Backlinks are the bread and butter of every SEO expert’s toolkit. Try these 14 strategies to get your website ranking higher in no time!
Backlinks are links from outside domains that link back to pages on your domain. They play a crucial role in most search engine algorithms and are a powerful tool in any marketer’s toolbox.
Think of them as being something akin to receiving a vote for a webpage. The more votes you get, the higher the organic page rank you receive. And the higher your page rank, the better your conversion rate.
Also referred to as “inbound links” or “external links”, backlinks help:
• Users discover content relevant to their interests
• Google crawl and index your pages, resulting in improved organic rankings
• Drive direct traffic to your site, as well as steady referral traffic
• Build brand authority
• And attract more backlinks
Today, backlinks are still considered to be one of the most effective ways to increase those all-important SEO rankings and traffic.
But it’s important to remember that not all backlinks were made equal! While in the past, it was the quantity of backlinks that indicated a page’s popularity. Today it’s all about the quality of your backlinks.
What is a quality backlink?
In search engine optimisation (SEO), a quality backlink is a link that comes from trusted, high-authority sites like Moz or Crunchbase that are relevant to your niche. Backlinks from reputable sites such as these can help you rank higher in search engines, and serve as an indicator of how trustworthy your site is.
A low-quality backlink, on the other hand, comes from disconnected, low-ranking, spammy, or untrusted sites, and can seriously hurt your rankings.
At the end of the day, you should always be looking to improve your website’s domain authority, which is a key metric that helps to determine a website’s positioning on search engine result pages, and quality backlinks help to do just that. To determine your website’s domain authority, click here.
How to Get Quality Backlinks for SEO
1. Develop Shareable Content
The first step in getting quality backlinks for SEO is to create link-worthy content. What that means is, you need to give marketers something to “link to”. Among the most shareable of content formats are listicles, guides (articles that tend to answer a “why” or “how to” headline), and tutorials. The reason for this is simple. They’re insightful, easily scannable and digestible, and provide a solution to a problem.
2. Write Guest Posts
Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences. To find guest blogging opportunities, we recommend keeping an eye on where your competitors are regularly contributing content to and reaching out yourself.
Alternatively, you can use Google search to find active blogs currently accepting guest contributors. To do this simply input:
• your keyword + inurl:write-for-us
• your keyword + guest-posts
• your keyword + inurl:guest-post-guidelines
• your keyword + become a guest writer
• your keyword + become a contributor
• your keyword + submit an article
• your keyword + want to write for
• your keyword + accepting guest posts
• your keyword + become an author
You get the idea…
3. Create infographics
Like listicles and tutorials, infographics are another great and easy way to elicit links. Super shareable and easy to make, infographics – as a form of visual content – tend to be more engaging and easier to understand than long-form prose. When it comes to designing your infographic, it’s important to note that the best ones either include data on a certain topic or provide simple and applicable ways to solve a problem.
Once you’ve created your infographic and published it on your site, you can submit it to one of the many infographic submission websites available, in the hopes that it will get noticed and shared. Feeling creative? Charts and videos work great too.
4. Become a Source For Reporters and Bloggers
One of the best ways to get backlinks is by publishing content that positions your website as a thought leader in your industry. By doing so, other sites will want to cite, source, and interview you. When possible, be sure to include quotes from experts or important statistics, as expert comments and insights add credibility to your content, making it all the more shareable.
5. Backlink from Your Own Website
Internal links are another great way to help Google decipher which pages are more important. Similar to backlinks, internal links work by hyperlinking from one page on a domain to another page. However, unlike backlinks, these hyperlinks point to pages on the same domain. As you write new content, remember to revisit relevant older posts and link back to the new post you just published, and visa versa.
Aside from its backlinking benefit, internal links also play a big part in improving both user experience and engagement on your site, decreasing your bounce rate and potentially increasing your ranking in one fell swoop.
6. Conduct Interviews
One of the simplest ways to build links is to interview experts. Often, all you need is one quote from them, which can be quickly and easily obtained via email. Once you’ve published your article, remember to ask them to add a link to the interview on their website and share it with their readers, as well as with their followers on social media.
7. Be Interviewed
Just like a guest post, you can also get backlinks by participating in interviews yourself. Reach out to various blogs, news sites, podcasts, and other media channels and offer to share your own unique insights. Not only is this an opportunity to increase your online visibility and obtain those all-important backlinks, but it also helps to promote you as an authority within your niche.
8. Write Guest Posts on Other Blogs
Though time-consuming, guest blogging is one of the best ways to generate backlinks and drive relevant traffic to your site. The important thing here is to guest post for publications with high domain authorities within your niche.
9. Feature Other Brands
One of the most popular ways to get backlinks is through listicles, so be sure to create ‘top lists’ that are packed with helpful information relating to products, businesses, and tools relating to your niche. Not only will people want to share your article because of its useful content, but companies, too, will come to you requesting to be included, and will likely feature any favourable review or mention on their site with an accompanying backlink.
10. Convert Unlinked Mentions to Links
If you have a well-known brand, in all likelihood, someone out there is talking about you. And, more often than not, these mentions are unlinked, making them great prospects for link building. The best way to find unlinked mentions to turn into links is to use a tool that scans the web for your brand mentions. Luckily for you, there are several freely available ones. We recommend setting up a Google Alert for your brand name (and other branded tools), and, upon discovery of an unlinked mention, reaching out to the site owner to kindly request the addition of a link.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for domain name misspellings, which happen more often than you’d think. Most (if not all) of the time, publishers are unaware of the mistake, and would happily fix it when prodded. You can also try your luck by requesting a backlink. To find misspelt links, you can use this free domain typo generator.
11. Broken Link Building
A lesser-known way to build backlinks involves letting a webmaster know about broken links or ‘dead links’ on their site. The idea here is that, by politely pointing out a non-operational link on a webmaster’s page, you’re essentially doing them a favour, making them all the more likely to replace said dead link with a working link to a resource on your website. You can easily identify broken links using Ahref’s broken link checker.
12. Create ‘Skyscraper Content’
Created by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, the Skyscraper Technique is a system that builds upon content that already works. It involves scouring the internet for popular, high-quality content within your niche, and then looking for ways in which to improve upon it.
Examples of ways to improve on existing content include making it more comprehensive, whether that be by adding additional resources or tips that the original author failed to mention; creating it in a different, more scannable format; or appealing to a more specific audience. By improving on content that already has a proven demand and a primed audience, you have the potential to outrank that original article and steal all their traffic. Pretty neat, eh?
Finally, once you’ve published your new and improved content, don’t forget to ask those linking back to the original piece to, instead, link to your superior content. The argument here is that people are naturally drawn to the best. Noone remembers the 6th or 7th tallest skyscraper; they only recall the tallest and “best” one. And it’s the same with content. So find that skyscraper content – that number one article on a topic in your niche – and make something better.
13. Write Testimonials
Another tried-and-tested method of generating backlinks is by submitting testimonials to various reputable sites. Getting reviews from bloggers and online content creators is essentially free advertising for them, and will usually win you a backlink in return.
14. Track Your Competitors’ Backlinks and ‘Steal’ Them
Admit it, this one sounds appealing. By spying on your competitors and the sites that link back to them, you open yourself up to countless backlink opportunities. Similar to the Skyscraper Technique, this method works by persuading top ranking sites that link back to your competitor to, instead, link back to you. If you’re lucky, you’ll already have an existing article on hand that you can provide as a replacement. If not, you will have to create a superior piece of content to that of your competitors in order to edge them out. While this might sound time-consuming, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Oftentimes, your competitors will have multiple backlinks from different sites linking back to the same article, meaning that one newly created or repurposed article from you can result in five, 10, or even 20 backlinks.
Alternatively, you can share a slice of their audience by asking the webmaster to link you from the same page as that of your competitor. This tactic works best with listicles/industry roundups, where there are plenty of link opportunities to go around.
To start, you can use Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool to find the sites that are linking to your competitors’ sites.
There you have it! 14 proven techniques to get you high quality, relevant backlinks. While it’s not rocket science, effective link building does take some serious time and effort. So, be patient and diligent, and the results will show for themselves.