Link building

In the field of search engine optimization, link building describes actions aimed at increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage with the goal of increasing the search engine rankings of that page or website.


Link building can increase the number of high-quality links pointing to a website, in turn increasing the likelihood of the website ranking highly in search engine results. Link building is also a proven marketing tactic for increasing brand awareness.[1]

Link types

Editorial link

Editorial links are the links not acquired from paying money, asking, trading or exchanging. These links are attracted because of the good content and marketing strategies of a website. These are the links that the website owner does not need to ask for as they are naturally given by other website owners.[2]

Resource link

Resource links are a category of links, which can be either one-way or two-way, usually referenced as "Resources" or "Information" in navbars, but sometimes, especially in the early, less compartmentalized years of the Web, simply called "links". Basically, they are hyperlinks to a website or a specific webpage containing content believed to be beneficial, useful and relevant to visitors of the site establishing the link.

In recent years, resource links have grown in importance because most major search engines have made it plain that—in Google's words— "quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating".[3]

Search engines measure a website’s value and relevance by analyzing the links to the site from other websites. The resulting “link popularity” is a measure of the number and quality of links to a website. It is an integral part of a website’s ranking in search engines. Search engines examine each of the links to a particular website to determine its value. Although every link to a website is a vote in its favor, not all votes are counted equally. A website with similar subject matter to the website receiving the inbound link carries more weight than an unrelated site, and a well-regarded site (such as a University) has higher link quality than an unknown or disreputable website.[4]

The text of links helps search engines categorize a website. The engines' insistence on resource links being relevant and beneficial developed because many artificial link building methods were employed solely to "spam" search engines, i.e. to "fool" the engines' algorithms into awarding the sites employing these unethical devices undeservedly high page ranks and/or return positions.

Despite cautioning site developers from Google to avoid "'free-for-all' links, link popularity schemes, or submitting a site to thousands of search engines these are typically useless exercises that don't affect the ranking a site in the results of the major search engines.[5] most major engines have deployed technology designed to "red flag" and potentially penalize sites employing such practices.[6]

Acquired link

These are the links acquired by the website owner through payment or distribution. They are also known as organically obtained links. Such links include link advertisements, paid linking, article distribution, directory links and comments on forums, blogs and other interactive forms of social media.[7]

Reciprocal link

A reciprocal link is a mutual link between two objects, commonly between two websites, to ensure mutual traffic. For example, Alice and Bob have websites. If Bob's website links to Alice's website and Alice's website links to Bob's website, the websites are reciprocally linked. Website owners often submit their sites to reciprocal link exchange directories in order to achieve higher rankings in the search engines. Reciprocal linking between websites is no longer an important part of the search engine optimization process. In 2005, with their Jagger 2 update, Google stopped giving credit to reciprocal links as it does not indicate genuine link popularity.[8]

Forum signature linking

Forum signature linking is a technique used to build backlinks to a website. This is the process of using forum communities that allow outbound hyperlinks in a member's signature. This can be a fast method to build up inbound links to a website's Search Engine Optimization value.

Blog comments

Leaving a comment on a blog can result in a relevant do-follow link to the individual's website. Most of the time, however, leaving a comment on a blog turns into a no-follow link, which are not counted by search engines, such as Google and Yahoo! Search. On the other hand, blog comments are clicked on by the readers of the blog if the comment is well-thought-out and pertains to the discussion of the post on the blog.[9]

Directory link

Website directories are lists of links to websites which are sorted into categories. Website owners can submit their site to many of these directories. Some directories accept payment for listing in their directory while others are free.

Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a way of saving and categorizing web pages in a public location on the web. Because bookmarks have anchor text and are shared and stored publicly, they are scanned by search engine crawlers and have search engine optimization value.

Image linking

Image linking is a way of submitting images, such as infographics, to image directories and linking them back to a specific URL.

Black hat link building

There has been a sustained effort on the part of Google's web spam team to prevent the manipulation of their search results through link building. Major brands including J.C. Penney, BMW, Forbes,, and many others have received severe penalties to their search rankings for employing spammy and non-user friendly link building tactics.[10]

In October 5, 2014 Google launched a new algorithm update Penguin 3.0 to penalize those sites who use black hat link building tactics to build unnatural links to manipulate search engines. The update affected 0.3% English Language queries all over the world.[11]

The conflicts of being devalued by major search engines while building links could be caused by web owners using black hat strategies. Black hat link refers to the process of acquiring as many links as possible with minimal effort. Black hat SEO could also be referred to Spamdexing as this also includes a lot of black SEO strategies and link building tactics.[12] Some black hat link building strategies include getting unqualified links from and participating in Link farm, link schemes and Doorway page.[5]

White hat link building

White hat link building strategies are those strategies that add value to end users, abide by Google's term of service and produce good results that could be sustained for a long time. White hat link building strategies focus on producing high-quality as well as relevant links to the website. Although more difficult to acquire, white hat link building tactics are widely implemented by website owners because such kind of strategies are not only beneficial to their websites' long-term developments but also good to the overall online environment.

See also


  1. Bailey, Matt (2011). Internet marketing : an hour a day (1st ed.). Indianapolis, Ind.: Wiley Technology Publishing. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0470633743. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  2. Rognerud, Jon (2011). Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization Drive Traffic, Boost Conversion Rates, and Make Lots of Money. (2nd ed.). New York: Entrepreneur Press. p. 213. ISBN 1613080204. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  3. "Link schemes" Google webmaster central
  4. Oxer, Jonathan (2007). How to build a website and stay sane (2nd ed.). p. 134. ISBN 1847997341. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)" Google webmaster central
  6. "Is That Directory Link Unnatural? | Search Engine Watch". Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  7. Jerkovic, John I. (2010). SEO Warrior. Sebastopol: O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 17. ISBN 1449383076. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  8. Webster, Ken. "Google's Jagger Update – Dust Begins to Settle?". WebProNews. iEntry Network. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  9. Hines, Kristi. "How to Use Blog Commenting to Get Valuable Backlinks". Search Engine Watch. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  10. "10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google, From Rap Genius To The BBC". Marketing Land. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
  11. Matt McGee. "Google Penguin Update 3 Released, Impacts 0.3% Of English-Language Queries", Retrieved on 17 February 2016.
  12. Frick, Tim (2013). Return on Engagement: Content, Strategy and Design Techniques for Digital Marketing. Taylor & Francis. pp. 30–31. ISBN 1136030263. Retrieved 3 December 2014.

External links

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