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What Makes Link Building Effective: Top 15 Questions to Consider

July 12, 2023
13 min

What is link building today? As users become increasingly demanding, link building today is primarily about quality, and then quantity. It's about the quality of the content itself and its relevance to the website. Despite these challenges, successful link-building remains a crucial factor in improving Google rankings and building a reputation.

Which sites are suitable for link building? How many links should be purchased? Why is it important to consider the website's theme? We discussed all the intricacies of link placement strategies with Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link Building Department at Promodo.

What is Link Building and Its Role in the Structure of Search Engine Optimization?

Link building is a method of promoting an online resource by acquiring a necessary quantity of external links. Search engine algorithms analyze the link profile, and the more links from authoritative and relevant sources that point to your website, the higher you will rank in search engine results.

What Factors Determine the Cost of a Link and What Influences It?

The cost of a link on different platforms depends on several factors:

  • Authority and reputation of the website where the link is placed.
  • High level of traffic and visibility of the website in search engine results.
  • The placement of the link on the website can impact its price. For example, links from the homepage typically carry more weight than those from the content or the footer.
  • The niche of the website for which the link is being placed. Prices for link placements in competitive industries such as online casinos, cryptocurrency resources, or loans tend to be higher due to increased competition and high demand for links in these sectors.

"The cost can also vary on an individual basis. I have encountered situations where it was impossible to trace a direct correlation between the cost and the metrics of the website. You may write to a website owner who is currently not in the best mood, or they may have received thousands of similar requests today and are simply tired of clarifying details, so the price for you will be higher". Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

Which Types of Websites are Suitable for Link Building? Which Ones Are Willing to Sell Links?

Link building is suitable for websites that rank well in Google and have organic traffic. If a website is not ranking, it may be under penalties, and links from such a platform can negatively impact the ranking of your own site. Google also has algorithms to devalue links, which target informational sites that sell links in all their articles. Therefore, it is important for a website to have content that is not created solely for the purpose of link selling.

Additionally, it is recommended to pay attention to whether the website publishes fresh content (for example, if news articles are updated daily). It is also important to monitor the dynamics of search queries. If there is no growth in keywords/positions, then over time, the traffic from such a website will drop to zero, and accordingly, links from it will have no effect.

“The key goal of a link builder is to find resources that have organic traffic and are authoritative and open to collaboration. It is recommended to first pay attention to blogs and informational websites that have relevant topics to your project. For example, if you have a sports blog, websites focusing on fitness, training, or healthy eating may be of interest. Collaboration with such platforms can be beneficial and fruitful for both you and these websites”. Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

It is worth mentioning that some websites adhere to policies that prohibit link placements or may require specific conditions for collaboration. In such cases, link builders should learn to negotiate and find compromises.

When it comes to purchasing the number of links for a single client, it depends on the goal, the page's position in the SERP, the competition, and the level of popularity of the brand you're working with. For one page, it could be just one link, while for another, it could be 1,000. It's always important to conduct a competitor analysis beforehand and determine the number of links to acquire based on that. However, we do not recommend purchasing fewer than 5 links per month because you may not feel their impact on rankings.

What Risks Does Link Selling Pose for Publishers?

Can a website "burn out" for a search engine over time? If such monetization is conducted properly, it is possible to avoid any risks. The key is to ensure that the quantity of fresh and high-quality content significantly exceeds the number of partner articles with links. Ideally, articles with links should be relevant to the website's theme (or a specific section, in the case of media outlets). It is also important to consider the quality of articles with links that will be published on your website.

What are the potential problems a publisher may face due to selling links? Here are some common ones:

Loss of authority: If a publisher places many low-quality links on their website, it can lead to a loss of authority in search engines. When Google identifies a website actively engaged in selling links, it may mark it as a questionable source and diminish its influence on search rankings.

Search engine penalties: By selling links in large volumes, a publisher violates search engine rules. As a result, the search engine may lower its ranking, remove it from search results, or even impose a penalty.

Loss of user trust: If users notice that a website is selling many links, it can lead to a loss of trust and negative sentiment towards the website as a whole.

Risk of deceptive links: Sometimes, sellers may place unreliable or harmful links (spam or fraudulent sites), which can damage the reputation and safety of the platform.

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Why is the Thematic Relevance of a Website Important for Link Building?

Thematic websites are indeed the best option for obtaining high-quality links. If you have backlinks from relevant sites, it will enhance the authority and ranking of your own website.

Search engines evaluate links based on their context and relevance. At the same time, these links bring more valuable traffic because visitors interested in the topic are likely to click through to your website. However, if the donor site has a high amount of traffic, sometimes the relevance can be neglected.

Search engines evaluate links based on their context and relevance. At the same time, these links bring more valuable traffic because visitors interested in the topic are likely to click through to your website. However, if the donor site has a high amount of traffic, sometimes the relevance can be neglected. Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

How is the Process of Finding New Link-Building Websites Structured?

It all depends on the strategy and goals – whether it's individual link placements, placing links for different clients on niche platforms, or establishing ongoing partnerships with media outlets, and so on.

Here's a generalized example of the conversion funnel at Promodo:

Level 1: Research and Search

Information gathering. Identifying target audience and relevant topics. Searching internet directories, forums, blogs, and other resources related to the topic. Filtering out unnecessary sites based on their authority, content quality, traffic, etc.

Level 2: Analysis and Evaluation

Detailed examination of selected websites: reassessing their authority, reputation, and traffic. Analyzing metrics such as Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Flow, etc.

Level 3: Communication

Finding contact information for the website's team and initiating communication. Discussing collaboration proposals and finalizing details.

Level 4: Agreement Negotiation

Negotiating the price, type, and duration of link placements.

Level 5: Acquiring Links

Obtaining links from the website or creating joint content materials.

"It's important to note that each level of the funnel may have different conversion rates. Not all websites you contact will be willing to collaborate with you. You may not be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with everyone. Additionally, there may be instances where you cannot establish contact with certain websites. These situations can occur during the link building process". Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

If there is Demand, there are link marketplaces. Why Do Services Positioning Themselves as Marketplaces for PR Specialists also Join them?

This is a rather controversial question because services that position themselves as marketplaces for public relations join the link-buying market for several reasons:

  • To expand their target audience.
  • For convenience and efficiency.
  • To strengthen promotional impact.

Overall, the emergence of such marketplaces is a result of the growing demand for link building services. When PR professionals need to expedite processes or plan for broader outreach, the traditional outreach approach can be time-consuming. Working with link marketplaces optimizes this process. However, this also raises the issue of the effectiveness of placing a large volume of materials.

“A boring press release published on dozens of platforms may not have the desired effect, and the outcome of such work might be limited to a list of websites where the material appeared. It's crucial to start with the quality of the article, study the stylistics of the materials published on each specific platform, and understand the audience of these platforms. Only with such preparation can one expect a certain outcome”. Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

What Skills are Required for Working in Link Building?

The main thing is for a person to understand the basic principles of SEO, have analytical skills, and have some knowledge of HTML and CSS (which will help understand the structure of web pages and interact with the technical aspects of link placement). It is also important to be proficient in using services like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, Google Analytics 4, Link Prospector, BuzzSumo, and email tools. These tools can assist link builders in finding relevant platforms for link placement, gathering important data about them, analyzing competitors, and more.

It's also important to consider soft skills. Communication skills are crucial as link building requires interaction with website owners, content managers, and editors. The link builder will have to compose and send many emails, negotiate collaboration with various team members on the publisher's side, and then organize all the information, track results, and present them to the client.

Tasks and Responsibilities of a Link Builder

Searching and analyzing websites for potential collaboration, communicating with existing partners, and negotiating with potential new ones constitute 85% of the working time. The remaining 15% involves generating analytical reports and presenting them to clients.

It is important to note that at Promodo, link builders do not create content. The team responsible for content creation generates relevant articles for backlinks.

Large Publishers Receive 5-10 Collaboration Proposals Daily, which Essentially Boils Down to Attempts to Publish Content with Do-Follow links. What is the True Reason Behind this "Encryption"?

Some collaboration offers can be tedious and deceptive. In the field of link building, especially in agencies, there is often a need to gather prices for links from various sources or establish partnerships with potential partners. Since email, especially Gmail, filters messages containing links, some link builders try to be more cautious in their requests. This way, they avoid being filtered, and their emails end up in the Inbox folder rather than spam.

At the same time, in this industry, there is a certain percentage of people who try to get free links or prefer to establish contact without specifying their intentions. This also explains why some offers have unclear wording. Of course, such an approach creates inconvenience and complicates the communication process for both publishers and professional link builders. A useful practice for receiving specific requests is for publishers to have a page on their website with an editorial policy and prices for links.

“On such a page, the publisher can also specify their requirements regarding content, link quality, and more. This will ensure better understanding with potential partners and reduce the number of inquiries. However, it is not a panacea”. Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

How Does the Link Building Chain Actually Work? How Many Steps and Intermediaries Are Involved from the Platform to the Client?

At Promodo, our link builders act as intermediaries between our clients and the platforms where they can acquire links. They not only search for potential sites for placement but also directly interact with these platforms, sending inquiries and personally negotiating with their representatives. Often, this communication occurs through personal work emails rather than mailers.

We have direct communication with both clients and platforms, which simplifies the process of reaching agreements and maintains transparent communication. In other agencies, there may be additional intermediaries, such as link marketplaces, between link builders and site owners.

“It is important to understand that the complexity of this chain can vary depending on the specific conditions and nuances of collaboration. Some link builders may work directly with site owners, minimizing the number of intermediaries involved. In other cases, especially for large-scale projects requiring quick site acquisition for link building, the chain may be more complex and involve additional stages and intermediaries”. Olga Reznikova, Team Lead of the Link-Building Department

Myths about SEO and Link Builders

Since link building is challenging to scale, some businesses may avoid it, depriving themselves of an effective digital marketing strategy. Additionally, there are certain myths associated with link building that negatively impact its reputation.

Myth #1: "You can promote a website without links."

This is false. Link building is an essential component of SEO. The absence of links limits a website's ability to rank higher in search engines. Links validate a website's authority and relevance, and they are necessary for improving its visibility and ranking.

Myth #2: "A link builder who acquires paid links is ineffective or incompetent."

In reality, link building involves both free and paid strategies. Free links can be valuable, but they may not always be effective for certain projects. Acquiring paid links can be beneficial in many cases, as it allows for quick and targeted connections with authoritative resources. Obtaining free links can often be costlier than paid ones when considering the time spent acquiring them and the cost of content.

Myth #3: "You can buy 1,000 links for $10, and everything will be fine. I have a million such offers in my inbox."

Obtaining links from unverified sources, especially through unsolicited emails, can have a negative impact on a website. Typically, the lists of sites in such emails lack quality and authority.

We recommend using manual outreach instead. Research authoritative resources and collaborate with well-known players in the market. This will help you acquire high-quality backlinks.

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Written by
Maria Kashina

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

Written by
Olga Reznikova

Team Lead of the link building department at Promodo

July 12, 2023
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