Backlink Basics: Getting Started

Backlink Basics: Getting Started

It’s easy to get lost in the little details of marketing, such as the creation of unique content or the implementation of keywords and SEO research. These details are certainly key to any good digital marketing strategy, but they are not the be all and end all of online marketing. Your online content might be perfectly written and impeccably optimized but if you don’t have any sources pointing customers to your websites, you will not see the response your content deserves. A good backlink strategy is key to your success. This will help get your content in front of more people, as well as improve your placement in Google searches. But backlinks aren’t exactly common knowledge, so if you’re a little lost, don’t worry! To help get you started working with backlinks, we’ve put together this helpful guide that will explain how to use backlinks to improve your website’s visibility.

What are backlinks?

Simply put, a backlink is a link that leads to your website or blog. It can come from a number of sources, such as blogs, social media pages and profiles, or other websites such as news sites. If it is online, it can provide you with a backlink. The most important thing to remember is that a backlink has to come from a different, unaffiliated website; if you link pages of your site between each other, you’ve created in internal link, which is different.

Backlinks are a great way to improve your site’s Domain Authority (DA). This runs on a scale up to 100, based on how reputable your website is; Facebook and Google both have Domain Authority score of 100. The more backlinks you have from trusted websites, the higher your Domain Authority score will be.

A higher DA will help get your site in front of more people. For example, if you and another website both post articles on a similar topic at a similar time, your respective DA’s will decide whose post is on the front page. The higher your DA, the more likely your post will be to make it to the front page over your competitors. Getting a higher DA is one of the most important uses for backlinks.

Backlink Quality

Unfortunately, not all backlinks are created equal, so they won’t all give your DA score the same boost. It all comes down to the reputability of the website that is linking to yours. It’s a good idea to seek out backlinks from sites and blogs whose DA is higher than your own.

Because, of course, people have tried to cheat this system. When SEO systems were just being developed, lots of shady websites got backlinks from every website that they could in an attempt to boost their DA score. To combat this, Google started penalizing websites that have a lot of backlinks from “low authority” sites, and prioritizing backlinks from “high authority” pages.

But how do you find out a website’s DA? Since we’re in the age of technology were information is just a click away, there are a number of tools at your disposal, including free tools such as UberSuggest by Neil Patel. Simply type the website’s URL to get basic DA information. Now that you have a basic understanding of backlinks, we can get to the nitty gritty.

How to get backlinks

Write content worth linking to

This may seem overly obvious, but is actually the most important step. You shouldn’t worry about getting backlinks until you have content that is worth linking to. Make sure that your blog posts are detailed and well researched. While there is no minimum length requirement, the longer a piece is, the more detailed it will be, so don’t be afraid of increasing your word count!

Reach out!

This is a great strategy to get quality backlinks. Look up bloggers or businesses that operate in the same field as yours, and reach out to them! Offer a deal: in exchange for a backlink, offer to write a guest blog for their site. This is a win win. Content-driven sites are always looking for new content, and it can also help get your name and products in front of a whole new audience.

But sometimes, people who see you as a competitor may not be as likely to work with you. If you find this happening, it could be worthwhile to look at adjacent industries. For example, if you are a SaaS marketer, you may not have much luck writing a guest post for another marketing firm. But a marketing group in another industry, such as food or hospitality, could be interested in what you have to say.

Become a source

Websites like Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, are a great resource if you are looking to become a source for writers and reporters. HARO offers “source” accounts; simply make one of these and select your field of expertise, whether it is marketing, technology, or finance. Then HARO will connect you with reports who need expert opinions for their articles and news pieces. If a writer or journalist uses the information you give them, you will get a very helpful backlink, as well as the added name recognition that comes with being a quoted expert in your field.

Unlinked Mentions

This is another great way to increase your backlinks. An unlinked mention happens when you or your website is mentioned on another website without a link back to your own site or blog. These mentions have a lot of untapped potential. If you want to find websites that have listed your sites name, search your site, but subtract your own URL and any other social media sites. Subtracting a URL is as simple as adding a minus sign in front. So a search for your unlinked mentions would look something like “Your Company Name” -yourcompanyname.com -twitter.com -instagram.com

Even after narrowing your search down, chances are, you will still get more results than you know what to do with. If that happens, filter your search results by date. Start with the last months or last three months, and see what kind of unlinked mentions you have been getting. And odds are, you have, so if the site has a good DA score, simply contact the webmaster or author of the article and ask them to insert a link to your site.

Setting up a Google Alert for your site will make this much easier to stay on top. A Google Alert will send you a notification whenever your site’s name is mentioned, making it much easier to check for unlinked mentions.

Wrapping Up

There are any number of ways that you can increase the number of backlinks your site gets. This guide only offers a few strategies to help get you on your way. There are many, more advanced strategies, that you can implement once you have the hang of the strategies in this guide. Many of them can be done for free, but as your approaches get more complicated, it can be a good idea to invest in technology to make the process less cumbersome. But always make sure that your content is high quality! That is the only surefire way to increase backlinks and visibility.

If you would like help in defining your backlink strategy, title tags, carrying out research on the backlink profiles of your competitors, or help building your overall SEO foundation for your website, why not contact us.