Links are a valuable part of a successful website. Link building helps search engines crawl sites and discover new ones faster. Having high quality sites link back to yours will help your pages attract traffic, get more readers and drive ROI. These favorable business results happen through white hat link building techniques.
Studies have shown that more than 90% of content online gets no traffic because they lack backlinks. This means that there’s a slimmer chance for content to show up on search results when it doesn’t have other pages linking to it and vice versa.
What is White Hat Link Building?
You’ll encounter many “hats” in SEO. There’s white hat and black hat SEO.
White hat link building is an SEO strategy that uses positive search engine optimization (SEO) methods to build links.
Black hat link building involves any method that uses unethical practices, which are against search engine guidelines. These practices include using artificial intelligence (AI) to produce lots of spammy, low-quality content and create links, using your own website network to link back to your site, and purchasing links.
Black hat techniques are frowned upon by Google because these aim to simply increase a website’s ranking, disregarding user intent or the guidelines that Google has set to ensure that the users are receiving quality and factual information.
White hat link building techniques take more time and effort than black hat methods. since it’s a long-term strategy. Unlike black hat and gray hat methods, white hat doesn’t just aim to rank on search engines or gain traffic; it also aims to engage users or convert traffic into sales.
Why is it Better for SEO?
Google constantly updates its algorithm to make sure that any website using black hat techniques is penalized or delisted. Penalties or “disappearing” from the search engines results pages will mean lost opportunities for valuable traffic.But this also allows for pages with more valuable, helpful information to get to the top and provide value for searchers on Google.
So don’t be swayed by cheap tricks and quick results because they will be a waste of time, money, and resources. Even when black hat techniques drive results in the short-term, an adjustment to the algorithm can not only lower your keyword rankings, but also cuse penalties to your site. If you do attract traffic, this may not be traffic that is relevant to your business, meaning you get a boost to traffic but very few conversions.
Although you can hire an SEO company to do link building work for you, some white hat techniques may be done on your own.
10 White Hat Link Building Techniques
There are various white hat link building techniques that can help you gain external links and boost your website authority. But first, note that one of the simplest link building methods could be done right inside your own website.
Before going out to seek external links, make sure that pages in your own website are properly linked to one another first. Internal linking or linking to pages in your own website can help Google understand your website more and easily crawl newer pages that they would have missed if they weren’t linked to a stronger page.
After making sure that you’ve properly done your internal linking, proceed to improve your relationship with other sites and earn backlinks.
Below are the best white hat link building techniques to help your site gain healthy backlinks.
1. Create relevant and high-quality content
This is the process of publishing content that has value to your users or a certain niche. This is one of the most popular ways to generate backlinks as people can either share the post or link to it.
If you’re writing content for the purpose of backlinks, then make sure that you publish something that people need so that you can draw other websites to cite your page as a reference.
Write blogs that exceed 1,500 words. Long-form blogs receive more backlinks compared to shorter posts, and going between 1,500 to 2,500 words tends to drive the best results.
2. Try guest posting
Guest posting or blogger outreach is one of the most common link building tactics. With guest posting, you choose websites that have the same audience as yours and reach out to them to see if they are interested in sharing your content piece on their site.
The goal here is to produce helpful, valuable content that will appeal to the outreach site’s audience. You then get to insert a link in that published article that can lead readers back to a page on your website. The key to an effective guest posting campaign is to reach out to websites that target the same market as yours. This doesn’t necessarily mean working with the competition. Figure out what your shoulder niches, or niches that are not exactly the same as yours but with an overlap in the audience.
For example, if you’re trying to market a fishing gear shop online, you may want to collaborate with outdoor lifestyle sites, or the blogs of companies that offer camping equipment.
3. Identify broken links
This is a tactic used to reconnect or relink links that you already had in the past, but the pages they’re linked to no longer works. What happens in broken link building is that you’re renewing broken links with a link that works.
You can monitor your site’s broken links through tools like Ahrefs. You can sign-up for a free trial to see whether your website has broken links you can fix.
To do this, download your tool of choice. We’re using Ahrefs in this example.
Once you’re on the dashboard, head over to “site explorer” then enter the URL of the website. Click the search icon.
Once a new window appears, scroll down until you see the “broken backlinks” tab on the left side of the screen and click to view all your broken backlinks.
The new window will show you the total number of backlinks that you need to fix. You can reach out to the website that has your older link and provide them with a new link to one of your pages so that they can update the broken one.
4. Leave relevant comments on major blogs
This is one of the simplest and most effective forms of link building. This is posting meaningful comments on high authority websites that allow “do follow” links. This will allow search engines to track your links and have them count.
There are NoFollow browser extensions you can use to determine if a site allows do-follow or no-follow links. Aim to be informative and educational when leaving comments on other websites.
Avoid bombarding sites with comments as it will be seen as spamming which could get your account or website penalized or terminated.
5. Write testimonials and reviews
Many business websites showcase user reviews and testimonials as these can give the company credibility and authority. You can write a review about a product or service you’ve used, provided that they’re related to your business, and ask the company if it would be alright for them to post a testimonial from you on their site.
6. List your blog on business directories
List your website on web directories or popular business directories. Make sure to submit your site under the right category to validate the backlinks.
For example, if you’re in the real estate business, it will help to get a listing up on popular online real estate directories. If you practice medicine and have a website, then you can list it on Yelp.
The goal is to not only have their existing audience click on your link but to also have these popular and reputable sites link to yours.
7. Encourage business partners or friends to link to your content
If you have friends, relatives or business partners who also have websites or actively blog, then ask them to give you a link to one of your pages.
You can also increase your network and make friends through social media. There are many influencers and online businesses on social media who also have websites. You can reach out to them with a business proposal and ask them to review your services or you can ask if you can write for them and have it posted on their site.
8. Use your competitors to find backlink opportunities
This is a similar method to broken link building, but instead of auditing your backlinks, you can audit your competitor’s website and study their backlink report.
Like what you did in Ahrefs, you can enter your competitor’s URL and see the list of links that are linking back to their site. Choose the ones that allow DoFollow links and then export them to an excel sheet.
9. Update your internal links
Internal links are one of the easiest but most overlooked link building techniques. Unlike external links where you’re getting links from a third-party website, internal links are links coming from a page from your own website.
Interlinking your pages will help Google easily find, crawl, index and follow all the pages on your website.
10. Answer questions on popular forums
Another white hat link building technique you can use is being active on popular forums, like Quora, Brainly or Medium.
Create a professional account and engage in topics that are related or relevant to your business. You want to be a thought leader, so impart knowledge and insights related to your industry.
Avoid sounding like a salesman and avoid selling on these forums. Place a link on your profile, but only include links in your answers only when necessary.
How this works is that if someone sees your answer to be helpful and relevant, they will click your link and if they find your blog or website to be as engaging as your answer, they can then link your content to their blog or site as well.
White Hat Tactics Bring Better Results
Links are indeed powerful in the realm of search engine optimization. This is why some manipulate them to gain instant results.
Be wary of dubious methods, such as link exchange, buying links, pay-for-placement directories and linking to sites with poor reputation. These sites include gambling sites, adult sites and sites about firearms.
Black hat tactics go against Google’s Webmasters Guidelines and will result in getting a website removed from search results.
Instead, link to high-authority websites that are relevant to your content. Sites linked to these will always be prioritized over a page that has an adult site linking back to it. Target websites that are relevant to your industry, making sure to share content that brings value to the right people.
Link building will always take time, but it will deliver favorable business results.
Itamar Gero is the founder of SEOReseller.com, an SEO Services and digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).