Back links are created when a website contains a link to another website with a different domain. The more quality backlinks a website or webpage receives, the higher the PageRank from Google, and the higher that page will rank in search engines for relevant key terms. Therefore, many SEO professionals still consider backlinks an important factor in how high a page ranks for specific keywords.
Two types of backlinks
There are two types of backlinks – follow and nofollow – and both can boost your brand.
Follow links from popular sites with high authority will provide the most significant help with your search rankings. They tell search engine crawlers that the URL is not only relevant to the content on that page but can also act to pass along link equity, which helps boost that link’s PageRank.
Nofollow links do the opposite; they specifically tell the search engine crawler not to pass along PageRank to the hyperlink, although Google and other search engines will still give slight boosts to pages with a large number of high-quality nofollow backlinks. These links can also help content spread and allow more people to find your content, so don’t discount nofollow links completely.
Not all backlinks are created equal, so how do I get quality ones?
Google’s PageRank algorithm heavily favors sites that already rank well in searches and have earned strong subject-matter authority. High-quality backlinks include top news sites like Forbes, Fortune and CNN, popular with various interest groups and vertical industries. However, getting backlinks from authoritative topical websites like these can be complex, time-consuming and tedious. The effort is similar to PR campaigns, requiring you to reach out, connect and sometimes establish long-standing relationships with people or organizations interested in your content.
If you don’t have that kind of time and resources, here are a few suggestions to grow your backlink profile.
One of the top ways to get people to link to your website is to ensure you’re producing high-quality content that is not only relevant to your industry but helpful to your potential customers. The better your content and the more valuable it is to people, the more likely it will spread and gain more links. It’s often better to spend time on producing one piece of high-quality content than a series of small, less helpful items.
In a world oversaturated with content, we stress quality over quantity. Your content needs to be current, trending and relevant to the site you’re pitching. Infographics have become a major player in attaining backlinks for websites with content that may be less relevant with wider groups. Working with bloggers and journalists to create relevant content in your field in exchange for a backlink to your website in a bio is another excellent way to earn a quality backlink from a high-authority source.
If you author a blog or develop content relevant to your industry, sharing with other content creators is a great way to network and grow your backlinks. SEO agencies maintain professional websites and social media profiles to show legitimacy and gain guest writing spots. Trading guest blog posts or providing content to another blog will often result in a link back and allows you to reach new customers who aren’t already aware of your blog or business.
Guest blogging privilege may also be something to look into when shopping for an agency. For example, does the agency have contractors or in-house employees with guest blogging status? Will any of their connections benefit your market? It’s never too soon to ask!
Forums and website comments
If there are forums – such as Reddit, Q&As or popular blogs related to your industry – it can sometimes pay dividends to get involved in that community’s conversations. You can provide helpful insight through blog comments or even start a new discussion. Often you can insert your link along with your comment or in the signature of your forum posts. These are usually marked as nofollow; however, there are a few exceptions. Overall, this is a great way to start link-building in communities that are already seeking the information you’re aiming to share.
Similar to forums, social media conversations can be a way to get your content out there. While not all social media links are public and indexed by search engines, there are a few that can be beneficial in building your business’s backlink profile. Take Pinterest, for example. Adding your articles or images to Pinterest or making it easy for your visitors to pin content is an effective way to build backlinks through social media.
In addition, Reddit, another public social media site, can cultivate backlinks. But, unfortunately, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin are generally not indexed by search engines.
Many of the backlinks to your site in the early days will come through listing websites such as Yelp or Google for any new business or new website. Some niche businesses, such as medical clinics, will also have industry-specific listing sites like Healthgrades.com. Most of these directories will allow you to create free profiles with a link back to your site. A select few will even offer that elusive follow backlink.
It’s crucial to list your organization on these directories, especially if they rank for keywords relevant to your business. Do a few Google searches that customers would do when aiming to find you, and make sure your business is listed on any directory pages that come up on the first or second pages of the search. If you come across several listings that need to be updated, consider services such as KillerListings to ensure control of the narrative across listing platforms.
Sometimes getting a backlink can be as easy as paying a small membership fee. Local chambers of commerce, merchant organizations and professional organizations typically offer membership packages that include a directory listing on their website. Take advantage of these membership perks when you can.
If you have an important product launch or business announcement, it can be beneficial to use a press release service to get the word out. Many online press release wires will allow you to pay a small fee to submit press releases. These could end up on dozens or even hundreds of high-quality sites in your industry, providing a quick boost to your content at a reasonable price.
Other proactive techniques for link building
One of the most simple and effective ways to maintain your backlink profile and your legitimacy for future backlinks is to use programs such as Ahref’s Backlink 2.0 feature. Tools like these show you when backlinks are removed or “lost” and the potential cause. Knowing why your page lost a backlink creates the opportunity for your website to reach out and provide a new link, update content, or make a connection by asking for more information about why a site removed your link.
Seek out an SEO Expert
To achieve better rankings on Google and other search engines, optimizing your site with SEO can be time-intensive and sometimes confusing. To get the most out of your efforts, ask a professional SEO agency to give you an assessment so you can put a proper game plan in place.
Give us a call or send us a message to find out what we can do to strengthen your backlinks and your online presence overall.