Backlinks are also known as “inbound links”. Backlinks are crucial, as Google and other major search engines consider backlinks as a sort of endorsement for a page or post. Pages with high numbers of backlinks tend to have higher organic search engine rankings.
Backlinks are all about getting votes from other websites! Each of these “votes” lets search engines know that the content is credible, valuable, and useful for users. One can infer that the greater number of backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank in Google and the other search engines. However, not all backlinks are created equal!
When building backlinks, go with quality over quantity, every time. For example, a single high-quality backlink can be just as, if not more, powerful than 1,000 low-quality backlinks. When trying to parse the difference between high and low-quality backlinks, look at these three qualities to make your decisions:
- They come from trusted and authoritative websites.
- The site and pages are related to your site’s content.
- They include your target keyword.
1. Backlinks and Writing Guest Posts
While it is not the most efficient way to build backlinks, it is the key to finding new, quality, backlinks for your site! Guest blogging is one of the best ways to reach new audiences.
By publishing helpful articles on other popular websites, you’ll get your content in front of new readers and get more exposure. Sometimes, it’s not just about the backlink but also about increasing your online reputation and your followers on social media. Guest blogging can also help you use new relationships to your advantage and expand your audience.
You can utilize Google search queries to find blogs that are currently accepting guest contributors:
- your keyword + inurl:write-for-us
- your keyword + guest-posts
- your keyword + inurl:guest-post-guidelines
When you publish a guest article, you should always make sure to link to your business’ or clients’ social media profiles. If a reader enjoys your post, they can easily follow you on social media for similar future articles.
2. List Your Site in Trustworthy Directories
Online directories, also known as business directories, are convenient for businesses to build links and subsequently draw more organic traffic to their site. Directories will typically index enterprises by location, niche, or category, and often include reviews.
There are three main benefits to using online directories to promote your site and its pages and posts: targeted and relevant reach, trusted links, and cost-effectiveness.
Targeted and relevant research is arguably the best benefit of listing in trustworthy directories. When a person uses an online directory, they usually want to locate a business relevant to their needs. Therefore, an index makes it very easy for consumers to get through the marketing noise!
By having your business listed in a directory (like Google My Business), you are increasing your site’s visibility, which increases the chances of sales.
The trusted links that come with a directory listing also boost your site’s organic SEO. Online directories are trusted sources and are typically high-ranking sites. Adding your link to an authority site is always a good idea, especially if it means improved visibility and reach, and the possibility of improved site rankings and organic SEO.
Listing in a directory is also cost-effective compared to other link building strategies. Many online directories, such as FourSquare and Google My Business, allow you to submit your business information to their index for free!
3. Discover Competitors Common Backlinks
Knowing what backlinks your competitors are getting, you can learn what your site’s pages are missing. Opportunities! We use Ahrefs.com for this research. First, log in to Ahrefs Link Intersect. Link Intersect can show you the quality of inbound links in-depth, using metrics like Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Spam Score.
Then enter your competitors URL into the Moz Site Explorer and navigate into the Inbound Links tab.
The Inbound Links tab displays all of the backlinks that point to your competitor’s posts. Export this list into a CSV, and sort the backlinks by the most important criteria – page authority. You will have an extensive list of sites that are linking to your competitors (that could be linking to you!).
Scroll through your new list and look for authors or websites that show up the most, and target these contributors in your backlink campaign. It’s that easy!
4. Get an Indirect Backlink From A Competitor
Type your primary focus keyword into Google. Where are you ranking vs. your competitors? Let me beat you to it: it doesn’t matter (right now) if they’re ranking worse or better than your site. Think only of the traffic that they’re getting, that you’re not getting. Imagine being able to steal all of that traffic from them – right out from under them!
You can spy on your competitors’ backlinks and use the information to get more backlinks leading to your site. One site administrator used this method to get over 20% more backlinks to their website. Crazy, right? That is not only entirely possible; it’s a straightforward method! If you find yourself needing even more backlinks after executing your backlink building plan, this is a great step.
Once you reach the Moz Link Explorer, the first step is to get a copy of your competitors’ link profiles. Since most sites can have hundreds of backlinks, we recommend starting with your two biggest competitors. The way to subtly “steal” your competitors’ backlinks is by using a backlink analysis tool. It’s particularly useful because it gives you additional resources you won’t find in other link building tools.
For example, you can also find your competitors’ recurring link sources. Then you can nab those link sources and use them for your site. One more thing you can do with Moz Link Explorer is to set up backlink alerts. Moz will also email you weekly with any new backlinks your competitors have received, allowing you to steal their links in a snap!
5. Turn Your Mentions Into Backlinks
Other sites will sometimes mention your website or business without including a backlink – this is called a mention. How can you make these mentions work for you, and increase traffic to your site? Some key benefits of turning brand mentions into links include:
- Increased authority and search rankings
- Establish new relationships
- Manage online reputation
You can use many tools to find mentions that are not backlinked to your site. There are several methods and tools available to discover brand mentions online. Some great ones include Scrapebox, Citation Labs’ Link Prospector, and Ahrefs’ Mention Tracker.
You can simply enter your site URL, and the program will give you a list of your brand mentions – it’s that simple! While analyzing your mention URLs, try to sort them into universal themes that will allow you to brainstorm the best outreach strategy. For example, some categories may include Product and Service Comparisons, or Testimonials.
After you have sorted your mentions, you can begin manufacturing a plan for reaching out to publishers. You may believe that reaching out to your mentions is awkward. However, there are proven ways to get the highest possible success rate. As Neil Patel mentions on his Link Building post, you will want to do the following in your outreach email:
- Be creative – plain, boring emails tend to be considered spam in many cases! Plus, you can spark up a linking relationship by staying friendly with mentions.
- Personalize – you will want to include the person’s name and the website name in the email, so it doesn’t go straight into the recipients’ spam folder.
- Keep it short – asking for backlinks from mentions goes on a lot in the SEO world, so keep it short!
After that, you can sit back and wait for the backlinks to roll in!
6. Trade a Testimonial for a Backlink
You may be wondering how this works, and why you would ever do this. Testimonial links have several advantages:
- You can customize the link location and anchor text to drive traffic back to your site.
- Testimonials are often sitewide, but they usually reside on popular pages (aka authority) even when they’re not.
- Trading testimonials for backlinks makes sure everyone is a winner, so you are likely to have a higher success rate than other backlink strategies.
You can use the previously mentioned Ahrefs Mention Tracker for this backlink strategy. Just fire up Ahrefs, enter your site URL, and look at who has mentioned your site lately. Then, all you have to do is give testimonials. But how?
I hope all is well with (their site). I wanted to reach out to offer you a testimonial. I’ve been impressed with your newest services, and I’d be more than happy to provide a testimonial you could publish on the site. It would be my pleasure to share my great experience with the rest of your visitors.
Best wishes, (your name).