If you’ve checked out our recent on-page SEO blog post, then you’re no doubt incorporating what you learned to help your content rank higher - things like ideal content length, optimizing your H1 tags and the importance of targeting the right keywords.
You’re now ready to take a bigger step. Off-page SEO, where the 80/20 rule applies, meaning 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your efforts. When it comes to SEO, 80% of what impacts your rankings is happening off of your website.
With that said, let’s get into the stuff that really makes a difference, but seems to be a mystery.
How Backlinks Affect SEO
Before we get started, what exactly is a backlink? A backlink is a link from a website back to your site. The more high quality links from authority websites pointing back to your page you have, the better chance you have of outranking your competitors.
So, without a doubt, backlinks are king.
Why? Simply put, a backlink is essentially a vote of confidence in your website and the more authority that the recommending website has, the more trusted and authoritative your website becomes.
Put it this way - If you have an article on your website about how to make the best zucchini bread and multiple popular TV chefs link to your recipe, you stand a pretty solid chance of ranking highly on Google when someone is searching for a zucchini bread recipe.
How To Build Backlinks
So the concept is pretty easy to grasp, right? When the most popular kid in school says you’re cool...you’re cool. There’s an instance transfer of ‘coolness.’
But how do we get those links? How do we get the popular kids to say we’re cool? (I really wish I knew that answer in high school!) And how do you determine who’s cool? How are websites considered authoritative?
Domain Authority: What Is It And How To Increase It
In the early days of the Internet, SEO’s would use Google’s PageRank to decide which domains were worth getting (or buying) a link on.
Unfortunately, Google stopped publicly updating PageRank in 2013 and it was one of the best ways to measure a link's strength, or the authority of a site.
Domain Authority, developed by Moz - a leader in the SEO space, is another algorithm, it’s a good estimate, but it’s important to remember that it’s not from Google. Simply put, it’s a good way of gauging the value of the link you’re earning.
So, let’s get started: I’ve listed my favorite (and most proven) ways of earning high quality, authoritative backlinks below. Under each section I’ve also linked to multiple guides that will give you further tips, advice and show you step by step how to put that particular backlink strategy into action.
Around the time Google put their foot down about guest posting, there were a lot of spammy guest blog networks. People would join these networks and sell links on their blogs or buy links from other blogs. There was no quality control, it was all about making money selling links and gaming Google.
However, if done correctly guest posting is still one of the safest and most effective methods for getting high quality backlinks to your website.
One clear advantage of guest posting on authority websites is that you also get to tap into their audience - driving real visitors directly to your site where you can convert them into leads, customers, and revenue.
Here are some great resources for guest posting (the right way):
Broken Backlink Building
Broken backlink building is one of the oldest link building strategies around. Simply put, you find broken links on relevant websites, let the webmaster know that they are linking to a resource that no longer exists and request that they link to you instead.
The Good: It abides by Google’s rules.
The Bad: It’s very tedious, and success rates are generally low. If you email 100 webmasters about a broken link, a small number will open your email, an even smaller number will respond, and an almost nonexistent amount will actually take the time to add your link to their site.
With that being said, if you can streamline the process and craft an effective way to reach out to webmasters, it’s still worth doing.
Here are a few resources to get you started off on the right foot:
Joining HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a great (free) way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, build your brand, and earn strong backlinks.
However, there are some best practices that you should follow if you want to get the most out of HARO. Afterall, your competitors are also using HARO for the very same reason.
Here are a couple of resources to help you stand out to the reporters on HARO:
It’s not enough to simply write good content anymore. You’ve got to market your content, get it in front of the right eyes. Those people will share it, link to it, their followers and friends will do the same and so on and so forth.
The most important step, the one that most people don’t bother doing after creating content is marketing and promoting their assets.
Below you will find a few resources to help develop a content marketing strategy that fits your business:
Off-Page SEO: It’s a daily grind, but it’s worth the effort
Building links to your website takes hard work and consistency. There will be let downs when you don’t land a link you had your heart set on, but it’s one of the strongest signals to Google that your site belongs at the top of the SERPs. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas that you can start implementing immediately.