What is the difference between backlinks and link building?

Both link building and backlinking are frequently uttered terms in the SEO arena. The purpose of both though remains the same, i.e., to drive traffic, but there is certainly a fundamental difference that needs to be understood. Both link building and backlink generation fall under SEO best practice for traffic and ranking.

It’s true that most of the search engines, Google to be specific, are emphasizing on quality content development, rather than quantity or any other strategy. Moreover, maintaining the quality of the contents has been the norm for getting backlinks from top authority sites. In fact, getting backlinks from any random site is no more effective. On the other hand, link building has been pretty much the same since the inception of the concept called SEO.

difference between backlinks and link building

However, the beginners in the SEO arena often get confused while distinguishing between link building and backlinking. The following abstracts discuss in detail about the basic difference between the two.

What is Link Building?

Link building can be on-page and off-page. However, in general, link building moreover refers to offsite link building, as the on-page link building is called internal linking or internal link building. So, as per SEO terminologies, off-page link building is the manual strategy meant for promoting a site in numerous ways, aiming to get the backlink from different sites.

Though it sounds quite simple, things have evolved significantly in the past few years through constant updates of Google algorithm. Basically, the latest updates with the algorithm don’t acknowledge just any random method of link building. Starting from the strategy of getting links through the sites accepting article submissions to other methods of spam, there are numerous ways available in this regard. All these methods of spam or even the paid links used to work, but these are not working in modern times for ranking.

Google, through its penguin updated, has almost made it that other than the natural links, everything else is worthless. It means no matter you get thousands of backlinks from hundreds of ways; these mean nothing as far as ranking is concerned. Instead, there remains every possibility of the site getting penalized. In short, preparing quality contents and being strategic are the only ways available to get natural links, useful for link building.

Differentiating link Building and backlinking

As the penguin updated has evolved things, it has become essential for the SEO specialists to change their strategies accordingly. Now the emphasis is more towards looking for SEO best practice towards developing useful resources, making things work for the search engines, as well as the viewers. It means that one doesn’t need to desperately drag or beg for the links. Rather, enriching the site and contents qualitatively has become more important, where the backlinks given back from the authority sites is actually a reward.

It should be clear by now that earlier methods of link building were moreover quantitative. Hence, the strategy was simply to manually generate the links, anyway. But, the latest standard has made it moreover about generating useful resources that can be rewarded in the form of a link. And, this original method is proven to be more effective towards SERP ranking.

Quality matters, not quantity

It is here to note that Google doesn’t only emphasise about getting a backlink from valuable sources, but also about getting it from numerous reckoned sites from the same nice. Suppose XYZ.com is a highly reputed or authority site in tech niche, as of others like ABC.com, PQR.com, etc. You somehow managed to get a backlink from XYZ.com.

No matter you get hundreds of backlinks from the same site; the value will moreover remain the same. In this context, one must refer to the term called link juice. This basically refers to the value that is passed from one side to the other in the form of backlinks. It’s primarily like the votes. But, the irony is that if someone deliberately gets all the backlinks from just one site, it doesn’t bring much difference with link juice. Rather, Google might backlist the site that goes for such practices.

The ranking is obvious to decline for the specific keywords. As in the above case, in concurrence with XYZ.com, one should also try getting backlinks from ABC.com and PQR.com. And, the most effective SEO best practice available for this is to generate quality contents, and optimise the site using white hat techniques or just organically. To keep things simple, one needs to aim at getting quality links from numerous quality sites of the same niche.

It might demand more efforts to grab links from authority sites, but this is indeed a permanent way of staying ahead in search engine game.

Difference between modern-day link building and traditional ways

Where the traditional offsite link building strategy works moreover for the bloggers, it may not work with the same efficacy for the online businesses. Those who want to get a higher rank for a specific keyword for their online business should aim at getting backlinks from the authority sites. They need to aim at developing useful resources with the ability to drive links of their own.

The best part about this strategy is that it boosts the brand or domain authority over the web, which matters a lot for online businesses. Naturally, one can expect to get more number of organic traffic which are promising in terms of ROI. Most importantly, no other branding strategy is felt necessary when someone manages to get links in an effortless way through authority sites.

Proven strategies for getting quality backlinks

As enough has been discussed regarding offsite link building and its importance, now it’s the time to know how to get the same. One thing is clear as it has been mentioned many times that there is no choice to quality content. Irrespective of SEO best practice one employs, nothing can be relevant unless the content quality is good enough. Moreover, this fact is equally crucial for all niches. The content needs to be strategic enough, as well as focused around the targeted keywords.

Content submission platforms

One of the best strategies that one can apply in this regard is to go with content submission platforms. These content submission platforms often provide do-follow links or imply backlinks to the concerned site, upon accepting contents from them. However, it is important to ensure that the content submission platform is a reckoned platform. There are numerous article directories that can be explored as well for getting the backlinks. Being tactical on this matter, one must ensure that the concerned directory is niche-specific.

Guest posts

Guest posts have been among the reliable SEO best practice for getting backlinks. Most importantly, Google reckons this strategy of getting backlinks. Again, here the emphasis about writing guest posts on the top-ranked sites of the concerned niche. But, one should not expect instant results of getting backlinks through this strategy.

Most importantly, content quality needs to be good enough. In fact, the authority sites simply don’t accept guest posts, unless the quality of the content is good enough. Those new into the blogging arena should not be in a hurry about this. But, if the quality is good, getting the result is quite assured.

Online discussion forums

Internet is full of forums, almost for every niche. Then there are sites like quora answering various questions or doubts of people. Submission of articles over these platforms is indeed one of the reliable ways of getting backlinks. This is a traditional strategy, and the good news is that it is very much proven.

It means these strategies still hold their relevance in modern times as well. But again, the content quality needs to be good enough. It should be satisfactory enough for the concerned viewers. But, one should not just put links on every other question asked or the discussions made. Sticking to the one that relates to the niche, in fact to the topic of the concerned post is recommended to get backlinks.

Putting links on just any random discussion is very much spamming. As said above, Google penalizes the sites of such on most occasions. In short, the practices of such should be avoided. Similar is the case about the discussion forums as well. These sites provide the incredible opportunity of getting backlinks from authority sites. But again, the content needs to be appropriate as per the discussion topic.

Take the help of influencers

It may not be counted as the traditional SEO best practice, but certainly, one of the proven strategies to remain in connection with the influencers of the industry. Linked in can indeed be a great way in this regard. It is also a good strategy to implement the strategies of giveaways, contests, etc.; those create the immense opportunity of promoting the concerned site. At the same time, one must also take part in the competitions, giveaways, etc., of the other relevant sites of the concerned niche. It’s a proven strategy of getting organic links and is a more professional way of promoting the site. It contributes immensely towards the brand value of the concerned site as well.

Social media

Apart from these, one may also take the help of social media platforms. Sharing posts or the links of the posts on the official social media page is a proven way of getting immense reach. One may also leave links on comment sections of the social media posts. But, it should not look like a spam strategy. It should be relevant for the concerned discussion.

Get the game of anchor text

Anchor text holds a lot of importance as far as SERP ranking is concerned. This is basically the real text that the concerned page uses to link with the content of the site that gets a link. Thus selecting the right anchor text that is used prominently by the users over the search engine or those which are used by other bloggers should be used.

Moreover, the content needs to be optimized as per the anchor text. Most importantly, the anchor text should not be overstuffed or should not affect the flow of the content in any way. It is equally important to ensure that the most relevant page is linked for the concerned anchor text.

Make sure that the linking page is qualitatively good

At the same optimizing own site, it is crucial to make sure that the site linking to your site is equally reputed as well. As discussed above, getting backlinks from the authority sites are always much more helpful from ranking perspectives.

Internal Link Building

As so much discussed offsite link building or backlinking, now it’s the turn of internal link building. Internal link building is as important as of the offsite linking strategies as it helps in maintaining the viewership. In other words, it maintains the viewership retention rate for the site, which naturally avoids the bounce rate. Using anchor texts in a strategic way is handy on this aspect as well. Referring to other related pages concerned with a specific page can also be helpful in terms of making a visitor stay intact with the concerned page.

In this context, the following points should be kept in mind for the most effective SEO best practice.

Do proper keyword research

Rather than doing randomly, one should use professional keyword research tools, at least Google Analytics.

Optimizing Meta description

The meta description should be very specific and must convey things well about the post.

Linking pages using the right keyword

More the number of pages one visitor keeps visiting for the specific keyword, greater become the chances of ROI. One thing that is sure about this strategy is that the visitor spends a considerably longer time on the site, which is useful from a SERP perspective.


Post going through the entire post, it is quite evident that both internal link building and backlinking are equally relevant SEO best practice. All that needs to be ensured that the proven organic ways should be tried, like guest posting, article submission. You need to look for some good content publishing platform and post your content with backlinks. So what are you waiting for! Bring so many traffic to your website by following above mentioned points.

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