Link building is one of the most effective ways to increase the number of visitors to your site. It’s also one of the easiest things you can do to improve your SERP rankings.
How to get quality backlinks? Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to your website or blog URL. They are essential because they can increase traffic to your site.
There are many reasons why backlink strategies are as central to digital marketing strategies as they are. Perhaps most notably, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) hinges on them for organic referral traffic, brand awareness, and authoritativeness. Backlinko found that 75% of all online content gets ZERO links.
Thus, link-building strategies are arguably a core pillar of SEO and a lucrative endeavour. However, they may pose a considerable challenge between old, obscure black hat strategies and a shifting digital landscape.
With that and current trends in mind, let us explore unique ways or link building methods to get lots of backlinks. A quality backlink is an authoritative link (i.e., contextual link) from a popular site in your niche.
Table of Contents
Backlink Types and “Link Juice”.
Since all backlink type matters, let’s begin by identifying backlink types and establishing how they relate to “link juice”. Let us also briefly explore that vital ranking factor and why it matters.
Backlinks are mainly divided into four types:
- User-Generated Content (UGC)
Apart from accurate categorisations for transparency, those backlink types interact differently with link juice. This colloquial term essentially refers to the PageRank score, which is the core distinction when looking for quality backlinks.
Search Engine Journal helpfully explains what Google’s PageRank is but let us summarise to keep information consolidated.
PageRank was, and is, a Page Authority (PA) score system that determines how authoritative and trustworthy a page is. This was its goal since its inception in 1996, and that’s how it functions today.
The reason why this matter in this context is simple. PageRank tracks links between sites to track interactions, affiliations, and endorsements. In turn, it would transfer PageRank score, or link juice, from linking sites to linked sites. Understandably, this eventually facilitated many underhanded SEO tactics, where backlinks would function as link juice siphons.
As a countermeasure against black hat SEO tactics and link building spam, Google introduced NoFollow tags in 2005. Over time, it expanded on the concept of sites disavowing links and labelling them accurately, creating two more similar tags.
Follow and NoFollow
The original pair of link tags is (do)Follow and NoFollow.
In HTML code, a (do)follow link looks like this:
<a href=”https://example.com”>example anchor text</a>
Most links are Follow links by default unless tagged otherwise and allow for link juice transfers. Many sites now carefully vet their Follow links and frequently limit demonstrational, sponsored, or user links as NoFollow.
A nofollow link will instead look like this:
<a href=”https://example.com” rel=”nofollow”>example anchor text</a>
This is where the name comes from; the rel=” nofollow” tag. Nofollow links tell Google that sites don’t endorse the links in question, and thus no link juice transfer occurs.Since Click To Tweet
Sponsored and User-Generated Content (UGC)
In September 2019, Google introduced two new tags that function similarly to NoFollow tags; Sponsored and UGC tags.
A sponsored link will thus look like this:
<a href=”https://example.com” rel=”sponsored”>example anchor text</a>
This tag denotes a sponsored link and shouldn’t be considered an endorsement. In the context of modern content marketing, this is an invaluable distinction to make.
Finally, a UGC link will look like this:
<a href=”https://example.com” rel=”UGC”>example anchor text</a>
This tag denotes user-generated content with similar applications.
Both tags see frequent use for other purposes beyond labelling accuracy, such as indexing and crawling. But in getting quality backlinks, they practically function identically to NoFollow links.
How to Get Quality Backlinks
With these essential distinctions out of the way, let’s explore some ways to build a solid backlink strategy. Since your strategy will need both, these practices won’t distinguish between Follow and NoFollow. Of course, you will want to prioritise, but you can’t safely lean too heavily on one or the other for referral traffic.
#1 Examine Your Competitors’ Backlinks
First and foremost, as with all things in business, you’ll want to monitor what your competition is doing. Examining their backlinking methods/ competitor backlink profile and broken links using either a simple search box or SEO tool, will provide potentially actionable insights and enable an exciting follow-up strategy.
At its core, it’s a simple enough SEO strategy/concept; your competitors may reveal practices you may consider. For example, you may identify a site that links to your competitors but not you. In that case, you can carefully examine why that is and adjust your content piece accordingly to earn backlinks. You can also engage in outdated link/broken link building strategies.
The “skyscraper” Technique, Adjusted
With these insights, you may then engage in what’s called the skyscraper technique. Initially coined by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, this Skyscraper technique is a relatively simple link building strategy:
- Identify a popular type of content in your industry
- Improve it and add value
- Promote it to expand your reach and earn a valuable backlink
Knowing where your competitors get their backlinks makes this link building approach even more straightforward. In short, the Skyscraper Technique involves providing more valuable content to sites that give them backlinks to earn yours. You send outreach emails to the email address of a web admin who links to your competitor that you have a better piece of content worth linking to instead. In addition to building backlinks, this technique helps you create content that appeals to search engine algorithms and resonates with your target audience.Backlinks are mainly divided into four types: Follow, NoFollow, Sponsored and User-Generated Content. Click To Tweet
#2 Engage in Guest Blogging/Guest Posting
Similarly, guest blogging/posting remains valuable today when searching for link building opportunities. Most sites will tag backlinks from your guest post as NoFollow or UGC, and some will restrict backlinks to bio sections. Guest posting takes considerable effort; you must do copious research for authoritative sites to accept your piece of content.
However, taking advantage of a guest blogging opportunity still has considerable merits:
- It provides organic traffic.
- It increases brand awareness and exposure.
- Regular, quality guest posts cultivate professional relationships.
Thus, guest blogging is a precious strategy to consider. It may take commitment to build Follow backlinks for PA, but all quality backlinks are practically helpful, nonetheless.
#3 Seek Interviews and Podcasts, and Don’t Discount Blog Comments
Another way to build backlinks is to expand your presence and thus the spaces where you can have backlinks. Having covered guest posts, you may want to provide interviews, guest appearances in podcasts, and even blog comments.
Interviews will come naturally with time and quality, and there isn’t much you can do to force it. However, you may scout podcast directories like Apple and Google and popular ones like Spotify and Stitcher. Finding podcasts related to your niche, you may reach out to their hosts with your pitch–and portfolio in hand–to arrange a potential collaboration. This kind of engagement is easy if you already have a solid social media strategy in place, of course.
Lastly, on professional engagement, blog posts are not redundant either. Engaging through comments expands your potential reach, and any backlinks in comments or bios strengthen your strategy.
#4 Account for Business Listing Websites and Business Associations
Similarly, there are two business-side backlink avenues to explore: business listing sites and business associations. With domain authority (DA) becoming increasingly important in SEO, these sites usually have high domain authority, so there are safe ways to get quality backlinks.
Business Listing Websites
The value of a presence in business directories should be self-evident. Not only does it enhance your local SEO, but it also expands your presence. Therefore, they may also provide a quality backlink/external link for your website. Consider some directories that are relevant today:
- Google My Business (GMB)
- Bing Places
- Yellow Pages
- Chamber of Commerce
Speaking of the Chamber of Commerce, you may be part of a business association. Such associations will frequently feature backlinks to their members. See if yours has one for you–or even join associations specifically for the backlink. Any business association can also have benefits beyond that one link.
#5 Produce Informative Content
Finally, such practices aside, content quality is the spearhead of getting quality backlinks. There’s no denying that; all strategies may yield short-term benefits, but “quality is king”. High-quality content using the right target keywords is the best way to ensure you get organic backlinks, follow and NoFollow alike from your link building efforts. Furthermore, content quality also affects SEO, boosting your engagement and social signals – much like backlink traffic does.
Update Your Content
First and foremost, ensure you update all content that allows it. Consider, for example, year-specific “best of” or “tips and tricks” lists. News articles don’t usually allow for updates, but such lists and pieces do. You can revise and update your content to allure more backlinks. At the same time, you’ll enhance your link-building campaigns and overall SEO by providing more “fresh” content.
Speaking of news articles, you may also use Help-A-Reporter-Out (HARO) to expand your scope and acquire high-quality links. HARO states it “connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their relevant content with sources who have that expertise”. If you have the expertise to share, this may be an excellent link opportunity to earn backlinks and produce valuable content.
Follow, NoFollow, or Both?
With all the above strategies for getting inbound links in mind, you may still wonder why they didn’t distinguish between Follow and NoFollow links. Rest assured that both are vital; follow links boost your PA, but both produce traffic and exposure. A healthy backlink strategy or link profile includes both, especially since too many of one without the other may incur penalties from Google.
In conclusion, link building is one of the most effective ways to improve your search engine rankings, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to boost your site’s visibility.
Unlike an internal link, getting high-quality backlinks won’t be a breeze. Therefore, there is no point in writing ultimate guides on this topic because things constantly change. However, it doesn’t need to be an impossible challenge, either.
Monitor your competitors’ broken links to stay ahead and embrace UGC; seek interviews, comment on blogs, and possibly reach out to journalists; remember business listings and associations; update your piece of content. Never forget that “content is king” and that providing value is the spearhead of SEO.
With these fundamental tenets in mind, you will have a solid foundation for building a successful and quality backlink strategy. Follow or NoFollow, sponsored or UGC, and other types of backlinks are valuable SEO ranking signals and will help your business thrive.
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