Backlinking Strategies for Beginners
What Are Backlinking Strategies?
Backlinking strategies are collections of various methods to acquire links from other websites, either naturally, or with the involvement of the person implementing the backlink strategy. These strategies give you a toolbox to choose from based on your business, resources, and preferences.
Why Backlinking Strategies Are Important
Using different strategies to build high-quality backlinks is important because every strategy has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is important to choose a few different strategies to implement rather than just one, so you can ensure a natural and diverse backlink profile is built over time for your website.
The Backlink section within Hike can assist you with your backlinking strategy.
Not every backlink strategy will suit everyone, but it’s equally important to test as many as possible to see which one works best for your specific needs. Strategies give you a blueprint as to how best to plan actions to achieve a specific outcome, in this case getting high-quality, high authority (check out PA & DA), trustworthy backlinks.
Below you will find a wide selection of backlinking strategies that can be used to build high-quality, authoritative backlinks to your website.
Before You Start Link Building
Before you start building backlinks, there are a few things you need to be aware of that will help you get the most out of your off-page SEO efforts.
If you’re actively building backlinks that require your active involvement, then knowing which relevant websites to first approach to link from is the first step. This research can be done with competitor backlink research tools.
Hike has this tool built into its platform and it allows you to see which websites are linking to your search competitors. This allows you to compile a list of websites that you will be approaching when implementing various backlinking strategies.
Domain Authority (DA) is a logarithmic score from 0 to 100 developed by Moz that indicates how authoritative a website domain is. The higher the number, the more authoritative it is and more valuable to acquire a backlink from. That doesn’t mean that lower DA websites are not valuable, as it’s important to have a mix of backlinks from a variety of DA websites.
Acquiring multiple backlinks from a single website is good, but it’s more important to get backlinks from a variety of unique domains as this shows search engines that your website is also an authority because of how many unique domains are linking to it. In other words, a unique domain is like an individual casting a vote (a backlink is like a vote of confidence to that page or site), while the number of backlinks on that single domain is like multiple votes from that one person.
Ultimately, it’s important to have a higher number of unique individuals voting than a few of the same people voting multiple times. With this analogy, you can see the importance of acquiring backlinks from unique domains.
Broken Link Building
This strategy involves discovering broken links (404 not found) on relevant websites that can be replaced with a link back to useful and relevant content on your website.
Here is an example of a 404 page. It will likely mention "Page Not Found".
Because the internet is constantly evolving, sometimes at such a fast pace, URLs often change, pages get deleted, and that’s where broken links are created. Because the webmaster is unaware of these changes, unless they are checking for these regularly on their website, they can often be missed, creating a negative user experience for those on their website.
That’s why by taking a proactive approach and discovering these broken links on others’ websites that are relevant to your website pages, you can inform the webmasters of these broken links and suggest a specific page of yours to link to instead that would be helpful to their audience.
That being said, just because you’ve informed them, it doesn’t mean that they will use your link to replace the broken one, but in many cases they will, which it’s a small reward for helping them improve their website and helping you build a natural backlink to your website, increasing its authority and rankings over time.
Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content that, according to Google, is primarily created to benefit people and not search engines, will not only succeed long-term in the search results but attract visitors to your website that will want to link to these pages of their own accord.
Some of the possible questions provided by Google to self-assess the quality of your content are as follows:
- 1Unique & Original - Does the content offer new insights, research, reporting, or original analysis that hasn't been covered elsewhere?
- 2Comprehensive & Thorough - Does the content provide a comprehensive description of the topic, going beyond the surface level or providing unique perspectives?
- 3Beyond Common Knowledge - Does the content provide intriguing or thought-provoking analysis or information that goes beyond what is readily apparent?
- 4Significant Original Value - If the content references other sources, does it add significant original value and insight rather than simply copying or rehashing existing information?
- 5Descriptive Title & Heading - Is the main heading or page title descriptive and useful in summarising the content, without resorting to exaggerated or sensational language?
- 6Shareability - Would you consider bookmarking, sharing, or recommending this page to others because of its quality and usefulness?
- 7Printed Publication Quality - Is the content of a caliber that would be appropriate for a printed publication such as a magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
- 8Stands Out From Others - Does the content stand out from other search results, offering significant value and depth compared to other pages on the same topic?
Additionally, if you are providing your expertise on a specific subject, these questions from Google allow you to assess the quality of that expertise:
- 1Inspires Trust - Is the content presented in a way that inspires trust, such as through clear sourcing, author expertise, and relevant background information?
- 2Trustworthy & Credible - Would the site publishing the content be viewed as a trustworthy and credible authority on the topic by someone who investigates it?
- 3Demonstrable Expertise - Is the content written by someone who has demonstrable expertise or a strong passion for the topic?
- 4Easily Verifiable - Are there any easily verifiable factual errors in the content?
Finally, how the content is presented is also very important, and Google provides a few additional questions to assess that aspect:
- 1Spelling & Style - Is the content free of spelling errors and written in a polished and professional style?
- 2Quality of Production - Does the content appear to be well-produced, or does it come across as rushed or sloppy?
- 3Mass Produced or Outsourced - Is the content mass-produced or outsourced to a large number of creators or spread across many sites, leading to lower quality or less attention to detail on individual pages?
- 4Excessive Ads - Does the content have an excessive number of ads that detract from or interfere with the main content?
- 5Mobile Compatibility - Is the content formatted to display well on mobile devices? Try a mobile-friendly test!
If you follow the above guidelines, then creating quality content that people love and want to link to will be simple. Otherwise, your content may not rank as well in the search results or attract and keep the attention of users who wouldn’t consider linking to it.
Be a Source of Data
People love finding interesting & original facts and statistics that they can use for their content reference. Therefore, if you can come up with some original data that can provide insight into a specific topic, users are likely to link back to your content to reference that data, which gives you a backlink in exchange.
What type of data exactly? It doesn’t necessarily have to be an in-depth research project or scientific study - in fact, it could be as simple as sending a poll or survey to your audience and compiling the results. Or if you are in a specific industry, it could be related to your day-to-day operations, production, sales, or marketing. Whatever information you feel would be valuable to measure and analyze, others would most likely also be interested in.
According to Brian Dean on the Backlinko blog, after analyzing 912 million blog posts to understand content marketing better, it was discovered that “long-form content gets 77% more links than shorter posts”, which means it’s better suited to be ideal for backlink acquisition than shorter content.
Google's E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) is an important factor that the search engine uses to evaluate the quality of a website's content. E-A-T has become even more important in recent years, as Google has made a greater effort to provide users with high-quality, trustworthy content.
When it comes to E-A-T, backlinks can be a valuable signal of a website's authority and trustworthiness. If a high-quality, reputable website links to your site, it can help to boost your own website's authority and credibility.
Hire Expert Writers
People are more likely to trust and link to content written by experts. If you already are a recognized expert in your field, that’s perfectly fine, however, if not, then it might be worth considering hiring experts who already have a following and authority.
Content written by experts could be ranked higher by Google.
It’s important to note that Google doesn’t use authorship in their algorithms anymore, but they do have methods of identifying authors, so content written by experts could be ranked higher.
Other Content Insights Worth Highlighting
A few more insights from the same Backlinko article reveal some interesting things that could help get more backlinks:
Longer Headlines - “Headlines that are 14-17 words in length generate 76.7% more social shares than short headlines”.
List Posts - “List posts get an average of 218% more shares than “how to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.”
Why & What - “‘Why Posts’, ‘What Posts’ and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and ‘How-to’ posts”.
If you have newsworthy content that would be interesting and relevant to a larger audience in your industry, it’s worth approaching newspapers, and press companies who are always on the lookout for these stories. Writing a press release and sending it for review to various PR companies could lead to securing exposure in, and possibly a high authority backlink, in a major press publication.
Even if it’s just on smaller publications or local news sites, it still is valuable to build quality backlinks that add authority to your website. Try using local keywords for more context.
While approaching contacts within these organizations or departments may prove to be challenging, it’s still worth the effort. Just be sure to pitch your story well and in a way that is intriguing and shows how relevant and valuable it would be to the audience.
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and is a platform that connects reporters with anyone that has a story that matches their current publication needs. This story will then be published on their platform, whether it’s a blog, news site, podcast, YouTube channel, or other type of online platform. It’s a fantastic way to reach a larger audience while potentially securing a backlink as well.
The Journalist Outreach Section within Hike enables you to respond to Journalist Requests.
While you can register directly on their website, Hike SEO has this built in as a tool to make it much easier to filter out potential stories you can pitch for, along with pre-created email templates so you can quickly and easily send a message to the reporters of the relevant stories. This saves you a lot of time and allows you to attract these opportunities faster than if you did it manually.
Collaborating with influencers in your industry can lead to attracting opportunities where you may be featured on their blog or website with an accompanying backlink.
When reaching out to potential influencers, aim to contact those with between 5,000 and 100,000 followers on their social media, as this gives you an indication that their website will have a good level of traffic and engagement and they won’t be too popular to be able to collaborate with.
In addition to their website contact form, also reach out to them via their social media channels, so that you are likely to reach them, as they may frequent or prefer one channel over the other.
When pitching your expertise or content to them, always share how it is unique compared with what they already have on their website, and how it would benefit their audience.
Being invited to write blog articles on someone else’s blog or having your article published on a website with you as the author is called guest posting. It’s a fantastic strategy to acquire backlinks and build up your profile as an authority & expert in your industry or niche.
Many websites have guest blogging opportunities where you can submit your articles to be reviewed and if approved, published on the website. If within the policies of that website, one or two backlinks might be allowed as well, providing opportunities to build authority on your website.
Blogging platforms like Medium.com have publications across many different industries that are always looking for unique and valuable content to share with their existing readers. Each publication has its requirements, so do review them before submitting your work.
Before deciding whether a guest post opportunity would be worthwhile, always check the Domain Authority of the domain and how well the website is ranking for industry and topic keywords that relate to your website.
Doing a topic gap analysis, which means looking at which topics that website has or hasn’t covered yet in their content, will allow you to strategically approach them with content that they would find valuable and would help them improve their search engine rankings as well.
When you approach these guest post opportunities with a data-focused approach, presenting relevant topics that haven’t been published yet and targeting keywords with a decent search volume, then there is a high chance that you’ll be featured and can gain quality backlinks from that site.
What better way to provide an engaging format to present key ideas than an infographic? Because they are so impactful and provide so much valuable information in such a compact form, many users tend to share them or embed them into their website, while providing a backlink as a reference to the source.
By creating insightful and visually engaging infographics, you set your website up for success to gain organic backlinks from users reading your content. What’s helpful to add underneath, is either an embeddable code snippet that has the anchor text and link already generated, or encourages the user to share or embed and give an example of how they can credit the source.
Useful Visuals (That Others Can Use)
Similar to infographics, but not the same, visuals or graphics that represent an idea, or concept, or illustrate a specific point that is universal within your industry or niche are perfect assets that others can use on their websites and in return credit the source with a link.
These visuals may be created by a graphic designer and should have a common design theme & style across your website so they align as a set. This makes them more practical and flexible to be used by others in whatever order or combination they would like.
Although not necessarily a direct backlink opportunity, being featured as a guest on a podcast exposes your website to a larger audience that can then visit your website and then link to it if they find your content interesting and valuable. Because many people prefer listening to content over reading articles, this is a great way to reach those who may not otherwise have discovered your website. Additionally, some podcast platforms allow for a description of that podcast episode that could include a backlink to your website if the host allows it.
Local Off-Page SEO
If you have a local business, then making sure you implement the following strategies to enhance your off-page SEO is vital, namely your Google Business Profile and Name, Address Phone (NAP) citations.
Google My Business Profile
Your Google Business profile gives you additional online visibility directly within Google, where you can feature your business information such as website URL, name, address, phone number, photos, reviews, and a description of your brand. When someone searches for a local business, Google often displays a map with local listings at the top of the search results. Having a well-optimized GMB profile can help you appear in this highly visible spot, increasing your visibility to potential customers.
List your business on Google and increase your visibility to potential customers.
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) citations are essential for off-page SEO because they can help your business get found by potential customers who are looking for your products or services.
Consistent NAP citations across various online directories, review sites, and social media profiles help establish the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your business. By having your business listed on relevant local directories, you can improve your visibility to local customers who are looking for products or services in your area.
Search engines like Google use NAP citations as a ranking factor when determining the relevance and authority of a business. Having accurate and consistent NAP information can improve your chances of appearing in the local search results for your target keywords.
Inaccurate or inconsistent NAP citations can hurt your SEO efforts. If search engines find conflicting information about your business online, it can negatively impact your local search rankings and make it harder for potential customers to find you.
Videos tend to have a high engagement rate, and on YouTube, you can have links within your video description to lead viewers back to your website, creating an additional organic traffic stream that will support your rankings. Since YouTube is owned by Google, it makes sense to use these platforms in tandem with your website, and also embed your videos on relevant pages to increase time on page and engagement rates.
Lead your youtube viewers back to your website through links within your video description.
By creating videos you add more value to the pages they are embedded within, creating possibilities for backlinks. Also, many people will link to or embed videos they found valuable, and these backlinks will also help your overall channel authority and the backlinks within your channel will benefit too from this link equity.
Roundup posts are blog posts that feature a collection of insights, opinions, or recommendations from experts in a specific industry or niche. These types of posts are often used to create a comprehensive resource that covers a particular topic or theme, and they can be an effective backlink strategy for SEO for the following reasons:
Attract Backlinks From Experts
When you create a roundup post featuring experts in your industry or niche, you can attract backlinks from those experts who want to share the post with their own audience. By including a link to their website or blog in your roundup post, you provide an incentive for them to share it with their followers or link back to the roundup post.
Roundup posts tend to be highly shareable because they feature multiple experts, each with their following. When your roundup post is shared on social media, it can attract additional backlinks from people who find it valuable and want to share it with their audience.
Build Relationships with Influencers
By including influencers in your roundup post, you can build relationships with them that could lead to future backlinking opportunities. When you feature an influencer in your post, it shows that you value their expertise and could lead to further collaboration down the line.
Generate Additional Organic Traffic
When you create a roundup post that covers a popular topic, it can attract a lot of traffic to your website. The more traffic your website receives, the more likely it is that other websites will link to your content and the better your rankings over time.
If you are an expert or have an interesting story to share with your audience, then there’s a high chance that others would like to interview you to tap your knowledge, and expertise, and hear your story. This opens up opportunities for backlinks in several ways:
Increase Your Visibility
When you are interviewed by experts in your industry, their audience is exposed to your brand and website. This can lead to increased traffic to your website, which can result in more backlinks if they find your content engaging and valuable.
Getting interviewed can lead to opportunities for your business to create new backlinks.
Credibility & Authority By Association
Being interviewed by experts in your industry can give your brand and website more credibility and authority, making other websites more likely to link to your website, which can improve your backlink profile.
When you are interviewed by experts in your industry, you may have the opportunity to network with other professionals in your field or attract invitations from press or media websites for additional interviews. This can lead to more opportunities for collaboration and link-building.
Partner with Larger Brands
Partnering with larger brands can be an effective strategy for obtaining high-quality backlinks. When a larger brand links to your website, it signals to search engines that your site is trustworthy and valuable, and this can boost your rankings in search results.
There are several ways to partner with larger brands to obtain backlinks. One strategy is to collaborate on content, such as a guest post, as previously mentioned in this article, or a joint research study. This can result in links from the larger brand's website to your own. Another strategy is to participate in industry events or conferences where you can network with representatives from larger brands and potentially secure backlinks through partnerships.
When partnering with larger brands, it is important to focus on building relationships and providing value. You should aim to create content or participate in events that align with both your brand and the larger brand's values and interests. By building strong relationships and creating valuable content, you can increase your chances of securing high-quality backlinks from these larger brands.
Brand mentions are instances where your brand or business is mentioned online without including a link to your website. These mentions can occur on various websites, including blogs, news websites, social media platforms, and directories. Brand mentions can be a valuable opportunity to acquire high-quality backlinks to your website, as they indicate that other websites are talking about your brand and may be willing to link to your website.
The first step to finding brand mentions involves auditing. This is the process of identifying all the websites that have mentioned your brand or business without linking back to your website. This can be done using various tools and software, such as Google Alerts, BuzzSumo, or Mention. Once you have a list of websites that have mentioned your brand, you can analyze them to determine which ones are the most valuable for acquiring backlinks.
The next step is to reach out to these websites in the order of highest value first. This can be done by finding their contact details on their website or via social media profiles, crafting a personalized email or direct message, and then following up if you haven’t heard from them within a few weeks. Finally, if you do secure a link from a brand mention, make sure to thank them as they have done you a massive favor to improve your backlink profile.
Hike + Backlinking Strategies
Hike SEO has a few powerful tools to allow small business owners to acquire valuable backlinks. The Backlink Opportunities menu item has two tools: Competitor Opportunities, and Journalist Outreach.
In this tool, Hike allows you to see which backlinks your competitors have and allows you to reach out to those websites to potentially secure an opportunity where your website may be also featured in a link within relevant content.
This tool allows you to discover opportunities from journalists around the world that are looking to fulfill certain story requirements that you can pitch for. In Hike, you can add a few relevant keywords that you’d like to filter the opportunities with so you only need to review the relevant ones. Then there’s an email form with a pre-filled outreach template that you can send directly to the journalist to pitch your story or expertise to. If they think there’s a mutual fit, then that journalist will get in touch with you and this could lead to a valuable backlink opportunity in addition to extra exposure.
Finally, Hike also allows you to manage your local SEO listings via the Google Listings Manager which links to your Google My Business profile. This provides a simple interface to manage and update your local business information.
Because of the length of this article, we’ve decided to leave the specifics of how to for each of the strategies for additional pages. This means, over time, this article will eventually link out to the methods of each of the main backlink strategies, so make sure to come back often to check for updated links to this content!