Building backlinks to your site
Google has over 200 factors that determine your site ranking and number one is backlinks.
What is a backlink?
If you dabble in the world of marketing or web design, it’s a phrase you’ll hear bandied around a lot when talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
A backlink is a link from one website to another. Like a ‘vote’ for a page, it tells Google the content is valuable and useful. Backlinks are the basis of Google’s PageRank algorithm.
The more backlinks you have, the higher you’ll rank on Google
Link building is an art and science, creative and analytical. It involves detective work, psychology, tech tools, and relationship building.
It’s good fun! And it helps you build relationships with other business owners, and establish yourself as a trusted expert in your niche, so that people come to you for content and quotes.
Quality over quantity
Google considers the quality of the link to be more important than quantity. For example, Sky News linking to your site would be a higher quality link than your local free newspaper.
However, algorithms also consider how relevant the links are. If your links are coming from unrelated sites or pages, they will be regarded as poor-quality links. So be strategic in your outreach and target sites in your niche.
Backlinks need to grow organically
This means you can’t go on a backlink mission paying people to link to your site! This goes against Google’s quality guidelines, and you could be penalised.
Google likes to see the links occurring over time are relative and preferably come from trusted sites with high Domain Authority. (Domain Authority works on a scale of 0-100 with 40+ considered good, 60+ excellent.)
The highest score is 100 – sites like Google, Facebook, and YouTube. The more authority a site has, the more it can pass on to your site via a backlink.
How do you check Domain Authority? Use Moz’s free Domain SEO Analysis Tool to see your DA, top pages, ranking, keywords and more.
Ahrefs has a Domain Ranking score which looks at the quality of external backlinks to a site, a Website Authority Checker so you can see your backlink profile (free 7-day trial for $7 if you want to see all the backlinks).
Create a spreadsheet and get this information down!
The only way to increase your website authority is to get more high-quality links to your site.
8 ways to get backlinks in 2021
1. Roundup posts
Send an email to some thought leaders in your space. Tell them you’re writing a blog and would love to include their feedback on a specific question/issue and that you will reference them, their website, and social profiles.
Once you’ve published the post, let them know and ask them to share it on their websites and social channels. This will generate more traffic for your site and increase reach, giving a higher probability that someone will link back to your site. Make sure you’re following them and interacting on social media first – so you’re not pitching cold!
2. Link roundups
A link roundup is a daily, weekly, or monthly blog post that curates and links to great content online. Go to Google and type in “[Your keyword]” + “roundup” and see what results come up.
Once you’ve found a roundup that seems like a good fit for your brand/content, send them an email. Here’s an example of what to say:
Hi [Site owner name]
I just came across your [Roundup name] today. Great stuff.
I’m reaching out because I recently published a [Content description] that might be a good fit for the site [Your URL or blog post link here].
Either way, thanks for your time, and it would be great if you’d consider me for future roundups!
[Your first name]
[Pro email signature that links to all your profiles] so they know it’s not spam.
Remember, you are writing to a human. Personalise every email you send and gently suggest they include your linkable asset in the roundup, and if it’s a good fit, they may also share it on social.
3. Broken link building
This is a good strategy as you’re adding value to someone’s site by correcting a broken link and offering a resource. Focus on resource pages in your niche and try and find some with recent 404 errors. So, if you work in the fitness industry, Google “Fitness” + “Resource page”, “Fitness” + “Resources” or “Fitness” + “links” and see what comes up.
Add the check my links Google Chrome extension to find broken links. Then contact the site owner and let them about the broken link and that you’ve written a post on this content – feel free to use it on your resource page.
4. Loot your competitors’ backlinks
Use Moz Pro or Ahrefs Site Explorer (free trial) to research your competitors and monitor your niche. Find out where their links are coming from and start pitching to the same outlets. (FYI, podcasts are a brilliant source of quality backlinks and free therapy). Also, look for sites that list your competitors but not you and ask them nicely for a link – send them a useful resource.
5. Write testimonials for products/services you use
This can help you to earn a link from an authoritative website. If you’re using a product or service you love, send them a testimonial. They may add a link to your website without you asking.
6. Link reclamation
Try Ahrefs Content Explorer tool, Buzzsumo, SEMrush or Mention.com (all offer free trials). Google Alerts or Advanced Search is free (search using “[Your keyword]” and other nifty search strings, but it will take longer, and it’s hard to export data.
You can do the same with unlinked images, e.g. infographics or products. Use Google’s reverse image search and upload an image you think may be used online. Contact the site owner and ask them to credit you and link back.
Get into the habit of doing this quarterly – it’s good to monitor online conversations about your company. No doubt you’ll find loads of results, so prioritise the most authoritative sites.
7. Create linkable assets
Content is king! The best way to create organic backlinks is to create great content people want to link to consistently. So, blogs, videos, whitepapers, infographics, how-to guides, software, quizzes, and surveys.
To help generate ideas, check out sites like Answer the Public and Google’s ‘People also ask’ to find what people are searching for information on. Then create quality content that solves their problem.
You can also pitch guest posts to blogs in your niche. Search “[Keyword]” + “guest post” or “[Keyword]” + “Write for us”, and you will find a list of sites with opportunities to pitch.
You can also promote your infographics online by submitting them to sites to help you get more backlinks.
8. Become a trusted source for journalists, bloggers, and influencers
Sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – a site that connects journalists seeking expertise for their content with sources with that expertise. Sign up as a source and look out for requests alerts for your industry.
Pitch helpful information and your credentials, and hopefully, they will use you again. HARO a US site but now has UK categories. Also, check out #JournoRequest on Twitter and ResponseSource for UK-focused markets.
Business is about human connection. Develop authentic relationships with people in your industry and become a trusted go-to source of information and you will organically get more backlinks.
It’s great to have a support network to bounce ideas around, help each other out, and collaborate on projects and campaigns.
Happy link building!
To recap, link building is the most crucial part of your marketing/SEO. Use these strategies to help you find link opportunities, grow your authority, and you will see a steady improvement in your Google PageRank over time.
Remember to keep notes to track your progress. ????
Which link building strategy will you try first? Please post a comment and let us know what’s working for you. No time for backlinks? Give me a call, and let’s chat!
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