With backlinks being one of the leading Google ranking factors, link building has become very popular with every industry. Most marketers are desperate to grow their brand’s backlink profile and are willing to do just anything to gain authoritative links. However there is a fine line between how you should and shouldn’t build your links, and it can drastically impact your Google rankings. That’s where white-hat link building comes in.
What Is White Hat Link Building?
White hat link building is an SEO approach that drives traffic to a site through search engine optimization techniques. Unlike the other link-building strategies, white hat aligns with Google’s webmaster guidelines and is least likely to generate a Google penalty that affects a site’s search engine rankings.
White hat strategies can be slower than other link-building forms but it focuses on long-term search engine optimization results.
White Hat vs Black Hat vs Grey Hat Link Building
White, gray, and black hat link-building are different link-building strategies that all aim at helping a site rank.
- White hat link building: This is an ethical and honest way to optimize your site. It follows Google’s guidelines but it might take longer to work. It involves developing original, high-quality content, legitimate link-building through relationships, or guest blogging, and creating a valuable user experience on your website. This approach will help Google to find, index, and rank your site.
- Black hat link building: It’s a strategy that works faster compared to the white hat form, but it does go against Google guidelines and it is more of a short-term strategy. With this strategy, you use tactics that can work until they don’t.
The tactics employed here may bring in some wins but they may also come with high risk since you can be penalized by Google for using them. Therefore if you plan to achieve long-term goals for your business, it’s best to sidestep these strategies completely.
Some of the Black hat backlink techniques include spamming blog comments with links to your website, purchasing low-quality backlinks, and writing low-quality guest posts.
- Gray hat link building: This is a practice of using techniques that are not strictly against Google’s guidelines per se but are outside what would be considered best practices.
For instance, if you reach out to an authoritative site and request them to link your site and they ask for a fee, that is considered gray hat link building. Well asking a site to link to your site is a white hat outreach strategy, but it’s against Google guidelines to pay for that.
5 Benefits of White Hat Link Building
1. For better website ranking
Besides following search engine rules and policies, white hat linking will guarantee you safer and solid ranking results. Although the results are slower and may take longer on the surface, they will become steady over time.
The best way to get a better ranking is by creating insightful content. This way you will invite guest bloggers to build content for your site to attract traffic and build relationships with people in the industry.
2. Build Brand and Site Authority
White hat link building will also help you build your brand as well as your site authority. Since Google uses backlinks to signal that your site publishes high-quality content and is relevant, the links tell Google that you are the authority in the space.
The more authority you have, the more likely search engines will rank your website for keywords associated with your niche.
Additionally, a white hat helps you build trust with Google, which then helps build trust with your audiences or potential clients. These links can also help provide third-party credibility.
3. Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Despite helping you rank higher in SERPs, the White hat will also help you increase traffic to your website. This is because you select a network of sites that direct audiences to your website when you build high-quality links to it.
These sites transfer their authority and audiences to you when they are recognized as reliable sources. This way, Google notices, and the SERPs reflect that. Having a more increased spot on SERP means better site exposure which could boost traffic and expand your customer reach.
4. Save Money
Seeing results with black hats SEO takes a short time but it uses much more resources compared to the white hat method. With the White hat, you will require less money and more time because search engines do not need to update security parameters regularly. Think of this strategy as a long-term investment.
5. Improve Your Relationships With Other Websites
In most cases, you are required to reach out to other website owners and content managers to request for ask for links. Outreach is an opportunity to not only network but contribute to other people’s sites through guest blogs. You can continue to build upon all white-hat linking strategies with your new relationships.
For instance, if you have a great relationship with the manager or owner of a prevalent website, they will be willing to feature your site on their website or link to your content. This will helps increase the reputation of your website and you will most likely rank on SERPs.
10 Techniques for White Hat Link Building In 2023
1. HARO Links
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free online service for journalists and bloggers to receive feedback from the public. It enables them to connect with experts on issues relevant to their reporting. With the right techniques, HARO can help you obtain high-quality backlinks and build brand awareness for your PR efforts, regardless of your niche.
Basically, you as the source will only need to sign up to receive daily queries from other bloggers or journalists looking for experts in different fields. Then you will have the chance to respond to any queries that interest you. This way you are likely to get high-quality backlinks from seriously high-authority websites.
Acquiring backlinks via HARO is considered a white hat technique since it’s an honest way to get relevant links from high-quality sources.
How to Use HARO for White-Hat link building
- The first step is to go to www.helpareporter.com and sign up for an account as a source.
- Look for queries that match your expertise or niche.
- Reply to queries that are relevant to your niche.
- Create replies that are original, informative, and on-topic.
- Have a link to your website in your signature.
- Observe the responses you submit and respond to any questions from journalists.
2. Niche Edits
Niche edits or curated links are links from other websites in your area of expertise that mention or link to your site. These links point back to your site, improving your overall link-building strategy. The process of niche editing involves obtaining permission from other site owners and authors to link your site’s content to theirs. This is achieved via a contextual backlink.
When broken down, there are usually three types of niche edits. The most organic type is the white hat approach. In simpler terms, this means manually reaching out to other site owners to exchange content value for a free link.
Even though this process is time-consuming, there is a high chance of building lasting relationships with fellow bloggers, enabling you to approach them again in the future with much ease.
How to Use Niche Edits for white hat Link Building
- The first step involves finding websites or articles relevant to your niche. You can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs to see what sites link to your competitors.
- Then analyze and evaluate the relevance, authority, and traffic of the site you have picked. This will help you determine which sites or site owners would be a good fit for your link.
- Reach out to the webmasters for your link placement. It is advisable to send them a personal email pitching your link.
3. Guest Post-White-Hat link building
Guest posting or guest blogging is another white hat SEO strategy that will help improve its SEO ranking score, visibility in the SERPs, and drive targeted traffic to your website.
A guest post is a piece of content you create for a site with a similar niche as yours to be featured there and get your word out. The post you create will contain a section about the author section where you can link back to your sites.
However, you need to link up with credible websites with high domain authority. You can use free link-building tools to find the best sites or simply reach out to the publications that you consider respectable.
How to Use Guest Posts for White Hat Link Building
- Find good link-building opportunities from sites in your niche
- Contact the webmasters and craft a pitch that’s impossible to ignore
- Write a high-quality guest post
- Add contextual links to the post and homepage link in your author bio
- Reply to comments on your post
4. Broken White-Hat link building
Broken link building is another effective and impactful white hat link building that can help you earn high-quality and relevant backlinks from others sites. It involves finding a dead page and requesting linkers to switch the links to a working page on your site. The idea is that they will do this as they don’t want to send audiences to a dead resource.
How to Use broken link building
- Find broken pages with backlinks. You can use Ahrefs’ free backlink checker for this.
- Identifying or creating high-quality content that is worth linking to
- Conduct outreach to persuade a site owner to replace the dead link on their page with your pages link
5. Press Releases
Press Releases or PR Link Building is the strategy of using public relations approaches such as press releases and media pitching to get valuable editorial links that direct back to your site. This white hat SEO backlink-building approach is a key component of a Digital PR strategy that will result in measurable and consistent high-quality traffic coming to your site from relevant links.
The goal is to present your site as a thought leader and pitch to influential online publications. This strategy can be used as an extension of your content marketing strategy, aiming to generate publicity.
How To Get Started with PR Link Building
- Identifying the target audience for your digital PR strategy
- Research the content you will create to leave a mark on the audiences
- Create relevant and high-quality content
- Outreach and promote your content. Here you can reach out to website owners, publishers, bloggers, influencers, and journalists to help generate enough buzz around your content.
6. Link Magnets
Link magnets are content assets created to acquire links. Instead of producing high-quality content and waiting for someone to link to you, the link magnets will incentivize other sites to link to you. It’s a great strategy to attract quality links, drive traffic to your site and rank higher on the search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Unlike the spam-oriented tactic of black hat link building, this white hat approach helps you acquire more links organically with minimal outreach. This saves time and helps get links from web pages that typically wouldn’t link to you.
Tips for making your site a Link Magnet
- Write outstanding blog posts and place useful resources on your webpage.
- Create a section for news, trends, and tips on your page
- Run an affiliate program for people in complementary businesses
- Blog about issues that are controversial and people are passionate about
- Create a forum on your website for your visitors to exchange ideas.
7. Content Promotion
Most of the white hat link-building strategies we have mentioned are low-volume approaches, but content promotion is quite the opposite. If you follow off-page SEO practices, you will be able to place many links on your site within a short amount of time, which results in a high volume of referral traffic and quick growth of your brand.
With this approach, you will create and publish a unique piece of content on your website. Then, reach out to several online media outlets, such as news stations or magazines. Then, request them to cover your content on their website. This strategy will showcase your brand’s expertise and help to build its authority in your niche.
Content Promotion Tactics and Tips
- Know who you’re creating content for
- Research and create content that is relevant to your audiences
- Research Your Competitors and tackle their best-performing topics
- Promote your content
8. Commenting on Authority Blogs
Blog commenting is a simple, yet effective, strategy that lets others know about your site. It involves publishing comments on blogs that link back to a site or post. You can include the links either in the comment itself or as a link behind your name.
When you leave a relevant and insightful comment on a blog post, you create a noteworthy connection with the site’s owner and the audience. Basically, blog commenting helps you build online relationships with webmasters with authority sites, who then share backlinks to your site.
Tips on How to Write Comments for Your White-Hat link building Strategy
- Add valuable stuff to the conversation.
- Comment early
- Don’t over-promote yourself.
- Do you disagreeable or agree with the comments
- Include links to external references where they will be most helpful.
9. Reciprocal White-Hat link building
Reciprocal linking is another white-hat link-building tactic that is simple to execute. It occurs when two or more site owners agree to link to each other on their sites. This kind of linking makes up a big portion of earned backlinks because you are basically trading outbound links for inbound links to your website.
However, you need to know that not all sites are willing to engage in this kind of linking, especially if your site lacks authority.
How to Use Reciprocal Linking for White-Hat Link-Building
- Make sure the link is to relevant content
- Ensure the linking content adds value
- Check SEO metrics of the linking site
- Build authentic relationships
10. Podcasts Features
Lastly, Guest podcast features are a perfect way to get more white-hat links for your website. Since most brands and companies these days are using podcasts, it shouldn’t be that hard to get one that you can feature in.
The good thing is that you don’t only need to feature in podcasts that are only within your niche. You could also feature in podcasts concentrating on your job role, demographics, life events, and so much on.
When asked to feature in a podcast, request a free backlink in the podcast notes in exchange for your time. Also, you could take advantage and mention your brand as you speak.
Ways to Find a Podcast for Your White-Hat link building
- Use google to search for the “best of” lists.
- Use a podcast newsletter.
- Use social media platforms like Twitter to search for a certain topic.
- Using niche podcast discovery apps
Final Take: White Hat link building Strategy
Gray and black hat link-building strategies are tempting since they are speedier and require less work. However, white hat strategies are the best ethical option for a long-term strategy with no risk.
Hopefully, this guide has given you a better understanding of white hat SEO and provided insight into some of the technics you can use for link building.