Link building services guide – the complete introduction for SEO

13 minutes to read • Published 4 October 2021 • SEO

    Business growth calculator

    Get bespoke prices from our team of specialists


    Business growth calculator

    Step 1 of 3

    What are your goals?

    Get more website trafficNew or updated websiteLaunch a mobile appStart a new online businessImprove marketingImprove my business brandingSomething else


    Business growth calculator

    Step 2 of 3

    What is your preferred monthly budget?

    £100 - £500£500 - £1500 (most popular)£1500 - £3000£3000 or moreOther


    Business growth calculator

    Step 3 of 3

    Do you already have a website? Enter the address:


    Good news! We can help

    Step 3 of 3

    Complete your details to get your free quotes







    Link building services

    In the age of the internet, it has never been easier to get connected with like-minded souls. While we typically associate this with personal discussions and groups, it’s equally important for businesses.

    But how do you make sure that potential customers can find your website? One of the key methods is SEO, which involves working to ensure that your website ranks well in search results when people search for products or services that you offer.

    Building a link network will significantly aid your SEO strategy, enhancing your opportunities to attract new customers and make more conversions. This guide will explain why link building is critical to any venture and how to use it to your business advantage.

    design strategy book

    Free book: Design strategy for business leaders

    An executive guide to commercially successful design

    Get it now →

    Contents

    What is link building?

    Link building is pretty much what it sounds like – attracting links to your website from others. These links are also known as backlinks, and they are critical to your SEO approach.

    What make good backlinks?

    The best backlinks are from high-authority websites, are relevant in topic, and are gained organically and ethically.

    What is whitehat link building?

    Whitehat link building is a fair, ethical and legal practice, slowly attracting more backlinks to your site by obeying the rules of engagement (written and unwritten alike) laid out by Google.

    Is it best to outsource link building or handle it in-house?

    Key questions to ask yourself while weighing up this decision are: Do you understand link building and how to do it well? Do you have the time? (It can be a high repetitive process) and would you understand how to recognise a good link opportunity from a bad one?

    What is the best link building software?

    As link building is a pivotal part of SEO, an entire cottage industry has sprung up around the artform. This, naturally, means that various services are available to aid businesses in their link building. Three of the main software options are Ahrefs, Buzzstream and Much Rack.

    Our growth plans →

    EssentialsStarterEliteHigh-growthBespoke
    Get started with digital business growthAccelerate your business expansionMore resource for ambitious companiesBest-in-class digital creative solutionsA tailored solution for your business
    £512 monthly Sign upNo commitment, cancel at any time
    Learn more
    £1499 monthly Sign upNo commitment, cancel at any time
    Learn more
    £2999 monthly Sign upNo commitment, cancel at any time
    Learn more
    £5999 monthly Sign upNo commitment, cancel at any time
    Learn more
    £ Bespoke monthly Contact usNo commitment, cancel at any time
    Learn more
    What are the best free link building tools?

    link building tools are fine to do a job, but they will never be as impactful as paid software. Three popular and useful free link building tools are: Hunter.io, Disavow.it and Mozbar.

    What are the risks of link building?

    The main risk of link building is that Google may come to the conclusion that you’re trying to manipulate its results, and your site may be penalised. This could result in your traffic plummeting and have the exact opposite outcome to what you were hoping for.

    How much does link building cost?

    The cost of link building depends on how you go about your link building. There are many approaches, each of which will have a price tag. If you use paid software, your marketing budget needs to cover license fees. There are other considerations to bear in mind too.

    What is link building and why is it important?

    Link building is pretty much what it sounds like – attracting links to your website from othersBrowse the articles found throughout the Creative.onl website, and you’ll notice that we link to reputable and informative external sites. In turn, other sites throughout the internet link to Creative.onl if they feel their users would benefit from our expertise.

    These links are also known as backlinks, and they are critical to your SEO approach. It’s hardly a secret that Google is the most dominant search engine on the market, with a whopping 92% share of all traffic. The likes of Bing and DuckDuckGo have their fans, but any SEO strategy really needs to prioritise impressing Google. Backlinks are a crucial way to achieve this aim.

    Google assign their page rankings according to a variety of algorithms. Among the most dominant of these is E-A-T – Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Like the rest of us, Google has business aims – they did not obtain a 92% market share through dumb luck. By ensuring that only the most dependable websites rank at the top of page one, Google retains its reputation as the fountain of all knowledge on the web.

    Get a free consultation →

    Do you want free expert advice about your project? Yes, get my appointment →

    Alas, Google lacks the time (or inclination) to sit and read every website, cross-referencing and fact-checking the contents for accuracy. As a result, they take at least a little on faith. This is where backlinking comes into play. Google will consider it an endorsement if your site is hyperlinked from elsewhere on the web – ideally a website with a large following and stellar online reputation. The more of these high authority links you attract, the more your SEO strategy will benefit.

    Fundamental rules of link building

    If you’re new to link building, it can be tempting to flood the internet with backlinks to your site. This is a mistake – one of many that we will discuss in due course. To begin, though, we’d like to explain the fundamental rules of backlinking.

    • Backlinks from high authority sites are worth their weight in gold. Ten backlinks from low-authority sites cannot compare to one from a high-end resource. Use the free checker on SEO Review Tools to determine the authority of a website. Any score above 60 is considered high authority
    • Backlinks need to be relevant to the matter at hand. If you are running a website that provides information on electric cars, for example, backlinks from high-authority websites in the automobile or environmental niches are great. A throwaway link from a food blogger padding out a recipe post by discussing their new car is no use
    • Backlinks need to be sourced ethically and organically. This approach is known as whitehat link building, and we’ll discuss that in more detail very shortly. Always keep this in mind, though – taking shortcuts to link building will end poorly for your website

    There is plenty more to learn about link building, and we have plenty more to discuss throughout this guide. These are the three fundamental rules surrounding the acquisition of backlinks for SEO, though. Learn them and learn them well.

    See also →  Website redesign guide – how to redesign your business website

    Whitehat link building – what is it?

    An approach to link building, like all SEO activities, can be divided into one of three categories.

    Type of link buildingWhat is it?
    Whitehat link buildingWhitehat link building is a fair, ethical and legal practice, slowly attracting more backlinks to your site by obeying the rules of engagement (written and unwritten alike) laid out by Google
    Blackhat link buildingBlackhat link building sees a webmaster use nefarious practices to generate links that break the rules set out by Google. Blackhat link building can see immediate results and may grant your website a short-term bump in page ranking. Once the Google overlords discover these tactics, though, harsh penalties are inevitable 
    Greyhat link buildingGreyhat link building is between the two, pushing the boundaries of whitehat and edging dangerously close to black without crossing the line. Greyhat link building remains a dangerous tactic, though, which could backfire

    As you can imagine, Creative.onl only recommends whitehat link building. Yes, this may mean that you need to wait a while to see results. These results are sustainable, though. You are considerably less likely to fall victim to a Google algorithm update that sends your traffic plummeting overnight. Examples of how you can undertake whitehat link building include:

    See also →  SEO consultant guide – how to find and hire the right SEO consultant in 2021
    • Locate broken links on high-authority sites and ask web admins to replace them with your content
    • Post guest blogs and articles on major websites in your niche or industry, guiding users to your site
    • Build a loyal social media following and ensure to post plenty of links on your profiles
    • Replicate links used by high-authority sites. If a link is good enough for a site like, say, Entrepeneur.com, it’s good enough for your business
    • Use the same links as your most successful competitors. All is fair in love, war and business!

    When it comes to black- or greyhat link building … well, if the approach is not listed above, think carefully about adopting it to generate backlinks for your website. Above all, though, be sure to read our segment on the Dangers of link building – what mistakes to avoid. The errors listed here will often be considered blackhat, whether deliberately or due to ignorance, and your site will be penalised.

    Outsource link building, or handle it in-house?

    You’ll always have the choice of outsourcing your link building to an expert (typically an agency of a freelancer) or managing it yourself. Key questions to ask yourself while weighing up this decision are:

    • Do you understand the basic principles of link building and SEO, or do you need a guiding hand?
    • Can you tell the difference between a high-authority website or one that could potentially do more harm than good to your online reputation?
    • Are you comfortable forging relationships with other websites, looking to build a mutually beneficial partnership, or would you prefer somebody else deal with the niceties?
    • Do you consider SEO an essential part of the marketing process, or a load of fluff made up by computer geeks?

    The answers to these questions will dictate whether you should trust your link building instincts or dig into your budget and gain assistance from experienced professionals.

    Link building software – what are the options?

    As link building is a pivotal part of SEO, an entire cottage industry has sprung up around the artform. This, naturally, means that various services are available to aid businesses in their link building. Let’s take a look at three of the finest.

    Ahrefs is arguably the ultimate link building tool on the web. You can use the site to discover who your competitors are linking to and get in on that action – or attempt to trump them with alternative, superior links. Ahrefs will also identify broken links online, which you can then replace with those from your site.

    Ahrefs screenshot

    Buzzstream is premium customer relationship management (CRM) software that can be invaluable for building a bond with potential backlinking sites. This site will help you understand precisely who is interacting online and how your relationship with sites that you consider integral is progressing.

    Buzzstream screenshot

    Muck Rack, meanwhile, will keep you posted about the latest and greatest stories in your industry. As a result, you’ll be well-placed to contact sites and journalists with your hot takes and content. As we discussed previously, this is a great way to build your audience and place legitimate backlinks on high-authority sites.

    Muck Rack screenshot

    Google Alerts can also help you plan a link building strategy. Learn what sites discuss terms critical to your industry and find an opening to work with them. The three sites we profiled above should be your first ports of call, though.

    Free link building tools – are they any good?

    Free link building tools are fine to do a job, but they will never be as impactful as paid software. All the same, free tools are an excellent way to experiment with link building strategies and ideally master the concept. In addition, some paid tools offer free facilities.

    Some of the best free link building tools on the market include:

    • Hunter.io (offering 50 free email searches per month to help you connect with potential linking sites)
    • Disavow.it (completely free way to identify poor-quality websites that you should shed any affiliation with. The site is in Italian, though, so visit using Google Chrome so you can translate the copy!)
    • Mozbar (a free Chrome extension that analyses keywords, as well as the authority of domains and websites)

    Give these a shot, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how effective they can be. Just do not expect the same level of insight and details that you’ll get from a paid product.

    Dangers of link building – what mistakes to avoid?

    Link building looks simple on paper, but in reality it is fraught with danger. Applying low-quality links to your website, or unwittingly falling into blackhat SEO status, can cause irreparable damage to your online reputation.

    To ensure that your approach to link building yields the results that you’re hoping for, steer clear of these cardinal sins.

    • Never purchase backlinks. Buying links is blackhat link building 101, and your website will suffer severe repercussions if discovered
    • Do not lose sight of the fact that quality trumps quantity. Prioritise a handful of quality links over dozens of random sites
    • Avoid linking to the same external website countless times
    • Do not set up multiple websites, all of which hyperlink to each other like a daisy chain – this tactic is called link farming and is strictly verboten by Google
    • Avoid linking to insecure websites that could be targets of cyber-attacks. You do not want to be associated with them if the worst happens
    • Keep an eye on your backlinks, removing any that are broken or no longer relevant
    • Do not accept links from irrelevant sites that play no part in your niche. If this is a recurring problem, install a policy that no site cannot backlink to you without permission (though this could mean you miss out on legitimate, helpful backlinks!)

    As you can see, link building is a tricky skill to master. Keep an eye on your backlinking and check whether it is helping or hindering your SEO efforts. You may need to make occasional adjustments to your link building approach.

    How much does link building cost?

    The cost of link building depends on how you go about your link building. There are many approaches, each of which will have a price tag. If you use paid software, your marketing budget needs to cover license fees. There are other considerations to bear in mind too.

    Posting guest content, for example, will be free if you have an in-house copywriter. If not, it will cost you the skills of a freelancer or content marketing agency. Expect to pay a premium if you find a writer with an ‘in’ to a high-authority site. These copywriters are acutely aware of how in-demand their contacts are. They will not cash in their chips with such websites without appropriate compensation.

    Alternatively, you could hire an SEO agency or freelance specialist and ask them to bring link building into their service offering. The cost here will vary according to who you hire. Ensure that the business has bona fide experience in linking building before committing to a working relationship, too. Review our guide to hiring SEO agencies for more insights.

    Finally, remember our prior warnings and only work with a backlink specialist that offers whitehat SEO services. If you try to cut corners, the cost will be high – and we do not mean financially. If you feel you would benefit from more advice on link building, including a full consultation service for your SEO strategy, Creative.onl are always happy to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch today!

    Kick start your business expansion →

    Get a specialist business growth plan

    View pricing →

    Latest insight articles →


    Let us show you how we can accelerate your business growth using design, tech and content →


               

    hello@creative.onl

    +44 (0)116 318 0488

    More from us →