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What is Link Building for SEO – The Ultimate Guide

Link building for SEO is the process of obtaining external links from other websites to your own website. This is done in order to increase search engine visibility and rankings. The concept was adopted for the PageRank algorithm developed by Google. The PageRank algorithm works by counting the number of “quality” backlinks to a web page (note: I said web page not website) in order to develop a rough estimate as how important a website is. The idea is that it is assumed that an important website or web page will have more links pointing to it than a less important site.

Link building can include a variety of activities such as link exchanges, guest posting, pillow links, niche edits, press releases, local content links and social media profiles. Link building helps improve the quality and quantity of traffic to a website by sending new and potential customers. It also helps in creating awareness about the website’s existence, content, services and products. This has the added advantage of increased brand awareness. However, there are also good and bad practices when it comes to SEO.

Definition of Link Building for SEO

Link building is an essential practice within Off-page SEO that provides numerous link-related benefits. When link building is done correctly, it increases the visibility of a website and helps the site to rank higher in search engine results pages. Link building involves getting other websites to link to and recommend your content, which attracts more attention and web traffic from potential customers. It also helps build credibility and trustworthiness since other sources are recommending your website’s content. Ultimately, link building for SEO relies on quality link outreach and methodologies combined with creating content others will link to naturally, as this will be beneficial for boosts in organic search rankings over time.

Benefits and importance of Link Building for SEO

Link building is a highly important aspect when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When done effectively, benefits such as increased organic search visibility, improved rankings, increased click-through rates, higher trust and credibility levels, referral traffic and better branding opportunities can be enjoyed. It can even help in dealing with algorithm updates like Google’s Penguin filter that restricts or eliminates the benefits of low quality links. You certainly always want to build quality backlinks. As we already know there were many updates in 2022 – link spam and AI content being the hardest hit. Infact, in 2023, people are still suffering from the updates from last year.

Building strong links is essential for businesses of all sizes and industries because it provides numerous benefits – from generating leads to improving your marketing campaigns ROI. Besides helping websites gain more visibility on the SERPs, link building also offers other advantages such as brand detection and direct targeting from relevant web sources. The benefits of link building cannot be overstated; it is indeed a valuable resource for anyone who values success in SEO campaigns.

Benefits and importance include:

  • Essential part of a successful strategy.
  • Improves trust with potential customers. There is a reason why the best companies are ranked #1.
  • Seen as credible source of information or a credible company.
  • Increased brand awareness.

Types of Link Building Strategies

Stealing Competitors Links

One of the easiest link building methods and strategies is stealing competitors links. You can look at the backlinks of your competitors and see which websites are linking to them, then reach out to those websites in order to gain a link back.

Analyzing and stealing backlinks from your competitors is one of the most cost-effective ways to make your website competitive. By searching and reviewing backlinks, you can see which websites are offering backlinks to your competitors. While it’s important to create a quality backlink profile that feature diverse sources of backlinks rather than solely relying on other backlinks, it should not stop you from analysing what is working for those websites that are competing with yours. By looking at their backlink data, you can identify potential backlink partners and gain access to websites such as blogs in your industry. This helps guarantee more traffic to your website and assists in more efficient search engine optimisation results.

If you want to increase your website’s visibility and get more traffic, backlinks from high-ranking domains are one of the best resources. However, backlink generation can be a tedious process. One way to save time is to dig into backlinks of competitors and acquire links from those websites as well. This will ensure that your backlinks come from trustworthy sources and also jumpstart the backlink acquisition process. Additionally, it has the potential to be a much quicker backlink strategy than relying solely on unpaid backlinks. All in all, leveraging competitor backlinks is an excellent way to supplement backlink acquisition and step up your web presence game.

Guest Posting

With backlinks playing a significant role in improving your website’s search engine optimisation, one strategy that should not be overlooked is the guest posting backlink method. Guest post backlinks are particularly effective because you can gain backlinks from high domain authority websites and publications while also gaining exposure and traffic to your website.

The process of guest posting backlinks involves creating content on another site or blog as a guest author, usually with a backlink to your own website included in the article or post. An added benefit of using this method of backlinking is that it can help develop relationships with other websites and thus generate more organic links later on. Guest Post backlinking is highly effective for improving rankings on major search engines and should certainly form part of your overall link building strategy.

Press Releases or Sponsored Posts

Press release backlinks and sponsored posts have become increasingly popular backlink strategies for boosting the SEO ranking of websites. These backlinks are create from a link from the press releases or sponsored post back to your website. When someone clicks on the backlink, it sends a signal to search engines that your website is active and important. This can directly affect your website’s overall ranking on Google and other search engines, as well as traffic and user engagement levels on your site. Furthermore, these backlinks provide more exposure for your webpage by increasing its visibility in news outlets and consumer feeds beyond simply organic search results. Overall, investing in targeted platforms with targeted campaigns through press release backlinks and sponsored posts offer great potential benefits in SEO ranking, traffic, and brand awareness.

Local Content Links

Creating local content backlinks can be highly effective for helping your website to grow its ranks in Google and other search engine results pages. But what are local content backlinks and how should you go about creating them?

Local content backlinks refer to links pointed towards local webpages, such as local business directories or local news outlets. It is important to ensure that the content you produce is high-quality and relevant so that these local websites are willing to link out from their page. When creating local content backlinks, it is also important to make a strategy of varied anchor text for each link created. This will make the backlink profile more organic, which will look better in the eyes of search engines and benefit your rankings further.

Knowing how to create local content backlinks effectively is essential for any business looking to grow their local visibility online. Researching local industry relevant blogs and websites that link out often is one way to find good local content opportunities. Another great option is creating localised articles that other website owners can reference as well as distributing press releases through local channels.

By understanding local content backlinks and learning how to place them in an effective manner, you can expand your local businesses reach significantly.

Forum Links

Forum links are also known as forum backlinks. They are a way to increase the visibility of a website. They can be extremely helpful in boosting your website’s traffic and search engine ranking by giving your website more relevance and authority. By linking your website to forum discussions, users may stumble upon your site and realise it provides valuable content that they need. Doing forum backlinks properly is essential. In order to get it right, you should make sure to link your website to forums related to the content of your site. The link also needs to be helpful and related to the post itself. This will ensure that potential customers see content that actually interests them.

Additionally, having quality forum backlinks increases the credibility of your site which can lead to an increase in leads and conversions. Overall, forum backlinks can be incredibly helpful for increasing both visibility and traffic for a website – making them an effective tool for any marketer or entrepreneur.

Resource Link Building

Resource link building is an incredibly powerful strategy for improving the visibility of your website on the internet. Resource backlinks are direct links from one website to another, or resource. You provide that a web resource that another website can link to in order to reference it or amplify its content. By creating resource backlinks on reputable websites, both visitors and search engines will see that your website is reliable and trustworthy.

For effective resource link building, it’s important to ensure that the links to your website focus on quality rather than quantity. All links should be valuable or beneficial for both you, the other website and the user visiting their page. Additionally, be sure to use appropriate anchor text when creating resource links. By doing so, search engines have an easier time deciphering the context of your resource links and categorising them appropriately. Do not under any circumstances should you over-optimise your anchor text. With resource link building, your website can gain higher rankings while also introducing new visitors who may keep coming back!

Skyscraper backlinks

Skyscraper backlinks are a way to help your website stand tall above the competition. In the world of SEO, skyscraper backlinks can be extremely helpful by showing that other reputable websites have linked back to yours. It does requires some extra work to create these skyscraper backlinks effectively. The skyscraper technique involves first researching what popular and high-quality content is already being published on particular topics. Then you would use this information to create top-notch content of your own which incorporates even better content than the original. Afterward, you should reach out to key influencers and webmasters in your field and let them know about your article/website so they can link to it from their pages if they find it suitable. By doing this, you should begin to see an increase in traffic on your website backed by legitimate skyscraper links from high authority sites!

Reverse Image Link Building

Reverse image link building is a powerful way to build high-quality backlinks for your website. It involves finding relevant websites that feature images that are similar to yours, and then asking them for permission to link back to your website. This can help improve a website’s rankings in search engine results pages by giving it more links. When done correctly, reverse image link building can be a highly effective way of getting quality backlinks. To get reverse image backlinks effectively, one should first identify which websites they are interested in having linking to their site. Then, create inbox pitches that demonstrate the value of the reverse image link. Finally, follow up with the site owners and establish relationships so your reverse image links will stay active. With these steps in place, reverse image link building will start providing significant value for your website’s SEO efforts and overall reach.

Blog Commenting for Backlinks

Blog comment backlinks are a great way to improve the SEO of your website and help it rank higher in search engine results. But what are blog comment backlinks? Simply put, blog comment backlinks are links to websites that appear on blog comments – usually found at the bottom of the post. They are similar to the process of forum links. You can build natural blog comments and get backlinks to your own website, improving your chances of being visible in organic searches. There are a few different strategies for creating natural blog comment backlinks. You should target only relevant blog posts only. You should also provide genuine insights or input in the comment. And you should lastly participate in discussion threads related to blog posts. And for goodness sake, don’t spam blogs! With an effective blog commenting strategy, you can boost your website’s ranking with blog comment backlinks and benefit the blog post itself with a well-placed, helpful and meaningful comment.

Social Media Profile Links

Social Media profile backlinks are links that appear on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which ultimately link to your website’s pages. These social media profile backlinks enable web users to easily find your website when using social networks. By granting web users easier access to your website from social pages, you’re providing more potential avenues for traffic to reach the pages of your site. On top of this, having social media profiles can help give your website a higher ranking with search engines. When a search engine sees an increased level of social activity on these sites that link back to your page. Even though the links are largely no follow links, it still does benefit the business.

It is important to ensure all social profiles are being used and the backlinks are correct.

Niche Edits

Niche edit backlinks have become an increasingly attractive way to bolster a website’s backlink profile and improve its ranking. A niche edit is a link that has been placed within the content of another website in order to “edit” the existing context and provide a stronger signal for search engine optimisation. Simply put, niche edits build upon an existing link by changing contextual elements such as anchor text or images in order to create natural niche edits that will help the target website rank higher on search engine results pages. Creating niche edits is a popular form of link building because it helps shape the online discourse surrounding your website, which can lead to more successful rankings and more direct referral traffic. It also requires minimal effort for maximum benefit as niche edits can be created very quickly without requiring changes around other areas of the source website’s layout.

Tiered Link Building

Tiered backlinks are a dynamic form of link building that can help improve your website’s SEO performance. Fundamentally, tiered backlinks involve multiple layers of links that all point to your main website or landing page. The most simple tiered backlink structure involves three layers of links, with the first layer pointing from an authoritative source to a medium-level source, and with the second layer pointing from the medium-sourced page to the primary page.

Diagram of tiered link building

Creating natural looking tiered backlinks requires both creativity and a good understanding of relevant topics related to your website. To get tiered backlinks effectively, you’ll want to ensure that each tier includes diverse anchor text and is varied systematically, making sure that you avoid any suspicious patterns. Ultimately, tiered link building can be an extremely effective tool in boosting organic traffic and improving ranking on search engine results pages. It is however worth noting that tiered links are extremely blackhat SEO!

Link Exchanges

Backlink exchanges, also known as link exchanges, are a strategy used to increase SEO rankings of a website. This is done by having other websites place links to your site on their pages, and vice versa. In theory, this can help boost the website’s ranking if the sites are considered credible in the eyes of search engines. However, these black hat SEO tactics have been employed when it comes to backlink exchanges. Unscrupulous webmasters use this tactic of reciprocal linking in order to generate quick links which artificially inflate their search engine rank or deceive users by creating false impression of popularity or relevancy. Therefore it is important that webmasters and content writers consider the source before partaking in link exchanges so as not to practice black hat SEO and jeopardize their online reputation and trustworthiness. These kinds of links can severely compromise your sites rankings if you get a penality.

Pillow Links

Pillow links are a category of backlink that is used to diversify your backlink profile. This makes your backlink profile look more natural. For example, if you have 1000 Do-Follow backlinks from niche edits and guest posts on sites with only a handful of pages, you are bound to get into trouble with Google. It is unlikely that that would ever be the case but times change and you should rather be safe than sorry.

Pillow links may include the following:

  • Local Citation lLinks
  • Social Profiles
  • Web 2.0s
  • Directory Listings
  • Blog Post Comments

In my experience these links don’t throw much weight behind them but can help overall with regards to a long term plan.

How to get started with link building for SEO

  1. Research your competitors: Analyse your competitors’ link building strategies and look for opportunities to steal their links. When reviewing your competitors, there are other things you should be researching; namely their DA, PA and the overall number of links and link quality going to the website and specific webpage for that query.
  2. Identify quality websites & relevant topics: Find websites that are related to your topic (niche relevant) or industry and consider guest posting on those sites. The way you go about guesting posting is to type into Google ” guest post + niche/industry” and start reviewing the websites in the search results. Once you have a ‘qualified list”, you reach out to them and start building a relationship to work together.
  3. Create content: Create content that is valuable, informative and engaging for readers. The content needs to be helpful and useful to everyone who reads it. Now this part is very important: you need to create lots of content for both your own website and the blog post you plan to create a link from. I like to say “go content crazy”.
  4. Find contact information: Look for the website owner’s contact information and reach out with a pitch or proposal. As mentioned in the second point, after searching for viable blog posting and other link building opportunities – reach out to the blogs after finding their information and start building a relationship. Gaining a wide variety of these links is going to have an incredible impact on your business.
  5. Research anchor text strategy: There many different types of anchor text you could use but these are the main ones: Partial matches, Topical, Branded, Naked and Miscellaneous anchors. Partial matches would be SEO services for the keyword SEO Cape Town. Topical anchor is an anchor text base on the topic itself. Branded is your brand name – for example; Bias SEO would be my branded anchor text. Naked anchor text refers to the URL you are pointing to. In Bias SEO’s case it would be biasseo.co.za. Miscellaneous anchor text would be anchor text such as “read more” or “here”.
  6. Monitor links: Regularly monitor your backlink profile to ensure everything is going smoothly and the links are properly indexed by search engines. Indexing is a pain! You may need a tool like Index Me Now in order to get everything going. When it comes to monitoring links, there are 4 things you are looking for. 1. Which links are being indexed. 2. Are they no-follow or do-follow. 3. Have any backlinks been dropped and do you need to create new links. 4. What are the metrics you need to achieve your desired backlink profile.
  7. Track progress: Utilise web analytics to track the performance of your link building campaigns and adjust accordingly. The best way to track your progress is by watching how your website reacts in the search results and whether your website is moving “up or down”.
  8. Adapt & evolve: As trends and algorithms change, adapt and evolve your link building tactics to stay ahead of the competition. Adapt, evolve or die. This is SEO and link building in a nutshell. You have to be consistent with all things SEO in order to achieve measurable results and then maintain them.

Link Building Tips and Best Practices

  • Quality Over Quantity – focus on obtaining quality links from high authority websites over a large quantity of low-quality links. Also, please don’t ever use auto-generating link tools. You will get a penalty in record time from Google. I have noticed that a focused and structured approach is best when done in a conservative manner.
  • Build Relationships – establish relationships with bloggers, influencers and other website owners in order to have greater success in link building efforts. Link building is 99% relationship building. It is worth mentioning this; bloggers hangout online and usually have a large portfolio of blogs in a variety of niches where you can also get links from.
  • Start Small – begin small, with local businesses and smaller websites and build up from there. It is suspicious if all your blog posts and backlinks are High DA, Do-Follow backlinks. Getting a few selected links, at a ongoing basis will benefit your website more than mass link acquisition.
  • Leverage Social Media – use social media platforms to reach out to target audiences and engage with them. I have been noticing that using social media to get initial traffic to the site is useful. It is worth noting that the social links and sharing of social media content is also a backlink.
  • Monitor Link Building Progress – track link building progress through analytics tools such as Google Search Console or SEMrush. Start with a few links at a time and monitor and tweak your link building strategy from there.


Link building is an essential part of any successful SEO strategy and should be approached with a clear plan in mind. Link building is not just about getting backlinks but also building relationships, creating content that adds value and leveraging social media platforms to reach out to target audiences. Quality over quantity should always be the mantra when it comes to link building and progress should be monitored with analytics tools. With the right tactics and consistency, Link Building can help take your website to the next level.

If you need help building your authority by utilising backlinks, please contact us today to learn more about out SEO services.


What is link building?

Link building is the process of obtaining links from other websites to your own website in order to increase search engine visibility and rankings. Link building can include a variety of activities, such as link exchange, guest blogging, press releases, content marketing and social media outreach.

Is link building easy?

Link building can be a challenging task, especially when trying to obtain backlinks from credible, authoritative sites naturally. Link building requires strategic planning and implementation of effective strategies in order to get the desired results.

What are the rules of effective link building?

The key to effective link building is to ensure the links you obtain are from quality websites and that the content provided on the linking sites are relevant and contextual to your own website. Link building should also be done in a way that will not result in any penalties from search engines. It is important to check that all backlinks obtained follow Google’s guidelines on Link Schemes.

What should you not do in a link building strategy?

When building links, it is important to ensure that you are not engaging in any practices which could be seen as unethical or manipulative by Google. Link buying, link farms and Link exchange programmes should be avoided as they can lead to penalties from search engines. It is also important to make sure that the content surrounding the backlinks is relevant, of high quality and adds value to the page. Link building should also be done with an awareness of the competition in order to ensure that your website is not negatively affected by other websites’ link building strategies.

What are the mistakes people make when link building?

When it comes to mistakes people make when link building, one of the most common is using unethical methods like buying links or participating in link farms. Linking solely from irrelevant or low-quality websites can also harm your SEO efforts. Additionally, building too many links in a short period of time or not diversifying anchor text and sources of backlinks are also mistakes that should be avoided. Link building is an important part of any SEO strategy, but it needs to be done correctly in order to get the desired results.

What are the best link building techniques for businesses to use?

Effective link building requires an understanding of the rules that search engines use to determine a page’s ranking. Link building should be done in an ethical manner, and any link manipulation or spamming can have serious consequences for your website. Link building should also focus on providing value to readers and not just acquiring backlinks. Additionally, you should avoid buying links or using low-quality backlinks from untrustworthy sources.

Common mistakes in link building include following outdated practices, failing to diversify your link profile, and not monitoring your linking progress. Link building is a long-term strategy and requires patience and dedication to see results.

The best link building techniques for businesses include guest blogging, creating compelling content, reaching out to influencers in your industry and engaging in link building partnerships with other businesses. Link building is a powerful tool and when done correctly can be extremely effective in growing your website’s visibility and ranking.

What makes a backlink toxic?

The rules of effective link building include following Google guidelines, avoiding black hat tactics, focusing on quality rather than quantity links, and diversifying your backlink sources. Link building should also focus on creating valuable content that other websites may find relevant enough to link to.

When it comes to toxic backlinks, you should avoid buying or selling links, link exchange schemes, and keyword stuffing the anchor text. Additionally, you should not participate in any unethical link building practices such as link farms or automated linking programs.

How do you know is a link is risky or toxic?

Common mistakes when it comes to link building include using irrelevant links, low-quality backlinks, irrelevant anchor text and broken links. Additionally, some people make the mistake of not diversifying their link sources or relying too heavily on current backlinks. If links are auto generated or just generally spammy – they are no good. Simply by going through the website and reading the pages on the site will tell you if it is spammy or not. Other methods can be to use 3rd party tools to view the MOZ spam score, DA and PA metrics. My favourite method by far is looking at the websites inbound traffic. This is key to know whether the website is a PBN or not.