In today’s guide, we’ll show you exactly what white hat linking building is.
You’ll learn why white hat SEO is so important for websites trying to appear in Google Search Results.
And you’ll discover 7 tried and tested white hat SEO link-building strategies to boost your website traffic in 2023.
Let’s get into it!
Definition: What is White Hat Link Building?
White hat link-building is building backlinks to your website that meets Google’s guidelines.
Here is a link to those guidelines.
The opposite of White Hat link building is what’s called ‘Black Hat’ link building.
(Obvious, I know).
This is where you create a false link profile that looks artificial in the eyes of a search engine. Black Hat involves things such as:
- Buying links from poor link networks
- Getting links in irrelevant locations and markets
- Overusing obvious exact match anchor text for external links
- Obtaining links from websites that have malware or security issues
With White Hat link building, none of these things should be done.
White hat links are the safest way to build backlinks to your website and will likely result in higher search engine rankings and more organic traffic.
So, What’s a White Hat Link?
A white hat link is a link that has been gained naturally. This means it hasn’t been purchased, i.e. you haven’t paid for another website to link to your content.
Google wants good, helpful content on the world wide web.
Therefore, it believes great content should get backlinks on its own merit.
Backlinks are important to Google as it’s used as a ranking factor to help determine the best content for a given query.
As such, they’ve never been a fan of websites “cheating” the system and purchasing links.
Its official guidance is that “any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be part of a link scheme” and in violation of its Search Essentials guidelines (formerly known as Webmaster guidelines).
Google’s Link Spam Update – December 2022
While purchasing links, otherwise known as Black Hat Link Building, worked in the past, Google has taken a harder stance on this practice in recent years.
In December 2022, Google released its Link Spam update.
This introduced the AI-based spam-prevention system, SpamBrain, into the wild.
SpamBrain detects spam directly and can identify sites buying and selling backlinks.
In practice, spammy links are now neutralised once detected, and the credit they’ve previously passed via the link is lost – impacting search engine rankings.
What Happens if You Have Toxic Backlinks?
Google usually sees sites with many toxic links as having low authority in their niche.
If your website has low authority, you’ll find ranking highly for certain keywords harder. And you may see a reduction in pages that currently rank highly.
However, many sites can naturally gain toxic backlinks. If you have a high number of toxic backlinks and don’t want them associated with your site, you can disavow them through Google.
You can learn more about disavowing toxic links in this official Google guide.
Why is White Hat Link Building Important for SEO?
Getting high-quality and non-spammy backlinks can have a massive impact on search engine rankings.
In the early days of search engines, companies like Yahoo evaluated web pages solely based on their content.
But Google introduced their PageRank Algorithm that changed the game by also looking at how many people link to the page.
If a web page has more links from relevant, authoritative sources in a niche, then that content must be good.
Fast forward to today, and it can be almost impossible to rank content highly for competitive queries without authoritative backlinks.
In fact, research from Thrive My Way found that websites that rank number one on Google have 3.8x more backlinks on average than the rest of the top 10 sites.
7 White Hat Link Building Strategies and Techniques You Need to Know
So, you now know what white hat links are and why you need them. But how do you actually get them?
As an award-winning SEO marketing agency, Converted has helped hundreds of websites boost search rankings and traffic.
And we do this through tried and tested white hat SEO techniques, 7 of which we want to share with you today.
So, keep reading to see 7 great white hat link-building techniques you can use in 2023:
1. The Skyscraper Technique
Devised by Brian Dean of Backlinko, the skyscraper technique is a link-building strategy that focuses on creating content that people will naturally want to link to.
You create the ultimate content for a search query and organically gain links from other websites.
So, how do you do it?
- Pick a search query you want to write about. In this case, let’s say “link-building techniques.”
- Browse the top search results for that query on Google’s first page.
- Determine what content appears for that search term. What headings do they use? What content do they include? Is it a listicle, blog, guide, or product page?
- Write a post that includes all the content in the search results AND more.
That obviously sounds like a lot of work.
And if you’re not a talented content writer well-versed in SEO, you may find it impossible to write superior content than other websites.
So, if you don’t have the writing chops for the skyscraper technique, there are some other great link-building strategies to use.
2. Broken Link Building
Broken link building is among the most effective white hat link building strategies.
Because you can add value to other people’s websites and increase their willingness to link.
Here’s how you do it:
- Install a free Chrome extension like Check My Links or Link Miner to quickly find broken links on a web page. (Some paid services can analyse broken links for an entire domain and save hours of work.)
- Choose a website that’s relevant in your niche with many outbound links – this will increase the likelihood of finding a broken link.
- Run your Chrome extension to reveal a broken link.
- Find broken links that have content similar to something that you have on your website. For example, you may see an anchor text mentioning “link-building strategies” and know you’ve got amazing content covering that topic.
- Contact the site owner and flag the broken link. (You might need to do some digging to find their contact information).
- Highlight that you have your own content that matches this search query and send them a live link to read.
While there’s no guarantee they’ll link to your content, you’ll be surprised how many people will return the favour.
3. Create Link Bait Articles With A Focus On Original Data
Like the Skyscraper Technique, Link Bait articles are another way of creating content people want to link to.
However, link-bait articles can be far easier to write – as long as you have some insight.
As the name suggests, link bait articles are content designed to attract organic links.
They often come in the form of industry studies, but their main goal is to provide data or a fun fact that people in your niche will find interesting.
For example, you might want to write a guide on the impact of white hat link building vs black hat link building and have some in-house stats you want to share.
People LOVE finding statistics as they can use them to illustrate a point when writing their blog. And they’ll often link to your report to source their data.
4. Resource Pages
Often considered the perfect link building target, resource pages are a gold mine for getting white hat SEO backlinks.
But what are they?
A resource page is a page that has a curated list of links that point to external websites. They’re usually niche specific and will have titles like “the 100 best white hat SEO agencies in 2023.”
Hence, resource page link building is building backlinks from these pages.
If you’re a reputable source, you’ll find that resource pages will happily link to you as it makes their page better.
And the best part?
They’re really easy to find.
Firstly, use search strings in Google search to find relevant resource pages for your niche.
Some great search string examples include “your keyword” + “inurl:links” or “your keyword” + “helpful resources”
(e.g. type into Google “SEO inurl:links”)
Next, determine if you’ve got relevant content for that resource page.
For instance, If the page is about helpful SEO guides, ensure you’ve got your own SEO guide worthy of a link.
Finally, reach out and suggest linking to your content. Easy, right?
5. Promote on Social Media
Publishing good content and hoping people discover it organically is a nice idea.
But in reality, you’re hoping your amazing content has the quality needed to make it to the front page on its own.
And as we mentioned before, many competitive keywords will require backlinks to get to the top spots.
Combining every publish date with social media promotion will get more eyes on your content.
And if you’re a major player in your niche, you may have contacts on social media that’ll share your content too.
By getting more eyes on your blogs and guides, you increase the chances of securing backlinks. Having a distribution strategy for your content is as important as the content itself.
6. Promote Via Email (Cold Outreach)
So, what if you don’t have the social media following required to boost your webpage?
Enter cold outreach, otherwise known as email promotion.
Cold outreach is emailing people and websites in your niche to promote your content (and hopefully get a backlink).
So, how do you do it?
Firstly, you’ll need to find websites willing to link to the content.
You can do this using a link analysis tool like SEMrush (our choice here at Converted).
They have a Backlink Analytics tool that lets you see what backlinks point to a webpage.
- Just type your target keyword into Google.
- Pick the top result.
- Fire it into the Backlinks Analytics tool.
- And generate a list of websites clearly willing to link to pages in your niche.
Next, you’ll need to contact people from that website.
You can find email addresses for websites using Hunter.Io – a free plug-in to find email addresses associated with a domain.
Now all you need to do is reach out to this domain (using a personalised script) and gently promote your amazing content.
7. Guest Posts
Let’s address the elephant in the room:
Guest posts aren’t strictly white hat.
Travel back to 2014, and the former Head of Google’s Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, said:
“Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
So, why have we suggested it here?
While guest posting can be spammy, it can also be GREAT when done correctly.
Paying someone to post a guest post is a no-no. And guest posting on sites that exist solely to publish guest posts is also a bad idea.
But publishing a well-written guest post on a highly-relevant and authoritative site can pay dividends in rankings.
White Hat SEO Case Studies
Many sites on the web will have had success with black hat SEO strategies. But why risk it?
Our white hat SEO techniques, like writing great content, have helped our clients have massive success.
One client, Big Warehouse Sale, saw a 137% increase in organic traffic. Meanwhile, an SEO and PPC client, LOWA, had a 372% year-on-year improvement in transactions.
Contact Converted today if you need an SEO agency that can help performance rocket using white hat SEO techniques.
Learn more about our work and how we help clients grow their SEO results using the 4 Pillars of good SEO.