Getting Linked: How to Build Links for Better SEO

Links are like the currency of SEO: the more you have – and the better quality they are – the higher your site will rank.

White circles linked together with a background image of railways.

By now, anyone who knows anything about search engine optimization (SEO) knows how important links are to SEO marketing. Links are like the currency of SEO: the more you have – and the better quality they are – the higher your site will rank (all other things considered equal). Of course, knowing links are important and actually getting them are two different things altogether. You want people to link to your business’s website, but how do you actually make it happen? Here are some ways to build links.

Defining Links: Page Links vs. Domain Links

Before we get into the methods you can use to build links, let’s first define what we’re talking about. When we say “links,” we really mean “linking root domains.” These are other sites that refer back to yours via a hyperlink. If I’m writing a blog on fast food and mention McDonalds and link to their website, that is a linking root domain.

Google likes these because they show that a website is authoritative, credible, and relevant. It’s like asking for a referral from a buddy for a restaurant: His recommendation carries a lot of weight.

There are generally two types of linking root domains, or links: page links and domain links. Page links are links from one website to a specific page on your site. Domain links just go to your domain.

For example, a link that points to is a domain link. A link that points to is a page link. Page links are worth more because they’re more specific, but you’ll probably collect more domain links than page links.

In today’s world, it’s not about the number of links. It’s about the quality of links. Having a strong link from a reputable, credible source is better than a dozen links from sites and sources that aren’t nearly as authoritative to Google.

Getting Linked Up: How to Cultivate Solid Links

Now that we’ve laid that foundation,  how do you get lots of domain and page links to your website? There are a few tried-and-true methods that people have cultivated over the years. Here’s a rundown of a few ways to build links.

Public Relations

Good ol’ PR. PR is a great way to get credible links to your website. Whenever you or your business are featured in an article online, a link may be present. If so, that represents an authoritative and credible link to Google, which raises your visibility. (News sites are held in high esteem by Google.)

Article Submission Sites

There are also plenty of websites that allow you to submit articles that you write. Not all of these are viewed as reputable, and exploiting this tactic too much, i.e. posting a lot of fluff articles on websites that take in anyone and everyone who wants to post anything, is a recipe for a Google penalty.

However, there are reputable sites that are selective about who can post what and are built around a niche or target audience. is one example of a submission site that has a rigorous approval process and gathers great content from its members. A backlink from this site is a good one.

Social Media Profiles

Social media can be a good source for backlinks as well. Creating social media profiles on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn is a great place to start for generating permanent backlinks (especially to a page). Even places like Yelp and Foursquare generate backlinks (although a link in a comment on either site is a “no-follow” link that doesn’t count).

Note: Not every link in social media counts. Many are no-follow links, meaning they can be clicked, but they don’t count for SEO purposes.

Other Websites

Arguably, the most powerful source of a solid backlink is still another website. A reputable and authoritative website that is seen by Google as a leader in its field is perhaps the best all-around source for a backlink online today. Establishing a relationship with the webmaster and producing solid content — usually via your blog — is the best way to attract attention and get a mention somewhere on another site. Bonus: If you can get a link from a .edu or .gov site, you’ve gotten something very valuable.

Note: Guest blogging was formerly a great way to build backlinks. Now, thanks to spammers, Google looks upon guest blogging for SEO with disdain. It’s still a good way to drive traffic to a website, if done properly, but for SEO there are better options.

Making Your Links Better

So you’ve gotten links. How can you make internal and external links better? Add anchor text.

Anchor text is text that explains what the link is. Instead of using words like “click here” or your company name, you should ideally use a keyword. For example, this link explains who we are as a website design company. You can’t really control anchor text on someone else’s site, but you be sure all the anchor text on your site uses keywords.

The general rule for building solid links is this: Produce great content, and the links will be a lot easier to generate. Content that is informative, educational, and memorable is more likely to attract worthy links. And above all, form relationships with others online and help them build links for you.

About Jerry

Jerry is not afraid of a good fight. Not with other people mind you, but with your competition. He loves to help our clients get web traffic and high search engine rankings for terms that are usually dominated by big box retailers and Fortune 500 companies. This doesn't happen overnight, but when it does, it will transform your business. He is one of the pioneers (he hates that term) of Web Marketing in Alabama and is scary good in his understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, analytics, and online user behavior. You definitely want him in your corner. See more articles from Jerry Brown

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