Link Building

What are Back Links?

A backlink is simply a link pointing from another website to yours. Search engines consider backlinks to be a vote for your site. And much like a testimonial, the higher the quality of that source, the more value your site will receive. Tip: If your site has a lot of low-quality backlinks, you should consider a link removal campaign first!

What is Link Building?

Now that you know the value of a backlink, the importance of building new links is quite obvious. Let’s take a look at what this actually involves.

Until the arrival of the Google Penguin algorithm update (Google’s first step towards eradicating spammy SEO practices), the most common forms of link building techniques were directory submissions and article submissions. Both practices involved either submitting your site’s URL to a link directory or submitting an article (often of questionable quality) to an article directory purely for the sake of a backlink.

Thankfully, this is now little more than a distant memory in the white-hat SEO world. These days, the only types of links you should be building are high-quality links from real websites.

Here is a great clip from the team at Moz that does a great job of explaining the do’s and don’ts of link building in modern SEO.

Since the process now requires actual interaction with site owners and webmasters, the task of building links requires far more time and effort than it used to.

Quality vs. Quantity

There is a misconception that the more links your website gains, the higher your rankings will be. Fortunately, this is not the case. When it comes to link building, the quality of the links will always out-weigh the quantity. In fact, just a few quality backlinks will outperform hundreds of poor links.

With the recent Google algorithm changes, having a higher quantity of poor links could get your website penalised.

Different Ways to Build Links

There are several ways to gain backlinks for your website. Here are just a few of the basic tactics that we use with our clients:

While directory submissions are typically something to be avoided, there are a few exceptions. Local directories, especially those specific to your product or service, can still provide some great value. They are a great way to pick up some valuable links with much less effort than other link building tactics.
Content marketing is all about creating high-quality content that you can use to contact relevant sites. This can be anything from a great blog post to informative videos, infographics etc. If they are interesting enough or provide info that people are searching for, then you will often find that relevant sites are happy to link back to your great content or include your media on their site and credit you. This option is quite time consuming and certainly takes some practice, but it does offer a higher success rate, particularly for the more powerful links.
Old-fashioned outreach involved nothing more than sending out hundreds of emails to relevant businesses with the hope of getting some sort of response. At Spot On Digital, we like to take this step further by taking the time to better understand our link prospects. This may involve offering a “give” with some value or picking up the phone and giving them a call ourselves. Effective outreach is about being selective with the sites you contact and engaging them as a person, not just begging for links en masse and hoping for the best!

How to Determine a Quality Backlink

There is a wide range of tools to measure the strength of a backlink. But the truth is, none of them is completely accurate.

They do give us a reasonable understanding of a site’s link strength at a glance, but it’s important to manually review them before you take any drastic action.

Below are what we consider to be the top tools available to check the quality and strength of your backlinks:


Ahrefs Tool

Link Explorer (MOZ)

Link Explorer, Formerly Open Site Explorer

Site Explorer (Majestic SEO)

Majestic SEO

Each of these tools uses a slightly different metric, but the basis behind them is about the same in that they measure two different factors: quality and quantity (typically referred to as trust and citation).

Trust A website’s trust score is calculated by looking at how far removed they are from a set of seed websites. Think of it as “degrees of separation”; the fewer sites between you and one of the seed sites, the higher your trust score.

Citation The citation value is essentially calculated on the number of backlinks pointing to a site. Just like most things in the SEO world, there are a lot of complex variables involved. This means that more links don’t necessarily mean a higher citation.

So, the best way to determine if a site will be a valuable backlink is to consider both the trust and citation of the link and do a manual review of the actual site. When looking over the site, keep an eye out for the obvious signs of a low-quality website:

  • Keyword-stuffed content
  • Excessive use of ads
  • A large number of outbound links, particularly when pointing to a wide variety of industries
As a general rule, anything with the words “SEO” or “directory” in the URL


Digital Marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming and time consuming. What we do is help you focus on the areas that make a difference to you and your business.

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