101 Questions Beginners Asked About Link Building

Are you new to link building?

Do you have a lot of questions and you need someone experienced in this field to answer them for you?

Are you still unsure whether link building is worth the effort?

Do you need some basic SEO education, so you can continue working on your rankings and make sure you are not already making crucial mistakes this early in the process?

If so, you’re not the only one.


As a team of seasoned SEO professionals, we constantly come into contact with people who are not completely certain what link building really is and how it can change their online presence for the better.

Many industry experts have a lot of how-to posts and ultimate guides on the subject of link building. However, very few are built upon massive Q&A sessions that directly provide exact answers to questions beginners keep asking online about link building and all of its elements.

Our team at Base decided to change that. These last couple of days, we have been tirelessly scraping the Web, looking for all sorts of popular and relevant questions that people keep asking about link building.

We took everything we could find on Reddit, Quora, and all the other major and relevant industry sites and forums, and organized it into a single, giant document. The next step involved filtering the list and providing the comprehensive, plain-language answers to frequently asked questions and dilemmas regarding link building. The document made it significantly easier for us to arrange the content properly and address these questions as best as we possibly could.

In the following segments of this post, you’ll see a list of 101 answers to 101 currently trending questions about link building that tend to confuse beginners.

As you’ll see when you start to scroll down the article, the questions and answers have been organized by different criteria, so you can easily find the type of material that corresponds to your level of knowledge, or that is likely to have an answer to a particular question that’s bothering you.


LEVEL 1: Key elements and definitions

1. What is a backlink?

To put it simply, your backlinks are links pointing back from other websites to your site. Backlinks are an extremely relevant ranking signal. They are an essential ingredient of practically every intelligent SEO strategy. Backlinks make a gigantic impact on your website’s position in search. They influence the popularity, relevance, and overall domain authority of your website. The more quality backlinks you have pointing to your site and pages, the better you’ll rank in search.

2. What is link building?

Link building is a crucial part of every SEO strategy. In layman’s terms, link building is a strategic approach to creating relevant links on other people’s sites, with a goal of driving referral traffic and increasing the authority of your own site in Google’s search.

3. Do websites absolutely require link building?

It depends on the particular website and its overall mission. In a general sense, regardless of its nature, any type of website could benefit from generating a steady flow of backlinks. However, link building services are usually reserved for business websites that cannot be effectively promoted without a significant amount of valuable links. People typically don’t have the necessary skills or manpower to come up with effective link building strategies, which is why they hire expert agencies or SEO professionals.

4. What is an outbound link?

Outbound links are those leading away from your domain to other websites.

5. What is an inbound link?

It is a link coming from another site to your own website.

6. What is a hidden link?

Hidden links come in different forms, but most commonly in the shape of hyperlinked hidden text. The goal is to make them inconspicuous (example: white text on a white background), because their sole purpose is to pass link value, while flying under the radar of readers.

Hiding links is a notorious black hat technique. It should be avoided at all costs.

7. What are footer links?

A footer link is a link located in the footer section of a web page. They are usually located at the very bottom of web pages and treated as completely separate sections.

8. What is a do-follow backlink?

A do-follow backlink is an inbound link that distributes authority from one page to another, and positively affects its rankings in Google’s SERP.

9. What is anchor text?

Anchor text is a word, phrase, or a set of characters that carries your link. It’s the clickable text in a hyperlink.

10. The difference between do-follow and no-follow links?

The largest, and probably the most important difference between do-follow and no-follow backlinks, is that the former almost directly influence rankings by passing link equity or value, while the latter are primarily useful as a source of traffic.

11. How can I know if a certain backlink I received is a do-follow or no-follow link?

Just look at the link.

Here’s an example:

<a href="https://www.base.me"> Link Text </a>

<a href="https://www.base.me" rel="nofollow"> Link Text </a>

The rel attribute describes the nature of a link. You can always figure out which type of backlinks you have just by checking the source code on the page linking back to you.

12. Are all outbound links no-follow links?

No. Just like any other type of link, outbound links come in do-follow and no-follow forms.

13. What are contextual backlinks?

Contextual backlinks are links to other websites, placed within the main content of a page. They fit organically within content (usually text). Contextual links never appear in sidebars, footers, ads, or within the navigation. They are exclusively found in locations reserved for the primary content.

14. Do no-follow links matter?

Even though no-follow links don't directly influence your rankings, they still carry some value.

It's highly recommendable to diversify your website’s backlink portfolio and ensure that Google doesn’t flag you for malicious behavior. Despite the fact that the world’s most popular engine likes do-follow links more than no-followed ones, it’s important to keep in mind that not all do-follow links are created equal in Google's eyes.

When it comes to improving your rankings through a strong backlink profile, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, not all do-follow links bring the same value to your website. Some won't influence your rankings at all, while others might actually damage them.

Some practices are definitely not recommendable, such as acquiring too many do-follow backlinks from the same domain. Google might interpret this as a malicious attempt of getting higher rankings without thinking about users (e.g. through link schemes or even paid links), and so your efforts will go down the drain.

Secondly, you should not underestimate no-follow links as they are easier to get and can bring a significant amount of relevant traffic to your website.

Your backlink portfolio should be diverse, as this informs search engines that your website is a valuable part of the web. Google will perceive it as more natural, opposed to cases where you rely on just a few high-quality domains for your backlinks. Of course, you should focus on reputable sites that have great domain authority, but make sure to mix it up a bit with a couple of no-follow links.

Diversifying traffic sources is the key, so focus on getting the most out of social media and credible domains, such as .gov and .edu. If you do have an outstanding product or service, think about reaching out to relevant websites that could actually benefit from your content, as they have the same target audience as you.

15. What exactly are domain and page authority?

Domain authority is a metric, formulated by MOZ, that gives a numerical representation of how “trustworthy” your domain is. DA score is calculated based on the quantity and quality of inbound links to your website. The higher the score, the better the chances all of your pages will have of ranking well in Google’s organic search results.

PA, a.k.a. Page Authority, illustrates a similar thing. The only real difference is that PA is page-specific, and you can use it to work on your link architecture. This way, you can highlight the pages you favor more than other ones.

16. What does the term “reciprocal linking” stand for?

It’s a type of link exchange between two web admins. In this process, both admins agree to provide a link to the other party on their own site. Usually, the purpose of this form of link exchange is to provide audiences with quick access to a related site, or to promote their partnership.

17. What is deep link ratio?

Deep link ratio represents the exact percentage of links that point back to internal pages of a website, compared to the total number of links that refer to the site’s homepage.

A high deep link ratio usually indicates that a particular site has a rich and varied link portfolio, full of natural and valuable links.

18. What is tiered link building?

Tiered link building is an SEO tactic that focuses on building links from a variety of sources to your website, and then promoting those sources to maximize the value you are getting from them. It’s all about contributing content to top ranking sites relevant to your domain as a first tier, and then ensuring that the pages holding the link to your site get all the attention that you can send their way.

19. What is the difference between backlinks and link building?

Link building is a practice/process of building links, while backlinks are the actual links that point back from one site to another.

20. What is broken link building?

Broken link building is a common, scalable, white hat link building tactic. It’s a content-focused approach that aims towards building links through finding broken, outdated or deleted information sources and reconstructing them in the form of up-to-date and relevant content. Webmasters who are currently linking to the broken resources are then contacted with a suggestion - to replace their dead link with a new, working one.

21. What are internal links?

Internal links are links that go from one page to another within the same domain. Apart from improving site navigation, they also establish information hierarchy and effectively distribute link juice across the website. Internal links are a powerful ranking tool.

22. What is three way link building?

It’s a form of link exchange where some webmasters who own multiple sites offer other webmasters a link to their second site, in exchange for them to link back to the first parties’ main site, tying all three properties into a single event.

It goes something like this:

  • Site A links to site B, but B does not link to A;
  • Site B links to site C, but C does not link to B;
  • C links to A, but A does not link to C.

Even though some webmasters still participate in three way link exchanges, this practice is meant to manipulate the engines, which is why it’s best to avoid it.

23. What is testimonial link building?

It is a process of earning quality links for your site by giving testimonials to relevant sites. Testimonials are of great importance for all businesses that operate offline and online. They provide proof of trust and positively affect your brand’s reputation. If, for example, you receive and publish a positive testimonial from an authority figure in your niche and market - your potential users will surely show a lot more trust in your products and services. A couple of good testimonials can do wonders for your business. They can bring new traffic and even generate new sales and customers.

Testimonials can be leveraged as a link building tactic, especially if you’re already an authority figure in your niche and market. The goal here would be to go after highly authoritative brands and propose to contribute to their press/reviews/testimonials pages.

You can also reverse engineer the entire process by going after individuals who have already contributed to the sites you’re currently planning to outreach. This way you’ll continue to grow your list of quality prospects that could help you improve your rankings in search.

Since that list can never be long enough, and adding new names and websites to it gets more difficult the longer you are compiling it, it’s never too soon to start looking for ways to make the process faster and easier. That is exactly what you would be doing by signing up for a free trial of our link prospecting tool, Dibz.

Level 2 - Know-how for users who are thinking about doing link building, but still haven't done anything yet

24. Is link building dead?

No, it is not. It’s very much alive. As we have already mentioned above, links are extremely important. For as long as links continue to play a crucial part in how the search engine calculates the worth of websites - link building will survive.

Like everything else in the world of SEO and marketing, link building is evolving. Some old ways of building links are no longer effective, but that doesn’t mean that link building as a practice, is dying. The game is still on, it’s just that some of the rules are changing with every new Google algorithm update

25. What are the best sites for learning about link building?

There are dozens and dozens of websites that write about SEO and link building, but some of the most relevant are MOZ, Backlinko, Search Engine Journal, and Ahrefs.

26. How does link building work?

Links are basically bridges. Search engines use links to crawl the Web. They go through the links between individual pages on a specific site, and links between different websites. Links help the engine discover new pages and sites, and determine how high a particular page or site should be ranked in search for specific sets of keywords.

When trying to calculate the exact position a certain site should be awarded in search, Google also looks at the site’s link portfolio. The engine examines all the links coming from external websites, as well as the quality of those sites. If your link portfolio is better than those of your competitors - you’ll have a great chance of earning a spot above them in the SERPs.

27. How to write an outreach email?

There’s a comprehensive post in one of our other tools’ blog dedicated to effectively outreaching prospects.

Outreach emails need to be clean, concise, and relevant to the recipient.

Personalization is the key here.

It’s of crucial importance to show your recipient that there is a specific reason you are reaching out to him or her.

In this stage, it’s advisable to immediately show the recipient that you’re familiar with his or her work. You shouldn’t cut corners here. Don’t just write generic lines like: “I loved your last article”.

Do you best to really convince them that you know what you’re talking about, and provide a good explanation of why you are reaching out.

You have to give something in return for a link. Pitch your idea as clearly as possible. Make it transparent what the other side will be getting out of the deal, i.e. amazing and useful content their readers will enjoy.

28. What is link juice?

“Link juice”, a.k.a “link equity”, is a popular industry term used to describe the SEO value which a hyperlink sends from one particular website/webpage to another. This value is dependent on a number of factors, like the linking page’s authority, topical relevance, etc.

29. What is a “href”?

An HTML attribute that points to the target of a link.


<a href="https://www.base.me"> Link building tool </a>

30. What does the term “rank drain” stand for?

This particular phrase comes from the idea that linking to other pages could negatively affect your rankings. By placing do-follow external links on a page, you are taking away from its total link juice, i.e. draining its potential to rank.

31. What is a link portfolio?

A collection/archive of all the sites and pages that are linking back to your domain.

32. What is a query?

A simple question or phrase (containing relevant keywords) you enter in search in order to find answers or whatever you’re looking for.

33. What is a rel?

An element that assigns and instantly describes the role of a link.

Example: “rel=nofollow”

34. What is rot in link building?

The term used to describe instances where pages that are no longer active aren’t properly redirected or dealt with.

35. What are sitewide links?

This one is a bit self-explanatory. Sitewide links are links that you can find on every page across a particular domain. They are usually placed in sidebars and footers. They have no real SEO value, but you can find them across many domains, because they carry relevant info about a particular brand or business.

36. What are abandoned domains?

Websites that are no longer active (or available for purchase), but have backlinks pointing back to them. Some SEOs and link builders actively search for these types of domains. They buy them and then use a 301 status code to redirect the backlinks to their own domain.

37. What are educational links?

Backlinks from sites with an .edu domain. Just like .gov, the .edu domain is tightly controlled. These types of links are extremely powerful and authoritative, but also quite hard to get. If you somehow find yourself in a situation where you can create a link from one of these domains - do your best to secure it ASAP.

38. What is interlinking?

Interlinking can be used as a link building tactic. The term refers to the interlinking of web pages on an internal source or between a few connected websites.

39. What is a TLD?

TLD, a.k.a. Top Level Domain, refers to the highest point of a given domain in the hierarchical Domain Name System. There are country specific and numerous generic TLDs. Some of them started as ccTLD (country specific) and eventually got adopted as generic (.me, .io, .ly).

Even when using a content distribution service, choosing a country specific TLD should make you more visible to searchers from that country, and less so to those from others. While generic TLDs allow you to change geolocation and targeting options, ccTLDs do not.

40. What is link reclamation?

It is a quite simple, but highly effective tactic for earning quality backlinks. All you really have to do is find people who have already mentioned your brand, products, and services somewhere online and politely ask them to insert your link in that mention.

The best thing about this approach is that you don’t really have to give anything in return for the link.

All you’re doing here is acknowledging someone's interest in your company and responding to what’s already there. In order to find your unlinked mentions online, use a tool like Google Alerts.

This particular utility will send you daily round-up emails containing every single recently published post containing your targeted keywords. Once you spot some genuine opportunities to earn links, all you have to do is reach out to that address and politely ask the admin for a link.

41. How hard is link building in reality?

Really hard.

As we already stated earlier, not all links are created equal. Some of them require little to no effort, while others demand a lot of hard work.

Link building is a never-ending process. You cannot really stop earning links. The better you are at the game, the harder it gets. SEO specialists and managers are in constant need of new relevant and authority sites from which they can get a quality backlink. They are obliged to constantly search the Web for new prospects.

Apart from that, in order to do it right, you cannot really start building links at random. This process requires strategy, planning, communication and SEO skills. For those who are just starting to build links, it can be quite challenging.

42. What are the easiest links to build?

Creating profiles on major social networks is quite easy. All you have to do is fill in your details in the right places. Social media profiles are important for business. These sites generate a lot of traffic and take up major real estate in search. Once you set up your SM accounts, submit your domain to relevant local directories, define which keywords you’re planning to pursue, create a list of sites from which you want to earn a link, come up with ideas for guest posts, and start outreaching to your prospects.

43. What factors determine the quality of a link?

Quality of a particular link is determined by numerous metrics:

  • Do-follow vs. no-follow;
  • Domain authority;
  • The very nature of the link, is it an external or internal link;
  • Quality of the page’s other links;
  • Spam signals;
  • User engagement;
  • Anchor text;
  • Editorial integrity;
  • Relevance;
  • Topical authority of a page;
  • Position of the link on the page;
  • Source depth;
  • Prior links from this domain;
  • Author’s authority;
  • JavaScript vs. HTML;
  • First link to target in HTML;
  • Link and page age;

44. What initial link building do you need to do for a new site?

We already answered this question in great detail in one of our other tools’ blog posts. The first links should always be the ones that are the easiest to make: Claim your profiles on all the major social media sites.

Once you do that, you should set up Google Alerts for your brand name and variations of extremely relevant keywords for your business. This way, you can easily claim your mentions and reach out to web admins that are most likely to give you a link.

The third thing you should do is claim all your local links. Regardless of which niche you operate in, you should always start building links directly in your neighborhood. Try hosting local events, sponsoring local group meetings, registering your brand and business at local community development centers - the works! Local matters to both Google and the users, and it should matter to you as well!

The idea here is to do something useful and related to your physical location. The goal is to do something that hasn’t already been done by other local-specific websites.

After you claim your easiest links, you should continue with chasing industry-related sites and asking them to link back to your domain. The best links for your business website will most certainly come from these types of domains and you should try to acquire as many of them as possible.

Monitor what’s currently trending in your market and what you need to do to grab your direct and indirect competitors’ attention. The mission objective here is to separate your brand from the noise and demonstrate your expertise to your audience.

45. What is the most effective link building strategy?

The best link building strategy is definitely blogging. By writing and publishing amazing content on your own and relevant community sites, you’ll build links and impressive authority online. The idea here is to produce something worth linking to. If you create and publish relevant resources on your own blog, people will be stimulated to organically share your content and create additional links for it on their own. The goal is to produce and promote content that actually touches upon your targeted audience pain points, solves real problems for them, and inspires them to further share and quote your work.

Same goes for your guest posts. Guest blogging is great for earning high-quality backlinks, expanding your network, and reaching out to users who have the potential to become your followers. It relies on similar principles, the only thing that’s different is the fact that you’re producing content for someone else's site. That means that you have to carefully select your targets and produce content that’s in sync with their needs and preferences.

46. How long does it take for a link to work?

This is a tricky question. It all depends on your expectations. If, for example, you’re waiting for your newly-acquired backlinks to skyrocket your page to the top of search, then you’ll probably have to wait for quite some time. Individual backlinks alone don’t really have the power to drastically improve your rankings. Many factors come into play here. Numerous things are happening from the moment a new backlink is acquired to the time it starts to influence your rankings.

Domain authority, trust and brand authority, type of links, link velocity, keyword competitiveness, link relevance, anchor texts - these are just some of the key elements that are directly related to how quickly your link building efforts will start to show results.

As you can see, the effects of many elements that take part in this process make it quite hard to set a definite timeline in which backlinks are likely to produce results.

47. Is it enough to let links come to your website naturally?

Not really, especially if you operate in a highly competitive niche. Some online business owners and web admins are much more focused on content development than on link building. They feel that if they continue producing outstanding blog posts and other forms of popular content, the links will come on their own.

And they will, but not as fast as they would if you went out and made them on your own. Even though this type of “good content promotes itself” strategy makes sense, it often doesn’t generate satisfying results. Today, promotion plays a significant part in the process. It’s a lot more effective to go out and build links for your domain and pages, than to passively wait for them to start coming on their own.

48. Why can't you just post links pointing to your site?

Because it’s not very user-friendly and Google doesn’t like it. If you post links to your website indiscriminately on spammy sites, you’ll expose yourself to unnecessary risks. Google will recognize you as a spammer and punish your deceptive behavior, stripping you of your rankings. If you want to achieve any success with your link building efforts, it’s imperative that you familiarize yourself with Google’s webmaster guidelines.

49. Why isn’t my link building working?

There are literally hundreds of things that could make your link building efforts unsuccessful. If you do everything by the book and you still have nothing to show for it, you either haven’t given your links enough time to work, or your website has a lot of technical issues that are preventing you from earning better positions in Google’s SERPs for targeted keywords.

50. Should I avoid building more links on sites where I've already built links?

Even though the second or third link from a particular source won’t really have the same SEO value as the first one, you can still earn some quality referral traffic with every additional link you build.

For example, if you’re thinking about writing and publishing another piece of content for a big publication like Entrepreneur - that makes sense. Apart from earning traffic, becoming a more frequent contributor on such a site will surely help you increase your authority online, which will indirectly influence your brand for the better.

51. What’s the average success rate of outreach?

The average success tends to vary, based on the link builder’s experience and understanding of the subjects he’s trying to outreach. According to numerous colleagues, the usual success rate ranges somewhere between 5 and 50 percent, which, again, depends on the industry, your experience, and the content you’re pitching.

52. How do I convince someone to link to my content?

There are a couple of ways to convince people to link back to your content:

  • Develop content that’s worth linking to. Produce case studies, guides, powerful how-to posts - basically anything with real value, and outreach people who might be interested in it. Send your content to specifically targeted individuals and explain why it matters.
  • Write guest posts that contain a backlink to your domain.
  • Collaborate with influential bloggers in researching and creating authoritative pieces of content.
  • Write testimonials and reviews or do interviews.
  • Quote influencers in your articles.
  • Find broken links on relevant sites, get in touch with web admins and offer your content.
  • Find people within your niche you like, follow them on social media, and frequently share their content and comment on their posts. If you share consistently, people will recognize your efforts and you’ll earn some reciprocal sharing in return. Once you have some sort of a relationship with someone, you can move on to asking them to provide you with a link.
  • Create strategic alliances with like-minded businesses and become a known figure within your network.

53. Are local citations relevant for link building?

Citation building is still an effective strategy. The benefits of building citations are huge, especially if you run a small or medium-sized business. With citations, you can easily improve your online visibility and get more customers to visit your website and browse through your products and services.

If you put in the effort to list your business on many credible directories across the Web, you’ll significantly improve your positions in Google’s result pages. People look to local directories like Yelp to learn more about particular businesses. They’re interested in how satisfied the customers really are and what makes the company in question worthy of attention.

A lot of brands recognize this yearning for authenticity and visibility, and respond by making their presence known across relevant directories in effort to help move customers down the path to purchase.

54. Can forum links help your SEO?

It depends on the forum and your business. Some forums give do-follow links. These links distribute little to none SEO juice, but they still have some value. Forums are good for earning location specific links. If you, for example, have a site for selling mountain bikes and you’re only operating from Melbourne - responding to relevant topics on local forums makes sense for your business.

It’s always a good idea to participate in discussion boards where your potential clients communicate. The goal is to never really overdo it with posting links back to your site, unless you’re absolutely positive that they’re beneficial to the topic and discussion at hand.

55. What is a content gap?

The term content gap refers to a crucial part of the information that somehow still hasn't been covered on a particular site. This is the holy grail of link building. For example, if you, as a person who is looking to earn a link from a top publication via guest blogging, identify an extremely relevant topic or angle that still hasn’t been properly covered there - you’ll have a great chance of earning a link from the publisher.

56. Is it possible for websites to rank without any link building?

Back in November of 2017, John Mueller of Google tweeted that most websites rank without building a single backlink for their site.

Of course, this should be taken with a grain of salt. It all depends how you exactly interpret the term “link building”.

If you define link building as a process of asking people around the Web to link back to your site - then yes, you can rank without doing any link building.

However, even though that may be true - that still doesn’t mean that you can rank without links.

Most websites that rank now in Google have never consciously built a link for their site, but that doesn’t mean that their backlink portfolio is empty.

People create links for sites on their own. If they find a resource online that helps them further explain the subject they’re thinking about covering on their blog, they’ll organically link to it.

Link building, as a practice, isn’t here to just help you rank. Its primary objective is to improve (emphasis on improve) your rankings by getting more and more quality sites to point back to your domain and share their “link juice”.

57. How do we recognize relevant sites for link building?

You try to determine whether your link on that site would make sense, i.e. if you are topically related; if you share the same audience and if their audience would actually benefit from following the link to your site and get what they’ve expected; or would people and crawlers find it difficult to make a connection between yours and the site linking to you. Basically, if you could imagine the site linking to you organically, without your incentive, they’re as relevant as you need them to be.

58. Which is the best link building SEO tool?

It’s hard to choose a single best tool, because link building is a multifaceted process, and a lot of truly great tools mostly focus on specific segments of this practice.

For example, Base focuses on optimizing your link-building workflow and speeding up your link management processes. It offers a quick solution to save you the money you invested by automating link management and link health status monitoring.

In addition to Base, one of the best tools for people who are interested in doing quality link building is definitely Ahrefs.

Ahrefs has the largest and probably the most accurate database of live backlinks. It’s basically one giant SEO suite, composed of a number of different tools: Site Explorer, Positions Explorer, Content Explorer, Position Tracker, Crawl Report, and Ahrefs Alerts.

All of these features/tools could be of great use to link builders. Site Explorer, for example, allows users to take a deep dive into their own or their targeted website’s link portfolio. It’s basically like having an all access pass and taking a long look behind the curtain.

With Site Explorer, you can clearly see which sites are linking to any domain, what specific terms and phrases is your selected site ranking for, etc. It’s an amazing tool for analyzing competitors, brand and keyword monitoring, and link building as well.

Did we mention that Base integrates with Ahrefs?

59. What link building techniques are currently most effective?

These are just some of the more popular ones: Blogging, guest blogging, creating links for your existing content, “best of” lists, contributor badges, replicating competitor backlinks, giveaway campaigns, infographics, research reports and case studies, ebooks, webinars, 404 link reclamation, alumni and trustworthy directories, alumni news/spotlight, ask customers/clients, award badges, becoming an influencer, comment marketing, brand mentions, broken link building, self-hosted client directories, business directory submissions, glossaries, Wiki pages, event checklists, affiliate programs, event checklist, quote graphics, images, link roundups, crowdfunding, curation, myth debunking, dead content recreation, forum posting.

60. How to get quality backlinks from your guest blogging efforts?

First, you make a list of relevant sites where you can publish your content. Our link prospecting tool, Dibz, can help you do that. All you need to do is type in your keywords in the interface, set the parameters and other metrics, and the tool will provide you with a list of domains that perfectly match your criteria.

You can even adjust the spam factor, so you only get the best sites with high DA scores.

Once you do that, start outreaching your prospects by complimenting their work and offering them to create content for their site. Always pitch 3 different topics. This makes the web admins feel like they are involved in the content creation process. If you give them more than 3 topics, chances are they’ll struggle to pick their favorite headline.

For example, if you’re outreaching to a site that publishes content on topics like business and marketing, you should come up with something about influencer engagement, online advertising, etc. Find a topic or an angle that’s relevant to what the site writes about, but make sure it hasn’t already been covered on it. When coming up with the subject, make sure you pick the one that’s relatable to the page or site you’re building the link for.

After the admin picks a topic, you move on to the second phase of the process and focus on creating a piece of linkable content. Come up with something you’re sure your targeted website will be interested in publishing. Always read the contributor and guest blogging guide on your targeted site, if it has one. This will help you avoid all unnecessary style or writing errors that might stand in the way of publishing your content.

Place your link organically in the text, under an anchor text that perfectly describes the value and the point of the source you’re linking to. Once you do all that, send your content to the admin.

61. What is the difference between link building and link baiting?

Link baiting is a process of creating interesting and relevant content/assets that have a high chance of organically earning you links on their own. Link bait content often comes in the form of ultimate guides, case studies, and extensive niche and industry researches.

Contrary to link baiting, link building is a more proactive approach where web admins and marketers actually look for relevant sites where they can create useful links for their domain or client.

62. The biggest link building mistakes?

The top link building mistake has to be building links on low quality and spammy sites. By doing this, you’re exposing your website to the risk of getting penalized by Google. If the world’s most popular engine flags you for bad behavior, you’ll lose your place in search. Google will push your domain so far down the search results, you won’t be able to climb back in ages.

Another huge, yet common mistake when it comes to link building is creating good quality links from great publications, but with useless anchor texts. Never attach your links to such generic phrases as “click here” or “play now”. Also, be sure to never put your link at the bottom of the text.

63. What is the bare minimum a specific site needs to have in order to make it worth getting a link from?

This is a bit of a difficult question because these “minimum requirements” tend to vary from agency to agency.

In Four Dots, we use numerous quality indicators to tell us if a particular site is worth getting a link from.

First and foremost, the focus is on the relevancy. If a specific site isn’t really relevant to our or our client’s site - we won’t pursue it. Simple as that. For example, there’s no legit reason to build a link for a gardening website on a domain that writes about makeup.

Secondly, we look at the URL. It’s advisable to avoid TLDs like .info, .biz, etc. In addition, we aren’t really keen on sites that have more than twenty characters in the URL or a lot of hyphens and numbers.

Also, we look if the site has HTTPS.

We take in mind the technical and design aspects of our prospects. Before we approach a website for a link, we assess how its functionality is perceived by users and crawlers. We focus on the indexation, load speed, meta and title descriptions, whether or not the site is mobile responsive, site navigation - everything that could signal us how well the admin is running his or her house.

Then we move on to the content - how many sponsored posts a particular site has, grammar, readability, and audience engagement... Once we finish analyzing all that, in the final stage of our assessment we focus on the quality of incoming and outgoing links.

Everything written here should be taken with a grain of salt. This is just our process; it doesn’t necessarily mean that all TLDs listed above are suspicious, or that all sites with more than twenty characters in their URL are instantly bad.

64. Can outsourcing your link building ever be white hat?

Yes, it can. Most companies outsource their SEO and link building to companies that specialize in that kind of service. If the agency creates links for your site by the book, there is no reason to worry. The problem isn’t outsourcing, it’s the methods and websites people use to build links.

65. What is Off-page SEO? Does Off-page SEO actually involve anything other than link building?

Off-page SEO refers to all the techniques and strategies you use outside of your own website to improve its rankings in search. Off-page practices build trust, relevancy, and authority. Off-page factors carry more than a half of the entire ranking factor weight, so it’s quite safe to say that they are an extremely important element of the SEO game.

Even though earning links from relevant sources is the no.1 activity you should be doing regarding your off-site SEO efforts, there are still a couple of other things you can do to improve your authority, relevance and rankings online. These include social media networking, social bookmarking, forum posting, blog commenting, submissions, claiming local links, etc.

66. Link building or content marketing?

Content marketing and link building are like peanut butter and jelly. Content marketing is all about providing your targeted audience with enough reasons to visit your site and remember your brand online, while link building is primarily done in order to directly improve your visibility and relevance in search

When you really sit down and deconstruct the formula of both of these marketing techniques, you’ll see that a lot of their core objectives intertwine.

Quality content has always been a key component of every successful link building strategy. If you produce amazing content on your blog, people will be stimulated to organically link back to your page because they’ll see it as a valuable resource.

Quality and unique content can help with building natural links. It can also do wonders for your reputation online, which will automatically make it far easier for you to acquire links from sites within your niche and industry. If your content turns you into a known and trustworthy figure in your market, your influence will basically do all the heavy-lifting in your future link building efforts.

67. How link building affects your marketing strategy?

It influences it for the better. SEO and link building are now an unavoidable part of every intelligent digital marketing strategy. If your goal is to get discovered by target audiences and outperform your direct and indirect competitors, then you should certainly invest in link building. Apart from influencing your ranking and authority in search, link building can also significantly improve your traffic.

68. How to search for broken links for link building purposes?

There are numerous ways to search for broken backlinks. You can do it through popular SEO tools like Ahrefs, Xenu’s Link Sleuth, etc.

The goal is to find the relevant sites in your niche, those who care about their SEO and link portfolio, and then scan their pages for broken links.

One of the best, cheapest, and easiest ways to look for broken backlinks on a particular page is to do it via Check My Links Chrome extension.

With this tool, you can easily check the status of links on a particular web page. Once you install the extension, a little checkmark icon will appear beside your address bar. When you click on it, it will start scanning all the links on the web page. If a link is broken, the tool will highlight its anchor in red, along with a little error notification beside it.

From there on, you can start contacting the web admins and informing them about the situation with their page. No one really likes having broken links on their site. If you do a good enough job of coming up with a relevant substitute, most web admins will be more than willing to reward you with a link.

69. What skills do you need to have to be a successful link builder?

First of all, in order to become a successful link builder you need to have at least an intermediate level of knowledge of SEO.

Apart from being familiar with the essential phrases, terms, and practices, successful link builders need to be aware of their impact on the overall search engine optimization process. They are usually extremely communicative people, with a natural knack for reaching out to people and contributing to ongoing discussions.

The best link builders are curious, persistent, analytical, persuasive, self-motivated, and well-organized professionals. They are eager to learn and at least familiar with HTML. Above all, they know that, in order to keep up with the demands of the job, they constantly need to be on the lookout for new solutions, shortcuts and tools which can make them more efficient. Our contribution to their struggle comes in the form of a free plan for our link management software, which you can sign up for by clicking the button below.

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70. Is link building still relevant and is it a good idea to allocate this type of work to an SEO company?

Yes, it is. As we’ve already mentioned above, links are still quite important to the engines. They improve popularity, relevance, and domain authority of your website. If you have more links pointing back to your site than your competitors do, while the amount of traffic, quality and scope of the content, and other important elements are pretty much on the same level - chances are you’ll outrank them in search.

Hiring an SEO company for the initial setup is a smart move for those who aren’t really experienced in this field. Also, if you’re determined to crush your competitors in search - it’s highly advisable to seek assistance from the pros.

71. What is the future of link building?

We believe that links will remain significant to Google’s algorithm. The only thing that will change in the future is how the game is going to be played. The algorithm will probably raise the bar even higher and become increasingly alert to spammy link building. It will probably start to penalize everyone who tries to trick it by using practices that aren’t 100 percent white hat. Also, we believe that the algorithm may start attributing even more value to co-citations, co-occurrences, and brand authority.

72. How many backlinks do you need in order to rank on the first page of Google’s search results?

It all depends on the competition that’s pursuing the same keyword or group of keywords. First of all, link building is not the only thing you need to be thinking about. If your on-site isn’t perfect, backlinks alone won’t help you outperform your competitors. In some cases, you’ll need hundreds and maybe even thousands of backlinks to climb all the way up the SERPs for the targeted keywords. At other times, you’ll only need a few.

There are case studies describing how some people achieved this by creating only 13 backlinks. Google’s algorithm continues to favor quality over quantity and keeps getting more sophisticated, efficient, and demanding when judging website.This results in a link from a site like Huffington Post being valued much more than 100 links from mediocre sites. So, in order to improve your rankings for a particular phrase or keyword, you need to analyze your competition. Identify which sites are pointing back to their site, and use the knowledge to expand your backlink portfolio.

73. Is it better to get a link to your home page or to one of the other pages?

It depends on the link. Your home page will probably naturally accumulate the largest percentage of commercial links anyway.

While you don’t have to fight this tendency too hard, it’s always a good idea to “distribute the weight” and ensure that important deep pages get their share of attention and links as well. If you are, for example, writing a guest post on a topic that you have already covered from a different angle on your blog, in that specific case - it might be better to link to that post than to your homepage.

74. Link building for other countries?

Getting links from foreign websites can sometimes be difficult even for more experienced SEO professionals. To succeed in your link building efforts targeting a particular geographic location, you’ll need to overcome all the cultural and language barriers, and truly take the time to familiarize yourself with the market and the behavior of your target audience. International link building demands a lot of preparation.

Establishing yourself in a new market is hard, because it’s not really enough just to master the language. You need to master the dialect as well.

The principle is the same: you search for link building opportunities and you reach out. If you want to get a foothold in a particular market, it’s highly advisable to hire at least a couple of people living there, to familiarize you with the market and inform you about the perks and customs you might not be aware of at first.

75. What's the best way to approach enterprise link building?

In order to launch and execute a successful enterprise-level link building campaign, you first need to set your goal, before determining which strategies and approaches to apply in order to achieve it. Once you do that, once you figure out what you want, you can move forward to deciding what types of links you will be using to improve your exposure.

Even though objectives tend to vary from case to case, in most scenarios you’ll be building links for branding, traffic, authority, conversions, or rankings. Whatever you decide to do, you should aim to get featured on A-list sites, because links from top publications often result in the most significant increases in authority and traffic. Top publications are sites that are trusted by users and Google alike. If they publish your content there and include a link back to a related page of your website, you are more than likely to notice a boost in rankings.

76. How to create an effective content and link building campaign for an “unattractive” business, like a plumbing company?

Creating content and generating links for “boring” industries requires nothing more than what you normally need to do to create links and content for other industries.

The core principles remain the same. When producing content for “boring” industries, you need to think about who’ll read it, who’ll link to it, and who’ll share it. It’s important to define your target audience and link building opportunities before writing a single line of text. Once you have defined and located your targets, the second phase of the process is to produce something they’ll find useful

Helpful things are never boring. Regardless of the niche, market and industry, people are always interested in learning more about things that trouble them. If you work in an industry that’s confusing for most people - do your best to explain complex concepts and processes with fun and relatable analogies. Make your information easily digestible, and your content might stand a chance of actually engaging people.

Same goes for link building. If you provide web admins with a decent reason to let you write a guest post for them, they’ll reward you with a link. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a plumber, mechanic, or something equally “boring” - these are all services that people need every single day. Writing engaging content, translating business babble into coherent and easily understandable text or videos, posting on social media, forums, claiming local links - are all tried and tested tactics that work like a charm.

77. How to build links fast?

If you’re interested in building high-quality white hat links for your site, speed shouldn’t be your main preoccupation. As we already mentioned above, when it comes to building links, quality is always far more important than quantity.

If you want to improve your workflow and cut the lengthier processes (like prospecting for link building opportunities) down to size, you should probably invest in tools that automate slow and exhausting segments of the job.

If you still feel like you absolutely have to have a lot of links, and that you have to have them now, then you should probably hire some help. Find an agency with enough experienced link builders on its payroll and work out some sort of a deal that ensures a certain number of backlinks for your site in an arranged time period.

78. Are image links relevant for SEO?

Yes they are, especially when they come from infographics and original visuals. Image links are part of a natural link portfolio and can pass link juice from one page/site to another. They don’t rely on anchors to provide information about the link target, but instead do that through alt text.

Image optimization is an obligatory part of every serious SEO campaign. It provides many advantages, such as better UX, faster page loading, better rankings (both within the traditional and within image search results).

To avoid mistakes, you would do well to read up on how Google indexes images. Once you upload a new image, the engine won’t immediately see it as your property. Google will create an internal copy of your upload and add it to its index. This is called the “pre-meta phase”. In this part of the process, Google’s algorithm will attempt to identify and record the elements displayed in your uploaded image. The analysis process may take some time, but Google usually does a decent job of interpreting the contents of your upload.

After the engine finishes analyzing the image, your upload will finally make its way into Google's index as a meta image. From that point on, the engine will produce a new reference to its original source. It will analyze on-page signals and crucial keywords will be mapped to the image.

As long as the uploaded image is unique, image search will always link to the original source page – that is, to your page. That’s why you cannot really rank with stock images. If you want to appear in search, you need to provide the engine with something it hasn’t already seen.

Google does a solid job of understanding images, but not nearly as good as understanding text. That’s why it’s important to add alt attributes to your images and infographics. Adding the right alt text with the right keywords to images on your site could easily help you rank better.

These are the key elements you need to focus on when optimizing images for search:

  • File name and alt text;
  • Image URL;
  • File size;
  • Image cropping.

79. Is the position of a link in a page relevant?

Yes, it is. The higher up on the page it is, the better. Even though practice has shown that we should try to place our most important link within the first few sentences of the content, i.e. above the fold, your link building efforts still have to be as natural as possible.

Think about the users. What is the probability that the website’s visitors will click on the link to your site? Will they see your link placement as spammy, or will they follow it? The only thing you should really avoid here is placing your anchor at the very bottom of the page.

80. What is skyscraper link building?

Most heavily promoted by Brian Dean, the man behind Backlinko, the skyscraper technique is an advanced link building tactic, consisting out of 3 basic steps:

  • Step 1: Find a powerful, link-worthy piece of content;
  • Step 2: Analyze it carefully, figure out what’s missing and make an even better version of it;
  • Step 3: Get the right people to acknowledge it and promote it.

Similar to Rand Fishkin’s 10x content formula, the Skyscraper technique is built around the same idea of locating the best content and making something bigger and better. The only thing that separates these two is the part that deals with the promotion of that content.

81. What is gray hat SEO?

Gray hat refers to SEO and link building practices that are neither entirely white nor black hat. Domain squatting; redesigning your website at regular intervals, just enough to trigger the freshness algorithm; adding a comments box to your site pages and inviting anyone to comment; setting up a targeted paid directory specializing in one field - these are just some of the examples of what might be seen as gray hat SEO tactics.

82. What are the best link building activities for e-commerce websites?

Guest blogging on relevant and authoritative industry sites is always a good idea. Forums and list posts are also worth the hassle for e-commerce businesses. The idea is to keep organically appearing in front of your potential customers’ eyes, bringing their attention to your product, and displaying its value to those who are already looking for something similar.

83. When is the best time to start an external link building process for a pre-launch site?

Technically, you can look for link building opportunities in advance and work on your strategy, but the actual outreach should wait until the launch. Even if you know what URL structure you’ll be using, link building is difficult enough when you’re promoting an already active website, no need to complicate it even further.

84. Do comments really count for SEO link building?

Yes, they do, but in a more indirect way. In a nutshell, 99 percent of all comments are no-follow. The small percentage of those that are do-follow, carry little to no link juice to your domain, so they won’t directly help you improve your positions in Google’s search. However, they aren’t useless. You can find out more about how to leverage them in our post dedicated to “comment marketing” and how posting great comments can help you build authority online and generate some sweet referral traffic from relevant domains.

85. Is black hat link building hurting Google results?

Yes, or at least it would be if Google didn’t get quite effective in identifying and neutralizing them. Black hat link building tactics should serve only as cautionary tales and by no means as an inspiration. If you invest in black hat practice, such as cloaking, inserting hidden links into websites you don’t own by exploiting their security flaws and adding your links on pages behind hidden anchors - it’s only a matter of time when the engine will discover and punish you for your behavior by dropping you in SERPs.

86. Is publishing PR articles still an effective link building strategy?

PR is a form of paid marketing. You pay a certain amount of money to a news site or a blog in exchange for them publishing a promotional article about you and your brand. In case you didn’t know, Google doesn’t really love paid links. This makes buying them an investment that, like any other, carries certain risks with it. You have to be careful where you are getting your PR links from. If you want to continue using PR to build links, do your best to only work with credible sites and place your link within the article itself.

87. Is outsourcing your blogging outreach as part of a link acquisition plan a black hat technique?

No, it’s not. For example, if you outsource your link building to an agency, you are basically outsourcing your blogger outreach as well. If the agency doesn’t spam your prospects, invests genuine effort into creating quality content, and continues carrying out their duties “by the book” - then no, you don’t have to worry about Google penalizing you for outsourcing your link acquisition related activities.

88. Is it ok to see no results after one month of link building?

Yes, it is. Google needs time to index and evaluate all the new links. Even though Penguin and Panda are real-time, a lot of other key components aren’t. So, if you’re targeting popular keywords with your link building efforts, a single month is not really enough time to determine how well you’re doing.

However, it’s always smart to keep a close eye on your campaign progress indicators. Even the smallest of jumps in the SERPs is good for you. You can track your efforts through any number of analytics and reporting tools. For instance, our white-label marketing reporting software, Reportz, was specifically built for tasks of this kind.

89. Is it possible to beat a competitor who is investing in link building without building links of our own?

It is, but it’s highly unlikely. If your competition is creating a lot of bad links, you’ll probably beat them. If they are doing a lot of link building for a poorly optimized site, you still might rise above them. But, if your competitor is doing everything by the book - then you probably won’t have a chance of catching up to them in search.

90. How to outreach to sites that have no contact information?

If you’re sure that your targeted site doesn’t have a page explaining where and how to contact the owner, our advice is to look for them on social media. Almost everyone now has an account on at least one major social media site. If that doesn’t work, why don’t you just write them a message at the end of their articles? We’re willing to bet that your targeted site accepts comments.

91. Which features should the ultimate link analysis tool include?

The ultimate link analysis tool should have a good enough spam filter to spare us from going through hundreds or even thousands of domains that don’t really fit our standards. It should help with classifying all our link building opportunities, so that we don’t have to do it manually.

Apart from that, the ultimate link analysis tool should have a top rank tracker, site and keyword explorer. It should also have a good enough backlink checking feature, so that we could easily check under the hood of our competitors’ websites and examine their top links. Once we can go behind the curtain and peek into someone’s backlink portfolio, we can replicate their best processes and beat them in their own game.

92. What’s a better link: one from an authoritative website, or one from a highly relevant website?

Links from authoritative sites are usually better, because relevant sites don’t necessarily have to be good. For example, if you’re building links for a site that offers SEO services, most domains that write about SEO-related topics can be considered relevant. Unfortunately, not all of them would enrich your backlink portfolio.

93. How has social media influenced link building?

Even though Google has repeatedly publicly stated that social shares do not influence rankings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that social signals have no real value. Social media has become an extremely important content distribution channel. These networks generate a lot of users and traffic, which makes them a perfect place for amplifying your work. Even though Google doesn’t directly care about social media, the engine does care about traffic and users on your site.

Social has the power to provoke organic in-content linking. For example, if you write a decent post, share it on social media, and receive a lot of traffic and positive feedback because of it - you might inspire someone to write a blog post of their own on the same topic, and reward you with a backlink.

Social media is also a great tool for outreach. Our agency staffers use it all the time to connect with influencers and ask them for an expert quote. Back in May of 2017, we published one of these expert roundup posts on our Four Dots website, on the topic of Best SEO WordPress Plugins. Every single one of these influencers was first contacted through social media.

94. How to avoid bad backlinks?

Learning how to recognize and remove bad backlinks is of great importance if you want to continue climbing the SERPs for targeted keywords and topics. If a web admin doesn’t take care of his house and clean all the clutter from his backlink portfolio, Google will most likely penalize his site. That’s why most of us need to do frequent backlink audits in order to find and remove the links that are hurting our rankings.

Bad links are easy to spot. You should avoid links from sites that have spammy TLDs, sites that aren’t indexed by Google, gambling and porn domains, sites with poor domain authority, links from suspicious domains and pages with unnaturally many external links.

There are numerous tools out there that can help you run effective backlink audits. You can do them, for example, in Google Webmaster Tools. Just open up your account, export all of your website’s backlinks, click on “search traffic”, and then on “links to your site”, and you’ll have a complete overview of all the links pointing back to your domain. From that point on, you can download your links in the CSV format and start analyzing which links should be removed.

The removal process is the trickiest part of the game. The important thing to know is that you can’t remove all backlinks. You can disavow those you do not like, but you cannot really remove them. The best idea here is to reach out the web admins of those bad sites and ask them politely to remove your link from their page.Should they refuse, you can proceed to disavow the links.

95. What are “footprints” in link building?

The phrase “footprint in link building” is used to describe all the processes of identifying patterns in your link building. For example, if 80 percent of your links are coming from Dutch sites that host testimonials - that’s a footprint.

Of course, it is not wise to focus too much on similar footprints, because the general idea of link building is to diversify your link portfolio and make all your activities in this department feel “natural”. However, not all footprints are bad. Generating lots of links from local news sites is still great for your SEO. You need to recognize the patterns that might feel shady to the search engine and do your best to avoid them.

96. What is badging in link building?

Badging is a specific tactic for earning links where authoritative websites and companies award badges to relevant domains in their industry, with a goal of enriching their backlink portfolio.

97. What is body copy?

Body copy is the primary text on the site. Anchored links in this segment of the page pass on the most link juice.

98. What is a canonical tag?

It is an element in the HTML that prevents duplicate content issues. With the help of this attribute, web admins can specify the “canonical”, a.k.a. “preferred” version on a web page for the Google bots to consider when crawling a site.

99. What are content farms?

Sites that steal other people’s content, or employ a lot of content writers whose only job is to produce large numbers of low-quality content to manipulate the engines into rewarding them with higher positions in SERPs. Panda update was pretty efficient at eradicating them, which is why you can’t see as many of them as you once could

100. What is frame redirecting?

It is a specific type of redirect used to cloak the URL from being displayed to the users in its original form. Frame redirects are all about hiding a link behind a more appealing anchor to the users. This particular practice is associated with black hat SEO and it should be avoided by everyone who’s interested in staying on Google’s good side.

101. How important is the ratio between follow and no-follow links?

The main goal is always the same: earn organic (natural) links to your site. Even though follow links influence ratings much better than no-follow ones, it’s of great importance to keep in mind that both of these links are a natural part of the Web.

If you deploy a lot of different link earning/link building strategies, regardless of your intention, you’ll surely pick up more than a few no- follow links along the way.

But that’s not a bad thing. As long as your intentions are pure and you’re doing everything “by the book”, there’s nothing to worry about.

Whatever your follow vs. no-follow ratio may be, it’s all fine as long as your efforts fall under white hat SEO practices.

Of course, you should do your best to earn as many follow links from different, relevant domains as you possibly can.


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