It can be hard to know how to get backlinks that will help improve your website’s expertise, authority and overall trust levels.
Not only is it hard to get backlinks, but if you do it wrong, they can actually hurt your website’s ranking and reputation.
This guide will show you what link building is all about, why it’s essential, and we’ll provide you with strategies that will make the entire link building process simple and straightforward.
Plus, we’ve included some great resources and tools that will help increase your chances of success.
What are Backlinks?
A backlink (inbound link) is when another website links to your website.
This is called an “inbound” link because the website receives traffic from another page on Google’s SERPs (search engines results page).
As you may have noticed in this article, and any other one you may have read, they have hyperlinks. Hyperlinks are clickable words, they are usually coloured in blue.
This is the most commonly used way to create a backlink but it can also be in the form of an image that is clickable.
For example, in our blog How Do You Know That Your eCommerce Emails Are Working?, there was a backlink to Mailchimp for their benchmark on open rates.
Previously they created an entire article on Email Marketing Benchmarks and Statistics by Industry, so for anyone looking for statistics, they are able to find trusted and reliable data and give a backlink to it.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
The number one ranking factor in search engines like Google is backlinking.
This is because they regard links as votes of confidence in a particular site.
According to Hubspot, “A link to another website is more than just a link — it’s a vote of confidence, a recommendation, a way for publishers to say to their readers: “Here’s a source I trust. Go check it out yourself.”
This tells us that they care what other people think, more specifically, what other authoritative sites think.
So if you are an authoritative site like Hubspot and you link to another authoritative site like Backlinko, this further enhances your authority in the eyes of google.
Therefore the more quality backlinks you have, the more it signals to search engines that there is something of value here and that your content should rank higher.
This is also a critical step because when someone links back to your website, they signal that they have found your content to be valuable.
Backlinks are essentially used to provide the best possible experience to readers.
According to Google Support, “in general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”
Now that we know what backlinks are and why they are essential, let’s go over what link building actually is.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the proactive approach to building backlinks.
In other words, getting other sites to link back to yours.
Link building is a great way to build your credibility and make an impression on others.
Unfortunately, creating great content is not enough for search engines; they need to know that other authoritative sites find your content valuable enough to link to it.
So it’s important to combine your content strategy with your link building strategy.
Websites don’t often backlink to About pages or Product pages, but they do often link to educational or informational content.
For example, websites are far more likely to link to our Blog posts than they are to our About page.
Are Backlinks Good or Bad?
This depends on the backlink.
Here are some backlink best practices that Google takes into consideration:
- Unique Links: How many unique links does your website have? What is the number of links being referred to your website? What is the credibility of that link? If there are lots of strange or unusual links, this can harm your reputation. For example, a financial services website wouldn’t normally have any association with a pet toy store website, unless there was clear history between the two entities. If the links are too out of the box for Google to understand, this throws up red flags which is what you don’t want to happen.
- Domain Authority: Where are the backlinks coming from? Are they coming from reputable sources or are they questionable? Search engines don’t just consider how many domains are linking to you but how many are of high authority. Link farming, where webmasters buy links from websites that are set up just to provide backlinks, must be avoided at all costs. Being associated with these types of links can be detrimental to your brand.
- Relevance: Is the link relevant to the site’s niche or industry? The easier you make it for Google to understand what your content is about, the better.
How Do You Get Quality Backlinks?
There are a lot of ways you can go about getting backlinks without resorting to spammy link-building techniques.
A great strategy for your business would be to offer something of value or interest that people want.
There are 2 ways to get backlinks:
- The first is when someone discovers your content online and links to you from their website. This may happen accidentally or through SEO (natural links).
- The second is when you place that content directly in front of them, and they choose to link to it (built links).
Below we will discuss a few link building strategies that you could implement into your SEO strategy.
Link Building Strategies
Building links is hard. You need to find people who are willing to link to your site. Not only is this process complicated, but it’s also incredibly time-consuming.
You could spend hours trying to track down potential link partners and then even more time trying to convince them to work with you.
The goal sometimes isn’t to just build a link, but to build a relationship.
The best way to get a great link is by giving value first.
It isn’t advised to simply email someone, “I have this great piece of content, I think you should link to it.” It’s more nuanced than that, and this is where a link building strategy comes in.
The first thing you should do when looking to create backlinks is to find a way of adding value and information.
One great option would be through infographics. People are visual creatures, and graphics are a great way to capture attention and explain a concept.
You can create it yourself on Canva or pay Freelancers on Fiverr or 99 Designs.
For example, this graphic from Backlinko was used at the beginning of this post:
Here’s a template for infographics email outreach.
I’m [NAME] from [COMPANY/WEBSITE], and we just created this infographic for our blog.
We noticed you use a lot of infographics on your blog.
Well, so do we and I’m excited to share this infographic that we created with you.
It was made by the amazing team at [COMPANY/WEBSITE].
We think you might be interested!
Let us know what you think.
And if you’d like to share it with your audience as well, you’re more than welcome to.
Collaborations and Partnerships
Forming relationships with bloggers and influencers within your industry is a great way to create an opportunity for brand mentions and link building opportunities.
As we well know, influencer marketing is only getting stronger, and tapping into their existing audience is a great way to gain exposure.
There are a few ways you can approach this.
- You can offer to write content for their blog
- Ask them for an interview or join them on a live on social media
- Pay them to guest blog on your website
Freelancing journalists are an excellent resource when it comes time for building meaningful relationships and strategically placing links from your site, blog post or video on their website!
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content. This is a great way to get backlinks by offering up your expertise and quotable information to requests.
Here’s a template for a content collab created by Sujan Patel, the founder of Mailshake.
As we both serve a similar audience, I’m reaching out to see if you’re interested in a content collab?
I’d love to get some content of ours added to your awesome blog, in particular this article.
More than happy to promote your content in return on one of the multiple blogs I have access to.
I’ll send across more information if you’re interested.
If you can produce great content and forge relationships with key players in your industry, links will come naturally.
Guest posting is when you offer to write a post on another website blog.
We will get more in-depth on this topic in the following section: How To Do Guest Posting.
Here’s a guest blogging template.
I’m [NAME] from [COMPANY/WEBSITE], and I’m a long-time admirer of your blog.
I love reading your blog posts; they’ve really changed my perspective on [TOPIC].
Are you looking for content on a specific topic that I can write a guest post for you?
Please feel free to contact me if there’s anything else that we can help out with.
I’ll send across more information if you’re interested.
There is more information below that might help guide this process along nicely.
Google Search Central says, “The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community.”
They continue that “Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
There are a few ways you can do this:
You can create new content.
For example, blog posts, free tools and resources.
You can look for content gaps and see where you can fill them in.
Referring back to how Mailchimp created an article on Email Marketing Benchmarks
They are bound to have a lot of people linking back to that statistic
- Because they are already high on SERPs
- Because people who are looking for statistics will find value in using and linking, to that content.
You can repurpose old content.
For a well known and link generating piece of content, it’s essential to maintain and preserve its status.
Each year you can see what statistics need to change or if there is any new relevant information that needs to be added.
Promote your latest blog post and content on social media.
This can increase your brand awareness on social channels, lead generation and website traffic.
By creating educational, informational and entertaining content, you can drive followers to your website.
For example, Woolworths created an Instagram story promoting their winter skincare must-haves attached with a link to their website.
Instagram has fairly recently made it easier to link to your website, and it is a gamechanger.
Before the only way to add a link was through the swipe up feature on Instagram stories which was only accessible to accounts with +10,000 followers.
Now a link can be added to stories regardless of how many followers you have.
Another way to gain links is to search for websites that have already mentioned you but have not left a link to your website.
Tools from BuzzSumo, Mention or even Google Alerts can help you find brand mentions.
Once you have found an unlinked mention, you can reach out to the website and ask them if they could add a link to your site.
Unlinked mentions are a great way to increase your backlinks as you have already earned the mention.
Here’s a template for unlinked mentions.
I wanted to personally reach out to you and say thanks for including us in your article yesterday!
We genuinely appreciate it, especially since there are so many great companies that deserve recognition!
Could you please add a link back to our site in the mention so readers can easily find us?
In any way -this email isn’t nearly big enough as an expression of gratitude. Thanks again!!!
Broken Link Building
Have you ever clicked a link only to be redirected to the 404 page?
This strategy helps you see where there is a gap for your links to be added to a website that is an ideal fit.
For example, if they have broken or dead links on their site, you can ask for them to replace those links with links to your site.
You need to have content that is relevant to replace those links. If you don’t already have it, you can create it if there is enough traffic to that blog to validate the effort.
Ahrefs has a tool that can help you identify broken links or Siteliner.
This strategy is a great replacement for begging for links. Instead, you can simply notify them of the error on their page and offer your link as a solution.
Now that you know what strategies you could implement, let’s talk about how to determine the right websites to connect with.
Here’s a template for broken link building.
I’m [NAME] from [COMPANY/WEBSITE].
I found your site while searching for [Topic].
I absolutely loved your post on [TOPIC].
Anyways I’m babbling.
While I was browsing your blog today, I found a few links that don’t appear to work:
[INSERT BROKEN LINK 1][INSERT BROKEN LINK 2]
My [WEBSITE] has an article that talks about [TOPIC] which I thought would make a good replacement for [INSERT BROKEN LINK 1].
We also have another article [TOPIC] that could take over [INSERT BROKEN LINK 2].
If you think so, too, feel free to post a link to it.
That’s all for now, but I hope this has helped you out!
Page and Domain Authority
Now that you know which strategies you want to implement, you can start reaching out to high-quality websites and pitching your content.
You can search for relevant domains within your niche or industry then pop them into a tool like SemRush to determine the Authority Score of a website.
SemRush defines an Authority Score as a “compound domain score that grades the overall quality of a website and tells you how impactful a backlink from a site can be.”
To determine how many links you will need to rank highly, you should:
- Pick a topic that you want to rank highly on
- Complete a Google search on it
- Add the first 10 results into Moz Link Explorer
- Identify how many root domains link to them
- Create a backlinking strategy to achieve that set number of links
- Google Search Console: This can provide data on how many backlinks (and internal links) your site has.
- Site Explorer: Link research to spot link building opportunities & investigate rankings for your site and competitors.
- Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker: See the top 100 backlinks to any website or webpage.
- Ubbersuggest: Find out who links to you and your competition with our free backlink checker. Use it to build links and boost your rankings.
- Monitor Backlinks: Discover links for any website.
- Rank Watch: Find backlinks for link building & SEO.
While it may feel like more effort is required than most other SEO strategies, link building is one of the most effective ways to rank higher on search engines.
The better your link building portfolio gets, the easier it will be to gain natural links on its own and reduce your outreach efforts.
Now that you’re aware of the best ways to get high-quality backlinks, your next step is simple: create engaging content with a clear call to action and focus on obtaining quality links instead.
What are some of the ways you’ve increased your website’s link popularity? Have you tried any of these methods for acquiring links? Let us know in the comments below!
Now you can start obtaining quality links now that you know how influential backlinks are. Proceed to the next section of the KAMG SEO Content Hub to begin to learn what backlinks are.
Need some help with link building? Contact us today for a free consultation!