If you want to implement a successful search strategy that drives traffic to your website, there are two words you need to know now:
And we don’t mean just knowing what the words themselves mean; we’re talking about understanding them as key ranking factors and the building blocks of an effective SEO strategy.
Relevance has everything to do with delivering high-quality content that aligns with your target audience’s needs, wants, and interests. Essentially, you know what they’re searching for and then craft the content to match.
Authority, on the other hand, is a little trickier to nail down. Google doesn’t just want to know that your website has content that is relevant to users. When Google is ranking SERPs (search engine results pages), they’re also looking closely at many other factors, including how authoritative the content source is. In other words, the algorithm is assessing just how trustworthy your website is – after all, they don’t want to send unsuspecting users off to a less-than-solid source.
It might seem like measuring authority is a task that ventures into a subjective territory, but Google has devised a system that relies on one specific marker: backlinks.
What are Backlinks?
If you’re a business owner trying to increase organic traffic to your website, you might be familiar with backlink building as a strategy.
A backlink, sometimes referred to as an inbound link, is a link on another website that (when clicked) brings a user to your site.
Backlinks can be built into website text, an image, or even a visual element such as a button. The core characteristic that it must have is that it is located on a website that is not yours. For the purpose of search engine optimization (SEO), learning how to get backlinks is crucial in improving your ranking factors.
Why are Backlinks Important?
If you don’t already have some backlinking strategies in action, it’s time to make that a top priority. Google utilizes hundreds of ranking factors to decide where a website appears in a list of search results, but backlinks are easily one of the most important.
From the perspective of the search provider, backlinks serve as a vote of confidence for your website’s authority. Think of it as a digital recommendation that supports the quality and authority of your content. Beyond SEO performance, backlinking is also a way to show online users that your brand is one to be trusted. Users can make connections between your brand and others and solidify a sense of trust in your business, products, and services.
White Hat Backlinks vs. Black Hat Backlinks
One of the most common questions we hear about linking is, “What are white hat backlinks?” In simplest terms, it’s just a creative name for high-quality links. In contrast, black hat backlinking attempts to “beat the system” with low-quality, often fake links.
Thankfully, Google is no rookie when it comes to spotting websites that are trying to cut corners. Whereas black hat strategies such as link farms and spam comments used to fly under the radar, Google has developed technology that renders these attempts pointless. In fact, using low-quality links can even land you with a penalty from Google.
As you learn how to build backlinks, this means that quality is just as important as quantity. That’s also what makes building backlinks one of the toughest parts of SEO. Ideally, you’ll aim for links that are:
- Authoritative: A site that has a high-quality backlink profile of their own is an ideal option because they’re already doing an excellent job of showing Google they are a trustworthy source. So, it means that much more when they link to your page. Sites that rank well in the SERPs and generate solid traffic, .edu and .gov sites, are a good option, as well as websites that are leaders in their industry.
- Relevant: The expectation is that a user will be able to use the link to your page to continue their exploration of a topic relevant to their original intent. So, if they are starting out on a website for a brand that sells vintage clothing, it would make sense that they are linked to your business for vintage band tees.
- Unique: When a website links to you but not your competitors, it gives you an edge. But if you and several competitors are all included, it kind of cancels itself out.
- Authentic/natural: The link on the website shouldn’t be sponsored, and the referring web page shouldn’t have an unnatural number of links. Also, the anchor text shouldn’t be spammy or branded.
Backlinking Strategies for Your Business
Now that you have a better grasp on what backlinks are and why they matter, you’re ready to take the next step: mastering how to get backlink strategies set up to benefit your business.
Backlink building takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and skill. That’s why many businesses opt to work with an SEO strategist, like the ones at V Digital Services. Collectively, our team has a massive amount of experience in getting backlinks that support our clients’ goals, needs, and strategies – so we can save them plenty of stress, time, and even money.
So, if you want to really use a backlinking strategy to its fullest potential, we hope that we’ll hear from you soon. But until then, we want to give you a few practical tips that can help you start getting backlinks that send more website traffic your way.
1. Resource link building
Let’s start with one of the easiest and effective ways to get backlinks: resource link building.
First, you’ll need to figure out how and where your brand can provide content of value to your target audience. Then, you can create resource pages focusing on those relevant topics. With these pages set up, you’re primed and ready to earn great backlinks from trusted authorities.
Some examples of where to find resource pages online include common sources such as:
- Local governments
- Tourism boards
If you aren’t sure where to start, try evaluating your competitor’s backlinks to get some ideas. Depending on your approach, you might need a professional to help you access a tool for backlink analytics. Or, you can look for options available online.
2. Broken link building
Have you ever clicked on a link that simply brings you to a “404” error page? That’s a broken link, and it’s an opportunity just waiting to be claimed.
If you can find broken links (external links that take users to a dead page), you can provide the referring web page with a suggestion for an alternative piece of content to resolve the issue. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be the content that you suggest.
To be successful at this strategy, you’ll want to have a relevant piece of content prepared (or be ready to create one quickly). One of the biggest benefits of broken link building is that it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved: you get a quality backlink, users don’t have to deal with the disappointment of a broken link, and the webmaster gets your help with identifying and resolving a linking issue.
3. Claim unlinked mentions
There’s a good chance that your brand has earned mentions online that you don’t even know about – but we’re going to remedy that now. Regional online newspapers, radio stations, and product reviews sites are some of the most common sources of unlinked mentions. Ideally, they would provide users with a link to your website when they mention your brand, but that doesn’t always happen.
By monitoring mentions of your brand, you can make sure that you’re reaping the benefits every time your name is mentioned. Politely reach out to the journalist, webmaster, or blogger that published the unlinked mention, and ask them to add a link to your website. Put your best foot forward by providing clear and concise reasoning for how the link can benefit them, not just you. Usually, highlighting the editorial value of adding the link is the way to go.
4. Supplier links
If you’re in the business of selling other brand’s products, then you’re already set up with a wealth of opportunities for backlinking.
There are many suppliers, manufacturers, and brands that have a web page that tells users where to buy their products. It’s usually named something like “Where to Find Us,” “Where to Buy Our Products,” or “Stockists.” Obviously, this is a smart tactic for the supplier because they make it easier for users to find and purchase their products. But it can also be your chance to score a reputable backlink.
For every manufacturer whose products you carry, make sure that you are included and linked as a seller. If there’s one that’s missed you, it’s likely just an unintentional oversight. Simply reach out to your contact at the company and inquire about getting listed and linked on their site.
5. Business and industry association links
Are you a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, a special industry group, or some other business association? If so, their websites are another place you could be earning links.
Much like supplier links, this is a pretty straightforward strategy for backlinking. It makes sense for various associations to highlight as many members as possible, so if you don’t already have a link on their site, it should be easy to get one added.
If you discover that you are unlisted with any of the associations you hold memberships with, ask your contact how to change that. Alternatively, take a proactive approach and search for organizations that you can join – specifically, those that provide links to members’ websites as a membership benefit. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that a link isn’t the only reason you join a certain association, but it can certainly be a big plus.
6. Link building with listicles
Listicles are typically articles with topics such as “The best…” or “The top 10…”. It’s those “best of” lists that give readers a roundup of products or services, and they are the pieces of content that you want to be included in whenever possible.
You might already be aware of relevant listicles that feature your competitors but not your business. Sometimes, you can connect with the writer to suggest your product or service as an edit to the list. Be ready to communicate why you are a good addition to their list and what value you offer that your competitors don’t. Depending on the writer and the content type, they may be more than happy to make a quick update and include a link to your website.
7. Conduct a link gap analysis
A link gap analysis allows you to find all of the websites that link to your direct competitors but don’t link to you. Usually, if a website has linked to one of your close competitors, your products or services could be equally relevant. So, finding these sites and suggesting your inclusion can help close the gaps in your backlink profile (hence the name, link gap analysis).
There are some digital tools that can expedite the process for you; otherwise, an online search may pull up some free-to-use resources. An SEO strategist can also help.
8. Start creating digital press releases
Journalists frequently look to recent press releases to find new stories to cover, making digital PR a hugely valuable but underestimated tool. With just one digital press release campaign, you can earn hundreds of backlinks, ranging from local to national sources. And when you look past the impressive numbers, there’s even more to gain. As you earn relevant links from trusted, prominent publications within your industry, you build up your credibility and earn highly targeted traffic.
You’ll need to prepare linkable assets and then promote them to various journalists (at relevant publications). Try to avoid emails that are too promotional and instead focus on communicating the value you can provide to their readers.
9. Create new content to update the old
When you come across an old article that could use an update, look at what its backlinks are and how many it has. You might just find that there are a number of publications and other sources that reference it, and they would likely be happy to switch to a newer, more relevant piece of content instead.
Based on the outdated content, create a fresher, improved piece that features recent data. Then, conduct some outreach to let the publications know that you can offer them a newer version of the content they originally linked to. Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, you could make a connection that sets the stage for future collaboration.
10. Earn links and mentions with images
Informational images such as charts, graphs, and diagrams are among the most common ways businesses utilize visual assets for backlinks. If you have original data that you think would be useful to your target audience, experiment with building it into visual assets. One-page templates and photo galleries with free photos are some of the other visual-centric options out there.
When the image is utilized by an outside site, the link back to your website will add to your growing profile of backlinks. Additionally, because you’re the creator of the asset in question, it can demonstrate your expertise and value to the users viewing it.
Take Advantage of Professional Help for Link Building Now
Link-building is a worthwhile endeavor, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult and time-consuming. Not only do you have to find reputable, high-quality sites and successfully pitch your brand to them, but you also have to do the work of creating relevant and engaging content for them to link to.
Your business can and will benefit from a robust profile of backlinks, and our team of experts has the time, resources, and skill to help you build yours. V Digital Services is a full-service digital marketing agency, so we can bolster your backlinks and help you implement a myriad of other strategies for online success. Our goal is to make it easy and affordable for businesses to navigate digital marketing, and our long list of happy, thriving clients tells us that we’re achieving that goal every single day.
Learn how to use backlinks for SEO and reach your ranking goals when you contact V Digital Services today!
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