Backlinks are considered very useful in improving your website’s ranking in the search engine results page. As such they are considered an essential part of any SEO strategy. A backlink is when one website connects to another through an anchor text or phrase, thereby bestowing on that website a little bit of link juice and raising that website’s prominence in the SERP.
One of the key things about backlinks, to make them truly work for you is that they need to be natural. That means that when a website links to you it should be because what you offer fits in with what they’re talking about or you’re incredibly relevant to the point they’re making.
For example, say your website is a wine e-commerce platform, and it receives a backlink from prominent wine blogger – consider this a huge win. If it were to receive a backlink from a website specialising in leather goods, this would be highly irrelevant and should be considered a spam link.
A point to note when it comes to backlinks – always choose quality over quantity. The higher quality the backlink i.e. the more authoritative the site the backlink originated from, the more organic traffic flows your way.
There are ways and means to get backlinks and it’s wise to say now that there are good ways to get backlinks and bad ways.
Bad ways to get backlinks include:
- Buying backlinks
- Taking part in link exchange networks
- Selling backlinks
If the search engines suspect you of taking part in any black hat SEO practice to obtain backlinks in order to boost your ranking in the SERP, expect to be penalised for it. A penalty could be anything from dropping in the ranking, to not being included in the results at all.
So how do you get backlinks the right way?
Here are our 5 top tips.
5 ways to get backlinks (the right way)
1. Build broken links.
This is a brilliant way of garnering backlinks because it begins relationships. This technique sees you first find a broken link from a high authority site, you contact the site owner to tell them about the broken link and recommend your website (if you’re relevant) as a link replacement.
There’s a high chance you’ll get that backlink because not only are you doing them a favour by highlighting a broken link (Google doesn’t like broken links), you’re also giving them an alternative to filling that link, meaning they don’t have to find one themselves.
To use this method and find broken links, simply search “your niche + links”, then download the Screaming Frog SEO Spider, a great freemium tool that will crawl all of your competitors’ sites and reveal every one of their 404 pages i.e. the pages with broken links.
Once you’ve got a list of pages with broken links, you simply export them into an excel or Google docs file and off you go!
2. Publish really great content.
First off, create really great, really relevant pieces of content in your industry. To find out what would work, simply Google your keyword then check out what comes up on the first page of the SERP. Create content that beats what’s on that first page, then promote it far and wide. The more people who see it, the more likely they are to backlink to it.
3. Become a journo’s friend.
Journalists, bloggers, reporters, they all need sources. And you need exposure. So scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours by linking to your site. You can find plenty of opportunities to help journos out via Twitter, for example, through the hashtag #journorequest, or via a free service ‘Help a reporter out’ that connects journos with sources.
4. Create the right type of content.
A study by BuzzSumo recently of 1 million blog posts found that most online content is ignored. However, there are certain types of content that perform brilliantly. Content formats such as:
- Pop quizzes
- ‘How to’ style posts
5. Guest blogging.
This is one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences and help build relationships with authoritative sites. High ranking sites need to maintain their position by constantly posting new content, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to create great content, which is where you come in.
Find out what their readers want to consume and make sure you create content that they’ll love. Not only will it (hopefully) provide you with a backlink, but it will help boost your online reputation and expand your audience.
Not sure how to find relevant sites that accept guest posts? Simply google:
- Keyword + guest posts
- Keyword + become a contributor
- Keyword + contribute
- Keyword + now accepting guest posts
Earning backlinks can be a time-consuming task, but it is an SEO practice that pays off. And remember, keeping your backlinks is just as important as building them in the first place, so don’t fall foul of the 404 hack we highlighted above. Also, keep track of all the backlinks your site is getting and don’t forget to disavow any you deem spammy – quality always trumps quantity any day.