Beginner’s Guide to Link Building (2024)

Published: 11 April 2023
Last Updated: 4 June 2024
Joe Ferris

If you’re a new business website owner, you’ve probably noticed that it can be difficult to stand out against your competitors online. You need to make sure that your business website can be found by potential new customers when they’re searching for a business like yours. It’s not enough just to have a website. You also need to optimise it so it’s visible in search results for the relevant search queries, and preferably ranking above your competition. To do this, you’ll need to use a combination of on-page and off-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques. And when it comes to off-page SEO, the main thing we’re talking about is building high-quality backlinks aka link building. In this beginners guide to link building we’ll explain what backlinks are, why they’re important, and how to get started building high quality to your website.

As of August 2023, the weight of backlinks as a ranking factor decreased slightly from 15% to 14% in the latest Google algorithm update, according to FirstPageSage1. But “they remain the third most important factor in Google’s algorithm”.

Graphic of web link building basics.

What are Backlinks? The Basics of Link Building 

Backlinks, fundamental to the SEO landscape, are links back to your website on other websites. They’re also known as ‘inbound links’, not to be confused with ‘internal links’ which are links on your website to other pages on the same website. According to SEMrush2, Search engines like Google view each backlink from another website as a vote of confidence. Other websites are vouching for your website when they link to it. That’s why pages with lots of backlinks from trusted, authoritative sources often rank higher on Google.

Grasping the basics of link building is essential for any SEO strategy, especially for new websites. Understanding these basics is the first step in our beginners guide to link building.

The Importance of Backlinks in SEO

Understanding the basics of link building reveals why backlinks are so crucial. Backlinks are important because they’re such a big factor in Google’s algorithm for ranking websites. When Google sees that other high-quality websites are linking to yours, it takes this as a signal from that website that they think your website is also of high quality and deserves to be ranked higher in search results. In addition, the increased visibility you can get from building quality backlinks can drive traffic to your website, which can result in more leads and sales for your business.

For beginners in SEO, recognising the impact of backlinks is a crucial foundational knowledge.

High-quality vs. low-quality backlinks 

In the realm of link building for beginners, it’s vital to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality backlinks. It’s important to be aware that not all backlinks are helpful. In this beginners guide, we emphasise the importance of focusing on high-quality backlinks for sustainable SEO success. High-quality backlinks are those that come from websites that are trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant to your business. For example, if you run a restaurant, a backlink from a food blog or a local news website could be considered a high-quality backlink.   

On the other hand, low-quality backlinks come from websites that are spammy, irrelevant, or have a low domain authority. These types of backlinks can harm your website’s ranking and reputation.

SEMrush Backlink Audit

Before diving into strategies for acquiring backlinks, let’s look at different types of links in the SEO world, and how to see whether they’re low or high quality backlinks.

In our experience, we’ve found that the easiest and most user-friendly way to check the quality of your backlinks is using SEMrush, which you can get started using for free. For beginners, using tools like SEMrush can demystify the process of evaluating backlinks. You can use this to perform a Backlink Audit which will give you an overall Backlink Toxicity score and score the toxicity of individual links. You can even see why they’re toxic – what it is that makes them low quality links. If you have any toxic backlinks then you can try to get those websites to stop linking to yours, by removing your listing or reaching out to the website owner. 

SEMrush Backlink Audit

How to disavow low-quality links 

When link building for new websites goes wrong and leads to acquiring spammy or low-quality links, you can use Google’s Disavow Tool to get Google to disavow the URLs. This is like asking Google to disregard those backlinks when deciding how to rank your website in search results. Use this with caution as a link building beginner. You can look at the SEMrush toxicity score and the reasons for that score, but if you haven’t already received a penalty from Google, ultimately you have to make your own assessment as to whether it is likely to result in a penalty.

How much does it cost to build backlinks? 

For those just starting out, understanding the costs can help in planning an effective link-building strategy. At Bigwheel Web Design we offer link building services ranging in price from £150 to £225. We offer Guest Post Link Outreach for £150, Link Insertions for £200 and Business Directory Citation Building for £225. We recommend combining different approaches to keep your backlink portfolio diverse and natural. But with quality content and hard work, it is of course possible to start building backlinks yourself for free.  

How to build backlinks without paying for them  

Building backlinks for a new website can be challenging, yet rewarding. Here’s how to get backlinks for a new website, without incurring costs, as a link building beginner: 

1. Build citations from trusted business directory websites 

As this is a beginners guide to link building, let’s start at the beginning where most people start building links to a new website. Citation building with business directory listings is probably the easiest place to get started building high-quality backlinks without paying for them. Make sure your business is on all of the best known business directory and review websites such as Yell.com, Yelp, 118, Trustatrader, Checkatrade etc. Make sure your NAPs (Name, Address & Phone numbers) are consistent across all platforms. You can use the free Moz Local Online Presence Checker tool to find more directories and see if your details are accurate and consistent. SEMrush also has a Listing Management tool that you can use to find even more opportunities for directory citation building. 

If you want to go even further, or you just don’t have the time to do it yourself, then why not sign up for our Business Directory Listing Citation Building service? 

2. Create high-quality content 

A fundamental strategy in link building for beginners is creating high-quality, original content that’s relevant to your audience and worth linking to. When you have high-quality, original, accurate content, other websites are naturally more likely to link to it. Check out our SEO Content Creation services to get high-quality, search optimised content for your website.  

Consistent publication of high-quality content is the single most significant ranking factor anyway, according to FirstPageSage, but it can also attract backlinks naturally if other people want to refer to your data as a source for their own content.  

3. Use the skyscraper technique 

The skyscraper technique, a staple in the basics of link building, involves finding content online that already has a lot of backlinks and creating an improved, up-to-date and more accurate version of it. Once you’ve created your content, you can reach out to websites that have linked to the original content and ask them to link to your new & improved, more accurate version instead.   

For more inspiration and information about the Skyscraper Technique, check out these two case studies:   

This case study shows how Ahrefs used the skyscraper technique to rank #1 for the keyword “SEO Stats.” They noticed that some sites were linking to outdated and inaccurate statistics. By creating a comprehensive, up-to-date and accurate stats page and reaching out to websites that had linked to their competitors, they were able to increase their search visibility with just 36 high-quality backlinks.   

In this case study, Brian Dean used the Skyscraper Technique to get just 17 high-quality backlinks and increase his search traffic by 110% in just 14 days, and doubled traffic to his entire website, not just that article!  

4. Use broken link building 

Broken link building, another essential tactic in the fundamentals of link building, involves finding links on other websites that are broken and offering to replace them with a link to a relevant page on your own website. This strategy requires some research and outreach, but it can be an effective way to build backlinks.   

5. Guest post on other websites 

Guest posting, a classic example of link building for new websites, involves writing an article for another website and including a link back to your own website. When guest posting, make sure to choose websites that are relevant to your business and have a high domain authority. Need some help? Have a look at our Guest Post Link Outreach service. We’ll reach out to high DA/DR/traffic websites and write content with contextual links back to your website. 

High Quality Backlinks – Conclusion 

In conclusion, building high-quality backlinks is essential for improving your website’s visibility in search results. By creating high-quality content, using effective link building strategies, and following successful case studies, you can build backlinks that will help your business succeed online.

As you embark on your link-building journey, remember that patience and consistency are key, especially when you’re just starting out.

Sources

  1. The 2023 Google Algorithm Ranking Factors – https://firstpagesage.com/
  2. What Are Backlinks & Why They Matter for SEO – https://www.semrush.com/
  3. Link Building Case Study: How We Built Backlinks With a ‘Stats’ Page (And Ranked #1) by Joshua Hardwick at Ahrefs.com – https://ahrefs.com/
  4. Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days by Brian Dean at Backlinko.com – https://backlinko.com/

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