How to Build Backlinks for Beginners: Guide to Quality Link Building

Off-page SEO is just as important as on-page SEO. In fact, off-page SEO is often considered to be more important, because it is a significant search engine ranking factor for Google and, for the most part, webmasters cannot control it. There are a number of things you can do to improve your off-page SEO, and in this guide we will discuss just how to build quality backlinks.

The first and most important thing you need to do is to build White Hat backlinks. Links are essentially votes of confidence for your website from other websites. The more links you have, the higher your website will rank in Google search results.

How to build backlinks in a safe and sustainable way has been a difficult task for search engine optimization and digital marketing specialists. Whereas, with backlink building, a website can see a significant increase in rankings, organic traffic, and even referral traffic.

However, it can be difficult to gain a high quality backlink therefore in this resource page we provide an overview of backlinks, how to earn a valuable backlink from content marketing, and why a website owner should engage in a link building strategy.

What are backlinks in SEO?

how to build backlinks, how to build a backlink, how to build backlinks to your website

Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your website. They are important because they help to improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher your website ranks, the more likely it is to be found by potential customers.

There are a variety of factors that Google considers when ranking websites, and backlinks are one of the most important. Google evaluates websites based on their authority, relevancy, and popularity. Backlinks are a measure of your website’s authority and popularity.

The best way to increase your backlinks is to create high-quality content that people will want to link to. You can also promote your content on social media and other websites. If you invest time and effort into link building, it will pay off in the form of higher SERP rankings and more traffic to your website.

What makes a backlink powerful?

A backlink is a link from another website to yours. It’s a measure of the importance of a website, and it’s important for two reasons: first, because it helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), and second, because it increases the chances that people will click on your links and visit your website.

However, not all backlinks are created equal. Whereas, depending on a few factors the power of the backlink can be higher or lower than other links that you have earned. For example, a few factors that influence the power of a backlink include:

  • The quality of the link (type of link – contextual, image, or simply included at the bottom of the web page) 
  • The authority of the linking website
  • The relevance of the website and its content compared to yours
  • If the link is a dofollow or nofollow link

When it comes to backlinks, it is important to consider the quality of them. Whereas, one high-quality backlink will benefit your website more than 100 low-quality links.

Let’s dive into the concept of quality, and how we can tell if a link is high-quality or not.

High-Quality Backlinks

how to build a backlink, how to build backlinks for website

It is essential to note that not all backlinks are considered equal. When looking at a backlink as a vote of confidence, you must also consider and evaluate the credibility of the website giving the vote. 

Google considers the credibility of the backlink provider as important because in the past websites would engage in ‘black hat’ techniques to generate links. These included link farms, private blog networks (PBNs) and spamming comment sections with links. However, Google has gotten smart and these tactics no longer work as they see these links as ‘unnatural’. If for some reason you decide to engage in these practices, they can severely negatively impact your website, or even get it blacklisted from ranking.

Therefore, you can treat backlinks with the notion of quality matters more than quantity in most cases.

However, earning high-quality backlinks is no easy task. Whereas, to have the highest SEO benefit, you will want to earn links that have the four following components:

1. Authoritative:

The site providing a backlink should have an authoritative backlink profile, generating significant traffic, and also rank well in the SERPs. Moreover, receiving a backlink from a .gov or .edu site will carry more weight.

2. Relevant:

The page linking to yours must be relevant to your topic and not appear to be random or ‘spammy’. For example, if your site talks about birds in the pacific northwest, but gets a link from restaurants to eat at in Portland  it probably won’t seem as a relevant or quality backlink.

3. Unique:

If you can get a site to refer to your site, but none of your competitors, you will get a boost as well. However, if it links to both you and your competitor it then depends on your individual authority and ranking.

4. Natural:

The link is not sponsored, the anchor text is not branded or spammy, and the referring page has a natural number of links on it.

What are the types of backlinks?

There are two main types of backlinks that should be considered while examining a backlink profile: dofollow and no follow. Each plays a role in creating the backlink profile of your website  and are important for growing authority and traffic to your website.

In addition to nofollow and dofollow links, you may encounter three other types of links while conducting a backlink audit. These two types of link labels are rel=”noreferrer”,  rel=”noopener” and rel=”sponsored” . These are sometimes used in order to signal to search engine crawlers additional information about the link, or how a website would like the link to be read. 

Let’s take a look at what these links look like.

What is a Dofollow Backlink?

A dofollow link passes the authority of the source website to the target website, which aids in SEO. Acquiring dofollow backlinks will help boost a website’s domain authority, or domain rating, which in turn helps to boost keyword ranking. This passing of authority is referred to as “link juice.” When linking to a website, the default is for links to be dofollow, so there’s no need for rel=”dofollow”. 

It is important to note that dofollow backlinks have the biggest impact on a website’s domain authority and ranking.

What is a Nofollow Backlink?

A link that does not pass authority onto the website it is linking to is called a nofollow link. In terms of SEO, these do not help a website’s ranking as much. Nofollow links look like: rel=”nodofollow.”However, nofollow links are still an important part of a site’s backlink profile. In general any link is better than no link – except if they are low quality spam links.

What is a NoReferrer backlink?

Analytics and tracking are linked to the referrer of the traffic. However when a web page uses a rel=”noreferrer” they are preventing other pages from seeing where the traffic came from. Therefore, a click on a link that is using a noreferrer attribute means a web page will not be able to track the source of the website visitor.

What is a NoOpener backlink?

The rel=”noopener’ has to do with security. Whereas, the noopener tag will help fight against a security issue known as reverses tab nabbing. This issue allows hackers to gain partial access to the linking page. Therefore, if a website is worried about security issues and getting hacked, they may end up using this tag.

What is a Sponsored backlink?

A rel=”sponsor” link is used to show to Google that a particular link was paid for and placed on the website as a paid advertisement. Using the sponsor tag for backlinks helps protect a website for getting in trouble for selling backlinks or being involved with link schemes.

Why backlinks are important?

Link building is one of the most important aspects of SEO, and it can be a daunting task for beginners. In this guide, we will discuss the basics of link building and how you can start building links to your website.

First, you need to understand what links are and why they are important. Links are essentially votes for your website from other websites. The more links you have, the higher your website will rank in Google search results.

Getting a recommendation or that kind of endorsement is extremely difficult, even more so for small businesses and startups. However, if you are focusing on boosting your website’s SEO performance, you will need to build up your backlinks from high-quality and authoritative websites.

Director of Marketing at Trujay, Gabi Theard, says, “A link building strategy doesn’t just increase your SEO score and visibility on Google. It shows readers where your company is in relation to other brands. Moreover, it reminds readers that there is a human behind the screen, and that there is a relationship between two sites and how each site is working to help the other grow.”

Additionally, if you are focusing on the reader, backlinks will provide them with the best chance of finding high-quality information to meet their needs.

If you take the time to build quality links, you will see a significant improvement in your website’s search engine rankings. Link building is an important part of SEO, and it should be a part of your overall SEO strategy.

Are backlinks important for SEO?

Yes, backlinks are important for SEO. In fact, they’re one of the most important factors that Google looks at when ranking a website. Google, and other search engines put significant weight on a website’s backlink profile to determine if the website is trustworthy, authoritative, and high quality. Backlinks play an important role in SEO and the ranking of a website in SERPs

Backlinks are links from websites that are related to your target audience or topic. They provide credibility and authority to your website, which can help you rank higher in search engines. However, not all backlinks are created the same, or even will benefit your website in the same way.

Google has actually gotten very good at monitoring link schemes, and if a website gets caught engaging in one, Google will actually penalize the website in terms of SEO. This is why black hat link building schemes are usually avoided by reputable and trustworthy websites. By avoiding link schemes, websites can keep themselves safe and avoid penalties. 

Google is aware of how important they make backlinks in SEO, and how people attempt to manipulate their backlink profiles. Therefore, Google has released a great deal of information regarding backlinks and manipulating their ranking. 

We dive further into this idea in the following section.

How Google views backlinks:

Building backlinks can be a daunting task, which can be frightening at times. However, it shouldn’t be something that scares you away from the whole process. Search engines and especially Google are up front and clear about link schemes. Whereas, Google has this to say:

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.


In this regard, we recommend avoid paying for any link building schemes as it can end up hurting your site more than helping it. Moreover, for many businesses competing for local SEO based terms and traffic, you can easily build your first 100 links by building your social profiles and signing up for local directories. Ahrefs has a great youtube video that highlights just how to get your first 100 links. Take a look at the video below to learn how to build 100 quality backlinks to your website:

Building off the suggested ideas in the ahrefs video, we have further highlighted 13 ways to build White Hat backlinks for your website!

13 ways to build backlinks:

Backlinks are one of the most important factors in SEO. They help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), which means more people will be able to find your website.

There are a number of ways to build backlinks, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are six of the most common methods:

1. Guest blogging:

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get high-quality backlinks. When you guest blog on a popular blog, you will get exposure to their audience, which can result in new visitors to your website. In addition, most guest bloggers are allowed to include a link back to their own website in their bio.

2. Directory submissions:

Directory submission is a process of submitting your website to online directories. This is a great way to get high-quality backlinks, because it will help you get listed in relevant search results.

3. Social media:

Social media is a great way to build backlinks, because you can share your content with a wide audience. When you share your content on social media, make sure to include a link back to your website so people can visit your website for more information.

4. Forum signatures:

If you participate in forums or platforms like Quora, you can include a link back to your website in your signature. This is a great way to get high-quality backlinks. Some forums don’t offer dofollow links, however it is still a great way to get a link to your site and to be able to increase website traffic.

5. Resource pages:

Resource pages are a great way to get high-quality backlinks. These are pages that list helpful resources for their readers. If you have a website that would be useful for their readers, you can submit it to be included in their resource list.

These are just a few of the many ways to build backlinks. The most important thing is to focus on quality over quantity. It is better to have a few high-quality backlinks than many low-quality backlinks. Links are an important part of off-page SEO, so make sure to include them in your optimization efforts.

6. Broken link building

Broken link building is a technique for discovering blogs, articles, and other resources that are no longer accessible. Then you either develop a new resource (or already have one on your website) and contact the site owner who links to the material and request that they replace the broken link with a link to your site instead. By helping the site owner identify broken links, while also building links to your site, you’re adding value to both the webmaster and their site.

Broken link building can be broken down into a four-step process.

  1. Find broken web pages with backlinks
  2. Analyze the backlinks
  3. Create a replacement resource page
  4. Contact the website with the broken link

One way to identify these broken links is to use a SEO tool. We mention three free tools you can use below!

7. Reclaim Unlinked Mentions

One of the easiest ways to build backlinks is by reclaiming unlinked brand mentions.

To do this, you will need to monitor the various mentions of your brand on blogs and in the news. An easy way to monitor mentions is by using a free simple tool like Google Alerts. Google Alerts will provide basic information regarding mentions, however if you want more in depth data you can use other tools like BuzzSumo, or Ahrefs Content Explorer.

After combing through the data, you may find times when you were mentioned but didn’t receive a backlink to your website. If that is the case you can reach out to the website asking for a proper citation or link to your website. When asking for the link you can let the website know that it will also benefit their readers as it will help them find more information about what they are searching for. Ultimately, improving the user experience.

You can also get creative and search for mentions and information that are related to your brand and services. These may include events you organize, employees names, research reports, interviews or case studies and data you have produced.

For example, if you monitor for interviews that may mention or feature your company’s executives you can ask for a backlink straight to their profile page on your website. Another great way is to look for mentions of the various reports, case studies or even statistics that your website has published, and then ask for a proper backlink to the information’s original source.

8. Get Contextual Links

While going through articles and blogs you may have come across some with additional resources that can be found in the text or in read more sections.

Search Engine Journal provides a good example of a ‘read more’ section:

SEJ showcasing a way to build backlinks from contextual links

The links embedded in the text of a piece of content are known as contextual links. In order to gain contextual backlinks to your site, you can research articles and blogs that speak about information related to your niche or industry. 

For example, if you have recently produced a case study on the importance of internal links in content, you can search for other blogs that mention internal links or SEO trends.

Here’s how you can find them using search engines:

  • Internal links inurl:blog intext:”Read more”
  • Internal links inurl:blog intext:”Recommended articles”
  • Internal links inurl:blog intext:”Recommended reading”

While you are contacting the website, make sure to pitch your study and let them know why it is important and how it will add value to their blog. Personalize your email as much as possible and keep it concise. People are strapped for time, so make sure to capture their attention quickly.

Once you start earning backlinks and begin to get noticed, websites will begin approaching you instead of the other way around. Thus if you can curate a good relationship-building strategy, your life will become much easier, and websites will start reaching out to you. 

It is important to note, that building a mutually beneficial relationship to provide backlinks, is worth way more than a simple link exchange. Google will see through this link exchange and flag it as possibly being something of concern. Thus, a backlink for a backlink is not a good backlink. Google will consider a relationship-based backlink by examining the relevant keywords, the credibility of the websites, and the frequency of the backlinks.

9. Get “Best X” List Mentions

How many times have you searched for: The ‘best X’ in ‘X industry’?

Consumers have gotten wise, they want to compare all available options, and check the reviews from leading experts in the industry. They will often search for a list of the best options for a specific product or service, to see what others are recommending and doing. 

To understand the magnitude of these types of searches in your industry. You can check the monthly search volume of each term. For example, there are more than 2900 searches per month for ‘best SEO companies’ (according to Ubersuggest).

Thus, if you can get your website mentioned on these ‘best lists’, you can see a big jump in organic traffic, as more people will be able to find your company, and trust it because it has been featured on a ‘best of’ list. In addition to driving more traffic, if the site providing the backlink is considered authoritative and is well trusted you will gain a high-quality backlink, thus giving you a boost in ranking.

Alex Birkett, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at HubSpot, explains why getting featured on these lists is so important for your business: if you broaden your view from trying to rank #1 on SERPs by trying to utilize other websites ranking on the first page, you can significantly increase your exposure and click-through rate. This is because people are using these lists to find a particular service or product, indicating they are highly motivated searches.

To use these techniques, the first thing to do is conduct a simple Google search to find out what high-ranking blogs are writing about your specific products, services or industry. 

For an easy way to conduct these searches, check our some useful search terms below:

  • Best [X]
  • Best [X] in [Y] e.g. Best SEO company in Portland Oregon
  • Top [X]
  • Top [X] for [Y] e.g. Top 10 SEO companies in Portland Oregon

Once you have generated a list of relevant blogs and websites, you should prioritize them by their domain authority (DA), overall backlink profile, web page ranking, and their referral traffic potential.

After your list is complete, write a compelling and concise pitch to email to the website, describing why they should include your product or service on their list. Just remember to personalize the email, people can easily detect a bulk email sent out to multiple people.

10. Become a Source for Other Publishers

By becoming a thought leader in your industry, you can leverage your expertise and become a source of information for other websites and bloggers. 

If you can accomplish this, people will look to quote your information and then, subsequently you will earn a backlink. While doing this, you should consider additional benefits other than just earning a high-domain authority backlink. Whereas, if you become a trusted source in your industry you wll also be able to increase your overall brand awareness and be able to drive referral traffic from other websites back to your website.

The best thing about this method.. It’s not as difficult as you may think!

One easy way to take on this technique it to subscribe to HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO is a free to signup service which connects journalists and media sources looking for contributors to industry experts. HARO will send out three emails a day to source providers asking them for contributions. If you, as the expert, can provide meaningful content and you get selected, you will likely receive an email from a journalist or blogger letting you know the article got published. 

Just remember, speed is key as the emails getting sent out will get a lot of responses.

Articles usually take some time to get published (usually a few weeks) after they ask for responses. Even if you don’t get a confirmation email, make sure to follow up on the article as your quote may find its way into the article anyways.

There is a chance that your quote or piece of information doesn’t get published. If that is the case don’t worry, as you can create a log of the information you are submitting and use it on future content for your website. You are an expert after all, and the information you are providing is more than likely valuable no matter where it is featured. These quotes and information can also be used to answer similar questions on Quora, LinkedIn, or even your own social channels.

11. Update Old Content

Monitor outdated content and blogs on your website. If the data is outdated, it may be a good decision to update the content, or rewrite it completely. However, before you decide which one to do, go through the blog and check how many backlinks it has. If there are a significant amount of links, then perfect. Rewrite the content and reach out to all of the backlinks to inform them you created a new page and they should link to that page. 

Freshness is key when it comes to Google. Google likes to see up to date data and information.

More times than not you’ll see the results of your outreach efforts in a few days or weeks. The results will be in the form of backlinks to the page, or social media shares of it. In addition to the benefits of receiving backlinks and shares, you can also benefit from opening up communication lines with the third party website as it gives an opportunity to discuss collaboration or other mutually beneficial activities.

Ultimately, when conducting email outreach for these backlinks, take a long-term benefit mindset into the discussion. Focus on trying to build a relationship and not just on the backlink itself.

12. Build Free Tools

Develop free tools that people can use on your website that provide value. If you can create a calculator tool that will approximate the value of a specific service, websites will link to yours to allow their users to access it. Tools can be extremely useful when trying to build backlinks.

To get started on building free tools, try the following four steps:

  1. Conduct keyword research specific to your industry and see what types of “templates”, “tools”, or “generators” come up
  2. Examine the tools that appear in the Top 10 search results for those specific keywords
  3. Now research those tools and see which ones typically receive the most backlinks
  4. Now create. Create the tool in a better, more simple, or streamlined way

13. Use Directories

Directories sometimes get a bad rep. People even consider them outdated at times. On the contrary, directories may be one of the best ways to improve your local SEO score. Additionally, it can also help potential customers find your service or product.

Don’t run off to every directory you can find now. Some are definitely not good to use, and even come off as ‘spammy’ when seen by Google. These types of directories will actually hurt your SEO score.

Directories that your business should be targeting are the ones that are highly reputable and used by people. Some of these include: Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Beyond these mainstream directories you will find niche directories that focus specifically on your industry. Do some research and find the ones that are being recommended and are actually being used by people searching for your service or product.

Two sources we like to use to help us find relevant directories for our clients are: 21 Web Directories That Still Have Value (Search Engine Journal), and Top Local Citations by Business Category (BrightLocal).

How to build high quality backlinks:

Backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO. In order to create backlinks that will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages, you need to understand what backlinks are and how they work.

Backlinks are links from other websites that link back to your website. The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in Google search results. However, not all backlinks are created equal. In order to create effective backlinks that will help your website rank higher and thus increase and drive more organic traffic to your website, you need to focus on quality over quantity.

  1. Find high-quality websites that are relevant to your niche and have high Domain Authority (DA).
  2. Reach out to the website owners and ask for a link.
  3. Create helpful and informative content that other websites will want to link to.
  4. Use social media to promote your content and encourage others to link to it.
  5. Monitor your backlink profile regularly and disavow any spammy or low-quality links.

If you follow these tips, you can create backlinks that will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages. Link building is a time-consuming process, but it is well worth the effort if you want to improve your SEO.

How to maintain a successful link building campaign:

When it comes to link building, there are a few things you can do to maintain a successful campaign:

  1. Stay up to date with the latest trends and changes in SEO. Google is constantly changing their algorithms, so you need to be aware of the latest trends in order to stay ahead of the competition.
  2. Use a variety of methods to build links. Don’t rely on one method – use a variety of methods to build links, including guest posting, link exchanges, and social media promotion.
  3. Keep track of your link building progress. Keep track of the number of links you are building each month and how your website is ranking in Google search results. This will help you track your progress and make necessary changes to your link building strategy.
  4. Measure your results. Link building is not a one-time thing – you need to measure your results and adjust your strategy accordingly. If you’re not seeing the results you want, try something new or focus on a different type of link.
  5. Be patient. Link building takes time, so be patient and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. It takes time for Google to index and rank new links, so give it some time before you start to see results.

Building links to your website is an important part of SEO, but it’s not the only thing you need to do. Be sure to also focus on other aspects of SEO, such as on-page optimization and creating quality content. If you do all of these things, you’ll be well on your way to getting higher rankings in Google search results.

Best Free Backlink Checkers

To help make it easier for you on your journey of building high-quality backlinks, we have come up with a list of three tools that can help you find backlink opportunities and data:

  • Ahrefs Backlink Checker
  • Backlinks (Neil Patel)
  • MonitorBacklinks

1. Ahrefs free Backlink Checker Tool

Ahrefs free backlink checker seo tool
Ahrefs free backlink checker tool

Ahrefs has one of the most comprehensive backlink databases around on the internet, giving you up-to-date data consistently. The free version of the tool shows you the top 100 backlinks, top five anchors, and top five pages of your website. Although it might only give you the big picture of your website, it provides you with a good starting point. And hey, you can’t complain too much, it’s free!

2. Check Backlinks with Neil Patel’s SEO tool

Neil Patel free backlink checker seo tool
Check backlinks for free with Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool

Neil Patel is a marketing genius. His team and him has produced a fairly well powered tool to search for backlinks and referring domains. It is not as powerful as Ahrefs tool but it still provides a good deal of features for free.

For example you can export the data that you have found to CSV which contains up to 5,000 backlinks and each of the Source Page Titles, URLs, and anchor texts used. Additionally, you can filter through the data you are receiving by including or excluding specific domains or anchors. Clear Door is a proud user of Neil’s search engine and would recommend checking out the free version.

3. MonitorBacklinks Checker Tool

monitorbacklinks free backlink checker seo tool
Check backlinks for free with monitorbacklinks tool

MonitorBacklinks has the capability to find almost as many referring domains as Ahrefs can. Moreover, a unique feature of MonitorBacklinks is that it provides details based on Trust Flow or Citation Flow for the top backlinks.

How can I improve my website ranking with backlinks?

Building backlinks is a great way to improve your website ranking. There are a few things you can do to improve your website ranking:

  • Create high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. This will attract links from other high-quality websites, which will help your website rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERP)
  • Generate backlinks through link building campaigns that focus on targeting key keywords and phrases. This will help you rank better in the search engine results pages for those specific keywords
  • Build relationships with other businesses and professionals in your industry and ask them to link to your website. This will also help you rank better in the SERP for related terms.

However, generating backlinks organically isn’t as difficult as it might sound. In fact, it’s often much more effective than paying for them because it generates trust and encourages other websites to link to you without any strings attached. 

You can do this by creating quality content that people will want to share, engaging with other bloggers and sharing their articles on your own site, and participating in online forums and communities related to your industry or topic. Doing this will not only help boost your website ranking but also establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter.

Key Takeaways: How To Build Backlinks for Beginners

Links are one of the most important aspects of SEO, and they are essential for driving traffic to your website. In this guide, we have discussed the basics of link building and how you can start building links to your website. We have also provided tips for maintaining a successful link building campaign.

Backlinks are important because they are essentially votes for your website from other websites. The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in Google search results.

Link building can be a daunting task, but it is essential for driving traffic to your website. There are a number of ways to build links, and it is important to choose the methods that best fit your website and your goals.

To create effective backlinks, you should focus on quality over quantity. It is also important to make sure that your backlinks are relevant to your website and come from high-quality websites.

Finally, link building is an ongoing process, and it is important to continuously add new backlinks to your website. By following these tips, you can build a successful link building campaign that will help drive traffic to your website.

Need help to build quality backlinks? Clear Door SEO is an SEO Agency in Portland Oregon providing off-page SEO services. Contact us today to build your domain authority with backlinks and drive more organic traffic to your website!

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