Best Strategies for Building High-Quality Backlinks
Link building is an SEO practice that endeavors to incorporate hyperlinks that link back to the page in question, thereby improving its visibility to search engines—and the users that search for organizations in your niche. These backlinks work by helping Google determine the quality of a page, based on the assumption that pages link to other expert or authoritative pages. A sufficient number of backlinks can help establish your page as a useful source of good content.
Google was the first search engine to rank web pages based on any factor other than on-page content, a practice it began upon its inception in 1998 with the PageRank algorithm. Since then, Google has become the most-used search engine in the world, highlighting the continued importance of link building. Google algorithm updates in the years since have established an increased focus on link quality as well as link quantity.
Building Quality Links
With algorithm updates like Penguin, Google continues to shift SEO toward the practice of building quality links. In the past, unscrupulous SEO practices involved paying link farms to post backlinks, spamming comments sections and blank pages with backlinks, and more. In 2020, however, these black-hat practices are dead—and may even result in penalties from Google itself.
Instead, it’s crucial to build quality links that show Google’s crawlers that high-quality sites link back to your content, establishing you as a reputable expert and voice of authority. What, exactly, makes a quality link? According to Google, to build quality links, pay attention to these factors:
- The overall authority of the linking website, as well as the authority of the page linking to you, has an enormous impact on the quality of the link. Links from authoritative pages effectively pass that authority on to your page when they link to it, so a link from a website like a news organization is much higher in quality than a link from a no-name link farm.
- According to Google, backlinks mean more for your page ranking if they come from pages that are relevant to your content. For example, if you run a travel website and the page linking back to your deals in shoes, Google may deem the backlink is of lower quality than from an authoritative site closely related to your site.
- Both the area and the type of placement can affect the perceived quality of the backlink. Prominently placed links within the page’s content provided by the page’s editor are much higher in quality than a link relegated to the page footer or placed by you in a comments section.
Tips for Quality Links
So, how can you attain the sort of high-quality links that will help you establish your page as a source of expertise, authority, and trust to Google’s web crawlers? After all, if it were easy to get high-profile sites like the New York Times and Harvard Business Journal to link back to you, high-quality links wouldn’t be quite so meaningful. While the Times may not be within reach now, start with these tips to improve your quality backlink profile:
- Optimize your on-page content. While publishing blog posts on your website is the first step in garnering backlinks, some types of content are shared more than others. In a study of over a million articles, list-style posts—posts that break content into smaller, easier to understand chunks—were shared the most by far. Other types of informative content primed for backlinks from relevant sites include infographics, videos, and in-depth guides.
- Consider guest blogging. While a Google employee once famously declared guest blogging dead, it is our experience that when done correctly, guest blogging can still help provide quality backlinks and boost your page ranking. In general, strive to publish quality, informative content on high-quality, relevant pages and provide a single link back to your page. Avoid pages that require you to pay to post content or irrelevant guest-posting aggregates, as Google is likely to consider most backlinks provided by these pages to be low-quality.
- Utilize social networking. Building a quality social networking profile for yourself can also be a great way to build high-quality backlinks to your pages. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube often have high site quality that you can transfer to your pages by linking them on-network. Link your pages in your bio or in the about section of your social networking profile.
- Release newsworthy information or research data via a press release. While you can expect research studies and other newsworthy events your organization spearheads to garner more backlinks than the average blog post, up your game by releasing the information via a press release. Press releases are supplied to multiple sites and may even get attention from major news sites, boosting both the number and quality of your backlinks. Be sure to include a link within the content to ensure you receive credit for your information.
Optimize Your Link Building Efforts
Link building practices encourage high quality, relevant sites to link to yours, transmitting their expertise and authority to your page and boosting your page ranking in the process. However, it’s essential to go about link building in a practical, ethical manner to prevent penalties from Google and down ranking of your page.
If you need help developing a link building strategy, the team at Toledo SEO for Growth has you covered.
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