When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), everyone knows how valuable backlinks are – but not all links are created equal. The highest-quality ones are worth their weight in gold.
After all, a site that ranks #1 in Google gets 34% of the clicks. Improving your rank from #2 to #1 will double the amount of organic traffic that page receives – making that position more valuable than positions 2-5 combined.
Whether you’re an SEO novice or a seasoned professional, executing a well-thought-out link-building strategy is crucial to improving your overall ranking.
We work with over 100 SEO companies nationwide and discuss strategies with them all the time. We know how to build backlinks beyond using a guest post service (like Scalefluence), how to acquire local directory links, listing page links, and more.
But before we dive into how to build quality backlinks, we’ll take a look at why backlinks are important and the different types of links you’ll encounter along the way.
Why Backlinks are Crucial to Improve Rank
First and foremost, Google is a business. They’re in the business of making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for online – and if you have content that does that and does it well, you’ll be rewarded.
It’s true that no one actually knows the depths of the Google search engine algorithm because it’s held tightly under the lock and key of proprietary data science. But Google has made no secret that backlinks, AKA “inbound links” or incoming links, are an important piece of the puzzle.
Google and other major search engines consider a backlink to be a “vote of confidence” for the linked page. Pages with a high volume of backlinks are considered to be a valuable resource for their relevant search query and, as such, have a higher organic ranking than pages with fewer backlinks.
Different Types of Links
Do Follow vs. No Follow
A dofollow link passes “link juice” or equity from the website it comes from to your website (see more about authority below), whereas a nofollow link does not. When a nofollow link goes to your site, Google won’t tally the “vote” for your website, but that doesn’t mean they don’t offer value to your website overall.
Nofollow links can still offer value because they can drive traffic to your website and help increase brand visibility. You’ll get quality traffic and enhance brand credibility if you get a nofollow link from a high authority site. Google has recently started treating nofollow links as hints rather than directives, which means they may still be considered during indexing.
High Authority vs. Low Authority
High-quality backlinks generally come from websites with high domain authority, while low-quality links come from websites with low authority. Most SEO agencies use Ahrefs Domain Rating, and Moz Domain Authority DA to determine the overall authority of a site.
Scalfluence provides both metrics in our link-building services, as well as Majestic Trust Flow and Citation Flow, a less used but still relevant metric for determining the possible link juice that flows from a domain.
High-authority websites are well-established, trusted, and have good traffic & rank in Google. These sites have earned authority with search engines over time through consistent quality content, traffic generation, and their own quality backlink profile.
A link from an authoritative website will help your site build its own authority. You’ll eventually see it boost your rank when you get enough links from multiple sources, known as “link diversity.”
On the other hand, low authority links come from fairly new websites, don’t have a lot of traffic, or lack quality content. However, obtaining links from lower authority websites can be done more quickly. Acquiring more links over time is known as “link velocity.”
It’s not that low authority links are necessarily harmful; it’s that they won’t contribute much to your overall ranking compared to high-authority ones. That said, it’s important that a diverse backlink profile that naturally includes a mix of both high and low-authority links can still benefit your site.
At Scalefluence, we pride ourselves on delivering high-authority links to our clients. But we also recognize that even low authority links bring value, especially for more local brick-and-mortar-based businesses. Lower authority links also cost less on average, and you can build more of them quickly with lower budgets, increasing link diversity, link velocity, and anchor text distribution, creating performance even with tight budgets.
A natural link profile includes links from all sources, including low and high-authority publications, blogs, directories, and industry-specific listing services like AVVO and NOLO for lawyers, Zillow for realtors, and Clutch.com for marketing agencies (verified reviews here really helps out with cutting through the noise).
Internal vs. External Links
Internal links point to other pages on your website, such as your navigation links. You can use internal linking to improve your overall SEO strategy, which helps define your website’s architecture and hierarchy. You can also distribute page authority throughout your website, which improves SEO. We personally prefer LinkWhisper.com, a great tool for AI-based internal link mapping.
External links are links to any other website. Add these to your content, where relevant, to add value for your readers. For instance, if you’re sharing data from a study, link to the study so that your visitors can find the original source for more information. Google has
Your site should strike a balance of both types of links, but quality is always more important than quantity. Focus on providing your readers with a solid user experience and real value, and you’ll be fine.
Effective Link Building Strategies
You can get relevant links from other sites to yours in many ways, but here, we cover options that will give you good results quickly.
Create High-Quality Content
Words on the page aren’t enough. All your content must be written to speak to your audience, easy to read and understand, and most importantly, valuable. Easier said than done, right? Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you:
- Understand your target audience: Who are your readers? What are their demographics? Their interests, pain points, and needs? The better you know and understand your audience, the better you can tailor your website’s content to suit them.
- Conduct thorough research: What kind of content is your audience most likely to engage with? What are trending topics in your industry? What kinds of questions do they ask? Rely on tools like Google Trends, Semrush, and BuzzSumo to help you discover content ideas.
- Keep it relevant, informative, and engaging: Create content that answers questions and solves problems. Use storytelling techniques to make your content more interesting, such as personal anecdotes or case sites to make your content relatable. Ensure the content is accurate, well-researched, and offers unique insights.
- Add multimedia: Adding images, video, or interactive elements will make the content easier to digest and, as a result, more engaging. It can also help you explain complex concepts more thoroughly.
- Optimize it for search engines: Every blog post you write should be centered around a particular target keyword or phrase. Follow SEO best practices to optimize the content around that phrase to ensure the search engines can find and index it. Beyond the content itself, this means optimizing your meta title and meta description and creating SEO-friendly URLs, among other things.
- Analyze and adjust to improve: Use analytics tools to review your content’s performance regularly. Pay attention to metrics like page views, time spent on page, and bounce rate to understand what’s working and what’s not. Use the information to refine your content strategy and improve its effectiveness.
Build Linkable Assets
Linkable assets are easily sharable things you create for your website that add value for your audience while serving as a promotional resource for your brand. They come in many forms:
- Original Research
- eBooks and Whitepapers
- Case Studies
- Tools and Calculators
For instance, if you post a data-heavy article, you could create visualizations of the most crucial data points to support the content. Then, convert those images to an infographic hosted on your site. Include the HTML code to embed the infographic, allowing others to share it with their network or add it as a resource for their own content.
Leverage Social Media
While sharing links on social media won’t necessarily net in links back to your website, you can use it to build relationships, listen to what people – your customers and competitors – are talking about, find influencers to connect with for outreach, and build your overall brand reputation with content that grabs attention and adds value.
Instead of trying to establish a strong presence on every single social media platform out there, focus on the ones where most of your customers spend most of their time.
Broken Link Building
Here, you take time to find broken links, then reach out to the website owners to let them know the link to their resource no longer works. Suggest your page as an alternative. Since broken links hurt the user experience and can negatively impact their search ranking, it’s usually a win-win for everyone.
To be clear, broken link building can be very labor-intensive and usually unsuccessful unless done by an expert with deep experience with this type of outreach.
Avoid the “spray and pray” templated approach for the best results. Instead, take a few minutes to personalize each email you send. The bigger the website, the more email they receive every day – and the more they receive – the greater the chance your email will go ignored.
Write a piece of content for a high-authority website in your industry. While many publications won’t give you a dofollow link to your own site in the body of the text, they may offer one in your author bio. The publication still allows you to establish your industry expertise further.
Engage in Media Outreach
Reach out to influencers and journalists to see if you can be a resource for them or if they’re willing to write about your product/service. Answer relevant Help a Reporter Out (HARO) queries whenever you can.
Add Listings to Relevant Directories
For industry-specific directories, do a quick Google search operator for “your industry + directory.”
In the home improvement industry, relevant directories could be:
- Angi (Formerly Angie’s List)
- Home Advisor
Tips for Building Backlinks
Start by Reviewing Competitor Backlinks
The best way to beat the competition is to spy and see what they’ve got going on, too. If you know what you’re up against, you can craft a strategy that meets and exceeds their work to edge them from the top spot. You can use several backlink checker tools to see where your competition’s links are coming from so you can figure out how to get them for yourself.
Use a Few Strategies at a Time
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Trying to do everything at once will make it harder for you to see what’s making a real impact. Choose the strategies you believe will give you the best and fastest results for your available resources. Implement these strategies long enough to get some real data for analysis before you switch things up.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
True SEO experts always preach quality over quantity. One high-authority backlink to a piece of content will do you much better than five low-authority ones. Spend more time collecting options up front, then go after them systematically over time.
Keep it Natural
Spamming your website overnight with hundreds or thousands of links isn’t natural, and the search engines will know. As tempting as it may be to try shortcuts, you’ll fall victim to scams and risk getting your website backlisted from Google.
How Do SEO Companies Build Backlinks?
SEO companies build backlinks using a combination of these strategies, as deemed relevant by the client’s current search ranking and link profile, the competition, and the industry. Building backlinks for local SEO is slightly different than for a national business, so each strategy is tailored to meet the target website’s needs, business goals, and marketing budget. Link-building opportunities are everywhere you look. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Interested in learning more about building high-quality links using Scalelfuence? Please use the Contact Us form to get in touch today!