Is Link Building Still Effective in 2022?
What comes to mind first when you consider all the aspects of a company website that should be optimized in 2022? There are content, page names, and other technical SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) elements, as well as backlinks.
Even in 2022, 90.63 percent of websites generate no organic traffic while 66.31% have no referring domains pointing to them, according to Ahrefs. Additionally they mention backlinks as one of top three most important ranking factors in Google search results.
This graph from Ahrefs shows how most websites that generate organic traffic have backlinks. The status quo appears to be that organic traffic is highly associated with link building.
Backlinks which are relevant, reputable and come from high-quality websites tell Google, “Hey, this content is so useful for people that other websites want to link to it.” Therefore contributing to the relevancy factor that Google so adores.
Therefore, although backlinks remain crucial for organic rankings in 2022, the strategies used to create them have evolved.
Let’s examine why link building is still so crucial for SEO in 2022.
First Thing First: What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of constructing one-way links (sometimes known as “backlinks“) to a website in order to increase its search engine exposure. Common link-building techniques include content marketing, the creation of helpful resources, email outreach, the repair of broken links, and public relations.
The practice of obtaining connections from other websites to your own is known as link building. A hyperlink (often referred to as a link) allows visitors to browse between websites. Links are used by search engines to crawl the web. They will crawl the connections between pages on your website, as well as the links between domains.
Yellow arrows show pages on your website that connect to pages on other websites.
Not all links are purposely developed by SEOs or marketers. Many links will be generated for a variety of reasons, such as a journalist reporting a news item and connecting to a source or a blogger who is so pleased with the new coffee machine that they link to the merchant who sold it.
SEO nirvana is acquiring links that you didn’t ask for. It is something you should constantly strive towards and work for over the long run. You do this by putting in the effort to make your website link-worthy, whether via a wonderful product or part of your service or by creating outstanding content that other websites reference.
In addition to this long-term strategy, you can also use a variety of link-building strategies to improve your authority and boost your chances of ranking high and receiving organic search traffic.
Why Are Links So Valuable?
To comprehend this, you must board your DeLorean and go back in time to the Internet’s pre-Google days.
In the past, Yahoo! and Alta Vista were the most prominent search engines. And they rated their search results based only on the page’s content.
Their now-famous PageRank algorithm altered the playing field. Instead of only assessing the website’s content, Google examined the number of external links to that page. In fact according to Gary Illyes PageRank is still relevant today.
Do Backlinks Still Matter In 2022?
Absolutely. Backlinks cannot be overlooked if you want to maintain a long-term, profitable SEO strategy. The greater the number of high-quality, relevant backlinks a website has, the greater its Google traffic. In the last several years, new sorts of backlinks have emerged, which have enhanced the significance of links even more.
The challenge is adapting to the most recent modifications to the ranking algorithm and link-building techniques. Companies using the same strategies as they did fifteen years ago may no longer achieve the same level of success. For instance, a 2019 update to Google’s algorithm made it easier to discern between connections that were spammy and those that were more natural and holistic.
Why Are Links Still Important In This Day And Age?
Links remain one of the most significant ranking elements in search after decades. Considering the unpredictability of SEO and digital marketing as a whole, this may come as a surprise. Why do connections endure while other ranking elements fluctuate of any significance? Links continue to be important because they are key to how the Internet (also known as the web) functions. Without links, the web would be radically different.
As discussed before, SEO was significantly different in its infancy. There was no need for marketers to identify methods to improve page quality or user experience. Instead, they discovered methods for incorporating additional keywords into web pages. If a firm wished to outrank a rival in search results, it was advantageous to include more keywords than the competition.
This was a significant system flaw. Today, search engines strive to provide the most relevant and useful results possible. They aim to foster an environment that functions efficiently and gives little friction to answer seekers.
The introduction of links as a ranking element drastically altered search engines. Links assisted in shifting the emphasis away from content and keywords alone. It enabled a website to stand out from the competition and get a higher ranking by using external data sources (inbound links). This breakthrough in search further validates the popularity and search relevancy of the receiving site.
This developed a network that might grow to include more high-quality sites while eliminating those who filled their pages with keywords.
Backlinks continue to fulfill the same function today. Whether it’s 1997 or 2022, when individuals make an internet search, they want to get relevant results. Backlinks are crucial to achieving this result. However, not all backlinks are equal, and not all links will benefit your website in the same way.
Marketers must now be more cautious with their link acquisition techniques to ensure that the links flowing into their website seem relevant and natural and are from websites with strong website authority.
Those who neglect to create their ties effectively may wind up doing more damage than good.
So how can we distinguish between good and poor links? There are a few qualities that might be mentioned.
Characteristics Of ‘Good’ Or High-Quality Backlinks
A quality backlink must be related to the linked-to material. A visitor is more likely to click on a relevant link for one reason.
For instance, if your website is about architecture, it would make sense for you to get links from websites in similar fields, such as timber shops, building businesses, etc.
Multiple elements are considered by search engines when determining whether a website is relevant to your particular niche.
Before attempting to utilize backlinks to increase your rating, remember that links are generally intended to drive visitors to another page. Links are provided to assist readers with further information. Therefore, Google considers backlinks that generate traffic to be of high quality.
This is also why links that are placed inside the body of the text are sometimes seen as more useful than those in the footer. Users seldom click on links located in the footer.
The credibility of a website is another essential element of high-quality backlinks.
Nowadays, anybody may post information on the Internet. Unfortunately, not all of it is reliable, especially if you are seeking possibilities to get high-quality backlinks.
Notable news websites such as the BBC and CNN are examples of reputable websites, but any website with a long-standing reputation, a consistent quantity of traffic, and participation will have some type of online authority.
There are both good and negative aspects of anchor text and backlink quality to consider. If the anchor language looks to be altered or highly optimized, Google may assume that the backlink is being posted simply for SEO purposes and disregard the backlink entirely. Nonetheless, the organically optimized anchor text may offer value. Does the optimized anchor text make sense, like everything we’ve talked about so far? Do you satisfy the remaining quality standards? If this is the case, having optimized anchor text will certainly improve the quality of your backlink profile; nevertheless, avoid overdoing it.
For a backlink to count, the page must be crawlable by Google’s spiders. If a page is not indexed, Google effectively does not know it exists. If Google is unaware of a page’s existence, the page cannot pass along any link equity or authority.
Indexing is the process of verifying if a web page exists in Google’s database. Some pages are allocated the no-index tag on purpose because the webmaster does not want Google to index them. Occasionally, a page isn’t indexed because the site isn’t maintaining its technical SEO and must do an indexation audit to verify that all the proper pages are being indexed. In any case, when it comes to connecting, you must guarantee that the website is indexed and exists in Google’s sight.
Before gaining a link, it is a good idea to evaluate the authority of a website. Fortunately, there are several internet methods for determining a website’s authority.
Moz’s Domain Authority is one of the most prominent analytics tools for this purpose. It generates a 1 to 100 authority score for each page. Moz Page Authority allows you to examine the authority of particular web pages.
Along with Domain Authority, the age of a domain may also be examined. The longer a domain exists, the more authoritative it is likely to become. You may use tools such as this one to determine when a domain was registered and, consequently, to estimate its age.
Unique backlinks are also essential. Obtaining unique linkages is nonetheless more difficult than it seems. If ten backlinks point to your website, they should preferably originate from ten distinct websites.
In addition to getting connections from other websites, you must also examine the number of links included within the material. When there are 20 or more links in the content of a referring page and your website is one of them, the value of that link will be diluted, and the authority given to you may not be as useful as if that page just linked to a few websites.
The practice of exchanging links with other websites was formerly widespread. It followed the idea of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” When it comes to backlinks, though, this strategy might be detrimental. Google may even see it as a link scheme that violates its Webmaster Guidelines. This indicates that the linkages were not acquired organically and are vulnerable to misuse.
Does this thus imply that you shouldn’t trade connections with other website owners? Link exchange is a grey area. The safest course of action is to exchange connections as little as possible. Additionally, you should only exchange links with websites that are relevant to your subject so that the connection seems natural and genuine.
You should also consider if the connection improves the quality of the article. If it makes sense for your material to link to or be linked from the content in question, it’s usually OK, but if it doesn’t, you should probably avoid reciprocal connections.
Social Media Signals
Social Media is clearly a significant aspect of the web nowadays, and as a consequence, Google includes it in its total mix of signals. Google considers social media to be an efficient supplement and filter for identifying the relevance of the material to a certain niche or business. It is believed that social signals such as shares, retweets, and likes authenticate a piece of material and increase its search relevancy.
Google regularly examines how social media users exchange material and interact online. From Google’s perspective, a link from information that became viral on a big social media network such as Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook might carry significant weight.
How To Build Links In 2022?
The practice of acquiring backlinks from a trustworthy website is known as link building. It is a vital SEO component. It’s also one of the several SEO components that have altered significantly throughout the years. Google has exerted considerable effort to restrict the kind of connections that are deemed authoritative and useful. Due to this, Link Building in 2022 requires somewhat more effort than it did in the past.
Building Link With Infographics
In the past, infographics were only somewhat popular, but when link-building became a crucial approach, their popularity exploded. Infographics have evolved into a solid technique for link development.
Infographics are one of the best-performing forms of visual material in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). It is a simple approach to delivering a large amount of relevant information simultaneously. Information that is easily assimilated by readers.
A website with a great deal of relevant material may connect to an infographic in order to boost their page, which in turn helps your page. It benefits all parties, but only if you take the time to create a genuinely effective infographic.
Researching a valuable subject, writing the prose that correlates to your images, and then designing the graphics themselves are the major tasks. If you are an ardent do-it-yourselfer, you may try to do all of these tasks yourself. However, you may skip some of the most challenging tasks by using a professional designer. With a designer on your team to handle the last phase, you can concentrate only on subject generation and copywriting.
A single infographic will not significantly help your SEO effort. It must be shared by trustworthy websites. Include an embed code to make it simple for people to share the infographic.
The embed code makes it considerably simpler for websites and directories to show the image. Without it, someone may just take the file and upload it to their website without a link. Include your brand’s name and logo on the infographic for this reason. Even if you do not get a link, you will still increase brand recognition. This is beneficial for any marketing approach.
The Broken Link Strategy
This is a tactic that some businesses despise while others depend on entirely. Companies who dislike it do so because it seems time-consuming and does not always provide substantial outcomes. However, this may be altered with consistent and effective action.
The objective of this strategy is to locate a broken link in your website’s specialty and then replicate a version of the outdated material. After recreating the material, you contact the website owner with the broken link and request that they replace it with a link to your content.
On the surface, it may seem as if the website owner is doing you a tremendous service. Not knowing anything about your firm, but offering you a free backlink. However, it is also a crucial service for website owners. Broken links diminish the quality and trustworthiness of a website. You are replacing a depleted resource with something new, fresh, and preferably of excellent quality. Everyone involved in the deal gains something.
Broken link construction has grown in popularity in recent years and will likely be a prominent strategy in 2022.
There are two possible issues with this approach. Identifying broken connections may be time-consuming. Second, website owners may not reply to your outreach or decline your request outright.
The answer to the first issue is locating the appropriate digital tools. There are websites, applications, and plugins dedicated to locating broken links. The broken link checker from Ahref is an excellent tool that may significantly accelerate this procedure.
The answer to the second issue is rather more challenging. When contacting a website’s owner, you must have the proper mentality and phrasing. An excellent strategy is to offer them several connections to use material as opposed to just one link to your own. This demonstrates your want to assist them and provides them with other possibilities.
Guest Blogging In 2022
The efficacy of guest posting has declined significantly during the previous five years. In 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts remarked, “Guest blogging is dead.” They think it had evolved into a “spammy” strategy designed to manipulate the algorithm. Undeniably, this was the case for numerous firms.
But does this indicate that guest blogging is really extinct? not even close; It may still deliver a little bump and is an excellent brand recognition approach overall. Guest posting may help your website develop in 2022, but it should not be your major method for building links.
The secret to maximizing guest blogging is to prioritize quality and variety. You must get backlinks from many blogs in order to raise your overall number of referring websites. However, these blogs must also be regarded as high-quality authority in their subject. It is a difficult combination to handle, which is why its popularity has decreased in recent years.
Donations And Sponsorships
Google normally frowns upon the practice of paying for backlinks. One of the reasons they have been so stringent about guest posting is because of this. They want that backlinks arise organically and unintentionally. However, there is one option to spend money directly and get backlinks in exchange. This is accomplished through giving to certain charities and foundations.
Many charity websites are eager to donate a hyperlink in exchange for a contribution. It is perhaps the most efficient and easy approach for creating links. In addition, several of these charity websites are regarded as authoritative sites. You may be guaranteed that the largest and most popular websites use this method widely to enhance their link-building efforts.
This approach has significant exploitation potential. Some websites contribute significant sums to as many charities as possible in order to achieve an immediate Google ranking increase. Then, they may exploit their improved position to get even more valuable backlinks from larger websites. A low-quality website may use this tactic to put itself above more popular websites and defraud a large number of consumers.
This method goes against Google’s overall attitude, which we have seen over the last several years. Even so, it remains a gray area in 2022, and there has been no indication that it will be outlawed in the near future.
Testimonials And Examinations
Marketers and site owners want backlinks from authoritative websites. Consider the main companies that we all recognize and like. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they provided a link to your website? The issue is that these large websites do not provide backlinks to everyone who requests them. However, there are straightforward methods to get them. A testimonial or review is often an option.
A recommendation will assist a consumer in making a purchase. This makes testimonials a significant resource for large businesses seeking to generate many sales. If you are a prior client of such an organization, you might inquire about the feasibility of this. As with the broken link technique, you will be more likely to be authorized if you reach out with the proper attitude.
Not all businesses permit hyperlinks in their ratings, but many do. It may be as easy as filling out a review form on the website and attaching your link at the bottom.
You may also use reviews to develop links on third-party websites. For instance, websites that gather and share reviews of different businesses.
How To Build Links
1. Adding links
If you can manually insert your link on a website that does not belong to you, this is known as “adding” a link. The most prevalent strategies in this category are:
Submissions to directories of businesses;
Social profile development;
Discussions on blogs;
Posting to forums, communities, and question-and-answer websites;
Creating employment listings;
Creating connections using these methods is quite simple. And for this reason, these connections tend to have relatively little value in Google’s view (and, in some cases, can even be flagged as SPAM).
Aside from that, these types of relationships provide no competitive benefit. If you can manually add your link on a website, nothing prevents your rivals from doing the same.
However, you shouldn’t completely disregard this category of link development strategies. Each is really highly advantageous for your web organization for reasons other than link acquisition.
You should avoid the temptation to submit your website to every single business directory that exists just for the purpose of acquiring another connection. Instead, concentrate on those that are well-known, generate traffic, and may consequently attract genuine people to your site.
For instance, if you’re the owner of a small business and you’ve discovered a local business directory from which other entrepreneurs get leads, you should definitely add your company there. And that one link would likely provide you with a lot more ‘SEO value’ than submitting your site to a list of generic business directories you discovered on a random SEO forum.
As soon as possible, you should declare your brand name on all major social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, Instagram, etc.). Otherwise, squatters may seize them once they become aware of your brand.
Investing time and effort in relevant social media sites is an effective method for building a devoted following and promoting your brand to them. The actual connections from social profile sites, however, have little to no direct SEO value. Therefore, do not anticipate a dramatic ranking rise after joining a few dozen social networking sites.
Leaving a thoughtful remark on someone’s article is a fantastic approach to attract their attention and begin a connection with them (which might lead to all sorts of good things). However, posting comments only to include a link to your website will simply make blog owners dislike you.
In addition, blog comment links are often nofollow (i.e., they may not count as “votes”). Therefore, if you want to leave a remark just to include your link, refrain from doing so.
These three examples should provide you with a solid understanding of how to “add” connections to other websites without seeming spammy.
SIDENOTE: While searching for more methods to “add” connections to other websites, you may come across strategies that include “web 2.0s” and “bookmarking sites.” These techniques used to be effective around 15 years ago, but you should not spend your time with them now.
2. Asking for links
As the term indicates, this is when you contact the owner of the website you want to get a link from and provide them a convincing reason to link to you.
This “compelling reason” is necessary for this set of link-building strategies. The individuals you reach out to are uninterested in you and your website (unless you’re a superstar) and hence have no reason to assist you.
Therefore, when you request a connection, you should consider: “What’s in it for THEM?
Here are several link building methods and techniques that come under this category, along with a short explanation of the “compelling reason” upon which they are based:
- Guest blogging. Develop relevant material for their website.
- Skyscraper method. Provide them with a superior resource than the one they are connecting to.
- Link inserts. Display a resource with further information on a topic they have briefly covered.
- Ego bait. Mention them or their work favourably in your own writing.
- Testimonials & Case studies. Provide constructive comments about their goods or service.
- Link exchanges. Offer to link back to them in exchange for a reciprocal link.
- Resource page link development. Provide them with a resource that complements their current list.
- Broken connection building. Assist them in repairing a dead link on their page.
- Image link building. Request credit for the use of your photograph.
- Unlinked mentions. Request that mentions of your brand be “clickable.”
- Link movements. Request changes to an existing connection.
- HARO & journalist requests. Provide a “quote from an expert” for their piece.
- PR. Give them a compelling tale to report about.
All of these methods are fascinating, correct? However, as soon as you submit your first email request, you are likely to confront the hard truth that your “compelling reason” is insufficient:
- Your guest post is inadequate.
- Your resource isn’t distinctive enough.
- Your “Skyscraper” is not sufficiently “high.”
For these link-building strategies to be successful, you must produce a page that is so great that others will automatically want to connect to it. Or have a great deal of authority and reputation in your field, which might assist in compensating for your page’s lack of fame.
Given how difficult it is to get random individuals to link to you, many SEOs began seeking methods to sweeten the deal:
- Offer to share their material on Facebook and Twitter.
- Offer to publicize their material in a newsletter.
- Give away a quality product or service for free.
- Provide a link as compensation.
- Give money.
According to Google’s standards, delivering these types of “extra benefits” falls into the grey area of what constitutes a “link scheme.”
The conclusion is such. The lawful methods of requesting connections have a poor success rate, but the moment you attempt to “sweeten the deal,” you enter Google’s minefield.
At this point, it may seem as if I am discouraging you from using the methods and approaches outlined in this category. I’m not. I’m only attempting to establish realistic expectations so that you will not quit after sending ten outreach emails with no response. Obtaining links using these methods without violating Google’s restrictions requires a significant amount of work.
3. Buying links
At best, you will squander a lot of money on faulty links that have no effect on your results; at worst, your website will be punished.
However, we would be putting you at a disadvantage if we did not mention that many SEO professionals “buy” links in a variety of methods and get away with it.
Therefore, if you are prepared to jeopardize the health of your website and purchase links, please search elsewhere for instructions on how to do it “safely” since we do not teach that at Ahrefs.
4. Earning links
You “earn” links when other websites link to your pages without your request. This clearly does not occur unless you have something so remarkable that other website owners would actually want to highlight it.
However, individuals cannot relate to things they are unaware of. Therefore, regardless of how wonderful your page is, you will need to spend on its promotion. And the greater the number of individuals who see your page, the greater the likelihood that some of them will link to it.
Here are some strategies and methods that come under this category:
Linkbait (or linkable assets). Studies of data, infographics, maps, surveys, and honors.
Podcasts, interviews, and roundups of experts.
Earning links is perhaps the most successful method for acquiring them.
I’d much rather spend my time and money on producing quality pages that will create word-of-mouth and acquire links organically than in a tedious series of link prospecting and email outreach activities in an attempt to get links to a subpar page.
You may argue that it’s simple for Ahrefs to encourage linkbait since we have:
We have access to a wealth of confidential data that we may utilize to produce research projects.
A group of competent specialists who can assist in the creation of valuable resources.
A reputable brand that naturally lends credibility to our whole body of work.
A sizable audience to whom we may advertise our stuff (and kickstart word of mouth).
Yes, these factors make it far simpler to acquire connections. But even if you’re just getting started, there are methods to generate engaging content on a budget and gain connections naturally. The “secret” is that your content requires ten times more work than that of your rivals.
Link building tools
Technically, it is feasible to develop links with a little mental effort and an email account, but there are a variety of link-building programs that make the process of gaining connections much simpler.
1. Backlink analysis tools
As you already know, analysing the links of your rivals is quite beneficial when building a link-building plan for your own website.
Site Explorer by Ahrefs is the most used backlink research tool in the market.
You may enter any website or URL to get a comprehensive list of all backlinks going to it and other metrics and filters to help you identify chances for link development.
Moz, Majestic, and Semrush are further SEO tool providers who maintain their own link index.
2. Content analysis tools
Content research tools remove the element of chance from the creation of linkable, shareable content. You can use them to identify content angles that have garnered a large number of links and shares and then use these insights to create your own content.
The Material Explorer tool from Ahrefs utilizes a massive database of over five billion pages to facilitate the discovery of interesting content in any sector.
Simply search for the subject you want to cover in the page titles and arrange the results by referring domains (linking websites). These websites and their connections should provide you with a wealth of ideas for improving your own material.
3. Link prospecting equipment
Link prospecting tools are intended to assist you in locating and prioritizing suitable websites to which you can submit your link pitches.
Many SEO specialists use link prospecting by scanning Google’s search results for a list of keywords associated with the content of their website. Some do it manually using an SEO toolbar that offers an export search results option, while others semi-automate the process with Link Prospector or Screaming Frog.
Imagine you’ve written an article named “The 10 Best Mechanical Keyboards” and want to develop connections to it. A Text Explorer search for “mechanical keyboard” yields more than 180 THOUSAND pages from around the web that include the term in its content.
Next, you apply some filters to exclude low-quality sites (and spam), and your list of potential link partners drops to a few thousand – which is still a massive amount of opportunity.
4. Web monitoring software
Web monitoring tools notify you of newly-published sites that include your keyword and any new backlinks that your rivals have earned. Both of these warnings might provide excellent possibilities for link development.
5. Email marketing tools
Email outreach tools facilitate the management and tracking of link-building efforts. In addition, they ease the process of discovering prospects, building outreach templates, and sending follow-ups.
There are several possibilities available, but the best tool for you will rely on your strategies and procedures, the scope of your activities, and your budget.
Before building links, you must have something valuable to link to. Typically, this is the homepage of your website. The majority of the time, though, you link to specific resources, such as a blog post, tool, research paper, or image. Occasionally, these materials already exist before you start your link-building strategy. Sometimes you construct these resources with the express intent of building links.
Nonetheless, we hope that our tutorial has clarified a great deal for you and solved the majority of pressing queries you had concerning link building.