White hat link building tactics improve rankings by adding value and helping internet users. Content is usually at the heart of these techniques. While white hat link building is not easy, compared to the other shady link building strategies, they’re well worth the effort. They’re the safest way to get backlinks that Google loves and thus have an impact on improving the online success of your website. As a link building agency, we can attest to the success of white hat links, and we're here to help you build them.
What Are White Hat Links
Simply put, white hat links are backlinks that adhere to Google webmaster guidelines. Google wants these links to be earned. This happens when others find value in your work; they want to link to it. Your work won't earn links if your content doesn’t add value or help internet users. You need to give before you can take. Unlike the chicken or the egg, we know what needs to come first to generate this type of backlink: content. Helpful content that was created with the search intent in mind attracts backlinks. It’s not the other way around.
Why Are White Hat Links Important
Google is constantly launching updates to make the result pages more user-friendly. These algorithm refreshes bring about changes in creating and maintaining an online presence. Old link building tactics that used to work in terms of improving rankings in the past are now either completely useless or affect your SEO negatively.
These backlinks that violate Google webmaster guidelines are called black hat links. An example of a black hat link building technique is creating thin content which doesn’t respond to search queries. Thin content comes in different forms like doorway pages, keyword-stuffed articles, duplicate content etc. but they all have the same goal: to manipulate the search engine algorithm and trick internet users.
Google launched the Panda update in 2011 to deal with this thin content issue. This update came about after users complained about the amount of useless content on the SERPs. The Panda update lowered the rank of content farms, resulting in Google's revenue loss.
Besides having little to no value in improving search rankings, black hat links are prone to algorithmic or manual penalties. This is why you should only build white hat links. This type of backlink takes time and effort, but the results are long-term.
5 White Hat Link Building Tactics To Improve Your Rankings
As we’ve said, valuable content generates white hat links. While there’s more that goes into building natural links, there are a few fool-proof ways to create the type of content that attracts high-quality links, a topic we often discuss on our blog page.
Below are the types of content you need to start outreach and build white hat links:
A linkable asset is a thoughtful, cleverly-executed piece of content that others want to link to. Blog posts, guides, infographics, surveys, etc., can be linkable assets. They allow you to join the conversation in your niche and make your presence known.
When you've built good quality content, you can reach out to editors and webmasters in relevant niches and ask them if they'd add your link to their existing content. You need to add value to their site, so your content must be high-quality, or you will be ignored.
At dofollow.io, we know through experience that reaching out to editors from high authority websites with quality content will result in more high-authority backlinks. This is why we take a content-first approach to link building. Find out more about our white hat link building services here.
HARO stands for help a reporter out. It is a service by Cision, a New York-based newswire and PR company that connects journalists and writers with expert opinions in various fields. Sources with the relevant expertise who subscribe to the email then respond to these queries. The attribution often includes links to the source's website and social media profiles if the journalist or writer uses a source's pitch in their article.
HARO is one of the best ways to build high authority backlinks because the HARO platform gives you access to writers and websites that would otherwise be very difficult to contact. For this reason, it is one of the most popular ways to build high authority backlinks, although it is not the easiest. An experienced HARO team is needed to respond effectively to these queries, as reporters usually get hundreds of pitches per post. Everything from pitch timing, subject line, writing quality, structure, and pitch length determines your success rate.
Like traditional PR, digital PR promotes your business, in this case, your website, by getting you featured on high authority, high DR websites–places like independent.co.uk, vice.com, businessinsider.com etc.
To do this, you need to create original data-driven content that will be attractive to the journalists, marketers, and influencers that represent and work for big, trend-setting sites and publications. If successful, this type of content can garner high authority backlinks from the most credible sites on the web. When content goes viral it amplifies your reach, increasing backlinks, traffic, brand awareness, and visibility.
Staying on top of trending issues and stories is essential to seize opportunities and create unique content around hot topics with real viral potential. Following the trends on Reddit, Twitter, and conversations on industry forums and social media pages are best practices. Once you've curated your content, you need to get it in front of your target audience. You can either do the outreach or hire a link building agency to help you.
After you create your content, you’ll need to promote it to editors and journalists.
Start by finding out who’s linking to similar content on the web, and reach out to them. You can do a competitor analysis to see who’s linking to your competitors with similar content(but yours will be better to snatch up those links). Find your competitors on your preferred SEO tool or do reverse engineering; searching Google for your targeted keywords, copy-pasting the top results on a backlink checker, and finding the websites that’re linking to them.
The next step is finding their email address with an email finder. Snov.io is one of them, but you can choose a different one according to your preferences. You can also reach out to editors on LinkedIn.
Once you have an email address, prepare your pitch. It’s essential to keep it short since editors might already be receiving large amounts of inquiries. In your email, underline that you’re seeking to add value to their work. Outreach is a numbers game. The more you do it, the higher your chances of success.
Hire a Link Building Agency
If you feel overwhelmed with how much it takes to build white hat links, you can outsource link building to an experienced agency. Reputable link building agencies will have established partnerships with content creators, dedicated teams to plan out an outreach strategy, and in-house SEO tools that help them identify the right link opportunities. You’ll still need to create stellar content, but you can leave the outreach to your agency.
There are a few factors to consider when hiring a link building agency:
- Read their reviews. See what their clients have to say about the service.
- Ask to see the links they built.
- Look for a performance-based payment model. This is more flexible than the retainer model, and you’ll get your money’s worth.
- Have a call with them to see if your values align.
To Sum Up
White hat link building is the safest and surest way to acquire backlinks that improve your rankings. These tactics require dedication and expertise. Don’t avoid putting in the work, in the end, it’s well worth it.
Why Trust Us On SEO
Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.
Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.
While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.