What Is Link Building, and Why Does it Matters? A Comprehensive Guide!

November 30, 2023 | Link Building

Since its inception, SEO has continuously impressed marketers and brands by producing attractive results across industries.

Whether you own a salon or a supermarket, SEO can help you increase foot traffic to your store and also attract inbound traffic and leads for your business.

However, search engine success is not an event. It’s a process that consists of various steps, stages, and components.

Link building is one of the most important components of SEO. In this blog, we are discussing SEO link building in detail, starting from what link building is, why building links matters, how to do it right, and everything in between.

So, if SEO is your goal, this blog is for you!

What Is Link Building?

Going by the definition, link building is the process of increasing the number of hyperlinks directed towards a website. And speaking of SEO link building, it is often considered one of the most crucial parts of the process.

As a website starts gaining more backlinks, search engines such as Google may view these links as votes of confidence in favor of that particular website.


Search engine algorithms are more likely to prioritize websites with stronger backlink profiles compared to those with weak backlink strengths.

In other words, if reputable and authoritative websites are linking to your content, search engines may consider your content more valuable and relevant for specific search terms. As a result, your website or web pages may occupy higher positions in the SERPs.

The Significance Of Quality Backlinks

Not all backlinks are created equal.

While working on an SEO link building campaign, quality matters more than quantity.

In fact, most SEO experts recommend going for fewer backlinks from authoritative and credible websites than building links from low-quality sources in hundreds or thousands.

For this reason, the quality of backlinks acts as a deciding factor for search engine rankings.

Types Of Links

Moving forward, backlinks can be of different types. Here’s a list of backlink types that every SEO must know of.

Do-follow and No-follow links

Do Follow Links

Do follow and no follow are two of the most popular and talked about backlink types. Primarily, the ‘follow’ nature of your backlinks can largely influence its search rankings.

Speaking of do-follow links, these are the backlinks that allow search engines to follow them and pass link juice to the linked page.

As a result, these links are always prioritized over no-followlow backlinks.

No Follow Links

Contrary to the do follow links, no follow links signal search engines to not follow the link or pass link juice to the web page it is pointing to.

While both types of backlinks have their place in the SEO process, do follow are always considered more valuable.

What Is Anchor Text? Why Is It Important?

Every time we add a link to our content, we make sure to add it to a word, phrase, number or sentence.

anchor text

For example, in the above screenshot, the link has been placed on the phrase “Learn more about SEO optimization.” This phrase is the anchor text.

Speaking of why anchor texts are important—they offer context to readers and search engines.

Also, arguably, using relevant anchor texts/phrases may help boost SEO rankings.

Internal And External Links

These are other types of links that a piece of content can have.

While internal links connect different pages on the same website, external links are outbound links that lead to other websites or resources. In simpler words, an external link from your website is a backlink to the website that the link leads to.

You can easily find out the percentage of external and internal links on your website with our website SEO analyzer.

RankWatch Website Analyzer External-Internal links presence graph

Remember that the percentage of internal links should always be higher than that of external links, as it helps in passing the link juice to your website.

Optimal internal and external linking is important for SEO. They help boost referral traffic and also strengthen the backlink profile.

Best Backlinking Practices For SEO

Link building is one of the most important parts of the SEO process. Making a website rank higher in the SERPs can involve a number of backlink building techniques working in line with a robust strategy.

In the following sections, we highlight the popular and effective SEO link building strategies along with how they can be executed.

Keyword Research & Content Creation

Using your content to build quality links is one of the best link building SEO practices.

One of the best methods of using content for link building is utilization of proper keywords, and you can only do that by conducting thorough keyword research.

Keyword research can help you come up with actionable, high-volume, low-competition keywords or anchor texts that you can use in your guest posting campaign.

RankWatch’s keyword research tool can be of great help in such scenarios. Since it’s the best free keyword research tool in the market, you will get accurate results. The feature displays top ranking keywords that users are searching for, along with their CPC, competition, and difficulty level, it makes sense to use these keywords as anchor texts.

RankWatch keyword research dashboard

RankWatch keyword research question terms

You can also use our “Backlink Audit” section to discover the top anchor texts that your competitors are using along with the amount of traffic the said anchor text brings to their website. You can incorporate these keywords as anchor texts while building links for effective results.

RankWatch Backlink Audit Anchor section

The “Anchor” section has a detailed graph showcasing the total number of anchor texts that your competitor website has throughout the specified time period.

Along with that, the section also has a detailed table showcasing the number of new links that each anchor text has acquired, and the links that were lost in the process.

RankWatch Backlink audit Anchor Text Table

The above-mentioned information can be of great help to you during the link building SEO process.

Content-Driven SEO Link Building

While guest posting is one way of building backlinks through content, here’s another effective way of attracting high-quality links—creating high-quality content.

Now the question arises—what is high-quality content?

Often web admins create and publish content pieces to maintain activity on their websites. While this idea is good, it should not be the prime motive behind publishing a piece of content.

When we say high-quality content, we are talking about elaborative guides, comprehensive blog posts, informational eBooks, and other useful pieces of content that add significant value to the reader’s life.

Let’s understand this with an example.

One website manager publishes a blog titled “7 Tips to Write Better Cold Emails,” and its competitor website publishes an article titled “A to Z of Cold Emails: Everything You Need to Know!”

Going by the title, it’s safe to assume that the latter article may have more in-depth information about writing and sending cold emails than the former.

High-quality content that offers unique value to the readers does two things for our brand:

  1. Helps us build a reputation as an industry leader(s)
  2. Attracts other website managers to incorporate our valuable insights into their blogs, along with a backlink

Although building links through leadership content can be a multi-layered process, the crux is creating “high-quality content.”

Influencer And Authority Backlink Building

In the current internet marketing scenarios, engagement and consistency attract the most rewards.

Whether you are creating regular blog content or posting on LinkedIn, with consistent efforts in the right direction, you can start seeing traction and results.

The same holds while exploring SEO link building opportunities.

If you have launched an outbound backlink building campaign, you may need to connect with a number of internet marketers and website managers in your niche. However, all of them may not respond right away.

This is where your patience will play a role.

As you try to get a link from an influencer or blogger’s website, be prepared to connect with them on social media and learn more about their business, blogs, website, interests, way of writing, and other factors.

This information will help you engage with the content they share on social media. So, even if the engagement is one-sided today, they may notice your comments, messages, emails, and engagement in the future.

Link Reclamation Strategies

Have you ever come across a blog that links to another blog or article that does not exist?

In most cases, this happens when the website or its content has been moved to a different web address. However, it still leaves the host website linking to a broken link.


It can impact the SEO health of the linking website. But this could be a great SEO link building opportunity for us.

As the page this website is linking to is broken, we can create a web page parallel to the missing URL and approach the host blogger to replace the broken link with our fresh link.

The easiest way is to use the Rankwatch backlink analyzer and analyze your target website’s outbound links.

RankWatch’s backlink analyzer discloses all the links that got lost or were deleted from the referring website, along with the dates when they were last active.

RankWatch Backlink Analyzer dashboard

It gives you a direct opportunity to connect with these websites and propose your content in exchange for a link.

For more detailed analysis, you can also take help of our “Backlink Audit” feature. The “Referring Backlinks” section has a separate corner stating the total number of deleted links that a website has.

RankWatch Backlink Audit Deleted Links Section

The advanced filter tab gives you the option to select the “Last Seen” and “Date Lost” option to understand the links that no longer exist.

RankWatch Backlink audit advanced table

Once you have the complete chart, you can start your reclamation process and acquire new links for your website.

This can help you unlock a world of quality SEO link building opportunities, significantly boosting our SEO efforts.

Reverse Engineering Competitor Backlinks

If you know your direct competitors who are ranking for your desired keywords, it’s best to reverse engineer their backlink profile.

This can easily be done by using Rankwatch’s Link Analyzer Tool.

Simply visit the website, paste the competitor URL you want to analyze and click “Explore Backlinks.”

RankWatch Backlink Analyzer dashboard

This will present you with a detailed backlink report, sharing insights on which websites link to your competitors.

How can this help you?

By tracking your competitors’ backlinks, you can unlock a pool of websites that accept guest posts and offer backlinks in one way or another.

While all of these websites may or may not respond positively, some of them may. Even with the minimal conversion rate, at the end of the campaign, you can accumulate a good number of qualified backlinks that have contributed to your competitors’ search engine success.

Top Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) For Measuring link building Success

Once a backlink building campaign is over, it’s crucial to track its success and efficacy. There are a number of parameters that can help marketers figure out whether a campaign has succeeded or not.

When it comes to SEO link building, there are certain KPIs that you need to consider. The below mentioned KPIs will help you determine which websites are relevant, trustworthy, and perfect for backlink building. 

We would highly suggest you consider these points while thinking about SEO link building campaigns, as a single mistake can prove to be fatal for your website.

Domain Authority

As most SEO experts suggest, the domain authority of your website may not directly impact your website’s SEO. However, it can still impact the results of your SEO campaigns.

With an air-tight implementation of an effective link building strategy, SEO experts and web managers can procure a high domain authority for their website(s).

Apart from that, a website with a higher DA is usually a more desirable target for backlink building campaigns. So, if you are building a blog to generate revenue by allowing bloggers to publish guest posts, a higher DA can help you secure better deals.

RankWatch’s Backlink audit can be of great help on determining the domain authority of a website. 

Once you enter your domain URL, the tool will disclose all backlink-related information in front of you. For checking the DA score of the referring websites, you need to select the “Referring Backlinks” section, and select the domain quality in an ascending order.

RankWatch Backlink audit Referring domain quality

The dashboard will then disclose the links that come from low quality domains within seconds. You can directly export this information and disavow those links from your website.

If the DA of your website has gone up after your link building SEO campaign, it’s safe to say that the campaign succeeded.

Referral Traffic

When we publish a guest post on a popular website, our chances of receiving referral traffic from this website increase.

However, if the website lacks traction or isn’t optimized for the search engines, it may not receive enough traffic to direct anything to your website.

The “Referring Backlinks” section of our Backlink Audit discloses the total amount of referral organic traffic that your site is getting from the referring websites.

RankWatch Backlink audit Referring domain Organic traffic

If the traffic percentage of your website increases after implementing your link building strategies, then it’s an indication that your strategies worked properly. 

Adjusting Strategies Based On Metrics

Once you have observed and analyzed the results from your link building campaign, you can pinpoint the areas where more efforts and optimizations are required.

This is the time when you make the required changes and create a more robust and smarter SEO plan that is designed to perform.

RankWatch Backlink audit Overview

Our Backlink Audit provides you with a detailed overview on each and every section of your link building process, so that you can understand the pain points and work on them.

Audit Of Existing Backlinks

As we said earlier, the quality of your backlinks largely determines your SEO results.

For example, if your website has a large number of backlinks coming from low DA sources, search engines may consider this a negative sign. The primary reason behind this is that websites with a lower domain authority may often lack credibility and authenticity.

As a result, backlinks from lower DA sites are often outweighed by those from higher DA websites.

To make sure the links pointing to your website are credible and qualified, you can run a backlink audit.

The purpose of this audit is to analyze the authorities of the websites that are linking to your pages.

Relevance Assessment & Authority Analysis

Here comes the second criterion for audit—while DAs of websites linking to your target pages matter, the relevance of these websites is equally important.

For example, a healthcare website linking to your machining tool business may not pass link juice. In fact, if this backlink comes off as unnatural, it may weigh down your website’s performance in the SERPs.

If you are in doubt, you can check for the category of the pages that link to your site with our Backlink Audit feature.

The advanced filter tab has the option of showcasing “Referring page category” and “Referring page category confidence” to help you understand whether the pages are relevant to your website genre and content or not.

RankWatch Backlink Audit Referring Page Category

Once you get a hand of these pages, make sure to disavow them from your link profile to avoid Google penalization and other consequences.

Links From Restricted Websites

Sometimes, due to a poor link building strategy, and sometimes due to a bitter competitor, your pages may start getting backlinks from restricted or ‘A’ rated websites.

Now, here comes the catch.

No matter how high the authority of these websites is, if they link to you, your website may fall prey to search engines’ suspicion. Also, getting backlinks from restricted category websites can throw your backlink relevance out of balance.

Due to this reason, we would always suggest you to conduct a thorough link audit of your website from time to time.

RankWatch Backlink audit link quality

With a trustworthy tool like RankWatch’s Backlink Audit, you can get hold of these restricted and toxic websites, and take necessary steps to remove them before things go out of hand.

Link Removal Or Disavowal

Fortunately, there is a way to get rid of these unwanted links.

Whether you come across such backlinks during a regular link analysis or after your website falls down in the SERPs, Google disavow links tools can always help you.

To do this, you can visit the respective webmaster consoles and navigate to find the disavow tool.

Avoiding Common Link Building Pitfalls

When done right, link building can help your business achieve organic leads and qualified traffic. However, when things go south, your rankings may fall to the ground.

To avoid such concerns, it’s advisable to steer clear of certain link building mistakes. Here are the common pitfalls to look out for.

Say No To Black-Hat Tactics

Welcome to 2023—the time when black hat SEO tactics cease to produce results.

In fact, once your website is found using black-hat tactics, it may lose its existing rankings. Hence, it’s best to write great content, add incredible value to your users’ and readers’ lives, and build long-lasting relationships that also provide you with qualified backlinks.

What’s The Thing With Ethical SEO?

If you wish to make sure your website grows in the SERPs and retains its high position in all (or most) situations, you must ensure you build a strong SEO foundation with qualified links.

While qualified and authoritative backlinks can boost your SEO efforts in the long run, poor links are only good for trying to fool the search engines—the bitter part is they may create short-lasting or no results at all.

In fact, when you expose your business website to black hat SEO tactics, you make it vulnerable to Google’s strict actions against unethical SEO practices.

To keep your business and website safe from such strikes, make sure to keep your marketing efforts clean and white!

Wrapping Up

Link building was, is, and will always be an important aspect of website SEO. However, doing it right is crucial for creating desired results and keeping your website safe from penalties.

In this blog, we discussed link building in detail, covering nearly everything an SEO may need to know. For more information and exciting SEO news, stay tuned to Rankwatch!

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