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How to create backlinks to build your online business
One of the core facets of any digital marketing strategy is creating high-quality backlinks with other websites. If you don't know what a backlink is, you're leaving money on the table with your marketing strategy.
Using an effective backlinking strategy helps website owners attract more traffic and qualified leads to their landing pages.
Backlinking can elevate your search ranking tremendously, provide you're using the right strategy. This post unpacks everything you need to know about using backlinks in your online business.
What is a backlink?
You might hear some digital marketers refer to backlinks as inbound links, one-way links, or incoming links. They link two websites together, creating a pathway from one website to the other.
Backlinks can occur in several formats, with the most popular being anchor text links and logo links. The Google search algorithm uses backlinks to identify content that's meaningful and worthy of ranking.
If your webpage has plenty of backlinks pointing to it from authority sources, it increases your organic search engine ranking, bringing more traffic to your site.
Why is a backlinking strategy important?
A backlink acts as a "vote" from another website, stating that they feel the page has content worthy of sharing.
With each backlink you build to your pages, you capture more and more votes for your content. Your backlink profile needs to contain high-quality links from authority sites to make a difference in your search ranking.
Backlinks are the foundation of the modern Google search engine algorithm. The original algorithm, "PageRank," prioritized backlinks as the number-one priority for ranking in search.
Google has since made hundreds of updates to its algorithm. However, backlinks are still a valid ranking signal and one of the three big search engine ranking factors.
What is the best type of backlink?
It might surprise you to learn that not all backlinks provide the same results. If you want to rank higher in search and SERP results, you need high-quality backlinks with authority sites in your niche.
One high-quality backlink with a top site is worth more than 10,000 low-quality links. So, what do we classify as a high-quality backlink? Make sure all your incoming links have the following traits.
- Link to authority websites
If you run a business in the financial sector, would you prefer a backlink from a top-ranking website like Neilpatel.com or some random financial blog that's getting no traffic?
That's an obvious answer, and you need to know that Google isn't impressed by low-quality links either. In fact, if you start linking to heaps of low-quality sites, it could adversely affect your ranking in search.
Low-quality links from irrelevant blogs mean nothing for your marketing strategy. If you want to rank fast, you need to link with "Domain Authority" websites. The reputation and the high ranking of the site you're linking to plays the most crucial role in your backlinking strategy.
The only issue with linking to top authority sites – is the cost. Placing a single link in Marie-Claire magazine's guest blog section will get your fashion site a ton of qualified traffic. However, expect to pay over $1,000 for the privilege.
Create a spreadsheet and identify the top websites in your niche and related markets. Use web tools like Moz and Ahrefs to conduct backlinking and SEO analysis on your site and the leading authorities in your niche.
Reach out to each site's marketing departments, ask them for a rate card for guest posting, and make sure they offer you a permanent link with your package. High-quality links might cost more, but they dramatically accelerate your SEO and marketing strategy.
- Target keywords with your anchor text
What is anchor text? When you're reading through this content, you'll notice hyperlinks embedded in a specific text along the way. The hyperlink leads to another page within the website, or it could lead to an external resource.
The anchor text is the specific word or phrase hyperlinked in the content. For SEO purposes, you'll typically use keywords as your anchor text. It pays to look for long-tail keyword phrases for your anchor text.
Individual keywords have even less weight with Google and the search bots after the recent changes to the algorithm in late 2020. To get the attention you need in search, you'll have to focus on long-tail keyword phrases instead.
Adding locations to your keywords is a great idea. For instance, if you're trying to rank for "weight loss" as your keyword isn't going to get the bots to bat an eye.
However, using "weight loss clinic Orange Country California" as your anchor text provides better results. Combining that with a high-quality link source from a domain authority will make an excellent addition to your SEO link building strategies.
Unfortunately, the Google "Penguin" threw a spanner in the works with that strategy.
The latest update penalizes sites that use anchor text with an "exact match" to the linked site content. Therefore, if your anchor text contains the suggested keywords we talked about earlier, it could devalue your page's ranking.
Therefore, you'll need to find a clever workaround. For instance, with our weight loss example, you could use anchor text referring to other healthy lifestyle keywords you want to target instead of the page topic.
- Link with related articles and sites
When you're linking with other sites, make sure your website has a common theme with the publishing site. Google puts more weight into ranking posts on sites that are relevant to each other.
For instance, if you sell running shoes, posting on another blog about marathons is a great idea. Posting it on a tech site won't get as much attention.
- Create "dofollow" links
It's important to ensure you build "dofollow" links with your backlinking strategy. Always ensure that the publishing site is willing to offer that specific type of link.
A "nofollow" link does nothing for your SEO strategy. The Google search algorithm ignores all "nofollow" links, leaving you with no result for your effort.
It's good to know that the overwhelming majority of backlinks on the internet are dofollow links. Most nofollow links aren't very valuable, and you should eliminate them from your strategy.
Some of the common areas you'll find nofollow links include comments sections in blogs, press releases, and paid advertising.
What are the best practices for building backlinks?
After learning about the types of backlinks and which ones can help you with your SEO strategy, let's look at some best practices.
Building links is easier than you think, but it's time-consuming.
During the research phase, it's probably a better idea to outsource as much of the process as possible.
If you're not a natural writer, you might also need to employ a freelancer's services to help you with your content strategy.
Follow these guidelines when creating your backlinking strategy, and watch your website rise through the search rankings.
- Broken link building and link roundups
With this tactic, you're looking for webpages with 404 errors. Focus on finding these errors in resource pages in your niche.
Let the site owner know about any broken links you find during your research. Use the "Check My Links" Chrome Extension to help you in your research.
This white-hat SEO tactic is effective, scalable, and content-focused. With a broken link strategy, you find the broken links, notify the site owner, and recreate the broken content. You'll help the webmaster replace any broken links with your functional link.
A link roundup is a tactic where websites create high-quality content relevant to your niche to link to other high-quality content sources.
Link roundups are daily, weekly, or monthly posts that influencers and authority sites use to link out to other sources of great content.
- Guest posts
Guest posting is another "outreach" tactic to add to your backlinking strategy. Most authority websites have a blog like yours. They'll accept a guest post from you, provided it meets their editorial guidelines.
Some sites will make you pay for the post; others will do it for free. During your email outreach, ask for rate cards from prospective guest blogs.
As mentioned earlier, the top sites can charge a fortune for a guest post, so do your research and ask for the site's rate card from the marketing department. Guest blogging is a great way to boost organic search results, but you need to ensure you're writing a post relevant to the site you're posting it on.
For example, writing a post about improving your golf swing and submitting that to a gaming site isn't a good idea. It's a spammy-style of guest post backlinking, and Google will penalize both sites in search results.
However, submitting an article covering a new golf video game qualifies your post as acceptable content for the publishing site.
Get creative with your content, and tailor it to the guest blog. High-quality content like case studies and infographics are excellent choices for guest posts.
- Use content formats that are easy to share
Content formats like long-form skyscraper content present great link building opportunities. The more content you add to your post, the more the search engines see it as something people want to consume.
Skyscraper content is how the top influencers in every niche sell their products and services. Infographics are also an excellent content format for your link building strategy.
Making your content easy to share on social platforms also makes it attractive in the search bots' eyes. The more your audience shares your content, the more Google sees it as relevant and worthy of ranking.
We recommend building long-form content into your LinkedIn social media account. Leave links to your blogs or other landing pages embedded in your posts. Share it with your network, and think about an incentive you can use to ask people to share it with their network.
Great content can come in various forms, from case studies to infographics. However, make sure you keep your on-page SEO in-line with Google's recommendations.
LinkedIn posts are surprisingly the most-shared content online; we're not kidding – check the metrics. Using this free medium and leveraging your network, you can get more attention and traffic to your website.
- Sign up for HARO
Use B12 to boost your backlinking strategy.
Your SEO strategy needs careful consideration. If you're not an expert on the topic, you'll need the assistance of a professional SEO firm to manage and execute your SEO and marketing strategy.
That's going to cost you some big money, and you can expect the costs to reduce your marketing budget significantly. Launching and maintaining a site can cost you over $8,000 for the build and even more in monthly management fees.
If you're planning on launching your own website, we recommend you to learn more about what B12 can do for you and your business.
Learn more about B12's SEO Pro package that is inclusive of a high-quality blog included in your monthly subscription fee. The blog comes tailored to your website theme, and it's ideal to use in your link building strategy.
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