3 Ways to Earn High-Quality Backlinks (And Why They’re Important)
When people hear of SEO, keywords are the first thing they think of. Backlinks often fall by the wayside which shouldn’t be the case.
According to Andrew Lipattsev, Google’s Partner Development Manager, backlinks are just as important. Google considers them a major factor when determining search engine rankings.
This means choosing the right keywords is no longer enough. It has to go hand in hand with creating high-quality content and link building.
At this point, you might be wondering what backlinks are. Not to worry. In this post, we’re going to explain what backlinks are and how you can start getting them.
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are links from one website to another.
When a website links to your content, Google considers it a vote of confidence. This boosts your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
Let’s say you wrote a post about top spots in Sydney that only locals know about. A travel blogger whose blog has a lot of popular content liked it so much and linked to it.
That’s an example of an excellent backlink because it has the following traits:
First of all, how can you tell if a link is from a high-quality source?
You can look at two main things–the source’s domain authority and the quality of the content they create.
Domain authority is a ranking score for search engines developed Moz. It estimates a website’s chances of ranking high in search engine results. Websites can score anything from one to 100. The higher your domain authority, the better your chances of rising in search engine rankings.
If you’re wondering how to even find a website’s domain authority, don’t panic. It’s quite a simple process. All you need is a Moz account and a Chrome extension called MozBar.
Download MozBar and log in to your Moz account. Once the extension is activated, it will show you the domain authority of every website you visit. You can tell right away if a link from a particular website could be valuable or not.
There are other factors involved like website traffic and how often they’re updating their content, but determining the domain authority is a great jumping off point.
A link from a website with high domain authority isn’t enough. It also has to be relevant.
In our earlier example, you wrote a post about tourist spots and a travel blogger linked to it. That’s great because both websites cover related topics.
Google can tell that if users click on the link to your website, they won’t be disappointed. They’ll land on a page they’ll presumably be interested in since they were on a similar page first.
Start guest posting.
Let’s be honest here. Guest posting takes a lot of time. You’re technically creating for other websites, taking time away from your business.
However, the benefits could be worth the effort you put into it.
- You’re getting a backlink. – Remember what we said earlier about backlinks being a vote of confidence? As long as they’re from a reputable site, they could help you rank higher.
- You’re getting access to a new pool of potential customers. – If you write a guest post for a website in a similar niche, you’re getting access to their audience. People who’ve never heard of you before could read your post and find out about your business.
- You’re establishing yourself as an authority. – This is true with one caveat. Your post has to contain substantial information that people would be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of guest posting, let’s break the process down into two steps.
Create a list of potential blogs you’d like to write for.
Open a new Google Sheet or Excel file. Make sure to have columns for blog names, URLs and contact information.
Once you’ve created the sheet, it’s time to look for blogs you can pitch guest post ideas to. You can start using the following options:
- Check blog directories. – There are plenty of blog directories online where you can find blogs and filter them by category. Find ones related to your business and review their content.
- Use the right keywords. – Google your niche but add terms like “write for us,” “submit a guest post” and so forth. If you’re looking for an auto repair blog, you can use the keyword “auto repair blog submit a guest post.” Google will lead you to pages that contain the blog’s guest post requirements and contact information.
Submit a guest post pitch.
You’ve done the research. It’s time to start sending out guest post pitches. Believe it or not, this part may actually be more difficult than writing the post.
Most blogs, especially ones with great content and high domain authority, receive tons of pitches every day. You have to make sure your pitch stands out so you have a bigger chance of getting a backlink.
Here’s a checklist to keep in mind while crafting your guest post pitch:
Do your homework.
Read the blog before you submit your pitch. Get a feel for the blog content and voice.
- What kind of articles do they post?
- What’s the standard word count?
- What voice do they use when writing? Is it formal or conversational?
It’s a huge turn off when you pitch a guest post idea to a blog, and it’s obvious you never even bothered to read their content.
Get the details right.
Check the about page and determine who you should address your guest post pitch to. Is the blog run by one person? Is there a staff member in charge of reviewing guest post pitches? Sometimes, including the right person’s name in the email can make all the difference.
Make the benefit clear.
If they accept your guest post, what’s in it for them? Almost every single guest post pitch will emphasise that the blog will get free content. Aside from that, what do you have to offer? Make it clear in your pitch.
Keep it simple.
Popular high-quality blogs get tons of pitches every day. The people who run them don’t have time to read every single pitch word for word.
Avoid writing a long essay to convince them to accept your guest post pitch. Grab their attention by addressing the right person and summarising what you’re offering in a paragraph or less.
Guest posting isn’t easy. Don’t expect results after sending one pitch. It’s a long process that will require a lot of effort and content creation on your part. In fact, according to a survey, most bloggers send out an average of 25 pitches per month.
But in the long run, the results may be worth it.
Find your competitors’ backlinks.
Finding out who’s linking to your competition can tell you a lot about their SEO strategy. This can benefit you in several ways:
You can find the blogs they’re guest posting on.
This leads you to blogs from the same niche, blogs you might’ve never discovered on your own. Add those blogs to your guest post pitch list but–this is essential–continue looking for more blogs. To beat the competition, you need to do more.
You learn which of their pages get the most backlinks.
Before we proceed, let’s identify your competitors first.
These are the websites who are topping the keywords you’re targeting. If you’re targeting the keyword “auto repair sydney” and this other website is the first search result, that’s your competition. Repeat this process with other keywords.
After you identify your competition, use Backlink Checker. It’s a free tool that will generate up to 100 backlinks for you. If you’d like to see the complete list, you will have to pay for the premium version.
Enter your competitor’s URL and hit Check backlinks. It will populate the Top 100 backlinks your competitor earned along with the traffic they’re generating.
Let’s say you’re a travel agency and your competitor wrote a blog post about ten hidden tourist spots in New South Wales. The post became popular, but you can do something better. Write a post about fifteen or even twenty tourist spots.
Create backlink-worthy content.
No matter what strategy you use, nobody’s going to link to you if your content is lacklustre.
You might be thinking you’re not creative enough. The Internet is already full of experts who can whip out high-quality content in no time.
This is where the Skyscraper Technique comes into play. It’s when you find existing high-quality content that’s at the top of search results for keywords you’re targeting. Then, you create something better.
It gives you the initial idea for content you should create. You have to figure out how to make it longer, better and more in-depth.
But how do you even find high-quality content so you can get started?
First of all, think of keywords that could lead potential customers to you. Let’s say you’re a men’s clothing store in Sydney, and you want to use “how to choose a suit” as your keyword.
That’s a great keyword. You’re creating content people will find useful without being too salesy. You can include links to your products, but at the end of the day, the content’s main purpose is to offer advice.
After determining your keyword, you can utilise two tools to find high-quality content.
- Conduct a Google search. – A Google search will show you the top results for your keyword. Look at the first five results and determine how you can create something better. If the top results give five suggestions, come up with ten.
- Use BuzzSumo. – BuzzSumo is an incredible tool that shows you the most shared content for a specific keyword. Enter your keyword in BuzzSumo, and it’ll show you the content that resonated with people.
So, you’ve found the content you need to beat, and you’ve created something ten times better. What’s next? Reach out to experts and influencers in your niche.
Send personalised emails that include their names along with a brief pitch. If your content is good, it will speak for itself.
Earning high-quality backlinks is not an easy task. It’s one that requires plenty of effort and content creation.
But one link from a high-quality domain could make up for all your hard work.
Since more businesses are trying to get found online, guest posting is more competitive than ever. Stand out by doing your homework. Research what the blog is about, what their requirements are and make sure not to waste anyone’s time.
Discovering your competition’s strategy and doing better is your key to success. Find out which keywords they’re ranking for and which websites are linking to them. Use that knowledge to make your link building strategy more successful.
Creating content that’s passable is no longer enough. You have to create content that’s ten times better than what’s already available. If the competition is offering five tips, then you better offer ten tips.
Ready to get found online with an incredible SEO strategy? Cornerstone Digital is an SEO agency in Sydney that would be glad to help you. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.