All search engine optimization (SEO) efforts focus on earning high-quality backlinks. Inbound links, also known as backlinks, can significantly impact your search performance.
Google’s top priority is to deliver useful, comprehensive information to online users. With high-quality backlinks, you gain more chances of ranking high on search results. However, boosting your search ranking through link building is easier said than done.
Apart from calculating the quantity and quality of links pointing to your website, Google also looks into several other ranking factors. These include the linking site’s page authority, search ranking, and relevance. More importantly, Google evaluates the editorial nature of your backlinks.
You may already know that high-quality backlinks will boost your search performance positively. Bad links, on the other hand, can potentially harm your business’ online performance. But how do you acquire good links in the first place? Where do you start?
Before you begin your optimization efforts, you need to understand first the basics of how to get backlinks. In this post, we’ve covered everything you need to know about backlinks and link building. These include:
• What are backlinks
• Why are backlinks important
• How to get backlinks
• Good backlinks vs. bad backlinks
• How Google evaluates backlink quality
• How to build high-quality backlinks
Let’s get started.
What are Backlinks?
These are incoming links from one website to another. For example, links from a news site that direct online readers to your web page are considered a backlink.
To give you a better understanding, let’s look at the illustration below:
Site A has an external link to site B. This link directs the page visitors on site A to site B. As a result, site B acquires an incoming link from site A.
Why are Backlinks Important?
Backlinks are significant ranking factors. Google considers incoming links as a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. Earning backlinks from other online sources can significantly affect your site’s search visibility or ranking position.
Here’s how backlinks can position your site on top of search engine results pages (SERPs):
• Improved Organic Ranking — High-quality backlinks can dramatically improve your site’s organic rankings. As your web page receives more links from other sites, it starts to rank higher on SERPs. Backlinks send signals to Google that your content is informative and relevant to search queries.
• Referral Traffic — Links from news aggregators, third-party reviews and other online sources can boost your site traffic significantly. This happens when an online user reading a post on another site clicks on the link that leads to your web page.
Remember, online readers click on links voluntarily. This means that referral traffic from other websites is usually more targeted and has a low bounce rate.
• Faster Indexing — Inbound links speed up the discovery and indexing of your website. Google bots follow and evaluate backlinks from existing websites. Once Google discovers your site, it is only then that it can crawl and index your site effectively. Without backlinks, it might take time for search engines to find your site. This is especially true for new websites.
• Improved Site Authority — Backlinks from authority sites can boost your online reputation. Inbound links serve as a vote of confidence not only from other websites but also from online users.
• Increased Link Juice — This refers to the value passed from one page to another site. Link juice is acquired through hyperlinks. Google identifies these links as votes from other websites that your page is valuable and relevant to search queries.
This means that considering all other ranking factors are constant and your site receives one backlink, while site B gains no links, your site will rank higher in search results. But what happens if site B receives one link? The results depend on the amount of juice each link passes. The more backlinks your site acquires, the higher your chances of outranking your competitors.
• Stronger Network — Link building is one of the most effective ways to expand your network and strengthen your relationship with them. The more webmasters discover your site and find your content informative, the higher your chances of building strong followers. In addition, link building allows you to tap into a vast network that can easily promote your brand and content online.
To boost your site’s search performance, you need to acquire high-quality backlinks. Here are smart ways to earn qualified inbound links.
How To Get Backlinks
Backlinks are references comparable to citations. It is crucial that you follow the best link building practices to establish your brand authority and boost your online ranking.
Here are smart ways to earn backlinks to your website:
1. Create useful, information-rich content — Everyone loves a valuable web page. Publishing unique, comprehensive content with engaging visuals is a proven method in acquiring backlinks. Here are some tips you can follow:
• Leverage infographics
• Create comprehensive and scannable content
• Write unique, industry-specific blog posts
• Incorporate unique trends and data to your content
• Link back to authoritative websites
2. Build relationships — Reach out to industry influencers and webmasters. This is a good practice to expand your network and promote your web pages.
3. Broken link-building method — This works by contacting webmasters and flagging broken links on their website. This is an excellent opportunity to recommend links to your relevant web pages as a replacement for broken links on their resource pages.
Since you’re helping webmasters report and fix their broken links, you acquire more chances of earning high-quality backlinks. Enter the following search queries in Google to determine relevant sites in your niche that have resource pages:
• keyword + links
• keyword + resources
• keywords in URL:links
4. Find competitor backlinks — Keep track of your competitors’ SEO strategies. Identify their link building strategies and optimize these tactics to boost your processes. For example, you may find your competitors’ resource page links. Evaluate these links and see which site owners you can connect with to add your business to their page.
5. Get links from affiliated sites — These are brands that you have existing relationships with. For instance, reach out to your suppliers and existing clients. Ask them if they can include your site link to their page through testimonials or other forms. If you’ve built a strong relationship with your network, they are highly likely to do you a favor.
6. Convert mentions into links — Some websites that mention your brand or product fail to include hyperlinks. Reach out to these site owners and get them to link back to your site. These people are most likely among your numerous business followers. This means that it’s easy to connect with them and request for backlinks.
7. Guest blogging — Search for the most popular blogs in your industry. You may also find guest blogging opportunities in social media or Google images. The key is to select websites worth sending your pitch for a guest post. Remember to:
• Do your research
• Determine their existing content strategy
• Analyze their target audience
• Evaluate how other guest posts are performing on their site
• Determine their top-performing blog posts on social media
Changes could be coming soon, however. According to a recent article by Search Engine Journal, Google may be penalizing sites that publish paid guest posts and utilize branded anchor text instead of keyword-optimized anchor text.
Although Google hasn’t confirmed these changes yet, it pays to keep track of your guest blogging strategies. Ensure your listing sites adhere to search engines’ best practices. Determine if they add a nofollow link attribute on sponsored links. If not, it might be best to find other guest blogging opportunities.
8. Promote your content — Great content won’t gain backlinks unless you optimize it and promote it right. Leverage email outreach and social media promotions to position your brand in front of a broad audience.
9. Get interviewed — Websites that launch ground-breaking studies and statistics have more chances of getting interviewed by several online sources. Don’t miss this chance to gain a competitive advantage. Utilize your marketing resources to provide unique, valuable content to your readers and followers.
10. Attend niche forums — Conferences and forums are excellent avenues to connect with industry influencers, authority figures, and other webmasters. Leverage this opportunity to build your site visibility and authority.
Keep in mind, however, that not all incoming links can be considered good ranking factors. First, you need to evaluate whether the backlinks you’re getting are good or bad.
Good Backlinks vs. Bad Backlinks
Good or high-quality backlinks come from relevant, authoritative sources in your niche. These are websites that have high domain authority and publish similar content to your site. Quality backlinks are beneficial to your SEO campaign.
“Natural” editorial links are an example of good backlinks. These are inbound links that you don’t have to ask from other websites. Natural editorial links are typically obtained by publishing information-rich, highly-relevant content.
Bad or low-quality backlinks, on the other hand, come from unreliable and irrelevant online sources. These are sites that were penalized for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Acquiring backlinks from these sites can negatively impact your optimization strategies.
Self-created, non-editorial links are examples of bad backlinks. These include links from article directories, guest post signatures, user profile pages, and unmoderated blog comments. Self-created links fall in the category of black-hat SEO strategies. That is why these are highly discouraged.
How Does Google Evaluate Backlinks?
Now that you know the difference between good and bad backlinks let’s discuss the more pressing matter: “How does Google evaluate quality backlinks?”
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to acquire quality backlinks. Google regularly updates its algorithms. This means you need to stay abreast of the latest SEO developments to keep your link building and earning strategies optimized.
Here are the essential factors Google considers in evaluating backlink quality:
♦ Relevance — Backlinks can be relevant in four ways: domain to domain, page to page, domain to page or link to page. This means that inbound links with no degree of relevance to your site are likely a waste of time.
For instance, a finance website that acquires backlinks from online pet stores does not make sense. Google is likely to consider this as a manipulative backlink strategy.
♦ Domain Authority — Google’s search algorithm is designed to provide the most authoritative and relevant search results to user queries. As a site owner, you need to ensure you’re securing links from high-authority websites. Doing so sends signals to Google that your content is valuable to readers.
♦ Website Diversity — Search engines favor backlink profiles that were built naturally over time. These are sites that gained incoming links from authority blogs, sites, magazines, directories, press releases and conferences.
♦ Human Value — Google looks at the value of your content to search queries. To ensure you’re addressing user concerns, examine the linking site’s audience. If a site owner links to your website even though it is irrelevant to its target audience, that’s a red flag.
♦ Uniqueness — Links from authority sites that only talk about your site and not your competitors are great backlink opportunities. Examples of unique sites are conference and forum platforms. Not all your competitors can present their content at those conferences. This is an excellent opportunity to build high-quality backlinks.
♦ Link Location — Google prioritizes search intent. This means that links that are incorporated seamlessly throughout the content have more equity. Irrelevant links on the sidebar or footer, on the other hand, are considered a red flag.
Aside from these factors, Google also evaluates technical elements. The following factors can affect how search engines interpret link relevance and authority:
• Alt attribute
• Anchor text
How To Improve Backlink Quality
Now that you understand how Google evaluates backlink quality, the next step is to optimize your link building and earning strategies. Here are some tips you can follow:
→ Optimize your content
→ Leverage guest blogging
→ Reach out to reputable directories
→ Participate in conferences
→ Optimize your email marketing tactics
→ Follow the best Google practices
Build High-Quality Backlinks And Boost Your Search Performance
Earning high-quality backlinks is one of the most challenging yet most significant parts of SEO. Leverage this opportunity to your advantage with the help of a reputable digital marketing agency.
Optimize your website and acquire high-quality backlinks with the help of Thrive! Our SEO and digital marketing specialists provide custom optimization solutions to ensure your online success. Call us now to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.