SEO Factor #2: Backlinks

Backlinks are another important search ranking factor. When a website links to your website, that is a backlink. Generally speaking, the more backlinks a page has, the more authoritative and trustworthy it is. Authoritative pages are shown higher in search results. 

It may help to think in terms of votes. When website A links to website B, it’s a sign that the people who run website A think the content of website B is really good. It’s a vote of confidence, of sorts. More links from other sites equal more votes of confidence. 

When Google sees that a page has a lot of backlinks, it’s a signal to them that a lot of people value the page and that the content on it is good. Pages with lots of backlinks tend to show up much higher in search results because they are more authoritative and trustworthy in the eyes of Google. 

One caveat to this is that the backlinks need to come from relevant sites. If you run a site about jogging and you get a backlink from a site about exercise, that’s a relevant link. The contents of both sites are related.

If you get a backlink from a site about fish tanks, that’s not a relevant link and won’t carry much value in Google’s eyes. Google might even think the link is spammy, which could hurt the rankings of your pages. 

The implication of all this is that if you want your pages to rank in search results, it’s important to get relevant backlinks to those pages. 

So how do you do that?

Create Great Content

The starting place for getting backlinks is creating outstanding content on your website. There are literally millions of new pages published on the internet each day. If you want people to link to your pages, it’s important to give them a good reason. Create valuable content that people actually want to link to. It’s basically what I’m hoping to achieve by making this guide.

What makes content valuable?

Great content always checks at least one of the following boxes:

  • It covers a subject more thoroughly than other pieces.
  • It’s authoritative (facts, studies).
  • It’s easy to consume (easy to read, well-designed).
  • It’s up to date.

For example, if you run a fitness website, are you more likely to link to a 500-word listicle or a 5,000-word, a super in-depth piece written by an exercise expert? Definitely the latter. It’s so much more valuable to your audience than the 500-word puff piece. 

If you want to get backlinks, take a look at what content is currently ranking in the search results for a specific keyword. How can you outdo those pages? What steps can you take to create superior content? If you’re not willing to put in the work to create high-value material, you’ll struggle to get backlinks.

Promote Your Content

At its core, link-building is all about finding strategic ways to promote your content. After all, if you want people to link to your content, they need to see it first.

There are many effective ways to do promotion, such as:

  1. Outreach. Find websites in the same niche as yours. Connect with the owners of the sites and ask if they would be willing to link to your content. You have to be careful to do this in a non-spammy way. Use this Email Outreach Guide when reaching out to other websites.
  2. Guest posts. Find relevant sites that allow guest posts. In your post, include one link back to your own site. Be sure to carefully follow any provided instructions. 
  3. Appear on podcasts. Find relevant podcasts that welcome guests. You
    will probably get a backlink in the show notes. 
  4. Find broken links. Use an SEO tool like Ahrefs to find links on relevant websites that don’t work anymore. Email the site owner and offer your own content as a replacement for the broken link. Check out this Broken Link Building Guide for more details.
  5. Find resource pages. Many websites put together large lists of links to helpful resources. Find relevant resource pages and ask if your content might be added to the page. 

There are numerous other link-building methods, some more effective than others. Ultimately, they almost all boil down to the same thing: adding value to other people.

The more value you can add, whether by creating great content, guest posting, or finding broken links, the more likely others are to link back to your site. If you provide lots of value, the backlinks will come in.