It has been said that SEO is like trying to hit a moving target. If you’ve struggled with driving traffic or engagement, you’ll know this to be true.
Sure, your site may have well-written content. You might have even dialed in your technical SEO. However, with no-one engaging with your site’s content and services, your small business SEO efforts will hit a wall.
We’re talking about backlinks. A backlink strategy can separate a successful SEO campaign from the rest. According to industry experts, more than 66% of websites have no backlinks that refer back to them.
Having one or two already puts your site and content ahead of most of your competitors. Indeed, having a lot of backlinks is great. Nonetheless, something has to be said about quality over quantity.
Other than having many backlinks, they need to come from quality sites or authorities. Many SEO experts believe this. Google does as well, according to John Mueller of Google Search Central.
How do you increase your quality backlinks? Read on to learn how!
What is a Backlink?
Before we dive into how to improve your number of quality backlinks, let’s get the basics out of the way. We need to be clear on what we mean by a backlink.
You can classify links into three types:
- Internal links
- External links
Internal links are clickable elements that are usually in text that redirect users to other parts of your sites. An example of an internal link is a hyperlinked text on one of your blog posts that redirects the reader to:
- Another one of your blog posts
- A page on your site
- A product section of your website
Essentially, an internal link serves one purpose — site navigation. This is great for increasing dwell time. Search Engine Journal defines dwell time as the amount of time the average user spends on your website.
An external link is a link from your site to another website. Unlike internal links, external links do not direct users to other parts of your site. Instead, these links direct users to other sites and sources.
While it might seem like you are giving away free traffic, having external links can help you. According to Search Engine Journal, having enough external links direct users to top-ranking sites can help your page. On top of that, linking to industry authorities can make your content appear credible to more sagacious users.
Now that we know what internal and external links are, what are backlinks? Unlike internal and external links, you do not get to create backlinks — at least not in the conventional sense. Backlinks are links that direct users to your site. These links are present on other sites.
As you can imagine, having another site owner link to your site is no easy task. SEO Tribunal discovered that, for 65% of digital marketers, backlink building is one of the most challenging aspects of SEO.
Your backlink generation strategy will require you to:
- Create quality content other sites will deem credible
- Conduct outreach to other site owners, persuading them to link to your site or content
- Choose top-ranking authorities with whom to coordinate
In short, backlinks:
- Are not created by you
- Direct the users of other sites to your content
Why Do Backlinks Matter in SEO?
All types of links will contribute in their own way to how well your site does on the search engine results pages. However, out of the three mentioned in the previous section, backlinks seem to be the biggest determiner of traffic and rank.
To understand why having backlinks is advantageous, think of one backlink as a sort of endorsement. A site that points to your content tells users that your site is worth visiting. With enough visits, Google will take notice.
As a result, Google’s RankBrain algorithm will determine your site and its content as valuable, propelling you up the SERPs over time.
Now, having one backlink can create this effect. Imagine what having several can do for your site’s rankings.
Quality Over Quantity
Having many backlinks can be an asset to your site when you are starting. However, whether or not this is a sustainable way to rank is a different story.
According to Google Search Central, good link building must focus not on the number of backlinks. Rather, link building efforts for 2021 need to refocus in the direction of creating quality backlinks.
Why? The answer is simple — Google’s user-friendliness. In its desire to guarantee the best user experience, Google gives priority to sites that share this goal and demote sites that rely on “shady practices”.
These shady practices can include:
- Invisible texts characterized by keyword stuffing
- Automated content
- Backlinks from spam sites
Backlinks from spam sites offer users no value. For this reason, Google can flag a site and demote it. Worse yet, having too many backlinks from spam sites can cause Google’s bots to not index the site.
Now, a low-quality backlink does not always need to come from a spam site. It can be a link from a site that has no domain authority despite following Google’s best practices for SEO.
If you haven't analyzed the current backlinks to your site you should. Check the quality of your backlink list with one of our favorite tools: SEMrush.
Many sites have not created enough domain authority. These are also sites that lack backlinks. uSERP’s most recent SEO statistics show that 95% of all existing web pages online lack backlinks.
In short, you do not just need a large number of backlinks. Some of them need to be of high quality too and from domain or industry authorities. Having backlinks from these kinds of sites will add to your authority and, eventually, rank.
How Do I Get More High-Quality Backlinks?
Backlink creation and generation is arguably the cornerstone of off-page SEO. Much of backlink creation revolves around persuasion and outreach.
Generating enough high-quality backlinks to your site involves more than reaching out to as many sources as possible. You need to adopt a “white hat” approach as well.
Here are several ways to go about high-quality backlink generation that won’t get you marked as being “shady”:
#1. Create More Listicles
Listicles are blog articles that follow a listed format. A typical listicle features a list of several items or subtopics that contribute to a much broader topic. Whenever you come across a blog post titled “The Top 10 XYZ”, you have stumbled across a listicle.
Listicles are not only fun to write. They are also a good way to generate backlinks. Quoting Moz, uSERP states that listicles outperform other types of blog content in getting unique backlinks.
You'll also see Google pull listicles directly into their SERPs. That view means more real estate for your website. Image Source
If you’re looking for a creative way to generate unique backlinks, invest some time in writing listicle content.
#2. Seek Out and Reclaim Unlinked Mentions of Your Brand or Products
You never know. There might be a site or blog post out there that may have mentioned your site or product. You can determine this by doing a Google search.
Once you have found mentions of your site or product, you will see if the mention links to you. If it doesn’t, consider this an unlinked mention. All you need to do is reach out to the author or site owner and request a link attribution.
You can do this for product mentions. You can also use the same approach for anything that involves your company or site.
#3. Create Long-Form Blog Content
According to Backlinko, long-form blog content shares the backlink generating potential of a listicle. Part of the reason can be the law of averages, especially when you consider 3,000 words to be long-form.
Compared to a short-form post containing less than 1,000 words, long-form posts give more opportunities for:
- Authority generating
- Placing mentions that can, in turn, be reciprocated with a link
With the law of averages in mind, it is no surprise that long-form posts generate more backlinks than shorter articles. According to Backlinko, long-form posts are at least 77% more likely to get links.
If your content is on point and timely, you can bet that some of the links will be backlinks.
#4. Create Ultimate Guides
You should create an “ultimate” guide or two to get more backlinks. By publishing material that you position as a comprehensive authority on a topic, more sources will likely take notice.
The best way to write ultimate guides is by following the best practices in regards to length. As mentioned in the previous section, 3,000 words seems to be the sweet spot for comprehensiveness.
Publishing a well-written ultimate guide is like hitting two birds with one stone. You present yourself as an authority on a certain subject and you generate links to your guide.
#5. Take Advantage of Broken Links
There is bound to be a site out there with content that has at least one broken link. If you find one, it’s time to take advantage and get in touch with the site’s owner or a blog’s author.
This approach seems to be the one backlinking practice that benefits everyone. It benefits the owners of sites and authors because you’ve identified a problem. You are giving them a solution to that problem.
By creating content to which the link can direct readers, you help visitors of the site. In return, you get a link to your site. Of course, be sure to have the webmasters redirect readers to the page of your site with the content.
This approach is the holy grail of outreach. However, the challenge lies in identifying and finding broken links. Scouring the internet can take time. However, with tools like Siteliner, your task can be easier.
The tool is free to use. It can help you identify broken links, 404 redirects, and even duplicate content.
#6. Don’t Rule Out Directories
Directories used to be considered a spammy way to get backlinks. However, this is a misconception. It all comes down to getting your site or brand on the right directories.
By the right directories, we mean the following:
- Google My Business
- Trip Advisor
- About Us
Here's a blog that can help you get your Google My Business page on the right track.
There are more than just these. The point is to get mentioned in these directories. They, alongside many others, are considered high-quality authorities. As we have mentioned earlier, nothing trumps a backlink or two from a high-quality site with domain authority.
#7. Conduct Your Outreach without a Template
Outreach emails may seem like an efficient way to get site owners or webmasters to link to you. While a templated approach may streamline your outreach process, site administrators can see this as spammy.
For this reason, a lot of outreach emails get met with the cold shoulder. You can minimize the chances of this happening by thinking out of the box. What we mean by this is conducting outreach in a way that doesn’t utilize a template.
By not relying on a templated email, you will be forced to do your homework on a company or site. It is from the resulting information you gathered that you can pitch your content as being valuable.
For example, if you have a blog article on semiconductors, research prospective semiconductor firms. From there, reach out and tell them how your content will benefit their readers. This human approach will likely be met with appreciation. Of course, this can increase the chance of your receiving a mention or link.
Backlinks can be some of the best-ranking assets for your site. As they generate passive traffic for your site’s content, you build authority and reputation. As a result, it will only be a matter of time before you see your site and its content up the SERPs of Google.
Backlink generation is no walk in the park. As one of the cornerstones of off-page SEO, quality backlink creation is something on which to focus your efforts. Nonetheless, receive quality backlinks, and you will position yourself ahead of your competition.
Do you need help? At Agency Jet we specialize in giving you SEO services that lead to an online presence. We can help your small business with our SEO packages in:
- Local SEO
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Reach out to us now for small business SEO that can help you gain more visibility and conversions!