You have created a visually attractive website and easy for visitors to navigate. You regularly publish helpful and valuable content to readers because it answers their questions and resolves doubts. Search engines recognize your content and find it appealing.
However, you’re still not ranking in the place you think you deserve. What could be the problem?
The most powerful search engine, Google, has confirmed that two of the three most important factors for top ranking in search results are quality content and backlinks.
Valuable content is the basis of good rankings. However, content must be supported by other important ranking factors, such as links from other sites, which are authorities in your niche.
But what are backlinks? How to get them from other sites? In today’s text, we answer this and many other important questions related to backlinking strategies.
What are backlinks?
Suppose you know that there are generally two types of links: interlinks and backlinks.
Interlinks link pages within the same site. These links are essential for SEO because the webmaster can create links using keywords as anchor phrases.
Internal links help search engines index pages from your website. An internal linking system can positively affect your site’s ranking if done correctly.
Backlinks, also known as inbound or external links, link one website to another. These links have a much more significant impact as a ranking factor than internal links.
Quality content places you as an authority in your niche, attracting other portals and bloggers to link your content and naturally come up with quality backlinks.
You can rank a website high in search engines with a few quality inbound links and well-done internal links. Depending on how great the competition is, you will need several authoritative links to position on the first page of Google.
Google views external links as a sign of trust between two websites. If a site has a lot of links from authoritative sites, it increases its rating and authority. If a couple of trustworthy websites link to your Internet location, search engines will see you as reliable, too.
What are quality backlink characteristics?
However, not all backlinks have the same value. The more important and popular a site is, the more valuable its links will be.
You can view links as votes. For example, you participate in a music competition, and the audience and the jury vote for you. Do you think that the vote of a famous and renowned music star, such as Lady Gaga, will have the same value as your neighbor who sings while taking a shower? You’re right; they won’t. So it does matter which site your link comes from.
Quality backlinks have the following characteristics:
- They are relevant to your content. If you have a cosmetics website, a backlink from the auto industry won’t be relevant to your niche.
- Quality external links come from trustworthy websites. We described it above – it’s not the same if CNN links to you or someone anonymous or even with suspicious activity.
- External links from authority websites have more considerable value. Authority ranges on a scale from 1 to 100, and you can quickly check it by using SEO metric tools, such as Ahrefs or Moz.
- They bring direct traffic to your website by providing readers with helpful information.
- The backlinks you’re getting should be diverse and come from different websites if all of your external links come from one Internet location.
- Reciprocity can seem like a fair solution – you give the link to another site, and it returns the favor. However, keep exchange to a minimum. Google views this scheme as a form of fraud. It doesn’t consider the black hat SEO strategy, but it is in the gray zone.
- Success on social media is viewed as a signal of a link’s relevancy. If a link on a popular social media platform goes viral, Google sees it as helpful and valuable.
Types of backlinks and their value
While there are numerous divisions of external links according to the websites they come from.
However, when looking at their performance and effectiveness, we can distinguish only two types: do-follow and no-follow links. Readers do not see the difference between them, but this difference is significant for your site.
Inbound links with the rel = “dofollow” attribute can positively impact your site’s ranking. If a high authority website links to you, it will pass you some of its authority. Your rankings will grow. That is what we call link juice.
Wrong dofollow links from spam sites, made only to sell links, can damage your rating and bring down your position on the Google search engine. You have to choose carefully from whom you will accept your connections.
External links with the rel = “nofollow” attribute do the opposite of do-follow links – they don’t transfer authority between websites. Nofollow links have no impact on SEO. They can’t raise your authority and position on SERP.
By sending a nofollow link to some website, you’re signaling search engines you don’t trust it. Search engines could still follow that link to discover new sites, but they won’t see web location as significant.
Nofollow links can have the effect of getting as many referral visits as possible, thus increasing the popularity of your site. For example, Twitter links are no-follow links.
Both do-follow and no-follow links make your link profile.
What is a link profile?
Your link profile is a portfolio of the total number of external links leading to your site.
Google will look at this portfolio – links, their quality, and diversity, and based on links characteristics, will conclude how your site is related to other sites on the Internet. There should be a balance between no-follow and do-follow links in the link profile.
How to build quality backlinks for your website?
Link building deserves to be called a category in off-page SEO, as it is complex and requires a carefully crafted strategy. If you’re unsure how to build backlinks, best SEO company in Los Angeles to get help with your link-building strategy.
Here are some main link building techniques you should consider:
Start with quality content.
Before you start to participate in a link rush, be sure visitors will like what they see when they come to your website.
Focus on creating quality and engaging content that is helpful and resolves issues your visitor addresses you for. If the content is poor, visitors won’t remain on your website, although you put great effort into providing links.
Reliable and creative content will spread out independently, as it has excellent sharing potential. Consider creating infographics, posts with lists and tables, guides, research results, and articles that call readers to interact and share their opinion.
Also, consider writing topic clusters. Start with one general subject and write articles around it that explain all details that subject is covering. Interlink all articles to each other. Google values these types of content, and they straighten sites authority.
Connect with leaders in your niche
How can you know who a leader in your industry is? Simply: type keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Results on the first page of the search engine are your competition and experts in your niche. Google trusts them, they’re publishing quality content, and they are set as the authority in their field of expertise. Try to make a connection to those websites.
Diversity is important. As we mentioned above, all of your backlinks shouldn’t come from one place. But getting external links from relevant websites could boost your rankings too.
Before starting collaboration, check your competitors’ domain and page authority to see if their connections are worthy of you. Domain and page authority vary from 0 to 100 – the higher the numbers, the better.
Find a gentle approach and suggest cooperation in solving mutual challenges in your niche. Much of the link-building activity will depend on your reputation, communication skills, negotiation, persuasion, and sense of other people’s interests.
Contacting the administrator of various sites is an art in itself. To be a successful link builder, you have to be a good psychologist and have the know-how to approach people of various profiles and get them to cooperate with you, especially when their website is more potent than yours.
Consider guest posting
Guest posting is one of the most common link-building strategies. It implies creating content as a guest author on other people’s websites.
You’ll have to create original, quality, and engaging content relevant to your partner’s site. In return, you’ll get the chance to insert one or more links that lead to pages of your website you want to boost.
If your goal is to publish content with a link on a particular site, you need to find out if that site has specific rules (guidelines) that guest authors must follow. It is possible that the site does not even accept guest links or gives the possibility of linking, but nofollow links only.
Your link must fit in as naturally as possible when creating a topic. Also, it has to enrich the content in a certain way by providing a broader context and additional information.
Quality is a priority. If the text itself has high quality and you perfectly adapt it to the target group (which is necessary), the chances are that your efforts will be successful. Your audience will quickly see through producing inferior content with one purpose only – backlinks.
Invest in press relations
Getting backlinks from popular, world-known press sites, such as the BBC, Economist, or NY Times, is beneficial.
Web locations have excellent domain authority, and search engines recognize them as valuable and confidential. They also have enormous traffic daily, and your article will see many people. Chances are they will spontaneously share your content further.
To get in touch with press industry giants, ask for help from the agency that handles your link-building strategy.
Fix broken links
It would be great if all external links you get would last forever, but often that’s not the case. Websites shut down, change the URL structure, and owners delete content that’s not relevant anymore. You end up with broken links.
When a user clicks on the link, it drives him to a blank page, saying 404 errors. It’s frustrating, and you’re losing traffic and link juice.
Broken links have to be redirected to a valid URL. You’ll have to apply 301 redirect – a permanent redirect that will pass total link equity to a new page. You’ll need to change the page’s HTTP status code to redirect users to the new, updated page. If you’re not familiar with coding, leave redirects to a digital agency that handles your linking strategy.
Link building practices you should avoid
Quality links can do wonders for your ranking, but suspicious links can get you in trouble.
It could be tempting to agree on link exchange or buy links, but those are malpractices. Google wants you to earn links while establishing like an authority in your industry, not to buy them.
Google penalizes low-quality, unnatural and irrelevant links. Your site could quickly become “invisible” to visitors if you get penal by Google.
Most common malpractices include:
- Buying links
- Exchanging links (we talked about reciprocity above)
- Low-quality links that come from unrelated sites.
Are backlinks important in 2022?
Google’s algorithm is changing, but some things will remain the same in 2022.
The most important factors that are key to good ranking continue to include regular publishing of high-quality content and an excellent backlinking strategy.
While quality content is undeniably the basis of your internet presence, external links refer the search engine directly to your site and tell it about your site’s reputation among your colleagues from the same field of activity. That’s why link-building strategies are worth the effort.
It requires time and effort, careful analysis of keywords, and performance of your and other people’s sites. However, the effort pays off.
Start backlinking today so you can see the results tomorrow.