Everyone wants their website to rank as high as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs). That said, achieving this goal is not easy.
In order to increase your website’s ranking, you need to employ search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and build white hat links!
However, there are two types of links: white hat and black hat. And only one of these has a long-term positive impact on your website’s ranking.
So what is white hat SEO link building? And how can you do it effectively? In this comprehensive guide, we will answer these questions and more.
What Is White Hat SEO Link Building?
White hat SEO refers to sustainable link building techniques that don’t manipulate a website’s ranking in search results – such as creating useful content, earning links naturally, or participating in ethical link building activities.
It’s an approach to link building through SEO techniques that abide by search engine webmaster’s guidelines.
In Google’s eyes, these links are viewed as positive votes. The more links you have, the more search engines trust your website and rank it higher in SERPs.
Why Is White Hat SEO Link Building Important?
White hat link building is important for three reasons:
1. Avoiding Google Penalties
Google regularly penalizes websites that don’t abide by its webmaster’s guidelines. As a result, those websites’ rankings drop or even disappear from SERPs.
Black hat SEO link building often results in penalties because it is against Google’s guidelines. And this could mean a huge loss of traffic and revenue for your website.
However, by following white hat SEO link building practices you can avoid such penalties.
2. Boosting Your Website’s Ranking
White hat link building helps to build your website’s authority, which in turn boosts its search engine ranking.
Your website will become more popular as it builds up a solid backlink profile that consists of relevant, high-quality links from reputable websites. As a result, your rankings will improve and so will your traffic and revenue.
3. Increase Social Proof
Social proof is another factor that search engines take into account when ranking websites.
Social proof is generated when other people and websites link to your website.
Link building is a form of social proof because it involves getting others to recognize the value of your content and linking to it.
As more and more people link to your website, search engines perceive you as an authority in your niche or industry.
Furthermore, people are more likely to find you from other websites, which boosts your website’s authority and ranking even more!
What Does Google Consider As White Hat Link Building?
According to Google’s Link Schemes article, white hat SEO link building is all about earning links naturally.
“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”Google’s Link Schemes
In other words, if you want to boost your website’s ranking and authority, try to build links in ways that meet the following criteria:
- Create high-quality content that is useful for your target audience – this will make people want to link to it.
- Earn links naturally – this means only building links that you would have earned anyway without any outside help.
- Avoid manipulative or artificial link schemes – these include building exact match anchor text links, participating in private blog networks (PBNs) and link farms, etc.
What Does Google Consider A Link Scheme?
According to Google’s Link Schemes article, link schemes are manipulative by nature.
Examples of link schemes that can negatively affect your website’s ranking include:
- Keyword-rich anchor text links generated from large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns
- Participating in link schemes or link farms (multiple participants create artificial, unnatural backlinks)
- Exchanging backlinks for goods and services
- Sending someone a “free” item in exchange for them writing it and providing a link
- Using automated technologies or services to build links to your site
Furthermore, “unnatural links” may be considered manipulative depending on the context, which includes links with keyword-rich anchor text links in the following instances:
- Low-quality directory sites or bookmark site links
- Unnatural link distribution in the footers or templates of a website
- Hidden links on websites
- Forum comments with keyword-rich links in the signature or post
- Advertorials or native advertising involving compensation for articles with links that pass PageRank
Google’s guidelines are clear: steer clear of manipulative link building activities.
In fact, Google encourages people to report sites that are involved in manipulative link schemes to Google so that they can be investigated.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is the exact opposite of white hat SEO. It’s an SEO technique that attempts to drive traffic to a site without adding value or enhancing the end user’s experience.
In other words, it refers to any method that attempts to manipulate a website’s ranking in Google search results – usually by building unnatural links or participating in private blog networks (PBNs).
Black hat SEO is manipulative and can result in your website being penalized, filtered out, or removed from Google’s search results altogether.
As previously stated, Google has made it clear that manipulative link building techniques are not allowed and will be penalized in accordance with their guidelines.
People who use black hat SEO techniques may see some short-term gains, however, they will ultimately be penalized by Google and risk having their site removed from search results.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO: What’s The Difference?
Although both ethical and manipulative link building practices exist, there is a clear distinction between the two:
White hat SEO – focuses on developing high-quality content that your target audience will love and link to naturally, which is in line with Google’s guidelines.
Black hat SEO – focuses on obtaining as many links for your site as possible, even if it means using manipulative tactics or private blog networks (PBNs).
Now that you understand what white hat and black hat SEO are, we’ll be covering how you can land quality white hat backlinks that will ensure your website’s long-term growth.
How To Acquire White Hat Backlinks?
As previously mentioned, white hat SEO is all about developing high-quality content that your end-users will love and naturally link to.
There are a number of ways you can go about acquiring high-quality natural links without engaging in manipulative or black hat SEO techniques:
1. Create Amazing Long-Form Content
If you want to rank #1 on Google, you need to start creating content that covers an entire topic on one page, instead of a generic blog post.
The idea is to create something so great and valuable that people will want to link to it.
Pro tip: If you want more people to read it, you’ll need to make sure the title is catchy and interesting so they actually give your content a chance. (Improving your Click Through Rate – CTR)
2. Guest Posting and Content Contributions
Guest blogging is a great way to get your content in front of new audiences, as well as build high-quality links that have a positive impact on SEO.
To do it, you’ll need to find a website that is related to yours and offer to write a blog post for them. Make sure your post is high-quality and valuable, so people will want to read it and link to it.
Your anchor text should match the topic of the article and never be over-optimized for rankings purposes.
When done correctly, guest blogging can be an extremely effective way to increase website traffic and improve search engine rankings.
Pro tip: Take the time to find sites that are relevant and post high-quality content before you pitch. The last thing you want is for your link to be lost in the sea of other guest posts from irrelevant websites, so do some research first!
Here are some resources on how you can effectively land guest blogging links:
- How To Find Guest Blogging Opportunities For Backlinks
- Link Building 101: What You Need To Know About Referring Domains
- The Biggest SEO Mistake You Should Avoid
- How To Land FREE DR50 Guest Blog Backlinks With Outreach
3. Using The Skyscraper Technique
This strategy of acquiring links is as white hat as it gets!
First, you need to find the top-ranking article of the keyword you’re wanting to rank for.
Then, you’ll need to create something even better than what’s ranking #1. You can do so by:
- Making your article more concise and easy to read (or entertaining)
- Identify key points that the competitor’s article doesn’t cover, and add in any missing information
- Produce better images and infographics
- Organize your content structure better
Finally, you need to reach out to the sites that are linking to your competitors’ articles.
Offer them a link to an even better resource for free! This approach can be extremely effective if done correctly, although it does take time.
When you create a piece of content that’s better than the top content out there, the chances of people linking to it will be higher.
In short, this is because you’ve proven that your content is truly valuable and informative.
Here are some resources on how to effectively use the Skyscraper Technique:
4. Broken Link Building Strategy
As the name suggests, broken link building strategy is all about identifying broken links on high authority websites, and offering the webmaster the chance to replace them with your content.
First, you’ll need to find a page that you would like to get a backlink from. Then you can use a tool called “Check My Links” from the Google Chrome Extension store to find if any URLs have errors or broken links.
If so, you now have the opportunity to the website owner with a friendly email letting them know that they have a broken link on their page.
In your outreach, include a link to a relevant page on your site, as well as the reason why you feel this page is a good fit for their audience.
This strategy can be extremely effective because it’s so simple to spot broken links on high authority sites, and replacing one of them with your content will give it instant exposure!
The Bottom Line
White hat SEO link building is all about creating high-quality links that have a positive impact on your website’s SEO. If you can do so, your site will be likely to rank high organically.
If you want to build white hat links, you’ll need to utilize the above strategies and use them in a natural way that makes sense for your site.
Remember: Google is smart, and it’s getting smarter. It can easily spot if you’re trying to cheat the system with spammy backlinks, so don’t try anything you think will be risky.
This will only get you penalized and can get your site penalized, so stick to the best practices outlined above!
Now get out there and build some white hat backlinks!
We’ll get you squared away with some white hat backlink building!