Off-Page SEO

Link Building

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Jun 6, 2023

Link Building

What is link building?

Link building is the process of getting backlinks from other websites for your own website. These backlinks are the incoming links pointing from other websites to yours.

Do you want to learn more about what are backlinks and how are they important for SEO? Read our in-depth article on Backlinks.

How does link-building work?

Link building works by establishing links from another website to your website. When a website links to your website, it passes some authority to the page it links to and can also increase referral traffic to that page on your website.

However, with the introduction of nofollow and follow attributes by Google, webmasters now have the option to choose whether or not to pass on authority to the page they link to.

If a webmaster chooses the nofollow attribute, the linked page will not receive any authority from the referring page, but it can still receive visibility and referral traffic.

There are various strategies that can be used to rank a page well with link building, such as earning high-quality backlinks from reputable sources and creating valuable, shareable content.

Ultimately, successful link-building requires a combination of strategic thinking, valuable content, and strong relationships with other websites in your industry or niche

Importance of link building

Link building is important in SEO because it is one of the most important ranking factors that helps improve a page's ranking, and SEO is all about ranking higher.

Google says:

Google on quality of content

The more votes (backlinks) you get from high-ranking websites, the higher rank your page will achieve.

However, focusing too much or only on link building is never recommended. You need to work on it as much as you work on other ranking factors.

What is quality link building?

Google will not tell you the evaluation process of every link; still, SEOs believe that certain qualities of backlinks make them able to rank.


The authority of a page is the value and quality that determines the high ranking of that page. A page with high authority will give more credible backlinks and pass more value than one with low authority.


Relevance is one of the user’s and search engine’s favourite factors. In terms of backlinking, the link must appear on the relevant page rather than an irrelevant one.

For instance, if you have a great recipe for making pearl tea and you want to publish it on a fashion blog, it will not be considered relevant and rankable (if it is even published).

Follow/nofollow attribute

When a backlink has a nofollow attribute in the HTML file, it signals the search engine not to pass authority to the page it refers to.

Conversely, when there is no attribute in the HTML file, the search engine is allowed to follow and pass the authority to the linked page.

Follow backlinks are more important, and they should be achieved to get a better endorsement from reputable sites.

However, nofollow links are not bad for SEO, but they are less valuable. The nofollow attribute was designed to prevent spammy link building in the past and is still used for such practices, but now two more attributes have been introduced.

rel=“sponsored”: this attribute specifies affiliate links that are meant for advertisement.

rel=“ugc”: this attribute refers to user-generated content to differentiate it from others.

These attributes are useful for you if you want to give backlinks to other sites. This way, you can save the value of your web page from being distributed to low-quality or untrustworthy web pages.

Anchor text information

Anchor text refers to the clickable text that appears in the content of a web page. The relevance and details given in the Anchor text should be convincing for a user to click on it and for a search engine to consider it relevant.

Irrelevant or insufficient details might not be considered good for SEO purposes.

For instance, if a health blog references a page that is about the best exercises for weight loss, and there are two choices for anchor text:

XYZ website tells so many healthy ways to lose weight within a few weeks. This website has gained so much popularity over the past few years. This time also, the 10 exercises for healthy weight loss are being popularly admired.

The first blue text (not clickable in this example) tells no details about the article, while the second one sums it up clearly. The second one will bring better results.

Moreover, focusing on the focus keyword(s) is important, but stuffing keywords and adding too many details can also make it look spammy. Therefore, the anchor text should naturally and sensibly occur in the content.

Prominence of link

The visibility and positioning of a hyperlink are important factors to consider when building links. To make your links more visible to users, use prominent fonts and colours that stand out from the surrounding text.

Moreover, the Reasonable Surfer Model suggests that users are more likely to give importance to certain links and won't randomly surf through a website.

This means that the position of the link on the page can also play a significant role. Links placed in prominent locations, such as at the top of the page or in a sidebar, are more likely to be clicked on and generate more referral traffic.

As a rule of thumb, links in the footer section are not much prominent, but it depends on the type of content.

For example, if a blog tells you an intriguing story, it is natural to scroll until the end. In such a case, a backlink in the end part may be more relevant and bring more traffic.

Link-building strategies

The following are the best strategies for building links.

Earning links

Linkable asset

A linkable asset is a type of content that you make to attract backlinks for your site. 

It is a case that does not often occur because you have to create overly outstanding content to make other websites give you backlinks. Some people think that it is an impossible target that one cannot achieve.

However, tutorials, detailed guides, case studies, infographics, tools, surveys, and a lot of such original and unique content can help in organic link-building.

To have an idea about creating linkable assets, you can check out your competitors. Going over their content, you will figure out which strategy can work well to attract backlinks.

Reaching out

Guest posting

Guest posting refers to posting content on a site other than your own. It can bring more traffic to your site by link building. What you can do is produce quality content that can fascinate a website owner.

It is important because the site where you want to publish your content does not necessarily need it, and it will give you a backlink only when you create something impressive.

The best practice is to avoid spun content and bring more well-researched content rather than outdated data

Skyscraper technique

This technique was proposed by Brian Dean (founder of Backlinko). It involves:

  • Searching for a keyword

  • Finding an article on this keyword that have many backlinks

  • Create an even better article with every feature better than that article (e.g., authenticity, research, fresh data, elaborate, etc.)

  • Ask those websites - backlinking the given article - to give backlinks to your article

This technique works in the case when you successfully create better content. More often, it does not boost your backlinking because your content can be recognised as something rewritten or also because you do not have much recognition.

Broken link building

Broken links, also known as dead links, are hyperlinks on a website that do not lead to the desired destination page.

Instead, when clicked, they direct users to a 404 error page, indicating that the requested page is not found.

Broken links can occur for various reasons, such as when a page is moved, deleted, or the URL structure is changed.

To identify broken links, you can use tools like Ahrefs or other off-page SEO tools. These tools scan websites and provide a report of all the broken links present. 

Once you have the list of broken links, you can proceed with the following steps:

  • Check the backlink profile: Using Ahrefs or similar tools, you can analyze the backlinks pointing to the pages with broken links. By examining the backlink profile, you can determine which external websites are linking to the pages with broken links.

  • Contact site owners: After identifying the websites that have backlinks pointing to broken pages, you can reach out to the respective site owners. Notify them about the broken link on their page and provide them with the correct URL of the page they should link to instead which can be yours.

  • Request link replacement: Politely ask the site owner to update the broken link with the correct URL you provided. Explain why it would be beneficial for them to replace the broken link, such as if the content on your page provides additional value or if it is more up-to-date than the page it currently links to.

  • Provide relevant information: Make it easy for the site owner by providing them with the exact location of the broken link on their page. Include the anchor text of the link and the specific page or section on their website where the broken link is found. This information will assist them in quickly locating and replacing the broken link.

It's important to note that while reaching out to site owners to request link replacement, there is no guarantee that they will comply.

Some may ignore your request or decline, as it ultimately depends on their willingness to update their website.

However, this outreach strategy can be an effective way to reclaim lost backlinks or build new backlinks.


Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects you to journalists by allowing you to present newsworthy content.

If your content gets selected among many competitors, you can get credible backlinks from the best news sites.

Press Release

You can contact journalists or news agencies to publish a newsworthy piece of content you have written.

It can include a news story, event, or anything that can attract a wider audience. If your content gets selected, you can win a good backlink.

Ego bait is a technique used in digital marketing and link-building strategies to attract attention and secure backlinks from other websites.

The concept behind ego bait is to create content that praises or endorses a person, brand, product, or service with the intention of eliciting a response and gaining a backlink in return.

Here's how the ego bait technique typically works:

  • Identify target individuals or businesses: Determine the individuals, companies, or websites that you want to target for backlinks. They should be relevant to your industry or niche and have a substantial online presence.

  • Create high-quality content: Develop content that highlights and praises the target individual or business. This can be in the form of a blog post, article, interview, review, or any other type of content that showcases their expertise, achievements, or unique offerings. Make sure the content is well-researched, engaging, and valuable to readers.

  • Contact the target: Reach out to the target individual or business and inform them about the content you have created. Let them know that you have highlighted their work and would appreciate it if they would consider linking to your piece from their website or sharing it with their audience.

  • Offer value: Emphasize the benefits they could gain by linking to your content, such as increased visibility, exposure, and the opportunity to showcase their positive reputation. Make it clear that you genuinely admire their work and that the endorsement in your content is sincere.

  • Monitor and follow up: Keep track of the responses you receive and follow up with any interested parties. If someone agrees to link to your content, express your gratitude and provide any additional information or assets they may need.

  • It's important to note that while ego bait can be an effective strategy for acquiring backlinks, it should be approached with caution. Google's guidelines discourage excessive link exchanges and manipulative tactics that solely focus on obtaining backlinks. It's crucial to maintain the integrity of your content and ensure that the ego bait technique aligns with ethical and white-hat SEO practices.

To avoid potential issues with Google's policies, it's best to use ego bait sparingly and focus on creating high-quality content that naturally attracts backlinks.

Additionally, diversify your link-building strategies by incorporating other techniques such as guest posting, content promotion, and building relationships with influencers and industry experts.

Link exchange

It is a give-and-take technique of link-building, but it should be limited and used moderately as extensive link-building for the sake of higher ranking while manipulating the ranking system is considered spammy by Google.

Discouraged practices in the link building


You should keep relevance in mind whenever you post, promote, or reach out for your links. It is because finding link-building opportunities on irrelevant platforms can harm your SEO efforts.

Buying links

Buying or selling links are both prohibited by Google Webmaster Guidelines:

  • Buying or selling links for ranking purposes. This includes:

    • Exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links

    • Exchanging goods or services for links

    • Sending someone a product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link


Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your site, which helps improve your site's ranking and credibility.

Quality link building is important, and factors such as authority, relevance, and link prominence can affect the value of the links.

It is worth noting that buying or selling links for the purpose of ranking higher in search results is a discouraged practice that violates Google's guidelines.

This is because it can lead to the creation of low-quality, spammy links that don't actually provide value to users.

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