Backlinks play an important role in driving organic traffic via search engines, especially in competitive industries. When combined with strong technical SEO foundations, great on-page SEO, excellent content, and a good user experience, link building can be super effective at driving more organic traffic. Unfortunately, too few small business marketers know how to create quality backlinks to their site, usually because they’re unsure how to get started. Here’s how to start building quality backlinks to your site.

What are backlinks?

what are backlinksBacklinks (also known as inbound links or one-way links) are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings.

How to get started with link building

Before starting a link building campaign, it’s important to know that other than acquiring a link, you won’t typically see the results of your efforts for some time; link building is definitely a long game. It takes time for link building to have a positive effect on the rankings of your website; that time can vary depending on several factors:

  • The competitiveness of your industry
  • How competitive your target keywords are
  • The activity of your competitors’ link building efforts
  • The types of links you’re building
  • The history and strength of your domain

To get started creating backlinks to your site, here are some simple ways to start. If you’re a beginner to link building, try these few steps to get started:

Use the content on your site worth linking to

quality contentGood backlinks will happen organically if you have quality content on your site, with a little help. Take an inventory of what content on your site is link-worthy. Which pages offer value for another site to link to it. This content usually includes blogs or articles, free guides, videos, checklists, and other content others will find useful enough to link to. If your current website content is a bit lacking, work with a marketing professional to help you enhance your small business content marketing efforts. For each of those pages, identify keyword phrases that are directly related to that page. Make a list and keep it in mind; you’ll need this when you start your outreach. Armed with this information, look for link opportunities on other sites. Opportunities may include guest blogging, web directories, company mentions which may include your products/services or employees, or creating an article to be placed on a 3rd party site. These are all fairly straightforward ways to identify link opportunities. Make a list of all of these sites and get prepared for outreach to ask for a backlink. Keep the following in mind as you qualify these sites for possible outreach:

  • Is the site relevant to your business or industry?
  • Is it a quality website?
  • Is it a secure website?
  • Is it an established website?

When you analyze sites that might give you a backlink, check whether their pages are indexed by Google. A stale, outdated site won’t provide much value in the way of backlinks. Looking for a blog is a good place to start. Or you can simply look for the URL on Google and see if the page comes up in the search results. If the page isn’t indexed, the backlink doesn’t contribute to your rankings.

How to do link building outreach

link building outreachWebmasters will more likely link back to your site if they feel your resource or content piece will provide value to their website visitors. Make sure when you’re reaching out that you point out the value of linking back to your content piece from their site. Another tactic for link building outreach is to find broken or outdated links on your targeted website. Oftentimes, pages or posts may link to a resource that’s no longer available or is out of date. Find those broken and outdated links and help these websites out by offering a quality, up-to-date resource (your website!) to replace that useless link they have now. To find broken links, you can use a tool such as Site Explorer to see where broken links are on any website. Other tools include Ryte, BrokenLinkCheck, and Dead Link Checker.

Now it’s time to sell the value of your website! The outreach is a bit different for each type of inquiry. Neil Patel put together a fantastic resource full of link building templates for outreach that will prove invaluable to you and will help you communicate the value of a link back to your website to the webmaster or website owner you’re communicating with. Again, link building is a slow and steady process; don’t be discouraged if you get a lot of rejections or silence. It’s just like sales; just keep plugging away!

Link building isn’t the easiest marketing effort, but it’s important! Building quality backlinks to your site will pay off in time so keep at it to see results.

Patty Hughes
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