of the biggest difficulties that I have encountered with my clients when carrying out this type of strategy has been to achieve acceptance by the administrators of third-party websites, since this is when the possibility of link building in a more or less effective way, it stops depending on our own knowledge.
Therefore, I recommend that you read this guide and write down all my advice so that, thus, you can do your best when it comes to link building and do not leave anything to chance or in the hands of third parties who have more weight at the time to negotiate.
The first thing we will do is define in detail the concept of link building and the 4 steps that comprise its strategy.
In addition, we will see basic guidelines to get and create quality links (or backlinks).
Our goal with this guide is that you know factors as relevant as:
- The domain and page authority of a website.
- The operation of each type of link.
- The theme of the linked content.
- The “anchor-text” in which the links are included.
- The linking strategies that the competition follows.
Before defining what is the Link Building or building link we must have a clear concept: the backlink or incoming link?
What is a link, what is a link or what is a backlink?
A link is an element that connects two resources, be it 2 pages, two documents, etc. Therefore we call a link or link to the connector between one page and another, for the case we are studying.
There are different types of links depending on their type or from the point of view. For example, if we include a link from one page on our website to another page on our website, we will call that link an “internal link.”
Another example, and in the case of Link Building, is the one that works for us is: when a page of an external website or of a third party links to our website, we call that inbound link, inbound link or more technically backlink.
Therefore, a backlink is an incoming link or link that helps us to generate authority to our website, either naturally (without our having intervened) or artificially (generating a payment action or collaboration with another medium) .
What is Link Building? Meaning
Link Bulding or Backlinks is a technique that, together with copywriting and other marketing actions, is used to achieve web authority in an “artificial” way. With that. the positioning of a website is improved.
In other words, the building link is a strategy based on the artificial inclusion of links between pages of different domains (for example, between a URL of your website and the URL of a third party’s website).
Traditionally, these links were included naturally as references to value-added content, making search engines see which pages should be “awarded” for the quality of their work.
This fact was what led to the use of more and more techniques to link artificially. And not only this, but to pay for it.
Obviously, Google is aware of this and the ethical debate that has been generated around these techniques has not gone unnoticed.
That said, I recommend the following: If we are going to carry out a building link campaign, I recommend doing it in a measured way. That is, if we are going to create links on other websites that lead to ours, we must add value with those links and not create spam.
Another thing I recommend is to do it “naturally”, that is, not creating massive links, but creating links in a progressive and proportionate way.
And what are links? And how do they affect Link Building?
I know that many will know what links are and what they are for in terms of SEO, but it never hurts to remember it for people who are just starting out.
Link, links or hyperlinks are mentions that are made from one website to another. These, when you click on them, redirect you to the linked web.
Regarding SEO, we can say that links are like votes, that is, the more votes we receive and the more important the website that voted for us, the more authority (popularity) we will have. Although all this has many nuances, which I will expose later in this chapter.
Step guide: Link Building strategy
We have already done a more than brief theoretical introduction to link building and, now, I would like to show you the procedure to follow to start your own link building campaign.
I assure you that it will help you a lot to understand how it works!
Step 1: Do a preliminary analysis of the authority of your website
Have you investigated what has been the evolution of your website in recent months? If you want to propose any strategy, the first thing you should analyze is where you are.
It makes little sense to make an investment in marketing efforts without prior analysis … Or rather, building links without prior analysis makes no sense.
To analyze the authority that your website has, or if you prefer the “strength” that will allow you to negotiate with third parties, you must know what is the authority of your domain (DA) and of its internal pages (PA).
To know these values, you can use different Chrome extensions or toolbars also available for other browsers, such as the one provided by Moz.
Knowing your web authority will give you the possibility to start from a point, to know what possibilities you have to compete for certain keywords against your competitors, as well as to establish realistic positioning objectives.
The value of these indices usually fluctuate from time to time. Basically every time Google updates its algorithm.
So don’t panic if your web authority isn’t too high right now, you have reaction time to reverse the situation!
Step 2: Evaluate the quality of your links and backlinks
Although later I will talk to you in depth about the factors to take into account when evaluating the current links to your website (or backlinks), I must mention this aspect as one of the first essential steps in link building.
And it is that, the strength or authority that the backlinks that you have towards your website are transferring to you, are a factor that determines quite a lot the situation in which you find yourself (it is not the same to have backlinks from sites with an average DA below 15 , than above).
I’ll tell you something else, do you know what is the ideal ratio of backlinks you should get? Well, at least the same as your competitors.
I give you an example of proportions (it is just an example, so that you follow me better):
10% Backlinks with DA> 60
40% Backlinks with DA> 30 and <59
50% Backlinks with DA> 0 and <29
Step 3: Find your competitors
To know who your direct competitors are (if you don’t already have them identified or, at least, not all of them), you will have to have done a good analysis of the keywords for which you are interested in positioning your business.
With the Google keyword planner, you can get very useful information in this regard. Information that I, personally, usually dump into Excel files to later draw decisive conclusions.
Here, the work is to analyze the difficulty of each keyword or, what is the same, the degree of competition of the same.
Here I recommend that you be ambitious and set goals to position yourself above web pages with greater authority, but being realistic … (better bird in hand than hundreds flying).
Step 4: Analyze and evaluate your competitors’ links
Once the situation has been analyzed and the websites that compete for your same keywords have been identified, it is time to study how they are carrying their own backlinks or building link strategy.
To analyze the links of the competitors, there is a long list of SEO tools that you can use (the vast majority of them paid), but this is not the subject I will go into in this guide.
What I do want to share with you is my link building technique to analyze the backlinks of the competitors for free.
How to do it? Easy! Competitor links One of the most used techniques in Link Building and that convinces me the most is to track our competition in search of links that can be used for our project.
This is very useful, since in addition to finding links related to our theme, if we get the links that our competition has, plus the ones that we get on our own, we will be able to position ourselves above them.
To do this, I propose that you resume the work in the Excel table that we talked about in the previous step, and add 4 more columns with the following metrics to make an average calculation of all your competitors:
DoFollow / NoFollow relationship.
How can we track competitive links?
One of the ways to do it and for free, is by using a foot pirnt in Google, the way is as follows:
“www.mydomain.com” -site: www.mydomain.com
If we enter this command, a list will appear in the SERPs with all the links that lead to our competitor’s website and that Google has tracked.
This technique is a bit tedious, but as I said it is free.
Another way to do it, much more comfortable, but paid, is using the Ahref tool.
This tool allows us to track all the links that go to a website, whether it is ours or that of our competition.
We can also filter them by authority of the linked website, the date it was linked and if it contains the NoDollow attribute or not.
Without a doubt, this is a great tool for our link building strategy.
How to use Foot Prints to track links?
Another way to get relevant links with a Link Building campaign for our website is to use specific foot prints on Google.
Some examples would be:
site: .com “Sport Shop”
Here we are asking Google to show us a list of all the websites with the domain “.com” and that contain the keywords “Sport Shop”.
inurl: ”sport shop”
With this we ask that you give us results from pages that contain the keyword “positionamientoweb” in their Url.
intitle: “fans for the fair”
With this other we ask that you give us a list of web pages that contain the keyword “fans for the fair” in their title.
There are many foots prints and each one is useful for one thing, but I am sure that they are all very valuable for our link building strategy. Later in later chapters we will talk in depth about foots prints.
6 Basic guidelines to get quality links
It will be quite useful to create a list with all the guidelines that must be followed to achieve a quality link building campaign.
1-Create links on websites of the same or similar theme as ours:
It is useless to create links on websites that deal with pets (for example) if ours is about online marketing. It is very important that the web that links us is of the same or similar theme.
My recommendation here is that you try to respect certain proportions when choosing themes. For example;
Closely related topics between 60% -80%
General topics between 20-40%
2-Percentage DoFollow / NoFollow in Link Building
As most of you already know, there are two types of links; those that have the NoFollow attribute and those that don’t.
The rel = ”nofollow” attribute is an HTML tag that prevents part of the authority of the web that links us from being transmitted.
And the attribute rel = “dofollow” is one that does not prevent the webs from transmitting part of its authority to the site that links. (It is not necessary to insert it because if it does not have NoFollow, it will be DoFollow by default).
Although it may seem like it, NoFollow links are not always a negative for positioning. On the contrary, they also bring naturalness to the content, which should not always pursue the objective of positioning itself.
We already know the two types of links that exist, now we must know what proportion of links of each type we must get.
As it is about simulating naturalness, we must achieve an approximate percentage of 60% DoFollow / 40% NoFollow (or at most 80% and 20% respectively), since on average this is the proportion of websites that position themselves natural.
The anchor text or anchor text is the title that a link receives and is a relevant factor in our link building campaign. For example:
<a href=”http://www.mywebsite.com”> link building </a>
In this case of the example, in width-text or the word link would be “link building”.
Let’s take an example:
Imagine that we can insert a link on a website with a theme related to ours (tennis), if they also let us include HTML code we can insert an anchor text with the keyword we want.
Of course, this keyword will have to be related to our theme.
But there is more. To make our links look natural we must use varied anchor text:
Use keywords from our market
Use the full Url
Use our branding
Other anchor text such as “click here”, “this article” etc.
The proportion of anchor text has always been much discussed, but as in everything in variety is success. We must always vary the anchor text, although we can say that a good percentage would be the following:
40% keywords from our market
20% Complete url
20% “click here” “this web” etc.
In short, the type and proportion of them is a very important factor when it comes to link building effectively, since depending on the anchor-text used, the links or backlinks acquire a greater or lesser relevance (it is not the same link on a direct keyword, than on the typical “read here”).
4-Insert links manually
There are many programs to get links in bulk for our link building campaign, but this technique is very obsolete, since Google’s algorithm is fully capable of detecting if we have built links in bulk and late or sooner we will receive a penalty, which none of us want.
But it is one thing that we do not build massive links and another that we crawl websites with tools and footprint to find sites where we can insert the links manually, which is recommended to do. We will talk about this in another moment.
5-Building links progressively. Progressive Link Building
If the first week in which we have published our website, and when creating a Link Building campaign, our website already receives 20 links, Google will know perfectly well that these have been created artificially.
The key is again to look natural.
A good strategy is to get, for example, in the first week about 5 links (with the guidelines that have been marked previously); The following week about 10 links; The next 15; etc.
If we do it gradually, we will manage to look natural with our link building campaign in the eyes of Google.
Few are the websites that grow so quickly and few that receive many links in the first weeks of life, so let’s do things right and try to appear as natural as possible.
6-Get links from both websites with authority and websites without it
To appear natural with our link building campaign we must get links from all kinds of websites, that is, with and without authority. Since if we only get links to our website from sites with a lot of authority, it will not seem natural.
In addition to this idea, think that it is not the same to have 200 backlinks from the same website (whatever authority you have), than to have a single backlink from 200 different websites.
As you may have already noticed, I love estimates and recommend percentages for your SEO strategies. In this specific case for link building, I would recommend you consider a ratio of domain references of 10%; that is, out of every 100 links or backlinks, a minimum of 10 domain references.
And now you will say, this is all very good Dani, but how do I include and get these links?
This is the crux of the matter, one of the handicaps that exist in the SEO world is to get relevant, quality links from websites with similar themes.
If it were easy, everyone could do it, and if everyone did it, no one could rank because the SERPs would be chaos.
But do not be discouraged, below I will show you a few techniques that can help you get the links that cost so much and that will help you so much.
How to include the links?
The first thing to consider is that all links do not have the same quality. So, quality always prevails over quantity, as well as creativity when closing collaborations with other web administrators.
In this sense:
- Include links in comments in a small minority, and when you do, don’t automate; add value to your messages.
- Do not trust link farms, they are very hackneyed by Google.
- Be on the alert for any possible collaboration to get valuable links.
- Verify that each link or backlink you generate is correctly indexed.
And how do you get these links or links?
If we speak purely of Link Building, we can say that there are a few techniques to carry out this type of campaign.
We will discuss all of them in greater detail in later chapters, here we will only mention and summarize them.
Other techniques that would be within Link Buinding would be these:
- Link wheel
- Link exchange
- Guest Blogging
- Tiered Link Buiding
- Sponsored links
- Link Baiting
- Private blog network
- Of all of them, I will talk to you in other articles. we’ll talk in later chapters.
Do you want more?
Ok, let’s see more Link Building tips.
First of all: analyze your organic competitors
Do not start creating backlinks for your website or for your company website without relying on a good strategy. And a good strategy can’t be if you don’t consider your organic competitors.
But, not all competitors are valid, no. We have to find the winning competitors, that is, those who are already successful and occupy a good market share in search engines.
You may be wondering why we are going to analyze our competitors, but the answer is very powerful.
Success, whatever its scope, is a set of variables and circumstances.
If you like math you can read about the Fibonacci code or sequence. This is nothing more than a pattern of behavior that follows most elements of nature. In other words, nature has discovered a pattern that works and has been modeling it in all these elements.
And what will the Fibonacci sequence have to do with Link Building Daniel?
No, I have not gone crazy nor am I rambling.
What I want to make you understand is that, and I repeat, success is a path, a set of variables and circumstances. Maybe to reach it, we can create a new path, but why are we going to do such a thing if others have already created it? Why don’t we focus on modeling that behavior or patterns instead of creating new ones?
The answer is obvious, we are not going to waste time, energy and resources (human and financial) in a Link Building strategy that we do not know how it will work. It is preferable to model other Link Building strategies that have ALREADY been SUCCESSFUL, and for this we have to analyze our winning competitors.
Factors to study from our winning organic competitors
Note: to analyze all this data I am going to use the Ahref tool.
Now I am going to show you the essential, or most important, factors or elements to analyze from our winning organic competitors. With this we will be able to model them and obtain the greatest chances of achieving success, and not least, of taking the least possible risk, thus avoiding a possible Google Penguin penalty.
Total number of domain references and RD BL relationship
I’m going to first explain what domain references are and what those acronyms (RD and BL) are.
A link is not the same as a domain reference. A website can link to us several times, from once to an unlimited number of times. But it does not matter how many times that website links us, in total, and in that case, it only counts as a domain reference.
It is simply the number of domains that link to ours or to our company, regardless of the number of times that each of the domains itself links them.
I have used the Marca newspaper website with the AHref tool to show you the image above.
In this image we can clearly distinguish how many total BackLinks the website has and how many domain references. As you can see, they are not the same number, something that always happens.
Now that we are clear about what domain references are and we know how to distinguish it from backlinks, let’s see what the RD / BL relationship is.
RD / BL ratio
The BD (domain referrals) / BL (backlins) ratio is the total number of domain referrals compared to the total number of external backlinks or links.
Here, we can commonly find 1/10 relationships; 2/10; 1/11; 1/9.
A 1/10 RD / BL ratio is simply that for each domain reference there are a total of 10 backlinks or links.
But do not get carried away by the common or what seems to be repeated, analyze your winning competitors and get the mathematical conclusion. Find out what RD / BL ratio your winning organic competitors get on average.
Note: RB / BL ratios greater than 1/20 are not usually good news, something strange is happening.
You also have to analyze and document, to later model, the number of domain references of the link profile or backlink profile of your winning competitors.
Quality or organic authority of the Backlinks Profile
In the previous point we have talked about quantities, now we will talk about quality.
Another crucial factor to take into account before launching our Link Building campaign is to analyze the quality of the backlinks profile of our winning competitors to later model it.
I usually do the following exercise:
- I enter the domain in the Ahref tool
- Click on the Domain References section
- I download the report in excel
Now, we are going to segment the domain references by DR ratios or Ahref Domain Rating.
A common segmentation is as follows:
- Number of domain references from 0 to 35 DR = X%
- Number of domain references from 36 to 54 DR = X%
- Number of domain references equal to or greater than 55 DR = X%
Example: we may find that one of our winning organic competitors gets the following targeting:
- Total number of domain references: 1K
- Number of domain references from 0 to 35 DR: 300 = 30%
- Number of domain references from 36 to 54 DR: 600 = 60%
- Number of domain references equal to or greater than 55 DR: 100 = 10%
Now we only have to analyze the rest of the winning competitors (I do not recommend analyzing more than 4) and take an average of the total domain references, RF / BL ratio and quality of the external link profile.
But there is not the thing, let’s continue.
Anchor Text Relationship Analysis of Winning Competitors
Now we have to analyze the anchors text of our winning organic competitors.
To begin, let’s distinguish the different types of anchor text that there are:
- Keyword: are those that use a main or secondary keyword in the text that links.
- Brand: are those that use a brand or branding term in the text that links.
- Varied: they are those that use terms that «» click here »,« in this link », etc.
- From URL: they are those that use the exact URL in the link and not a word or term.
Let’s do an exercise again assuming that the newspaper AS is one of our winning competitors.
First, we must use mathematics to segment and distinguish the percentages of the different types of anchor text that are generating the external link profile of our winning competitor.
Let’s add up all the anchors text that we can consider branding first:
- According to my accounts, the newspaper AS has a ratio of 43% of links with branding anchors.
Now let’s add the relationship of links that we can consider from URL:
- According to my accounts, the newspaper As has a percentage of URL anchors of 35%.
Next, let’s add the relationship of anchors that we can consider varied:
- According to my accounts, the newspaper As has a percentage of varied anchors of 7%.
And finally, let’s add the relationship of anchors that we can consider as a keyword:
- According to my accounts, the newspaper As has a keyword anchor ratio of 3%.
In total, we have been able to analyze 88% of the anchors of the newspaper AS, one of our supposed winning competitors. It’s not bad at all. We have to bear in mind that it is difficult to analyze 100% the backlinks profile of any domain.
Now it would only be necessary to analyze the anchor percentages of the rest of our winning organic competitors and establish an average, to later model the strategy. I am sure that, if we analyze the winning competitors of the newspaper As, we will obtain very similar percentages of anchors text.
Now let’s go with the last factor that I am going to expose, geolocation.
Analyzing the geolocation of the bakclinks profile of organic comeptitors
Not because it is the last one I show, this factor is less important than the others.
The geolocation of the links is the geographical location of the domain in which it is segmented.
Let’s take an example:
We are linked by a digital marketing blog. It does not matter the IP of the server where said website is hosted, geolocated segmentation refers to the market that said domain is exposed to.
It is really important to analyze the external link profiles of our winning competitors to find out from which country the domain referrals obtained by that website come in percentages, since obtaining inbound links to our site from locations very different from our winning competitors can be disastrous for our strategy.
To do this, I will again use the Ahref tool and the domain of the As newspaper.
Conclusions of Backlinks
Link Building is very complex and requires doing things well and slowly, because any mistake can lead to a penalty.
If you follow these tips and do things well, you will not have any problem. Do things slowly, with care and in an organized way, and above all control your links, do not build a link to your website anywhere, first, make sure it will be worth it and that it will give you authority.