Launching your website is just the beginning.
The real work starts afterwards when you need to secure a position in the SERPs.
It takes more than just high quality content to succeed in today's competitive market.
The other main key to improving your authority and rankings is called link building.
It helps bring more visibility to your content, distinguish your site from competitors and has many other benefits.
For the uninitiated, let's start with the basics and then move into the link building benefits.
The purpose of a backlink is to improve the visibility of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs). When done correctly, backlinks can help you achieve higher rankings, increased traffic, and better overall visibility for your website.
Backlinks are one of the most important factors in SEO because they act as a vote of confidence from one site to another. In essence, backlinks are like digital recommendations that tell search engines that your site is worthy of attention.
Search engines use these votes of confidence to determine where to rank your site in SERP results. The more high-quality backlinks you have pointing to your site, the higher you will likely rank in SERPs.
There are two types of links in the link building world: do-follow and no-follow.
Do-follow links pass on their link juice or PageRank to the target page, enhancing its position in the SEO standards.
No-follow links prevent their link juice from being passed on, but they don't stop visitors from clicking on them.
In general, a link builders goal is to acquire do-follow links and here are some popular ways to do so:
- 👉 Guest posting
- 🔗 Link insertion
- ✍️ Linkable assets
- ➡️ Making listicles
- ▶️ Articles with data
- ☑️ Research material and case studies
- ✍️ References and reviews
In general, you only get the benefits of link building if you focus on acquiring high quality backlinks.
That means getting links from quality content on quality sites.
Quick primer finished, let's discuss some significant benefits of link building.
🚒Better search engine rankings
One of the main benefits of link building is that it can help improve your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
A study by Backlinko showed that the website with the highest ranking in SERPs typically has nearly four times as many backlinks as those in positions 2-10.
This is a graph from Ahrefs depicting an apparent correlation between the number of referring domains and the organic traffic you get from Google.
The key takeaway here is simple: as a domain's links go up, its traffic goes up.
Caveat: John Mueller of Google said in a November of 2022 podcast that links will become less important as a ranking factor over time.
He believes that Google will be able to better understand how content fits within the context of the whole web, and as a result, links will not be weighted as heavily. He claims this is already happening to some extent, but it will become even more pronounced in the future.
My Take: I agree that lower quality forms of link building like paid guest posting are no longer effective and that there are many more factors to ranking than there used to be however - links will always play a big role in SEO because when all 10 page 1 results have peak quality content, amazing UX, and a fast website, how can Google decide what page to rank #1? It's links.
🚥Increased referral traffic
Referral traffic in this context means a visitor was reading an article that had your backlink in it and decided to clickthrough to your page for an interaction that could lead to a conversion or even a sale.
The most powerful part about this benefit is the backlink only needs to be placed once but the referral traffic can continue on for years.
Caveat: 90.63% of content gets no traffic from Google. For the pages that do get traffic, only a small percentage of visitors will clickthrough on links. While referral traffic from backlinks sounds good in theory, the law of large numbers says most of your backlinks won't get any referral traffic.
My Take: Most backlinks won't generate referral traffic and that's okay. The other benefits of link building still make it a worthwhile endeavor however - there will be some backlinks that definitely will generate you consistent free traffic - often times with high conversion rates. That simple reality makes referral traffic a worthwhile mention.
✔️Higher website metrics
Link building is key for improving many popular third party SEO metrics.
DA, or Domain Authority, is a metric created by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.
DR, or Domain Rating, is a metric created by Ahrefs that measures the strength of a website's backlink profile.
Both are measured from a scale of 1 to 100.
Organic traffic is a metric by Ahrefs that estimates a website's monthly traffic from organic search.
By getting links from high-quality websites, your website's DA and DR will increase.
This can in turn lead to more organic traffic, as your website will rank higher on search engines.
Caveat: Google denies having any website authority signal or score and some SEOs say DA and DR are just third party guesses, easily gamed, and don't matter.
My Take: Google's denial seems like semantics here. They do claim to have site wide quality signals in other ways so its possible we're just mincing words. Most SEOs have decided Ahrefs DR and organic traffic are gold standard estimations and make decisions on which bloggers to collaborate with based on these numbers. That alone makes it worthwhile metrics to work on increasing.
➡️Greater opportunity for sales
Building quality links can increase your search rankings which will increase your organic traffic.
The more organic traffic you get, the more chances there are for sales.
To hammer the benefits of link building home, check out this table of conversion rates broken down by traffic source.
Organic traffic has the highest conversion rate for B2B and one of the highest for B2C.
|B2C Conversion Rate
|B2B Conversion Rate
|SEO (Organic Search)
|PPC/SEM (Paid Search)
|Paid Social (Other)
|Paid Ads (Display)
This makes sense because the visitor is actively searching for your solution or for information that leads to your solution.
Best of all, once you have a strong organic presence you don't have to keep paying for it in the traditional sense like PPC.
🕸️Boosts networking in your niche
Link building often requires working with other people in your field or niche which leads to new opportunities.
Here's some examples:
- By building links with other websites in your niche, you can create a network of contacts who might be able to help promote your website or business.
- If you guest blog on another site, you can build a relationship with the site owner and get your name out there to their readership.
- Creating relationships with other webmasters through link building can help you down the road if you ever need to ask for a favor, such as a link back to your own site.
- If you're active in forums or online communities related to your niche, you can use link building as a way to gain trust and credibility with others.
- Building links can also help you stay up-to-date on what's happening in your niche, as you'll likely come across new content and websites while researching link prospects.
Caveat: The vast majority of link building outreach strategies people use today involve bulk unpersonalized outreach using unmodified templated and automated email sending tools. This is not the type of link building that will improve your standing within the industry.
My Take: If you email bloggers for collaborations in your industry they'll be receptive or ignore you based on your approach. While its easy to talk about the benefits of link building here, the reality of pulling off link building campaigns that open up opportunities within your network is much harder but definitely possible. The Value First Outreach Framework we created is perfect for exactly this type of relationship building.
🎥Legitimacy for Your Brand
If you can get links from well-known websites, it can open up more opportunities for marketing and sales.
According to a study, 26% of adults are more likely to trust a business if its branding or logo is familiar.
So if you're featured on prominent sites, you can use an "as featured on" section on your website to transfer some of that trust onto you.
This can also make it more likely that other well-known websites will want to work with you.
Active link builders leverage this in their pitches to editors by listing where their content has already been featured.
💰Saves Your Marketing Budget
Once you have high rankings in Google, the traffic you get is free. Contrast that to Google Adwords where you have to pay for every click and you can quickly understand the potential benefits of link building.
Sure, as long as you keep spending on on ads, they'll get you traffic, leads, and conversions. But the moment you stop a paid ad campaign, your brand will lose all the visibility at once. This is not the case with organic SEO.
And Ad-fraud is a big reason why people trust organic search results rather than clicking on ads. A study found that the CTR of the top ranking search result on Google is 28.5%.
So in a world where marketers are predicted to spend $99.22 billion on search ads by 2024, a strong backlink profile might save you a lot of money. It takes time to give results no doubt but will give you a steadier source of organic traffic.
🖊️Gets You to Create a Variety of Content
Building backlinks is hard work. You have to dig deep into the keywords that are being searched and the search intent behind them then match your content to the same. A while back, Buzzsumo and Backlinko performed a thorough study of 912 million blog posts and articles. They had some interesting findings.
There were certain types of content which had been consistently performing well and most of them were long-form. Here are the types that they mention:
- Why posts
- What posts
- How-to posts
- Case studies
- Research reports
So if a marketer knows how to boost their link building, they branch out with their content. Having a variety in your content not only attracts backlinks, but also visitors. Having a repository of content which covers a large spectrum of information and is proven to be useful to people, it will surely benefit you from both directions.
Building backlinks is an actively sought-after process when we make all the efforts to achieve the links to benefit your link profile. It involves a lot of strategizing, outreach, campaigns, and networking. Basically, we make ethical deals with other marketers who are interested in similar goals.
Earning links, on the other hand, is a pretty organic process. Your content is so powerful that people want to link their websites. Such exceptional content usually requires considerable spending since it requires resources, research, designs, etc. They form highly linkable assets.
But achieving them is only sometimes possible for smaller businesses.
We are not implying that you should settle for average-quality content. Absolutely not!
But to garner all the benefits of link building, you have to make all the efforts behind your content which is within your abilities. But to provide that extra boost, link building exercises are no crime.
Use all the strategic tools SEO provides to gain ground and rank. As long as they are within ethical boundaries. Dive into the hustle and grab those links.
And if you need some help - Only Outreach is here for it. Check out our link building services and lets find out what we can do for you.