As any sales professional will tell you, connections come first. Sales is largely about building relationships. And backlinks are very similar. If I’m a new entrepreneur wondering how to send more traffic to my website, I can post great, relevant content, but having the outreach and connections will build the authority. In the SEO world, authority equals rank!
The term “backlinks” simply refers to the strategy of planting a link to your website on other sites — preferably industry-relevant, and related sites that can generate leads to yours. Backlinks are important because the quality and quantity of backlinks to your site are part of the criteria used by Google and other search engines to determine your search engine ranking.
Think about backlinks in terms of having friends. If I’m friends with let’s say Will Smith. And Will Smith acknowledges that he’s friends with me, my credibility among others would increase drastically. The more credibility I have, the cooler I am, or in Google’s case, the higher I rank. Now let’s say I’m friends with my neighbor, (granted, to my knowledge, my neighbor is not a celebrity by any means – I could be wrong *disclaimer), than I would receive little credit for being his friend, but not as much as I would from being friends with Will Smith. Of course, being friends with both doesn’t hurt. Backlinks are very much the same! If I have a link from The Wall St Journal, and my website is about investing, than google is going to say “that guy knows what he’s talking about”, because a very authoritative (or credible) site is linking to me. And again, a backlink is just a simple link to your site. I like to use Ahref’s Rank Tool to determine how much authority a site has before pursuing a link.
With this in mind, here are five outreach techniques you can use to acquire backlinks on other people’s sites — valuable websites that can boost traffic to your own site.
Expert roundup blogs are an excellent way to secure valuable backlinks — plus, they can also generate a motherlode of shares across social media. The key strategies of a successful roundup blog are asking a hot topic interview question and contacting well-known guest influencers who have a great blog that can backlink to yours.
Once you choose your interview question, you’ll need to contact your chosen celebrity influencers, asking if each will provide a good long quote. When you post the article, be sure to let them know that it’s online. Typically, once they see it, these influential respondents will provide a link to it on their own websites, giving you a valuable piece of backlink real estate.
One of the biggest things to avoid is “black hat” tactics — aggressive SEO tactics that don’t even communicate to a human audience and are used solely for search engines. An example of a popular black hat tactic is keyword stuffing, where posts are so stuffed with keywords they’re unintelligible. In recent years this scheme has backfired, thanks to the implementation of Google Panda, which automatically demotes these low-quality, low-content posts to the lowest search rankings; but some companies still persist in this technique.
More common today, when it comes to backlinks, one major black hat tactic to avoid is link farming, which refers to a group of websites created solely so that each site can hyperlink to every other site in the group. This is considered to be a form of web spamming, because it spams and manipulates search engine indexes. As with keyword-stuffed posts, search engines are quick to recognize link farming sites, and even more quick in relegating them to the bottom rung of search rankings.
Studies show that posts with longer content tend to get higher search engine rankings, so you can leverage the power of prose by creating a comprehensive “definitive guide” or “how-to” post for your site. If your post contains good, informative content, other content writers and bloggers will link to it as a definitive source on the subject.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is actually the name of a sourcing service that reporters turn to when writing a story. If you have a company site or blog, you can register with HARO as an expert source in your field. Once your name is in the database, reporters can call on you when they need quotes or information about your industry. If you’re named or quoted as a source, your link will appear in the story.
By offering to write a guest blog for free, you can acquire a valuable link on a high-traffic site. Likewise, if you engage in a hot-topic discussion on a popular forum page, you can include your link in your post. These tried-and-true methods of backlinking are both still effective, but the trick is to choose your sites wisely.
Years ago, keywords alone dictated search engine ranking, but monitoring tools such as Google Hummingbird and Google Panda now relegate poor-quality, keyword-stuffed content to a lower ranking. Backlink placement in quality sites, however, can propel your search engine ranking to the top of the page, as well as generate valuable leads and, ultimately, boost ROI for your site.
Hope these five tips help. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions.