What we know today as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is partly a sort of popularity contest in which you get a high ranking based on the number of websites linking to yours and also the type of websites linking to you.
Apart from the fact that these backlinks play a major role in getting your site ranked, it also serves as a means of getting some extra traffic from the referring domain.
Today, you are going to learn how to build backlinks for SEO purposes. In fact, some of the strategies I’m going to share with you are reliable and have been used by a good number of successful websites.
However, before diving into backlink building strategies, we will first give you an overview of what they are and why you need them.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are simply links from other websites to yours. Other names of backlinks you may encounter in the industry are external links and inbound links.
The reason I said in the beginning that SEO is partly a sort of popularity contest is due to the fact that search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing see backlinks as “votes”, so to say. In other words, these search engines see the backlinks towards your site as an indication that your site is trustworthy and valuable.
However, all the backlinks towards your site do not have the same value in the eyes of these search engines (some are more valuable than others).
Why Do You Need To Build Backlinks?
Since backlinks are an indication in the eyes of search engines that your content is credible and useful, they are therefore very important to have in your SEO strategy.
The principle is quite simple and straightforward. The same way having more votes in an election is good for a politician, the higher your domain authority will be (and hence your ranking in search results) if you get more websites linking to yours.
Effects Of Backlinks On SEO
Though Google and other search engines continually update their algorithms, one variable that has remained constant year after year is backlinks.
While Google has admitted that links are a “top 3” factor for ranking, other studies in the industry continue to highlight the importance of link building on SEO.
This is where the $1million question comes: How do we build backlinks?
Read on and discover how:)
Best Strategies For Building Backlinks
As I mentioned earlier, not all links to your site are equal. There exist high-quality links and low-quality links and the extent to which your site will be boosted depends on the type of link you receive.
In fact, to put things into perspective, having just one high-quality backlink is way more valuable than 100 low-quality backlinks.
But what makes a backlink to be considered as high quality?
There is a panoply of things which when considered during a link-building strategy can considerably increase the value of a backlink in the eyes of search engines. However, we’re going to consider the top 4.
- Domain authority: This is probably the most important factor to consider. Links from high authority domain names carry far more weight and value than links from low authority domain names. In essence, domain authority is passed through links. The higher the authority of the website, the more authority it can pass to yours.
- Anchor text: An anchor text is a word or phrase on which the link to your site is embedded. You get an extra boost if the anchored text includes a keyword of the page it is linking to.
- Topical connection: Topical connection is among the things you should consider when looking for a high-quality backlink. These are links from websites within the same niche as yours and they count a great deal in the eyes of search engines.
- Lastly, you have to make sure the link is not a “no-follow” link since these types of links carry no SEO juice.
Enough of all the talking. Let’s dive into the strategies of building backlinks.
1. Build Backlinks By Using The Right Content Format
We’ve all probably heard of the study carried out by BuzzSumo on a sample of 1 million blog posts and articles.
Well, what they found was pretty sad.
According to their research, over 75% of online content gets zero links. This simply means most of the web is completely ignored.
However, they succeeded to come out with a list of content formats that tend to generate more backlinks according to their survey.
Hence, if you want to get more backlinks to your articles and blog posts, always use one of these content formats:
- List posts
- “Why” posts
- “How to” posts
In the conclusion of the survey report, the authors even stated that “List posts appear to perform consistently well as a content format in terms of both shares and links.”
However, apart from sticking to the content formats stated above, you have to try as much as possible to create amazing content.
2. Build Backlinks By Writing Extensive Ultimate Guides
There is no way around this. If you seriously want a link from a high authoritative site, your article has to shed a lot of light on the subject you are writing on.
Also, most of the content that get links are those that manage to find themselves on the first page of Google and to be a contender of such a position, your article needs to be as extensive as possible, sometimes having more than 2000 words (in general, depending on the niche).
Lots of SEO surveys are backing the fact that long-form content tends to perform better in search engine searches.
Apart from permitting you to rank higher, writing long form content is really the best way to have a “to-go” guide that will continually be referenced.
3. Make Use Of HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
By now, I’m sure it is pretty clear that you need to build backlinks from authoritative websites in order to appear on Google’s first page.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to make use of a free tool called Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
How does it work?
HARO is like Tinder, but designed for public relations.
It connects journalists and bloggers who need sources to people who want exposure and backlinks (You!).
However, this strategy requires a lot of hard-work and will not be easy.
In my opinion, this is probably the best way to build high quality backlinks at scale.
Wanna get started?
First, sign up as a source.
Then, choose a paid or free plan
Next, keep an eye out for possible requests you can contribute to.
Finally, send the journalist or blogger a very valuable but brief pitch.
4. Publish “Skyscraper” Content
Skyscraper content is among the best ways of attracting links from high authority websites, added to the fact that such contents are mostly list formatted.
An example of such a content is: SEO Tools: The complete list.
The question is: How can you create such a content?
First, find a keyword in your niche that has performed well and obtained a lot of links. This can easily be done by carrying out a few Google searches and analyzing the contents found on the first page.
Next, write a piece of content that is far better than all those found on the first page of Google results on that particular keyword.
Finally, promote your content. The best way to carry out the promotion of such content is by sending an email to all those you mentioned within the article asking them to share it on their favorite social media. Some may even end up linking to you in return.
Here is an email template that seems to work.
Hey [name of individual]
I’ve been working on a big post on
I’m excited to inform you that your product/service [name of product or service] is featured in the post.
Here is the post [link]
I will appreciate it if you shared it.
Writing skyscraper content is certainly not the easiest thing to do, but it is worth the sacrifice (for sure).
5. Build Backlinks Through Guest Posting
Guest posting is another very good way of obtaining backlinks to your site though it is a process that requires some patience.
Not only will guest posting permit you to earn backlinks, but it also seems to be one of the best ways to build a reputation in your industry or niche.
How do you find guest blogging opportunities?
Finding guest blogging opportunities is pretty easy. You just need to type in a phrase such as “write for us [your niche]” on Google and you will be led to guest post submission pages and guest post guidelines pages.
Also, there exist free platforms such as My Blog Guest which connects blog owners to guest post writers.
However, before venturing into guest posting, you have to take certain criteria into consideration.
First, you have to make sure the blog you intend to write for is in the same niche as yours (it’s even better if it has a high domain authority), to ensure topical connection.
Next, you have to be certain that your target audience will love the content you are writing.
And finally, you have to make sure the blog you will be writing for has engaged readers.
6. Turn Mentions Into Backlinks
Sometimes, you may be mentioned in a blog post without your site being linked.
These are among the easiest places you can obtain a backlink since the author definitely knows you and trusts your content (that’s why you were mentioned after all).
At this point, all you need to do is send them a friendly email.
Here is a template that seems to work.
I just stumbled on your article: [article title]
I just wanted to say thanks for mentioning [your brand name] in the article. I appreciate it.
Also, if you have a minute, it will be great if you linked to our site. This way your readers will also find the post you mentioned on our blog.
Again, thank you for mentioning us.
And that’s all.
We’ve reached the end the guide and we hope you found it useful.
One important thing you need to keep in mind is that these strategies are often hard to implement and time-consuming. So, I encourage you not to give up and you’ll soon see the results of your hard work compounding with time.
Also, let me know in the comments below your experiences with any of the strategies I mentioned in this guide.
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