Link building is a foundation of SEO – we show you why

If you were to ask any random SEO expert what one of the hardest jobs in search engine optimization is, 9 out of 10 would say link building.

This is not surprising, as it takes a lot of research and mapping to find a good site, and then comes the hard part: contacting the site operator, talking to them and softening the deal to get the best possible bargaining position.

It takes contacts, time, trust, experience and good communication skills – and even then, success is not guaranteed. And we are talking about just one backlink!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about, because many people are not aware of it.

Spiders are Google's search bots

What is link building and why are links important?

Link building, in short, means placing a hyperlink on another website – one that points back to our site.

The whole world wide web is best thought of as a spider’s web. There are different points that the spider connects to each other – the whole is a system.

The spider in this case is also the search robot (they are not called spiders for nothing), constantly on the move: it is they who are crawling over and over again in every corner of the web. If your spot is not connected to the spider web and is not part of the system, the spider simply can’t find it, because there is no “thread” to lead you to your website.

So the robot can’t crawl it, and unfortunately you won’t get to the 100th Google result. This means you won’t have organic visitors, only paid ones.

But in the long run, it is much more profitable (i.e. much more rewarding) to build traffic organically, as you get visitors for free – with backlinks and useful content.

Note: we have already written in more detail about how much it matters in which position you are in the search engine, so we won’t go into it here (Spoiler: it can mean a lot, even tens of millions of forints.)

It is therefore clear why it is worth building a link. But how?

Link building is a key element of SEO

What methods can be used to build a link?

As the saying goes, so many houses, so many habits – and this is absolutely true for link building. There are many different tricks and variations used by experts in search engine optimisation.

#1 Link parks, link farms

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, long before the Penguin algorithm was updated, there was a link building method called link farm registration and link park registration.

The idea was that the owners registered their websites on various catalogue or collection sites, which were often full of keywords, almost to the point of illegibility.

These could be bought for money, and the more link parks you registered your website for, the higher the search engine ranked you.

Fortunately, however, the aforementioned big algorithm update put an end to the Wild West and brought order and peace to the galaxy. Note: Strange as it may sound, there are still catalogue links worth registering for. In Hungary, for example, this is Startlap, and in the USA it is Curlie.

Knowledge base: what is the Penguin algorithm? Google’s update has fundamentally changed the way we approach the internet and our search habits. Artificial intelligence was now able to interpret text semantically (i.e. it knew terms and synonyms). By seeing the text as a whole in context, it can only get to the right places with content that is interesting and relevant to readers.

#2 Guest posts

It is more likely to get super backlinks in the Anglo-Saxon countries with the so-called guest post. The idea is that you write content that is so useful and relevant to a topic that it will be linked to elsewhere.

Of course, life isn’t a fairy tale – the top, or even medium or low Domain Authority site owners won’t just find you (we’ll talk about what Domain Authority is a little further down.)

You have to find them, contact them and offer them your article, hoping they will pick it up.

There are exceptions, of course: if you are already an entity in the industry, like Brian Dean in the US, you don’t have to lift a finger to get a backlink.

(Of course, he started somewhere… probably as a “peddler” like the rest of us.)

#3 Skyscraper technique

Also linked to the name of the gentleman mentioned above is the so-called skyscraper technique, which is closely related to the previous point.

This skyscraper in this case is an article that explores a topic in a more comprehensive way than any other content published so far. Such articles can often be thousands of words long.

#4 Look for broken links

This is a more advanced link building technique that involves finding links to 404 pages. This can be done using analytics software such as SEMrush.

If you have found a link that leads to a dead end (i.e. points to a 404 page), you need to find content that is relevant to that anchor text (and of course the article.) Then you need to contact the website owner, then recommend your article to them and send them the url.

It’s also a lot of work, with relatively little success, but there are occasional nuggets of gold.

#5 Write a PR article or useful content

In Hungary, one of the most commonly used methods is to write a PR article or native content. A PR article usually focuses on the benefits of a product or service and is more sales-oriented than educational.

In contrast, native content provides useful information to readers and very rarely advertises.

The downside is that it costs a lot of money to be on a good site – which is why it is rarely used. Unfortunately, in Hungary, this is the most effective way to achieve this.

Note: Although Google officially penalises you for buying articles and publications for money, many people still take advantage of this loophole. It is virtually impossible to find out whether you have paid for an article or not.

A good link building strategy

A good link building strategy is a little bit of each, except for the link farm solution, because Google can penalize you heavily for that.

But what does it mean?

Consideration should be given to how relevant and strong the site is

Remember the Domain Authority (DA) mentioned above? It’s a ratio that shows how strong a site is.

When determining the DR, many things are taken into account, such as the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to it, the age of the domain, the content of the articles, the time spent on the site… and there are almost days of other things.

An Origo, for example, or a hvg both have a DA of 84, while a new start-up, such as a county or local news site, has a maximum score of 2-10. So the stronger the DA, the higher your Trust Rank will be.

Of course, it does matter from which page the links point to. If we have a webshop for vitamins and supplements, it would be strange if the official site of a thermal spa in Zalaszentgróti pointed to us – because the two have little to do with each other.

So we need to find sites that are relevant to the topic. In this particular case, for example, health and sports related sites, or general, larger news sites. Of course, it doesn’t matter what kind of text you write on them, because:

Quality text is more important than you think

After all, all the work, all the research, all the sweat and tears are for nothing if the text is bad, full of spelling mistakes and/or boring.

Because how long someone reads the article – how much time they spend on the page – is an important ranking factor for Google. The better the article, the more likely they are to read it and click through to your site. That is, if they click through at all – because this is determined by the quality of the anchor text.

But what is an anchor text?

Anchor text is nothing more than the text of the link pointing to your website.

“… you can read the article to find out in detail what the most important parts of SEO are.”

In this case, for example, the anchor text is the “most important parts of SEO”.

Many also make the typical mistake of simply redirecting readers to the main page – but this is not a good tactic at all.

On the one hand, you are comfortable. If he lands on the main page, he won’t look for the article he’s interested in unless you offer it to him on a platter, then he’ll simply click away.

On the other hand, a backlink is not considered relevant by Google, as it only points to the main page and has no other added value.

In some cases you can of course apply to link there, but if you have a relevant article on the topic, this would be a missed opportunity.

Summary

I hope the above has shown you that link building is not a piece of cake – but it is very rewarding in the long run, as it can get you to the top of Google. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this long, time-consuming job on your own, as you can outsource it to someone else. If you feel I could do the honours, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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