Adding Quality Backlinks for Better SEO: Start with a Strategy

By Shea Lynch / September 4, 2019 / Search Engine Optimization

Brands are constantly looking for a better way to increase their organic rankings through Search Engine Optimization and other ethical practices.

One underutilized aspect of SEO and digital marketing is a website’s backlink strategy. The idea of link-building can often be misunderstood and considered too time consuming for the average business owner.

But that’s certainly not always the case, if ever.

Below is an outline with some ways companies can utilize a better backlink strategy when traditional methods are not working.

What are Backlinks & Why are They Important?

Let’s start at the beginning — what exactly is a backlink? And why are they important?

Backlinks are links pointing to your website by outside properties, namely other websites. These link-providing outside websites include news outlets, educational institutions, company blogs, product pages — pretty much anywhere links can be found.

Google uses backlinks, in addition to a range of other factors, to help determine the credibility of a website.

The “backlink profile” of a website consists of the total number of backlinks a website has, including both its follow and no-follow backlinks, as well as the average authority these backlinks bring to a site, and a number of other link-related characteristics like the ratio of inbound links to outbound links a website has, the anchor text the backlink consists of, and more.

Some websites have a higher authority than others. While a variety of factors affect this, it could be partially due to toxic links that can harm a website’s SEO.

Backlink Strategy When Emails are Left Unread

The first strategy used for building backlinks is to find online brand mentions without links, then reach out via email to get a backlink added.

We have a client that traditionally receives backlinks from news outlets. The news media industry infamously does not link to outside sources for several reasons, including reasoning from wanting to keep traffic on the site to a janky CMS not optimized for easy linking.

This is common among many industries and traditional methods may not work.

If your emails are continually ignored, these strategies can help create attention.

Actively Create Opportunities

The main strategy here is to create your own backlink opportunities rather than waiting for backlinks to magically appear.

Creating your own newsworthy content will invite other sites to link to it.

You can start by reaching out to your network to see if there are any guest blogging opportunities.

Providing content for another source is a great way to build relationships and create your own backlinking opportunities.

These relationships and professional connections can be quite prosperous.

Another effective strategy is to use resources such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO).

As mentioned above, news outlets normally do not backlink. However, using this service allows reporters to use you as an expert and you can negotiate your terms prior to the article being published. You can request backlinks and build relationships with reporters more effectively than reaching out to them for links after the fact.

A third low-hanging option here is to conduct your own study and turn your data into a story.

Undoubtedly, if your study is done properly and fairly, you’ll be sourced in various publications that make use of it in different ways. Of course, these studies take time and effort, but the payoff can be tremendous if they are carried out properly with relevancy to the topic.

Engage with Thought Leaders

If you do not have the resources to produce content, you can still become active in creating opportunities for your business’ website and the experts tied to it.

If you are an expert in your friend, you are an expert regardless of whether you can write or not.

You can use blogs and forums to get the ball rolling, but you can and should also engage with thought leaders on social media. Offer your feedback and insights, share relevant content, and talk predictions and ideas; these are the ideas that help grow your brand but more importantly express your expertise.

Signing up for industry-specific blogs and forums allow you to interact with the community tied with your product or service. Contribute advice and link to your own site within the comment itself.

Find Backlink Opportunities via Competitors

The best way to find quality backlink opportunities is to see what is working for your competitors.

Working with a professional full-service digital marketing agency will offer industry tools for finding these links. They can also offer an expert backlink strategy as part of an overall marketing strategy.

The goal is not to override competitor backlinks with your own but to find sources that are open to backlinking and to find new opportunities for your business to fit into that equation.