Digital marketing is a complex, ever-evolving collection of methods. Mobile marketing, video marketing, and social media marketing have become increasingly popular over the past 10 years. However, SEO, which has been around for a while and perhaps produces more impressive results, is a highly effective marketing tactic.
SEO is a field that is continually changing, much like digital marketing as a whole. This is due to the difficulty of searching, as well as the fact that the firms that run search engines dislike disclosing the inner workings of their ranking algorithms. Despite the secrecy, specialists have been able to verify the viability of various SEO strategies through testing and backward engineering.
In September, Google announced a modification to its crawling and link-evaluation algorithm, adding two new attribute options and changing how it handles the nofollow property. To avoid sanctions, link builders must mark all paid links as “nofollow” or “sponsored.” Now, is the link-building business dead?
First Off, What Exactly Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of creating one-way links, also referred to as “backlinks,” through search engine optimization in order to improve their visibility in search engines.
Content marketing, the development of useful resources, email outreach, the fixing of broken links, and public relations are examples of common link-building strategies.
Link building is the process of gaining links pointing to your website from other websites. A hyperlink, often known as a link, enables users to navigate between websites. Search engines browse the web using links. Both the links within and between domains of your website will be scanned by them.
Pages on your website that link to pages on other websites are indicated by yellow arrows.
Essentially, not all links are created on purpose by marketers or SEOs. Many link-building connections will be created for several reasons, such as when a journalist links a source when reporting on a news story or when a blogger links the retailer that gave them a new espresso machine because they are so pleased with it.
Getting links that you didn’t ask for is SEO bliss. It is something you should persistently pursue and put long-term effort into. You achieve this by making an effort to make your website link-worthy, whether through the development of a fantastic product or feature of your service or by producing exceptional content that other websites link to.
Furthermore, you can use a variety of link-building techniques in addition to this long-term strategy to increase your authority, increase your likelihood of ranking highly, and increase the amount of organic traffic you receive.
Why Do Links Have Such Value?
You need to go in your DeLorean and travel back to the early days of the internet, before Google, in order to understand this.
Essentially, the two most well-known search engines in the past were Yahoo! and Alta Vista. They simply evaluated the content of the page when rating their search results.
The rules of the game were amended by their now-famous PageRank algorithm. Google used the number of external links to that page rather than just the web site’s content when evaluating a page. Gary Illyes claims that PageRank is still valuable today.
Link Building’s Got a Bit of a Wild Past
Link building was once a real Wild West where everything was possible and almost anything worked in the early days.
At first, link building was almost entirely done manually, with webmasters negotiating reciprocal links and early SEOs searching for directories to submit their links to.
As time went on, individuals discovered that link-building blog articles, forums, guest books, and comment areas were simple. It was shown that the words that can be clicked, or “anchor text,” are an important ranking determinant.
Automation made link-building methods extremely scalable and quick, and foreign labor made mass connection building affordable and efficient. Links could be purchased and sold with little consequences.
Such link building gained popularity, and tens of thousands (perhaps even millions) of directories, blogs, and phony sites were created solely for the purpose of link building and tricking search engines.
However, Google ultimately began to take action against deceptive link building and made it known that it expected webmasters to produce excellent content and acquire connections legitimately.
As a result, strategies like link-baiting (creating content aimed at readers who are very likely to link), broken link building (contacting websites that have broken links on their pages and asking them to replace them with yours), and content-based link building (using infographics and guest posts, for example) began to gain popularity.
The Penguin update drove home the notion that excessively misleading linking would be punished. Numerous thousands of websites that have used poorly performed approaches were severely damaged.
Google was becoming more effective at determining when to trust a link, whether it was provided editorially, and whether it was relevant.
Furthermore, Google has worked hard to identify and penalize webmasters that actively seek unnatural links. You can easily get yourself into trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Are Backlinks Important in 2022?
Absolutely. High-quality backlinks must be taken into account if you want to keep up a successful, long-term SEO strategy. A website’s Google traffic increases as the quantity of high-quality, pertinent backlinks increases. New types of backlinks that have evolved over the past several years have elevated the importance of links even further.
The difficulty is adjusting to the most recent changes in the link-building strategies and ranking algorithm. Businesses that use the same link-building strategies as they did fifteen years ago might no longer be as successful. As an example, a 2019 change to Google’s algorithm improved the ability to differentiate between fraudulent relationships and those that were more genuine and holistic.
Why Are Links Still Important in Modern Times?
After decades, links are still one of the most important ranking factors in search engines. This could surprise you given how unpredictable SEO and digital marketing are as a whole. Why do links remain while other ranking factors that matter change?
Because they are critical to the operation of the internet (also known as the web), links continue to be significant. The internet would be very different if links didn’t exist.
As previously mentioned, SEO was very different in the beginning. There was no need for marketers to come up with link-building strategies to enhance user experience or page quality. Instead, they figured out ways to include more keywords on web pages. It was helpful to use more keywords than the competition if a business wanted to rank higher than a competitor in search engines.
This was a serious weakness. Search engines today work to deliver the most relevant and helpful results. They want to create an environment where people can find answers quickly and without difficulty.
Search engines have seen a significant change since building links started to factor into rankings. Links helped to refocus attention away from only text and keywords. Using outside data sources, they allowed a website to stand out from its competitors and gain a higher position (inbound links). The popularity and search relevance of the receiving site is further supported by this search breakthrough.
As a result, a network was created that could expand to include more high-quality websites while weeding out those that overloaded their pages with keywords.
Backlinks still serve the same purpose today. People want to find relevant results when they make an internet search, whether it’s 1997 or 2022. The use of backlinks is essential to getting this result. However, not all links will be equally beneficial to your website, and not all backlinks are created equal.
Marketers must now exercise higher caution when using link-building strategies to ensure that links pointing to their web pages appear relevant and natural and are coming from domains with high domain authority.
Those who fail to effectively form their connections can end up doing more harm than good.
Then, how can we tell the difference between strong and weak links? A few features can be mentioned.
Characteristics of High-Quality Backlinks
The linked-to content must have a relationship with a quality backlink. A visitor is more likely to click on a relevant link for one reason.
As an example, it would make sense for you to acquire links from websites in related industries, such as lumber stores, building enterprises, etc. if your website is about architecture.
Search engines take into account several factors when deciding whether a website is relevant to your specific niche.
Increases Organic Traffic
Remember that links are typically intended to send people to another page before attempting to use them to raise your rating. Links are included so that readers can access more information. Google, therefore, views backlinks that drive organic traffic as being of high quality.
This is also the reason why links placed within the text body are occasionally regarded as being more helpful than those placed in the footer. High-quality backlinks in the footer are rarely clicked on by users.
Another crucial component of high-quality backlinks is the legitimacy of the website receiving them.
Nowadays, anyone can publish material online. Sadly, not all of it is trustworthy, especially if you’re looking for ways to obtain high-quality backlinks.
Authoritative websites include well-known news sites like the BBC and CNN, but any website with a solid reputation, regular traffic, and engagement will have some level of online authority. (These are considered high-quality sites).
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of anchor text and backlink quality. Google may think that a backlink is being placed only for SEO purposes if the anchor text appears to have been updated or heavily optimized. In this case, Google may completely ignore the backlink.
However, the naturally optimized anchor text might be useful. Does the optimized anchor text make sense, as it has for the rest of our article so far? Do you meet the remaining quality requirements? If so, having an optimized anchor text will undoubtedly raise the quality of your backlink profile, but don’t go overboard.
The page must be accessible to Google’s spiders in order for a backlink to be considered. Google does not actually know a page exists if it is not indexed. A page cannot transmit any link equity or authority if Google is not aware of its existence.
Verifying whether a web page is present in Google’s database is known as indexing. The no-index tag is given to some pages on purpose by webmasters who don’t want Google to index them. On rare occasions, a page won’t be indexed because the site’s technical SEO isn’t being maintained.
In these cases, an indexation audit is necessary to ensure that all the right pages are being indexed. Essentially, you have to make sure that the website is indexed and exists in Google’s sight before connecting.
It is a good idea to assess a website’s authority before linking to it. Fortunately, there are various online techniques for figuring out how authoritative a website is.
One of the most well-known analytics tools for this purpose is Moz’s Domain Authority. Each page receives an authority score ranging from one to 100. You can check the authority of individual web pages using Moz Page Authority.
The age of a domain may also be looked at in addition to domain authority. A domain is more likely to become authoritative the longer it has been around. You can estimate the age of a domain by using tools like this one to find out when it was registered.
Having unique backlinks is also crucial. However, obtaining unique links is more challenging than it appears. If your website has 10 backlinks, it is best if they come from 10 different websites.
In addition to receiving links from other websites, you must also count the number of links that the content itself has. The value of a link will be reduced, and the authority granted to you may not be as beneficial as if that page only linked to a few websites when there are 20 or more links in the text of a referring page, and your website is one of them.
Earlier, it was common practice to exchange connections with other websites. The concept of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” was used. Though this tactic could be harmful in terms of backlinks. It might even be considered by Google to be a link scheme that disrespects its Webmaster Guidelines. This shows that the links were not formed naturally and that they can be misused.
Furthermore, this raises the question: Does this mean you shouldn’t exchange links with other website owners? The safest course of action is to exchange connections as little as possible. In order for the connection to appear organic and real, you should only trade links with websites that are related to your subject.
You should also think about whether the connection raises the article’s quality. It is typically acceptable for your content to be linked from the content in question provided if it makes sense, but if it doesn’t, you should probably steer clear of reciprocal connections.
Social Media Signals
Today’s web is undoubtedly dominated by social media, so it makes sense that Google would incorporate it in its overall mix of signals. Google views social media as a useful addition and filter for determining the content’s relevance to a certain market or industry. Social signals like retweets, shares, and likes are thought to authenticate content and increase its search relevancy.
Google often studies the content exchange and online interactions of social media users. A link from content that went viral on a major social media platform like Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook could be given a lot of weight in Google’s eyes.
How to Build Links in 2022
The process of obtaining backlinks from a trustworthy website is known as link building. It’s a crucial element of SEO. Additionally, it’s one of the numerous SEO aspects that has seen a significant change in recent years. Google has worked hard to be more selective about the links it recognizes as valuable and authoritative. As a result, link building will require a bit more work in 2022 than it did in the past.
Link Building Strategies with Infographics
In the past, infographics had a moderate level of popularity, but this has changed significantly, as link-building has become a key strategy. Infographics are now a trusted method for increasing backlinks.
Essentially, infographics are one of the best-performing categories of visual material in terms of SEO and can be a terrific method to consume info. It’s a simple technique to distribute a lot of helpful information simultaneously.
An infographic may be linked to a website with a lot of related content in order to enhance that page, which, in turn, enhances your page. Everyone benefits, but only if you take the time to create a helpful infographic.
Finding a worthwhile topic to research, creating the copy that goes with your graphics, and then making the graphics themselves are the main tasks. If you enjoy doing things yourself, you might try to do all of these tasks by yourself.
However, by hiring a competent designer, you can eliminate some of the more difficult labor. You can fully concentrate on coming up with a topic for the copy when you have a designer on your team to handle the last phase.
Your SEO campaign won’t receive much of a boost from an infographic alone. Authentic websites need to share it. By giving an embed code, you must make it easy for them to share the infographic.
It is certainly easier for directories and websites to display the graphic using the embed code. They might simply download it without using a link and post it to their website without it. Because of this, including your company name and logo on the infographic is also a good idea in this link-building campaign. Even if you don’t obtain a link, you’ll still increase brand recognition. That’s beneficial for any marketing plan.
The Broken Link Building Strategy
Some businesses dislike this link-building strategy, while others totally rely on it. Companies who dislike it do so because link-building appears time-consuming and sometimes produces minimal results. However, if you approach it strategically and effectively, you can change it.
This link-building technique allows users to find a broken link in the target audience for your website and then recreate a duplicate of the material that is no longer accessible. Once the material has been recreated, you contact the web site’s owner and request that they replace the broken link with one that points to your content.
On the surface, this might seem like the website owner is doing you a huge favor, giving you a free backlink without knowing much about your company.
However, it also offers the website owner a useful service. Broken links harm a website’s reputation and quality. You are substituting a lost resource with a brand-new, untapped, and preferably superior resource. Everyone involved in the deal stands to gain.
In fact, the practice of constructing broken links has grown in popularity recently and will surely remain popular in 2022.
There are two possible issues with this link-building approach. First of all, looking for broken links can take some time. Second, website owners can ignore your approach or flat-out reject it.
Finding the appropriate digital tools is the first step in solving the problem. To discover broken links, there are specific websites, applications, and plugins. The broken link checker provided by Ahref is a fantastic tool that can speed up this link-building process significantly.
Furthermore, the solution to the second problem is a little more difficult. When you contact the website owner, you must do it with the right attitude and language. Giving consumers more than one link to relevant content, as opposed to just one link to your content, is an excellent strategy. This gives customers more options while demonstrating your genuine desire to help them.
Guest Blogging in 2022
Over the past five years, guest posting’s effectiveness has drastically decreased. Google’s Matt Cutts declared that “guest blogging is dead” in 2014. They believe it turned into a “spammy” tactic intended to trick the algorithm. Unquestionably, this was the situation for many businesses.
However, does this mean that guest blogging has completely disappeared? No, not even close; It can still produce a small spike and is a great brand recognition approach all around. In 2022, guest posting might aid in the growth of your website, but it shouldn’t be your primary technique of link building.
To get the most out of guest blogging, focus on both diversity and quality. If you want your overall number of referring websites to increase, you should get backlinks from numerous blogs. These blogs must be considered high-quality authorities on their subjects as well, though.
It is a challenging combination to manage, which accounts for the decline in its popularity in recent years.
Donations and Sponsorships
Google often disapproves of the practice of buying backlinks. This is one of the reasons it has been so strict about guest posting. It wants backlinks to appear naturally and unintentionally. However, there is one way to pay money upfront and receive backlinks in return. This is done by giving to certain charities and foundations.
A lot of nonprofit websites are willing to trade a link for a donation. It is possibly the simplest and most effective method for link building. Additionally, a few of these charity websites are thought to be credible sources. You may be guaranteed that the biggest and most well-known websites make substantial use of this technique to strengthen their link-building efforts.
There is a lot of potential for this link-building strategy. Some websites make significant donations to as many charities as they can in order to quickly improve their Google ranking. They might then take advantage of their increased rank to acquire even more beneficial backlinks from bigger websites. The strategy may be used by a low-quality website to surpass more well-known websites and mislead lots of customers.
This approach goes against Google’s general stance, which has been evident over the past few years. Even so, it’s still legal in 2022, and there have been no signs that it will be outlawed soon.
Testimonials and Examinations
Backlinks from reputable websites are looked after by marketers and website owners. Think about the leading brands that we all know and respect. How wonderful would it be if they offered a link to your website? The problem is that despite requests, these relevant websites don’t always give backlinks. There are simple ways to obtain them, though. A testimonial or review is often an option.
Recommendations will help a customer buy a product. Because of this, testimonials are a valuable resource for big organizations looking to make lots of sales. You may also want to enquire about the feasibility of this if you have previously been a client of this company.
Although many companies do not allow links in their reviews, some do. It might be as simple as completing a website evaluation form and adding your link at the bottom. Reviews can also be used to create links to other websites.
How to Create Links
1. Adding links
A link is considered “added” if you can manually add it to a website that doesn’t belong to you. In this category, the following tactics are the most popular:
- submissions to business directories;
- development of a social profile;
- blog discussions;
- posting on message boards, communities, and websites that ask questions;
- creating job postings;
These techniques make it easy to connect with people. Though as a result, Google tends to perceive these links as being of relatively little significance (and, in some cases, can even be flagged as SPAM).
Apart from that, there is no competitive advantage to these kinds of relationships. If you can manually add your link to a website, your competitors can do the same because nothing is preventing them from doing so.
You shouldn’t, however, completely ignore this group of link-building techniques. Each link-building technique is actually very beneficial for your web business for reasons other than link-building.
To acquire another connection, you should resist the need to submit your website to every single business directory that is available. Instead, focus on those that are well-known, drive direct traffic, and perhaps even bring in actual visitors to your website.
As an example, if you’re a small business owner and you’ve found a local business directory where other business owners get leads, you should add your firm there without a doubt. Further, that one link would probably provide you with a lot more “SEO value” than submitting your site to a list of generic company directories you found on a random SEO forum.
You should as soon as possible announce your brand name on all significant social media channels (Twitter, SlideShare, YouTube, Instagram, etc.). Otherwise, once they learn about your brand, squatters might take them.
Building a loyal following on relevant social media platforms and using them to spread the word about your company is a powerful strategy. However, the real connections made from social profile sites don’t offer much in the way of direct SEO benefits. Therefore, after signing up for a few dozen social networking sites, do not expect a dramatic ranking increase.
A valuable resource to link must exist before you can start link building. Typically, this is your website’s home page. Although most of the time, you link to specific resources, such as a blog post, tool, report, or image. On occasion, these resources are available before you begin your link-building strategy. Sometimes, you create these resources specifically to create links.
However, we hope that this lesson has helped you understand a lot and answered most of your important questions about link building.