What Are Backlinks and How Do I Get Them?
Search engine optimisation is more than just finding the most relevant keywords and then using them throughout your website. To rank well on major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, you need to show proof that you’re an industry authority. You also have to show everyone that you’re a trusted source of information that will benefit your target audience.
You can do this by obtaining quality backlinks through link building or off-page SEO.
So what are backlinks and how do they work? Also known as inbound links or external links, backlinks are links from one website to another. If a website is linking to yours, you have a backlink from them. On the other hand, if you link to another site, they have a backlink from you.
Backlinks are an essential component of SEO. If you’re trying to rank on Google and improve the amount of organic coming into your site, you should keep a close eye to your backlinks. It is because the search giant confirmed that besides content, backlinks are one of the two vital signals it uses to determine a website’s search ranking.
Backlinks are often talked about and for a good reason. Aside from being a primary search ranking factor, they can provide your website with many benefits. Now that you know what are backlinks in SEO, it’s time to learn why you should build high-quality backlinks to your site.
1. They help improve your search ranking
Backlinks can help you rank higher on Google and other major search engines. A recent Backlinko study showed that having more backlinks contribute to a higher Google ranking. When websites link to yours, they tell search engines that your content is relevant, useful, and credible. Therefore, the more links you have, the bigger your chance of ranking high on search engines.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should convince just about any website to link to yours. As far as link building is concerned, quality always trumps quantity. Therefore, you have to make sure that only trusted and relevant sites are linking to yours. Otherwise, you might receive a penalty from Google for violating its Webmaster Guidelines.
2. They enable Google to index your content faster
Google’s search bots use links to locate new webpages. This is how the search giant finds, crawls, and indexes new web content. If you publish new material and a trusted website links to it, Google can quickly index it. As a result, it will get ranked faster.
3. They help build your reputation and credibility
Beyond their SEO benefits, backlinks can also serve as an excellent tool for building your reputation, authority, and credibility. This can be highly useful if you have just started and not too many people in your industry know you yet.
For example, let’s say you wrote a piece about an up and coming device. If a popular website or publication links to the content you’ve created, such as Wired, Mashable, or TechRadar, you’ll get an instant credibility boost. If people see that the who’s who of the tech industry is interested in what you have written, they are likely to trust you, too. This will encourage them to talk about your business or even visit and follow your website.
4. They are a great source of referral traffic
You might be surprised to find out that not all web traffic comes from search engines. A considerable amount of web traffic actually comes from other websites. Quality backlinks are an excellent source of referral traffic. As illustrated by the example above, a single link from a major online publication or an authority website can drive hundreds of people to your site.
What’s more, the referral traffic these backlinks are driving to your site is highly targeted. This means the people visiting your website are actively searching for data or information relevant to what you’re offering.
After answering the question “What are backlinks?” Next, we’re going to tackle the types of backlinks you should focus on. As discussed earlier, when it comes to link building, you must prioritise quality over quantity. Always remember that a single quality backlink is more powerful and more valuable than hundreds of low-quality backlinks.
Fortunately, there are ways to separate good links from the bad ones. High-quality backlinks have four distinct qualities.
1. They have domain authority
Google prioritise links from popular and trusted sites more than those from relatively unknown websites. In addition, the more authority a website has, the more authority it can share with you through your backlink. For this reason, make sure to obtain links only from trustworthy and authoritative sites.
Take note that obtaining backlinks from top-rated websites can be quite a challenge. You have to provide them with a valid reason why they should link to your site. However, building links with excellent domain authority is undoubtedly worth the effort because of its benefits.
2. Your target/focus keyword is in the anchor text
Generally speaking, you’d want your backlinks to have anchor text with your target keyword in it. It is because a recent study showed that there is a relationship between keyword-rich anchor text and higher ranking keywords.
However, as with anything in life, doing it excessively can be bad for you. With the launch of its Penguin update a few years ago, Google started cracking down on backlinks with exact match anchor text. As such, make sure that you don’t use keyword-rich anchor text excessively. Otherwise, you might end up with a penalty from the search giant that could lead to decreased web traffic.
3. They are relevant
Make sure to obtain links from websites that are relevant to yours. If Google sees that you have tons of backlinks from websites that are entirely unrelated to yours, it could flag your site for violating its guidelines.
When building links, see to it that only relevant sites are linking to yours. For example, it doesn’t make any sense for sites about gardening or plumbing to link to yours if your content is about bodybuilding and physical fitness.
4. They are a “dofollow” link
Google and other major search engines ignore links with the “nofollow” tag. This means that these backlinks won’t contribute to your search ranking. That being said, ensure that you build links with the “dofollow” tag.
However, this doesn’t mean that nofollow links are completely without value. Nofollow links prevent your link building campaign from being too spammy. They can also provide you with quality referral traffic.
5. They come from a website that hasn’t linked to you before
While it is good that a website is linking to yours, it isn’t that great when it links to you again and again. It’s because the more often a site links to yours, the less valuable its backlinks become. To put it simply, it’s better to obtain a hundred backlinks from different sites than to get a thousand of them from the same website.
Link Building Tips and Best Practices
Now you no longer have to ask the question “What are backlinks in SEO?” The next obvious step is to determine what you can do to ensure the success of your link building campaign. Here are some of the best practices you should follow when building links to your site.
1. Check your backlinks
First, you must determine the current status of your backlinks. This will help you identify the improvements you need to make. It will also give you some insights on what you can do to obtain more links in the future.
Using Google Search Console can help you check the health of your backlinks. It’s a free-to-use tool that provides you with valuable information about your site’s performance and the amount of organic traffic it is receiving. Sign up for a free account and verify your site’s owner to get started.
After logging in, click on “Links” on the sidebar. Under “External links,” you’ll see the total number of unique backlinks to your site. If you scroll down, you’ll see the following reports that will give you a better understanding of your current link building efforts:
a. Top linked pages
Your webpages with the most number of backlinks.
b. Top linking sites
The websites that often link to yours.
c. Top linking text
The anchor text that websites often use when linking to you.
Apart from Google Search Console, you can use other third-party apps and tools to determine the status of your backlinks.
2. Develop linkable assets
If you want trusted authority sites to link to yours, you should give them a compelling reason. After all, you can’t just go on asking yourself “What are backlinks?” and expect quality links to appear magically out of thin air.
You can convince sites to link to yours by developing and creating “linkable assets” on a regular basis. In a nutshell, a linkable asset is anything that people will want to link to or use as a reference. It can be a piece of original research, a video, an infographic, a blog post, a survey, or even a quiz.
Since most of the content pieces on the Internet today are just regurgitated content, you should try to come up with something original. If you have something useful and valuable that no one else has, you’ll be treated like a rockstar. People in your niche or industry are likely to link to you and provide you with vital SEO juice that can help boost your site’s search ranking and authority.
2. Encourage your suppliers to give you backlinks
If you sell or distribute the products of other businesses, one way to obtain quality backlinks is to ask them directly to link to your site. In most cases, suppliers’ websites have a “Where to buy” or “Stockists” page that offers information about their distributors, such as their address, contact numbers, and URL.
Often, these pages aren’t updated regularly. As such, ask your supplier to add your contact details to their “Where to buy” page.
3. Take advantage of link roundups
As the name implies, link roundups refer to blog posts that link to high-quality content regularly (daily, weekly, or monthly). You can ask link roundups in your industry or niche to include your content so you can obtain valuable backlinks.
Start by looking up possible link roundups in your niche on Google. Then, use this search string or something similar in your query: relevant keyword + link roundup. Once you find what you’re looking for, contact the person who manages the roundup and convince them to consider your linkable assets. Not only can this give you a quality backlink, but you may also get a mention on social media if you succeed.
4. Submit guest posts to trusted industry publications
Guest posting is a proven time-tested method for obtaining high-quality backlinks. It also enables you to showcase your knowledge and expertise of subjects relevant to your niche or industry.
To get started, look for popular industry publications that are searching for contributors. For example, let’s say you’re a lawyer or someone who conducts content marketing for a law firm. Type in the search string ‘law in title:”write for us.”‘ The search giant will return with several relevant law websites that accept guest posts.
Before creating a blog post, make sure to check out the publisher’s submission guidelines. This way, you can avoid making mistakes that will cause your piece to get rejected. Then, create a piece of content that will make it difficult for the publisher to turn it down. Identify trending topics in your niche you think will interest the publisher.
After creating the content, the next step is to reach out to the publisher. While you can use generic emails when pitching in your content, we suggest using a personalised one instead. Statistics showed that emails with a personal touch have an 18.8% open rate and a 2.1% click-through rate. On the other hand, generic emails have a 13.1% open rate and a 1.9% click-through rate.
5. Take advantage of the “Moving Man” method
The “Moving Man” method is a straightforward strategy for obtaining quality backlinks. First, you must find webpages or online resources that are outdated or have changed names/brand recently to get quality links. Then, research the sites that are still linking to them.
Once you identify the sites, email their owners and let them know that they’re linking to something outdated. Then, take this opportunity to offer your website or a piece of similar content you’ve created as a replacement.
Besides the five strategies discussed above, there are other methods for obtaining high-quality backlinks. Here are some of them:
- Broken link building – This is similar to the Moving Man Method. However, the difference is that you’re looking for webpages with 404 errors.
- The “Skyscraper” technique – In this strategy, what you need to do is to find a piece of web content that is relevant to your brand or business. Then, create something significantly better. For instance, if the article contains outdated information, you may update it or link it to references containing the latest data.
- Submitting testimonials – If you’re using a product or service that you like, consider sending the company a testimonial. To show that you’re a real person and not something they just made up, most businesses would add a link to your site, even if you didn’t ask them.
- Unlinked mentions – Scour the web for unlinked mentions of your brand or business. Then, ask the author to add a link to your site to make the mention clickable.
- Leaving comments on blogs – Find relevant blog posts and let the author know what you think of their content.
- Replying to online forums – Consider being active on online forums related to your niche or industry.
- Asking bloggers to review your products/service – If you’re selling anything of value, offer them to bloggers for free. Then, ask them to review the product or service in exchange for the freebie.
Besides finding the most relevant keywords and using them accordingly on your site, it’s also crucial to build high-quality backlinks to your site. Not only are they a vital Google ranking factor, but backlinks also enable you to show your target audience that you’re someone they can trust. After all, when numerous authority websites are linking to yours, it is a sign that you’re a reliable source of industry information.
However, building high-quality backlinks can be a challenging feat. It usually takes time and effort to obtain the results you’re expecting. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone because, at Springhill Marketing, we’ll be here to assist you. With more than ten years of relevant experience, we can offer you all the SEO solutions you require so you can attract quality traffic and leads to your site. Contact us today to get professional SEO services.
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