As the ever-evolving landscape of SEO continues to advance, common tactics that were once effective soon fall by the wayside. Backlinks are one of the few mainstays of SEO that haven’t been devalued in recent years. However, not all backlinks are created equal, and the goal for many online businesses is not to maximize the number of backlinks, but to improve the quality of their backlink portfolio.
This means that you’ll need to evaluate the site that you are pursuing for a backlink to ensure it makes sense for your business. For example, a backlink from a childhood educational website would make sense for a company that sells brainteasers, but it would make less sense for a website that sells makeup. In fact, that unrelated link might even hurt the website.
This brings up one of the major changes in your updated backlinking strategy: before you begin building new, relevant links, you may need to clean up old links that less reputable SEO firms created for you.
This is because Google has become much more discerning in their ability to differentiate between high-quality, natural links and low-quality spammy links. The good news is that a simple review of most websites will often allow you to determine what links to get rid of and which ones to keep.
If the site is poorly designed, poorly written or covers a wide variety of unrelated topics, it is almost certainly hurting your website’s rank. On the other hand, if a website is well-written, and appears to be well-designed, focused towards one or just a few subjects and isn’t riddled with ads and popups, it is likely safe to leave that link in place.
One caveat – if a website is known to host malware, linking to it will negatively impact your site. The same is true of your own website, so if you’ve been hacked in the past make sure your website is completely clean before you begin building links.
Reputable websites and relevant content go hand in hand when it comes to building a solid backlinking profile. High-quality content with relevant and useful information will ensure that your backlinks remain active on other websites in the long term. When writing guest posts, avoid the temptation to spam people about your product or service, and instead focus on providing value. In this way, any links leading back to your site will lead to targeted traffic that is genuinely interested in your business, which in turn leads to improved metrics throughout the sales funnel.
One of the best ways to both strengthen your brand and generate safe backlinks is to answer questions for potential customers. Provide meaningful, detailed answers to questions on sites like Quora, Ask Metafilter, or WikiAnswers, and link to relevant information on your site as well as others.
Join Pertinent Groups
In addition to answering questions on forums and Q&A platforms, groups on social media or other websites provide opportunities for you to engage with your target market and leave a positive impression of your brand. If you want to stand out from the crowd, avoid simply using these places as a spot to post backlinks to your articles and instead engage in useful information exchange. People will be much more interested in clicking your links if you’ve proven yourself helpful and trustworthy during the process.
Engage in Social Media
Conversations with people interested in your brand can lead to excellent opportunities for backlinks. This is particularly the case when your social media accounts double as customer service or technical support venues, as you can naturally link to knowledgebase articles or other helpful content.
Furthermore, regular promotion of your content through social media channels can help to build a steady stream of inbound traffic when done well.
Build Your Multimedia Presence
Videos, images, slide decks, and other collateral can be an excellent way to garner backlinks for your website. With so many platforms designed to host and share multimedia content, it is possible to build followers and backlinks at the same time. Use the description section for each piece of content to clarify and build on your messaging, while linking back to additional resources on your site.
Done well, this type of backlinking can lead to highly targeted traffic that will perform well in terms of lead generation and sales.
Set Up Appropriate Local Citations
Local citations are simply mentions of your business name and address on other sites. The most common local citations are typically found in online business directories. However, not all business directories are created equal. While general directory sites aren’t typically worth much in terms of backlinks, there are some notable exceptions that can help you build your online presence.
Local citations from authority sites such as Yellow Pages, Manta, or Superpages.com can help to establish the authenticity of your website. Also consider citations on:
- Local chamber of commerce sites
- Business associations
- Local co-op groups
- Neighborhood resource pages
Note that not all citations will include a backlink to your website, but even those without a link will help to verify your contact information which can improve results for local search.
Take Advantage of Quality Guest Posts
Guest posts are another area where careful cultivation can pay dividends to your backlink portfolio. The key here is to approach websites that:
- Are frequented by your target audience
- Are in a related niche (think a pet supply blog if you are Veterinarian)
- Have high quality content
- You would want to have your content shown on even if they don’t offer backlinks
This last point is very important. A few guest posts from honest, reputable sites can significantly boost your search engine ranking. However, the opposite is also true – links from spammy, low-quality sites can significantly reduce your ranking. Take the time to cultivate relationships with relevant bloggers, then reach out with ideas for blog posts that actually add value to their audiences.
Get Interviewed for a Podcast
Podcasts are currently one of the most popular trends for cultivating a new audience and growing brand recognition. Interviews on well-established podcasts can lead to an influx of new traffic, and can boost your organic rank as well when your website is linked to in the podcast description itself.
Finding an appropriate podcast can take some time, but searching for relevant shows on iTunes, SoundCloud, or other similar sites will yield a number of good results. As with guest posts, your goal is to be featured on a podcast that is appealing to your target audience.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, listen to a few podcasts on your shortlist to be sure they are a good fit before you start your outreach.
The Big Picture for Backlinks
Regardless of how you work to build your backlink portfolio, the goal is always to create content that others will link to naturally. Keep that in mind as you build out the content on your site, and you are more likely to see your backlinking efforts build momentum as others link to the content that you have produced.
If you’d like help with your backlink strategy or building a high-converting content portfolio, get in touch with us. Our team of online marketing experts is ready to assist you with meeting your online marking goals.