When it comes to building links to climb up the SEO ladder, establish authority, and boost your traffic, a term that comes up often is foundation links.
Now, there are many different types of links you can build.
Whether they’re from guest posts, niche edits, or content partnerships.
But in this guide, we’ll be focusing all about foundation links.
How they work, what makes them different from regular SEO backlinks, and the biggest benefits you gain from these kinds of links.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What are foundation links, exactly, and why all this matters
- How do foundation links differ from other types of SEO backlinks?
- Top 5 key benefits you gain from building foundation links
- When you should start building foundation links (3 cases)
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
What Are Foundation Links And Why Do They Matter?
Foundation links are backlinks from high-authority websites, which are an essential step for building a strong backlink profile for your website.
As the name suggests, foundation links lay the ‘foundation‘ of your website’s SEO.
They are the fundamental links that make up the core of your backlink profile. That’s because they’re built never to change and are mostly future-proof for algorithm updates from Google.
Your foundation links represent the core links of your overall backlink profile.
As such, they serve as the building blocks of your SEO campaign. Examples of foundation links may include backlinks from government websites, Wikipedia, news outlets, and other, high-authority websites.
However, there is more to this definition than meets the eye. That’s because there are many different types of foundation links. So, let’s take a look at how this works in more detail.
How do foundation links work and what makes them different from regular backlinks?
Foundation links work by creating core web pages and publishing evergreen content pieces that other websites might want to link to.
Then, to build up your web authority, you can use link-building techniques, such as guest posting, niche edits, and journalist outreach to earn quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
Note that you should establish your foundation links at the onset, whether creating a new website or redeveloping your existing one.
However, these foundation links must be stable enough to withstand the changes in search engine algorithms.
Keep in mind, your foundation links should come from credible websites to make your SEO campaign work. The goal is to earn high-quality backlinks to establish your website’s authority.
Then, over time, these links will help you rank higher in the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).
8 Different types of foundation links for your SEO
Most of the links to your websites can be considered foundation links. But what makes them truly foundational is when they come from credible and authoritative websites linked to your core web pages and content pieces.
There are many different ways you can build foundation links, but typically, the different types will come from:
- Guest Posts: Guest blogging entails creating an article for another website in your industry. You reach out to a niche-relevant website, write a guest post for them, and get your article published on their site. By doing so, you can include do-follow and no-follow links to earn high-quality backlinks for your website. If you’re looking to build foundation links, you should aim to gather do-follow backlinks from big-name, authority websites.
- Niche Edits: Niche editing involves adding your link to existing content on a particular website. A broken link on a web page is a perfect example where you can ask the publisher to replace it with your relevant link. Also known as curated links, niche edits let you earn foundation links for your website if done right.
- Online Directories: There are various directories on digital platforms guiding users who are looking for information online. Let’s take business listings, for example. You can get your company listed on Google My Business (GBM). But while at it, add your website, which will serve as one of your foundation links. Just make sure the online directories you’re getting foundation links from are high-quality.
- Online Publications: A press release is an example where you can write a news story about your business and have it published in online publications. You can also leverage the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) platform by pitching to journalists and getting quoted as a credible source. Both link-building tactics allow you to earn quality backlinks.
- Institution Websites: Backlinks earned from top institutions are highly authoritative and credible. Think of the academic and government websites linked to your web pages. Even the websites of non-profit organizations and established institutions linked to your site can do the same. They can help establish your authority as a thought leader in your industry. Though, getting a link from this kind of website can be difficult, depending on your business.
- Social Signals: Though you won’t gain a lot of authority by sharing your latest article on LinkedIn in terms of backlinks, this can still help build the foundation for your content and kickstart your traffic. This also acts as a trust signal to Google and your audience, by showing you’re active on social media and you’re getting traffic from it.
- Online Forums: The internet is a goldmine of digital platforms allowing users to interact with each other. Think of Quora, allowing industry experts to share valuable insights and others to comment on. When sharing or commenting on online forums, you can include links to your website as long as they’re relevant or useful. Though this won’t give you much authority (since backlinks aren’t as powerful from these kind of websites), they can still pass traffic via potential users on the site.
- Internal Linking: As the name implies, this involves linking your web page to other content pieces on your website. This tactic allows you to create link equity by letting your audience explore other pieces and providing more value to them. Internal links are as equally important as your external links for establishing your backlink profile.
How Do Foundation Links Differ from Other Types Of Backlinks?
Now that you have an idea of how foundation links work and the different types you see online, you might be asking yourself:
But how are they different from regular backlinks?
If you’ve spent more than a minute reading about SEO and backlinks, you might have realized there are many different types of backlinks you could be building.
So, let’s quickly break down each type of link and how they differ from foundation backlinks.
- Foundation links: As covered above, foundation backlinks serve as your fundamental links to build a strong base for your website. As such, they must come from highly authoritative and credible websites. Ideally, they should be linking to your homepage, core web pages, or evergreen content pieces that are competitive or good for lead generation.
- Regular links: This refers to any backlinks to your website, whether they’re from guest posting, online directories, or social signals. They can come from highly authoritative websites with high domain authority (DA) ratings or any site for that matter. But remember, the goal is to earn high-quality backlinks, instead of quantity. One high domain authority link is better than multiple low-quality ones from a link farm.
- Tiered links: They compose a multi-tiered link-building structure designed to create link juice or equity for your website. They often get used interchangeably with foundation links. But as mentioned, foundation links focus on building your site’s strong base.
- Pillow links: Also known as cushion links, they act as a protective layer for your website. They are usually low-quality backlinks, providing a buffer for your site to safeguard your backlink profile. As such, they don’t contribute to your website’s SEO authority compared to foundation links.
As you might have figured, foundation links are kind of a big deal when it comes to growing your authority and SEO efforts.
Top 5 Key Benefits Of Building Foundation Links
At this point, you’ve learned much about what foundation links are and how they work. You also identified the different types and understood how they differ from other links.
However, the most crucial question is:
Just how helpful ARE foundation links when it comes to your SEO and search, exactly?
The main benefits you gain from foundation link-building include:
- Improved online visibility.
- Growth in organic website traffic.
- Establishing site and domain authority.
- Better site engagement and referral traffic.
- Potential networking opportunities.
Now, let’s take a look at each example in detail.
1. Improved online visibility
Link-building is one of the most important Google ranking factors.
As you may be aware, the primary purpose of link-building is to earn high-quality backlinks from relevant websites.
Quality foundation links signal to Google that other websites trust you. Which, as a result, boosts your online visibility or presence.
What’s great about foundation links is that they comprise an all-encompassing set of links for your website. They can help establish your new site on SERP or improve the ranking of your existing one. At the end of the day, they are core links that can make or break your backlink profile long-term.
2. Increased website traffic
Boosting your online presence is one thing; increasing your site traffic is another.
You want to rank high on SERP because you want to drive more traffic to your website. Likewise, backlinks direct users or audiences from other sites to your website.
Enter foundation links pointing to your core web pages and content pieces.
For example, if you get a foundation link from an article that’s ranking #1 on Google for a popular keyword, some of their traffic will discover and visit your pages accordingly.
3. Established site authority
Google puts websites on top of SERP not only because they are relevant to users but because they are valuable to them.
Also, other websites linking to your site find your web pages or content pieces truly credible and useful.
This means you bring something beneficial to the table for the audience’s benefit!
That said, foundation links can help establish your website authority. The fact that authoritative sites link to you means that you are credible as a website. Therefore, it’s best to invest in foundation links by creating core pages and targeting robust sites. That can make you a thought leader in your industry or niche.
Let’s take another example.
In very competitive niches (e.g. VPN), backlinks are often the main differentiator when it comes to what will rank.
Because, let’s face it, after a while, everyone with a big enough budget can create quality content. From there, you need quality links to establish site and domain authority.
4. Enhanced site engagement
Linking can go a long way, from ranking high on SERP to driving traffic to your website. But once these users visit your site, the engagement opportunities are endless.
That is when you have something relevant and valuable to offer on your website.
Foundation links can work wonders on your website engagement. Not only do they increase your online presence and site traffic, but they also enhance user engagement. Core content pieces can provide them with real value and relevance.
They’ll most likely interact with your web pages by making them stay or keeping them coming back.
This is why it’s also important to gain foundation links from niches that are relevant to you.
For example, getting a high-domain backlink from a fitness website if you own a tech review blog won’t get you far. You need links from similar or niche-adjacent websites.
5. Networking opportunities
Generally, SEO is a means to an end for most businesses. It starts with top search engine ranking and increased website traffic and ends with enhanced customer engagement and business opportunities.
For all you know, proper linking for off-page SEO can do the trick for you!
Specifically, foundation links can also offer you networking opportunities.
They can put you high on SERP, drive more traffic to your website, and help you engage with customers.
Quality links can help generate leads and convert sales for your business. Which, in turn, can lead to endless business opportunities!
When Is The Best Time To Build Foundation Links?
Finally, another important point to consider has to do with the timing of your foundation links.
There are a few factors to consider here:
- Website launch – As soon as your website is prepared for launch, you can start your foundation link-building campaign. This initial outreach should be targeting a diverse range of authoritative websites that can boost your domain authority and trust.
- Establishing your site – Alternatively, once your site takes off and your business is validated, it’s important to focus on foundation links. This dual approach accelerates the process of gaining recognition and authority within your niche. Reach out to authoritative websites and industry influencers, presenting your valuable content and exploring collaboration opportunities for backlinking.
- Website rebranding or redesign – Finally, if your website is going through a rebranding, or redesign, or you’re setting up redirects, you’ll also want to consider your backlink profile. Connect with influential sources to secure those foundational backlinks, giving your revamped site a quick boost in visibility and authority.
To recap, foundation links play a critical role in link building.
Generally, they lay the ‘foundation’ of your backlink profile, thus contributing to your overall SEO success.
And the way this works is that backlinks from high-quality, big-domain, niche-relevant websites pointing to your brand signal to Google that your website is also trustworthy.
In terms of benefits, this means an improvement in your online visibility, website traffic, site engagement, and so much more.
Essentially, as your site becomes more trust-worthy through foundation links, you rank higher, and also enjoy more people (potential customers), checking out your brand.
Ready to establish foundation links for your SEO success?
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