Link building has been an important SEO enabler for many years now. While Google’s algorithms to rank sites based on arioso factors keep evolving, what is left unchanged is the importance of high-quality backlinks to soar your visibility past competition with higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERP).
The way Google implements its algorithm from a link building perspective is simple.
The more authoritative and good quality links you have, the better it considers the site to be and rewards it with a higher SEPR ranking.
Marketers over the world have been using link building as a definitive tactic to drive referral traffic and enhance the site’s authority.
For your emerging business, it will be difficult to know where to start from for link building. However, it is not as complicated as it sounds.
All it needs is a little patience and persistence, along with adhering to these tips.
1- What are backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are created when one website links to another.
They play an integral part in determining your website’s ranking on search engines, who see them as indicators of high-quality content.
When other websites provide a link-back to you, it essentially means that they vouch for your content and rely on your reputation to bolster their own.
For search engines, this means that your website is deserving of prominent visibility in user search results.
However, for backlinks to positively influence your organic reach, they need to be earned naturally and that too from other reliable sources.
While you may not have much control over who links back to you, there are several steps you can take to improve your prospects of desirable link building.
2- Beware of Spammy Link-building Tactics
Before Google’s Penguin algorithm update, the number of backlinks was most important, so businesses invested tons of money in “black hat” link-building tactics that placed backlinks on random sites with software.
Though some sketchy SEO companies still employ software to build links, Google is aware of this tactic; they will actively punish a business’s rankings if they find that most of their backlinks are bought.
The Penguin update came out in 2012, so the “quality over quantity” issue is well known throughout the SEO world, but many small businesses or recent start-ups aren’t aware of it.
If you are paying a company to build backlinks for your site with software or other black hat methods, you are paying to penalize your search engine rankings.
3- Why is link building important for SEO?
The Google Core algorithm has been around links, and not too much has changed over the past many years.
Along with great quality content, the quality and quantity of links matter a lot. However, the quality of links matter.
As per a Google Quality guideline clause, any link intended to manipulate PageRank or Google search ranking may be considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site.
It is evident that spammy links are severely penalized by Google and may lead to a drastic rankings drop.
4- What can SEO and marketers do to get quality links?
Here are a few interesting ways to get links to your website at different places to influence your authority and get your website the visibility boost it deserves on SERPs.
4.1- Please the authorities
Just like in social circles, your reputation in the digital world depends largely on who is talking about you.
When websites that enjoy a position of authority in their field of content, and a large, loyal user base, link back to your website, a lot of their good reputation passes on to you.
This helps your content get a high score on the credibility meter.
However, you need to be cautious about discredited or paid websites linking back to you, as that can relegate you to the spam category.
It pays to invest in a sound social listening tool to ensure that your backlinks feature on only high-quality websites–one that gets high traffic and has a good domain authority.
Find authoritative web entities, such as influential bloggers, popular or high-end brands, and editorial websites known for unbiased, accurate coverage.
Reach out to them and establish meaningful relationships with them by offering to write for them (where you can plug-in a backlink to your content).
Monitor websites that backlink to your competitors and pitch your content to them. Finally, scour the web for broken links and identify those that your content can be replaced with backlinks.
4.2- Get a great domain name
One of the questions looming overall SEO experts is, “Do domain names have an impact on SEO?” In a way, they do. However, this does not mean you register alongdomainnamewithallthekeywords.com.
A study on the impact of new domains on SEO suggests that a keyword-rich domain name can help websites get on-topic backlinks on those keywords.
This is great news for businesses that want to be discovered organically.
For example, if www.book.store gets backlinks on the anchor text ‘book store’, then overtime it helps the website rank for the keywords ‘book store’.
Domain names on new and contextual domain extensions, such as .TECH, .SITE, .ONLINE, .SPACE, etc., allow a business to get a relevant and keyword-rich domain name.
4.3- Be the authority yourself
To ensure that more and more reputable websites link back to you, you need to provide them with content that’s worth backlinking to.
In other words, to have authority websites associated with you, you need to be an authority yourself.
There is simply no way around to produce meaningful and well-crafted content, especially as search engines increasingly focus on quality and authenticity to cut out the clutter. Every content piece on your website needs to:
- Be of the highest standards of grammatical and factual accuracy,
- Be thoroughly well-researched and cited with credible sources of information,
- Be visually and imaginatively captivating and engaging,
Your content should add to the reader’s knowledge, filling the gap between the consumer’s needs and the information already out there.
Expanding your horizons beyond the regular copy-heavy articles and tapping into unique content offerings that other websites can rely on is a productive way of earning credible backlinks.
Here are some content formats that work effectively as both a standalone piece and as supportive arguments on other websites, making them attractive backlink options:
- Detailed and niche guides,
- Charts and diagrams,
- Case studies,
- Comparative analyses,
- Audio recordings,
- Picture libraries
4.4- Stay trendy
While there is no way of cracking the exact formula that will push your ranking up in the SERPs, you can ensure that you’re always running in the game by staying on top of marketing and SEO trends.
You should craft content that follows the latest trends and keyword usage. Ensure that your content and site structure is well-optimized.
Publishing interviews with experts about interesting and topical subjects are valuable and help your overall SEO. These also make for great content to backlink to.
The same rules also apply when you want to revamp your older content, keeping it fresh, relevant, and appealing to users and other websites who can rely on your strong SEO game to improve their own.
4.5- Be social
When the Internet is inundated with new content every day, merely publishing inspiring and informative material is not enough.
Lack of adequate visibility on relevant social media channels frequently used by your target audience severely limits your content’s reach and potential.
If no one sees your content, how will they link to it?
While the jury is still out on whether social directly impacts your SERP rankings, a strong social media strategy can be a great sidekick.
Share posts that are creative and engaging frequently – this is indispensable for building brand reputation and following.
Social media, combined with a strong SEO strategy, can help drive more traffic to your website.
This makes you more authoritative in search engines’ criterion and worthy of backlinks in the eyes of other websites. After all, what’s the point of great content if it’s not out there for the world to see and share?
However, posting on social media is not enough. To ensure your content gets the exposure that it deserves, it is important to engage with your social audience in a meaningful way.
Few ways to do it is by responding to their comments and rewarding their shares and likes with mentions on your own handles.
The same goes for websites that backlink to you as gaining visibility on your social handles will encourage them to engage with you even more.
4.6- Make it easy
Improve your chances of earning a link on a wide range of websites by offering them simple and direct ways of linking to your content.
Add a ‘Link to Us’ button or creating HTML-ready snippets below your content piece that people can directly plug into their own content.
Not only make linking easier for the not-so-tech-savvy websites, but it may also influence others to give you a backlink (simply because it’s out there, and it’s easy).
People will often mention your website’s name while paraphrasing or quoting your material without linking it to you.
In such cases, a simple communication expressing your gratefulness for earning a mention on their website and requesting them to turn the mention into a link has a high chance of earning you an actual backlink.
4.7- Check within your network
Friends, peers, clients, shareholders, vendors, past connections, or even employees who have moved out, there are tons of unutilized networking connections that you can tap into when you start.
For instance, some service providers who owe you could be approached to drop in a favorable comment about your company and add a link back to your website.
Now, suppose their potential leads visit your site and you get business inquiries. In this case, these leads will open a totally new revenue generation stream that previously wasn’t possible had it not been for link building.
4.8- Check on Google
Google itself can be a treasure trove when it comes to getting appropriate link juice. All you need to do is enter the targeted keyword on the Google search bar and check the results on the first three pages.
Besides the regular company websites, you will also see some paid sites and directories that will accept third-party posts.
Additionally, you will have third party sites like ezine Articles that accept guest posts.
Try to add your content on these third-party sites to improve the authoritative position of your links. Of course, you will have to adhere to their blog writing guidelines and wait for them to approve a post before the advantages of backlinking on their site start kicking in for your website.
4.9- Trade Association
Every industry has its own trading association or chambers of commerce. As a result, many of them have a deep industry connection that can span many clients or prospective leads.
For example, if you are a digital marketing company for lawyers, you can check if there any law or bar associations for lawyers.
When you advertise your brand positioning in such centers in your city, the chances of getting a favorable outcome in backlinking goes up substantially. This delivers two key advantages
- Your local business prospects shoot up dramatically
- Since chambers of commerce and trade association websites are considered highly authoritative, a link from their side can do wonders for your site’s SEO.
4.10- Charity organizations websites
Did you know that charity organizations enjoy some of the best rankings? Yes, and if your website gets a link from them, it can improve your visibility potential.
All you need to do is turn up as a donor for a given charity. Many websites will have their donor’s name and website address listed on their sites, and this can be a great way to build links for your company.
Since these charity websites are trusted in the online domain, they can be influential in boosting your rankings when you get a link from them.
4.11- Directory services
Smart marketers know that there are tons of directory sites available. They also know that you simply cannot have your link on all such websites and expect your rankings to improve.
Random site linking has simply lost its appeal in the eyes of Google as well as digital marketers.
The trick is to link to those that are ‘relevant’ to your industry. For example, a public forum site that deals with automobile reviews, new car launch news, etc. will have advertisers from the engine parts, engine oil, or motor parts suppliers’ websites.
Put your blog or content in front of bloggers or sites that are considered as influencers. These people enjoy a large social media following, and their testimony will hold weight.
Hence when they speak about your brand, you are sure to receive good quality traffic that can lead to better engagement with new prospects.
This is especially helpful in domains like beauty, travel, and food, where influential reviewers can sway your brand perception in the right direction.
5- To sign off
Backlinks may not be one of the top priorities for SEO specialists since they tend to focus largely on on-page aspects like keywords, anchor and meta text, internal links, and website architecture—aspects over which they can exercise control.
For an SEO strategy to be strong and effective, off-page practices like link-building play an equally important role.
In the digital world, after all, there is no scope for missing an opportunity worth capitalizing.
Marketers spend half their lives on A/B testing. You can also try out these tips to see what combination works best for you.
Once you have narrowed down on the most relevant pointers, keep following these for long-term success in terms of SEO.
In case some tips aren’t delivering the outcomes you are expecting, you can move on to another pointer so that you don’t spend time on steps that are not delivering the results.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 14, 2019, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.