What Is White Hat SEO Link Building? (Protect Your Site!)


What is white hat link building? How do you get white hat backlinks?

And how can you use whitehat link building to rank higher on Google?

It’s crucial to understand this concept:

Because if you don’t, you could be de-indexed from Google or even face a harsh algorithmic penalty.  

If you want to protect your website, build links that actually increase your rankings, and generate that sweet Google love, stay tuned…

What Is White Hat Link Building?

Here’s the short answer:

White hat link building is any type of link building that conforms with Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Google setup these guidelines to stop people gaming the system:

Because it wants its users to find the best possible search results.

White hat link building techniques help improve the quality of websites showing up on Google.

Let’s put it this way:

Only high quality websites can use white link building techniques.

If you had a spammy/low quality site, no one would link to you:

So you’d have to resort to blackhat link building techniques instead.

This means that you’re actually trying to build links that are ethical and you’re not trying to game or manipulate the system. 

How do you know if your backlinks are white hat?

There’s 1 easy way to do this.

Ask yourself this question:

“Would you feel comfortable explaining how you build links to an employee of Google or even to one of your competitors?”

If the answer is no, then you’re probably doing something a bit dodgy.

How Does Google Define White Hat Link Building? 

If you check their Google webmaster guidelines, you can see that they’ve purposely left this definition open to interpretation.

You can see keywords like “may/could be penalized”.

It’s very subjective and there’s no hard or fast rule.

Why is that?

Well it’s the same situation as Facebook Ads:

Guidelines have to be vague.

Because then Google has the ability to penalise any sites it feels may be in the grey area of building blackhat backlinks.

But is SEO actually whitehat anyway?

Some people would say that if you’re building links, then you’re trying to manipulate your rankings.

The whole concept of SEO isn’t natural:

And therefore there’s no such thing as white hat link building.

But without getting too philsophical:

You just have to conform to Google’s webmaster guidelines.

If you’re building links that conform to these guidelines, then you’re building white hat links.

What else should you be wary of?

Google specifically states if you’re building links with automated software:

Then what you’re doing is black hat and it goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Why Does Google Prefer White Hat Backlinks? 

The whole goal of Google is to keep users using the platform:

The bigger their audience, the more successful the business is.

So white hat link building is about creating great content that people actually want to link to.

You should be building links that improve the usability and user experience of Google:

Rather than trying to game or manipulate the system. 

Here’s some examples of white hat link building techniques…

7 White Hat Link Building Techniques You Can Try

1: Link Inserts:

What’s more natural than an editorially edited link within an article?

That’s how websites would get backlinks naturally.

So how can you implement this for your website?

  • Find articles in your niche with lots of links already
  • Create a similar piece of content
  • Ask those sites to link to your article too

2: Audio Link Building:

Audio link building is one the most unique white hat link building methods you can use:

You just create an audio version of someone’s blog – and then ask for a credit link back to your site.

How can you implement this?

  • Reach out to the websites saying you’ve created an audio version of their blog and ask where you should send it
  • Once they reply, send them the audio file with the code to embed (including a link back to your site)
  • Chase it up until your backlink is published

Here’s my full tutorial on audio link building.

3: Video Link Building

If you’re creating videos anyway, here’s an easy way to get more white hat backlinks:

  • Reach out to sites who’ve published content similar to the video you’ve created.
  • Ask them to embed your video within their article
  • Then reach back out 1 month later and ask them to link back to you as a credit

By doing this, you get the 3X effect:

  • You get more traffic to your videos.
  • You’ll get more PR by your video being featured in their articles.
  • And you get a backlink too.

More details on that here.

4: HARO:

This is the exact same technique we’ve used to get DR90 backlinks within minutes:

  • Sign up to helpareporter.com
  • Pitch to journalists every day (takes just 10 minutes)
  • Within a month or so, you’ll start seeing backlinks come in

We’ve landed backlinks on Yahoo, Forbes and AOL all with this simple technique.

HARO has thousands of journalists looking for interesting stories from website owners.

So you can swoop in, pitch a great story and you’ll see the links come in.

NOTE: Check your backlink profile as most journalists won’t tell you they’ve featured you.

5: Guest Blogging:

Websites always need more content.

But they don’t always have the time or resources to write it themselves.

That’s where you come in:

  • Pitch the website offering them a free guest blog
  • When they say yes, you write the guest blog
  • And when your guest blog is written, include a couple of links back to your website

Then the site will publish your guest blog with your backlinks.

Plus you get to reach new audiences with your guest blogging content.

And the guest blog you’ve written will rank on Google too.

6: Podcasts:

When you get featured on podcasts, in the show notes you’ll usually get a backlink to your site too.

So how do you get started?

  • Make a list of the top 10% of podcasts in your industry:
  • Reach out and pitch to them.
  • Then after you’re featured on the podcast, ask for a link back to your website

This is an awesome way to get PR, links and even more customers at the same time.

Plus podcasts demonstrate your expertise and people get to know, like and trust you:

Which means more leads and sales for your business.

Most podcast owners are looking for world class experts like you to speak on their show:

So by doing this outreach, you’re doing them a favour too because booking new guests is time consuming.

7: SourceBottle:

Sourcebottle is VERY similar to HARO:

So it’s free, easy to use and you can get tons of PR and backlinks from this site.

Just sign up, start pitching and you’ll see the links come in.

If you’re already doing HARO then you can easily use the same systems and team to build backlinks on Sourcebottle too.

What Are Black Hat Links?

Now we’ve looked at what white hat link building is, it’s time to learn about what isn’t.

It’s called the black hat.

If you’re trying to manipulate, cheat, or trick Google and the system:

Then what you’re doing is black hat. 

Some examples of this include:

  • Buying PBNs
  • Using software like GSA to build backlinks
  • Spamming forums and blogs with links back to your site

Are you building links ethically?

Or are you trying to game the system?

If you’re trying to game the system, then you’re on the black hat side.

Protect Your Site with White Hat Link Building

White hat link building is more difficult to do because it takes more time and effort:

But that’s perfect for you.


Because you have to do what others won’t:

Most of your competitors will take shortcuts and cut corners to save time.

But that only works until 1 Google algorithm update comes along and wipes them out.

White hat SEO is a long term, sustainable strategy.

If you’re not building white hat backlinks, then you’re risking a harsh algorithmic and even manual action penalty from Google.

You may even get de-indexed from Google.

And all these things can easily wipe out your website overnight.

Ideally you want to protect your website:

This is your company’s biggest asset.

So you don’t want to be lying awake at night wondering if your website’s gonna tank.

Keep your website protected and focus on long term gratification. 

FAQs About White Hat Link Building

What is white hat link building?

Any type of link building that falls within Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Ethical, natural backlinks designed to promote amazing content using SEO.

How do you make a white hat backlink?

The best white hat link building techniques include podcasting, link inserts, pitching to journalists on HARO/Sourcebottle and video link link building.

What is black hat link building?

Black hat link building is any type of SEO that falls outside of Google’s link scheme guidelines.

If the backlinks you’re building are remotely spammy, unethical or just there to manipulate Google’s algorithm, you’re using black hat link building.

What is white hat outreach?

White hat outreach is when you reach out to websites to promote your content:

And getting editorially added, natural backlinks.

The outreach could be via social media, cold email etc – it’s just a form of reaching out to other sites and asking for a backlink.

What is black hat and white hat SEO?

Black is an unethical form of SEO that falls outside of Google’s guidelines and is designed to trick Google’s algorithm into ranking a website higher. Usually it’s for low quality websites. This includes spamming, blog commenting and PBNs.

White hat SEO is the opposite – it’s the strategy of organizing and promoting your website’s content to rank higher and improve the user experience of people who use search engines like Google.


So a white hat backlink is any type of link that aligns with Google’s webmaster guidelines.

It’s a long term, sustainable strategy that protects your site.

Never try building backlinks that cheat the system.

Instead, build links to promote amazing content that Google users will love.

Ready to start building white hat backlinks? Book in your free SEO strategy session here.