As kids, we were taught that there are things we shouldn’t do, things that we have to do, and others that… eh, it was a grey area.
“Don’t leave your clothes on the floor.”
“Do pick up your toys.”
“Be careful, don’t watch too much TV.” … How much is too much TV anyway?
We’ve always been taught there are consequences for the decisions we make.
And it’s exactly the same as the link-building techniques and SEO practices we use to promote our websites.
Some link-building techniques are an absolute no-no. We call these techniques Black Hat link-building techniques.
The legit, completely above-board techniques that we should be practicing are referred to as White Hat link building or White Hat SEO.
And then there’s that risky grey area.
Grey Hat link building and SEO. Not completely wrong, but not completely ok either. With these practices, it’s best to proceed with caution.
What is White Hat link building?
White Hat tactics aren’t confined to link building only. It encompasses all SEO techniques that Google approves of in its guidelines. 
White Hat techniques promote long-term SERP rankings success. It filters out any underhanded methods and promotes the natural growth of websites.
So, if Google likes white hat SEO practices and the results are evergreen, why do so many ignore it and opt for black hat strategies?
The truth is that white hat tactics take time. No money is exchanged and no favors are done with white hat strategies.
So while the results have a longer-lasting effect on your website, acquiring those links takes a much longer time.
Here’s an article that explains why search engine optimization takes so long.
How is it different from Grey and Black hat link building?
Black Hat link building is strategies used to improve domain authority and rankings outside of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
An example of the Grey Hat technique is paying another site to link to you which makes it look like your website has gained more authority or is more relevant than it really is.
Grey Hat techniques are practices that fall slightly outside of the bounds of Google’s set parameters, but that can be disguised by bending and not breaking the rules.
An example of black hat techniques is using private blog networks, or PBNs, to build links from one blog to another. A PBN is a collection of blogs owned by one person or organization.
PBNs try to trick Google into thinking that their domains have gained legitimate links and thus rank them higher.
And Google doesn’t appreciate this.
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.” 
A private blog network clearly falls into this description, therefore, if Google were to pick up that you’re using a PBN, you’d likely be penalized for it.
The line between Grey and Black hat link building is often blurry, which makes anything outside of straight-up white hat link building risky.
Search Engines care about which techniques you use
The way that you build links matters to search engines and can draw attention to your website, in both good and bad ways.
A good SEO strategy can see your site soar to unprecedented heights, but the wrong sort of attention could cause your rankings to crash and burn.
Google will penalize you the moment they pick up you’re using black hat techniques.
And when your site is penalized, your website pages will drop lower in organic search results.
Also, keep in mind that search engine algorithms are constantly updated. You need to keep up with these changes, making sure that the way you’re building links is still considered above board.
Examples of white hat link building
Now let’s have a closer look at effective white hat link-building strategies. These methods have a proven track record and are used by all link-building agencies.
Not only will we give you a list of methods, but also give you a breakdown of what’s involved.
- Establishing a Blog to promote your content
A solid blog section is awesome for on-page SEO.
The process is simple.
- Do keyword research on a topic
- Write a well-thought-out article based on these keywords
- Place a minimum of three internal links that help the Google Bots crawl your site
By creating great content that adds value, other sites will naturally want to link back to you.
You’ll also want to add 1-3 external links to each article.
By linking back to other pages in your content, it lets them know you value their content. And it could be the start of a mutually beneficial relationship. If they like your stuff, they may link back to you in a future article too.
It’s good to remember that the higher the DA of pages that link back to you, the higher the impact on your own authority.
For ideas on the type of content to create, you could do what we call Competitor Analysis.
This will help you understand what’s current in your niche, and is already doing well in search.
But you don’t want to simply write the same content as everyone else. The goal is to understand what already works and ranks well, and then find ways to improve the content even further.
Also, put yourself in the shoes of the person searching for a term on Google. What interests them? What do they want to read about?
If your blog section is informative to real-life people with real-life interests then you’ll rank well. Simple.
- Guest Posting
Many link-building companies consider guest posting as their go-to technique to build white-hat links. And there’s a reason for that.
When done right, guest posts add value to both the website on the receiving end and you, the writer.
When you write a guest post you create a piece of content for a website that would benefit from the awesome content, free of charge.
And you have the benefit of inserting a link to one of your own pages in the process.
This is a legitimate way to build credibility in your niche and to earn, not buy, valuable backlinks that will boost your search engine results page rankings.
How to be a successful Guest Post writer
First, you need to know what you’re talking about.
Do thorough research and make sure that your own website has something relevant to that topic.
Avoid a jack of all trades mentality. You really want to become known as an expert in your niche if you want others to recognize your work as valuable.
Second, you need to identify and make contact with a website relevant to your niche, asking them if they would accept a well-crafted guest post in their blog section.
Third, you need to write an article, not to suit your website, but that of the target website. Think about their product and their audience.
How will my guest post benefit the target website?
How can I assert myself as an expert in this field?
By asking yourself these questions you’ll be able to put pen to paper, knowing that your guest post will bring value to both parties.
And finally, insert a backlink to one of your content or landing pages in a natural way.
Never force the issue. Remember, the audience you’re reaching out to is not on your website, but that of your target website. They’re expecting to read an article from a different source, not from your page.
It’s not only the backlink but also the exposure that you’re gaining through this exercise.
A successful guest post exposes you to a broader audience, one that might not even know about your own website.
Some SEO and link-building companies offer guest post services that go through the entire process of guest posting for you.
– Create Infographics
Infographics add a visual description of what you’re writing about.
Creating awesome infographics that are useful to others is a great way of earning backlinks.
That’s because creating quality infographics requires something that we can never get back, our time. And most SEO professionals don’t want to spend their time creating infographics.
So do research on topics that people are writing about, create an infographic that will add value to those content pieces, insert your sources and reach out to those writers or editors that might find your artwork useful.
They post your infographic in their blog post and… Bam, another white hat link is earned.
– Encourage Social Media Shares
Studies show that people spend about 2.5 hours a day browsing social media. (2) That’s over 17 hours a week, browsing pictures, liking posts, and scrolling through an endless number of pages.
View social media as a valuable source of white hat link-building opportunities.
By creating a page that people want to share, whether it’s for the headline you’ve created, the infographics, or just the awesome content you’ve written, you’re tapping into a world of free advertising.
Use the hashtag feature effectively.
No, you don’t want to #yolo or #bestlifeever.
When you use a hashtag on a social media platform like Facebook, it turns topics and phrases into clickable links in your posts on your personal timeline, page, or groups.
This helps people find posts about topics they’re interested in.
If you’re posting about link-building techniques you would use an effective tag, like #brokenlinkbuilding or #white-hat.
It’s all about networking and getting people to recognize you as an authority in your niche, and search engines pick up on this.
– Broken link building
Landing a link is an awesome feeling. But keep in mind that those links don’t last forever.
No, they don’t go anywhere, sometimes they simply stop functioning. That’s because the information or page they’re supposed to be directing traffic to could cease to exist.
As data and figures are updated, the info pages reflecting ‘the latest figures are adjusted.
That’s why a page showing the latest trends in 2017 for example, would be redundant in 2022.
Ever clicked on a link, just to find a 404 error message? That’s a broken link.
This form of link building is often referred to as link acquisition.
Creating an article that will satisfy the needs of the person on the other side of the Google Search Bar is key to winning a broken link.
A lot goes into broken link building, but here’s a basic overview.
- Identify pages on websites in your niche that are no longer functioning
- Check if these pages have any links pointing to them. If there are, these will be broken links as they’re pointing to a non-functioning page.
- Check the source of those links to see if they are relevant to your website.
- Create updated content that might satisfy the needs of those websites and search queries.
- Reach out to the websites and offer them the opportunity to exchange their broken link with a link to your page.
Think of broken link building as a win-win situation.
Google sees pages with an error message attached to them as a bad thing and this can negatively impact those website rankings in the long run. So the target website benefits from fixing the problem.
And you earn a valuable backlink to your site, which helps your search engine rankings and domain authority.
– Cold Outreach
Using manual outreach to contact webmasters asking for a link exchange or link insertion might sound old-school and outdated. However, this way of gaining links is alive and well.
How many sites do you need to reach out to before successfully landing a link?
300 – 400 Many.
There are an infinite amount of websites and blog columns today, and the competition to gain backlinks is extremely fierce. Most webmasters or site owners don’t even open cold outreach emails, let alone respond to them.
But this is still a legit way of earning backlinks.
Begin by identifying websites that you’d like to collaborate with. These aren’t websites that are in direct opposition to your own site, but rather websites within the same niche.
Then use a link-building tool like Ahrefs to research target websites and start reaching out. Check the metrics that are important to you. These could include the domain authority, organic traffic, traffic source, or even the traffic geo location of a website.
The next step is to collect and confirm the email addresses of these potential websites. This step will need to be done with other SEO tools.
Only then can you begin sending out emails to potential websites that you’d like to collaborate with.
If this sounds like something you’d like to have someone do on your behalf, rather than sitting for hours doing all the footwork, make use of a link-building service that will do the hard graft on your behalf.
Identifying White Hat link-building services
In the world of link building, we often have to wear different hats.
Black hat link building might see you gain results quickly. You could pay for links and see instant results.
But these methods don’t give lasting value and are often penalized. Black hat link building is just a waste of time and money.
And while there are many SEO companies out there that will gladly build backlinks on your behalf, the onus is on you to ensure that they use white hat link-building techniques that don’t have a chance of being penalized.
Do research on the company you’re thinking of employing to build links for you. Ask them about their process and have a look at their case studies.
Do their results back them up?
Do they speak of using white hat link-building techniques that you know are acceptable?
Don’t be fooled by SEO specialists and link-building professionals that offer too-good-to-be-true deals. Google is smart, and black hat practices don’t go unnoticed for long.
True white hat link-building services will be completely transparent in their process and tailor their packages to suit the needs of each customer. They will be open about the time and effort that goes into building backlinks and their prices will reflect that.
Batlinks is an example of a white hat link-building company.
We pride ourselves in crafting unique content and building high-quality backlinks that add lasting value to our customers.
Our case studies in the E-commerce and Saas niche showcase our past successes in boosting rankings for our clients.
A lot of time and effort goes into our process, and we employ only the best writers, researchers, editors, and link builders as part of our team.
Get in touch to see how our services can help you rank higher in search engines.