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Backlinks for SEO: what, why and how

If you wish to implement an SEO strategy that improves your ranking and traffic, then you should be looking into link building. Next to content, it is one of the most important elements of SEO. 

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from one website to another. When other websites link back to yours, they are like recommendations that tell the search engine that the content of your website is valuable. So, the more such ‘recommendations’ you have, the higher your website will rank on search engines. 

It’s no secret that pages with a high number of backlinks are favored by Google and have high organic search engine rankings. In fact, backlinks were the basis for Google’s PageRank. Though the algorithm has evolved since its introduction in 1998, backlinks still remain one of the three most important search engine ranking factors. 

For SEO backlinks to work, they must be valuable. In other words:

1. They should come from trusted websites with authority

If you’re into fashion, who would you like to link to you – Calvin Klein or some random, unknown person? Search engines feel pretty much the same way. This concept is known as ‘Domain Authority’. In simple terms, it means that the more authority a website has, the more authority it can lend you when it links to your website. Hence, the more authority the website linking to you has, the more weightage Google places on the backlink. Of course, getting these links are not quite easy, but if you do, there’s nothing like it!

2. The anchor text should include your target keyword

The anchor text is the text that is hyperlinked. It’s good to have the focus keyword in the anchor text, but it should not look forced. Also, don’t overdo this. Google’s algorithm, ‘Google Penguin,’ filters out websites with black hat link building strategies. 

3. The web page and the website linking to you should be related to your site 

Let’s say, you just published an article on SEO best practices. Google will place more value on links that come from authoritative websites that talk about SEO or digital marketing, rather than from ones on fashion or investment banking. 

4. You’re linked from a domain that hasn’t linked to you before

Links from the same website are not valuable. In fact, their value goes down with each additional link. So, you would rather have 50 links from 50 different websites rather than 1,000 links from one website. 

5. The link is a “dofollow” link

Google and search engines do not consider links with the “nofollow” tag on them. These links aren’t valuable and could belong to blog comments, press releases and paid advertisements. 

Now that you know how important links are for your website’s ranking and visibility, and how they should be, let’s take a look at how to go about the task of building backlinks. 

How to build backlinks for SEO

Here are 10 best practices for developing backlinks:

1. Generate linkable assets

Certain types of content attract links. In fact, they are created with the purpose of attracting links. These are called linkable assets. It could be an amazing piece of content, a video, an infographic, a quiz and so on. You need to create such assets to invite links. Here’s why –

– For an increase in organic search traffic to your website pages, not just the homepage

– For increased brand exposure

– For increased referral traffic

To create a linkable asset, you need to understand what makes people interested in linking to pages. The answer to this will enable you to frame your content in a way that entices them to do so. Some reasons why people link to content could be:

– It provides answers to their questions

– It solves a specific problem

– It supports an idea, belief or point they’re trying to make

– It is something that their audience would be interested in

You may have wondered why you need to create linkable assets instead of simply promoting your regular content. It’s because linkable assets have a much higher ROI than your regular content, especially considering they were created for that specific purpose. 

2. Use link roundups

Link roundups are pretty awesome. They’re a daily, weekly or daily curation of your industry’s best line-up. Getting your link in a roundup could mean great referral traffic. How do you do it?

• Identify link roundups in your niche

• Request the inclusion of your linkable asset to the roundup

3. Use ‘The Moving Man Method’

Here’s how:

• Search the Internet for businesses and websites that are outdated or have recently changed names

• Identify the websites that are still linked to them

• Email them to inform them that they are linked to outdated content

• Offer your content for linking

4. Broken link building

This is similar to The Moving Man Method, only, here you’re searching only for pages with 404 errors. So, similar to the previous method, 

• Identify the broken links on a website

• Inform the website owner about the broken links

• Offer links to your content in place of them

5. Guest posting

Writing blogs for quality websites and linking back to your own is a great way to invite more traffic to your site. This is an especially great method to invite links when your business is new and you’re just starting out. 

You’ll have to be strategic. Ensure you write only for quality websites in your niche. Finding such websites is challenging, but not impossible. An easy way it this:

– Search for someone in your industry who writes a lot of guest posts

– Find one of their published guest posts and screenshot their picture and bio

– Run a reverse image search on Google for the screenshot

– You’ll find the places where the person has published other guest posts

– Reach out to those websites and offer to write guest posts for them

6. Promote visual assets

Infographics and videos get linked to, but to get them to receive links, you’ll need to promote them too.
You can refer to this ultimate guide on how to make an infographic.

7. Write testimonials

Testimonials build trust, which is why businesses like to show them to their website visitors. So, if you’ve used a noteworthy product or service, send them a testimonial. They will link it back to you to provide that it’s a genuine testimony.

8. Blogger reviews

To attract blogger reviews, offer what you have of value – your product or service – for free. Start by finding bloggers in your niche who might be interested in your product/service. Yes, you can use ‘google for this! 

Have bloggers review your product or service. To do this, approach them with an email that is carefully worded –asking for a link or review in exchange for your product/service is against the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

9. Use content formats that generate links

The ‘why’ posts and ‘what’ posts get linked to a lot. As do infographics. Use them to your advantage.

10. Reverse engineer your competitor’s backlinks

How would you do this? It’s simple, really. Pick a competitor – or two. Check their website’s link profile by running it through a backlink checker. This will show you where most of their links come from, and just like that, you have a whole range of link building opportunities at your disposal. Of course, after you identify the sources, you will have to make your pitch and ask them very nicely, if they would like to link their content to yours. 

SEO Backlinks are an extremely important element of SEO. Both content marketing and SEO can boost your website traffic, but links can help you rank well on Google, which is why link building is an important exercise. 

At Them You & Me, we help you with the digital transformation of your business. If you’d like to discuss backlinks and SEO strategies for your brand, give us a call.

To know about what we do and the services we offer, please visit our website.

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