Backlinks and your linking strategy play an important role in technical SEO.
These helpful links can give your rankings a boost. When multiple other sites that Google considers reputable link to your site, it helps to give your site a vote of confidence as well. Since the search engine wants to find and display sites that are authoritative and trustworthy, this will be a point in your favor.
If you are new to building your backlink profile, we will walk you through what you need to know about links and backlinks as well as ten tips you can use to build your linking profile.
What are links?
A link is something that a person can tap on one page and be taken to a separate website, webpage, or similar web-based resource. Your linking strategy will help to show how all of the different articles within a website, and within the greater digital ecosystem, are related. The links suggest a relationship, that the content covered in the articles has something in common.
Internal links versus outbound links
There are two main types of links that you will encounter as you build your website. First, you have internal links. These links you have control over. They will join together different pages within your domain. From an SEO perspective, these are helpful because they show the search engines the relationship between the different pages of your site. You can also use them to also encourage site visitors to move around within your site and stay engaged with your brand.
Outbound links, however, are links that you make to other websites. For example, if you want to cite research performed by another company, you will link to their site in your content. These links communicate how your site fits into the broader network of websites.
Where do backlinks fit in?
Backlinks describe the links coming inbound to your site from another external domain. If someone else wants to cite or link to your content, then that outside link to your page is counted as a backlink.
Backlinks have value for websites for a few reasons. To begin, they can help drive traffic to the page. Secondly, they can also help to establish your credibility as a website. Quality backlinks from other established sites show that these trusted sites see your domain as authoritative and trustworthy enough to link to. This helps to establish your own credibility and can thus help with your search engine optimization.
What should you know about anchor text?
Anchor text is the word or words that you use to place the link going to the other webpage. When people click on the link you have embedded into your content, they click on your anchor text.
You want to pay attention to the words you use in your anchor text. The selection you make impacts both your site visitors and SEO. First, the words help provide a preview to the site visitors. They get some idea about what they will click on and what they can expect to read about when they get there.
Secondly, Google uses the anchor text to better understand your content topics and how this link embedded relates to the rest of the content you have produced.
Does Google still care about SEO linking?
Site owners need to understand a little bit of nuance when it comes to Google’s view of backlinks. Essentially, the search engine giant has said that the number of backlinks is largely irrelevant. The algorithms used when ranking websites will not count the number of backlinks coming in and use that number to raise or lower the ranking.
Instead, what matters more in SEO linking is the quality of the links. Google wants to see backlinks that are relevant for that particular site. A single high-quality backlink, according to John Mueller of Google, can also be worth more than thousands of links based on where that link comes from, the reputation of that site, and the relevance of the link to the receiving site.
Therefore, as you work to build your backlinks and create a linking strategy, focus on finding opportunities to do so through high-quality content that naturally draws people in.
What are the top 11 tips you can use to start building your inbound links?
- Produce original content and research – Producing quality original content and research can encourage backlinks to your site. You help to establish yourself as an authority in the field and provide people with something new and of substance to evaluate and engage with on your site.
- Secure quality links – Promote your best content to influencers who blog, publications, and partners. The links that will genuinely help your SEO are those that come from reputable other sites. You want backlinks because they help to establish your organization’s position in the digital ecosystem. When other quality brands link to you, and you link other quality brands, it helps to show that customers and search engines should trust you. Never turn to easy, payable means to secure backlinks. It will never help and could even hurt your brand.
- Promote your content on social and email to build interest – When you publish new content, let your audience know about it. Promote it on social media and send it to the relevant segments on your email list. This helps to bring in clicks and engagement, which will in turn build the visibility of your piece. By helping those most likely to be interested in the piece to find it, you will also boost your chances of gaining some backlinks from their site or blog.
- Make sure your site is listed on relevant databases and indexes – Any relevant databases for your organization should have your attention. Sites like Yelp or Google My Business, where people turn to look for companies, should have accurate information. All of these opportunities to build your online presence will encourage people to take your material seriously. If you include links to your main website from these databases, you also help to boost traffic, even if the links themselves are marked ‘nofollow’. In the long term, this will increase backlinks from other sources.
- Watch for people citing your material – Monitor for people citing your material. As you begin to produce high-quality research and original thought leadership, you will start to have others pay attention to what you have to say. If you see others citing your material, you can reach out to them and ask for a backlink with targeted anchor text to your site.
- Consider using some clickbait headlines and titles to optimize clickability and engagement–Clickbait titles are popular across the web, and they can be valuable for backlinks. With a clickbait title, you entice people to open your article because they feel a pressing need to learn the answer to the question or problem you posed in your title. As you get more people to open your article, you also naturally create more opportunities to secure backlinks.
- Build your industry authority – Industry authority will encourage everyone from Google to customers searching online to take your material seriously. Focusing on trustworthy material and original content can help you build a digital reputation, which in turn encourages higher ranking and more traffic. As this grows, so too will the number of people linking back to your site.
- Map your backlink profile with Ahrefs – With Ahrefs, you can gain valuable insight into the backlinks not only pointing at your site but also your competitors’. You can pull up a full list of the backlinks pointing to a given site, even sorting through the backlinks by type. This allows you to view and focus on ‘Follow’ backlinks. You can see which pages get the most backlinks, which can tell you what type of content people link to in your industry. You can also track new backlinks so you can tell if some of your backlink strategies have been successful.
- Gauge your backlinks with Majestic – Majestic also offers a valuable backlink checker that you can use to see how hard your backlinks work for you. You can gauge not only what sites link to you, but also the amount of ‘trust authority’ they bring to your site. Majestic has also created a valuable tool known as the link graph. This visual will map the sites within your local network, showing not only the sites that link directly to you but also how they link to each other in a vast web. This can be a great visual and make it easier for you to drill down in particular portions of the web to further investigate your site’s performance.
- Participate in industry events and community events – Community events, such as sponsoring local charity events, can help you get your brand out in front of members of your local community and create positive associations with your brand. Backlinks from .gov and .edu tend to be of higher value than from .coms. You can get backlinks from promotional materials and mentions in a variety of different forms of press. Similarly, industry events, such as conferences or webinars, will further broadcast your authority, provide links to your site from the host’s site, and entice others to seek out what you have to say.
- Write Article/ Press Releases – Well-written articles on the various press release sites can also benefit your brand. If you are hosting a new event, announcing a new product launch, or otherwise want to raise awareness about important happenings in your company, take advantage of the potential of press releases. Most press release sites are no follow or ignored by the search engines, but many news organizations use press releases as content and will often reprint them, so load them with good anchor text and backlinks.
Backlinks and link popularity play an important role in SEO by helping to establish your site as a trustworthy resource. Using these ten strategies will encourage others to link to your site, with the entire campaign working together to lift your brand and cast you as an authority.