Y ou may already know Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm, but did you know that backlinks are among the top 3?
Backlinks are valuable for SEO because they represent a vote of confidence from one site to another. The more votes, or backlinks, a web page gets from other relevant pages, the more likely it is to rank in Google Search.
Link building is not as easy as it sounds, especially since Google has started keeping a close eye on the link building practices. Build links the wrong way, like spamming over the web, then you’ll get your site penalized, in turn, losing all your search rankings.
I’ll show you how to build quality backlinks for your blog using the legitimate link building techniques which I’ve learned over the years of practice.
Let’s dive right in.
In This Guide:
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links from other websites to your site or blog. They’re also called inbound links. Getting quality links to your blog is important for you to rank. Google considers backlinks as votes for your websites and content, which shows that the quality of your blog and your content is good.
Why Are Backlinks So Important?
As I said, a backlink is a vote of confidence and it tells Google that you have high-quality content on your blog. The more of these votes you have, the better your search engine ranks will be.
Even though Google has made many changes to its algorithm, backlinks still remain as a strong ranking signal.
Now you know why you need backlinks and why they are so important but we still need to get one thing out of the way.
In 2012, Google introduced an update called Google Penguin in an effort to reward high-quality websites and get rid of poor-quality websites from the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) that are engaged in manipulative link schemes and keyword stuffing.
Since then, even if you have thousands of backlinks, you will be penalized if you gained links from manipulative link schemes, such as buying links from low quality and irrelevant sites or through comment spam.
So, how do you get high-quality backlinks?
We will be talking about this in detail in the next section.
What Are High-Quality Backlinks?
Before we get to how to build quality backlinks, let’s talk about what quality backlinks are and how you define them.
A good quality backlink has 5 characteristics.
- They come from authoritative websites
- They include a relevant and keyword-rich anchor text
- The source domain should be related to your site
- Backlinks should be a do-follow link
- Backlinks should come from a unique referring domain
Let’s take a close look at what each of these characteristics look like.
1. Backlinks Should Come From Authoritative Websites
Domain Authority is the only metric that you need to worry about for SEO. The higher your domain authority is, the better your chances for being ranked higher on search results. Similarly, when building backlinks, make sure you get them from a high authority website.
Every SEO software uses different names to display the authority of a domain. For example, Ahrefs uses Domain Rating (DR) and Moz uses Domain Authoirty (DA).
Google prefers links from high Domain Rating (DR) website sources.
For example, we got a link from neilpatel.com to our article on getting more email subscribers. Since NeilPatel.com is a high authoritative website, with a DR of 90, this backlink tells Google that our article is worth ranking on Google for a related topic.
2. Backlinks Include a Relevant Keyword-rich Anchor Text
You should always try to get links from an anchor text that has your keyword. According to Ahrefs, there is a high correlation between higher rankings and the keyword-rich anchor text.
But be advised, you shouldn’t overdo this.
Google’s Penguin update cracks down on sites that have a lot of backlinks with exact match anchor text. It’s in your best interest to use related keyword phrases in your anchor text rather than focusing solely on exact match anchor text.
3. The Source Domain Should be Topically Related to Your Site
Getting links from high authority sites with a relevant anchor isn’t enough. You also need to ensure that the links are coming in from websites closely related to your niche.
For example, if you write about diet plans on your blog, try to build backlinks from a health niche blog. In a nutshell, the website linking to you should have some sort of topical relevancy.
4. Backlinks Should Be Do-follow
There are 2 types of backlinks: do-follow and no-follow. Every backlink is do-follow unless a rel=”nofollow” attribute is added to the link. Here’s how a no-follow link looks like:
<a href=”http://example.com” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a>
Dofollow backlinks allow Google to follow them and reach your website. That way these links allow to pass on the SEO juice from the source site to the hyperlinked site.
Google and other search engines don’t count the backlinks that have the no-follow tag. So it’s better to try and get links that are do-follow.
5. Backlinks Should Come In From a Unique Referring Domain
It’s better to get links from 100 different sites than getting 1,000 links from the same site because the total number of unique referring domains also correlates with high rankings.
A handful of rightfully-earned links from unique authoritative sites will have a much more positive impact on your rankings than dozens of purchased links from spammy sites.
Now that we have defined what quality backlinks are, let’s examine how to build them.
First off, I’ll talk about how to get quality links with quality content and then I’ll guide you how to do link building the right way.
So let’s get started
How to Get Backlinks With High-Quality Content
The best way to capture the attention of other publishers and build high-quality backlinks is by publishing comprehensive, in-depth resources on your blog.
That said, you won’t get links just by publishing good content. You’ll need to have a marketing strategy before and after publishing the content.
As far as content goes, there are a few types of content that act as Link Magnets, which people love linking to them.
We will be discussing a few of them in this guide.
Research-Based Content with Original Data
If you have done a study on your industry which hasn’t been done before, then there is a high chance that people will link to you whenever they cite your data.
Having an epic content piece can get you a lot of shares. You can use a software like ReferralRock to make sharing even more easy for your readers.
It all depends on how good the study is, and how good you were compiling the data.
For example, OptinMonster conducted a study in which they analyzed what kind of email subject lines get the most clicks.
Since this provides great value to users and compiles a truckload of data, it attracted a lot of backlinks.
This post is STILL performing well and is bringing in a good number of backlinks every week.
List Posts and Tutorials
Moz conducted a study in which they analyzed 1 million articles that got the most backlinks. The study concluded that list posts got the most backlinks followed by tutorials.
List posts work because they break down the data into a digestible format.
We have had our own fair share of success with this kind of posts.
Our post 101 Blogging Tips generated a good amount of traction and we strongly emphasize that you follow the same route.
Writing in-depth guides, just like this article, is a great way to attract tons of backlinks.
You need to pack it up with relevant and useful information, so it becomes the go-to resource for anyone who is looking to read up on the topic.
We at BlogTyrant love these type of content.
Many of our guides are in-depth and has yielded us a lot of backlinks.
For Example, our “How to Start a Blog” guide is still getting us a lot of backlinks and traffic.
Visual Posts: Infographics, Images, Videos etc.
I’ve seen bloggers having a lot of success with their visual posts like infographics and get linked a lot, even if they get outdated.
The reason is that the data presented in visual form is easy to understand.
We conducted a survey in which we asked bloggers about their blogging goals and challenges. We took all the data we got from the survey and made it into an infographic.
To this date, we still get a lot of backlinks to this because it’s a unique research and it’s an infographic.
Now you have a basic idea on how to create content that attracts backlinks. To sum it all up in one line we’d say, create content that is unique, add 10x value and make it is visually stunning. Instead of writing for the search engines, write for the users and try to solve their problems. You will be surprised to see the number of backlinks you get.
Our Favorite Link Building Strategies
Every other person you go to will have their own favorite link building strategies. It’s all about picking the ones that work for you.
There are many link building strategies, but since we have been at it for years, we’ll discuss those that have worked for us and got us amazing results.
Since August 2018, Google has gone crazy with their updates. They have been punishing and penalizing websites for bad link building practices. Trust us when we say this, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of it.
I’ll talk about 4 of our link building strategies that have provided us with great results.
Resource Pages Link Building
Resource pages usually add links to various websites on the internet that are related to their topic.
These pages are there for the sole purpose of linking to valuable resources, which makes them a prime target for our link building campaign.
More often than not, the blog owners of such pages will say yes when you ask for a link from that page provided that your article is worthy enough to be on that page.
Here is the process we take advantage of resources page links.
To find resource pages on the internet use the following search operators.
- “Keyword” + inurl:links
- “Keyword” + inurl:resources
- “Keyword” + inurl:useful-resources
- “Keyword” + “helpful resources”
- “Keyword” + “useful resources”
- “Keyword” + “useful links”
These are just some variations of some of the search operators we use. Tinker around with them and come up with your own search queries.
You can also try and get links from .edu resource pages by adding the .edu extension as follows:
- site:.edu “your keyword”
- site:.edu “your keyword” + “resources”
- site:.edu “your keyword” + inurl:links
- site:.edu “your keyword” + “other sites”
This will give you a list of URLs that you can reach out to.
Now you have to analyze the list of URLs you found.
To do this, upload these URLs to Ahrefs and check their URL Rating (UR) and Domain Rating (DR).
UR is a metric that shows how strong a backlink profile of a target URL is on a scale from 1 to 100.
You now have to find the content that fits best with the resource page you found. You need to make sure it’s relevant or all your efforts are going to go to waste.
Next, you need to reach out to the bloggers of the resources pages by sending them a personalized email pitch. For finding their accurate email address, I usually use Hunter.io.
To find the email address of the domain, go to hunter.io and enter the domain and then click on the search icon.
This will give you a list of email addresses.
Write a compelling subject line and email pitch, somewhere along the lines of the pitch given below. Always use personalized emails in your outreach emails. It makes it more personal and it tends to get more replies.
Subject: Loved your Resources Compilation
Hello [First Name],
I was searching about [topic] and I stumbled upon your excellent resource page: [link].
I wanted to thank you for taking out the time and effort to compile this list. I would have never found out about [Resource they linked to] if it hadn’t been for your list.
Recently, I wrote an article on [related topic] which I believe will resonate with your audience.
Here is the link in case you want to check it out [link].
I think this might make a good addition to your post.
Anyway, thank you once again for compiling the list.
You might not get it the first time, try different pitches and see which one works the best.
Broken Link Building
Broken Link building is one of the most effective ways of building links.
So, how does it work?
Broken links are links on a web page that are no longer working. This could be due to a number of reasons. Big websites sometimes forget to check for 404 links, this can be an advantage for those who are doing broken link building.
The process is simple, you identify broken links on a page as a gesture of goodwill and then you pitch in your own related content.
Since you will be doing a lot of link building, you will come across many pages that are 404 or broken. You need to make a habit of checking their backlinks with the help of Ahrefs. See what kind of sites are linking to it. If there are any high DR sites linking to it then make a list and pitch them to get it replaced.
Also, see what the broken page was all about. Go to Web Archive and enter the URL. It will show you a historic snapshot of the page when it was live. This will give you an idea about what the page was about. If you don’t have any content on the topic, you can use the snapshot to write on the same topic.
In order to do broken link building properly, follow the steps given below.
Find pages that have a lot of external links. Pages that link out to resources have the best bet of having 404 links. Use the search operators we mentioned above to find resource pages.
Since resource pages have a lot of links, looking for broken links by checking each link individually will take a lot time. There are two ways you can do this quickly
Install Check My Links on your chrome browser. This will automatically check all the links with a click of a button.
The other way is to take the URL and put it in Ahrefs. Then go to Outgoing Links > Broken Links. This will show you all the broken links on that page.
Now that you found pages that have broken links, there are two ways you can approach them.
Contact the website that has the broken links and inform them about it. Ask them if they would be willing to replace the broken links with yours.
Send them an email pitch by taking the following template as an inspiration.
Subject: There is a problem with your website.
Hi [First Name],
I was looking for something to read on [Topic] and I came across your article [Page Title and URL].
I was reading through it and I noticed that there were a few links that weren’t working.
[Broken URL 1]
[Broken URL 2]
[Broken URL 3]
You might want to take a look at them.
If you are looking to replace [point out a specific broken link], then you might want to replace it with an article we published recently [Page title and URL].
I hope I helped. Thanks for the wonderful write-up.
The other approach is to take the broken links and put them up in Ahrefs and see which sites are linking to it.
Let’s say that the broken link you found has a lot of high DR sites pointing to it, you can write on something on similar and pitch the sites pointing to the broken link for a replacement.
This is the easiest way to earn a lot of good backlinks.
There are websites that link out to outstanding content every week or month. If you have such content pieces that are worth getting a link from the roundups, you can reach out to them. Here is a good example of link roundups.
We will break down the process in the following steps.
- Look for link roundup in your niche using the
following search operators.
- “Keyword” + “link roundup”
- “Keyword” + roundup
- “Keyword” + “best of”
- “Keyword” + this week
- Send them an email pitch
- If your email pitch is good enough you will get a backlink.
HARO – Link Building
HARO stands for help a reporter out. It’s a platform where journalists and writers post on behalf of popular websites.
Go to their website and sign up. Then, you’ll get four emails a day filled with queries from writers and journalist.
All you have to do is answer the queries you can and if your answers are good enough, they will be selected for publications. You can check their dashboard to see which of your pitches were approved and which weren’t.
Once your answers are published you’ll be credited along with your website. This is a great way of getting links and building relationships with journalists.
These were some of our favorite link building strategies which we use regularly in our campaigns.
Follow these strategies and we assure you that you will get some excellent backlinks.
Next, I’d like to share some bonus link building techniques and tips.
Bonus Link Building Techniques and Tips
Before I finish this guide, I wanted to share some of the other techniques that I have picked up over the years.
You must have heard of link reclamation… It’s the process of reaching out to websites that have mentioned your site without linking to it.
This happens a lot, especially in cases of big brands like WPBeginner.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and wishing that if only they had linked to you, reach out to them and ask them to link to your unlinked brand mention.
You’d be surprised by the positive replies you get. Just be polite in your pitch.
Hello [First Name]
I wanted to thank you for giving a shout out to [your brand] in your awesome article.
We really appreciate it.
I noticed that you forgot to link to our website, and I was hoping if you could fix that by adding a link back to our site. That way, your readers will be able to easily find us.
Thanks once again for the shout out. Keep up the good work.
But how do you find unlinked brand mentions?
The popular way is to use tools like Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, and Mention.com.
These tools will show you whenever you get mentioned without a link.
Once you find them, send them an email with a similar template above and watch those links fly in.
Get Backlinks through Reverse Image Search
If you are like us and publish a lot of visual content, then there is a high chance that people might be using your content without giving you credit.
If you find sites that are using your visual content without attribution, you should reach out to them and ask them to link back to you. Most of them will comply because of the Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA).
Use Google images to find people using your images without a link.
Guest Post Opportunities with Reverse Image Search
When you are hunting for backlinks, you come across many articles by your competitor on different high DR Websites. This presents a huge opportunity, as you can pitch all these sites that agreed to feature your competitor as an author.
The process is simple. All you have to do is grab the headshot of your competitor and then use Google image search to see exactly on which sites your competitor has been featured.
Then reach out to the sites that have allowed your competitors to blog on their website and ask them if they would be open for another contribution.
This will get you awesome editorial links for your site.
Finding Backlink Opportunities with Link Intersect Tool
Ahrefs introduced the Link Intersect tool a while back. It’s pretty neat and it gives you a list of websites that are linking to your competitors.
If someone is linking to your competitors, then they would likely agree to link to you, if you have better content.
All you have to do is list out 2 – 3 of your competitors and this tool will show you websites that are linking to them but not to you.
Don’t Ask For a Link in Your First Email
Asking for links in your first email can backfire. We won’t say that it doesn’t work but sometimes people get offended by the straight-up request.
In our experience, feeler emails tend to perform better than a direct pitch. This is also the case with follow-ups. People take you seriously if you send in a second email because it shows that you really want to interact with the website owner.
But then again, it all depends on your judgment. Sometimes sending out a direct pitch works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s better to try both approaches and see what works for you.
Always Follow Up to Your Emails
If you are serious about marketing your content, then you will need to follow up to your emails. Most of the times people miss out on their emails or they just don’t bother replying for whatever reasons. Your job is to be persistent, not to the extent that you end up in their block list but just enough to get a response out of them.
A single follow up email should do, but I’ve seen people sending 4 follow-ups to their emails. It depends on how desperate you are.
Building Backlinks: Over to you
I hope this guide has taught you about backlinks and their importance. I’ve poured all of my backlinking knowledge in this guide.
But if you still feel that we might have missed something, then feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Do share your case studies after you have practiced our link building guide.
You might also want to check out our guide on affiliate marketing.