Link Building Strategies
Our Guide to Creating a Comprehensive Backlink Strategy
Link building is key to boosting organic traffic and elevating your Google rankings; thus, accumulating backlinks should be at the core of your off-page SEO strategy.
Digital marketers are constantly having to identify new ways to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape, whether that is the prospect of a cookie-less world or the rise of cryptocurrencies and NFTS. Amidst this digital whirlwind, you must continue to rely on foundational SEO strategies to grow your business. Namely, the importance of accumulating backlinks should not be underestimated.
This blog will take you through how backlinks work and their importance for SEO, before highlighting the most effective link building strategies that you should be implementing today.
What Is a Backlink?
Also known as an inbound link, a backlink is simply a link from another website to a page on yours. Typically, websites will link to external sources to provide:
- Further information on a topic (e.g. they will send the reader to a site with a more comprehensive explanation. Often people choose to hyperlink the words “read more” to do so).
- Citations of a source (e.g. they link to a study or poll that they directly reference).
- Support for their claims (e.g. they may more generally want to back up an assertion or fact with a link to an authoritative site that says the same thing).
Whilst backlinks are links from other websites to yours, links from your website to another are called outbound links. Both fall under the umbrella of “external links”, but we will solely focus on the importance of the former in this blog.
If you would like to learn about the importance of outbound links for SEO, you can read more here. (See, further information on a topic!)
Although a high quantity of backlinks will demonstrate to Google that you are an authority to a wide audience, the quality of these backlinks is another variable that affects your SEO score and visibility on Google.
High-quality backlinks are backlinks from other websites with high domain authority (DA). DA is a Moz metric used to predict a website’s ability to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) on a scale of 1-100, and can thus guide digital marketing efforts in determining the value of a backlink on a site.
High-quality backlinks are crucial to determining your Google rank, but they are also very hard to build. Such links need to be relevant to the topic that your page covers, unique (i.e. they do not refer to your competitors), and natural. Unnatural or spam backlinks refer to links to your page that come from irrelevant and/or poor authority sites. They are problematic because they can negatively affect your Google rank if you have enough of them. Therefore, make sure that you purge your backlink profile of these spam backlinks regularly.
Effective Link Building Strategies
There are numerous methods that can be used as part of a backlinking strategy. In this part of the blog, we will outline what we consider to be the most effective link building strategies that will help grow your website and boost brand awareness:
Publish Shareable Content
Content creation is the single most important strategy for accumulating backlinks; namely, writing content that deserves to be linked back to. We understand this is easier said than done, as writing unique, high-quality content takes time and skill. Examples of such content include guides to niche topics and industry commentary that is supported by original data conducted internally.
Get Mentions in “Best X” Lists
This one is particularly relevant to e-commerce brands. Consumers tend to research a product or service before they make a purchasing transaction, and so landing yourself on a “Best X” list on an authoritative site is very valuable. For instance, if you sell gym wear, getting on GQ’s “Best Gym Clothes” list would be great for your brand. Not only will it bring people directly to your site, but this endorsement will also help you earn other high-quality backlinks. This is because you will be more likely to appear on other sites’ lists.
Most brands cannot simply land themselves on such lists, and that is why outreaching for backlinks is so important. A simple Google search for terms like “Best X” or “Top X” will help you find relevant prospects. Select high-ranking blog pages and then prioritise them in order of ranking and domain authority (you can use Moz or several other free SEO tools to determine the DA score of a website). You may also want to factor in other variables such as their backlink profile.
Build Broken Links
This technique involves reaching out to a website with a broken outbound link and asking the owner to update it with a link to a page on your website. Broken links can happen when a product has been discontinued, pages have been renamed or moved around the site, and so on. The page you suggest in place of a broken link will have to be a good resource that is relevant and up to date.
To build broken links, you will need to find them in the first place. You can use free tools such as Ahrefs Backlink Checker and Dead Link Checker, which crawl through a website and identify broken links. Although this link building method is often considered to be old-fashioned, it is a great way to directly undercut your competition.
Accumulating high-quality backlinks should be a crucial part of your SEO strategy if it is not already. Whilst buying backlinks is always an option if you are struggling, we believe that our suggested link building strategies will reward those who are willing to invest time and effort into them.