A beginner’s guide to link building

If backlinks are “the currency of the internet,” link building is like picking money from a tree.

If you’re looking to grow your organic traffic and SEO, your strategy must include some form of link building. Even marketers on a budget can still achieve tremendous results, as link building done correctly will indicate to search engines that your site is just as highly-ranked as the sites that link to it.

Link building is a pillar of SEO. Without quality links, don’t rank on search engines, and thus organic traffic remains low too.

With that in mind, we’ve created this beginner’s guide to link building for you! Keep reading to learn what link building is, why it’s important, what a quality link looks like, and five link building techniques you can use to build a robust backlink portfolio.

What is link building?

Before we can define link building, we need to take a moment to understand what links are.

An inbound link, often referred to as a backlink or external link, is an HTML hyperlink that transports internet users from one website to another. In the wise words of Moz, inbound links are the “currency of the internet” because they help define your site’s reputation.

Link building is the process of generating hyperlinks that point to your own website. There are many ways to do this, which we’ll discuss in a later section of this article. But first…

The benefits of link building

What’s the big deal? It’s just a link, right? The internet has billions (trillions?) of them…

The truth is, links are incredibly important to your site’s SEO because they signal to search engines that your site is reputable, and in the search engines in turn will drive targeted traffic to your content for free.

Search engines

Search engines rely on links to determine the quality of a web page. For instance, if only spam websites link to your site (toxic backlinks), search engines will think your site is spam as well, and your rank on search engines will be atrocious.

Links also help search engines rank content in search results. Have you ever wondered why Google displays some web pages and not others when you type a query into its search bar? It’s because Google decided those specific web pages provide trustworthy answers.

See also: How to write SEO content.

“Okay,” you’re thinking, “But how does Google determine trustworthiness?”

There are many factors search engines like Google evaluate when determining the reliability of a page, but links are definitely one of them. Google figures that if a bunch of reputable sites are linking to a specific piece of content, there must be a good reason.

Targeted traffic

Links can also help you drive targeted traffic to your website.

Let’s say you’re reading content on the Nutshell blog. You’re blown away by the quality of our writing and think to yourself, “Man, if only Nutshell wrote about [Topic]. I’d definitely read that!” 

Suddenly, you notice a bit of orange text signifying a link to the exact content you’re interested in. You click on it immediately. After all, your favorite content creators (Nutshell) linked to the post so it must be valuable, right?

Now you’re on a website you’ve never visited before, reading a blog post about a topic you’re

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