SEO Basics: What Is Link Building?

Link Building

This page was last updated on March 9, 2023.

Do you want your company to grow and thrive online? One of the best ways to do this is to understand and implement an efficient link building campaign, since acquiring links is a very important step in boosting your ranking in search engines.

Google has confirmed that links and quality content are some of the major ranking factors, therefore, it is essential to increase the number of quality links to your site.

What Is Link Building and Why Is It Important?

In order to create an effective campaign, the first step is to know the basics of link building. This is the process of other websites linking back to your site from their own site. When you secure a hyperlink on an independent site, Google will often see that link as demonstrating your site’s value to outside users.

Link building for SEO can increase your domain authority, which can put your company higher on search engine rankings. With a high SEO ranking, you will in turn see an influx of traffic which should generate more leads and revenue for your business.

Some of the benefits of link building include:

  1. Building Relationships – The outreach you do for link building not only provides an opportunity to promote your business, but you can also build relationships with other industry professionals. This can result in an increase in trust toward your company. Trustworthy sites link to other trustworthy ones and Google recognizes this.
  2. Sending Referral Traffic – If you are linked on a site that is relevant to your industry, the traffic coming to your site will often be comprised of interested readers and qualified potential customers.
  3. Brand Building – Through effective link building, you can help establish your company as an authority in your industry. In some of the techniques shown below, you can highlight your expertise in the industry and to your chosen audience.

Setting Expectations for Your Link Building Initiatives

In setting expectations for your link building initiatives, know that it’s extremely difficult to build links. You’ll most likely hear “no” more than “yes.” However, every new link that you acquire is an asset to your website. So please keep this in mind as you start or continue your efforts. Getting a few links from an initial campaign can still be considered successful.

Strategies on How to Build Links for SEO

Link building efforts usually fall into one of the four categories, and here are some tips to keep in mind when implementing these tasks into your link building strategy.


Websites, such as business directories, job search listings, and industry forums, allow you to manually place, or “add”, your link to their site.

Though this may be the easiest way to acquire a link, it is not seen nearly as valuable in the eyes of Google and could be marked as spam.


This entails reaching out to the owner’s website and asking for them to include your link on their site. Some of the “ask” link building strategies that we recommend include the following:

  • Guest Posting – Many sites will accept and publish your article, especially if they are receiving free and valuable content from a reputable source. Make sure the website is relevant to your topic and that you focus on the quality of your work.
  • Testimonials – A lot of businesses you work with will be glad to take testimonials from you and place them on their site. Not only will you be able to speak to your valued relationship, but you can hyperlink your website to drive more traffic to your site.
  • Help a Reporter Out (HARO) – HARO is an online service where journalists can receive information from the public, enabling them to connect with experts in certain fields. By offering them information or a quote pertaining to something within your company’s area of expertise, it can end up in an article along with recognition by way of a link to your site.
  • Competitor Research – By looking into what backlinks your competitors have, you can gain information on the sites that allow hyperlinks. This can then assist you in obtaining them for your own company.
  • Unlinked Mentions – By researching mentions of your company on the internet that do not link to your website, you can reach out to these sites to include the link to your page.

To learn more about some examples of “ask” link building tasks that your company should consider for their strategy, please contact our team directly. With our years of experience in link building for our clients, we want to help you develop successful strategies to help your business grow!


This particularly refers to a form of local link building that we participate in. As a way to get involved with the communities that you are a part of, you research and apply to various memberships that are tied to that specific area.

Though some of these memberships may require you to pay a yearly fee, it can be essential to your business to connect further with those in your community, as well as join groups that are related to your business.

Please note, that this practice is significantly different from buying spam links. Buying links is not valued in the eyes of search engines, and we do not recommend using this tactic to build links.


Known as one of the most difficult forms of link building, earning links is when other websites link to your site without you having to ask them to. This form of link building usually occurs when your company does something that attracts the attention of other businesses enough that they mention you on their own website.

If you are interested in earning some links for your company, it might be important to think outside of the box on what can attract other websites to link to you, as well as continue to promote your website so people are able to see your content.

What Makes a Good Backlink?

It is important to note that with all of the effort that you may be putting into building back links to your website, those links should be considered good and notable links.

With that in mind, the 5 things that you should keep in mind when considering a credible backlink include:

  • Authority – In short, it is essential to be receiving links from pages with high domain authority (DA), or credibility. Ranging on a scale of 0-100, higher numbers are usually valued more. Notable high DA usually includes, but is not exclusive to, notable brands, companies, and news organizations. If you would like to know the DA of certain websites, check out the MozBar Chrome extension!
  • Relevance – Dependent on the industry or company you are working for, it is also important that your back links are coming from relevant sites. For example, if you manage an online sports blog, you are going to want back links from more credible sources, such as the NFL, and not irrelevant sources, such as Vogue. Though both are extremely credible, the latter does not display a working knowledge of football.
  • Placement – Content that is more likely to grab the attention of viewers is more likely to get clicked on. With that in mind, it is important that your links are included in content blocks, so it is more noticeable to viewers visiting the website, and they will be more inclined to click on your link.
  • Follow (vs. nofollow) – We are always striving to get follow links when we are link building. These links are preferred over the alternative (nofollow links) because search engines are actually granting you the link, instead of linking to your site without the actual credit. An easy way to decipher whether you are receiving follow or nofollow links is by downloading the Strike Out Nofollow Links Google Chrome extension!
  • Anchor text – When trying to acquire a backlink to your website, the link must be attached to relevant keywords. For example, if you own a commercial cleaning business, your links on other websites should relate to “commercial cleaning”, or anything related to that specific industry. They should not refer to anything not relevant to what you are linking to.

Bring Your Link Building Inwards – The Importance of Internal Linking!

The process of internal linking is not the same as normal link building tasks. Internal linking, also referred to as “interlinking”, is the process of linking pages of your website to other pages of your website. That way, people that visit your website can be simply guided to key or relevant pages on your site without having to seek it out themselves. Think of it as a way to web all of the pages on your website together!

We recommend that this task is incorporated into your link building strategy, as it is an easy way for your business to build equity for your website without having to reach out to other sites. In a way, it can be considered as a way to build a user-friendly website that is easy to navigate, ultimately contributing to the efforts when considering conversion rate optimization.

6 Tips for Your Links Moving Forward

Overall, when link building for SEO, here are some key takeaways you should keep in mind going forward:

  1. Be earned and editorial – Links should never be bought or traded
  2. Come from authoritative pages – Avoid low-quality sources
  3. Increase with time – Links shouldn’t be created in bulk and left alone. Ongoing link building is key
  4. Bring qualified traffic – Gain links that will send interested visitors to your page, not ones that will never click again
  5. Be strategically targeted – Links should be thoughtful and naturally given
  6. Come from topically relevant sources – To gain more authority and trust in your site, the links you receive should come from those of similar niches

Have Any Additional Questions? Contact Us Today!

From our company to yours, we wish you the best of luck in your efforts, and reach out to us if you need any help. We have a wide array of tactics to give you a boost.

About the Author

John Sammon is the CEO and founder of Sixth City Marketing and has been doing online marketing for over 15 years and has vast experience helping manufacturers and universities. During this time, he has been mentioned in many notable publications such as Forbes, Yahoo, and Entrepreneur.

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