When other websites link to your blogs or other content, it’s a cause for celebration — someone sees so much value in your content that they credit it! And these aren’t the only reasons you should celebrate. Ample high-quality backlinks are also key for search engine optimization (SEO) and driving organic traffic to your website.
That said, securing backlinks for your blog can feel a bit out of your control. It’s not like you can just log into the backend of other websites and link to your content within theirs (unless you’re secretly a hacker). Instead, you’ll need to strategically create and promote content that’s both likable and linkable. Below are 14 ways to do exactly this.
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are links on other websites that direct to pages on your website, and they’re great for your SEO strategy. The more backlinks there are to your content, the higher its likelihood of ranking highly on search engine result pages (SERPs). But that’s a simplistic take on this topic. It’s not all about your total number of backlinks — it’s also about your backlinks’ quality.
What is a high-quality backlink?
Not all backlinks are created equal — high-quality backlinks come from websites with their own slew of backlinks and that have been deemed authoritative by search engines.
For example, let’s say a major national publication and a small marketing blog both backlink to one of your blog posts. Let’s also say they do so in pieces of content about the same topic. Given these sources’ audience sizes, there are 1,000 backlinks to the major publication’s content and 50 backlinks to the small blog’s content. The major publication’s backlink to your content is thus higher-quality and more valuable since search engines associate a greater number of backlinks with stronger domain authority. The higher the domain authority of a source backlinking to you, the more that source’s backlinks to your content will boost your search engine rankings.
14 ways to use your blog to get backlinks
Below are 14 ways you can use your blog to score major backlinks that can help drive organic search traffic through the roof.
1. Create content to replace highly valuable broken links
Spend some time reading web content relevant to your products and services. You’ll learn something new about your niche and, in all likelihood, encounter blogs with broken external links – that means the content you’re reading links to a page that’s no longer live or accessible on that website. These broken links present backlinking opportunities for your content. To seize this moment, you should create content that neatly fits the broken link’s anchor text, and pitch it to the publisher of the content that contains the broken link. This strategy is often known as “broken link building.”
This link-building approach can be effective because both you and the organizations you’re contacting benefit from it. You get more backlinks, and the organizations you contact no longer direct their readers to broken links. Just make sure your content includes informative copy that’s easy to understand and fun to read while appealing to the eye. This is how you increase the likelihood that the organizations you contact actually backlink to your content.
2. Include infographics in your content
Not-so-fun fact: Only 51% of people who read news stories read the entire thing. Another 26% read just part of the article, with 22% reading only the headline or a few sentences. You can see pretty clearly that not nearly everyone loves reading, and there’s a great way to address that: infographics.
To be clear, in no way are we saying that content should entirely lack words. It’s still crucial to write content — and that won’t change any time soon. That said, coupling your words with infographics that summarize your main points can help.
Suppose you’re writing a blog with figures about gas prices. In addition to telling the reader that gas prices have gone up 50% in three months, you should show it. Line graphs showing price changes, or infographics putting your main facts and figures into a more digestible format, can more excitingly make the same points. You might capture readers who don’t fully read content — including people who need sources to backlink.
3. Write (or get) testimonials
You can create content praising the products and services you love, then send this content to the companies behind them. These companies might highlight your praise on their websites and link to that piece. This is an easy way to get more backlinks — and, if you’re praising especially reputable brands, high-quality backlinks.
Alternatively, you can create a blog series in which you highlight your clients’ success stories (with their permission and input, of course). Every time you publish a story, you can ask the client to post about your story on their blog and link to it.
This strategy is among the easier ways to build backlinks since the incentive for each party is clear. You both get more brand mentions on the internet — and more backlinks to boot. It’s a double win!
4. Get your website listed on resource pages
If there’s something people might want to learn more about, there are research pages abound on the internet. These pages compile links to information sources that can help the reader master a topic or skill. Think about what topics or skills your organization can help with, then find ways to get your website listed on relevant resource pages.
For example, let’s say you run a composting business. In that case, your audience might want to know how to compost at home. Resource pages about composting would thus do well to link to your blog, assuming it includes articles about home composting. (And, of course, your blogs should show readers why they’re better off hiring you for composting than going the DIY route.)
You can ask organizations that operate relevant resource pages to include and link to your website. In some cases, you can use a self-submission form instead. Either way, the more backlinks you obtain on relevant resource pages, the more organic traffic you can direct to your website. This traffic will come from both the resource page link and your bolstered search engine rankings.
5. Make yourself a source on Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
Journalists often use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find sources for stories they’re reporting. The journalists get the expert input they need, and the sources get press mentions that improve their online reputation. In some cases, they also get backlinks, so registering on HARO as a source can be great for your backlinking strategy.
Notably, this isn’t universal. In recent years, some search engine algorithms have begun classifying content with excessive links to website homepages as spammy. As such, you may want to send HARO journalists links to your relevant content, not your homepage. Search engines dont consider these links spammy, and they give the journalist SEO-friendly external linking opportunities while creating backlinks for your organization. If you need stronger content to act on this opportunity, it’s never too late to create it.
6. Write guest posts
Typically, when someone writes a guest post for a blog, website, newsletter, or another information source, they include a link to their own website. This makes guest posts an easy way to secure backlinks. A simple Google search for “[target keyword] guest post” can yield potential websites for you to ask about this opportunity.
7. Fill backlink gaps
Let’s say one of your competitors has created content similar to yours and that this content is getting more backlinks than yours. Assuming both pieces of content are roughly the same quality, you can ask websites backlinking to your competitors to link to you too. Chances are that if these websites are interested in your competitor’s content, they’ll be drawn to yours too.
8. Join business associations
More often than not, business association websites include pages that are basically the ultimate guides to companies that offer a certain product or service. For example, the Association for Professional Acupuncture in Pennsylvania’s website includes a “Find an Acupuncturist” page. Each acupuncturist in the association is listed on this page alongside — you guessed it — a backlink to their website.
Look up some local associations relevant to your business, then join them and get your business added to their directories. Ensure that your entry in the list includes a backlink, and your mission is complete. To take this a step further, you can ask the association if they’d be willing to publish one of your blogs or backlink to a blog on your site.
9. Get your business added to listicles
Think about the Google searches you conduct when you know you need a product, but not yet which exact product to buy. Maybe it’s something like “noise-canceling headphones” — super broad, but likely to pull up listicles of, say, the top 20 noise-canceling headphones. Somewhere within this list, you’ll find the headphones you need. Or, if your company sells noise-canceling headphones, customers might find a blurb about — and backlink to — your website.
You can contact the authors of relevant lists your company isn’t on yet to ask for inclusion and backlinks. Since this puts the onus on the content creator to write more copy, you should include basic company or product info when you contact them. This way, they can rapidly whip up an accurate, compelling blurb and toss in your backlink.
10. Analyze — and leverage — your referral traffic
When people visit your website via a backlink rather than a search engine page result, they become part of your referral traffic. You can easily review your referral traffic in Google Analytics to identify the websites most responsible for this traffic. These websites will presumably be interested in linking to your content from their own future content, so you can reach out to form a mini-partnership.
Through each partnership you obtain, you can alert the site owner whenever you publish new content relevant to their audience. This can encourage the owner to frequently link to your content moving forward, especially if you agree to do the same for their content. You’ll build backlinks and referral traffic for each other, which is great for your long-term link-building strategy.
11. See where your competitors are getting backlinks
Let’s say you often see your competitors linked on certain websites. These could be a company’s blog or a user-led forum — anything that links to your competitors counts here. You can also obtain backlinks through these sources if you reach out to them. Better yet, if you participate in forums, you might find that other users start organically linking to your content.
Capitalizing on these opportunities might involve creating new content. If so, you should tailor your copy to the audience’s clear interests as well as keywords relevant to your products and services. This way, you give the sources linking to your competitors a clear reason to add your backlinks while boosting your search engine rankings.
12. Build a one-of-a-kind resource
Let’s say you run an online condiment store that sells, among other items, hot sauces. Maybe you’ve noticed there’s not yet a searchable database that lists every hot sauce in the world and their Scoville ratings. If you create this database, you’ll give people writing about hot sauce, cuisine, and other relevant areas a great tool to use and link.
Of course, building a tool like this is a major time-and-money investment. But your return on investment will likely be worth it — what other website offers something like this? You’ll drive traffic to your website — and build backlinks from other sources — time and again.
13. Create immaculate content that’s perfect for linking opportunities
Depending on which sources you ask (and a whole bunch of other factors), a good piece of content should include between two and fifteen external links — in other words, backlinks. Think about it like this: If your content is relevant to what others are writing about, you’ll likely create abundant backlinking opportunities.
For example, let’s say you run an agricultural marketing company and your website is in need of backlinks. You can publish your own in-depth analysis of recent months’ or years’ trends in egg prices given shifts in avian flu case rates. This is a savvy move because journalists are surely reporting on rising egg prices. When these journalists write phrases like “egg prices” or “avian flu’s effects on egg prices,” they create potential anchor text for backlinks to your content.
Your content will need to shine brightly for high-authority sources to backlink to it. This means more than cleaning up and modernizing your website — it also means ensuring top-notch writing in all your content. It’s always easiest to leverage content that looks good and reads beautifully to get backlinks for your blog.
What about the skyscraper technique?
SEOS often leverage something called the skyscraper technique, also called skyscraper content, in an attempt to earn backlinks. Skyscraper content is when you create content so comprehensive, well-organized, and one-of-a-kind that people in your niche will link to it often. It involves reverse-engineering the best-performing blogs, finding ways for them to perform better, and then reaching out to websites that link to the ranking content and encouraging them to link to yours instead.
This technique has been leveraged effectively for quite some time, but its original intent seems to have gotten away from what’s actually executed. Oftentimes, “skyscraper” implies ultra-long content of many thousands of words — as tall as a skyscraper itself! If you’re writing for people, as Google and other search engines want you to do, it’s highly unlikely that someone will read through all 10,000 words of content on a skyscraper page and find it of value. However, that doesn’t mean long content is always inappropriate. As is the case for all SEO, the use of skyscraper content depends on your niche. Speak with an SEO expert to help you decide if the skyscraper technique is right for your business.
Why are backlinks important for your website?
Backlinks matter for your website because they lead to:
- Greater visibility. The more often other domains’ content links to yours, the more often consumers will see and interact with your business. This leads to greater visibility for your brand without any full-on marketing campaigns.
- Higher search engine rankings. The more high-quality backlinks there are to your content, the more highly search engines will rank your content. This increases the likelihood that people searching for terms related to your products or services will find your brand.
- More relationships. As you build backlinks, you form relationships with the companies linking to your content and the customers behind your referral traffic. You’ll naturally build a robust professional network and customer base, both of which are great for growing your business.
Follow vs. nofollow links
A nofollow attribute is a tag used by a web developer that instructs search engines like Google to not pick up on that link’s use on their website. Follow (or “dofollow”) links instruct search engines that they should take that backlink into account. If you’re building backlinking opportunities, you want follow links.
What types of backlinks are valuable?
You’ll often see SEO experts use the term “white hat backlinks” to describe all valuable, SEO-friendly backlinks. A backlink qualifies as “white hat” if it:
- Comes from a high-domain authority, such as cnn.com instead of randomtinynewswebsite.com
- Is used as a source or citation in an article from a high-authority source
- Is cited by other websites in your industry or niche
- Appears on high-authority business directories, profiles, or listings
- Directs to a free tool or resource on your website
- Is part of a guest blog or interview on a high-authority website
Are there backlinks that aren’t valuable?
The opposite of white hat backlinks are “black hat” backlinks. These backlinks aren’t valuable — in fact, they can harm your SEO. They come from:
- Sources outside your niche or expertise
- Low-authority sources or guest posts.
- Spammy websites
- Excessive comments you post, with links to your content, on other websites
- A widely frowned-upon strategy known as “cloaking”
- Misused 301 redirects
Great backlinks require great tools — and great content
You’ve probably noticed that the best strategies for obtaining backlinks involve identifying your competitors and their backlinks, as well as your target keywords. You’ve also probably noticed that creating top-notch content is key to a successful white hat backlinking strategy. This raises two questions: How do you find the information you need? And once you finally have all that, how do you create incredible content worth linking to time and again?
At SCS Creative, we have the tools and the know-how for both. We know online ranking data and keyword research platforms in and out, and our in-house expert writers — including former journalists — know how to meaningfully and excitingly convey any topic’s essence. Our writing team includes enough people that we can write about any topic and bring even your boldest content ideas to life.
Quality content lies at the core of everything we do, and so does acting as your full-on content partner. Our testimonials speak to our great content and communication, and you can request our case study to see how our work improves your visibility.
Let SCS Creative create all the content you need to secure high-quality backlinks. All you have to do is sit back and relax — and be wowed by the results.