When performing search engine optimization (SEO), businesses need to monitor and build a lot of metrics to ensure the optimization is successful and effective. One of the most crucial metrics involved in that success are backlinks. Backlinks help your content soar through the rankings and allow you to quantifiably measure your domain’s authority. But understanding how many backlinks you have and the best way to generate them is not an easy task.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
Backlinks are important to an SEO campaign because they strengthen the search engine ranking of the content or pages they link to. Basically, backlinks act as votes that tell search engines which pieces of content are worth showing to search engine users. In general, the more “votes” your content has from backlinks, the better it ranks. In fact, backlinks still remain the key ranking signal that Google uses. Essentially, if you’re not generating backlinks for your content, it’s going to make your SEO campaign a lot more difficult.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
There are a few factors to be aware of that indicate a high-quality backlink, including:
- Authoritative Websites: Each website has a level of domain authority (DA), developed by Moz, that indicates how likely it is to rank in the search engine results page (SERP). When a domain of high authority links to your webpage or content, it can significantly help your chances of ranking better.
- Target Keywords: When other businesses or websites link to your content, if they link to it using your content’s targeted keyword, it can be an excellent backlink for your SEO campaign. For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “best long-haul truck engines”, it’s especially helpful if the backlink includes that keyword in its anchor text.
- Website Relation: When businesses link to your website, it can significantly improve your backlinking efforts if the linking business is related to yours in some way. For instance, if you’re a construction and agriculture equipment dealer, it’s helpful for other equipment dealers, or other businesses in your industry, like manufacturers, farms, and construction companies, to link to you
Understanding these factors can help you keep an eye-out for stronger backlinks that drive your SEO campaign. It also ensures that Google better understands your content and the audience you’re trying to target.
What’s More Important: Quality or Quantity?
Though generating a large quantity of backlinks is important, it’s more important to build quality backlinks. One quality backlink can often be worth more than hundreds of low-quality links. In fact, if your content has too many low-quality, or toxic backlinks, it can actually harm your ranking.
Toxic backlinks can come in a few different forms, such as:
- Sites setup only to produce backlinks
- Sites not indexed by Google
- Backlinks spammed into the comment section of different sites
Essentially, any backlinks that are placed on websites for the sole purpose of boosting a business’s SEO campaign, no matter how well-intentioned, can negatively affect your ranking with Google. Google is much more appreciative about backlinks that are focused on user experience. That’s why a good rule of thumb when placing external links on your site is to make sure it expands on your content and further informs your readers about the topic.
How Many Backlinks Do You Have?
The easiest way to see how many backlinks you have is to use Google Search Console (GSC). GSC allows you to create an account and connect it to your website to view details about your organic search and solve technical problems your site might be experiencing. One of the organic search details you can see is how many links lead to your website and what your top linking pages and texts are. This can show you how many businesses are currently linking to your site and what type of websites are most interested in sharing your content with their audience.
5 Strategies for Building Backlinks
There’s not a single best strategy to build backlinks for your site that works every time. However, there are some things you can try to help you generate backlinks more effectively:
1. Find Broken Backlinks
Sometimes domains link to other sites, and eventually those links change or are removed by the site owner. When that occurs, the link might lead to a blank page or a 404, creating a broken backlink. If you find these broken links, and they relate to your business or industry, you can reach out to the domain and see if they’d be willing to switch out the broken link for one of your own, creating a new backlink for your website.
Besides stumbling upon these broken links yourself, the only way to find them is through the use of SEO tools, like Semrush and Ahrefs. These tools have the ability to find broken links on specific domains that you can read through and analyze. From there, you can see if you have any content that might replace them to build your backlink portfolio.
2. Find Potential Backlinks
It’s possible that some websites or businesses might reference your business or brand without linking to your site. These are great opportunities for a backlink and require very little effort on the business’s side. If you notice that your business was mentioned without a backlink, reach out to the domain who referenced you and ask if they’d be willing to include a link to your site. Though they aren’t guaranteed to say yes, it’s a great step in building your SEO campaign.
3. Write Guest Posts
Guest posting is when you write for a business’s blog, providing your expertise and knowledge to their target audience. When you write a guest post, you’re often allowed to include a backlink to your website that can strengthen your SEO and build your brand’s awareness. Guest posting is often mutually beneficial because the poster receives a backlink to their site, while the business’s blog receives content they can use to attract more viewers.
The businesses you guest post for often target a similar audience as you, but they aren’t considered direct competitors. For example, a landscaping company and a pest control company might target a similar audience, but they aren’t offering the same service.
4. Build Relationships with Industry Experts
Building relationships with other industry experts is a great way to develop your SEO because they can create new backlinks opportunities for you. Those opportunities might include things like guest posting on the business’s site, being featured on their company podcast, or even partnering with them for promotions or discounts. Each of these opportunities provide you with the ability to include a backlink to your site, which can benefit your SEO efforts and attract more leads to your business.
5. Develop Share-Worthy Content
Though it might seem obvious, developing content that businesses want to share on their site is an excellent way to boost your backlinks. But what exactly defines “share-worthy” content? Well, another term for “share-worthy” is “high-quality”. You want to make sure your content has something to offer readers and helps them learn something new about the content’s topic, whether that’s a helpful tutorial, definitive knowledge on a subject, or an insightful opinion on an industry matter. The higher-quality your content reads, the more likely blogs will want to share it with their own audiences.
Not sure where to start your content marketing journey? Randall Reilly offers content marketing services that can help your business develop high-quality, share-worthy content for its website. Our team of experts can help you put together a long-term content strategy to improve your organic traffic and ensure your marketing campaign is as effective as possible. Contact us today to see how we can heighten your content marketing efforts.