The world wide web is built on links. Without them, we would have no content, and without content, there would be nobody to link to. Thus links are the foundation of the internet as a whole and an essential part of every web page: If you want traffic, it is imperative that you get more backlinks.
The short version: Any kind of link that goes into your website is a backlink.
The long version: Backlinks can come from various sources and, accordingly, take various forms.
There are one-way backlinks (for example when somebody quotes something from your blog), two-way backlinks (when you link to someone else’s website from yours). The types of backlinks are do-follow, no-follow, user-generated, sponsored and editorial. The quality of the backlinks can be measured by how many other sites link to your URL, how authoritative those sites are, and how many other backlinks they have themselves.
Linkbuilding is the process of gaining backlinks to a website to improve its search engine rankings in organic search queries. When done well, link building improves the visibility of a website in search results for its target keywords.
When done badly, link building can get you penalized by Google and ruin your rankings.
Linkbuilding is the single most important factor in SEO.
Basically, there are two different types of link building strategies:
• White hat search engine optimization – building links to a website in ways that are safe for the website and won’t get it banned from search engines or penalized with lower rankings.
White hats are the “good guys” of link building.
The methods employed by white hat link builders have been around for years and are not likely to change anytime soon.
• Black hat search engine optimization – building links in ways that are unsafe for the website, and in fact, often get punished by search engines. Black hats are the “bad guys” of link building.
The methods employed by black hat link builders are always changing to avoid getting banned and penalized, but they do not exist solely for this purpose.
Link building is a practice that changes frequently to stay one step ahead of the search engines’ content and link quality algorithms, yet it is still possible and in fact, highly recommended to employ ethical practices in this field:
Black hat link building can be tempting because it promises higher rankings faster. However, in the long run, it is far less effective: Just like spam email, black hats attract too much attention and are only a short-term solution.
Effective link building is the result of hard work, not a magic formula.
Here are my top 5 link building strategies
Guest posting or guest blogging is an excellent way to build links that are likely to bring real results.
When people read a guest blog post by someone whose expertise they respect, they trust that the author knows what he or she is talking about and are more likely to trust the website that published the post.
If you can get your guest post published on a website that is already well-known, you will be able to reach a huge, targeted audience and build quality links back to your website.
The process of creating you first guest post is straightforward:
- Step 1. Start by creating a list of target websites you would like to pitch to.
- Step 2. Look at the websites and identify writers and editors in charge of the section that you think might be interested in your post.
- Step 3. Contact the editor and ask for an opportunity to write a post for this website. If there is no contact information that leads directly to the authors, use the contact form on the website.
- Step 4. If your pitch is successful, follow the instructions given to you by the editor and prepare an excellent guest post that will appeal to the readers of this website.
- Step 5. Contact the editor again once your article is ready and ask when it can be published. Make sure that your article is as unique as possible. You want to show them that you made this guest post article specifically for them.
- Step 6. Make sure to ask the webmaster (or the author) to put a link towards your website before they publish the article.
Create Infographics that you send out!
Building links with infographics is another great way to gain traffic while also giving you more links. Infographics are a great tool to use when you want to show your readers something interesting and fun. If they are really well made and people want to use them it can be used to create links back to your website.
You don’t have to be graphic designer to create your first infographic. Just follow this simple steps:
- Step 1. Gather interesting data or research your topic thoroughly and make a well-researched infographic.
- Step 2. Create an account on a free infographic hosting website like Infogram or Piktochart and upload your infographic there.
- Step 3. Make sure that your infographic is linkable. That means that it contains valuable information. It should explain a lot of information in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. (It can be statistics, it can be a great visualization of a concept and etc.)
- Step 4. Time for distribution! Use social media to share your infographic and get some social shares and likes with the link back to your page or account.
Pro tip: Make sure that you put a unique sentence that goes with your infographic so you can later on detect it with Google modifier and contact the person who has used it for credit (if they haven’t credited you of course).
The broken link building strategy is the idea of generating links to your website by finding and contacting webmasters in charge of dead links on other websites. Although hard work, it can produce impressive results.
If you are able to generate broken link traffic and get your content into an authoritative website, it will be very likely that a lot of people will notice the content on the other website and follow the link to your site.
The way to execute broken link building strategy is very straightforward:
Step 1. Conduct an research about relevant and big websites that are in your niche and might have dead links on their website. A good way to start is to look for blogs in your niche. More often than not the blog owners do not go over their website and they don’t have a clue that they have a broken link.
You will help them fix a problem and you will receive a link as a reward.
But you need to find those broken links easy and manual work will take just too long. That’s why we need Step 2!
Step 2. Use a link checker tool to find that dead links. The best-known tool for this purpose is Ahref’s broken link checker. They offer a free version ( click here to see it ) but I recommend that you get a paid plan for Ahrefs. It is the best tool for link building and analysis.
Step 3. Contact the webmasters in charge of the website that you found broken links and tell them! Send a polite email with some screenshots and explanation and see if they will correct the error. Don’t forget to offer your link as a replacement. Otherwise this strategy won’t work!
It is a common practice to analyse your competitors backlinks and then try to steal those backlinks for yourself. If you conduct your competitor analysis right, you will get a list of backlinks pointing to your competitors websites. If you see backlinks from repeating websites, you might be able to get the same links. And you know what? If your competitors have them and they rank good, you might rank good as well if you grab them!
The way you should proceed with stealing your competitor’s backlinks is like this:
First you need to find those backlinks. To do so, use a link analysis software like Ahrefs! When you have your competitor’s backlinks, sort them by anchor texts and take the top 20% of them. Now go to the websites where those backlinks are coming from and check if you can get the same backlinks. If you can, great! Go ahead and try to do so. And that’s it! It is really simple but effective trick.
These links are not easy to get. You can’t just get them from competitor analysis or finding a broken link. They are earned when you provide value. Editorial links are links on Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, or other authoritative news websites.
To get them you need to show your expertise in your niche. You need to provide the best advice and create something that will help their readers. You need to reach out and include the author or journalist. You have to provide value.
How to get editorial links
One way to contact this type of journalist and end up on authoritative website like Huffington Post or New York Times is by using HARO. HARO is as a great resource that sends you specific topics you can write about. Those topics are sent from this big journalists that you want to contact. So just consider it as the platform that does that connection for you, without spending hours and hours of researching and looking for a contact on the web.
A lot of journalists use HARO to find sources to contact for articles they are writing. They post the topic on that platform and if you have something to contribute, you can answer. If you do good job by adding value in your reply, it might be featured on some big news sites.
Okay, I think we have covered the most promising strategies for link building! But we have to go over one more important thing before we wrap this article up.
Anchor texts are super important for your off-side optimization. They show what your link is about.
There are 3 types of anchor texts:
- Exact match anchor text – When you do links you should use the keyword that matches exactly with the keyword you are targeting and it is underlined in your content.
- Partial match anchor text – If you don’t have an exact match keyword in your content then you should use a partial match anchor text. Basically what that means is to use a keyword that is similar to the one you are targeting.
- Brand anchor text – If you don’t use any of those two types of anchor texts then you should use your brand name as an anchor text.
Now you know what anchor texts are what types are available for you. Now we have to talk about the risk of overoptimization. When you build links, you should not overoptimize your anchor texts because it will get you banned! Search Engines have been using spam-filtering algorithms for years. Many SEOs believe that these algorithms are more advanced than ever.
Use your best judgment when deciding the anchor texts of your backlinks. Keep them diversified and don’t focus too much on your main keyword. It might hurt you more than it might help.
Off-page optimization (or Link building) is a big part of the SEO optimization process. It has to be carefully planned and executed because most of Google’s penalties are focused on external optimization. If you don’t follow the rules you can get banned and you don’t want that. To recover your website from a penalty could take from few months to a year. In other words – be careful and try to be as “white hat” as possible.
I hope that this article was useful for you and you will stick around for more content on my blog about digital marketing and SEO.
See you soon!