Link-building is arguably the biggest challenge in any SEO activities.
On the one hand, backlinks are still the most important factors in determining a website’s ranking.
On the other hand, nowadays we also need to consider the quality of the backlinks rather than quantity, and getting just one high-quality backlink from an authoritative site can be easier said than done.
So, how can we get backlinks in 2020 and onwards? Below we will discuss how, and let’s dive right into the first one:
1. There’s No Shortcut Beside Your Content’s Quality
This one is very important to get, and the sooner you embrace this fact, the sooner you can achieve SEO success:
To get high-quality backlinks, you also need high-quality content.
If your content is good, sooner than later you’ll get those precious inbound links. On the other hand, no amount of tactics and effort can help low-quality and/or irrelevant content.
2. Build Relationships With Everyone
One of the most effective and reliable ways to get high-quality backlinks is to partner yourself with other businesses, influencers in your niche, and if possible, press/media.
It’s important to note, however, that the other parties here will still need to develop relevant content to link your site. You can’t, for example, use a shallow, made-up content to link 10 websites with random anchor text—we can get penalized for this—.
Deeper, genuine relationships are necessary so both parties are willing to make the efforts.
3. Publish Linkable “Hook”
We have mentioned how good content is the secret of getting backlinks. However, some types of content are indeed getting more links than others.
Think about it, most of us link to other sites when we need to mention a data or information—as citations—. Another common practice is when we embed an infographic or a photo (and we credit the source via a backlink).
With that being said, we can also make ourselves available to get linked by publishing unique content that can be a useful resource, such as:
- Really unique information, or something communicated from a different angle
- Visually appealing resources (infographics, professional-quality photos, royalty-free stock videos, etc.)
- Great stories that are emotionally engaging (including great story in photos)
- Location-specific news and information
- Useful, original data (i.e. case study results, etc.)
Simply put, give them a reason to link your content, and we can call this type of content “link hooks.” Figure out how you can contribute to other sites within and outside your niche, provide value, and gain in the process.
4. Just Ask—Effective Outreach—
Sometimes, (and it’s more often than you think), all it takes to get these valuable inbound links is to send an email.
However, we can imagine that an authoritative, high-quality site can get a lot of emails every single day. Thus, sending an interesting, personalized, and unique email that can capture their attention is important.
- Keep it short and to the point. It’s hard enough to capture their attention, and it’s even harder to keep them.
- Communicate how you can provide value as quickly as possible (in the opening section of your email) and as clearly as possible. For example, they might have a broken link on their site, and let them know that you have a worthy content that can replace this link (a very common practice)
- Build a genuine relationship first, if possible. For example, ask an interesting and relevant question and maintain a conversation.
- If possible, mention something unique and personal (i.e., if you are from the same city or graduated from the same alma mater)
There are various tools that can help you in finding the potential email addresses of webmasters as well as email marketing tools and this guide about implementing outreach for link building might help.
5. Co-Authoring and Guest Posting
This one is tied to building relationships—as we’ve discussed above—.
Many of us will be familiar with the concept of guest posting, and when done right, it can still be a good source for link building initiatives.
Another way to do this is to pitch your content drafts and ideas to the webmasters (that are related to your site/within your niche), and ask so that you can co-author the content so you can get a backlink in the process.
This process will be easier as your website got more popular and you’ve grown in credibility as a thought leader.
Link Building Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t always aim for exact-match, over-optimized anchor texts. Semantically-related anchor text can work, and in fact, might be better rather than risking a Google penalty for over-optimization
- Be very careful when practicing link exchange. The search engines’ algorithms nowadays are pretty advanced and will detect fraudulent practices. Even when you are exchanging links with your business partners or even loyal customers, do it naturally with relevant content and natural anchor text.
- Never buy and sell links, this is almost a surefire way to get a penalty.
- If you are going to list your business in a directory to get citations and backlinks, make sure they are relevant directories according to your niche and location.
- As mentioned, the main thing to focus on is to actually produce good content
While some might say that link building is dead, the truth is that only black-hat and some grey-hat link building practices are dead.
Proper, natural link-building practices—as they were intended by the search engines— are alive and well, as well as arguably more important than ever due to the saturated state of the internet and social media.