Link building strategies: How to obtain quality backlinks?

Link building

The majority of marketers believe that backlinks remain one of the most effective SEO strategies. But why this obsession with inbound links? The answer is simple: they serve as a trust signal to search engines and can propel your website to the top of the rankings. So, how do you go about obtaining these valuable links?

Building a strong network of backlinks is essential, but not at any cost! It’s important to adopt a methodical approach to weave your web. Here, we explain the best strategies to build your portfolio of inbound links without compromising your reputation and, most importantly, avoiding Google penalties.

Backlinks are not just gateways to your site; they are a powerful indicator of peer recognition (from other websites) and thus authority. Google considers each link a vote of confidence—a signal that another entity finds your content valuable or relevant enough to associate with its own name. The more votes you accumulate, the more visibility and authority you gain in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

However, not all backlinks are created equal. Links from reputable and credible sites have a greater impact than those from obscure or unreliable platforms. Context also plays a significant role. A link must appear natural and relevant to the content it complements. Ignoring these nuances can lead to the opposite effect: a penalty from Google for questionable practices.

The source of a link determines its value. A backlink from a reputable site obviously weighs more than a link from a less popular site. Imagine an article from “The New York Times” pointing to your blog… Needless to say, Google would see this as a significant sign of trust regarding the quality of your content.

It is well-known in the SEO community that the anchor text (the clickable text of the link) should reflect the target content to give a clear indication to search engines of what they will find. While this was true before, it’s no longer entirely the case. A backlink with an anchor containing a keyword or phrase is likely to be flagged by Google’s algorithms as “artificial.” Therefore, avoid over-optimizing anchors and instead prefer the following types of links:

  • Raw URL =>
  • De-optimized Anchor => “Click here”, “Source”, “This link”
  • Branding Anchor => MySite

Follow vs. Nofollow

These two attributes indicate to search engines whether or not they should consider the link in their algorithms. Historically, nofollow links had less weight, but recently (since 2020), Google started considering some nofollow links to understand and rank web pages.

Keep in mind that, to this day, the market for buying links has distorted the principle of natural netlinking, which was previously done in good faith and selflessly. But the rise of the paid dofollow link market has changed that, and today, very few webmasters or web companies insert external dofollow links without monetizing them. Spontaneous links are therefore mostly nofollow, which is probably why Google decided to give them more weight. On the other hand, dofollow links are much more likely to be identified as artificial.

Therefore, it’s important to maintain a good balance of dofollow/nofollow in your inbound link profile to avoid raising the suspicion of Google’s algorithms.

Creating attractive content is crucial for naturally increasing inbound links. Detailed articles, in-depth studies, and shareable infographics are all great bait for backlinks… provided they offer real added value to end-users.

Observing your competitors can be wise: what keywords bring them traffic? Check with tools like Semrush and try to position yourself in the same niches. Draw intelligent inspiration from your competitors to attract the same categories of potential partners. By carefully selecting your keywords, you lay the foundations for a robust strategy to enhance your link building.

Also, consider interactive content like quizzes or useful resources such as calculators or downloadable templates. These elements not only encourage social sharing but can also attract the attention of content creators looking to enrich their own articles. Adding practical advice and innovative perspectives will encourage spontaneous sharing. Diversify your formats: explanatory infographics, engaging videos, or even podcasts can reach different audiences and multiply potential link sources.

Be proactive in promotion: use social media, newsletters, or targeted partnerships to maximize your reach. A multichannel approach where creativity meets distribution will allow your content not only to be seen but also recommended.

Rigorous identification of target sites is essential. Look for those whose domain has high authority and thematic relevance to your niche. But be careful not to rely too much on indicators like Majestic SEO’s TF (Trustflow) or Moz’s DA (Domain Authority). Some web marketers have the unfortunate tendency to make them the be-all and end-all of their SEO strategy. This is a serious mistake! Many sites with high scores ultimately receive very little natural traffic or are even penalized for selling links. Avoid them!

The best approach is to correlate domain authority indicators with its estimated traffic, for example, using tools like Semrush. If it receives natural traffic through search engines, it is necessarily well-regarded. Strategic partnerships with these sites through guest blogging or exclusive content provision can facilitate obtaining significant links.

Use critical thinking when evaluating opportunities. Not all sites accepting guest content meet your quality standards. And remember: quality always trumps quantity.

Measuring the effectiveness of your kink building strategies

An effective campaign is measured by its impact on SERP rankings and the increase in organic traffic to your site. Use analytical tools to track the origin, quantity, and quality of acquired links, such as Google Search Console or Semrush. Pay attention to signals such as the improvement of your site’s authority and the overall evolution of referral traffic.

Finally, don’t hesitate to adjust your strategies if they don’t produce the expected results. The process can be iterative, but with persistence and smart tactics, you will build a robust network that should enhance your online presence.

In short, refine your techniques (without cheating), offer irresistible content (without spamming), and choose your partners carefully (avoiding unscrupulous deals)… That’s how you get backlinks worth their name!