Converting new leads on a company website is one of the main acquisition channels of many companies. Optimizing a website for search engines is a crucial part of achieving that. While many factors contribute to successful SEO, building high-quality backlinks is one of the most effective tactics to improve your website's ranking on search engine results pages. Whether you're a seasoned SEO pro or just starting, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you improve your website's visibility and drive more traffic to your site. So, without further ado, let's dive in!
What are backlinks?
Before diving deeper into the article, we must answer this fundamental question. Backlinks are part of Google ranking factors and impact how easily potential customers discover your page organically. Also known as inbound, incoming, or one-way links, they are links from one website to another. Google and other search engines consider backlinks as "votes of confidence" for your website and signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable and relevant. Essentially, a website with a large number of backlinks will thus have a high organic search ranking.
The difference between dofollow and nofollow backlinks
When it comes to link building, you must understand the difference between two types of backlinks: dofollow and nofollow. The fundamental distinction lies in how the Google algorithm treats each link.
Google first introduced nofollow links in 2005 to protect bloggers struggling with people using comment spam to try to build links to rank for specific keywords. Those links contain the rel="nofollow" attribute in the HTML code, which tells search engines not to follow the link. The before-mentioned attribute tells Google that your page does not endorse the link, to put it simply.
Here is what a nofollow link looks like:
<a href="https://example.com" rel="nofollow">Anchor Text</a>
Doffolow links are the links that actually help grow your organic web presence. Those are the type of links that search engines follow and use to assess the relevance and authority of a web page. Essentially, the more dofollow links you have, the better your page will rank on Google.
Here is what a dofollow link looks like:
<a href="https://example.com">Anchor Text</a>
With all this said, it is important to note that not every backlink is equally good. High-quality backlinks from authoritative websites will make a meaningful impact on your website's ranking and visibility. Low-quality backlinks can actually have a negative impact and potentially harm your website's SEO.
Why backlinks are important
Building backlinks will help you improve your rankings, discoverability, and referral traffic.
Search engines see backlinks as votes of confidence. Each vote tells search engines that your content is valuable, credible, and useful. The more "votes" your page gets, the more likely you will be able to rank for relevant search queries.
Next, search engines find new content by revisiting pages and following backlinks to a new page. When Google discovers new content, it crawls the entire page to discover all the links on it. Since search engines frequently revisit popular pages, they can discover your content faster if you get backlinks from high-traffic pages.
The next benefit of building quality backlinks is to grow referral traffic from people already interested in the topics you cover. Referral traffic is traffic from all web visitors who visit your site via another website (excluding searching for you on Google). You get referral traffic each time someone clicks on a link to your site.
What makes a good backlink?
As we have learned in the above chapter, not all backlinks are created equal. One of the main reasons why Google became so powerful is exactly because of realizing the power of backlinks. In 1998, Google launched its "PageRank" algorithm for ranking web pages based on link popularity. The algorithm computes the number of backlinks and the authority for those links to determine popularity.
Here are some key characteristics of good backlinks:
- First, backlinks from high-authority websites are more valuable than links from low-quality or spammy websites.
- Relevant to your website's content: Backlinks from websites that are related to your website's content or industry are more likely to be seen as valuable by search engines.
- Naturally earned backlinks as a reward for putting out high-quality content, or other marketing efforts are more valuable than purchased links.
- You want your links to have anchor text that includes your target keyword. Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a hyperlink.
How to get high-quality backlinks to your site
There are many ways to go about building backlinks. From writing guest posts, and creating linkable assets, to cold outreach and doing a digital PR campaign, those are all great strategies to approach.
Create meaningful content
The first and common strategy when building backlinks is to create meaningful content. Meaningful content is the type of content that will provide value and encourage people to link to it. This can be anything from a blog post, a video, a quiz, a survey, statistical data, or anything else others will find worth linking to.
To create such content, you can follow a few simple steps:
- Set a goal
- Understand your audience
- Choose a content type
- Analyze what people are searching for
- Analyze the competition
- Perform keyword research for each piece of content
- Create content
- Include your chosen keywords in your H1, headings, and body of the page.
Write guest posts
In addition to creating your content, you can partner with other similar businesses for guest post opportunities. Site exchanging guest posts will provide one link to each other in their respective posts. By writing guest posts, you don't gain only backlinks but additional exposure to potential leads.
Backlinko testifies that writing guest posts is one of his best and most effective strategies for growing organic traffic. However, when growing guests post is important to follow a few simple tips:
- Don't post the same content across multiple sites.
- Find a site that is relevant to your niche.
- Ensure posts are about unique topics with moderate to big search traffic
- Avoid writing guest posts for random sites since Google will detect your content as spammy.
Broken link building
A broken link-building strategy is one of the most highly preached strategies by the world-leading SEO agency Ahrefs. Broken link building means finding broken links on other sites and to replace them with your working link. The idea behind it is to find broken links and help companies avoid sending users to dead resources.
The Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper technique is a 3 step link-building strategy created by Brian Dean, creator of Backlinko.
- Step 1: Find popular content with a lot of backlinks.
- Step 2: Improve the content and publish it on your domain
- Step 3: Promote your content to the people, who have already linked out to similar content to yours.
There are many ways to improve already existing content. You don't have to reinvent the wheel but can:
- Go more in-depth.
- Create a longer piece of content.
- Put more emphasis on the design to be more pleasant to the eyes.
- Update it regularly to always stay up to date.
Among other factors, backlinks remain one of Google’s strongest ranking signals in their algorithm. The more quality backlinks you have, the better your pages can rank for specific search queries.
However, not all backlinks are equal. Some will boost your search engine traffic through the roof, while others will be seen as spam and can actually hurt you. Remember that quality backlink comes from a high-authority website with relevant content to your site.
Since Google has pretty high standards for backlinks quality, generating a ton of them is quite hard yet worth the hassle. Building backlinks will help you improve your rankings, discoverability, and referral traffic.
There are many ways to go about building backlinks. To go over once again, some of the most popular and effective strategies are:
- Create meaningful content.
- Write guest posts.
- Broken link building.
- The Skyscraper Technique.