A backlink is a link from one website to another. Backlinks are an essential component of search engine optimization (SEO) because they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content to be valuable and worth linking to.
In turn, search engines consider websites with a higher number of high-quality backlinks to be more authoritative and relevant, leading to higher search engine rankings. So, developing a backlink strategy is vital to improving your website’s SEO and driving more organic traffic (that is, traffic not from ads) to your site.
Understanding Backlinks: Follow or Not to Follow
Before developing a backlink strategy, it’s essential to understand the basics of backlinks. First, there is domain authority, which is how well a website is to rank in search engine results pages. Then, there are two main types of backlinks: dofollow and nofollow. Dofollow links are the most valuable because they pass domain authority to the linked page, while nofollow links do not. Focus on building high-quality backlinks—they come from websites that have high domain authority, relevance to your content, and trustworthy content. And third, there is anchor text. That’s the clickable text used to link to your website, giving context to the link between the two sites.
Developing a Backlink Strategy
The first step in developing a backlink strategy is to set goals. Identify the specific outcomes you want to achieve through backlinking, such as improving search engine rankings, increasing referral traffic, or enhancing your brand’s visibility.
Conducting a Backlink Audit
Before you can start building backlinks, you need to know where you currently stand. Conduct a backlink audit to assess your current backlink profile, identify any low-quality backlinks that need to be removed, and determine which areas of your website could benefit from more backlinks.
Identifying Target Websites
Identify target websites that would be valuable to link to your content. Look for websites with high domain authority, relevance to your content, and trustworthy content. Make a list of these websites and prioritize them based on their potential impact on your website’s SEO.
Creating Linkable Assets
Create high-quality, linkable assets such as infographics, blog posts, white papers, or videos. These assets should be informative, visually appealing, and relevant to your target audience. This will make it more likely that other websites will link to your content.
Outreach and Link Building
Reach out to your target websites and offer them your linkable assets. Pitch them on why your content would be valuable to their audience and why they should link to it. Be sure to personalize your outreach and follow up if you don’t hear back.
Monitoring and Tracking Results
Monitor your backlink profile and track the results of your backlinking efforts. Use tools like Google Analytics or Ahrefs to track your website’s traffic, search engine rankings, and the number and quality of your backlinks.
Best Practices for Building a Backlink Strategy
Focus on Quality, not Quantity
The quality of your backlinks is more important than the quantity. Focus on building high-quality backlinks from relevant, trustworthy websites. Identify websites that have a high domain authority, producing high-quality content, and reach out to them with personalized, valuable link requests.
Build Natural Backlinks
Avoid using spammy tactics or link schemes to build backlinks. Instead, focus on building natural backlinks by creating high-quality content and engaging with your audience. By providing value to your audience and building relationships with compatible websites (those in the same industry, for example), you can attract more high-quality backlinks and improve your website’s SEO. “Natural” links also include quality directory listings.
Diversify Anchor Text
Use a variety of anchor text when building backlinks. Avoid overusing the same anchor text, as this can be a red flag to search engines. For example, if you only use the anchor text “best SEO practices” for all of your backlinks, you are limiting the scope of your content to only that topic. However, if you use different anchor text such as “improving website rankings,” “organic traffic growth,” or “backlink strategy development,” you can signal to search engines that your content is relevant to multiple related topics.
Avoid Link Schemes and Spammy Tactics
Avoid using link schemes or other spammy tactics to build backlinks. These can lead to search engine penalties and harm your website’s SEO. Search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated in identifying and penalizing websites that use spammy or manipulative tactics to acquire large numbers of low-quality backlinks. In fact, having too many low-quality backlinks can harm your website’s SEO and even result in penalties.
Keep an Eye on Competitors
Monitor your competitors’ backlink profiles and try to build backlinks from the same websites. This can help you stay competitive in your industry and improve your website’s SEO.
Increasing Domain Authority through Backlinking
Domain authority is a metric that measures the overall strength and credibility of a website. Increasing your website’s domain authority can improve your search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to your site. Strategies for increasing domain authority through backlinking include:
- Building high-quality backlinks from relevant, trustworthy websites
- Creating high-quality, linkable assets that other websites will want to link to
- Increasing your website’s social media presence and engagement
Final Thoughts on Backlinks
Now that you understand the importance of a backlink strategy and the steps to build one, it’s time to take action. Don’t let your website fall behind your competitors in search engine rankings and traffic. Develop a backlink strategy that is appropriate to your website. Need help getting started? Contact Morgan Web Solutions for an SEO consultation.