Every time you hyperlink to another website, you’re not just citing a source. You’re actually doing them a favor, whether you mean to or not. A big part of optimizing your post for SEO is understanding how to get other pages to start doing favors for you, too.
For those who speak SEO language, backlinks give your blog link juice—which happens to be one of the Google spiders’ favorite treats. If you’re new to blogging or website management, here’s how backlinks work:
- You write a solid piece of content and publish it to your website or blog.
- Another writer, editor or webmaster from Site B finds your post and enjoys it.
- They decide to use a quote from your content or mention your brand in a post of their own.
- Instead of simply including your name or the title of your blog post, they decide to include a direct link with anchor text from their page to yours. See?
- The Google algorithm notices that Site B is giving you some link juice, and, as a result, boosts your ranking.
- People reading Site B’s article then click on the link and are taken to your blog post, spurring traffic that you might not otherwise receive.
These are things that every content marketer wants: more traffic and a higher ranking. So how can you get good backlinks? And yes, there are good backlinks and bad backlinks—but more on that later.
Acquiring Backlinks Indirectly
When you publish high-quality content on your site, the link juice will flow naturally. Professionals who are looking for credible, relevant information might want to share it, and other bloggers will want to learn from you and use your ideas to support their own.
To create backlink-friendly content, you can start by:
- Writing concisely with facts to support your claims
- Creating comprehensive guides about certain products, concepts, etc.
- Adding original and educational graphics or images
- Writing both evergreen content and newsworthy content
- Incorporating plenty of relevant keywords throughout the piece to increase its chances of being found
You can make it easy for readers to share your blog posts with their audience, colleagues and social networks by adding social media widgets to each page. For example, you’ve written a post about current healthcare trends and now an industry executive wants to share it on their LinkedIn account. All they have to do is click the widget, and you just scored yourself a backlink.
Acquiring Backlinks Directly
There are also ways you can actively seek out backlinks. It’s important to remember, though, that quality takes precedence over quantity. Google spiders can detect whether a backlink comes from a reputable site with content relevant to yours, or whether it’s from an automated or spam page. So it’s better to have a few good backlinks than a dozen bad ones. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take:
- Put yourself out there in the community by commenting on other people’s content, writing reviews and participating in guest blog posts. This helps build up good relationships, which may result in backlinks for your website.
- Host webinars, giveaways and similar events online. To spread the word and get others interested, readers might hyperlink your page and share it. Afterward, be sure to host any pertinent transcripts available on your site to keep driving traffic.
- Distribute branded content to the public in the form of press releases, editorials and sponsored content. These formats usually live on a different website, but they almost always link back to yours.
- If you want to see how your blog stacks up against your competitors, you can also keep track of how many backlinks and social shares they have by using content marketing tools, like Buzzsumo and Moz Pro’s Open Site Explorer.
No matter how you go about getting quality backlinks to your individual or company blog, the end result is the same. And that is that in 2016, Backlinko reported that the “number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.” When you produce content that sticks, search engines will reward your website with higher rankings.