Link building is one of the cornerstones of search engine optimization.  

Search algorithms rely heavily on links to determine rankings.

And it’s not just us saying that.

There’s a high correlation between a website’s number of backlinks and its performance in search engines

Besides, almost 6 out of 10 marketers agree that quality backlinks play a crucial role in modern SEO.

But if they carry such weight, why do some businesses neglect link building?

Well, they’re probably missing out on some of its benefits.

In today’s guide, we’ll highlight all of the benefits of link building – ranging from the obvious, to the benefits that may surprise you. 

Why Building Links Is More Than Just SEO

Even though link building is rooted in SEO, it’s about so much more than just optimizing rankings, and search engine results.

Link building is a powerful, yet less understood tactic that you can use for branding, traffic generation, engagement, and even business development.

For instance, let’s say that, for some reason, you manage to get a link from a really high domain authority site like Forbes.

This wouldn’t just boost your site in the SERPs, but a high traffic site like this, could likely lead to you getting more website traffic as well. 

As well as that,having a mention in a site like Forbes is something you include in one of those “as seen in” or “featured” batches on your site, boosting your credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

Add 10 to 20 of those mentions a year and you’re basically a celebrity… Or at least an industry thought leader!

The point is, link building is more than just SEO.

It puts your name on the map and raises brand visibility, especially when those link building strategies are being implemented with your overall marketing strategy in mind. 

With this new perspective in mind, let’s look at some of the benefits of link building:

1. It Helps Google Discover and Understand Your Content

Google’s algorithm relies on links to help it understand the relationships between pages. When you build links, you’re essentially telling Google what your page is about and how it’s related to other pages on the web.

This goes beyond simply anchor text. Google looks at the context surrounding the link, such as the title tags, meta descriptions, surrounding text and even the images on the page.

Link building helps Google connect the dots between all of your content, and that can lead to better search engine rankings. (Other search engines probably use links in a similar way as well by the way.)

Let’s use an example to illustrate this.

Say you have a blog post about the benefits of meditation.

A simple Google search will reveal how competitive this topic is. 226,000,000 results, to be exact.

How could Google possibly know which one of those search engine results is the best?

Well, aside from just assessing the highest quality content, it starts by looking at links.

If authority sites on meditation are linking to your blog post, it tells Google that your content is worth reading. The more relevant links you have, the more likely it is that Google will rank your page higher in the search results.

Besides, if your content is good enough to get links from other websites, it’s probably good enough to earn a spot on the first page.

Links also help you get topical authority. This is the idea that your website is an expert on a certain topic.

The more quality links you have related to meditation, for example, the more likely it is that Google will see your website as an expert on the topic.

Takeaway: Topical authority can have a big impact on your search engine rankings.

2. Better Rankings

This one is kind of obvious.

But, hey, that’s why people do it in the first place!

You want to get higher rankings in search engines, and link building helps…a lot.

That said, the results aren’t immediate.

There’s a delayed effect from that link equity (or link juice as some call it) that can take days, weeks, or even months to be seen.

Research from Moz suggests it takes an average of 10 weeks for link equity from inbound links to take effect. 

Graph showing how long it takes for internal linking to take effect

(Image Source)

Even if you do get higher rankings, it doesn’t necessarily mean your traffic will skyrocket right away.

What does this mean for you?

Well, link building is not an overnight success recipe.

It’s a long-term strategy that needs to be combined with great quality content, effective link building strategies, usability, and outreach to produce results.

And don’t forget that your rankings will fluctuate depending on many variables like seasonality, industry trends, and algorithmic changes. 

Takeaway: Keep your expectations in check to avoid disappointment.

3. More Referral Traffic (And Sales) 

When done right, a solid link building strategy can drive referral traffic to your website.

Link building helps you get more clicks, and more traffic means more opportunities to convert leads into customers.

For example, if a journalist or blogger mentions one of your articles in a post, that could result in hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your site.

Of course, you need to have interesting and engaging content for people to want to stick around. The mention should also be relevant and targeted to your ideal audience.

But if you do have great content, link building can be a powerful way to increase traffic to your site, leading to more leads and customers.

By increasing your visibility, you can tap into new audiences who were previously oblivious to your existence.

For e-commerce businesses, this might translate into more sales.

For bloggers, it might lead to more subscribers and comments.

Whatever the case, links can increase your referral traffic and help you expand your business.

To experience such results, though, you need the right link building strategy.

First, you must ensure context.

The links that you’re getting need to be relevant both to your products or services and to the site that’s linking to you.

Also, you should aim at the right audience, at the right time.

Link building requires a strategic approach, so it’s important that you set everything up right.

At TLG, for example, we had a client in the food space.

After landing a mention on “The Kitchn,” our client drove several thousands of dollars in new business.

This was possible because The Kitchn is a highly-trafficked site in the food space, and our client’s product fit right in.

And when we created our list of link building campaigns for this client, we knew we wanted to target some of the big Food & Drink news sites, because we knew if we could get a link with the right context on the right site – we could drive some highly targeted referral traffic that could lead to direct sales. 

This is another example of a client we helped:

Screenshot of one of TLG's clients

After getting mentioned at LadBible, our client could get thousands of visitors and over 5,000 shares on social media/ 

All from a single link.

Not to mention the article itself also ranked, and brought in even more organic traffic. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only about the high authority sites though. Even a small to moderate sized website could drive more traffic. 

Here’s an example of one client in the food industry, where we got a link on a site that sold kitchen equipment.

Screenshot of Google Analytics for one of TLG's client in food industry

Now it doesn’t seem like much – 5 sales equalling around $890 in revenue from guest posting on a single domain. 

But, if you’re building backlinks at scale over a long period of time – every little bit adds up when it comes to getting more traffic and more revenue. 

The bottom line?

To get the most out of link building, never overlook context and timing. 

One thing to also bear in mind is some of the higher authority sites in your industry may have a policy of no follow links, however, those will still hold some value. They’re still quality links at the end of the day, and sprinkling in some links like that will still be worth it for the referral traffic benefits. 

Takeaway: You must ensure that the links you get make sense both from an SEO and marketing perspective. Some link building strategy may not land you links in your exact industry – but when link building leads to you getting in front of more of the right audience, it’ll certainly give you an edge. 

4. More Brand Credibility

Reputable mentions are like stamps of approval that can build trust and credibility.

When you get other websites to link to you, it’s like getting free advertising. It’s free branding, and it can help you get more people to know about your brand.

In fact, every time someone clicks on one of those links, they see your brand name. That can increase your brand awareness.

This is especially valuable when you get mentioned in authoritative websites or when you’re linked to by trusted sources. People reading these sites will associate your brand with other high-quality websites, and that can help improve your reputation.

What’s more, when someone clicks on a link that takes them to your site and they stay there, they are more likely to remember your brand.

Even if they don’t make a purchase right away, they are more likely to think of your brand the next time they need something that you offer.

For new brands, the right links can spark interest and get people curious about your products.

For established organizations, these links can become brand ambassadors.

Third-party endorsements can give your business the boost it needs to grow, particularly if you’re fighting an uphill battle with negative reviews.

If people are saying good things about you on social media or industry sites, it might counteract the naysayers and help you solidify your position as a reputable business.

Besides, trust is one of the most important factors influencing conversions. And roughly 70% of buyers state that trusting a brand is more important now than ever.

In other words, the right backlinks can neutralize the impact of any bad publicity, and give you a real competitive advantage.

Takeaway: Having your brand seen in the right places can increase trust, which can ,in turn, boost conversions.

5. Stronger Relationships With Influencers in Your Industry

Getting mentioned by an influencer/important contact in a relevant sector, can open many doors–not to mention increase brand awareness.

The best part?

The same rules that apply to building brand trust also apply to your relationships with influencers.

These people can become important allies, so it’s important that you don’t burn any bridges by asking for something too early or without adding value.

Before making your pitch, do your research and show that you’re knowledgeable.

Try to show that you’ve taken the time to learn about their business, and that your request for a link is part of a long-term plan.

In other words, make sure your interactions are as natural as possible.

This will put you in a much better position to ask for a favor down the line, and will allow for organic interactions that can grow your brand awareness.

Besides, effective outreach can lead to intangible, and unpredicted things, too.

For instance, thanks to TLG’s outreach framework, one of our clients scheduled a call with one of Mark Cuban’s business partners:

Screenshot of email showing Mark Cuban's business partner asking to schedule a call

This isn’t done by accident. The more value you can bring, the stronger your relationships will be — and the easier it’ll be to build strong ties.

The key here is to partner with an agency that approaches link building from a business development perspective, not just an SEO one.

Takeaway: Building strong relationships with industry influencers can lead to many unexpected opportunities, whether that’s a connection with potential business partners or increased brand awareness.

6. Increased Brand Equity

Brand equity is the value of your brand.

It’s what people think of when they hear your brand name. The more positive associations people have with your brand, the higher your brand equity will be.

Link building can help improve brand equity in a few different ways:

  • Improve your brand’s reputation: If people see that you’re linked to from high-quality websites (especially high domain authority brands), by extension they’ll start to see you as a high-quality brand. 
  • Brand domain value: The more links you have pointing to your website, the more valuable your domain will become. This is because Google sees links as votes. So, the more links you have, the more “votes” your website has, and the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of Google.
  • More selling power: All else being equal, a brand with strong equity will be able to charge more for its products or services than a brand with weak equity.

A simple link can help a website rank higher in search engine results.

But there’s a reason the best pieces of content live on reputable sites with high domain authority. 

These sites are worth more, and their links often convey that value to search engines.

By getting links from these sites, you can also increase your own site’s worth.

It’s kind of like social proof — if you look more popular, people are more likely to buy from you.

For instance, let’s say you run an online store. Links from sites like ThinkGeek or Amazon suggest that you’re a trusted brand.

In other words, if a link is good enough for these sites, it might be good enough for your potential customers.

If ThinkGeek’s readers see your brand on the site, they might think: “If ThinkGeek trusts them, I should probably trust them, too.”

This logic trickles down to search engines as well.

When building your link profile, think about which sites you want to get links from.

It’s not just about getting as many links as possible.

You need links from reputable sources that your audience trusts, too.

This will help your site look more legitimate, and will increase its value. Aside from SEO, these links will be incredibly valuable to your brand.

Takeaway: Links on the right places can help you look more reputable and trustworthy, which can lead to warmer traffic, and more sales.

7. SEO Momentum & Domain Authority

SEO is constantly evolving, but it always boils down to one simple commandment: Thou shall build links.

It’s part of the core algorithm that powers search results, and it’s one of the top ranking factors.

The more links you can get, the more link equity you’ll gather, and the higher your search rankings will be.

By approaching link building as a long-term strategy, rather than a short-term fix, you can build momentum and keep it going.

This momentum will also help you attract more natural links.

And the more natural links you have, the higher your site will rank.

It’s a virtuous cycle — by getting good links at the beginning, you’re setting yourself up for success down the line.

In turn, this will improve your site’s overall authority. Don’t confuse this with third party site metrics like Moz’s Domain Authority metric or Ahref’s Domain Rating, but your domain’s true authority – as it’s perceived by search engines. 

(Side note: We’ll cover the whole Domain Authority vs Domain Rating issue in another future article, and what those domain authority scores really mean) 

That will then mean when you produce content further down the line, it’ll be easier to rank – because Google already perceives your site as an established, credible authority on the topic. 

Takeaway: Link building is an integral part of SEO, and by approaching it as a long-term strategy, you can unlock more link equity and long-term SEO gains.

8.  It’s an Investment for the Future

Link building is an investment. It’s not something you do for a quick boost in organic traffic or rankings.

Instead, it’s something you do to slowly but surely build your web traffic and brand awareness, over time.

And, like any investment, it takes time to see a return. But if you’re patient and you do it right, the rewards can be well worth it.

Not only will you see a boost in website traffic and rankings, but you’ll also build up a strong foundation that will help your website continue to grow for years to come.

Takeaway: 5-10 years from now, your website will be thankful you took the time to build links.

9. It’s Not Going Anywhere

Link building isn’t a new tactic. It’s been around for years, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

In fact, links are only going to become more and more important as time goes on.

As the internet continues to grow, there are more and more websites being created. And as more websites are created, the competition for rankings, especially in the more competitive niches, is only going to increase.

The websites that will succeed in this environment are the ones with strong link profiles.

So, if you’re not building links for your website now, you need to start.

10. It’s Cost Effective

Link building is in comparison, one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there.

Think about it. If you were to run a paid ad campaign, you would have to pay for every single click.

And, depending on your industry, those clicks could cost a lot of money.

With link building campaigns, you only have to pay for the initial investment of time or money to build the links. After that, they live on the internet forever.

And, each of those links has the potential to drive traffic and generate leads for your business indefinitely, as long as the link remains active.

Moreover, as your website continues to grow and get more links, the value of each individual link will increase.

So, not only is link building cost-effective in the short term, but it’s also a great long-term investment.

11. It Works Across Verticals

Link building works across all industries and verticals.

No matter what industry you’re in, link building can help you improve your traffic and rankings.

At TLG, we’ve helped countless clients in a variety of industries build links and improve their online visibility.

Some of the industries we’ve worked with include:

  • Education
  • Logistics
  • B2B
  • Funeral services
  • Accounting
  • Dental services
  • Ecommerce

And many, many more.

Regardless of your industry, link building can help you achieve your goals and grow your business.

12. You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself

Link building is a time-consuming process.

If you’re not careful, it can easily take up all of your time. Regardless of the benefits of link building, the big downside is the amount of time, effort and (often) manpower that’s required to execute. 

And, if you’re not experienced, it can become a real costly exercise. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it yourself.

At TLG, we have a team of link building experts who can help you with every step of the process.

We’ll help you develop a strategy, build the links, and track your progress along the way. From planning to outreach to reporting, we’ve got you covered.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how we can help you build links and grow your business.

It All Comes Down to Choosing the Right Link Building Agency

When done right, these benefits of link building will, in turn, drive huge benefits to your business down the line. 

That said, most businesses fail because they hire the wrong agency.

These agencies are more concerned about getting links up quickly, forgetting about the long-term impact they’ll have on your business.

Instead of spammy tactics, choose an agency that takes a more holistic approach.

At TLG, for example, we consider ourselves more like “publicisits” than an SEO agency.

We don’t just care about rankings one month from now – we want to establish relationships that will bring value for years to come.

We also make sure that our client’s link building strategies are ethical, robust, and scalable.

This way, you can make sure you’re getting the best long-term value for your money.

If you’d like to learn more about our process, please read our services overview page. It’ll help you get a better idea of what we bring to the table.