How To Build Backlinks
When it comes to pushing content up the SERPs, it’s arguable that backlinks are one of, if not the most potent ranking factors that website owners and content marketers have up their sleeves.
At the very least, backlinks are a thick, healthy serving of the SEO pie.
To highlight the importance of backlinks to your website’s performance and help you rank higher in the SERPs, here we cover:
- what a backlink is,
- what constitutes a high-quality backlink,
- and detail exactly how to build backlinks in an effective and time efficient manner.
What Are Backlinks? (+ Why You NEED Them)
Let’s start with the basics: what is a backlink?
As a quick shot definition, backlinks are outbound links from other websites – known as referring domains – that point back to your website.
They are an integralpart of any good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy as they help to improve your site’s authority and trustworthiness.
For clarity, you can think of backlinks as a vote of confidence or endorsement from your peers.
More specifically, though, backlinks are important to your website as they:
- Tell Google your site is worth paying attention to.
- Support your off-site SEO efforts.
- Pass on link equity.
- Push your site up the SERPs.
- Boost a site’s organic traffic.
5 Reasons Why You NEED Backlinks
- Tell Google your site is worth paying attention to. When other websites link to your site, it tells Google that your site is valuable and worth indexing. This can help to improve your site’s ranking in search engines.
- Support your off-site SEO efforts. Backlinks are integral to offsite SEO as they help to improve your website’s credibility and authority in the eyes of Google. By possessing links from high-quality websites, a website shows it is a valuable resource worth a search engine’s attention.
- Pass on link equity. When a website links to another website, it passes on what is called “link equity” or “link juice”. The phrase is derived from the idea that the more authority a webpage has, the more “juice” it has to pass on to the pages it links to. This passed on juice helps the linked to pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Push your site up the SERPs. Google and other search engines look at the quality and quantity of backlinks to determine how high to rank your website on the SERPs. If you have a lot of high-quality backlinks, then your website has a greater likelihood it will rank higher in Google than websites with fewer or lower-quality backlinks.
- Boost a site’s organic traffic. Google’s PageRank algorithm uses links from other websites as a proxy for quality to determine a website’s rank in search engine results pages. The more high-quality links a website has, the higher its PageRank and the more organic traffic it will receive.
Here you can see that the more backlinks a website has, the higher the chances a website’s content is likely to be positioned at the top of the SERPs.
Note that this isn’t just anecdotal to Backlinko’s case study.
In fact, Google has confirmed that backlinks remain one of the top three most important ranking factors that a site owner can focus their SEO efforts on.
Particularly high-quality backlinks.
What Makes a High Quality Backlink? (4 Key Elements)
There are four key elements that make a high-quality backlink:
Let’s take a quick look at these:
The credibility of a website and the quality of the source are both factors that contribute to the authority of a backlink.
A high-quality source is one that is considered to be trustworthy and reliable, while a credible website is one that is known for its comprehensiveness and good reputation.
Generally, the more authoritative a website is, the more weight it will carry in terms of determining a website’s rank on the SERPs.
A relevant backlink will come from a website that is in the same niche or industry as your own.
Additionally, factors like the anchor text used to link to your webpage and topical similarities also play a role in backlink relevance.
A backlink’s uniqueness also plays a role in how much ranking weight it carries.
For example, a high-authority backlink that points to your site is great. But if it also points to your competitors, it carries less value.
Comparatively, a high-authority backlink that is unique – linking to only your website and not your competitors – will give your site an edge over the competition.
There are a ton of gray and black hat link building strategies that some SEO practitioners employ to manipulate Google’s algorithm.
Oftentimes, Google’s ever-improving algorithm will quickly identify unnatural, spammy, or toxic backlinks.
Even penalizing some site’s if the backlink building tactics used are egregious enough.
Conversely, backlinks that are built through natural, white hat means are rewarded by Google. This, pushing the website up the SERPs and boosting organic traffic.
How To Build Backlinks (8 Effective Methods)
There are a variety of ways to build backlinks. We detail the most effective of these here.
1. Set Up Brand Mention Alerts
As your website grows and its notoriety and influence builds, fellow websites are likely to make mention of your brand in an organic fashion.
Often, the author or editor of the copy will link to your site. Although other times, you won’t get the recognition and the backlink you’d be expecting to receive.
This presents an easy opportunity to secure backlinks with very little effort.
Through brand mention alerts and notifications.
You can use a bunch of different platforms to do this, including Mention, BuzzSumo, or even the SEO tool Ahrefs’ content explorer. Although probably the easiest and most affordable way is to use Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a free service that allows you to track mentions of your brand, product, or name online. You can set up alerts to be notified of any new results that match your search query. This can be a great way to find potential backlinks opportunities.
For example, if Google Alerts notices someone has mentioned your brand in a blog post, it will notify you. You can then reach out to the third-party website’s team and ask if they would be interested in accrediting the reference they’ve made to your site.
You can see here, we’ve plugged the search term “Loganix” into Google Alerts.
Google Alert’s search returned a bunch of results that we could sift through to find any domain that has mentioned our brand but is yet to link to us.
Once you’ve identified any potential opportunities, strap on your outreach boots and contact either the author of the page or the blog editor. With a touch of persuasion (and perhaps some gentle coercion) you could start securing yourself low-effort, high-quality backlinks in no time.
2. Leverage Existing Referring Domains
Another great way to secure backlinks is to reach out to referring domains that have previously linked out to your website on a frequent basis.
Websites that have done so are likely already familiar with your brand, trust your expertise, and value your content.
Nice. So what’s the process here?
Well, you can use multiple tools to determine a list of your site’s top referring domains or top linking sites. One way is to use Google Search Console (GSC).
To do so:
- Log into GSC and select “Links”.
- Now, scroll down the page until you see the “Top linking site” panel. Here you’ll see the referring domains that have, overtime, frequently linked out to your site.
Once that’s done, put on your outreach email hat back on and start building a reciprocal relationship with a team that you know holds your website, and its content, in high regard.
3. Practice Guest Posting
Guest posting is a content marketing strategy that involves publishing content on another website with the hope of attracting attention from that site’s audience – specifically through backlinks.
The goal is to get readers to click through to your own website, where they might then become customers or frequent visitors.
The best part, guest posting is one of the white hat link building opportunities that’s explicitly mentioned by Google in their Webmaster guidelines.
In order to be successful, guest posters – that’s you – produce high-quality content that is both relevant and contextual to the host site’s audience, while adding something of value to their blog.
In return, the site receiving your work publishes the written copy on their website and adds an outbound link back to you.
And badda bing-badda boom.
A new backlink that’s not only high quality but also works to generate referral traffic and showcases your expertise to a brand new audience.
4. Take Advantage of Your Expertise
Your expertise and site’s speciality can be a powerful method of obtaining new links to your website that are of high-value.
By using your expertise to create great content that’s valuable to other bloggers, publishers, and journalists, your backlink profile is sure to start growing whenever someone quotes or references your work.
Additionally, by presenting yourself as a credible and trusted source of information, you soon begin to boost your brand’s awareness, rank for more search terms, and increase your site’s overall SEO rankings.
The best part?
It’s not all that hard to do.
Thanks to platforms like HARO (Help A Reporter Out), you can soon start securing inbound links from high-authority sites.
- All you have to do to get started is:
- Sign up.
- Nominate the industries and niches you’re interested in becoming a resource for.
- And wait for HARO to email you with opportunities.
Additionally, you can also jump onto the platform and actively track down queries you think your expertise could help with. From there, pick a request that interests you, respond, and include your credentials, contact information, and response to their query.
If the recipient deems your expertise and response to be valuable to their upcoming article, they will quote you and credit your contribution by adding a backlink to your website.
To increase your chances of success, it is best to get in quick. As you can understand, writers are under strict time constraints. So the faster you can respond to their query, the faster they can get writing and publishing.
Sure, it’s not a guaranteed backlink.
You’ll have to compete with other experts and industry leaders. But if you respond quickly, are succinct in your response, and add quality copy in your response, you’re sure to be rewarded with quality backlinks from sites with high domain authority.
5. Create Linkable and Share-Worthy Content
Another solid way to acquire high-quality backlinks is by creating, well, high-quality content, of course. Seems obvious, but it’s a solid SEO strategy that has built some brands into multi-million dollar companies.
To give you a quick definition, “linkable content” is a form of online content that has cracked the code of viralness and become a resource page that is far too valuable not to mention – whether that be backlinks from other websites or shares on social media.
For written copy, this type of content is typically longer, more in-depth, and more informative than your average blog posts or articles.
For visual pieces, linkable content often comes in the form of an informative infographic or creative piece that has gained the attention of internet-based communities.
Videos, of course, are another medium that can be linked to. If you’re a video photographer or hold similar skills, a highly engaging video or tutorial embed into your website can also attract backlinks from all over the internet.
To create linkable content, again, lean into your expertise. Don’t just replicate information or content that already exists. Add something new to the conversation. Create content that’s unique, informative, and creative.
Get this blend right, and competitors or other domains within your niche won’t be able to help but use you as a resource.
6. Apply A Broken Link Building Strategy
A broken link building strategy is a process that webmasters and SEOs can use to acquire links from other websites. The goal of this process is to find websites that have broken links and then reach out to the site owner to suggest that they replace the broken link with a link to your website.
Of course, it’s best that your site be helpful to the content that contains the broken link. There’s really no point suggesting your website be a resource of a third-party site if your content isn’t contextually or topically relevant.
So why is this link building strategy effective?
Well, this tactic is effective for one very solid reason: you’re doing all the hard work for them. Not only are you finding a broken link – something that hurts their SEO efforts – but you’re also providing them with a replaceable resource – a process that can be extremely painful.
There are two ways you can approach this:
- The first. You can go on the hunt for websites that have broken links on pages that are relevant to your site.
- And the second. You can track down pages that are now 404 errors, and if they previously had a bunch of links pointing to them, replace it with a relevant alternative that’s valuable to the website you are hoping to obtain a backlink from.
The best way to go about this?
Broken Link Building with Ahrefs (in 8 Steps)
Head on over to Ahref’s SEO tool and navigate to the “Site Explorer” and enter the domain you wish to explore and hit search.
From the navigation panel, under the “Pages” section, select “Best by Links”.
Make sure the filter is set for external and from the drop-down menu select “404 not found”
Scroll through the results and find a page that you think is replaceable by something that already exists on your website or a piece of content that you’d like to create.
Be sure it has backlinks from high domain rating (DR) sites pointing to the page.
Take the URL and plug it into the Wayback Machine.
If the Wayback Machine is able to, it will find the now non-existent content and link to previous versions of it.
Click the link and examine the old content. If you think it’s worth replicating, do so.
Head back to Ahrefs, click on the dofollow links (not nofollow) and use this list to reach out to the domains that you think your freshly created content could be useful to.
7. Keep an Eye on Competitor Websites
Another great way to build backlinks is to monitor your competitor’s backlink building processes. To do so, you can use a variety of methods, including manually checking individual websites or using software or online tools that automate the process.
SEO tools like SEMrush, Moz, and Ahrefs can all be used to do this.
With these tools, you can easily see opportunities that your competitors are using, like where they are guest blogging, what referring domains regularly link out to their site, or identify share-worthy content that can be bested with your expertise and creative skills.
Additionally, you can also track new backlinks that are being added to their websites and yourself jump on these opportunities.
Track New Backlinks with Ahrefs (in 4 Steps)
Go to Ahrefs and head on over to “Alerts”.
Click the “New alert” button.
Enter the relevant details and click the “Add button”.
Once set up, Ahrefs will alert you to any new backlinks your competitor sites gain, allowing you to analyze and replicate their strategies in real-time.
8. Put Together Testimonials
Many businesses use testimonials on their homepage to socially proof their products and services. These testimonials can also generate backlinks.
3 Testimonial Examples
Here are a few different ways of displaying testimonials (that we use at Loganix):
1. Classic Testimonials w/ Headshots
Testimonials can be from clients or others in your industry.
You can write about your experience working with them, what you worked together on, or how you helped them achieve their goals. They can also include a quote, adding credibility to your claims and backing up the quality of their business.
When writing a testimonial for a third-party website, it is important to describe what the website does and how the business has benefitted your work, career, professional development, etc.
Finally, conclude by saying why you would recommend the website to others and, of course, within your endorsement, add a link to your website.
Once the third-party publishes your testimonial, you’ll have acquired another valuable backlink for your website.
There are a variety of link building tools and methods you can use to fill out your backlink profile.
We’ve mentioned the most effective methods here, but be sure not to limit yourself. Particularly important for new websites, be sure to be creative in your approach and find out of the box strategies that can help you roundup lots of links from high-authority websites.
Additionally, always remember to keep your website content fresh and engaging. This will encourage organic backlinks that take little to no effort to acquire.
The best way to do so is by using a mix of digital marketing methods that work for your website and industry. For many websites, outsourcing link building to a highly respected backlink vendor like Loganix is a surefire way of achieving this.
Our link building services will fill your backlink profile with high-quality, relevant links that are sure to grab the attention of Google and push your content to the top of the SERPs.