Two fundamental reasons for natural link building success

The quest for high quality backlinks is not easy. A link building strategy will help, but you’ll only maximise your chances if you understand the motivation behind links.

Natural links are generally earned. Acquiring them is often a slow process built on the back of high quality content.

In most cases, you’ll need a linkable asset in order to generate a significant number of backlinks.

Funny, quality content might go viral on social media. Your Twitter notifications might light up like Blackpool promenade.

But that’s not the same as securing a large number of backlinks.

And when research also suggests there’s no correlation between shares and links, what tips the balance in favour of links?

What compelling reasons push other sites to link to yours in a natural backlink building process?

Why do people link?

In our experience, two big factors frequently appear when we analyse why sites link to your content.


By releasing your content under a Creative Commons license, you can set terms that allow other sites to use your material – but only if they attribute it, with a link, to your site. This technique is particularly effective with image link building.

Image link building is a method we’ve used with a number of clients – including ourselves – for generating high quality backlinks.

And, as an added bonus, it’s a method that doesn’t need an extensive, time-consuming or costly outreach campaign.

Once your images are online, normally at somewhere like Flickr, and you’ve determined the attribution you require under the Creative Commons license, then you’re all set.

If your images are high quality and of something relevant, it can lead to links from authoritative domains that would have otherwise been highly unlikely to link to you.

Here’s an example of the government website linking to Tecmark through our image link building process.

Tecmark Government link


When our search director Stacey MacNaught commissioned a survey asking 1,000 Americans to name a British city other than London, there were some interesting results.

Wales Online

Among the top 10 answers were Wales, that famous city just west of Birmingham, and Paris.

Well, who could forget Paris?

Perhaps to distance themselves from the findings – these aren’t our views, folks! – the survey results gained links from a number of sources who wanted to talk about them while blaming someone else for their existence.

A similar thing happened when our 2014 research revealed that the average smartphone user conducts 221 tasks a day on their phone.

So controversial findings, opinions or research, especially if you’ve got the original data or some other linkable asset hosted on your own site, appears to be ideal material to generate high quality backlinks.

Of course, attribution and blame are not the only two reasons why people will link to you, but they’re powerful factors that shouldn’t be ignored.

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Tecmark Author Neil Barraclough

About the Author

Neil Barraclough: Brand Communications Manager

A former journalist with experience in radio, TV and a decade in national newspapers, Neil now focuses on communications and results-driven copywriting.

Visit Neil's Page
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