Link building is an essential part of any SEO campaign. In past few years, the link building scenario has changed a lot. Gone are the days when people used to build hundreds of backlinks in one day. In today’s post, I am going to share the right way to create quality backlinks for your website that can yield expected results.
This guide is divided into two parts:
- Backlinks Analysis
- Building Backlinks
Backlinks are crucial for any website’s Google Rankings. Having high-quality backlinks can take your website to the first page of Google while poor quality backlinks can penalize your site. Hence, it is important for you to devote your time in building right backlinks that can yield maximum results for your website. Let’s take a look what all you need to do before building backlinks:
Step 1: Keep You Pages Intact and Relevant to Targeted Keywords
It is a rule of thumb that before you proceed with off-page SEO, you must complete your on-page optimization. Your pages should be ready to gain high rankings. The landing pages must have good content with proper keyword mapping. Meta tags, heading tags, and alt tags must be in place.
In addition to this, make sure you check indexing status and crawl errors in Google Search Console. Technical issues in crawling and indexing of the web pages can be the reason why search engines don’t display your website pages in SERPs. In addition to Google Search Console, you may also try some paid tools to find technical errors such as:
STEP 2: Find the Top Ranking Websites in Your Industry
If you want to beat the competition, you must identify the strong players in the market. Many people are not aware how to determine the right competitor. The best approach is to take 5-6 most important keywords that are related to your business and search them on Google. Now, check the websites that are rankings on top for all of those keywords. Hopefully, there will be 6-7 sites that you can consider as the top websites and use them in the next step.
STEP 3: Find Out The Top Links Of Top Ranking Websites
In this step, you need to find out the top links of the website that you got in step 2. You can use following tools to identify backlinks of competitor websites along with their quality:
Open Site Explorer by Moz:
Open Site Explorer shows page authority and domain authority corresponding to the backlink. Higher the domain and page authority better the quality of a backlink. It also shows spam score which can be considered while evaluating the backlinks of any website.
SEMRush (One of my favorite tools):
SEMRush gives Page Score of each backlink. Hence, you can sort the backlinks of competitor websites based on page score to get the top links.
When it comes to backlinks analysis, Ahrefs is a combination of Moz and SEMrush. This tool gives URL rating (similar to page authority of Moz) and Domain rating (similar to domain authority of Moz) of a backlink. External links and first seen feature are similar to SEMRush.
Note: All these tools are freemium. It always a good idea to have at least one paid tool when managing your digital marketing campaigns.
Make a list of all the top links of competitor website as these backlinks have had a great contribution in their top rankings. If you can utilize their backlinks for your website, you can certainly improve the rankings of your site.
STEP 4: Get Links from the Top Links Collected in Step 3
The last and one of the most important step is to make a strategy to get backlinks from the important websites that link to the top sites of your industry. In some cases, it would be easy to get a backlink while in other situations, it would be difficult. Don’t lose hope and find out the creative ways to get backlinks from these sources.
Link Building Strategies
In addition to building backlinks on the websites that point to the top sites of your industry, you should also build links using following techniques:
1. Niche Directories
With the evolution of SEO, the link building techniques have also evolved. There was a time when people used to make massive submissions in various directories. However, in today’s time, those directories have become worthless. Still, some directories can help you build quality backlinks.
There are niche-targeted directories which not only give you relevant but a do-follow link as well.
You can use following search strings in Google to find directories related to your niche:
- YOUR NICHE + Directory (Example: “food + directory”)
- YOUR NICHE directories
- YOUR NICHE + “submit site”
- Add YOUR NICHE site (Example: Add Addiction Treatment Facility)
2. Regional or Geo-Targeted Directories
In addition to the niche directories, you can also submit your website to regional/geo-targeted directories. If you are a local business, then geo-directories are great for building backlinks.
You can find the geo-directories with the help of Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder or use following search strings:
- “STATE” Business Directory (Example “New York” Business Directory)
- Local business directories of STATE
3. Forum & Blog Comments
Forum & Blog comments can prove to be a great source of backlinks. However, people have used forum and blog comments for building spammy backlinks. You can participate in an active discussion that is relevant to your business, and if you think that your comment adds value to the discussion, then there is no harm in sharing an appropriate link that supports your opinion. Just make sure you don’t stuff keywords or post massive comments in forum or blog.
4. Business Listings
Business listings are a great source of quality backlinks. If you are a local business, then business listings are important to get top rankings. In the case of national and international businesses, business listings should not be ignored. They are helpful in getting relevant and high-quality backlinks. Some of the best business listing sites are:
- Google Places
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
- Merchant Circle
- Yellow Pages
5. Guest Posting
Guest posting is still an effective link building technique. All you need to do is find authoritative websites that are relevant to your niche and allow guest posts with natural linking.
Use following search strings in Google to find guest post opportunities:
- YOUR NICHE + “guest post” (Example: Fashion +”guest post”)
- YOUR NICHE + “contribute to”
- YOUR NICHE + “write for us”
- YOUR NICHE + “contributors”
- YOUR NICHE + “guest writer”
- YOUR NICHE + “guest post guidelines”
Infographic is another link building strategy that you can use on guest posting sites and websites like visual.ly. Well researched and designed Infographics can also help you earn backlinks as they can easily grab the attention of users and potentially go viral.
Sometimes many people use you infographic or images without giving proper credits. In such a case, you can use reverse image search on Google to find out the websites where your infographic has been used. You can ask them for proper credit.
7. Web 2.0s
If you can create unique and quality content for third party blogging, then Web 2.0 is still an effective link building technique in 2016. There are websites like WordPress.com, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium where you can publish content and build contextual backlinks.
8. Earn Your Links
Last but not the least, try to earn backlinks. You can gain backlinks by producing and publishing high-quality content (text, image or video). Always remember, content is still a king in the digital marketing landscape.
Create compelling content pieces that people in your industry willingly link to your website. And believe me, it is not that tough. All you need is a thorough research and sheer dedication.
Quality link building has always been hard. Creative efforts always need time. No matter how hard or time-consuming link building is, don’t get into black hat link building techniques ever. Avoid paid, PBN and automated links. Focus on quality and relevancy.
Getting backlink from one relevant website is better than getting 100 backlinks from irrelevant websites. Align your link building strategy with Google’s Link Scheme guidelines to avoid any penalty for your website.