OK, you’ve built a website and a blog for your business in an attempt to attract new customers and promote your products and services, but to no avail.
Your traffic numbers leave much to be desired, and conversions are scarce. The next thing you need to master is how to build links to your website.
It’s obvious that your digital marketing strategy needs a lot of improvement, particularly in the field of search engine optimization.
According to Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines, in terms of you should strive for the so-called EAT concept, which refers to expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Those are the characteristics your website should display in order to be rewarded with good rankings.
One of the most important aspects of this entire process is building links to your website, as, without it, you won’t be able to achieve your SEO goals.
Let’s dive right in and see what backlinks, are why they’re so pivotal for your SEO, and how to build links to your website.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as inbound or external links, are, in layman’s terms, HTML hyperlinks pointing from one site to another.
In this case, you want those links to point from a trustworthy, respectable source to your website. There are many benefits to building links.
This way, not only will you improve the visibility of your website and promote it, but you’ll also be perceived as more credible both by Google and your target audience. The websites that link back to your content will vouch for its quality and relevance, which means that search engines will take your website into consideration when showing results for particular searches.
Backlinks are also regarded as the currency of the internet and search engine optimization because they reflect your website’s reputation – much like your reputation in real life. If we know that 94% of all the content on the internet gets 0 external links, it’s obvious that you can really capitalize on this opportunity and be among the top 6% that Google rewards with better rankings.
Why Building Links Is Important for SEO
Link building forms an integral part of any successful SEO strategy. By leveraging advanced link building tips, you can significantly boost your search engine rankings. So why are link building strategies so crucial? When you acquire high-quality links pointing to your site, search engines, like Google, consider these as a vote of confidence. These inbound links are like signals telling search engines that your website is a reliable source of information.
The more quality links you have, the more authority your website gains. But remember, it’s not just about the quantity; the quality of links matters immensely too. Acquiring high-quality links from reputable websites in your industry not only enhances your credibility but also improves the likelihood of reaching a larger audience. As a result, you’ll notice improved visibility and increased traffic, contributing to your overall business growth.
How do backlinks work?
Search engines use backlinks in order to discover new web pages that they can add to their search results and establish how a certain page should be ranked in the results.
Although content is an important factor when it comes to ranking, it’s not the only one. Google needs proof that the content on that page is high-quality and relevant, and links from authoritative external websites pointing to that particular page serve as a vote of confidence and vouch for its credibility and relevance.
In other words, it’s not only about how many backlinks you have managed to build – their quality matters more than their quantity.
Now, how do you obtain such high-quality backlinks?
In some cases, it’s possible that someone will decide to link back to your website because they find your content informative and insightful.
But, in order to become a go-to source for websites in the industry, you first have to build the authority of your website.
Until then (and after that!), you need to build links.
Luckily, there are numerous tactics you can use and make sure that your links are featured on some well-ranked, trustworthy websites.
Link Building Don’ts
Before we start discussing how to build such expert, high-quality, and authoritative links, it’s a good idea to mention some of the biggest no-nos of this tactic.
Some of the link-building don’ts are pretty obvious, so we’ll just mention them.
Don’t do any of the following:
- Buy links
- Exchange links
- Use automated programs for getting links
- Write thin and off-topic guest posts
- Overoptimize your anchor text
- Build links unrelated to the main topic of your website.
All these tactics can be very detrimental to your SEO, which might result in Google penalizing you or tanking your rankings.
Apart from these link-building don’ts that are self-explanatory, there are others that you might think about using because they don’t seem particularly risky. But they are.
Don’t do any of the following, part 2:
- Link only to your homepage. Make sure that your links point to different pages of your website because if you mostly receive links to your homepage, your entire link-building approach will look spammy. And Google hates spam. Your link building should be natural, so if someone writes about your products, they should link to the relevant product page and not the homepage.
- Pay for a single link. Yes, we’re repeating ourselves, but not because we forgot that we already mentioned this one a couple of sentences above, but because it can’t be stressed enough that you should not buy a single link, even from a respectable company in your niche. While Google might not even notice this, there’s no need to play with fire since you don’t know whether the same company will sell more links to other people – and that’s what Google’s Penguin algorithm might notice. If you don’t have time for link building, it’s better to hire a link-building service that will build links in accordance with Google’s guidelines than resort to paying for single links.
- Recycle your content for different websites. While repurposing content is a valid tactic, what you shouldn’t do is using the same topic and make only minor changes such as switching paragraphs or sentences and changing a couple of words. This is still considered duplicate content, particularly if you do this a couple of times. Google considers this a link-building trick and frowns upon such a practice.
- Neglect social media. Although we know that social media isn’t an official ranking factor, likes, shares, and comments from your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram do have an impact on how well your website will rank. If you get a lot of backlinks from other websites while nothing from your social media, it will seem a bit off to Google. Again, it will raise red flags for spam. So, apart from trying to get backlinks from other websites, don’t forget to invest efforts (and some money) into generating clicks, shares, tweets, and comments on your social media channels too.
Now that you know what you definitely shouldn’t do, let’s talk about some effective link-building tactics.
Content-Based Link Building
Awesome content is a building block of every successful link-building strategy – you can’t obtain backlinks if your content isn’t educational, informative, interesting, and relevant to your target audience.
This tactic is pretty basic, and it can yield some great results when you’re starting out with link building. It revolves around creating a piece of content you know will appeal to a certain audience and then reaching out to these people with the purpose of building links.
Your ultimate goal should be reaching a point in which you won’t even have to ask for every single link you receive. Get in touch with some influencers in your industry, produce excellent content persistently, and make sure you stay on their radar. You’ll ask these influencers for a backlink a couple of times, and after that, if your content is valuable, they will be willing to promote your content on their website without you having to ask for that.
The trick is in creating exceptional content that will be a valuable asset to those who consume it. Therefore, it takes a lot of research and time to achieve success with this tactic.
Some of the content pieces that you can create include:
- An infographic
- A white paper
- An industry report
- A how-to guide
- A video.
The list goes on, and what you should do is test every format and see which ones perform best in terms of link building.
Guest Blogging to Build Links
Guest blogging is another no-brainer when it comes to link building.
If you want to build links, you should offer your original content to other websites.
Again, since many marketers used to abuse this tactic for generating links by submitting over-optimized content full of fluff, Google decided to put their foot down, and as a result, only high-quality, meaningful content will do the trick.
If you’re producing content and pitching it at scale, the odds are that it leaves much to be desired in the quality department. Even though it’s tempting to automate this process, it’s much better, especially in the long run, to take time and effort to create exceptional content for third-party websites.
Not only will this bring you a lot of backlinks, but it will also result in increased brand exposure and an influx of high-quality, organic traffic to your website.
3. Leverage Broken Links
The internet is full of broken links, which means that there are tons of link-building opportunities that are low-hanging fruit.
What are broken links?
These are dead links that no longer work and point to web pages that have been deleted. Sometimes bloggers have no idea that there are broken links on their website.
Do them and yourself a favor, identify broken links on the website you’d like to give you backlinks, and ask the blogger to replace it with a similar piece of content that already exists on your website.
It’s a win-win strategy – you’ll receive your backlink on a credible website, while the blogger will fix a broken link with an up-to-date post.
This tactic is also great because it involves significantly less work than creating fresh and original content – you practically offer a piece you already have.
Or, if you don’t have a piece of content you think would be a good match, you can create one. And this way, you can also find inspiration for fresh content.
Update Your Old Content
Check out your blog and find once valuable pieces of content such as reports or white papers that haven’t been updated in a while.
Then analyze backlinks in these articles and identify the ones that are referenced a number of times.
The next step is updating and improving that content so that it contains more relevant data.
After you give it a makeover, reach out to bloggers, webmasters, and websites that have linked to the old version of your content piece, and inform them that you’ve updated it.
It’s very likely that in a couple of days, you can expect additional backlinks, social media shares, and mentions. In addition to that, you can also build a more profound professional relationship and start collaborating with those who have given you backlinks – they might invite you on their podcast or even ask you to do another piece of content for them.
Besides link-building benefits, updating and repurposing your existing content is good for your SEO in general because it makes your content more relevant and in line with the latest trends in the industry.
Steal Your Competitors’ Backlinks
This sneaky tactic basically means that you should spy on your competitors and their backlinks and find a way to replace them.
You’ve probably been eyeing that top-ranking page for a particular search query, and your competitor is already there. Instead of letting them sit there and garner all the attention from Google and your shared target audience, you should try to dethrone them.
What’s great about spying on your competitors is that you can gain some really useful insights into the keywords they’re ranking for, where their links are coming from, and the tactics they use in order to succeed.
Using tools such as Ahrefs makes this possible by entering a keyword for which you want to rank and running the SERP Overview. This way, you’ll be able to see how many backlinks and websites that link to it each top-ranking competitor has.
Once you do, it will be much easier to follow their lead.
Sort the list of your competitors’ backlinks based on the search traffic of the linking page, and decide where it would make sense to ask for a backlink to your relevant content.
But how do you know which links should you pursue?
The answer would be those coming from websites with high domain page authority. That’s how you’ll ensure your content is linked to by a respectable source. And we already know that reputation is everything in the world of SEO.
The next step is reaching out to the blogger or webmaster and asking them to link back to your content. Given that they want to provide their readers with as many additional resources as possible on the subject topic they’re discussing, you can expect that at least some of them will gladly accept your offer.
It’s also good to know that if a certain page links back to your competitor’s home page, the odds are that they will be willing to give you a backlink too.
Create Linkable Assets
It’s only logical that one of the best ways to get people to give you a backlink is by creating linkable assets.
And what are those?
Linkable assets are free tools and useful resources that people want to link back to. We’re talking about free tools, infographics, unique studies and research, how-to guides, and tutorials, to name just a few.
Besides being an excellent trick for attracting links, free tools and other valuable assets will also serve as an effective lead generation tactic.
However, before you decide to invest your time and resources into creating these assets, you should do research to find out what kind of tool or asset, in general, gets the most backlinks. These are usually assets that clarify a certain confusing concept, explore a useful product or service, or generally speaking, help readers solve a certain pain point.
Keyword research is the first step of the process, so establish what the top results are that contain the terms such as “tool,” “generator,” or “template” in your niche. Analyze these top results and find out which one of them gets the most backlinks.
Now comes a trickier part – build a tool or asset that’s better than the existing ones. Add more options, improve design, and provide more value to potential users.
Get Featured on Podcasts
Podcasts have grown increasingly popular.
According to predictions, there will be 100 million podcast listeners in the US by 2024.
This means you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to get featured on relevant podcasts in your industry because you can expand your reach, establish your authority as an expert, promote your brand, and last but not least, score some valuable backlinks.
This tactic is similar to guest blogging, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s less time-consuming as all it takes is showing up and sharing your expertise, and that’s something you already have.
Put together a list of the most popular podcasts in your niche, come up with a topic you know a lot about, and pitch it to podcasters. Not all of them will be interested, but if your topic is relevant to their audience and if you provide a unique twist to it, it’s very likely that you’ll get a couple of interviews and backlinks.
Use Testimonials and Reviews
Using testimonials and reviews forms an ingenious method for acquiring high-quality links. Each review or testimonial about your brand posted on another website presents a golden opportunity for link building. When you offer a testimonial to a service you’ve utilised, it’s a win-win situation. The service gets a positive review, and you can request a link back to your site, aiding in your link building strategies.
These backlinks from testimonials provide dual benefits – they can drive potential customers to your site, and they act as a vote of confidence in the eyes of search engines. Make sure to include these opportunities in your link building strategies to foster stronger relationships with other brands and increase your website’s credibility.
Build Relationships with Influencers to Build Links
Social media has grown to be an instrumental platform for building relationships with influencers. By actively engaging with influencers on social media, you can make your brand more visible, and at the same time, it provides opportunities for effective link building. Quality links are often a result of robust relationships, and social media serves as the perfect platform for this engagement.
By sharing and commenting on influencers’ posts or even collaborating with them, you’re subtly promoting your brand. Plus, when an influencer shares a link to your site, you have access to their vast audience. It’s not just about link building – it’s about building relationships, and social media is your ticket to achieve that.
Participate in Roundup Posts
One of the advanced link building tips that you should certainly consider is participating in roundup posts. When you’re invited to provide expert insight or a quote for a blog post, you’re given the platform to display your expertise. But that’s not all – you also earn a precious link back to your site.
Roundup posts are incredibly popular, and they usually generate a lot of traffic. Being included as a thought leader or an industry expert not only gives you high-quality links but also enhances your credibility in your industry. Your insights could provide valuable information to readers, thereby increasing the chances of them visiting your site.
How to Measure Your Link Building Success
It’s crucial to not just implement link-building efforts but also to track the impact they’re creating. One of the ways to measure the success of your link-building strategies is by keeping an eye on the increase in inbound links to your site. The number of quality links you’re gaining is a direct reflection of the effectiveness of your strategy.
Besides the number of inbound links, it’s equally important to keep a close eye on the improvements in your search engine rankings as a result of these quality links. Higher visibility on search engines translates to more clicks, leading to increased traffic and potentially higher conversions.
Link Building Tools and Resources
In the modern digital landscape, a plethora of tools and resources are available that can help you streamline and optimise your link building strategies. These range from tools that help identify high-quality link opportunities to those that track the links pointing to your site.
Utilising these tools can save time, provide insights into your competitors’ strategies, and offer ways to capitalise on opportunities for high-quality links. Additionally, these resources can help you enhance your social media engagement and keep track of your link building progress. Remember, in the world of SEO, staying informed and using the right tools can make a significant difference in securing high-quality links.
There are many other link-building strategies, but these 7 should be at the top of your list. By implementing them, you’ll be able to build a strong link profile for your website, thus boosting your rankings and traffic. Don’t forget that Google doesn’t pay attention to how many links you build but to their quality. Make sure to check out our post on how to find link-building opportunities as well.
I am the founder and manager of BeFound SEO and the main consultant. I started offering SEO services back in 2007 when I had to explain SEO, as most people had no idea what it was and how much it could help their business online. I still love seeing the results from SEO.
When I’m not creating great strategy, I am usually out hiking up a mountain.
Connect with me on the links below.