The Ultimate Guide to Effective Link Building in 2023
This is an article ‘The Ultimate Guide to Effective Link Building in 2023’ by Marc Primo
In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, link-building has long been a crucial pillar of digital marketing strategies. From the early days of the internet, when search engines relied heavily on links to determine a website's authority, to the complex algorithms of today that consider a multitude of factors, link-building has undergone a significant transformation and it's pretty risky once you get left out.
As businesses forge into 2023, more companies need to understand and adapt to Google's stance on link-building to ensure that their digital marketing efforts align with best practices to achieve sustainable growth and success.
Here are some tips that can enlighten you on the digital pathways everyone is currently treading to keep abreast of what matters in today's link-building strategies:
Stay in the rhythm of the algorithm
Over the years, link building has seen its fair share of controversy, as some marketers have sought to manipulate search engine rankings through unscrupulous and black hat tactics. However, Google's commitment to providing high-quality, relevant search results has continuously refined its ranking algorithms. This dedication to user experience has gradually devalued spammy, low-quality links while simultaneously placing increased importance on natural, organic link-building.
There's no question about how clear Google's stance on link building in 2023 is. The focus is on fostering a digital ecosystem that rewards quality content, trustworthiness, and genuine user engagement. With the advent of the Penguin update and the ongoing evolution of Google's algorithms, it is more important than ever for businesses to adopt ethical, future-proof link-building strategies that prioritize value, relevancy, and user experience.
Let's dive into more insights to guide you and help your business navigate the new digital marketing era. The most crucial part of the process is centering on creating meaningful connections and delivering genuine value to your target audiences. Meanwhile, mastering how to go about this ensures that your online presence remains solid and impactful, now and in the future.
Google's perspective on backlinks as a ranking signal
Over the years, the premier search engine has adapted its perspective on backlinks as a ranking signal. While backlinks were once considered the primary factor in determining a website's search engine ranking, recent statements from Google suggest a shift in importance. According to Google's How Search Works guide, backlinks still indicate a website's trustworthiness, as they signify that other prominent websites are willing to link to the content.
However, backlinks are now just one of several factors that Google uses to determine the quality and relevancy of content.
A recent SEO office hours video also revealed that backlinks have a lesser impact on search rankings than they used to. Experts explained that spammy link-building tactics are often ineffective, as Google's systems can nullify low-quality links almost immediately upon discovery. This means that investing in spammy link-building campaigns is both risky and potentially fruitless for businesses.
As search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, the weight of links in determining search rankings has gradually decreased. Nonetheless, the authority of the page linking to your site still plays a significant role. In fact, years of testing have shown that the authority of the linking page matters more than any other factor. Links from authoritative pages pass more power (or PageRank) to your site. Although Google no longer shares PageRank information publicly, they still use it as the foundation of their algorithm.
To evaluate the authority of a page linking to your site, you can use tools like Semrush. Enter the page URL into Semrush and check its "Page Authority Score."
The Penguin update and its impact on spammy link-building campaigns
Google's Penguin update, first introduced in 2012 and continuously updated since then, was a game-changer in the SEO world. Its primary purpose was to penalize websites using manipulative link-building tactics to boost their search rankings artificially. The update targeted websites with unnatural backlink profiles, such as those that relied heavily on low-quality or purchased links, and applied penalties that significantly dropped search rankings.
The Penguin update effectively marked the end of an era for spammy link-building campaigns, forcing marketers to reevaluate their strategies and focus on ethical, sustainable practices.
Today, businesses must prioritize creating high-quality content and genuine user engagement to earn natural, organic backlinks that will stand the test of time and Google's ever-evolving algorithms.
In addition to the page's authority, the sitewide authority of the linking domain also influences a link's quality. Generally, a link from a high-authority site like NYTimes.com will have a much more significant impact than a link from a no-name blogger. While obtaining links from authoritative sites can be challenging, the effort is well worth it.
To assess the authority of a linking site, you can again use Semrush. Enter the site's root URL into the tool and check its "Authority Score." Prioritizing links from high-authority sites can strengthen your overall link profile and improve your search rankings.
Establishing ethical link-building in 2023
Creating valuable and shareable content is one of the most effective ways to build high-quality, natural backlinks. This means crafting informative, engaging, and relevant content for your target audience.
Three link-building strategies are effective in delivering your high-quality content:
Resource page link-building is an effective strategy that involves identifying relevant resource pages within your industry and requesting the inclusion of your high-quality content.
Broken link building entails finding broken links on other websites and suggesting your relevant content as a replacement. This strategy benefits both parties: you earn a valuable backlink, and the website owner improves user experience by fixing a broken link.
Lastly, the Skyscraper Technique (coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko) involves identifying popular content within your industry, creating an even better version, and reaching out to websites linked to the original piece.
By offering an upgraded resource, you increase the likelihood of earning backlinks from authoritative sites, providing additional value to their audience. This technique helps you build high-quality backlinks and enhances your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
Giving users valuable insights, actionable advice, or unique perspectives encourages them to share your content with their networks, leading to increased exposure and the potential for earning organic backlinks. Focus on producing evergreen content, in-depth guides, and informative infographics that resonate with your audience and demonstrate your expertise in your niche.