Posts

Develop Quality SEO Backlinks in 3 Simple Steps

Link building is an important strategy in search engine optimization (SEO) that has a direct impact on how well your website will rank in Google search engine results.

Link Building can be defined simply as the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites that direct to your own. These online referrals, known as backlinks, produces ‘link equity’ or ‘link juice’ for your website.

Search engines translate these referenced links as votes to your website and therefore considers your website as being credible, valuable, and worth promoting to other users. The more backlinks a website has—the higher it will rank in Google and other search engines.

While the concept of developing backlinks seems easy enough, obtaining them isn’t quite as easy. Google actually demands and prioritizes quality backlinks over quantity.

What is a Quality Backlink?

In today’s market where the demand for search is tailored around the intent of users – a quality backlink is rooted in good content that is relevant to the industry niche and market it serves. Your backlinks need to be relatable and within the proper context of what’s being addressed in content—whether an editorial blog, embedded video description, or landing page.

Marketers have moved beyond the old techniques that previously built links with little regard to the overall quality. In fact, Google released its Panda and Penguin algorithms, along with tools like Disavow, to help remove low-quality links that could potentially harm the reputation and value of your website.

SEO Specialists are encouraged to adhere to standards and ensure quality content.  If you’re curious about how to create credible backlinks, follow along to learn how to better optimize your website for SEO standards.

Create Quality Backlinks for Your SEO Strategy

With the various tools now available to marketers, there are a number of ways to produce quality backlinks. Listed below are three suggested steps that have had measurable, successful results in terms of increasing search engine rankings.

1. Analyze your top competitors

A good place to start is with a competitive analysis, which is an easy way to compile a list of relevant influencers with high domain authority.

Three best-rated tools for analyzing backlinks are Backlink Analytics by SEMRush, Link Explorer by Moz, and a relatively new and completely free SEO Analyzer by Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest.

These tools allow you to:

  • Analyze your competitors’ total number of backlinks
  • Discover who is linking to them
  • Determine what kind of search volume is being acquired

As a suggestion, try each of the above-mentioned tools as results may differ and you may prefer one over the other.  It’s an easy way to discover what websites are helping your competitors drive traffic.

If you’re looking for a more robust analysis, SEMRush’s backlink tools are one of the most reliable solutions for conducting a deep link exploration.

To begin, simply login to your dashboard and select Backlink Analytics from the left column menu. Enter the URL you’re looking to analyze and let the tool do the rest.

Authority Score & Backlinks with SEMRush

The results produce a high level of details about your competitor’s website.

  • Take a look at the top linking websites
  • Assess the report by reviewing each tab
  • Pay attention to the backlinks and referring domains
  • View the exact articles that are referencing your competitor’s domain
  • Get a sense for the quality of topical content that is driving traffic

Referring SEO Backlinks

Make sure to repeat these steps for all top competitor URLs. By following this process, you will be able to find out who is linking to them and what content is driving the most traffic.

In an analysis, pay attention to the Trust Score (TS), also known as Domain Authority (DA), of each referring link. The TS is a rating scale from 1-100 that helps determine the ranking strength of a website in search engines.  Since the goal is quality, you want to stay away from URLs with low TS scores that are at higher risk of being banned or penalized by Google.

domain authority anaylsis

One of the preferred tools for analyzing Domain Authority is the recently released DA 2.0. Moz also features their free MozBar toolbar which pins right to the top of your browser window to provide rich data while viewing any page or SERP.

MozBar Domain and Page Analysis

Pay attention to other reports in your analysis, such as the follow and nofollow values of linking domains. While both are significant to your link building campaign, the nofollow value is designed to instruct search engines that the link should not influence the rankings of the link’s target in a search engine’s index.  However, keep in mind that nofollow links are still great for providing sold referral traffic.

2. Produce High-Quality Content

Once you’ve closely analyzed competitor links and content, it’s time to seek ways to creatively develop your own content that attracts high-quality backlinks. There are a number of recommended ways to discover topical subject matter using various tools that help along the way.

You’ll want to produce content that’s relevant, valuable, and is a linkable asset for other relatable websites. Throughout your content strategy, think of the various opportunities to turn creative content into quality backlinks.

Content takes on many different forms, such as:

  • Trending topics
  • New and original data
  • Creative blog posts
  • How-to resources
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers
  • Video production

Opportunity for content distribution can be found in:

  • Connecting your content to a relatable article that displays outdated links
  • Existing blog articles on reputable sites that you can professionally elaborate on to provide a higher level of detail to
  • Broken links discovered on other websites in your industry that you could link to valuable content produced on your own site
  • Guest blogging on quality websites in your niche
  • Content reviews and testimonials
  • Infographics and industry-related topics

Other ways to discover market-relative content is by using popular tools like Buzzsumo and Answer The Public. These online tools help to analyze the content of your competitors and other influencers to discover new ideas relevant to your industry.

To use Answer The Public, simply go to the website and enter the keywords you’d like content ideas for.

Answer The Public Content Analysis

Review the auto-suggested results provided to ignite more creativity into your content. You can hide ideas that aren’t relevant or of interest and you can export the list of content ideas into a CSV file for later use.

Answer The Public content suggestions

It’s important to note that the free option of Answer The Public only allows up to three queries for every 24 hours. Therefore, if you find yourself relying heavily on this tool, you may want to consider the Pro subscription version.

3. Reach Out to the Linking Domains

The final recommended step to developing quality backlinks is performing outreach. Reach out to other influencers and bloggers with a personalized email that provides your relevant content links.

You can form a template of your own, however, an example includes:

Hey [site owner],

I noticed that you linked out to [insert link] article.

I have a similar article that is more up-to-date and covers step 1, 2 and 3 that’s not mentioned in their post. Would you mind taking a look?

If not, best wishes and keep on rocking!

[Your First Name]

You can also try:

Hey [site owner],

I was researching [topic] today when I came across your [website].

Good stuff! I actually launched a [walkthrough guide on topic]. While I usually charge [$X], I would be more than willing to provide you the article on me.

Let me know how that sounds,

Regards,

[Your First Name]

Providing quality content with a personalized message to the blogger you’re looking to build a relationship with can increase your chances of earning a backlink with them. Give this technique a try to increase your search positioning.

Build Quality Backlinks to Improve Search Optimization

If you’re looking to build your website’s search engine ranking and overall optimization, developing quality backlinks is a must. You can achieve this by following these successful three steps—analyzing your competitors, developing creative content, and reaching out to other linking domains.

Good luck and happy link-building.

While you can certainly give these techniques a try, the easiest way to achieve a higher search engine ranking is to hire a reputable SEO Consultant on your behalf. Contact us today for more information and watch your ranking rise.

5 Link Building Tactics You Can Do Yourself to Improve Your SEO

If you know what it takes to rank a website, you are already aware of the elephant in the room:

You can’t rank a website without off-page, in other words, links pointing from external websites to your own domain.

So what does this mean?

  1. Start by ensuring your technical SEO is in order, which your web developer can typically handle on their own.
  2. Update your on-page to ensure that keywords and semantic topics are well-represented among the pages and posts. This is especially true in the page title, meta description, body copy, image alt-tags, and URLs.
  3. Move forward with the real difference maker, and the piece of SEO that takes 60% of the execution effort on average: Link Building.

So if 60% of the work for ranking a website is off page SEO by way of link building, how’s a small or medium business supposed to win at SEO?

The easiest way to pursue off-page is to hire a reputable SEO firm to do it for you. But you have to be careful there – not all SEO companies are the same. The industry is overrun with snake oil salesmen and shysters.

If you want to hire someone, ask how they’ll get it done. Ask where your links will be placed. And ask for their track record of success or failure with existing clients.

For those of you who don’t have budget to pay someone for it, you have to do it yourself.

Here are five ways to get moving with link-building yourself. While they won’t rank you #1 for competitive keywords, they’re a great place to start building momentum in the near term.

1. Niche Relevant Web Directories

Several years ago, there was an uprising of fear that web directories were bad for SEO.

At the time, the internet was more like the “wild wild west”. Google hadn’t refined their algorithms enough to differentiate between good and bad links.

A link was a link, and it didn’t matter if you had auto-generated content on a junky blog linking to you vs. an excellent editorial piece linking to you as a source for information they cited.

Web directories were abused ad nauseum at that time. You could spam out your NAP (Name/Address /Phone) information to any directory that would take it, and they’d include a link back to your home page in the listing.

Then Google started rolling out penalties for cheating with link building. One of the things they penalized was spamming web directories like I mentioned above.

Let me start with this: Web Directory listings are NOT bad for SEO.

The key is to pick the right web directories for your business or website. What constitutes a good directory?

  1. It includes a vetting process where a human reviews your submission before it goes live
  2. It does NOT require a reciprocal link (i.e. your website linking back to the directory)
  3. It serves your specific niche and/or locality

And of course, you want one that carries enough authority to pass over some value to your own website. Even better if it drives a lot of traffic, because some of that traffic will click through and check out your website.

So figure out which directories fit this criteria, and start building your listings out. Try starting with one per week. You’ll be amazed how fast this starts to snowball over weeks and months of consistent execution.

2. Guest Posting

Guest posting is another link building tactic that has taken a bad rap. In fact, one of Google’s head anti-spam executives once declared, “Stick a fork in it; guest posting is done!”

As digital marketers tend to do, the industry over-reacted out of fear of penalty. Some webmasters were actually emailing sites that linked to them asking them to remove the links.

Talk about counterproductive!

Like I said before, you can’t rank without off-page. Plain and simply.

So what did he mean by this statement? For those of us who were paying attention, he was really suggesting that guest posting for SEO only was dead. You still need to craft original, quality content. It can’t just be paraphrasing of the same post that you place on 20 different domains linking back to you.

Guest posting remains one of the best and most lucrative strategies to build links for your own website. I’ve personally undertaken a large volume of link building to enhance my own domain, and IT WORKS!

We even offer guest posting services on behalf of businesses, and our customer base is very happy with the results. You can hire someone for this, or you can do it yourself in a pinch. Pick whichever works best for you.

3. Hosting or Sponsoring a Charity Event

Local press absolutely loves to cover charitable events and activities. It’s one of the easiest pitches to put in front of journalists.

I’ve seen local companies use this strategy with much success. You can host your own charity event, which brings the most fanfare, coverage, and attention. With so many publications offering online versions, the link opportunities should not be underestimated.

Too busy or cash strapped to put on your own charitable event? No problem. You can surely find sponsorship opportunities for events put on by others. In these cases, you contribute to the cause and receive in return things like your logo on all promotional materials (including the website) and a link to you as a sponsor.

Sponsorships are great since you get a link from the charity itself (or the company organizing it) as well as any coverage the event receives. And on top of that, you get a wider net of promotion when the organizers work to get the word out.

If you’re very short on time, but can invest in a charitable event, this is a great one for you to capitalize on.

4. Guest Speaking Opportunities

This is a link building strategy I’ve personally used to great extent: Guest Speaking Opportunities.

You can focus on national trade shows, conferences, conventions, etc. Those get the most coverage and are most likely to come with a link to your website.

But don’t overlook local speaking opps. Even something as small as a meetup group can help you with your off-page.

In fact, local speaking opportunities are much easier to land, and are also great vehicles for you to practice your speaking chops before chasing the national circuit.

Start by searching Meetup and Eventbrite for groups that gather to hear presentations on topics in your expertise area or niche. Go to the events to network, and be sure to meet the organizers in person. Once you have rapport with them, inquire about speaking to the group yourself.

This is rather easy for those of you who don’t mind presenting to a group. And who knows, you could land new business or make a few friends along the way.

5. Press Releases / Media Coverage

Press Releases were once a top tactic for link building. Back in those days, you could write up a release and then distribute it to a range of PR distribution services online, some paid and some free.

At the time, all press releases would be posted online with hyperlinks intact. This resulted in immediate links just for placing the content on the website.

Of course, the real goal of PR is to earn media coverage, and that often happened as well.

When Google set their sights on penalizing link manipulation, press release websites became a prime target. Why? Because you could submit any release to them with links and custom anchor texts pointing at your website. In the “wild wild west” times, this actually helped you rank.

Google no longer counts links on these websites; they simply discount them altogether.

So why am I recommending press releases as an option? Because they are a great way to put yourself out there with news that still may gain you media coverage. Yes, it can be a longshot. But it’s better to have some slim chance than none, and you can distribute a press release online for free on many of the PR services online.

Summary

If you want your website to rank organically, link-building is a must.

The easiest way to get this done is to hire a reputable SEO company on your behalf. For those of you with limited budget, don’t despair.

Try out these DIY link-building tactics first. Then later, when you are ready to get more proactive about your link-building strategy, you can contact us to accelerate your results.

Good luck and happy link-building!