How White Hat SEO Link Building Helps Page Rank

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on pinterest
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    White hat SEO link building is a tactic that helps your website earn visibility on Google Search Results Pages (SERPs). Link building is a powerful tool, but only if you build your links in a Google-approved, white hat manner.

    The alternative is black hat link building which does you more harm than good. 

    Honestly, black hat link building is soulless and meaningless, anyway. It won’t fulfil the most conscientious of us, but where’s the line between black hat and white hat? And how can you build high quality, relevant links to your site?

    Let’s find out.

    What is White Hat Link Building?

    White hat linking building, by definition, is an ethical SEO technique used to earn links from one website to another. 

    White hat SEO link building has two goals:

    • Increase backlinks to a website
    • Earn backlinks in a way that makes the internet a better place

    White hat link building aims to steadily increase traffic from Google SERPs, build website authority on topics, and bolster page rank. 

    It’s about networking, improving usability, and creating such killer content that it earns backlinks all by itself.

    White hat SEO is compelling, soulful, engaging, fulfilling. 

    The Difference Between Black and White Hat SEO Link Building

    The main difference between black hat SEO techniques and white hat SEO techniques? Authenticity

    Black hat SEO can look pretty tempting, you can build the quantity up pretty quickly, but you’ll need to sell your soul to do it.

    Black hat link building techniques include paying for links, which Google has some clear rules on: ‘Buying or selling links that pass PageRank violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.’ Or, you can submit links to any website or directory with no consideration for relevancy.

    Backlinking should be considered a marathon and not a sprint, so start early with your white hat SEO link building and build slowly and steadily.

    How Does Link Building Help SEO

    There are two main reasons why backlinks contribute to SEO success. Firstly, backlinks funnel traffic from one website to another, meaning the “linked to” site gets its share of an audience relevant to its offering. Relevant traffic tends to be engaged traffic who spend time on a site, visiting multiple pages and engaging with the content.

    The second reason, it proves website credibility.

    Think of every single backlink as a vote.

    If one credible person tells another you’re good at what you do, it’s better than saying it yourself. If 10 or 1,000 people start saying you’re good at what you do, you’re beginning to look a lot more credible.

    In the world of SEO, these ‘votes’ come in the form of one website linking to another. Links prove to Google that you’re credible – and a credible website is a website that deserves to be ranked well within Google SERPs. After all, Google wants to share only the best resources with its users.

    Makes sense, right?

    Now, how Google determines one credible site from another is by establishing good backlinks from bad. The algorithm which determines credibility is Page Rank.

    Ready to Jump-Start Your Backlinking Strategy?

    What is Google Page Rank?

    Google page rank is an algorithm that judges the quality of a page based on the links pointing to it in terms of quantity, and most importantly, quality.

    Every site has a numerical number that correlates with its credibility. A site with a high rank is generally deemed more credible and is more likely to have high quality, relevant backlinks pointing to it. Additionally, the higher the page rank, the more influential the page is on the page rank of other sites.

    Websites with a high page rank include trusted sources like cnn.com or fda.gov. You can imagine that there are a lot of links pointing to these websites, including many, many sites that also have a high page rank.

    One link from a high authority site will be more influential on your website page rank than numerous links from spammy or irrelevant sites.

    Remember, page rank is not the only factor when it comes to website visibility. Other factors include the following:

    • Overall technical ‘health’ of your website (including page load time, Core Web Vital, website security and more)
    • Website usability – having a mobile-friendly site is very important
    • Number of errors, notices or threats on a site such as missing alt text or long/short title tags
    • Content on your site (including content strategy, your sitemap and website crawlability – even down to the quality of content and how well you’ve undertaken keyword research and understood search intent)

    The list could go on and on…

    Remember: Page Rank only contributes to your SEO success if done well using white hat SEO link building tactics. 

    How to Build White Hat SEO Backlinks (with Pros and Cons)

    For backlinks to positively impact your website page rank, they need to be relevant and from credible sources.

    Gone are the days when you could put your link in the depths of a website footer, list your site in a spammy directory or drop your URL in the comment section of someone else’s blog. These are black hat tactics. Maybe the blog comments are more ‘grey hat’. But overall, obtaining links in this way could even harm your website. 

    But, this shouldn’t be displeasing to you. After all, you want to provide quality content that people want to link to anyway, right?

    So how can you gain credible backlinks?

    Here are 8 ways to obtain white hat SEO backlinks:

    • Site mentions
    • Link insert requests
    • Guest posts
    • Public relations strategy
    • HARO
    • Infographics and Creation of ‘Linkable’ Assets
    • Social Media
    • Using Website Directories and Business Listings

    If you’re working with a backlink strategist, which we recommend, they have tools that aid research and speed up the process of identifying credible websites. SEO programs like Ahrefs or Semrush help you compile a list of backlinks that your competitors have got in so that you can reach out to those sites for a link of your own.

    Site mentions

    You might already have mentions of your site on credible websites without a link.

    Finding out all those mentions is possible but a little laborious without SEO tools.

    What you need to do is head to Google and type in this search query:

    -site:yourdomain.com ‘your brand name’ or -site:yourdomain.com ‘your name’. Google will return sites (excluding your site) that mention you or your brand name.

    Click on each result and see if you can identify any that mention you, but don’t link. 

    How to check Google for site mentions and look for link building opportunities.
    Check Google for brand mentions and reach out to them for link building opportunities

    If you find any that don’t link, you can reach out to ask for a link! Easy!

    Pros:

    • This is so simple anyone can do it
    • You don’t need any fancy tools
    • You’re likely to be granted a link since you probably have some kind of relationship with the site owner already.
    • Since it’s your site they’re linking to and usually by your brand name, the link will probably stay long term.
    • It’s free

     Cons:

    • This is a laborious strategy of opening web pages, finding the brand mention, checking they don’t already link to you and then sending an email request for a link.
    • If your site has a lot of mentions, it can be too overwhelming to go through each result. This is common for sites that have stockists or perhaps for those who have already done a lot of work on earning mentions on other sites.

    Link insert requests

    Similarly to site mentions, you can search for relevant websites listing topics you cover or products you sell on your website. If you find a website reviewing a product you sell, you can ask them to link directly to you.

    Pros:

    • This is so simple anyone can do it
    • You don’t need any fancy tools

    Cons:

    • Laborious
    • Websites might ask for a payment/sponsor to add a link
    • The link could be removed in the future

    Guest posts

    This is the gold standard for getting backlinks.

    All you need to do is reach out to your network working in the same niche as you are and ask them for an opportunity to guest post on their blog. This strategy is very much white hat SEO link building since it improves the online experience. You bless someone’s audience with some wonderful insights, and you help a site with its content at the same time.

    If you pick your websites well, the links are valuable, relevant and great for outreach! You get a share in the linking site’s audience and you know they will be interested in you, and it’s a highly scalable strategy.

    Pros:

    • This is so simple anyone can do it
    • You don’t need any fancy tools
    • Excellent for nurturing your network

    Cons:

    • Once you’ve exhausted your connections, it’s time for manual outreach, content generation and pitches to marketing directors or editors. Working with a PR agency also helps with this.

    Public relations & journalists

    Good PR agencies have a wealth of connections, they know how to pitch an article to get a journalist’s attention, and they know how to manage your external communications so there’s always something newsworthy to bring you the exposure you deserve.

    Working with a PR agency takes outreach off your desk, and they’re likely to find highly relevant publications with high page ranks to get your content published, resulting in a link to your site.

    Pros:

    • Authentic link building strategy earning links from credible sites
    • Supports other marketing efforts such as increasing brand awareness
    • Your PR firm will handle it all

    Cons:

    • It can be expensive
    • Can be slow

    You can, of course, go directly to the journalist yourself, but you’ll need to write a compelling pitch or provide a helpful tip in return for a backlink. This is where websites such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO) come in handy.

    HARO

    If you want to try earning white hat SEO backlinks solo before putting your business into the hands of the specialist, then HARO is an excellent tool.

    HARO connects journalists with queries to the experts (you). Simply sign up for their emails and check the queries up to three times a day.

    It’s easy to get carried away with HARO, so be sure to send a pitch for only the most relevant queries. Journalists are busy people.

    Tips for managing HARO here.

    Pros:

    • It’s accessible to everyone
    • It’s free

    Cons:

    • It can be slow
    • You need to know how to write an engaging pitch to capture a journalist’s attention

    Infographics and Creation of ‘Linkable’ Assets

    You might hear a dialogue along the lines of: ‘you don’t need a backlinking strategy if you’re writing excellent/sharable content’.

    Well, there is some truth in that, providing you already have an audience.

    If people are already viewing your content but not sharing, up your content game by creating linkable assets that people will share on their site or socials, then naturally, link back.

    Pros:

    • Accessible to everyone
    • Adds value to your content pieces

    Cons:

    • You may need designer support which comes at a cost
    • Likely to extend your workflow and turnaround time for content

    Social Media

    Similarly to creating sharable assets, get your content out on social! If you’ve written the best piece of content ever – which of course, you did, right? – then, share it far and wide.

    Increase traffic to your page via social media, and you’re more likely to engage someone who shares or references your page in the future.

    Pros:

    • Accessible to everyone
    • Adds value to your content pieces
    • Connects with your audience

    Cons:

    • You need a social following

    Using Website Directories and Business Listings

    This final tactic has been placed last deliberately because this white hat technique could easily cross the line into grey or black if you don’t pick your directories and business listings carefully.

    There is absolutely no merit in getting a link for the sake of it, so avoid weird web directories that list everyone and anyone.

    Instead, opt for directories that are relevant and used by your target audience. Clutch.co can be a great directory for B2B or Yelp. Alternatively, you might be able to find accreditation bodies or your local chamber of commerce who will happily list you on their site if you’re a member.

    Pros:

    • Accessible to everyone
    • Free
    • Easy to do

    Cons:

    • It can be time-consuming looking for relevant, high-quality directories
    • Although you increase the number of backlinks, they are unlikely to significantly impact page rank since they are easy to obtain and generally use a ‘no follow’ attribute on the link.

    White Hat SEO Link Building: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

    Nothing worth having in life comes easy. It requires a little work and dedication, but obtaining links from a white hat SEO strategy pays dividends over time.

    Google is getting smarter and smarter by the day as they tweak their algorithms. Building backlinks badly will bite you in the end – just like it did between 2012 – 2016 when Google released the Penguin update that penalised sites for bad backlinking techniques.

    Don’t be tempted to go for that quick win of an extra link on a scammy directory. Instead, aim high. Any conscientious person will prefer white hat SEO anyway; it’s much more fulfilling.

    Good luck! And if you need a little help, reach out to our white hat link building experts!


    About the Author

    Zoe Ashbridge is a Senior SEO Strategist with a special interest in on-page SEO and SEO content strategy. Her background as a Digital Project Manager means she has a wide range of experience across the digital marketing landscape.

    Related Posts

    Scroll to Top