How to Get Backlinks
Backlinks can make or break your ranking success. The process can be tricky, time-consuming, or even worthless if you don’t know where to get good ones. So, if you want to learn where to look and how to start, this guide’s for you.
It’s time to get strategic and learn not only how to get backlinks but also the right way to get them. We’ll focus on the best practices for a backlink profile, general approaches you should adopt, and other essentials.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links created on other domains that point back to your domain. To put it simply, it’s a link placed on someone else’s website that leads to your website. We’ll use “get backlinks” interchangeably with “get links” for the purposes of this article.
Backlinks are considered an indicator of how popular your website is with users. If a reputable website is referring people to your page, search engines see it as an endorsement. As a result, your content is considered worthy of amplification and gets placed higher in the SERPs.
For example, in this post, BMW’s Facebook page placed a backlink to BMW’s official website. Cross-platform posting with backlinks within one company is very common.
But what’s trickier and perhaps more valuable for any website is to receive links from other companies and platforms. For instance, getting a link to your brand on a major media outlet has a great impact on search performance.
How to Get Backlinks With a User-Oriented Approach
A user-oriented approach is fundamentally about understanding your users and creating content for them. It’s not just about keywords. Instead, your link building strategy should focus on adding value to your customers and benefiting their overall experience. This is better for retention, conversions, and sales, and it’s important for search algorithms.
We’ll outline the main steps of creating link-worthy content below.
Find Out What People Are Searching For
The first step ensures that the keywords and the content on linking pages match whatever your target audience looks for. Find out the exact terms that your target customer would put in the search bar. Research and narrow down your topics in stages: (1) main categories, (2) smaller topic buckets, (3) list of seed keywords.
You can extract a lot of information from competitor analysis. The best place to look at on the competitor’s sites is the FAQ section. And the best place to look at in general is the top-10 on Google for your relevant search terms. See what these sites have in common and identify what your target users would also want to know - this will be the content gap that you can fill.
Produce Great Content With Keywords in Mind
Having looked at competitors, you might be tempted to replicate whatever the top-performing sites are doing. But try to remain different and put your own original spin on the content. Provide actual value through your content while staying true to your core topics and keywords.
Important clarification: you should not focus solely on your keywords. Instead, incorporate keywords naturally into your writing.
The more in-depth your content is, the more Google’s algorithm will like you. Even though you’re swamped with all these requirements (focus on your content but also on the keywords; be original while also staying on-trend), the bottom line is to produce interesting content that other sites will want to link to.
Post the SEO-Friendly Content
SEO-friendliness isn’t only about the main body of text; all surrounding elements should also support the common goal of improving rankings. Here are areas to focus on:
- Title. Keep titles concise (under 60 characters), use your target keyword closer to the beginning, and make sure it describes the post’s content accurately.
- Description. The optimal length is 155-160 characters, with target keywords used at the beginning.
- URL. It should be simple, compelling, and relevant. Remove unnecessary words (as, a, an, but, and or), and use hyphens to separate words.
- Images. Use unique images that complement the texts and include alt tags.
- Internal links. Use a reasonable amount of internal links, preferably deep within the structure of a site.
- Speed. Reduce and compress image sizes, eliminate unnecessary interactive elements, use browser caching, and minimize redirects.
Also, don't forget about mobile-friendliness!
Let the World Know
So, in preparation for adding links to your fresh content, you need to generate organic traffic on your own. This will maximize the effect of backlink building because you will already have a solid foundation.
If you’ve just posted a blog article on your website, head over to your social media and share the link there! Ideally, by this time, you already have your account optimized (keyword-rich bio, with all profile details filled in). Also, social media is a two-way street: you need to interact and post on a consistent basis.
The Best Link Building Strategies
We shortlisted the best tried and tested strategies that work for any industry.
To ease your way in, pick several practices and see how they perform. Then, keep the ones that are suitable for you, put aside those that don’t, and gradually add new ways of building backlinks.
Find Backlink Opportunities With Top Referral Sources
Before you increase backlinks profile, complete an audit of the ones you already have. Performance reports will help you see what sources are already giving you backlinks. See how much total traffic other sites are driving, whether search traffic is adding to engagement on-site, how much new users are spending on the site, and what content they’re viewing.
As you learn more about your existing profile, you’ll have a better idea about backlink opportunities that are worth pursuing.
It’s a win-win situation - you learn how to get backlinks and build lasting partnerships as well.
Work on your relationship with:
- Referral partners (referral swaps)
- Influencers (thought leaders)
- Collaborative partners (brands within your niche)
- Agency partners (connection builders)
The core of every partnership is equal value for everyone. If your partners recognize the value of your content for their benefit, you can get free backlinks.
Use GSC to Get Backlinks
Google Search Console is a free service for monitoring, maintaining, and troubleshooting your site's presence in search results. Go to your Links Report and locate External Links. This report shows the root domain of sites with the most links to your site, sorted by the number of links.
See whether sites that you think are important for your promotion point to your site. For example, if you have a restaurant, do food blogs or review sites mention your website? This is a great opportunity to use sites that are already favorable to you and identify what’s missing.
We have already touched on this point. But here, we won’t be focusing on keywords or content but their links. Of course, it’s impossible to find all websites that are linking to your competitors. But there are ways around it. How to create a backlink with this method:
- Find outbound links on the competitor’s site. This way, you can uncover their referral partners. Who knows if they’ll prefer to link to you instead?
- Set up alerts. If someone publishes content that mentions your competitor or includes your shared target search terms, you’ll always be in the know.
Take Advantage of Broken Links
Broken links or dead links lead to empty or non-existent external web pages. When website owners and organizations don’t bother checking, you can come in and suggest your candidacy. Some of them are hidden gems and already have inherited authority.
Find broken links from relevant web pages, find or create content for this link, and persuade the site owner to replace the dead link on their page with yours. It’s simple but can be time-consuming to scale.
Try the Skyscraper Technique
If you’re confident in your content, try challenging others for the same links. Here is how to build backlinks by competing to be the “tallest skyscraper”:
- Search for pages within your niche with lots of backlinks.
- Create something way better or find very good articles that you already have.
- Contact the linking site’s owner and suggest directing their link to your superior content.
Use this technique sparingly because you don’t want to be known as someone who “steals" links. Reputation among your peers is also a great asset.
Infographics, especially based on original research, are highly shareable. Informational articles and news stories always try to incorporate more references, so you can become their source.
Here are a few tips for creating powerful infographics that other people will want to share:
- Make sure readers can easily skim through the information.
- The images should be visually appealing.
- Make it memorable - for example, choose your main elements and pack everything else into a simple visual form.
- Create a killer headline.
- Most importantly, choose a hot, industry-specific topic.
Write Your Own Customer Testimonials
It’s easy to guess that showcasing customer reviews on your own site is beneficial for your reputation. But let’s look into it from the other side - what if you write a review?
Let’s say you collaborate with another company, integrate a certain service, or just start using a new CRM system - share your positive experience on your site. Then, email this link and thank the other company. Most likely, they’ll be happy to display this on their own site – and voilà, you just earned a very valuable link.
Check HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
HARO is a platform that connects journalists looking for expertise to include in their content with sources that fall under that expertise. If you’re an expert in your field, take this opportunity to receive a journalistic feature.
Journalists usually post their queries and select one source based on their pitch. Even if your response doesn’t get picked, you can always repurpose it - for example, as a separate social media post.
Start Guest Blogging
As usual, the concept is simple. When you write an informative, insightful article in a well-known blog, people will notice you. They’ll even start coming to your own website. This isn’t just about links; it’s also about becoming authoritative in the industry, finding new contacts, and expanding the audience reach.
Always clarify whether you can place your links directly into the guest content (which is preferable). But at the end of the day, if your blogs are well-written, people are likely to visit your main site.
Take Part in Interviews
If your company representative has already given interviews, participated in conference panels, or anything like that, make sure online mentions are linked.
As for new interviews, approach them in the same way you approach HARO requests or guest blogging. This is your chance to share your expertise and/or experience and attract new audiences. If the opportunities don’t come to you, contact journalists or media sources.
Make Guest Appearances on Podcasts
Podcasts are an excellent way to connect with audiences. When people hear your voice, they form a personal connection with you as a company representative. By extension, they’re more likely to check out what you offer and more likely to buy.
In general, it goes without saying that the podcast host will link to your website. But you might want to double-check it. If they say your company name and website out loud, even better.
Use Forums as a Source of Easy Backlinks
Forums are generally packed full of visitors who are interested in the same niche. You want to present your link exactly to knowledgeable and influential audiences whose passions align with yours. And placing valid, useful contributions is not only extremely helpful, but those are also pretty easy backlinks.
Learn the difference between spammy and genuine forums. The bad ones will be full of short, useless content with links, links placed in the post for no reason, and bot-generated comments. Conduct market research to filter those out and focus on forums that your target community holds in high regard.
Become a Member on Resource Pages and Business Catalogs
Finally, consider joining a resource page (that lists helpful links and resources for a particular topic) and a business catalog. Similar to forums, these pages already attract the right people. All it takes is to contact the website owner and convince them to start sharing your website.
If you want to maximize your chances of being approved, compile a list of all possible associations you can join and contact only a select few. Make sure your content, service, or product can bring value to their visitors.
Characteristics of High-Quality Backlinks
A backlink should come from a reputable source, have a relevant context, and lead to a page with good content. High-quality links give an impression that they were earned naturally.
Here is how you can assess a backlink and a linking page:
- High Domain Authority (DA): This measures the authority of a particular website based on its age, size, and the amount of trust associated with it. Each domain has a score from 1 to 100. A good score (more than 20) is given to those that Google recognizes as reputable.
- High Page and Content Relevancy: This metric estimates the thematic relevance of content on the linking page compared to content on the backlinked page. Here is how algorithms figure out thematically relevant: they analyze the page content and compare it to similar ones, looking for the same semantically relevant phrases, words, and themes.
- Proper keyword anchor text: There are generic, branded, and exact match anchor text. Google has a threshold for the percentage level for each. A high-quality should be within a “natural” anchor text portfolio; watch out for over-optimization.
Types of Backlinks to AVOID
Stay away or disavow links that are coming from:
- Spammy sites: These score low on the DA, PR, and all other essential metrics.
- Pages unrelated to your industry: Google will be especially suspicious if you start receiving a lot of traffic from countries outside of your core audience.
- Foreign guestbooks: Guestbook links are no different than FFA (Free For All) links.
- Pages with thousands of other links: This just screams that you’ve bought a link from a sketchy provider.
- Anything that can bring down your own DR: Any places you don’t want to be associated with your brand will generate bad links.
All of these instances are known as “toxic links.” As the name suggests, they have a damaging effect and should be removed (if possible).
How Many Backlinks Are Enough?
Sometimes as little as 10 backlinks can bring your page up in the search results. This happens when you focus on low competition keywords: those that can rank with little link building and even little to no domain authority.
But if you’re trying to rank for high competition keywords, you might need as many as 100 for one page. When thousands of pages compete for high-volume keywords (e.g., car repair, vegan recipes, best holiday locations), it’ll take a lot of work to come through.
Keep in mind that if you suddenly get a massive influx of undeniably high-quality links, it will reflect positively on your rankings. But if you’re shopping around for a backlink package, we recommend being more conservative and aiming for no more than 15-20 new backlinks a day.
Why Are My Backlinks Not Showing in Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Etc.?
Backlinks won’t show up if Google is unaware of the page or thinks it doesn’t deserve to rank. Here are possible reasons:
- The website is too new. Google hadn’t had enough time to find it.
- It’s blocking search engines from indexing. Ask the website owner to check out if you have the “noindex” meta tag.
- It’s blocking crawlers. Open your robots.txt file and search for URLs that Google can’t crawl.
Overall, a backlink will show up only if the linking page is recognized and ranked by Google.
Are Fiverr Backlinks Good?
No. At the very least, Fiverr will be a waste of money. The worst-case scenario is that a seller will bring your website down. Fiverr is a legit website, but it should be used for frivolous goods and services (not when your reputation is on the line).
Of course, there is always a possibility that a cheap platform will provide a good service. But the possible outcome doesn’t justify the risk of penalties. Remember, poorly placed, low-quality links can hurt your rankings, and you will spend more time and money trying to recover. This is why we teach how to get backlinks properly.
Are NoFollow Backlinks Good?
Nofollow links have a bad reputation - those links didn't count against you, but the nofollow attribute was not worthless in SEO. 20%-40% of all links on top-ranked pages on Google are nofollow. And while they are suggestions for ranking algorithms, search engines can, in fact, count these links as a beneficial credit to the website (on the quality of the link and the context it provides)
If we make a straight comparison, dofollow links are better at passing on PageRank, so we definitely recommend using them in your strategy.
How Many Backlinks Per Day Are Safe?
The most confusing thing is that if you buy 1,000 spammy backlinks in one day, you’ll likely get penalized by Google. But if you generate 1,000 good backlinks in one day, you’re safe. So, while it’s commendable that you worry about what number makes you look suspicious, it comes down to the quality.
Here is a loose guideline: 50-100 links a day should be fine. Pay attention to important characteristics of linking pages, such as authority and trust, relevance, footprints, traffic, traffic location, rankings, and current site health.