Though search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, a strong backlink profile has remained one of the biggest factors in determining search engine rankings. Backlinks show that your content is high-quality and authoritative, and that means that proper link building is absolutely critical if your goal is to gain traction, attract new traffic, and climb to the top search engine positions.
Below are some of the essential, tried-and-true strategies required to build quality backlinks and make any site stand apart from the crowd.
Reach Out on Social Media
The average person spends more than two hours a day scrolling through social media feeds, and that creates an enormous opportunity for businesses that are willing to take an active approach instead of waiting for customers to come to them.
However, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should be spamming people with links to your site or product. It’s best to think of social media as a long-term investment, and your aim should be to answer questions, improve user experiences, and establish yourself as an authoritative source of information, all while increasing your brand awareness.
Monitor Your Site’s Architecture
The basic architecture and organization of your website play a major role in how many links you are likely to receive. It’s important to know that your site can be crawled and bookmarked, and whether or not there are any broken links or 404 errors that keep your pages from being fully accessible by search engines. These kinds of issues not only make it unlikely for other people to link to your site, but they may also result in search engine ranking penalties.
Instead of manually checking all the links on every page yourself, run your site through a good 404 checker and get a list of broken links to fix.
Create Data-Rich Content
Posting content that contains well-researched arguments supported by facts and data is an excellent way to make it a valuable resource that people are likely to cite or share links to, especially if it’s about a popular or controversial subject.
Including reference materials, conducting polls or surveys, and creating multimedia content such as infographics or charts whenever possible is an ideal strategy, especially in a world where more and more people are doing the majority of their browsing on a smaller mobile device.
Be a Problem Solver
As with providing data, creating content that addresses common problems is likely to result in an influx of traffic and links. If you can provide step-by-step tutorials, in-depth photographs, detailed explanations, or helpful how-to videos, you can easily establish yourself as a go-to resource in your field, and that kind of good well tends to translate into increased engagement and plenty of sharing on social media platforms.
In some cases, your site may serve a small enough niche that you can become a de facto expert with only a bit of effort, while in other cases you may be required to do some research on the competition and spend time developing stronger, more compelling content.
One of the fastest and most efficient ways to get backlinks to your site is to simply search for other platforms that allow guest content or freelance writing. Guest posting is especially effective, since it not only gives you access to other, already curated audiences, but it also allows you to network with other influencers and interact with online communities who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
Other external publishing opportunities include press release platforms, RSS directories, review sites, and online forums.
Get Rid of Bad Backlinks
Just as having strong, authoritative backlinks can improve your SEO, having links from spam-based or paid link sites can hurt your rankings. It’s a good idea to clean up your links once a month if you’re serious about optimizing your SEO potential, and there are plenty of tools that will check backlinks for you and report on any issues.
Once you’ve identified bad backlinks, the first course of action should be to see if you can find the website owner’s contact information and politely ask them to remove the link. If for some reason they refuse, or if the site has been abandoned and you get no response, it is possible to disavow links through Google, though this is a more complex process that can potentially result in temporary traffic loss. In most cases, Google’s algorithms are able to identify and dismiss obvious bad links without any action required on your part, but if you are convinced that a harmful link was overlooked, disavowal is a tool at your disposal.
Backlink building is one of the most important skills relating to search engine optimization, and while much of it relies on organic processes that you can’t fully control, there are still plenty of ways you can tilt the odds in your favor and improve your chances of being linked and cited. By applying the tips above to your SEO strategy, it is possible to see dramatic traffic growth and search ranking success.