After working with 100+ customers on SEO campaigns, we’ve learned that link building isn’t always the best marketing channel.
The solution? Let’s first check whether link building is right for you.
Link building can bring in a huge ROI, but it can also do nothing if the business isn’t in a sector that won’t benefit from being in the top 5 positions in search results.
TL;DR: Link building may not be effective for your business if SEO is not a viable marketing strategy for your audience or sector. Not all businesses benefit from higher search rankings, especially if customers don’t use Google to find their services. Building the wrong kinds of links or prioritising quantity over quality can lead to penalties rather than benefits.
Before focusing on link building, ensure your on-page SEO, website optimisation, and content strategies are solid. Some businesses, especially new websites or those in highly competitive sectors, may find link building less beneficial and should consider alternative marketing strategies.
SEO is not the right marketing medium if your target audience isn’t looking for the products or services you provide on Google.
After 8+ years in the SEO game, we have gathered valuable insights to help you better decide whether to invest in SEO.
🚀 Get A Free Proposal & Strategy
We would love to see what we can do for you. Whether you need links or a full SEO sprint campaign. Let us know about your project and we can send you a free proposal.
In this article, we will discuss the what and why of link building.
Let’s dive in!
- What is link building, and why is it important?
- Is link building for you?
- Importance of combining link building and authoritative content strategies.
- Common link building mistakes to avoid
- Businesses that should avoid link building
- Businesses that should use link building
- Which companies can help you with link building?
What is link building, and why is it important?
Link building is acquiring links from other websites to your site. These links, also known as backlinks, are a crucial component of search engine optimisation because search engines use them as a significant factor when determining the ranking of a website on their results pages.
When a website links back to your site, it signals to Google that your content is reputable. Thereby helping your content rank in search results. It’s a bit more complex than that, but in essence, that is why links are important.
Out of the hundreds of ranking factors in the Google algorithm, link building is among the top 8 factors. This fact itself proves how vital link building is for your website.
Link building is essential for improving a website’s visibility, ranking in search engine results, and overall credibility and authority. It is crucial for long-term value and indexing as well.
If link building is so crucial, why is your business not benefitting from it? If you are building enough backlinks, where are the results you desire?
If your link building isn’t working, your business doesn’t need any more link building. The problem lies elsewhere.
Link building is a crucial part of the SEO strategy, but there are various other elements to fix first so that those links can deliver results.
You might need to focus on the right aspect of link building. Your business might need to focus on other areas of your SEO strategy, like website optimisation, on-page and off-page SEO, or produce (and distribute) more high-quality content.
So, before jumping onto link building and filling your website with spammy links, let’s discuss everything you might be doing wrong with link building.
Before learning about link building mistakes, let’s consider whether your business should focus on link building for now or not.
Let’s look at other aspects of SEO first
Link building is just one factor SEO, you need to ensure that you have nailed all the other aspects first.
But what are these other crucial elements? Let’s find out below:
Get on-page SEO right first
Before link building, check whether your on-page SEO is On-point.
On-page SEO includes all the aspects you can control on your website to make it more search-engine friendly, such as proper use of title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword optimisation.
These are some of the most essential on-page factors to optimise first:
- Title Tags: Create concise and unique titles for each page using relevant keywords close to the beginning and accurately reflecting the content.
- Meta Descriptions: Craft compelling meta descriptions that include target keywords and encourage users to click through to your content.
- Header Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.): Use header tags to structure content hierarchically and thematically. Include keywords in headers, especially the H1 tag, which typically encapsulates the page’s main topic.
- Keyword Optimisation: Strategically include relevant keywords in your content, but avoid keyword stuffing. Use semantic variations and long-tail keywords to capture more nuanced search queries.
- Image Optimisation: Optimize images with descriptive file names, alt text, and proper formatting. Compress images to improve page load speed without compromising on quality.
- User Experience (UX): A well-designed UX can reduce bounce rates and increase the time spent on the site, which can signal to search engines that users find the content valuable.
- Site Speed Optimization: The loading speed of your pages affects user experience and is a ranking factor. Faster loading times can contribute to better rankings. This really fall into the UX category.
Now that you have figured out the basics let’s move on to optimising the site further.
If you aren’t sure about all this, look at our Foundation Sprint service. Our Foundation Sprint is all about setting out a roadmap for success in SEO. We do a deep audit on everything from technical issues and a backlink audit to content and a manual review of each page on your site. The result is a comprehensive strategy and a detailed list of what you must fix.
Don’t skip your Content Marketing Strategy:
This is something we see a lot. Clients will keep pushing to build more links but don’t put much thought into their content marketing strategy. A solid content marketing strategy is as important as a link building strategy. If anything, content is a way to get some quick, relevant traffic to your site.
Content works hand in hand with link building. So get this right and ensure you have started creating great, authoritative content before you start link building. You need something to link to, after all.
Hubspot is an example of great content marketing
HubSpot is the pioneer in content marketing, and its blog is a prime example of utilising content to attract and engage an audience effectively. With over 700 blog posts spanning various marketing topics, HubSpot provides readers with educational and actionable advice to help grow their businesses.
Relevant, Value-Added Content
Hubspot’s content directly speaks to its target audience of marketers and sales professionals. Articles tackle these groups’ actual problems and questions to provide real value.
Variety to Attract All Personas
While focused on inbound marketing, HubSpot creates diverse content formats like blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and more on everything from email marketing to SEO to social media. This variety matches the interests of different buyer personas.
Promotion Across Multiple Channels
HubSpot heavily utilizes social media, email, paid ads and more to push content out to its large audience. This allows them to attract new readers continually.
Calls-To-Action Within Content
CTAs within each piece of content enable HubSpot to convert readers into leads and customers. From free tool offers to discounts, CTAs incentivize readers to take action.
Analytics to Constantly Optimize
With meticulous content performance tracking, HubSpot can double down on top-performing content and subjects. This allows them to improve results consistently. In summary, HubSpot sets itself apart with its content’s relevance, value, and variety across channels. Combined with CTAs and analytics, they have built an inbound marketing machine fueled by content. Their long-term commitment to education and audience-focused content has allowed them to become recognized thought leaders.
For your content to rank higher, the primary focus should be on creating high-quality content that addresses the needs of your target audience. Quality content combined with strategically placed CTAs will enhance user engagement and contribute to the overall success of your blog in search rankings.
Adopting HubSpot’s Strategy
Any business looking to improve their content marketing results can learn from HubSpot’s approach and apply similar best practices:
- Create a Blog Focused on Educating Your Audience – Have a central blog that publishes regular, high-quality articles centred around helping your target customer. Offer actionable advice and solutions just like HubSpot does.
- Diversify Content Types – Go beyond blogging by creating ebooks, courses, webinars, videos and more. Match formats to buyer needs during their journey.
- Promote Broadly – Leverage email, social media, SEO and paid channels to distribute content instead of just hosting it on your site. Broad promotion is key.
- Include Calls-to-Action – Insert CTAs into each piece of content to convert readers into leads and customers. Free trials, discounts and tool sign-ups are great incentives.
- Analyze Performance – Track analytics for each content asset to determine what resonates. Double down on what works and improve or eliminate poor performers.
While easier said than done, applying these core strategic principles can significantly improve results over time. The key is creating remarkable informational content tailored to your audience and promoting it heavily through multiple channels.
But how exactly does authoritative content help?
As mentioned before, content quality is equally (or more!) important than link building. High-quality content can help in:
- Building trust and credibility: Search engines aim to provide users with the most reliable and accurate information. Authoritative content earns trust from both users and search engines, which can lead to higher rankings.
- Backlink Acquisition: High-quality, authoritative content naturally attracts backlinks from other websites, which are crucial for SEO. These inbound links signal to search engines that others vouch for your content.
- User Engagement: Authoritative content tends to engage readers more effectively, leading to increased session duration, lower bounce rates, and more frequent sharing, all of which can positively influence SERP rankings.
- Show Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-E-A-T): Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines emphasise the importance of E-E-A-T. Websites with content that demonstrates experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are more likely to rank well.
- Competitive Edge: Authoritative content sets your site apart from competitors. It helps position your brand as a leader in your industry, which can translate into higher SERP positions.
- Content Depth and Comprehensiveness: Search engines favour content that thoroughly covers topics and provides comprehensive answers to user queries. Authoritative content often satisfies this criterion.
- Semantic Search Optimization: Authoritative content that covers related subtopics and semantic variations of keywords can rank for a broader range of search queries.
- Brand Building: Consistently delivering authoritative content enhances brand recognition and loyalty. A strong brand can indirectly impact your website’s SERP rankings through branded searches and direct traffic.
Creating authoritative content requires effort and expertise but is a valuable investment. By consistently producing high-quality content, you improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs and establish your brand as a trusted leader.
Let’s explore how quality content and link building can skyrocket your ranking in the SERP, shall we?
The importance of combining link building and an authoritative content marketing strategy together
Link building and authoritative content are the two pillars of SEO that work synergistically to achieve high rankings in search engine results pages (SERP). Here’s how they relate to each other:
- Mutual Reinforcement: Authoritative content is a magnet for quality backlinks because reputable websites prefer to link to credible sources that provide value. Conversely, a website with many high-quality backlinks is often perceived by search engines as authoritative, which can enhance the rankings of its content.
- Trust Signals: Search engines use links as signals of trust. When an authoritative site links to your content, it’s akin to a vote of confidence in your material’s credibility and value. Similarly, producing authoritative content establishes trust with your audience and search engines, leading to better SERP positions.
- Content Amplification: Quality content can circulate thanks widely to link building efforts such as outreach, guest posting, and social sharing. The more your content is shared, the more likely it is to earn backlinks, further amplifying its reach and impact on rankings.
- E-E-A-T Alignment: Google has emphasised the importance of Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) for ranking purposes, particularly for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics. Authoritative content aligns well with E-E-A-T criteria, and link building from other authoritative sources can reinforce these attributes.
- Sustainable SEO: Creating authoritative content helps sustain link building efforts in the long term. As search algorithms evolve, they prioritise the value and user experience delivered by the content. A solid backlink profile built on the foundation of quality content ensures enduring SEO benefits.
- Ranking for Competitive Keywords: Authoritative content that addresses user queries comprehensively can rank for competitive keywords. Link building enhances this by signalling to search engines that other sites recognise the content’s value for those keywords.
- Brand Authority and Visibility: Authoritative content and link building increase brand visibility. As more sites link to your content, your brand becomes more recognised, improving click-through rates (CTR) from SERPs and leading to higher rankings due to perceived relevance and authority.
- Ranking Reinforcement: While authoritative content can rank well on its merit, backlinks serve as additional endorsements that boost or solidify these rankings, especially when competition for top spots is fierce.
Link building and authoritative content are interdependent factors that, when combined, enhance a website’s SERP rankings.
Quality content earns links, and those links further validate the content’s authority, creating a positive feedback loop that benefits SEO.
As you can see, just building links won’t work. Link building and quality content creation will give you the desired results.
Common link building mistakes to avoid
When executing link building strategies, businesses often make several common mistakes that can undermine their SEO efforts or even attract penalties from search engines.
Here are some of the key mistakes to avoid:
- Prioritising Quantity Over Quality: Acquiring a large number of low-quality or spammy links in the hope of improving SEO can lead to negative outcomes, as search engines favour the quality and relevance of backlinks over sheer numbers.
- Focusing on DA/DA/AS: DA is something link builder have been using for years. It is a metric MOZ created and shouldn’t be focused on. It can easily be manipulated and is more or less irrelevant now. Different tools may have different terms, such as AS for SEMrush. It is still the same thing, as it doesn’t take into account the relevance of the site.
- Ignoring Relevance: Links from sites that are not relevant to the content or industry of the target site may not provide much SEO value. It’s essential to focus on acquiring links from websites related to your niche.
- Using Unnatural Anchor Text: Overusing keyword-rich anchor text can appear manipulative to search engines and trigger an algorithmic penalty. It’s better to have a natural mix of anchor text, including branded, generic, and varied keyword phrases.
- Neglecting Internal Links: While focusing on acquiring external backlinks, some neglect the power of internal linking, which can also help improve SEO by highlighting the most important pages and improving website navigation.
- Failing to Monitor Backlinks: Not all backlinks are beneficial. Regularly auditing your link profile to identify and disavow toxic backlinks is crucial to maintaining a healthy backlink profile. Alternatively, you might be experiencing a gap in backlinks that you can analyse when you monitor your backlinks.
- Ignoring ‘NoFollow’ Links: Although ‘NoFollow’ links do not pass on link equity, they can still bring valuable traffic and contribute to a natural-looking backlink profile favoured by search engines.
- Not Diversifying Link Types: Relying solely on one type of link or method can limit the effectiveness of link building.
If your link building strategy isn’t working, check if you are making any of the abovementioned mistakes.
🚀 Get A Free Proposal & Strategy
We would love to see what we can do for you. Whether you need links or a full SEO sprint campaign. Let us know about your project and we can send you a free proposal.
Link building doesn’t stop here.
After successfully placing 20,000+ links for our customers, we have learned a few things or two about which businesses should apply link building strategy and which businesses should avoid.
Link building isn’t for you if –
✅ If you are a business targeting keywords with low traffic potential
✅ If you have limited content topics for a content marketing strategy
✅ If your website lacks substantial content that can educate and inform
✅ If you are a brand new website without an SEO strategy
Say, for example, you are an ecommerce brand in a saturated industry competing against the likes of Amazon. Building and ranking your website on SERP will be much more difficult as you compete against colossal brands with unlimited marketing budgets.
So, investing in link building strategies isn’t going to be profitable. Instead, you should focus on other marketing channels or find a less competitive niche.
We had a client in the dating niche in a highly competitive market. It was difficult to rank through link building alone. Instead, we focused on creating brand authority through a content marketing strategy that targeted common questions, pain points and less competitive keywords within the niche.
The results were a +2000% increase in traffic and +100% ROI.
Link building is for you if –
✅ If you are a business where your customers can find you through search results.
✅ If you have content potential for your content marketing strategy.
✅ If your keywords have lower keyword difficulty and the local market to dominate
✅ If you are a niche-specific business with a solid customer base and great organic search potential
✅ If you are a business with easy ROI, i.e., you just need to generate a few leads and convert them into clients to cover your SEO costs.
✅ If you have a budget of at least $2000 per month for SEO
For example, a well-funded SaaS brand with unlimited content ideas and high search volume potential will easily rank on the SERP and should invest in link building.
We had a health and fitness industry client with over 200,000 links, and they still couldn’t rank! They kept on building more links, and still, their traffic plummeted.
We identified the key problem – poor backlinks and low authority content. Once we started crafting high-authority content pieces around their niche, we saw a stark rise in traffic. They actually didn’t need to invest too heavily in new links. The content was the key factor in this campaign. They saw a +600% increase in traffic and a monthly revenue increase of $60k.
Who can help with link building?
In-house SEO team
Large companies have a dedicated in-house team that can guide with link-building. However, running an internal SEO team can easily cost upwards of $150k annually.
So, if you are a small business or just starting, it is wiser to delegate your work to a dedicated SEO agency that specialises in link building, like us.
PR agencies are great at getting content on top-level publications. They can be perfect for businesses that don’t rely on leads, traffic and sales from search engines.
SEO agencies specialising in link building
SEO is a saturated market. Picking an SEO agency isn’t easy; unfortunately, picking the wrong one can do more harm than good for your business.
Pick an agency that understands the importance of relevant links and knows what to look for for your site. You should always have your SEO strategy in place before starting, and if you approach an SEO agency that doesn’t establish a solid foundation first, walk away.
We do things differently at Contactora. Our link building approach is based on our initial strategy. We action each part of an SEO campaign one step at a time over a much shorter period.
First, we will thoroughly analyse your site, market potential, and content potential. We will then build a link strategy.
Next, we focus on content and links. Again, in a sprint format. Our content sprint and link sprint often run simultaneously, but we will first complete at least one content sprint for new sites to establish some authority.
Taking the correct link-building approach is critical for businesses to stay relevant.
Poor link building approach can affect your website traffic, brand authority, and long-term SEO health.
Reach out to the right agencies (like us!) to get help and rank higher in the SERP.