Obtaining high-quality backlinks is a key aspect of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as they can significantly influence your website’s search engine (e.g. Google) rankings and overall business outcomes – leads and sales.
An important part of the Google algorithm (how Google “figures out” what to rank where), is the backlink profile of a website, or “which websites link to your website”.
It’s important to emphasise that the focus should be on acquiring natural and relevant backlinks, rather than resorting to tactics that might violate search engine guidelines (more about that at the end of this article – be sure to read it right through).
📌Learn more: Google’s Search Engine SEO Starter Guide
This article will tell you more about which links are “good”, versus which links are “not so good”.
Poor quality backlinks will harm your Search Engine results, so please follow this guide, and be sure to read our previous article about backlinks as well.
Remember, nobody knows for sure what Google (and other search engines like Bing) like and don’t like as far as links go, but there is a lot of evidence out there, and this guide aims to summarise that.
Here are some effective strategies to earn good SEO backlinks:
1. Create High-Quality Content:
Content is often the most effective way to attract backlinks naturally.
Produce valuable, informative, and engaging content that other websites in your niche would want to link to.
Consider hiring professional writers or content creators as well, ONE great piece of content could entirely turn your business around!
This could take many forms – think about REALLY useful stuff that might get shared and linked to.
These could be “How to” guides, “Ultimate guide to…”, reviews, questions to common problems etc.
Come from a place of “how can I answer people and Google’s questions”, rather than “how can I sell via blog articles”.
Helpful, useful content, gets shared and linked to.
A good example in the Digital Marketing space would be the Ahrefs Blog. They publish LOADS of useful, market leading articles that easily get them links!
Also – you’ll find plenty of links in this article – the authors of these articles earned links by creating high-quality content!
How can you do that for your industry?
📌Learn more: How to create high quality content for SEO
2. Guest Blogging:
Contribute guest posts to authoritative websites in your industry.
Ensure that your guest posts are well-researched, informative, and provide value to the readers. Include a relevant and non-spammy link back to your website in your author bio or within the content if it makes sense.
You might need to spend months or even years building relationships online and in real life before getting high quality guest blogging opportunities, so be ready for a long term approach.
For example, well known Marketer Anthony Gaenzle has guest blog articles on his blog.
Note – Erik has an EPIC article HERE about Link Building that you should read too.
Anthony wins here because the article is high quality and useful, potentially driving traffic to his website.
Erik also wins because he gains valuable “link equity” – a fancy term for “A vote of confidence from Google”, as well as people learning more about Erik and his services too simply by being on Anthony’s blog.
How can you do this for your business?
Do you have any businesses you partner with, or regularly use / collaborate with, who might accept a guest post?
📌Learn more: Neil Patel’s guide to Guest Blogging
3. Broken Link Building:
Reach out to the website owners and suggest replacing those broken links with links to relevant content on your site.
This method can require some patience, but the rewards are high if successful.
📌Learn more: How to find Broken links for SEO
4. Content Outreach:
Find websites that have linked to similar content in the past.
Reach out to the website owners or content creators and propose your content as a valuable addition to their existing articles.
This can have a low strike rate (plenty of website owners won’t reply), so be ready for some work, but it can be very effective.
For example – Mark Buskuhl from Ninebird Properties – a business that buys and upgrades houses – might find websites in the property niche who have published articles about renovations, landscaping, finance etc.
He would approach them with some unique articles that might complement what they already have.
Another example could be Evan Tunis from Florida Healthcare Insurance.
He might find blogs that publish articles about personal finance, insurance, saving money etc, and pitch articles on how to ensure you aren’t overpaying for insurance.
📌Learn more: 6 steps to nailing SEO Outreach
5. Resource Page Link Building:
Look for resource pages or link roundups in your niche and request that your content be included as a valuable resource.
Ensure that your content genuinely provides value to their audience.
High quality content should always be your goal.
An example could be us here at Good Oil Digital Marketing.
We could develop a resources page with all the best free SEO and digital marketing tools that exist.
Some of those resources linked to, might link back, or the page might get shared widely on social media for example.
Is there an opportunity for you to do this?
📌Learn more: More about Resource Page link building
6. Infographics and Visual Content:
Create visually appealing infographics or other visual content.
These tend to be highly shareable and can attract backlinks when other websites use them as a reference.
Great examples of this would be new data (house prices, petrol prices, food prices, other economic data), interesting pictures (newsworthy?), charts, and any other infographic type of content you see on social media that gets shared around.
The article below goes into more detail about this.
📌Learn more: Shareable and Linkable Content
7. Social Media Promotion:
Share your content on social media platforms to increase its visibility.
When people discover and appreciate your content, they may naturally link to it on their websites or blogs.
Of course, social media platforms change their algorithms very frequently, so be sure to follow industry blogs on how best to use social platforms for success with SEO.
A good example of this is well known New Zealand Mortgage Broker – Michael Anastasiadis. He will very regularly create short videos about the housing market, and share them on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Can you adapt someone elses methods, to your business?
These get reshared by many people as they enjoy his perspectives and honesty. Interestingly, this has also led to several large media mentions as well!
📌Learn more: 10 social media strategies to boost SEO
8. Collaborate with Influencers and Industry Experts:
Partner with influencers or experts in your field for co-authored content, interviews, or collaborations.
They often have a broader reach and can help promote your content to their audience.
For example – Dana Brigman, from Well Oiled K9, who is a dog nutritionist, could easily write articles, shoot videos, or record podcasts with owners of various dog food brands, supplement brands, and other dog experts.
In every case, both experts get the chance for backlinks and more exposure to larger audiences.
📌Learn more: How to use LinkedIn to build a professional network
9. Participate in Online Communities:
Engage in industry-related forums, discussion boards, and social media groups.
Share your expertise and provide helpful answers to questions. This can lead to natural backlinks as others recognize your authority.
Examples are Facebook Groups, Reddit, Quora, Discords, and Twitter.
📌Get Active: Join our Facebook Group
10. Press Releases and PR:
Distribute press releases about noteworthy events, product launches, or achievements related to your business.
Press releases may get picked up by news outlets and industry websites, generating backlinks.
For example Greg Baumgartner from Baumgartner Lawyers might have a spectacular case that is legally significant. Engaging a PR firm to manage a press release might be well worth it.
Alternatively – your business might be sponsoring a local event or putting on a free session of some kind, that a local news group might pick up.
📌Learn more: Writing Press Releases that actually get read
11. Create Linkable Assets:
Develop valuable resources, tools, or studies that are unique and link-worthy.
Such assets are more likely to attract backlinks.
Is there anything in your niche that people regularly need to find out? For example an interest rate calculator, or current home price tool, or even something to help people figure out calories eaten in a day?
Who knows… your niche and ideal client might have something they regularly use online, that could be on your website.
Thinking creatively again – a wedding dress business like Elodie Bridal in Wellington New Zealand, might decide to create the ultimate guide to wedding venues in their area, with accommodation options included, so that when people plan weddings in that area, their resource gets found, and maybe linked to.
12. Monitor Brand Mentions:
Keep track of mentions of your brand, products, or content using tools like Google Alerts or Mention.
When your brand is mentioned without a link, reach out and request a link.
📌Learn more: How to monitor Brand Mentions
13. Local Citations and Directories:
For local businesses, ensure consistent listings in local directories and industry-specific directories.
These can serve as valuable backlinks.
If you are in New Zealand, we have a good list of Citations and Directories HERE.
Do use local directories where possible as well. JC Consultants in the central North Island of New Zealand has done this very successfully.
Remember that the quality of backlinks matters more than quantity.
Focus on building a diverse and natural backlink profile that consists of links from authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy sources.
Ethical and sustainable link-building efforts will yield better long-term results for your SEO strategy.
As Anthony Gaenzle says “Build your links organically through relationships and quality content. Never trust your link building game to someone who promises to grab 1000 links for $100.”
Lisa Sicard agrees – “Avoid links to irrelevant sites, you want to be sure the links are relevant to your sites content and is valuable to your readers”
Avoid the following methods for creating backlinks, as they can potentially harm your website:
1. Link Farms:
These are networks of websites created solely for the purpose of exchanging links with each other.
Search engines can easily detect and penalise sites involved in link farms.
2. Buying Links:
Purchasing backlinks from websites or individuals with the promise of improving your SEO is against search engine guidelines.
Search engines may penalise your site if they discover you’re buying links.
3. Comment Spam:
Posting irrelevant comments on blogs and forums with a link back to your site is considered spammy.
Most websites use nofollow attributes for user-generated content, making such links ineffective for SEO.
4. Low-Quality Directories:
Submitting your website to low-quality or spammy web directories can harm your SEO efforts.
Focus on reputable directories and those related to your niche.
5. Article Spinning:
Rewriting or “spinning” the same article multiple times with slight variations and publishing it on different websites for backlinks is seen as duplicate content and can lead to penalties.
6. Reciprocal Linking:
Excessive reciprocal linking, where websites exchange links with each other in a quid pro quo fashion, can raise red flags with search engines.
7. Private Blog Networks (PBNs):
Creating a network of your own blogs with the sole purpose of linking back to your main site can lead to penalties when search engines identify them.
8. Link Exchanges:
Participating in link exchange schemes where you agree to link to another website in return for a link to your site can be seen as manipulative and is discouraged.
9. Forum and Blog Profile Links:
Creating profiles on forums or blogs solely for the purpose of adding a link to your website in the profile can be seen as spammy and ineffective.
10. Irrelevant Guest Posting:
Guest posting on websites that have no relevance to your niche or industry just for the sake of getting a backlink is considered poor practice.
11. Exact Match Anchor Text:
Using the same keyword-rich anchor text excessively in your backlinks can appear unnatural and may lead to over-optimization penalties.
12. Social Bookmarking Spam:
Excessively sharing your website on social bookmarking sites with no meaningful engagement can be seen as spam.
13. Automated Link Building Tools:
Using automated tools to generate and distribute backlinks can result in low-quality links and potentially harm your SEO efforts.
14. Low-Quality Content Marketing:
Creating low-quality, thin, or spun content solely for the purpose of getting backlinks can negatively impact your site’s reputation.
15. Press Release Spam:
Distributing irrelevant or low-quality press releases with embedded links can be seen as spammy link building.
It’s crucial to focus on natural and ethical link-building strategies that involve creating high-quality content, building relationships with other websites in your niche, and earning backlinks through valuable and shareable content.
Search engines value genuine, user-friendly websites, so a holistic and ethical SEO approach is the best way to improve your site’s ranking.
Feel free to comment below with your feedback on this article.