SEO Link Building: The New Beginner’s Guide (2020)

by Nikita Shevchenko

Let’s face it.

Linking Building is a MUST have skill for SEO.

Great content is not enough for being on top of Google. You need backlinks!

In this beginner’s guide, I am gonna show you the exact steps you need to follow for building a rock-solid link profile that will help your content rank higher is Google.

Let’s dive right in!



The Importance of Link-Building

As I’ve just told you, links are very important for your website.

If fact they are so vital, that they are included in TOP 3 Google ranking factors, apart from the Content and Google RankBrain

Why does Google consider backlinks important?

First of all, backlinks work as a word of mouth on the internet. The more websites point at you, the more authoritative you look in the eyes of Big G.

No links = No Authority

Second, Google bots explore content by following links.

No links = No Findings

Last, but not the least, If blogs don’t mention you, you are not reliable, innovative and professional. You are simply not worth to be mentioned.

No links = No Reliability

But what if you manage to follow the best strategies of SEO experts and create a campaign to get the best links possible?

Then your website will receive:

  • High rankings
  • High authority
  • High and steady traffic

With that in mind, you should also know that links are not even.

Their value can be absolutely different! So you’d better focus on building the best backlinks possible.

Sometimes you may even wonder, how many backlinks you need to get to the top 10.

Is it the quality or quantity of backlinks that matter?

This question has been debated to death:

What is more important, the quality of links or their number?

Quick answer – BOTH!

Ideally, you want to build as many high-quality links as possible. The number of backlinks is really important.

But that’s gonna take a long LONG time. That is why lots of newbies have a wrong link building approach.

They start to use shady techniques, which I will tell you about later in this guide

What are the results?

Not only do they not see their site’s ranking rise, but they also receive penalties from Google. (Source)

site drops in serp SEO Link Building

If you don’t want to follow this path, I strongly recommend you to put your all effort into finding the best possible opportunities.

How to do it?

Keep reading.

Backlinks Diversification

This complicated term is nothing else but the process of making sure that your links come from different domains and types of sources.

In other words, it is WAY better to get 3 links from different websites, than 3 links from a single one.

Backlinks diversification importance SEO Link Building

More different domains = More Authority

It is also important to have links from different types of resources

links from different resources SEO Link Building

Now, how do you actually understand if the backlink from the particular site will make a big difference in your rankings?

Well, there is a special set of standards for high-quality links.

All you have to do is just follow further instructions and select good options.

Let’s do it!

When looking for the best link opportunities, you certainly need to know what types of links work best for your website, which links are not worth your time, and which of them are an absolute taboo.

First, let’s take a look at the main factors that determine the quality of a backlink:

1. Page Authority

The higher the authority of the page, the more trust it can flow into your own website.

If fact, the link from a high-authority page is much more valuable than tens or even hundreds of links from low-quality pages.

pagerank importance SEO Link Building

In other words, If you manage to acquire a backlink from a popular article, this achievement alone will have a greater impact, than hundreds of links from other blogs’ commenting sections.

You probably want to know:

How to find out the authority of the page?

There are numerous online services that can help you with this task.

I often use Open Site Explorer.

All you need to do is just type in the URL and check the results.

page authority SEO Link Building

2. Domain Authority

Another important factor in determining the quality of the link is the overall authority of the website that the link comes from.

domain authority SEO Link Building

Like with the Page Authority, the higher the trust that domain possesses, the better more enticing it is to get the link from that source.

Links from Forbes, BBC, NYT, and other giants, will play a significant role in your rankings.

3. Related-Niche Websites

Relevancy matters a lot!

If you run a website about bodybuilding, you should aim to get links from the blogs that cover these topics:

  • Bodybuilding(the most preferable)
  • Health
  • Food
  • Fitness equipment
  • Other related sports

The more niche-related blogs point to you, the better.

4. Nofollow/Dofollow links

These are two types of links that you should keep in mind.

rel=”dofollow” is a tag that tells Google: “I link to this site because it’s GOOD”

rel=”nofollow” is a tag that tells: “I just mentioned this website, but DON’T consider it as an endorsement”

Lots of bloggers like building backlinks by commenting on other blogs and placing the link within their comments. Unfortunately, many website owners make all of those links nofollow, so there is no point leaving comments on other blogs(in terms of link building).

5. Link Anchor Text

The text of the link itself is important too.

It is important to have different anchor text for your backlinks, not just only the name of your website or target keyword of the article.

6. Link Position

Where does your link appear on the page?

Is it used within the content or it is located at the very bottom of the page?

Can you guess which one is best? Of course the first one.

So here we have it now!

The key factors that determine link power:

perfect link key factors SEO Link Building

Now as you know what backlinks are good, it’s time to go there and get them!

Produce Mega Link Magnets

It is really hard to overestimate the role of good-quality content in modern online marketing.

If you don’t have the content worth mentioning, chances are that you will find it SUPER difficult to get links from authoritative resources.

In order to get something, you should first give something!

Here is the list of different types of content that work best:

  • Ultimate Guides
  • List Posts
  • Visual assets
  • Research and original data
  • Product Review
  • How-to posts
  • Interviews
  • Videos

You don’t necessarily have to use all of them. Choose the best that fits your blogging style and go for it!

I personally prefer Ultimate Guides.

the ultimate wordpress seo guide SEO Link Building

Here are the reasons:

  1. Many people prefer to read in depths informative resources rather than to put together the puzzle of different 500-word notes.
  2. Definitive guides can include many other types of content. You may use lots of visual assets along with the guide and put an expert interview section in it.

The only disadvantage of the ultimate guides that comes to my mind is that it is time-consuming.

Sometimes it is faster to compose 5 1000-word articles than to create a 4000-word Guide. But as longs, as I prefer quality over quantity, it doesn’t bother me much.

Having great content will boost your chances of success.

High-Quality Content = More Links

Now I am going to reveal my favorite ways to acquire powerful links!

My TOP 5 Ways to Build High-Quality Links

Way #1: Guest blogging

Guest blogging is still a very powerful way to build links to your website.

It brings you the powerhouse links, AND recognized expertise, AND traffic, AND lots of other cool benefits!

You probably heard what Matt Cutts from Google, said about it:

matt cutts headshot SEO Link Building

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
Matt Cutts, Former Head of Google’s Webspam Team ”.

Does this mean you should not guest blog?

Of course NO!

You see, he was talking about low-quality, garbage blogs that don’t deserve your time.

“I’m not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.”

What does it mean?

You should focus only on authoritative and highly reliable blogs, rather than looking for easy shots.

Here is the step by step process you can follow.

1Find the guest blogging opportunities

You may use a couple of these search strings:

  • Keyword “guest post”
  • Keyword “write for us”
  • Keyword “submit your content”
guest post google search string SEO Link Building

Or find the already-made list of websites that accept guest posts.

guest post list search SEO Link Building

2Understand what they need

All good blogs that accept guest posting have guidelines. Read them all very carefully.

Pro Tip: If you want to get published on a very authoritative website, guidelines are not enough. You have to analyze their best articles and other guest post articles to build a formula for your success.

3Send a pitch

Usually, the elements of your pitch are discussed in the guidelines, here are the most popular:

  1. The headline of your article
  2. Short draft
  3. The area of your expertise
  4. Other examples of your guest posts
  5. Your author bio

4Write your post

If you write for an authoritative resource, then you should make sure to craft the best content possible.

Insanely useful and informative.

Use the best strategies of SEO Copywriting.

5Build your links

Make sure to put a couple of links in the author’s bio and the content body.

6Keep in touch

Answer the comments on your guest posts and don’t lose the valuable connection with the website. (You may consider become a writer-contributor in the future)

Way #2: Article Promotion

This is the very first thing you should do after you publish the article.

There is no point to sit and wait when people visit your website and link to the content.

It simply doesn’t work like this.

You should promote, promote and promote!

Here are the actual steps you can follow:

1Share the Post in You Social Media Channels

The easiest and fastest way to get the links and traffic to your new piece of content is by showing it on social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

share post on facebook SEO Link Building

2Seek for Gratitude

Putting outbound links in the article will do you two goods:

  1. It will elevate your rankings
  2.  Websites will usually want to express their gratitude to you by sharing your articles or linking to it in one of their articles.

How do you approach this method?

First, find the blogger’s email address.

You may use the contact information on the blog, or some special tools like Hunter.io.

Then you contact the person, who is behind the blog.

Here’s the simple script you may use:

Hello [First Name], I have recently read your article : [The name of the article, you linked to].

It’s amazing!

In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to tell my readers about it!

The link that points to it appeared in my recent article.

[Article Title]: [URL].

By the way, I would be REALLY happy if you mention this article on your website.

Thanks for your time, keep up the awesome work with [Website name]!

Best regards,
[Your Name]

This script works just fine, even if you land a ONE single link seeking the gratitude, it will be a great result!

3Go to Forums and Q&As

I am not talking about garbage ones.

I am talking about the world’s best Q&As and top niche-related forums.

Let’s take Quora as an example.

Step 1. Search for the questions related to your new article.

quora picking the right questions SEO Link Building

Step 2. Compose a nice, informative answer

Step 3. Embed a natural link to the body of the answer.

quora answer by nikitashevchenko SEO Link Building

Find a couple of more related questions and repeat the process!

The same rule applies to forums.

  1. Find the biggest, niche-related forums in your industry that allow you to include dofollow links.
  2. Look for the recent or popular questions
  3. Answer and thrive
warrior seo forum nikita shevchenko answer SEO Link Building

4Reach the Influencers

If you just started to run a blog, and you are not a well-known expert in the field, it is gonna be tough to earn links from top influencers in your industry.

The vital factor that will determine the result, will be the quality of your content.

Even the hardest bloggers will be willing to share your content if THEY consider it great!

So If the quality of your article is nothing less than awesome, the next steps are for you.

Step#1: Type in Your Article Keyword in Google

The first 50 results are your main goal.

Don’t pay attention to Wikipedia, YouTube, and other giants.

Look for bloggers who write about your niche.

Step#2: Collect Email Addresses.

Use the aforementioned Email Hunter or any other email address seeking tools.

Step #3: Reach Out using 2-Step Formula

Email #1

Let bloggers know how you appreciate what they do, and ask to check your new article.

Here is the script:

Hi [First Name], I know you are super busy with [name of the blog].

You also probably get LOTS of emails, so I’ll be really brief.

As someone who writes about [niche name] and enjoys articles about [top articles on the blogger’s website], you may find this interesting.

I’ve recently finished my super-informative article – [Name of the article].

I would love it if you take a professional look, mind if I send it to you?

Best regards,
[Your Name]

If you receive a positive reply, here is the follow-up letter:

Email #2

Super! Thanks! Here is the link to my post: [Post URL]

Tell me what you think about it.

Cheers!

Trust me, if people like your article they will share it with readers, you won’t even have to ask them to do it.

Way #3: Broken link building

This strategy is one of the best out there.

It is simple, fast and powerful!

Here is how it works:

1. You install an extension.

If you use Google Chrome you may use “LinkMiner”.

link miner google chrome SEO Link Building

2. You go to popular pages

Or any other pages that have lots of outbound links.

Check the links on the page using an extension.

If you are lucky enough, you will find some broken links there.

blog page broken links SEO Link Building

3. Contact the site owner

Here is the script you may consider to use:

Subject: Something wrong with the link

Hello, [Name], I came across your website today.

It’s fantastic!

I found lots of great content on it.

But, I also found a link that doesn’t work fine.

Here it is: [URL of broken links].

Actually, I recently published a great article on the same topic and maybe a great replacement to the broken link.

Here is the link to my article: [Article URL].

Thank you for your time, hope it’s gonna help. [Your name]

If all links on the resource pages are fine, you may still persuade the website owner to add your website/article to the list.

Use the Resource Pages section for help.

Way #4: Resource pages

Resource pages are the gold mines for link builders.

Their main purpose is to LINK to other websites

The process is quite simple:

1. Find resource pages

You may use these search strings:

  1. “Keyword” + inurl:links
  2. “Keyword” + “useful resources”

2. Analyze its potential

You already know from “How Does a Perfect Link Look Like” section, how to exactly evaluate the link potential.

3. Outreach

Here is a nice script that works just fine:

Hey [Name], I came across to your resource page today.

It’s amazing!

I found lots of great content on it. In fact, I recently published a guide on [Topic].

It’s about [Brief Description].

I am more than happy to show it to you: [URL].

By the way, I am sure it may become a nice addition to your resource page.

Thank you for your work and time.

Have a great day!

[Your Name]

Way #5: Giving testimonials

This method is very simple!

Do you use any products or services that have testimonial pages on their website?

Great! They may bring you lots of quality links.

Landing pages usually include links to the websites that belong to testimonials writers.

testimonials backlink SEO Link Building

Examples of products and services:

  • Hosting provider
  • Premium WordPress theme
  • Plugins you use
  • Email sending service
  • Keyword analyzing tools

Here is what to do:

Step #1: Choose the product or service

Pick up the one you are using for a while and being able to leave a nice review.

Step#2: Visit the landing page

All good products or services have landing pages. If they are really great they will certainly have testimonials from customers.

Step#3: Write to the guy in charge

You already know how to find an email from this guide, so let’s check what messages you may send:

Hello [Name], I’ve been using [name of the product] for a while on my site: [website URL].

I love it!

In fact, I love it so much that I even want to leave great feedback on your site.

It would be awesome if you publish my words on the testimonials page.

Tell me if you are interested. Have a great day!

Cheers,
[Your Name]

Note: It is much tougher for new bloggers to earn the testimonial spot on popular service pages.

That’s it!

These were my all-time favorite methods to get great backlinks.

Unfortunately, it takes some time to build them. Lots of impatient marketers use black-hat techniques to build links FAST!

It is not useful in the long-term.

It is also may be harmful to your websites.

Below are the techniques you should NEVER use when you do an SEO link building.

These methods can be harmful:

  • Article spinning and promotion
  • Getting links from low-quality website and forums
  • Unhealthy article directories

These methods can be fatal:

  • Buying links
  • Selling links
  • Hacking sites to add the backlinks

Stay away from all of these methods, no matter how enticing it may be to get a fast link.

Build your links using only the white-hat methods I outlined above and you will be all set.


Do you usually struggle to build backlinks for your blog?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram, I share some useful stuff there 😉

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