How to Get Backlinks to Your Site
The Best Link Building Tactics
Welcome to chapter 7 of the beginners guide to SEO. In this chapter you’ll learn about how to get backlinks to your website.
In this guide to search engine optimization we cover the following:
Now, lets get into it.
Link building strategies
So you want to know how to get backlinks to your site, well keep reading.
To get a better understanding of the web, I’ll give you an analogy.
Think of the web like the city of London, and the streets, a link.
Similar to how, the streets of London all connect to each other, so does all the links in a webpage.
The search engines are smart enough to understand how one page correlates with another, and how it does this.
Since the early days of the internet, search engines have always seen links as votes. The more votes a web page has, the more trust, authority and popularity that web page has.
However, we’re in the 21st century and like everything else, search engines have evolved and become incredibly sophisticated, and will continue to do so.
Links aren’t everything in SEO, but it’s a big factor that everyone should consider.
Links help search engines determine the popularity of a web page, as well as the authority and trust.
The more links you have from trusted websites, the more authority and trust the search engines will think you have.
Think of it this way. If a FTSE 100 company praises another business for the service it provided; other people in turn will assume that the business providing the service is a trustworthy business to work with. The business now has built trust and authority, and will continue to do so the more it works with big other FTSE 100 companies.
Gaining a higher number of quality, relevant links is crucial for any SEO campaign, and is necessary if you want to see your web pages move up the SERPs.
How do search engines determine the value of a link?
Well, to be honest nobody knows.
That’s because no one knows Googles algorithm.
However, through trial and error and years of experience, SEOs have found a rough idea of what metrics the search engines give weight to.
I have listed them below:
Popularity: The more popular a site is, the more links it will inevitably have to it. Popularity shows a sign of trustworthiness, and authority. For example, The BBC is a very popular website with very high number of diverse links. So long story short, the more popular the better.
Relevant topic specific web pages: Search engines like it when a web page talking about a specific topic, links to another web page talking about the same topic. For example, a good link would be if a website selling cat food, links out to another website about cat breeding. It is seen as a good, relevant link. A bad link would be if that same website selling cat food, links out to a website about laptops.
Anchor texts are also a part of the search engines algorithm.
If lots of backlinks point to the same web page, with the right anchor text, the web page has a very good chance of ranking.
Trust is key.
The web is filled with spam, and search engines want to separate the wheat from the chaff.
So getting links from trustworthy sites, like high domain authority sites or EDU links, are a great way for your site to rank.
Likewise, if you link to spam sites, your website will not rank as high.
It’s also a good idea to analyse the backlink profile of the website you want to get a link from. If the website you want to earn a link from is a spam site, and it too gets links from other spam sites, your website has no chance in ranking.
This is all about gaining links continuously.
Links decay over time, and adding new links continuously allows search engines to judge your websites current popularity and relevance.
The last few years, search engines have been configured to take social sharing into consideration.
The more social shares a web page has, the popular it is seems with the search engines. Try to increase the amount of re-tweets, +1s, & likes, you get.
The power of social sharing
How social signals influenced SEO.
Back in 2011, social sharing become popular more than ever before, and in turn we saw a big impact on how it changed search.
Google became aware of this, and jumped on the bandwagon.
They changed the results in the SERPs, by letting people see personalized results. This was based on whether or not they were logged in to their social accounts, and whether or not people in their circle shared any content.
For example, if you were a friend of mine in Facebook, and I shared an article about long-tail keywords, you’ll see that particular article get a boost in the SERPs.
The content shared was not always on the first page of Google, but they certainly got a boost in the SERPs, due to their social influence.
This change in the way search engines view social signals, has definitely changed the way the game is played.
SEOs and publishers realize the benefits of having people, especially influencers, share your content. This is why people are sharing content more often, and making a bigger effort in increasing their followers.
NOTE: Social signals do not affect rankings like backlinks, and are inferior to links. Links have a much better chance in making a web page popular and relevant. Also, the effect of links last much longer.
Link building basics
There is certainly an art to link building.
It’s not easy, and in my opinion it is the hardest and the most time consuming aspect to SEO.
It’s also one of the most important to SEO, and one that can make or break your whole SEO campaign.
Ever heard of the saying, “Enjoy the grind”?
Well the same thing can be said about link building. It’s takes a lot of hard work and hustling to gain some good quality backlinks.
Every link building campaign is different, each with different budgets, and different types of links to get.
There are many types of links to get, but most of them fall in to three categories:
- Natural links: These links are acquired naturally. People link out to your web page, because they like the content and think that the visitors on their site will also like it. SEOs don’t have to do anything a part from crafting great content. Natural links are very hard to get, especially for new bloggers.
- Outreach links: These links require a lot of time and effort from the SEO. It involves emailing bloggers, and persuading them it’s in their best interest if they link out to you. For example, the bloggers audience will like the content you produce, so they link out to you on their site, to redirect their visitors to your site.
- Self-created links: These links are accessible when a website allows you to essentially create links on their website. For example, blog comments, and user profiles. These type of links work, but are not the best. So it’s advised not to allocate too much of your time trying to purse these types of links.
How to start a link building campaign
I have already covered how to start a link building campaign in a another article.
But, I’ll give you a brief over of it again here:
The first thing you have to do before you embark on a link building campaign, is to figure out a strategy to achieve a set of goals.
This is a necessary step, as link building is one of the more difficult aspects to SEO, and without a strategy, you wouldn’t get very far with your link building efforts.
SEOs measure a links value on a few metrics:
- Relevant search terms: A great way to garner value from a link, is to gain a link from a website that already ranks high for the keyword you want to target. For example, if the keyword you’re targeting is “website design”, then it’d be great if the site you get a link from already ranks very well for this search term.
- Number of links on a webpage: The more links on any given web page, the less authority those links are. The links get diluted due to the number of links existing on the web page. This is why it’s better to get a link from a web page that only has a few links, rather than one with hundreds of links. More value is passed, and the better chance you have in ranking.
- Domain authority: This is an independent metric made by MOZ, which measures a domains strength. The higher the domain authority (DA) the website you want to acquire a link from has, the higher you will rank.
- Competitors inbound links: By taking looking at your competitors backlink profile, you can uncover why they rank highly in the search results, and what backlinks they have that help them with this. You can use software like, Ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic, and Open site explorer.
- Referral traffic: Getting a link on a site that will bring you referral traffic is a great way to bring targeted visitors to your site.
Patience is a virtue…
It takes time to get to grips with these metrics, and apply them all to your link building campaign.
However, if done successfully you will see an increase in traffic, both from organic and referral, and an increase in speed at which the search engines crawl your site.
If you don’t notice any difference in any of the things mentioned above, you may have to rethink your link building strategy.
Ask yourself whether or not the links are of high quality, and make sure your on-page optimization is good.
These two things can hinder your websites ability to rank.
A few examples of a link building strategy:
Creating a blog: Building a blog that is regularly updated with valuable and actionable content, is a great way to attract links to your site. You can leverage your content as a method to gain links.
Create content that goes viral: In SEO, we all try to make our content go viral. When your content goes viral, it does so by people linking to it and sharing it on social media. Have a clickbait title, funny image, or a controversial article, are sure ways to make people want to share your article.
Be newsworthy: Being newsworthy is another way to attract links, and one that seems to be evergreen. Getting the media and bloggers talking about you, your company, article, or product, is great way to secure links.
A side not on buying links
Buying links from third party websites like Fiverr, is a big no no.
Search engines actively look out for spammy links, and try their best to discredit them. If you have spammed your site to death with these links, Google will return the favor by dropping your rankings…nice.
I suggest you aim to build ‘white hat links’.
Well, that’s all there is to it.
Now you know how to get backlinks to your site, why not read our ultimate guide to link building if you want to know more.
Read our next chapter in the beginners guide to SEO, search engine tools and software.
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