Linkbuilding: concept, links and SEO best practices

Manuel Barrios Carrasco

Written by Manuel Barrios Carrasco

What is linkbuilding: basic conceptsLinkbuilding

Linkbuilding is one of the most important aspects of SEO, at Off Page level, and consists of the generation and achievement of external links to our website. In other words, it is about getting other pages relevant to search engines and users to link to our content. The objective of the Linkbuiding is to increase the popularity of a Web site, through the reception of valuable links from domains with a high PageRank as high as possible, or with greater authority, as this is one of the most important factors taken into account by search engines when positioning the page higher in search results.

Throughout this post we will try to explain what these links are, types of links, where we are interested in receiving them from, how they should be linked, etc.


To understand linkbuilding, we must first know what a link is.

A link is a hyperlink through which we direct the user, if clicked, to a content located in another URL.

Therefore, we will identify the different elements that will have these links:

  • URL: or destination page to which the link takes us.
  • Title: it is recommended that links include a title attribute, which explains to the user where the link will take him/her to. It is recommended that they be descriptive, clear and in the format “Go to + [enlace]”, “Learn more about + [enlace]”. Do not make it too long, the wording should be natural, directed to the user, not to the SEO. When we pass the mouse over the link, a small pop-up text will appear, that is the title of the link.
  • Anchor text: is the text that contains the link and is the most important SEO element. This anchor text must also be consistent with the content.
  • Images: it may be the case that the link is placed in an image. In this case, clicking on the image will redirect us to the web page indicated in that link. To preserve the value of the text that functions as anchor text, it is vital to include the alternative text, alt attribute, which must be descriptive of the image content. In addition, it must be relevant to the content to which it links, we must include the target keyword of the page to which we link and we must write it naturally, being precise, explanatory and coherent. Remember that in the links through images, the anchor text that the search engine will take into account will be the alternative text of the same, do not forget to put it!
Elements of a link to Human Level
In the link attached in this post to the home page of Human Level Communications, we can see the different elements in the source code of the page: The title, the source, the destination URL or the anchor text, or anchor text that we see above and that contains the link.

Types of links

When analyzing link building, we will find different types depending on the following aspects:

  • Depending on whether we want the search engines to take these external links into account or not, we will have the “follow” or “nofollow. We will be able to locate them in the source code of the page with the rel attribute with the value“follow” in case we want the search engine to take into account the link popularity, or“nofollow” if we do not want to transmit our popularity to it.
  • If we talk about the nofollow, it will normally be advisable to use it when the content we link to does not have our full confidence or guarantee. For example, in the comments of our blog it will be a good default tip to attribute them the “nofollow“. We also recommend links “nofollow“in links to the login or registration, or to printable versions of a page. When the links are advertising, paid or sponsored links, they must carry the attribute “nofollow” as a rule.
  • Depending on the anchor text, or anchor text, used to link, we will have the brand anchor text , which will be those in which the name of the brand or variations of it are used, to which the link is directed. For example, if we link to the term“Human Level Communications“, and the link takes us to our home page, we will be using a branded anchor text. On the other hand, if we do not use a brand, we will talk about non branded anchor text orgeneric.
  • Depending on their location, we have multiple types of links:
    • Links in blog posts or forums: when the link is in a blog post or forum discussion. It is desirable that the content of the post or forum is consistent with the link itself and with the theme of the linked landing page.
    • Links from link groups when they are in link clusters. It should be noted that these links could be detected as manipulative by Google.
    • Links in blog comments, if placed in blog reply comments. By default, most of these links are“nofollow” so their SEO value is minimal or null.
    • Links in images, if they are embedded in an image. In this case, the anchor text of the link will be interpreted from the alt attribute of the image.
    • Links in the author’s signature, when we find it in the signature of the author of the post or article, etc.
  • Depending on the type of website where the link is located, we will have links to blogs, forums, web directories, wikipedia, eCommerce, domain parkings, social networks, personal websites, article directories, etc.
  • Depending on the visibility of the linkwe will have links above the foldif it is placed at the top visible in all browsers without the need to scroll vertically; links in the bodyif we have them in the body of the page; or links in the footer when they are included in the footer of the web page.
  • Depending on whether we are linking or linkedwe will have incoming links in case they are links on external websites that link to ours and give us an incoming link to our website; and the outgoing links which are those that we use from our website to link to third party websites.

There are other types of classifications such as according to the language of the link, the sector of the web page, the type of domain, its authority, PageRank, etc.

Linkbuilding and SEO

As soon as a link is placed on a Web page to another Web page and this link is traceable, we are giving a small part of the popularity of our page. That is why it is very important for SEO to work on linking, that Linkbuilding, because it affects one of the most important factors taken into account by search engines to position a content in better positions in the results pages.

A good work and a correct Linkbuilding strategy will lead us to gain popularity, because with each external link that refers our web page, will bring us a small part of the popularity of that page. That is why we must take it into account and work to get many references or links to our website. We must get natural links, that come from pages with a minimum of popularity, if possible in the same sector or in a similar field to the content of our Web page, and that link to us in a natural way, not with the intention of distorting the order of the search results pages.

Good linkbuilding is achieved when we are linked by popular domains, within a common context, with a natural and logical anchor text and offering the user relevant and coherent information with the content and environment where the link is produced.

If they are not natural links and they do not comply with these guidelines, we will have many options for Google or any search engine to get angry with our Linkbuiding work and penalize us, with the disastrous consequences that this would entail.

This popularity of the page that links and that is so taken into account by the search engines, is measured by them, or to be more precise and place us in the most used search engine in Spain and Europe, used to be expressed by Google through the PageRank, PR, which was an indication of the quality level of the page.with values ranging from 0-10, which was a measure of the “value” of the web page. We say that this popularity is transferred through the Linkjuice or popularity juice, to the URLs of the pages that are linked through the links or hyperlinks that are included in it.

Although Google no longer updates the PageRank value, we have different tools that will allow us to know it. Some of them are SEOquake or SEO for Firefox.

Since Google will no longer update the PageRank indicator, we now look to other values to indicate the popularity and/or authority of a Web page. We speak for example of the Page Authority or Domain Authority, of Open Site Explorer, of the company MOZ, which measure the authority of that page or the entire domain.

Best practices in our LinkBuilding strategy

Obviously, like any marketing strategy, it must be considered, studied, established with metrics to see its efficiency, with specific SMART objectives, analyzed in its results and flexible and adaptable to the environment and its evolution. In this post, I intend, more than anything else, to comment on what I consider to be the minimum for a correct Linkbuilding practice.

  • Get links from different types of domains, being more valuable the .gov or .edu. It is important not to repeat a system of links from the same type of domains, but to have links from .com, .es, etc.
  • Links should be from different IPs: if they all come from the same one, it is clear that we are probably feeding our popularity unnaturally ourselves.
  • There should be a variety in the type of link sources: from different types of pages, from different locations, text and images, etc.
  • Links from domains as old as possible.
  • Links from domains with a good PR and TrustRank.
  • Links from pages indexed in the search engine: if the content is not indexable, the link will not bring any popularity.
  • Avoid implementing these links through JavaScript, iFrames, Ajax, etc. as these are technologies that are difficult for search engines and may not be read and crawled by them.
  • From sections of the pages that have few outgoing inbound, because depending on the level from which you are granted the same, will have more or less weight, and the distribution of authority in the distribution of the popularity juice or Linkjuice.
  • The links must use natural and coherent anchor text, with the text or context where they are found, and of course, with the content they link to.

What to avoid in linkbuilding

In short, in a strategy of LinkbuildingThe key lies in one premise: links must be natural. In other words, a page should link to us because, by dealing with a topic, it offers the user that link where you will find relevant content, related to what you were looking for and watching and above all useful. It is about providing value to the user with the link that enriches their experience on our site.

Therefore, the main thing to avoid is unnatural linking. The aim is to ensure that linkbuilding does not go beyond this limit and to prevent it from being generated, automatically or otherwise, with the idea of undermining the popularity of the web page being linked to without taking the user into account.

Here is a small list of the main reasons that make linkbuilding unnatural and, therefore, penalizable:

  • Links in widgets, they end up generating links automatically and you must be very careful and include nofollow if you don’t want to have problems.
  • Links in forum signatures or comments in your forums and blogs, generate the nofollow automatically for links that include you in forum signatures, post comments or forums, it is the best way to avoid being sabotaged.
  • Links from link farms, a very popular use years ago, an easy way to get a lot of links and quickly fade in popularity. Totally persecuted and penalized by Google.
  • Buying links, it is totally forbidden by Google to pay for being linked and it is cause for penalization.
  • Automatic links in footers, blogrolls, sitewide links, or from very low quality sites (penalized, spam sites, etc.), all these types of links generate an automatic and unnatural system that is very bad seen by Google.
  • The use of software for automatic link generation is strongly discouraged.
  • PR manipulations that are performed through automatic link exchange.
  • Links from anchor texts or anchor text that are not natural, relevant or coherent.
  • Links from pages with thin content or low quality content.
  • Links received from link directories.
  • Links that do not have a temporal coherence, that are acquired massively and very quickly over time.
  • Links from directories, especially if they have to do with online marketing and links.
  • Links from satellite or “friend” domains, which are created with the sole purpose of attracting traffic.

We have seen what is linkbuilding, links, the different types of links, how it is integrated in SEO, good practices in link building or not recommended. In the next post we will see metrics and tools to know the status of our popularity, as well as ideas to develop your Linkbuilding and how to act if you are penalized.

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Former SEO consultant at Human Level. Graduated in Law. He later completed a Master's Degree in Online Marketing Techniques and obtained the Certification of Pedagogical Aptitude. Specialist in SEO and digital marketing.

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