Link building has always been an important aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). However, the way it’s done has changed over the years. Gone are the days of mass link building and spamming your way to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). In fact, those tactics will do your website more harm than good. Instead, sustainable link building is now the name of the game.
Instead of turning to “quick and dirty” techniques that will briefly boost your pages in search results, it’s become critical to use sustainable, long-term tactics that will continually provide your pages with relevant traffic.
In this article, we’ll explore what sustainable link building is, why it’s important, and how to get started.
Table of Contents
What Is Sustainable Link Building?
Let’s start with a quick and simple explanation of sustainable link building. First and foremost, it’s the practice of acquiring quality backlinks that are natural, relevant, and add value to the user experience. More importantly, it means avoiding poor, spammy linking practices that are neither sustainable nor deliver ongoing results.
The aim of sustainable link building is to create a long-term strategy that will not only help you rank higher in search engine results but also provide a good user experience for your audience.
What Is A Natural Link Profile And Why Is It Important?
A natural link profile is one that looks like it was built naturally, with links coming from a variety of sources and anchor texts that are diverse and not overly optimized. Often, you won’t even realize that you’re gaining these links; sites with a high domain rank will naturally want to link to your high-quality content, adding additional value to their own content for their users.
It also involves manual link building strategies such as guest posting, building relationships with other relevant websites within your industry, and connecting and working with pertinent influencers.
But why is it so important to have a natural link profile? First, it can help you improve your search engine rankings. Google and other search engines use backlinks as a key factor in determining the relevance and authority of a website. Consequently, a natural link profile with links from high-quality, relevant websites can help boost your pages’ appearance in SERPs.
More importantly, natural links can help you avoid penalties. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to detect and penalize websites that engage in manipulative link building practices, such as buying links or participating in link schemes. A natural link profile helps avoid these penalties, which can severely impact a site’s search engine visibility.
Finally, natural links help you build trust and credibility within your industry. A natural link profile is often a reflection of a website’s reputation within its niche. When a site has a diverse range of high-quality backlinks from other authoritative and relevant sites, it can help build trust and credibility with both search engines and users. This can lead to increased traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
Backlinks are a signal to search engines that other websites consider your content to be valuable and relevant. They are a vote of confidence in your content and can increase your authority and visibility in search engine results. However, not all backlinks are created equal. The quality and relevance of the backlinks are important factors in determining the impact they have on your rankings.
For example, let’s say you have a blog about natural, ec0-friendly beauty products and you have a post about how to make your own night cream. A good backlink to that particular blog post will meet most, if not all, of the following criteria:
- It will come from a site that’s relevant in your niche or industry.
- The linking site will have a high domain authority or domain rank.
- The link itself will be in a relevant article (ex. How to make your own beauty products).
- The anchor text will also be relevant (ex. “natural night cream recipe” or “how to make natural night cream” rather than “using the right ingredients”).
These are the types of links you want to have when executing link building campaigns.
What Is Link Velocity And How Does It Relate To Sustainable Link Building?
Link velocity refers to the rate at which you acquire backlinks. If you acquire a large number of backlinks in a short period of time, search engines may see this as suspicious and penalize your website. Essentially, a sudden spike in backlinks can be a red flag to search engines that you’re engaging in manipulative link building tactics. This is one of the most important reasons to use a sustainable link building campaign that focuses on acquiring backlinks at a natural rate.
That said, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get penalized if you strike it lucky and an amazing piece of content goes viral!
In fact, search engines use a number of factors to determine whether a sudden spike in backlinks is natural or the result of spammy link building practices. For example, they might look at the relevance and authority of the sites linking to you, the frequency and patterns of the links, and the context of the links (e.g., whether they are embedded naturally within the content or placed in the footer or sidebar).
They may also take into account social signals, such as shares and mentions on social media, to determine whether the sudden influx of links is due to genuine interest in your content or an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. If the links are determined to be natural and earned legitimately, search engines are less likely to penalize you for the sudden increase in backlinks.
How To Get Started With Sustainable Link Building: Our Top Tips
When it comes to sustainable link building, content is key. However, creating great content does not necessarily guarantee that it will earn links. Content-driven link building can be risky, and it requires time and resources to be successful. That being said, there are some proven strategies that can help you build sustainable backlinks over time.
Here are our top 7 tips to get started with sustainable link building:
1. Build Up A Collection Of Link-Worthy Content
The foundation of any successful link building campaign is link-worthy content. This means creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content that other websites will want to link to. Without content that other websites find valuable, it’s difficult to attract high-quality backlinks.
It’s also a great idea to create a variety of different types of content can help attract links from different sources, including:
- Blog posts
- Informative images
Be sure to use proper on-page optimization techniques like relevant keywords, alt tags, and meta tags to ensure your content is easily discoverable by search engines.
That said, just writing content and hoping for the best (i.e. running a purely content-driven strategy) can be risky. Even great content may not always get links, and manual link building activities are critical to long-term success. You will need to reach out to other respected and well-known sites, build connections, write guest articles, and more to really build a sustainable strategy.
2. Aim For Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is specifically designed to remain relevant and useful, regardless of when it was published. For example, “How to train a dog” is a topic that will be relevant for a very long time. Dog owners are always looking for ways to train their furry friends. An evergreen article on this topic would provide valuable information on different techniques, commands, and tools for training a dog that would still be useful years after its publication.
By contrast, an article that reports on a specific event or trend that quickly becomes outdated would not be considered evergreen content. That said, there are ways to publish content that’s relevant to a particular event while still aiming for long-term relevance.
For example, let’s say you’ve written an article about a charity event that you organized, and you want to make it evergreen. Instead of focusing solely on the event itself, you can shift the focus of the article to the broader cause that the event supports.
Instead of just describing the details of the event, you can write about the issue that the event is addressing (e.g., homelessness, education, healthcare) and provide information on how readers can get involved and make a difference in their own communities. You can also include quotes and insights from experts in the field, statistics and data related to the issue, and stories of individuals who have been impacted by the cause.
By taking this approach, you’re creating content that remains relevant and useful long after the specific event has passed, and that can continue to drive traffic and engagement to your site.
This type of content is a great investment because it has the potential to attract links for years to come. Make sure to research and choose topics that are relevant to your industry and have a long shelf life.
3. Learn What Forms Of Content Work For You
Every site, audience, and industry is different, so the types of content that work for one site might not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to research and analyze your competitors’ content to see what types of content are attracting the most backlinks.
You should also test out various types of content over a period of at least 6 to 12 months. Not only will you be able to see what types of content your audience wants to see the most, you’ll also see when they prefer which types of content.
This will help you identify the types of content that are most effective for your industry and audience. Consequently, you’ll be able to adapt your content strategy into one that is more likely to earn valuable links over an extended period of time.
4. Research Sites Before You Reach Out And Build Relationships
Not all links are good links. In fact, some backlinks may be downright toxic for your site. Before you reach out to a website to request a backlink, you need to do a little research.
Consider these questions:
- What is the site’s domain authority, domain rank, and page authority?
- How does their current link profile look?
- Are they relevant to my niche?
- Would their audience be interested in my content?
- How do they rank in SERPs?
- Do they accept guest post requests, and if so, are there any requirements listed publicly?
Building relationships with other reputable websites in your niche can also be an effective content strategy. These relationships can pay off with continual linking opportunities in the future, further contributing to your sustainable link building campaigns.
5. Work With Influencers
Working with influencers can be a great way to attract high-quality backlinks because it relies on developing mutually beneficial relationships. Influencers often have large followings and can help you reach a wider audience, increasing your visibility and reach. Additionally, building these relationships allow you to tap into their expertise and connections, further increasing your changes of gaining high-quality backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites.
This not only helps your website to rank higher in search engine results, but it also drives targeted traffic to your site, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.
It’s important to note that when working with influencers, the focus should always be on creating valuable and relevant content, rather than simply using them as a means to gain backlinks. By providing value to both the influencer and their audience, you can establish a long-term and sustainable relationship that benefits everyone involved.
6. Don’t Buy Links From Link Farms
Buying links from link farms is just about one of the biggest mistakes you can make! Search engines consider this an extremely manipulative technique that can, and will, earn you penalties.
A link farm is a group of websites that are created with the sole purpose of artificially increasing the number of links pointing to a website. They often have very low quality content, and links from these sites will increase your link profile’s toxicity score.
Instead of using link farms or buying links from similar services that use PBNs, focus on building relationships and creating high-quality content that attracts natural backlinks.
7. Conduct Regular Backlink Audits
It’s important to regularly audit your backlink profile to ensure the quality and relevance of your links. Use tools like Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to identify any low-quality or spammy links and disavow them. Regular audits will also help you identify any opportunities for improvement or new link building strategies.
In conclusion, a sustainable link building campaign requires a long-term approach and a focus on quality over quantity. It’s crucial to avoid manipulative techniques and instead prioritize creating high-quality content that naturally attracts backlinks. By following the tips outlined in this article, such as building a collection of link-worthy content, working with influencers, and conducting regular backlink audits, you can create a strong and sustainable backlink profile that benefits your website’s SEO and overall online visibility.
If you consider utilizing affordable link building services, make sure to thoroughly investigate the company behind those services, to avoid acquiring backlinks on spammy sites.
Remember, sustainable link building is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process that requires patience, dedication, and a commitment to ethical practices. With these principles in mind, you can successfully run a sustainable link building campaign that helps your website achieve its goals.