SEO Backlink Basics: What They Are and How To Get Them
Backlinks are an important ranking factor for your site and should never be overlooked in your SEO strategy. If you want your website on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), then you need to build backlinks from reputable websites in your niche.
What are Backlinks and Why do They Matter?
Backlinks (sometimes called “inbound links”) are links from other websites that point to your website. They represent a “vote of confidence”, sending a signal to Google and other search engines that your site is trustworthy and worth linking to. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines determine that the content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth surfacing on their search engines.
Backlinks are in no way the only factor to get to the first page of Google. However, they should be generated in unison with other SEO strategies.
Types of Backlinks
There are two primary types of backlinks. So, what are the differences between them, and do they give the same kinds of benefits? The two types of backlinks are:
Dofollow links allow search bots to follow the links. This is the default state of most links and the type of backlinks that you want to get. They communicate your site’s credibility to search engines by extending the authority of the referring site onto your site. This is colloquially known as passing on ‘link juice’.
Nofollow links don’t allow search engine bots to follow your links. These links don’t pass on “link juice”. Only people can follow these links which means they don’t have any SEO value. No-follows links typically include comments on websites and citations that link back to your website.
No-follow links do not hurt your site but when you are investing your time and energy into offering something like a guest post in exchange for a backlink, you will want to ensure you are squeezing as much SEO value out of the link you’ve earned. So always clarify with the website owner.
Who to Solicit Backlinks From
Always solicit backlinks from credible, authoritative sites. Links from not-so-credible sites extend some of their notoriety to your website. The algorithm will see your site as the same quality as the spammy site and will therefore not rank you.
If you suspect that your site is being affected by low-quality backlinks, then reach out to me. It is possible to submit a disavow file that demonstrates to Google that you have no associations with the sites who are linking back to your website.
Practical Ways To Get Backlinks to Your Site
Below are practicable pathways that you can follow to earn backlinks from prestigious, authoritative sites.
Write Guest Posts for High Authority Websites
A Guest Post is an article written and posted on someone else’s blog or website. Writing guest posts are one of the best ways to get backlinks to your site and boost your online reputation. In exchange for a free article, these websites typically allow you to include two or more links back to your site from the post.
How to Find Websites to Guest Post
First and foremost, reach out to your professional community, friends and family. If you can provide value to their audience by writing a guest post, then start there.
If you don’t have any contacts or have exhausted them all the next step is to search for sites using Google or other search engines. Use a “keyword” + one of the following phrases “submit an article”, “guest post”, “contributor” or “write for us”.
For example, if you want to write for a Digital Nomad blog you could search “digital nomad” “submit an article” or “digital nomad” “guest post”. By putting the keyword and phrase in the quotations you can ensure that both phrases are present on the pages Google displays.
You will find several sites that will take guest posts. Then, consider your options and select the ones you want to pitch to.
Tips for Reaching Out for Guest Post Placements
You have to assume there are many other people like yourself writing pitches to these websites so make sure your email asking for a guest post is as unique as possible. Never send out a generic email. Become familiar with the site and suggest a few topics which have not been on the site before.
To increase your chances of getting positive responses, you can try some of the tips outlined below.
- Read the guest post guidelines (if available) and refer to them in the text
- Address the email to the right person
- Suggest 3 to 5 topics that will suit their audience
- Send a follow email (or two)
- Use a unique subject line (don’t use Guest Post)
- Be clea and concise
Send me an email if you want the customizable template and subject line I use for guest post outreach.
Sign Up for HARO
HARO is an acronym for Help A Reporter Out. It is a platform that connects journalists, bloggers, and writers with professional sources. By signing up for HARO you will be put on an email list that sends out requests on a daily basis.
The media publications will give you a link and exposure in exchange for your advice. See below an example of the email which is sent out:
The backlinks from these sources are typically extremely valuable because they are from very authoritative publications like Forbes. However, to be successful the pitches need to be well crafted and the responses must be quick.
Generating backlinks is one of the many strategies you need to use to get your website on the first page of Google. There are many other backlink strategies but the above strategies are the most effective ways to start geneating them.
If you feel like you don’t have the time to build backlinks on your own then consider outsourcing the tasks. Each month I can get you 5-10 backlinks to your site from quality websites while at the same soliciting guest posts using proven strategies.
I want to see your site succeed with innovative SEO tips that work. Let me hear your wins and let me know if you have any questions!