The 411 on Backlinks and Their Impact on SEO
Link building is a fundamental SEO strategy and the best way to earn Google’s trust
Backlinks are an essential part of any successful SEO strategy because they help to determine the trustworthiness and validity of a web page. When an outside source links back to your page, that website is giving your content a public stamp of approval. The more credible backlinks that you have, the more trustworthy both search engines and users consider your content to be.
What are backlinks?
Obtaining backlinks, otherwise known as link building, is the process of earning incoming links from outside websites to your own. Search engines like Google look at the quality and quantity of the pages linking to your website to help determine your site’s trustworthiness, and subsequently, your ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
While search engines place significant emphasis on a website’s link portfolio when determining rankings, there is a definite value associated with backlinks that don’t directly pertain to Google’s algorithm. A few of those additional benefits include:
- Relationship building within your industry
- Referral traffic
- Industry expertise and authority
- Citation for research
What is the difference between a good and a bad backlink?
Mastering the art of building high-quality links takes time, and also why some choose to cut corners when devising and executing their link strategy. It’s important to remember, however, that backlinks aren’t always good for your reputation. Unless they come from credible, trustworthy sources, they can do more harm to your search engine rankings than good. Acquiring backlinks that have been purchased or generated from spammy sites, include “adult content”, or have tried to pull a wool over Google’s algorithm in the past will only diminish your page authority.
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is the actual clickable text that directs you from one site to another, and Google uses it to learn more about associated web pages. When enough resources use similar anchor text to lead to the same web page, it then increases Google’s confidence that the page in question should rank for the words used.
While you can’t control the anchor text that websites use to link back to your content, you have complete control over the text that you use to link to external websites, and that anchor text matters. The goal is for it to be as natural as possible. To create anchor text that is SEO-friendly, make sure it is:
- Relevant to the linked page
- Not stuffed with keywords
- Not too broad or generic
Link building tactics
1. Broken-link building
This is a method in which you find broken links on reputable websites, contact those sites’ respective webmasters, and then recommend websites (namely yours) to replace those broken links. Most webmasters see this as a kind gesture and are more than happy to replace broken links with working ones. To find broken links, try using ahrefs or this Google Chrome extension.
Infographics are great because they generate high levels of search traffic, are easy to comprehend, and are highly shareable. They are also one of the most popular ways of scoring valuable backlinks. Once created, you can submit your infographics to a directory, perform email outreach to people who have linked to similar types of digital assets, or post and share them on social media.
3. Guest blogging and interviewing
Publishing articles on other reputable sites is not just a strategy for personally generating links back to your site, but it’s also a great way to gain new exposure and elevate your online reputation.
Online interviews are another strategy for earning reputable backlinks. You may get interview requests if you’re already an authority in your field, but if you’re just getting started, look for websites conducting interviews and let them know that you’re interested in contributing.
4. Promote your content
Great content will fall on deaf ears unless you strategically promote it. You can do this by contacting bloggers and websites that like to share regular roundups of useful information. Bloggers are always looking for valuable content, and if you’re providing them with good material, they’ll be happy to hear from you and link back to your site.
You can also run a general outreach campaign giving relevant journalists and influencers information about your business. Not everyone will respond, but this is a great way to develop strategic relationships with influential players in your industry.
5. Write testimonials
Companies love to showcase positive customer testimonials, and writing them is a great way to earn quality backlinks from websites that you actually use. As long as you are a legitimate user, most companies are happy to exchange a testimonial for a link.
6. Donate to nonprofit organizations
Leveraging sponsorships is a pretty straightforward method of earning backlinks. Simply find and donate to organizations within your niche that accept donations and link back to the contributing sites.
Earning quality backlinks takes time and dedication, but it is even harder to build links if they lead to low-quality and low-value webpages. Finding link building opportunities is important, but the first and most crucial step is making sure that you are offering valuable, useful, and shareable content for others.