What are the Rules of Effective Link Building? (Beginner’s Guide)

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Last Updated on July 31, 2022 by Arif Chowdhury

Link building is a core technique to rank your site in search engines. But, you may ask, what are the rules of effective link building?

Link building is one of the oldest techniques to rank high on Google since the beginning of search engines. However, it has changed a lot since then, but the importance of quality link building has never changed. Instead, it is still growing every day.

I have written this guide for new and expert content writers, so all types of people can benefit from it. There is always much to learn in this technology era, especially SEO.

That’s why you need to understand the mechanism of link building if you want to grow your website online and beat your competitors. But, don’t worry; link building will not fade away because it is the lifeblood of search engines.

First of all, I am going to discuss what link building is and then why it is essential. There are vast chunks of data to digest; therefore, no need to hurry; let me elaborate on it for you step by step.

Definition: What is link building?

In simple terms, link building is like a vote from other website content. Let’s say the other ten relevant websites give a vote (recommendation) to your website. It is a form of advice that your website is good, informative, and trustworthy.

Do you know, what are the rules of effective link building? A proper link building can easily rank your site on the top of Google.

This vote is used to determine your page rank, and hundreds of factors are included. This vote from another site is called a link.

For example, when you visit a website within an article or blog post, you find a link to an external website is an example of a hyperlink or link in short form. Using this hyperlink, users can surf from website to website.

Search engines have spider bots whose main task is to crawl from website to website using this hyperlink to index new web pages in their search directory. It usually gives importance to those links from a high authority site like Wikipedia.

As it is a high authority site, any link from this site will boost your page SEO as Google usually considers them necessary and trustworthy.

Though it is a simple definition, building quality links is the hardest part of SEO, as many experts believe. There are many forms of link-building strategy, and they vary from each other based on types and difficulty.

Many big brands hire SEO experts and spend thousands of dollars monthly for publishing guest posts or trying to build links using broken link techniques. Therefore, if you can master link-building tactics, you can easily outlast your competitors.

Quick Note: Guest blogging or guest post is one of the most well-known and safe SEO link-building for your website. However, you must produce high-quality content; otherwise, no one will be interested in publishing your guest post. You may also use the broken link-building technique to acquire a high-quality backlink.

Anatomy of a hyperlink.

Before I talk about the importance of link building, let me give you some insight into a hyperlink. First, you need to have a clear understanding of a hyperlink if you want to become a master of link-building strategies.

You need to know the anatomy of hyperlinks to understand how link building works?

<a href=”http://www.example.com”>Example</a>

It starts with “<a,” and it is the beginning of an anchor tag and hyperlink. It tells the Google spider bot that it is a link and an internal or external page is connected to it. 

Then the 2nd part is “href=”…”>” it is a hyperlink referral, and it indicates a webpage. It does not always have to be a webpage; it can be anything else from image, file, audio or video, etc. Sometimes when a link is pointing to a location on the same page, it starts with a # tag. 

The 3rd part, “Example,” is an anchor text. It is the visible part of a link you always see whenever a link appears on a webpage. It indicates a text that describes what that link is all about, and it usually has blue color so users can easily differentiate the link from a text. 

The 4th and final part is the “</a>” tag; it tells the spider bot that hyperlink ended here.

How do search engines utilize links?

Let me enlighten you on how search engines utilize a link and why it is essential to them. There are several uses of a link; 1st, it is used to find new content all over the internet and index. 

The 2nd purpose is to rank every individual web page in search results based on importance and trustworthiness, so users can quickly find relevant websites and helpful content whenever they search. 

Now let’s dig for more information. 

Every search engine has its unique spider bot that primarily searches for new pages and indexes them in its database. When spider bot crawls new pages, they scan the entire content of that page, from text to images and even videos, to find keywords. 

Now do not forget that these are robots. They do not understand text, images, or video, no matter how smart they get nowadays. Still, they do not possess human-level intelligence; thus, they always search for keywords and define a page based on that.

By getting links from other authority sites will boost your site SEO.

For example, I am talking about link building in this piece of content. Any human can easily understand this topic by reading the headline and some text within it. However, search engines try to understand the type of content by scanning keywords’ volume and density. 

In this blog post, many keywords are related to link building and SEO. And by counting these “keywords density,” search engines will determine this article is all about SEO and link building.

There are many unknown factors google uses to rank a website.

Now counting the density of keywords is just a single factor among the hundreds of how Google ranks a website. However, I can guarantee that how many external links point to a web page is a significant factor that Google uses to determine the popularity of a website.

And this is called a link from another site. Google counts these links as votes towards the popularity of this webpage and ranks according to it. Therefore, when links come from a poor-quality website, Google gives it a little value to none, while links from authority websites count as high-quality links.

Quick Note: You should focus on creating great content. Only then will it become link-worthy to other sites. It is the safest and most authentic way to get links to your site. Also, remember that many link-building techniques exist, such as guest blogging, broken link building, skyscraping, etc., but none will work for you if you produce low-quality content.

Google has its algorithm; therefore, no one knows how the formula works; I can only give you a brief idea. However, links from other high authority websites are a crucial factor that Google uses and started to dominate all other search engines in 2000. One of the Google co-founders, Larry Page, invented this “Page Rank” later, it became known as “Domain Authority.”

They use this authority metric to rank a site hierarchy based on how many external links point to that website. Based on this metric, they now determine which page has higher quality than others and rank them on the search result page.

Though initially, it was an excellent strategy to rank authority web pages. However, people tried to cheat spider bots by controlling keyword density and manipulating links from other sites.

Recommended Readings: How to Write a Perfect SEO Title to Boost Your Organic Traffic?

A new evolution in link attribution.

To give quality service, Google had no choice but to implement a new algorithm to remove previously recommended techniques. One is called “Website Directories,” people used to submit their website and get a backlink from there.

It was a popular link-building strategy back then; however, people tried to trick Google by selling those links to other poor-quality web pages that wanted to rank higher. It is how manipulating links began.

And after a while, because of these abuses and overuse of techniques, they had to remove those link-building strategies from their algorithm to make it clean again.

But that was just the beginning of every year Google invented a new algorithm to prevent rank manipulation from dishonest webmasters. A recent change in algorithm name “Penguin update” prevents webmasters from overuse optimization such as keyword density now has to be natural. As a result, keyword stuffing will no longer rank you higher. Instead, it will rank you down.

Quick Note: The best practice is – to conduct keyword research thoroughly on your article topic, then use LSI keywords to make it natural.

People also ask questions is a great way to identify relevant keywords and queries.

My advice is – to use the “people also ask” section; you will find lots of relevant questions from the audience. Then, answer them in your content to fill it with semantic keywords.

Recommended Readings: How to Get on Google First Page for Free? (Beginner’s Guide)

Anatomy of ranking factors (researched by experts).

How Google’s ranking algorithm works is still a mystery as it is a company secret, it was never published in public. Though according to MOZ, there are some factors we can discuss here, and link building is a significant part of it.

Moz ranking factor for Google SERP.

They did several case studies and asked over 150 SEO experts to build up survey data, which they found. If you look at this survey data, there are nine total factors they have discussed. However, these are just major ranking factors. There are hundreds of other factors that Google uses, and we do not know about them. 

Most importantly, we don’t even need to know. Just be honest from your side, and Google will take care of you.

Now here, if we look at these factors, then the 1st and most influential factors are “Domain-Level Link Feature” and the 2nd one is “Page-Level Link Feature” as you can see, over 150 SEO experts believe that the most influential ranking factors are how many quality backlinks are pointing to your site and there is no alternate of it.

The 3, 4, and 5 number factors are “relevant keywords” and “audience engagements.” In my opinion, when you write an article, relevant keywords will be added naturally, so there is no need to be cautious about that. 

For example, do I have to be cautious about specific keywords while writing this link-building guide? No, it will happen automatically, and my suggestion is, don’t try to add keywords manually unless your specific keywords density is too low. 

Quick Note: Most link-building techniques will require contacting the site owners to request links pointing to your website. This way, you can build a powerful and effective link profile. However, do not think it will be easy because webmasters often do not reply; thus, you should expect to achieve a single backlink after hundreds of outreach.

Get audience engagement to increase rank.

And talking about “audience engagements” entirely depends on the quality of your writing; you cannot control audience engagements. So, this factor is also automatic; all you have to do is write high-quality, engaging content. If your audience loves it, then it will automatically become exciting content.

So, the verdict is that you must write quality and engaging content and get natural backlinks from high authority sites to get ranked high enough in Google SERP. 

Do not forget about social media signals like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sharing and liking. In that recent “Penguin” update, experts believe that social signals also play a significant role in link building. But in my opinion, social signals will come naturally. For example, when you get thousands of visitors per month, you do not need to think about social sharing and liking because your audience will naturally do that for you. 

Okay, now let’s talk about natural link building; what is the “natural” meaning? And why Google is getting more sophisticated about the quality of links.

Definition: What are nofollow links?

You may have already heard about “nofollow” sort of things. When you visit a website and click on a link, you have no idea whether it is a nofollow or dofollow link simply because this nofollow or dofollow is not meant for you. 

In simple terms, this attribute is not for users but search engines coded in HTML like these.

“<a href=”http://www.example.com” rel=”nofollow”>Example</a>” 

While the dofollow link looks like this

 “<a href=”http://www.example.com”>Example</a>”

So, the only difference is rel=”nofollow,” which tells search engines that “I am not voting for this guy.” Simple as that. 

Now, why does a website do that? There could be so many reasons behind it, but in most cases, a website uses this attribute to a link when it has no control or takes some time to decide on it. 

For example, in a popular blog comment section, you could post a few to hundreds of comments with links from the audience. And even if the blog owner can remove those links manually, it will take considerable time to do that. And if that blog has hundreds of blog posts, imagine how many comments will be published.

Nofollow links are best for referral traffic to boost your sales.

And precisely in that scenario, there is no control over the links, and it is evident that the blog owner has no idea about all the links their audience has posted in the comments. Maybe they are trustworthy, maybe not. Perhaps those are malware links. Who knows? 

And for safekeeping, blog owners use the “nofollow” attribute to these links and effectively tell them not to trust these; at least blog owners have no idea about them. There is another reason for using this “nofollow” attribute; until 2005, spammers used this opportunity to rank their pages.

They could easily do this by commenting on other highly authoritative websites and getting a link to their site. Because of that reason, many spam websites get a high rank on Google, preventing this. Google implemented the “nofollow” attribute. 

Therefore, by using the “nofollow” attribute, a blog owner stays on the safe side. However, a link that gets the “nofollow” attribute won’t get as much benefit as it would get from a standard “dofollow” link. 

What are the Rules of Effective Link Building? (Beginner's Guide) (Infographic).

Quick Note: Do not think having a nofollow link is bad for your website. There is no good or lousy link unless you get links from spammy websites. Besides, having both dofollow and nofollow links will make your backlink profile more natural to search engines. Also, every referring domain from a high-authority website counts.

Recommended Readings: SEO Mini Handbook: A Simple 5 Steps Guideline (Practical Guide)

Another purpose is to add the “nofollow” attribute in the external links, paid or advertisement links. For example, Google suggests a website owner uses the “nofollow” attribute to their paid links so it won’t pass a value to them.

The reason is that you can do an advertisement by paying; however, the organic ranking value shouldn’t pass to them as it is not based on quality but instead on money.

Not just for blog comments, forum posts, and paid/advertising links but also press releases, advertorials, and article directories, links are suggested to have a “nofollow” attribute to reduce the easy ranking opportunity.

Why should you waste your time on “nofollow” links?

Well, the answer is, do not even bother. Because some experts believe that if you have 100% dofollow backlinks, you are in great trouble because Google will take your domain suspicious as spam. You might have bought those links from different high authority websites; otherwise, you would also have some nofollow links.

Therefore, your domain profile has to have both dofollow and nofollow links to make it more natural-looking. Besides, if you look at the high authority websites like “Quora,” all of their question and answer links are “nofollow.” However, even after that, all big brands, experts, and leaders are marching to Quora to contribute question answers.

Why is that? Simple, in a high-traffic website like Quora (470 Million visitors per month), it doesn’t matter whether it is dofollow or nofollow. Google will count that link for something and also think about the massive organic traffic you may get from your answer. Therefore, your task is to get as many dofollow and nofollow links as possible, forget about what attributes they have, target a high-quality website with massive organic traffic, and that’s it.

How can link building grow your business?

Now let’s talk about business. How to grow your online business through website link building and become profitable in the long run?

The straightforward reason is getting high-quality free organic traffic to your website. Think about “Quora.” They are getting 470 million visitors every month without paying a single penny for it; how did they manage to do this?

PPC ad campaign will provide you an instant boost in the sale, but it is highly expensive, while backlinks will give you millions of free organic traffic, however it will take time and effort.

By advertising? No, by building links from other websites and becoming popular in the hearts of their audience as well. Creating a solid backlink profile is useless if you cannot win your audience’s hearts. So, your primary task is to build a strong backlink profile, and Google will rank you higher in their SERP, and you will get millions of organic visitors every month. Finally, your business will beat the competitors.

Build an everlasting relationship with other webmasters.

It is the only benefit you get from search engines by building a solid backlink profile. However, there are more benefits on the way. First, don’t forget that building relationships can also be done through links from other sites; just like brick and mortar businesses, you make alliances with other companies by exchanging cards, gifts, resources for production, etc.

The same goes here in online business, you are giving value by writing quality content to other websites, and in exchange, they offer you a dofollow link pointing back to your website. Not only will that benefit your site ranking, but also their audience will see your content along with your business name; with it, you gain exposure and new customers.

Take advantage of referral traffics from relevant websites.

Gaining Referral traffic is another benefit you may get by receiving links from relevant websites. Though it doesn’t matter what type of attribute that link has, you will get targeted visitors to your site and hopefully more revenue.

Ask yourself how many times you have learned about new websites by clicking on links. Did you ever know what kind of link that is? Even getting hundreds of “nofollow” links from relevant websites can get you thousands of extra visitors every month. Experts believe having many links from relevant sites can also increase your website ranking regardless of dofollow or nofollow links.

Establishing a brand is the ultimate link building.

Finally, you are walking towards brand building by link-building to other websites. There are many opportunities to write a guest post on different websites and answer questions on Quora and other similar sites. Start a discussion in similar forums that are related to your business.

Here are some websites for you to get started with your link-building campaign.

Guest Post:

1. Lifehack

2. BuzzFeed

3. Fobes

4. Business Insider

Question and Answer:

1. Quora

2. Reddit

3. Yahoo Answer

Recommended Reading: 11 Steps SEO Audit Checklist: Proven Guidelines for SEO Campaign

Quick Note: Though there are many ways you can build links yet broken link-building technique is one of the most popular and effective ways to get the job done.

Forget about “dofollow” or “nofollow.” Just remember every single link counts unless you are spamming your link or getting many backlinks from spam websites.

Conclusion

I tried to answer all the possible questions regarding the rules of effective link building. I hope you get the answer.

At the end of this link-building guide, I want to tell you one last thing. Before you do anything else about link building, try to build your website with as much value as possible. Just think this: If you have a dust bag and want to sell it. No matter how much you spend on the advertisement, do you think people will buy that?

Therefore, it doesn’t matter how smart you are in marketing or link building. When people do a Google search, if they find your product or service has low value, all your link-building efforts will go in vain. No one will buy it, and they will immediately leave your site. And because of that, your site will lose its rank.

In other cases, if you can build value and trust, people will love to share your content, and eventually, it will go viral.

Then you do not have to build links for yourself because your audience will do that by sharing it all over the internet. So yes, leverage the power of “go viral,” and your audience will take care of your site; you sit back and watch how your business grows.

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