Search engine optimization consists of many different activities. This includes things like keywords, internal linking, page loading speed …and backlinks. While a SEO strategy mainly focuses on on-site content marketing and technical aspects, one of the most important off-site elements is building up a profile of valuable backlinks that connect to your quality content.
This is called link building, and it is a great way to increase your ranking online. If you’re aware of the need for backlinks to boost your SEO, but you aren’t sure what to do, here are some thoughts and tips on how to build a rock-solid SEO backlink strategy.
Backlinks are hyperlinks that point from one page to another. In SEO, a backlink exists when one site creates content with an embedded link that directs visitors to your website.
Backlinks also go by a variety of other names, including inbound links and one-way links. These reflect the incoming traffic element that makes a backlink so important.
Google sees each backlink as a digital “vote of confidence.” In other words, a backlink is a third-party website signaling to the search engine that your content has value and is worthy of attention and priority.
Creating high-quality content is a critical first step of SEO. Backlinks take this further by alerting search engines to the fact that your content is a solid online resource for related search queries. This leads to search tools ranking your content higher in their SERPs (search engine results pages), which results in more traffic, quality leads, and a better conversion rate.
Backlinks are an essential part of any SEO campaign. Unlike on-site content, though, you can’t compose backlinks as you would create, say, a blog or webinar. So, how do you get a high quality link, then?
The first answer to that question is that you don’t just want backlinks. You want quality backlinks from high-authority websites. Fortunately, there are many backlink techniques and tactics that can help you get these valuable inbound links. Here are a few common ones:
The first step is to use a tool like Semrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to study backlink profiles. That means looking up the collection of domains and web pages linking to a website that ranks well for a particular word or phrase.
Backlink profiles can help you see how others are ranking for the keywords that you’re targeting. You can use this information to inform your own link building efforts.
Guest blogging is a popular form of off-page SEO. Often called “outreach,” this involved contacting other popular websites and then offering to write a piece of content for them as a guest author, aka a guest post. Typically, guest posting comes with a backlink.
You can also use a social media site like LinkedIn to build links in the form of high-quality posts. Working with industry influencers is another great way to collaboratively create the conditions for quality backlinks.
A broken link is one that no longer clicks through to a live page. There are two ways to use this in your SEO strategy.
First, look for broken links on high-authority websites and ask if they’d consider swapping them out for a live link with the same solutions. Second, make sure your own links aren’t broken on your site so that no one can do the same to you.
Backlink strategies aren’t effective unless you can track them. Use tools like Google Search Console to collect data and observe analytics in relation to your link building strategy over time.
Monitor your site’s traffic. Check your search rankings. Look for which pages are benefitting from backlinks and which ones need more help.
As you invest in a backlinking strategy, remember that the ultimate goal is to create organic backlinks. These are instances (whether you create them or not) where your links naturally make sense in other publications’ content.
Organic backlinks come from offering genuine value to the reader and surrounding each quality link with appropriate textual context. They have relatable anchor text (the actual words hyperlinked) and don’t misdirect the reader as to their destination.
Backlinks are a powerful off-site indicator that it’s worth visiting your content (or, in the case of search engines, directing users to visit your content). Even so, backlinks should never be your primary focus.
A quality SEO strategy incorporates backlinks into a larger plan that includes keywords, internal linking, and technical SEO. Even then, a good SEO strategy should just be one part of a larger approach to growth marketing that includes digital PR and a good content strategy as a way to simultaneously improve your company’s visibility, credibility, and authority across the interweb.
If you’re uncertain how to work all of these things together into a single, cohesive digital marketing strategy, you may want to work with an SEO company to ensure your efforts positively impact your bottom line. Whether you develop your strategy on your own or with third-party support, backlinking should have its rightful place as an effective part of your online marketing endeavors.