Here is a definitive guide about backlinks and their importance for SEO.

For a lot of bloggers, link building remains the hardest and most confusing part about SEO.

What do most bloggers do? Generally, they create content, share it on social media and “hope for the best”.

A bit more advanced bloggers, do keyword research, adjust their topics to these keywords, do some on-page SEO (put these keywords into alt tags, headings, link anchors, etc).

Even more tech-savvy bloggers play with Search console, submit sitemap, add structured data, open graph tags, etc.

But, after that there is a question – how to build backlinks?

Link building case study

This is how traffic growth looks like on one of my projects with over 100K sessions per month.

It took more than a year and a half to reach 100K sessions mark, but now it gets over 4K sessions per day, with 80% coming from Google.

Link building

The secret ingredient to that are quality backlinks.

I’ve seen direct correlation between organic traffic increase, keyword ranking increase and new high quality backlinks.

Let’s reverse engineer this theory.

What will happen if you don’t build backlinks?

Here is some overview of a site traffic without proper link building in the span of around 1 year.

In short, it’s a traffic stagnation.

You will see occasional traffic jumps from social media, Reddit or maybe Quora, but that’s about it. And in time, you will get exhausted by sharing content and hoping, that it will go viral.

Link building

Interesting, that in this project, everything was done in a similar way as above site – 2-3 blogs per week, some on-page SEO, fast website, etc.

But, organic traffic didn’t grow for ages…

Bottom line: if you want to spend 2 years blogging and never get north of 5000 sessions per month – DON’T build backlinks.

Here is a very simplified overview of Google ranking factors.

Google ranking factors. Source

So, how to build backlinks?

Here are more than 20 proven ways of link building.

Main groups of backlinks.

To better organize the process, I’ve divided link-building opportunities into 5 main categories.

Directories

Outreach

Content

Competitors

Customers