Backlinks play an important role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website – but not just any backlink will do. If you don’t have the right strategies for quality backlinks in place, you could damage the SEO of your website.
Here’s our quick guide to backlinks to help you get started.
Why are backlinks important?
The answer is simple: backlinks remain within the top three ranking factors that Google uses to determine where your website returns in search results.
The definition of a backlink is simply a link from one website to another. When someone else links from their website to yours, they’ve given you a backlink. When you link from your website to theirs, you’ve given them a backlink.
Google considers backlinks to be a trust signal for your website. When someone links to you, they’re saying your website and content is relevant and worthy of learning more. However, the quality of these backlinks plays an important role in their SEO value.
What are “quality” backlinks?
Just a few years ago, it was common practice for people to buy backlinks. Building up your backlinks can be a time-consuming process and people looked for ways to do it more efficiently.
The problem was that this led to poor quality link farms – sites that only existed to provide links to other sites. The backlinks leading to websites were often from irrelevant and poor quality sites that didn’t add any value for people who might look at them.
Like with most poor practices, it was only a matter of time before Google caught on and put a stop to it. Not only were these poor-quality links deemed a bad practice, but using them could get your website penalized in search results. Instead, Google urged website owners to work to get quality links.
By quality, Google specifically looks at the relevance of the link – how well it is related to your website and what you do – and the authority of the website it comes from. Authority refers to strong websites, often those that attract a regular flow of traffic. For example, if we were to think of a website with high authority in the SEO space, Moz comes to mind.
The relevance of the link is important because it helps you to avoid the problems associated with link farms. For example, we’re a digital marketing business. It makes sense for us to link to sites that are related to digital marketing, but it wouldn’t be relevant to link to a garden store unless we were referencing something about their digital marketing.
Your aim should be to get more backlinks from websites with relevance to your own business.If you don't have the right strategies for quality backlinks in place, you could damage the SEO of your website. Click To Tweet
What are some strategies to get more backlinks?
Business owners often wonder how they can entice another website to give them a backlink, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. While some strategies take time and work to build, others are fairly straightforward, even for beginners.
Here are some strategies to try:
#1. Publish high-quality content
High-quality content sends positive signals to search engines to help your website rank higher. Crafting and publishing content that is complete and authoritative creates opportunities for other people wanting to link to it.
For example, you might publish some guides related to important topics in your field. Typically, a guide will have several different sections or sub-topics, making it relevant for others who are creating content on those topics. It can be a great way to get other websites to give you a backlink.
How might you find the right topics? One best practice that several producers of high-ranking content use, is performing a search to see which pages are ranking for the topic you want to write about. You then assess those pieces of content and determine how you can write something with additional perspective or other value.
You can solidify this strategy even more by making sure to include backlinks to high-quality resources in your piece. The next step would be to mention those resources in Tweets or any other channels that you use to promote your content. This will often encourage more shares and potentially more backlinks.
#2. Get listed on resource pages
Many high-authority websites build resource pages where they list local businesses or other resources that are useful to their audience. These can be relatively easy to be included on.
For example, if you’re a member of your local Chamber of Commerce or visitor’s authority, these organizations often list their members on their websites. Other places might include churches, universities, community organizations and industry-specific sites.
If you’re looking for additional opportunities, researching your competitors’ backlinks can provide valuable insight. Tools such as SEMRush have a backlinks analytics feature which enables users to find backlinks of other websites. This helps you to understand where the backlinks occur and if it makes sense for you to follow a similar path based on industry and topic areas.
#3. Look for unlinked mentions
An unlinked mention is an instance where your brand or business is mentioned somewhere but they haven’t include a link to your website. This is an ideal opportunity to request a link.
You can find unlinked mentions using tools to alert you when your brand is mentioned online. Creating Google alerts, which are free, is a great start, and exploring other options, such as SEMRush’s brand monitoring tool, allows you to see which mentions are linked and which ones are not.
When you find unlinked mentions, reach out to the source with your website URL and request that they add a link. Some may be willing and able to add your easily and quickly, which will help with your overall strategy.
#4. Do some guest blogging
Guest blogging is a tried and true method to build backlinks to your website. This involves finding a high-authority website that could benefit from a piece of content written by you. For example, you might be an expert on a topic that will appeal to their website audience.
One of the keys for successful guest blogging is that you do your best work, and target websites that are likely to have an audience that is interested in the topics you would be writing about. Some websites have very particular rules about links in posts, but typically provide your bio including a link to your website.
#5. Get supplier links
Do you sell products sourced from other suppliers? Many suppliers will have links to where people can find and purchase their products and these can be good places to get backlinks.
To give just a few quick examples: hair salons selling hair products, hardware stores selling particular brands of tools, and food suppliers stocking different grocery stores. On the other hand, if your business is the supplier, then you could request backlinks to your website from the companies you’re supplying to.
#6. Get links from the press
One of the tenets of journalism is that journalists need to find primary sources to give input on their stories. Given that the press covers all sorts of topics, there could be opportunities for you to act as an expert source from time to time.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is an online source to connect reporters with the experts when they need input for their stories. You can sign up to receive an email digest showing what reporters are looking for help with, then choose to respond to any that are a good fit.
For the best chance of being quoted, be comprehensive in your response and demonstrate your expertise. It’s not guaranteed, but you can often get a link back to your website.
Backlinks are an important part of any SEO strategy and worth the effort. They can make a difference in how well your website ranks compared with competitors.
We’ve given you six possible ways to explore getting more backlinks for your site, but there are other methods as well. We suggest starting with a few that you have the resources for and grow as you feel more comfortable.
Do you need help with building an effective SEO and digital marketing strategy? Paragon Digital Marketing would love to talk to you about your needs. Get in touch with us here.