Backlinks are one of the most important factors in SEO, as, done properly, they tell search engines that your website is a trusted resource in its field, which can result in higher positions on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and in turn, an increase in organic traffic.
In fact, backlinks are widely considered to be one of Google’s top three ranking factors alongside content and RankBrain, Google’s machine learning search engine algorithm, which provides more relevant search results for users.
However, not all backlinks are created equally. If your site has too many toxic backlinks from spammy sites, this can actually be harmful, rather than helpful, to your rankings.
To rank well, you need to ensure that your backlinks come from sites with topics which are relevant to your niche, and that have a good authority. A quick audit of your backlinks will show you which links are worth keeping and which should be disavowed.
So where do you start with building backlinks? We have put together this guide to help you get good quality backlinks:
Find broken links on other sites and offer an alternative link to your site
This is perhaps one of the easiest and quickest ways of link building and therefore a good place to start if your resources are limited.
You will first need to find webpages relevant to your own site which have got broken links on them and then suggest content that they could link to instead, from your own site.
This works for both sides, as website owners do not want their sites to be full of broken links and you are offering a quick and easy fix which involves minimal work from their side.
You will need to have the content they need already, or be prepared to create something new.
Identify your own unlinked brand mentions
If you are a larger company, it is likely that you will have lots of mentions throughout the internet. But that not all of these will have an actual link back to your website. This could be a missed opportunity.
Set up a Google Alert to pick up new mentions of your brand and then approach any good quality and relevant websites and let them know it might be helpful to their readers to add a link to your site.
Make your PR digital-focussed
Journalists rely on PRs to feed in stories for them to feature in their publications, both online and offline.
If you can provide interesting stories or insightful data then they are much likely to feature your brand.
This can often be missed, since traditional PR is often focussed on publicity, rather than organic SEO.
This strategy can often get your links on high authority news and lifestyle sites and so it is one not to be missed.
Try The Skyscraper Technique
SEO guru Brian Dean first introduced the SEO community to the Skyscraper Technique, a proven link building tactic.
First of all, you need to find a successful piece of content which has earned a lot of links.
Take this content and then create something along the same lines that is more up to date, or contains better evidence.
Dean suggests “If you find a link magnet with a title like “50 Healthy Snack Ideas”, publish a list of 150 (or even 500).” Alternatively, take an article that is dated and bring it up to date, with significantly more relevant content.
Once your content is ready, you can then reach out to the sites that published the original content and let them know that yours exists.
This is a time consuming strategy as you will need longer, more in depth content, which is ideally backed up with great visuals and graphics.
Passive link building
Create informative, insightful resources and concentrate on ensuring that they rank on page one.
This means that whenever anyone is searching for that information, they will come across your article and are likely to link to your site as the source.
This is a passive link building technique as, once the content is there, you do not need to actively reach out to anyone.
You will just need to ensure that you continue to optimise the page so that it does not lose its page 1 position. Easier said than done!
Sign up to Help A Reporter Out
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out and it is a thrice daily email blast, which is designed to help journalists who are writing stories get expert quotes and opinions.
Often the journalists will link back to your site, alongside your quote.
Choose where to pitch to carefully, ensuring that you really can offer insight into that topic, and this should be a fairly simple way of gaining backlinks.
Bonus points if you can provide some original research or statistics.
Consider writing guest posts for other sites
Writing content to appear on other people’s websites can be a great way to get backlinks, as you are offering the site owners something of value.
Think about it, a blog post written by someone else frees up at least a couple of hours of time!
Search for sites which are in your niche but are not direct competitors (as these are likely to turn down your offer) and ensure that the site has a well-maintained and up to date blog.
Provide quality, engaging content which is specifically tailored to this site and which includes a ‘follow’ backlink to your site (naturally!).
Some brands may wish to do the same on your site and done well, it can work out as a win-win for everyone.
Most brands have other businesses that they work alongside and you should contact these businesses and try to get listed on their site as a recommended supplier or a partner.
For example, a wedding dress boutique will stock multiple designers’ dresses and they should be listed on each designer’s website, as an official stockist.
Make a list of these sites and work through them one by one.
Find the most suitable page first and then ask your contact about it. If they do not have a suppliers page or similar, then maybe you can offer them a guest post for their blog instead.
Ticking both the influencer outreach and the user generated content box, this backlink building strategy can form part of a larger content campaign.
First, start with an idea for an engaging piece of content and then reach out to influencers for their top tips around this idea.
For example, a campsite may produce a video of top camping hacks, using tips submitted by influencers.
Once the content is live, do not forget to go back to the influencers who submitted quotes and tips and ask them to link back to the content.
As well as a backlink, you may also get some social media shares of your content, building brand awareness.
Remember to check both the domain authority of the influencer’s site and how much organic traffic they receive each month in order to maximise this opportunity.