June 15, 2023
e9 digital’s Top SEO Tips: Backlinking Strategies
We’re been hitting the hard tech in our SEO (search engine optimization) top tips, and last week we covered the crucial role of webmaster. Today, we’re gonna cover a topic that’s a bit easier to understand: backlinking.
We all have a friend who loves to talk. They’re a big, bold personality who insists they’re the expert on every subject in the book. And while they talk like they know all the answers, you don’t believe everything they say is true because they don’t provide the facts to back it up.
Google feels the same way about the internet.
The internet is full of websites that spew information with little proof to support their claims. And Google will treat your website that way unless you show the receipts behind your statements.
This is why AI can be dangerous to rely on. Yes, Chat GPT might sound like a person but it’s been proven that the facts are often incorrect and it regularly generates wrong answers. This is why you need a digital marketing agency with copywriters on staff who will write fact-driven, accurate blog posts you can rely on.
Instead of relying on AI to find facts for you, you must backlink to reputable websites so that Google knows what you’re saying is true.
Backlinking AKA How to Be Trustworthy
A backlink is a link from one website to another with anchor text. Backlinks can also be called inbound or external links (⬅️that right there is a backlink).
Any time a website gets backlinks from another site, this tells Google that people view the content as valuable. Quality of content is one of the five key factors that Google measures to determine search engine results, alongside meaning of query, relevance of content, usability of webpages, and context and settings.
There are two sides to this coin: how to link to other pages on your site and how to get your site linked on other pages. Both build authority and help your website rank higher on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
The SERP is the list of results that Google shows after a user types in a search query. Most people don’t look past the first ten results, so the goal of SEO is to rank on that first page. And the more authority the website has, the more likely it is to rank higher on the SERP.
Don’t Sell Snake Oil: How to Backlink
You can’t randomly link websites to your homepage or stuff links to try to score higher on the SERP. Doing that falls under black hat SEO (which is basically any SEO that doesn’t follow Google’s rules) and you’ll receive penalties from Google which lower your SERP rank.
Side note, Google uses an algorithm with over 200 components to decide what ranks first. So, the best way to rank is to follow the five key factors Google prioritizes for search engine results.
To make the most of your backlinks, each one must be from a quality source with keywords relevant to the topic at hand. When backlinking, follow these 3 steps.
1. Don’t Settle: Choose a Reputable Website
First, you need to use websites that are quality.
Think about the websites you trust. If you want to learn more about space, you’d prefer to read Nasa’s website than watch some random YouTuber spout off about how the Earth is flat.
Google works the same way. It determines the prominence of the website in certain subjects and factors in how relevant they are to the link. If the backlink is extremely relevant and authoritative, then the link will improve your SEO.
This is due to domain authority. Domain authority is measured by backlinks. The more backlinks a site has, the more weight Google gives it. For example, Nasa.gov has a domain authority score of 94 (anything over 60 is excellent), making it an extremely authoritative site.
In general, .gov and .edu sites tend to be more authoritative than a .com site.
2. Stay in Your Lane: Pick a Relevant Website
Say the same friend from the intro insists they’re an expert on potatoes. But all the information your friend gets on potatoes is from a website about pottery. That makes you think that everything your friend knows about potatoes is incorrect.
The same goes for Google with backlinking. Backlink to authoritative websites that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing or your business in general.
Let’s say you’re a food blogger and you’re writing about how to cook salmon safely. A great backlink for your post would be to link to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) about the recommended internal temperature that’s safe to eat at. The site both has high authority because it’s a .gov and it’s relevant to your food website.
3. Keep the Link From Drifting off to Sea: Anchor with Keywords
If possible, you should link the article to keywords in the anchor text that describe what the article is about or what the person would learn by clicking on that article.
If you don’t know what keywords are, go back and read our SEO top tips blog on the subject. Basically, keywords are short search terms that users type into Google to find the answer to their queries.
Say you’re a plumber writing a blog post and you want that post to rank for the keyword “how to unclog a drain.” You could link to another website that goes into the subject further and use the anchor text “ways to unclog a drain.” It doesn’t have to be an exact match anchor text but you can see how it’s related to the keyword.
Be Your Own Advocate: How to Earn Backlinks to Your Site
Of course, you can backlink to external sites on your website. But what really makes the difference with Google is when other websites use your site as a backlink.
Now, wouldn’t you love to take the reins in someone else’s head and have them link to your website? You can’t control what other people do but you can create helpful content to ensure that your site gets shared.
So, here are a few ways to get the word out about your site.
1. Give the People What They Want: Create Shareable Content
The best way to score backlinks is to create content that people want to share.
If it’s for your website, this will most likely be a blog post, but it could also be a
- How-to video
- Informational guide
- Fun quiz
- A podcast that takes a deep dive into a topic
Be sure to share the content in your social media, email newsletters, or even with clients that you think might be interested in it.
2. It’s Okay to Ask for Help: Reach Out to Bloggers
A great way to earn a backlink is to collaborate with people in your industry. If there’s a blogger within your niche who ranks high, send them a message and ask if they’d like to work together. You could write a blog post for their site and vice versa, then you can use that content to backlink.
Look for a contact section on the blog and send them a message through the blogger’s preferred method, or you could message them on social media (if that’s available).
Be sure to personalize the message and express what it is about their blog specifically that makes working together a good fit.
It doesn’t hurt to actively participate in the blog before you request a backlink. You should cultivate a business relationship with the blogger and don’t expect them to give anything without getting something in return.
For example, if you sell a product that they may be interested in, you could offer to send them a free sample so they could write about it and link to your page if they like it.
This is okay to do as long as they give a genuine review.
Don’t expect them to give a 5-star review just because you gave them something for free.
Popular bloggers may be hard to get in touch with because they’re constantly getting requests for backlinks. Try smaller bloggers at first because they’re more likely to respond. Or even better, work with a content agency that has connections and can get you those high-quality backlinks.
3. Try HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
HARO is a service that connects journalists with sources. If you are an expert in your field, reporters constantly need sources to comment on major events or offer expertise for their stories. This can be a great way to get linked in a reputable media outlet. HARO works with big contenders, including
- The New York Times
- The Wall Street Journal
You do have to create an account to be included (there are paid and free versions). You must follow the rules; you’ll be banned if you don’t. Sources receive three emails a day, and you can respond to the source request if it’s within your expertise. It’s up to the journalist to use you as a source or not.
Don’t Have Time for Backlinks? Let e9 digital Do It For You
Backlinking takes some patience, and not everyone wants to stand up on that AI-designed soapbox of a blog and brag about their website. Marketing is a long game, and you must be diligent about doing the work of SEO for it to pay off.
If you feel ill at the idea of adding yet another task to your to-do list that will keep you working until 10 pm, let the marketing pros at e9 digital handle your SEO for you.
Think of us as the cheerleaders for all of our clients.
We know how to get the e-word out about your company through backlinks and other methods so you can focus on what you do best: running your business.
If that sounds like a dream to you, then give us a call today so we can figure out the best SEO strategy for your website.
Eager to learn more about SEO? Then check out our next blog post on analytics, the ninth and final one in our SEO tips series!