We love backlinks. They are the craze of SEO and can help boost your online search ranking enormously.
In 2016, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, Andrey Lippatsev, said that backlinks are one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors.
Backlinks are links that take you from one website to another, and can come from social media, directories, blog posts or other website content.
The more quality backlinks you have, the higher search engines such as Google will rank your website. If multiple pages link to your website, search engines will recognise your website as trustworthy and popular. Google determines the quality of backlinks in a two main ways:
- Domain authority
The higher the domain authority of the website with the backlink, the higher Google will rank your website. This is because the domain is highly trusted by search engines and by actual searchers.
However, the backlink must be relevant to your organisation. Even though Nationalgeographic.com is a trusted domain, it doesn’t mean you should be backlinking to your financial planning company through their website. In fact, Google will penalise you for having irrelevant backlinks.
The best thing about backlinks is: you can get them for free.
Whilst high quality backlinks will help you achieve better rankings, it can be hard to achieve lots of them because they require significant time, skill and effort. So we have suggested ways you can achieve high quality as well as medium-low quality backlinks that will drive a happy medium between quality and quantity.
1. Create a company blog
This is the best way that you will achieve high quality backlinks from relevant sites. Yes, it’s time-consuming and will require reasonable skill and effort. However, it’s the best way to drive organic traffic to your website and provide valuable content that’s shareable for other companies or media outlets in your industry.
The longer your content is, the better it will be for your rankings. Google loves long form content. Google also loves pictures. Content that has at least one picture with metadata will rank higher than content without pictures.
2. Guest blogging
If you don’t want to create and maintain your own blog, a great alternative is to guest blog for other websites relevant to your industry. This will kill two birds with one stone: you’ll create shareable content and achieve a high-quality backlink through the blog you’ve chosen.
To start, research quality sites within your industry and find out which ones accept guest blogs or editorial. Look at the type of content they’re posting before you start writing to make sure that it fits the subject matter, tone of voice and their editorial submission guidelines – if you aren’t sure what they are, just ask. Once you’ve written your blog, reach out to them, tell them about what you’ve written and ask if they will publish your article.
Most importantly, make sure you’ve embedded backlinks to your website in the article. SEO expert Neil Patel recommends 1-3 links for every 2000 words, so don’t go overboard.
3. External outreach
Now you’ve put in the hard yards and written your own content piece, milk it for all it’s worth. This tactic relies on the good old, ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine.’ It’s highly likely that when you’ve written your own blog post, you’ll be referencing other organisations and articles. Reach out to these sites or authors and let them know you have referenced them in your blog. If you’ve positioned them in a good light, the chances are that they will share your blog on their social media, or mention your website or other blog posts in their next article.
4. Blog comments
Another way to make the most of your content efforts is to read other blog posts that are on the same or similar topic to what you have written and post comments, ask for clarification, or leave a thoughtful discussion question. Again, relevance is of utmost importance. Don’t be a troll and comment for the sake of it, or just drop a link to your blog or website. Your comment must be insightful and contribute something meaningful to the discussion before you can link to your own site. Otherwise, your comment will be seen as spam and may be removed, potentially damaging the reputation of your organisation and website.
Whilst these are likely to be nofollow links (back links that won’t contribute to your Google SEO ranking), your comments will help build a rapport with the blogger. You may later be able to leverage this relationship by asking for a guest blog or using external outreach.
5. Online and local directories
If you don’t have the time or skill to devote to creating content, or you don’t have an agency that can help you to manage it, at the very least you should list your business on as many relevant online or local directories as possible. Some of them may be nofollow links but some will be follow links.
Regardless, you will make your business easier for potential customers to find, and also provide platforms for feedback and reviews that will help improve your reputation and trustworthiness. Also make sure that you’ve employed local SEO practices such as setting up your business on Google My Business. This will list your business on Google Maps, again making you easier to locate and improve your reputability.
Importantly, make sure your contact details are consistent across every listing, including your website URL, phone number, email, address, opening hours and holiday closing dates.
Another easy way to gain backlinks is to reach out to businesses that your company is a customer or client of, and offer a free testimonial. This is another ‘I scratch your back…’ strategy, as the businesses will have a testimonial they can post on their website to improve their reputability, and you will have a backlink to your website. Remember you must be a customer of this business, don’t be creepy and offer testimonials to businesses you haven’t worked with.
We hope you have found this article useful. If you have any questions or would like to find out about our SEO services, leave a comment below, or submit an enquiry here.