Backlinks are an essential part of search engine optimization. They correlate directly with your rankings – the more quality backlinks you have, the better you will rank in search engine results. The critical word in that sentence, of course, is quality. Because while backlinks can be a great asset, they can also backfire. Too many backlinks on the wrong website will have the opposite effect. In fact, they may even incur search engine penalties. So to truly reap the benefits of this strategy, you’ll need to build a healthy backlink profile full of quality backlinks from diverse sources.
Backlinks are links on other domains that lead back to your website. They’re one of the essentials of SEO – if you want to see a significant rise in rankings, you’ll probably need to work on your backlink profile. There are various ways to get backlinks. You can use your own social media profiles to link back to your website or add a link to your homepage to your citations. But the most important (and coincidentally the hardest to acquire) backlinks are contextual links in quality content posted on reputable websites. This is what you’ll most want to focus on when building a good backlink profile.
The importance of a healthy backlink profile
There’s a good reason why high-quality backlinks are considered a staple of digital marketing – they benefit your website in many ways. The obvious benefit is that backlinks direct people to your website from other websites, thus directly increasing traffic. But there are other, less apparent pros to backlinks, too: they improve your website authority and help you build a network with other websites. All this combines to increase your ranking, improve your visibility online, and attract more visitors.
What constitutes a healthy backlink profile?
There are many easy ways to get backlinks – all you need to do is include a link to your website in one of your off-site profiles or a comment on somebody else’s content. But those kinds of backlinks don’t carry much weight. Instead, you should focus on contextual links because that is what Google’s algorithm will take into account. Google will be able to recognize the quality of your backlinks and, by extension, your website, by looking at two significant factors:
- the host website – your backlinks should come from legitimate websites with authority in your field
- the link itself – your backlinks should be relevant to the context, naturally integrated into the content, and useful for visitors
Finally, a good backlink profile requires diversity. The links should lead to different pages and have different anchors; constantly linking the same page using the same anchor will look like spam to Google’s algorithms. They should also come from various websites; if you’re always getting links from the same website, Google will be suspicious about bad SEO practices.
5 tips for building a healthy backlink profile
Properly building your backlink profile will require some effort. But don’t worry – it most certainly pays off in the end! So here is what you need to do if you want to acquire high-quality backlinks:
Generate quality content for yourself and for others
Before you can get any links, you’ll need some quality content that people will want to link to, so take the time to develop your content marketing strategy. Build up your website, choose relevant topics for blog posts, optimize your content for the right keywords, and post frequently to get people talking. Creating good content can in and of itself lead to quality backlinks. If people like your posts, they’ll share them on their platforms, generating organic backlinks for you. But you can also try guest blogging instead. Offer to create content for another website. In return, you’ll add a link back to your website.
Reach out to partners, affiliates, customers, and other website owners
In most cases, people won’t link to your website out of the goodness of their hearts. You’ll need to be proactive and take the first step. This means reaching out to other website owners and asking them to include your backlinks in their content. To make this part easier, contact the people you know first. Turning to business partners and affiliates will increase your chances of success. Then, encourage your customers to share your content if they enjoyed it. Finally, check some of the top websites in your industry. Do they allow guest blogging and backlinks? If so, create a good pitch and email the owners!
Be active in the community
If you thought that a career in content writing wouldn’t include some mingling with others in the industry, you were sorely mistaken. Even in the digital world of SEO, making the right connections matters. Strengthening your ties with other businesses and organizations can easily translate into quality backlinks. And if you focus on those in your geographical area, you can even improve your local SEO. Participate in conferences, events, and other gatherings that will help you make connections with businesses, organizations, and website owners who can be of help when you’re pursuing backlinks.
Choose the host websites carefully
How effective a backlink is in raising your ranking will depend largely on the website that links back to you. Links from suspicious or blacklisted websites can actually hurt you, and links that come from mid-tier websites won’t help you much. What you want to be aiming for are leading websites in your industry. Getting a backlink on a website with high domain authority will increase your domain authority as well. Those backlinks will also be rated better by Google and thus help you rise in the rankings more. While you won’t always be able to get a backlink on the top-rated website in your niche, you should still aim for quality websites instead of settling for just anything.
Have a strategy
Perhaps the most important thing when building a healthy backlink profile is having a good strategy. You’ll need to develop your own content, come up with guest posts, create a good pitch, and keep track of which backlinks are having an impact. Without a systematic approach, keeping track of all that is not going to be easy. So do your research. What are others in your niche doing? Which top-ranked websites allow guest blogging and backlinks? What are website owners looking for in backlink pitches? Which of your existing backlinks are generating the most traffic? The answers to these and similar questions will help you develop a successful strategy for building quality backlinks.