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Did you know that SEO goes beyond on-page optimization? Yep. Search engine optimization not only involves what’s on YOUR website but how other websites engage with your content – namely, through backlinking. Backlinking is the action of another website – or your own – linking to another website on a page or through your content. For example, if I write about SEO and link to in my copy – that’s a backlink for Google.
How do I add backlinks to my website? The best method – although the longest – is by writing helpful and SEO content for your audience. You’ll generate natural backlinks from other sites that believe your content is useful to their audience as well, the only downside is then you’re waiting on Google to index and rank your webpage. Other methods of adding quality backlinks to your website can include guest posting for other sites, suggesting backlink placements, participating in round-ups or interviews, and even writing for third-party websites like Quora or Medium.
Of course, there are also methods of gaining spammy backlinks which can bring down your website’s domain authority, negate your SEO efforts, and essentially tell Google your website shouldn’t be trusted. Typically, this is from buying backlink placements on websites – like when you find an offer that says you can buy 20 high-quality backlinks for only $50. Don’t do it, it’s a scam.
Backlinks are created when a website links to another with an anchor text. A backlink example would be when any article or webpage links to another resource – or website. When you visit any webpage that appears on the first page of Google in a search, you’ll typically be able to find backlinks. These pages not only utilize a backlink strategy for their on-page SEO to rank higher, but these pages have built backlinks from outside sources – which is why they’re able to rank so much higher in search.
Why are backlinks important for SEO? High-quality backlinks can improve your rankings, boost your credibility, help Google find new pages, and send referral traffic to your website – all actions that show Google that your content is relevant to your query or targeted keywords. In general, backlinks are considered a small piece of the SEO puzzle. It’s one of the steps that come after website optimization and content optimization, mainly because you have to have an SEO-friendly website to give other sites to link to.
Realistically thinking, if you don’t have content or a webpage that provides the answers or additional information another website wants to share – you won’t get any backlinks. You can check how many backlinks your website has by using an SEO tool like Moz or SemRush. These tools allow you to check how many backlinks a page has, where the backlink is coming from, and even the linking text.
A quality backlink is a backlink that benefits your SEO, a spammy backlink or low-quality backlink is a backlink that can hurt your SEO. That makes sense, right? But, knowing what they do for your site doesn’t explain which backlinks are high-quality and which backlinks are low-quality.
High-quality backlinks are backlinks from trusted sources on Google in your niche. These websites should post content that serves an audience similar to yours and have a high-quality website. A trusted website is a website that publishes original content, follows all of Google’s rules, and keeps its website up-to-date and user-friendly. Also, a high-quality backlink doesn’t need to come from a website with high domain authority. While backlinks from websites with high DAs can help more than ones from sites with lower DAs, both are beneficial to your website.
Typically, a low-quality backlink comes from a poor backlink strategy. These backlinks are from websites that have gone against Google’s backlink policy (Google Link Spam) and have been marked as spam. These backlinks are typically acquired by:
You have two main options when trying to acquire backlinks to your website – free and paid. I’ll go ahead and clarify that you’re not paying for backlink placement, you’re paying for a service offered by SEO professionals that creates and implements your SEO backlink strategy. A free backlink strategy is simply a DIY version of what an SEO professional would do. You handle the outreach, the content creation, the marketing – all of it!
That’s not to say it’s impossible to acquire backlinks for free. In fact, some of the BEST backlinks are free and acquired without much effort. Here are four ways you can acquire free high-quality backlinks for your website:
Guest posting is a very efficient and quick method of establishing high-quality backlinks to your new website. It allows you to link from websites related to yours to content on your own website – building both your authority in the field and boosting your SEO. While guest posting is the most efficient way to build SEO backlinks quickly, it’s also the most time-consuming method.
The actual placement of a backlink is quick, but the time spent finding websites to guest post on and writing the content to meet their requirements can take some time. Some websites that accept guest posts can require content that has specific word counts, images, and only cover certain topics. These word counts can be anywhere from 750 words to 3,000 words depending on the website.
A longer method of acquiring backlinks, but the most natural and least time-consuming in the long run is by creating in-demand high-quality SEO-optimized content for your own website. Owning and maintaining a blog where you publish search engine-optimized content to regularly can increase your chance of acquiring free high-quality backlinks to your content.
How does it work? Essentially, when users search for your keywords – and you’re ranking for those keywords – they’re able to locate your content and then share said content with their own audience. This creates backlinks to a wide variety of websites that are related to your niche and the keywords you target, creating a high-quality SEO backlink.
For this method to work, it’s important to create a strong content strategy. You’ll want to ensure you’re pre-planning your blog posts and utilizing a keyword strategy to help boost your rankings in Google. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that you’re following SEO-best practices to create SEO-friendly blog posts.
Free for a limited amount of pitches (or specific pitches) per month, both HARO and Qwoted are programs that you can sign up for as a business owner that allow you to connect with resources looking for quotes from a specific niche/person. When you meet those criteria, you can submit a pitch for placement and link in the article.
HARO and Qwoted are time-consuming when searching for and pitching placements, but you can also do them whenever you’re free. If you don’t have time, there’s no requirement to pitch – unlike when you’ve committed to guest posting on a website. The actual time required to “pitch” depends on the query, as some request longer responses than others. Check out How To Do GREAT HARO Link Building: 10 Tips From A Professional Journalist if you’re interested in acquiring SEO backlinks this way!
This is a trial and error – and a bit time-consuming – method of building backlinks to your website. Mostly, this involves staying updated in your niche and being aware of your competitors. What you’ll need to do is essentially “find broken links” and then pitch the website your link to fix it!
While this can land you extremely high-quality links, it can also be the hardest way to acquire backlinks (at first). Finding broken links and ensuring that you have the content to replace them can be hard as a new business owner – which is why this method is typically preferred by businesses that already have a good library of content to pull from.
This method was dubbed “The Moving Man” method by Brian Dean.
The best strategy to acquire SEO backlinks is going to be a mix of the four techniques mentioned above. A combination of these techniques will allow you to get backlinks from multiple different sources, building up your website’s reputation with Google.
Still, realistically, you might not have the time to commit to doing all four. When you CAN’T do all four, I highly recommend finding one or two that you really enjoy and leaning into it. The ones that you do choose to do should also align with your goals. For example, if you’re looking for backlinks NOW it’s probably not a good idea to solely rely on SEO for quality content.
If you’re struggling with creating a backlink strategy and writing high-quality SEO-optimized content for your business, reach out to The Comma Mama Co. and get started with your personalized SEO strategy today!