Off-page SEO is notorious for being one of the more difficult areas of Search Engine Optimisation. This is largely because it seems like a lot of it is out of your hands, but is that really the case?
While it’s true that you don’t have much control over how many people link to your site, there are definitely ways that you can go about acquiring some of these highly-coveted links – you just have to get your hands dirty a little bit!
Let’s take a look at this subject in more detail, and give you some tips on how you can take control of your backlinks to make it one of your most rewarding SEO services!
What are backlinks and why are they important?
When another site on the internet links to yours, you have acquired a backlink. Backlinks are important because Google uses them to help decide where you should appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).
If a page on your website has lots and lots of backlinks, then Google view this as your content being exceptional! Everybody wants to link to what you have created, so it must deserve a place near the top of the SERPs to make it even easier for searchers to find.
However, all backlinks are not created equal. Links from established, high-authority sites are worth much more than a link from a brand-new website filled with spammy content. In fact, too many low-quality backlinks can actually hurt your rankings as Google may think you are doing something wrong – more on this later.
So, if you want your SEO reports to look as good as possible, then you should try and prioritise acquiring desirable links from trusted, popular websites. Not only for the algorithmic boost you’ll receive but also for the actual traffic that can come through to your site by clicking the link.
How to get backlinks
So now you know that you want to get lots of backlinks, how can you actually do it? Well, you have quite a few options at your disposal. Some are better than others, and some should be avoided as much as possible. Here are just a few of the most common techniques and reasons why they are good or bad.
Create great content
Over time, as Google’s algorithm has become more advanced, how SEOs get backlinks might have changed but Google’s stance hasn’t: create high-quality, shareable content that people want to link to.
This method of earning backlinks reflects Google’s version of utopia: a place where people have no agendas and can link to great content while other people link to their own, creating an honest economy around links.
While the logic behind this is sound, it is often quite tough to put into practice. Creating high-quality content is hard! You need to spend time planning, creating, and editing in order to release an exceptional piece of content that others will not only want to read but also actively link to.
This approach can pay off, though, and it helps when you can combine knowledgeable industry leaders with SEOs so you can create accurate content that meets high demand. We have worked with some of our clients to create fantastic content that has earned completely natural backlinks from press websites without having to solicit them, just because the content was trustworthy, accurate, and met a high search demand.
Seek guest post opportunities
One common technique that people use to increase their backlinks is guest posting.
Look for sites that publish content in your niche (journals, for example, or maybe even industry bloggers) and ask to write a piece of content for them. This is a win-win for both parties: they get a piece of content that they didn’t have to spend time creating, and you get a backlink to your site.
There are a few caveats where guest posting is concerned, though. Make sure that you actually have something valuable to share. Google has cracked down on guest posting en masse, so if you are just pumping out benchmark content all across the web then you can get punished.
Fortunately, there are quite a lot of people looking for guest posts so the opportunities are there. Just make sure that what you are creating reflects your expertise and your own brand.
Sell, sell, sell
Roll your sleeves up, knock on some doors, and don’t take no for an answer! Taking some tips from your sales team can lead to you scoring some backlinks without having to create any new content. How so? Let us explain.
Let’s say you are following an in-depth competitor analysis and have spent a great deal of effort creating your own blog that is better than the content from your competitors. You should go through your competitors’ backlink profiles and contact every website that links to their piece of content.
If you can successfully sell your content by pointing out how it is more valuable to their users than the current piece that they link to, then there’s the possibility that they could give the link to your content.
The chance of this happening is slim, but there are tips you can use to improve your chances. One tip is to look out for broken links. If a website has a broken link to a piece of content, then by emailing them and letting them know, you are doing them a big favour. It just so happens that you have a replacement piece of content for them, too, which is another favour because now they don’t have to spend time researching for a replacement themselves.
Make use of online directories
We spoke about online directories in our post about local citations, so if you want more on this topic then check it out!
Directories have changed from your physical phone books. Now, the Yellow Pages (Yell) and other directories have moved online. Fortunately, this means that it’s easier than ever to get listed on them. Simply create an account, submit your name, address, and phone number (often abbreviated to NAP), add any optional extra features your directory allows (pictures, opening hours…) and you’re good to go.
While online directories are not going to give you the best backlinks you’ll ever see, you will be behind your competitors if you aren’t present on them. Just make sure to only use relevant, high-quality directories! There are a lot of poor-quality directories out there that some SEOs take advantage of for links – do not do this if you want to remain in Google’s good books!
Buying links was once (and possibly still is) the most common way SEOs received backlinks. Simply find a reputable link-building service, pay them to find link opportunities for you across the web, and leave the rest to them. Sounds easy, right?
The biggest problem with this is that Google absolutely does not want anybody to be buying backlinks. At all. Link schemes go against their guidelines and can potentially leave you with an algorithmic penalty if you are caught.
This didn’t stop people, though, and link schemes remain common across the web to this day. Rather than issuing a manual action to almost every site on the internet, Google instead is able to identify the majority of paid-for backlinks and will simply void their benefits. Meaning you are spending money and getting nothing in return.
Save your money, create stellar content that gets people talking, and earn backlinks the right way instead!
Blaze Media SEO management service
Expanding our client’s backlink profiles is a passion of ours at Blaze Media. We love nothing more than when our hard work is realised by seeing an increase in high-quality backlinks.
If you are looking for an agency to take over your SEO, then get in touch with our team at Blaze Media. We’d love to have a chat and tell you all about what we can do to help you, and can complete an audit to give you some examples of what we would do and why.
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